Tag: Bookish Ames

Buddy Review: The Assist by Rebecca Jenshak

Posted February 14, 2019 by Rowena in Books, Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: The Assist by Rebecca JenshakThe Assist by Rebecca Jenshak
Series: Smart Jocks #1
Published by Rebecca Jenshak on November 5, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 270
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Add It: Goodreads
three-stars
Reading Challenges: 2019 GoodReads Challenge

You know those stories where the smart girl tutors the dumb jock? This isn't it.

Blair What's the probability of insulting the one guy on campus I need to help me pass statistics? If I knew, I wouldn't be standing in front of Wes Reynolds begging him to tutor me.

Basketball player, sexy, arrogant, always sleeping through class... these are the things I knew about him. What I didn't know is that he is a seriously smart jock.

Wes What's the best way to get rid of the peppy and unrelenting girl that keeps asking me to tutor her? If I knew, I wouldn't be staring at her tan legs and attempting to teach her statistics.

Sorority girl, fine as f**k, determined, ball buster... these are the things I knew about her. What I didn't know is that she is all the things I didn't realize I wanted or needed.

Or that one semester with her would change everything.

The Assist is the first book in the Smart Jock’s series by Rebecca Jenshak. The Smart Jocks series is a set of New Adult romances that feature really smart jocks from Valley University in Arizona and the women they fall madly in love with. First up is Wes Reynolds, the starting point guard for the Valley University’s Men’s Basketball team and the girl from his statistics class, Blair Olson.

Blair needs to get an A in her statistics class but after receiving a bad grade on her first test, she knows that she needs help. When she comes across Wes Reynolds grade, she fumbles her way into getting him to tutor her. Wes is not a fan of her assumption that just because he’s a jock, he couldn’t possibly have passed the test without help but it becomes fun seeing her genuinely sorry for her assumptions and before he knows what is what, he’s helping her with her classwork.

Rowena: Now, I will admit that I was really hyped for this book because it featured a basketball hero. I’m from L.A. and L.A. is a basketball town so for me, this romance appealed to my inner basketball-loving heart. I really wish there were more basketball romances out there but I’ll take what I can get and while I really enjoyed the basketball aspect of this romance, there was something missing to make me completely love it.

What did you think, Ames?

Ames: I have to agree with you – I liked seeing basketball instead of hockey or football being the featured sport in this NA novel. And I was looking forward to the switch up of having a nerdy jock be the one to tutor someone. And this book had some promise but something just didn’t click for me. I liked Wes but Blair’s character was hard for me to grasp.

Rowena: Yeah, I had trouble with Blair’s character as well. I was really mad at David for his shenanigans and I guess I was a bit disappointed that Blair let Wes save her from that. I wish she would have saved herself, stood up for herself and really let him have it. She didn’t do anything about anything involving him, Wes did and that bummed me out. She was so quick to help everyone else but she wouldn’t even help herself.

There were also chunks of the book that moved slow. Like, I knew that what we were reading was leading somewhere but I struggled with staying in the story. It was just too easy for me to put the book down and do other things.

I will say that I enjoyed the bromance between Wes and Z. I thought that was great. They genuinely cared for each other and when Z tells Wes that he didn’t care about anything but seeing if his friend was okay, I was super happy. I thought Wes handled his big hurdle so badly but I understood it and I got where he was coming from, I just wish that like Blair, he would have stepped up and shown the heart that he talked so much about with Blair in the beginning. I thought that whole thing was stupid. You don’t quit on your team because you’re hurt. You don’t stop being part of a team because you can’t play anymore. You find other ways to help your team and the way that he didn’t get in trouble for ditching games and practices? I thought that was completely dumb. Being around a lot of college athletes, who have been hurt with season-ending injuries, I just don’t see someone completely checking out the way that Wes did. That was another thing that messed with my enjoyment of the book. There were no consequences for Wes’ actions and that annoyed me. There were no consequences from his coach, no consequences from his teammates and that just didn’t make sense.

