To say Stoked is humorous would be putting it lightly but at the same time, the originality of the storyline and its characters kept me glued to the pages. I couldn’t help but ogle at the cover, too. Hmm, who isn’t familiar with this male model will be by now. One of my fave genres is sport romance. However, this is the first time I’ve read a novel about swimming and I had no idea what being a professional swimmer entailed or their training routine. Therefore, this was a real eye-opener for me.
“Are you kidding me? Of course I’m going to my boyfriend’s swimming party.”
40% into this standalone novel; two o’clock in the morning and I didn’t want to put it down. And I knew I was pushing my luck because chuckles, snorts, sighs and more than a couple of frustrated groans were disturbing my better half. So what was all the noise about! Simple. One of the protagonist’s egocentric behaviour managed to bring out the worst in me. Figuratively speaking of course, I took great pleasure in imagining myself hitting her on the head with my Kindle! Other unfortunates’ thoughts went even further than mine. And you’ll see what I mean when you read the story.
The lady in question, Bellini Chambers, is condescending, spoilt rotten, and her capricious ways difficult to tolerate. She only had to open her mouth and I cringed. She is so unlikable and so stupid that her comebacks morphed into insults and were beyond a joke. I really couldn’t have cared less for her career or her hang-ups but I can’t say the same thing for her pet, bless its soul! And who in their right mind would name their four-legged friend after a pope!
What did concern me though was Bellini and Reese King’s relationship and the problems she would cause everyone who was at her beck and call. Now then, there’s nothing like loving to hate a character in a book and Ms Quinn has gone out of way to make sure of just that. But I couldn’t really get my head around the reason why third parties gave such importance to this liaison. Despite being the plot's backbone, I felt that Reese deserved better.
“Man-fish, why don’t you save me?”
Not is at all what it seems. Paisley walks into the scenario against her wishes. This young sassy lass had the wind taken out of her sails when something went dreadfully wrong in the past ruining her opportunity to excel in her profession. She knows she can’t mess it up this time, wants to prove to herself and grabs the bull by its horns. Have a guess who the bull is? Mind you, it’s going to be a complicated ride and a half to keep her boss happy.
“How was your first day on the job?” “Is that what you call it?”
Actually, I’m a tad lost for words trying to describe how Reese, this gorgeous alpha athlete affected me. He’s everything a woman could wish for. Witty and attentive, this lover boy; well, he’s not exactly a spring chicken in his forte but that’s neither here nor there since he will do everything in his power to keep on top, is the bee’s knees personified. And even though he stroked my innermost feelings, times there were when his stance with a true friend in Paisley’s life irritated me! There’s no doubt that envy and the stress it caused added to the angst in this story.
Goodness me! Talk about lapping up the innuendos which flew right, left and centre wasn’t in it! Yes, I’m a sucker for banter and wasn’t in the least bit let down in this aspect. In fact, the book is so damn quotable that while writing this review and flipping through highlighted passages, I couldn’t believe how many I’d saved. The chemistry between Reese and Paisley is Off. The. Charts. To boot, the steamy scenes literally sizzle off the pages and telling you that they I had to grab my fan on a few occasions would be an understatement. Fortunately, and totally refreshing, are their age differences that didn’t appear to be an issue. Ooh no, there are many more hurdles and confusion thrown their way. Nearly right up until the end, was I on tenterhooks as to whether or not these two guys would have their happy ending? Yes! And did I turn the pages like greased lightning to find out? Definitely.
Apart from the details mentioned, the structural writing is excellent. Told from three points of view in present, one gets the chance to see exactly how they all tick. The secondary character development as are the primary ones, faultless. Looking forward to the next instalment in this series, and hopefully I’ve guessed right about whose turn it’s going to be. Bravo Ms Quinn!