Anyway, so Joel is getting his story next and I’m mighty curious about who his heroine is going to be. Do you think it’s someone new or…Gabby? I’m low key hoping it’s Gabby and I’m also wondering if Z is going to get a book now that he’s no longer a student at Valley University. Hmm. Are you planning on reading the rest of the books?

Ames: Oh yes! That whole thing with David was so…such a let down! Especially in this day and age, for someone to so willingly remain a victim? And that website? If people knew about it how come it wasn’t reported before? She really should have stood up for herself. I felt like all the extra work she was doing for him was just swept under the rug too. I mean, I can understand why someone wouldn’t say something but this is fiction and this would have been a great opportunity to show some strength in a character instead of relying on a guy to confront that douche.

I feel like there was a lot of telling with this book and not a lot of showing. So that’s where I felt a disconnect with the story.

I liked the friendship Wes had with his roommates and especially Z as well. But like you said, the way he disconnected after his injury was something that true teammates and friends would have confronted him about. They would have dragged his ass to the gym and games. They wouldn’t have let him stay in his funk as long as they did.

See Z had a moment when he looked at Gabby so that’s who I see pairing up in a subsequent book. And I would read Z’s book. I think he’s an interesting character. Especially as he goes pro. I’m not really interested in Joel’s story though.

All right. This was Jenshak’s debut book and although there were some issues with it, overall it was ok. I’m giving it a 3 out of 5. What about you?

Rowena: I did see the moment you’re talking about, I just didn’t think Z would be getting a book since he’s not going to be going to the college anymore. Maybe I’m wrong though. Maybe Joel’s girl will be the girl that he tutors in Spanish. I’d like to read Joel’s book. I liked the way that he stepped up and went to his Dad to try to help Blair out with the whole website thing. That showed promise for me. But yeah, as far as this is concerned. There was a lot of promise and I enjoyed the friendships but overall, it was just an okay reading experience for me too.

Final Grades

Ames: 3 out of 5
Rowena: 3 out of 5

three-stars

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Buddy Review: Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins

Posted January 22, 2019 by Rowena in Books, Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Right Where I Want You by Jessica HawkinsRight Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins
Published by Indie Published, 518 Books Inc on December 28, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 398
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

There's a thin line between love and hate . . . and it cuts right through the middle of their office.

Bad boys? They run right over good girls like Georgina Keller. After a confidence-shattering breakup, she's determined not to let anyone at her new workplace push her around--least of all the brooding creative director, a "bad boy of publishing" who's made it clear she's enemy #1.

Sebastian Quinn's taste for fast cars, late nights, and beautiful women may have gotten him to the top of a leading New York magazine, but the reputation that made him is suddenly threatening to end his career.

Georgina can help Modern Man shed its bad reputation, but in order to do that, she'll have to start at the top--and no amount of rakish charm or inconvenient attraction will distract her.

Because if Sebastian gets her right where he wants her, it means she's going down.

It’s a brand spanking new year, which means more buddy reviews together with my favorite book peeps. Ames and I are going for 12 buddy reviews this year, to keep our long-standing buddy reads going. Right, Ames? First up on our review docket is Right Where I Want You by Jessica Hawkins.

Georgina Keller is too nice, at least according to her best friend Luciano. After a disastrous relationship ends, Georgina realizes that to keep the peace with her ex-boyfriend, she became a bit of a pushover and is trying to become a stronger person, someone who says no and stands up for herself and those around her. She doesn’t have a problem being firm at work but outside of work? Not so much. When she meets Sebastian Quinn, things get turned all upside down.

Sebastian Quinn has had a very tumultuous year. He went from being at the top of his game in his career as Creative Editor of Modern Men magazine to barely holding things together now. After being included in a not so nice article that was published and put the reputation of the magazine at risk, Sebastian comes to work to find out that someone has been brought in to fix the magazine and if he doesn’t shape up, he’ll be shipped out.

Georgina and Sebastian battle at every turn but an attraction simmers below the surface with each turn and before they know what’s what, love is definitely in the air.

Rowena: This is the first book that I’ve ever read by Jessica Hawkins and I’m happy to report that it will definitely not be my last. I enjoyed this one. What were your initial thoughts, Ames?

Ames: I’m torn. I don’t know if it was my mood or if it was the book, but I just couldn’t get into this one. The writing was fine and I’ll definitely give this author another try, but I honestly couldn’t connect to the characters. I feel bad. It seriously had everything going for it though – taboo office-romance, enemies to lovers, a freaking DOG character that was fully fleshed out and not just a prop. All checks in the positive column…and yet I couldn’t get into it. But I did like Sebastian’s friend and co-worker, Justin. LOL

I wish we had seen more of Georgina’s work at the magazine. I thought that was interesting but we didn’t get any depth.

Rowena: Oh wow, you didn’t connect with the story or the characters? I enjoyed both George and Sebastian. I would have liked to get more from their lives outside of work. Like, it would have been fun to get more scenes with Luciano or even to get a scene or two with George and her family. I also would have liked to see more in-depth scenes with Sebastian and his friends and family. I felt like the entire book was all them, all the time but overall, I liked them so I wasn’t too mad about it.

I agree about Justin and the dogs though. They were great additions to this story. Maybe it was a mood thing for you. I thought the writing was easy to fall into and though this is probably not going to be a favorite of mine for the year, it was still a solid romance.

Ames: I feel you on the wanting more aspect of things. I feel like we got a glimpse of something happening and then we were moved onto the next scene. Honestly though, I think it just came down to Georgina and her character at the beginning of the book – I did not like how much of a doormat she was. Over coffee! First impressions you know.

However Georgina’s character did improve but the damage had already been done in my mind. This book wasn’t bad, but it just wasn’t for me. I also felt like the sexism at the magazine wasn’t really tackled, or if it was it happened off page so we didn’t see if the guys were any better.

Rowena: Yeah, you’re right about the sexism at the magazine. I wish we had gotten so much more than we did get. It would have been nice to see it all with our own eyes instead of taking Georgina’s word for it. I wish that the book wasn’t so focused on Georgina and Sebastian alone but like I said, I still thought it was a solid read. I enjoyed what we did get and even though I was left wanting more, this book is still a solid 4 out of 5 from me. What about you?

Ames: This was a solid read so I agree with you there. I’m going to chalk this up to my mood. I’m going to give this one 3.5 out of 5.

Final Grades

Ames: 3.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Posted December 11, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Buddy Review: Once and For All by Sarah DessenOnce and for All by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin, Viking Books for Young Readers on June 6, 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 358
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-stars

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.

You guys, before we jump into our monthly buddy review of Once and For All by Sarah Dessen, please join me in wishing one of my favorite book pimps, Ames, a very happy birthday as today is her special day!!

I hope you have a brilliant day because you’re a brilliant friend and deserve all the brilliant things in the world. Big hugs from California and don’t freeze too much in that Canadian madness that is winter. Love you long time, Ames!

Here’s some birthday Bana for you sweets!

Now…on to the review.

Louna Barrett is working the summer before her first year of college for her mother’s wedding planning business. She’s busy preparing for events and spending as much time with her high school friend Jilly before she’s off to another city for school. She is in no way looking for any kind of romantic entanglements, even though Jilly keeps trying to get her to put herself out there. Louna had an amazing boyfriend but that relationship ended in tragedy. But when Louna meets Ambrose at a wedding, will she be ready to open herself up to new possibilities?

Ames: All right Wena, what did you think of Once and For All.

Rowena: I enjoyed this one. I thought it was a good one to read after coming back from a long Sarah Dessen hiatus. I enjoyed getting to know Louna and while Ambrose was a bit much at times (all of that girl juggling), I still really liked him as a character. I thought he was good for Louna too. The bet was fun and meant to get them both out of their comfort zone, not meant to hurt anyone at all so I was okay with it.

What did you think?

Ames: I had mixed reactions to this. First of all, its been a looooong time since I read Sarah Dessen. Like maybe 3 or 4 years. But having starting this book, I felt like Louna was a ‘typical’ SD heroine – and by the end of the book she really is. However, I liked the world Sarah created for us, with Louna’s wedding planning mom and all that went along with it. I really enjoyed that. And Ambrose was a fun character. I love that he rescued a dog and I agree, the girl juggling was a bit much but he was a great guy underneath it all.

My main complaint comes with the relationship between Ambrose and Louna. Yes they had a bet (that was fun, I liked that) but I honestly didn’t feel any sparks between them. I didn’t see the way Ambrose acted towards her as a guy who was interested. So when the big reveal came at the end? I was like “WTH, for reals?” So I think if there had been a bit more there, I would have believed it more. Also, the way she freaked out? That was over the top for me.

Rowena: Yes, I agree about how interesting the world of wedding planning was and I thought Dessen captured that part of the book really well and you’re definitely right about Louna being a typical Sarah Dessen heroine because I felt the same way about her character. I remember thinking while I was reading the book, “Here we go, another Sarah Dessen heroine that is going to annoy the snot out of me” but in the end, I liked her so it was all good for me. I did think that the whole Ben thing was pretty dumb. Like, really, really dumb.

Other than that though, I could feel the vibes from Ambrose for Louna…or maybe my romance-loving heart pictured it all there because I wanted them to get together? *shrugs* Either way, I still enjoyed this one. Was there anything else that you didn’t care for?

Ames: Seriously, if I hadn’t read the blurb and realized Ambrose was supposed to be the love interest, I wouldn’t have expected it. I felt like William telling Louna that Ambrose was into her even made me realize he was…I honestly didn’t see it before William said something. AND what made Louna different to Ambrose from all the other girls? What made her someone he wanted to commit to instead of just enjoying all the beginning parts of a relationship…I wanted more in regards to that relationship. However, I didn’t hate the book.

I thought Crawford, Jilly’s younger brother, was super cute. The way he called out Jilly for not wanting to spend time with Ben and Louna had me cracking up.

I’m giving Once and For All a 3.75 out of 5. What about you?

Rowena: I thought Ambrose was taken with Louna from the very beginning. I could see his interest in her when she walked right up to him at his Mom’s wedding and dragged him away from that girl he was talking to. He wasn’t used to girls being mad at him, well girls that weren’t related to him so I bought his interest and crush on her from the jump. I think because the entire book is from Louna’s POV, it’s harder to get what Ambrose feels and what he thought. I would have liked Ambrose’s POV.

I adored Crawford and the rest of Jilly’s family. It would have been nice to get more from them as I thought they were more interesting than Louna’s family but all in all, I can’t complain. I enjoyed it all so I give this book a 4 out of 5 stars.

Final Grade

Ames: 3.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4 out of 5

four-stars

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Buddy Review: Wait for It by Mariana Zapata

Posted November 15, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 10 Comments

Buddy Review: Wait for It by Mariana ZapataWait for It by Mariana Zapata
Published by Mariana Zapata on December 7, 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: First Person
Pages: 670
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
four-half-stars

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn't been one long enough. Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn't know what the hell she's doing half the time. How she's made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn't supposed to be so hard. With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for. Except for a boyfriend. Or a husband. But who needs either one of those?

Wait for It is a follow-up novel to The Wall of Winnipeg and Me and Kulti. It follows Vanessa’s best friend, Diana, as Diana finds her soulmate and falls head over heels in love with him. Things aren’t easy for Diana because when she meets and even when she falls in love with Dallas, there are complications. Complications of the “he’s married” kind. But a friendship blossoms between Dallas and Diana when Diana moves in across the street from Dallas with her two nephews, that are for all intents and purposes, her kids.

She’s much too busy to entertain the idea of her and Dallas but Dallas is hot and he’s always around offering his help so it was inevitable. Dallas is a lot older than Diana and doesn’t have time for another relationship with a woman who takes and takes and takes. He’s busy trying to untangle himself from a marriage that shouldn’t have happened in the first place but he can’t seem to stop wanting to be there for Diana, Josh, and Lou. Before either of them know what’s what, love happens.

Rowena: Wait for It was another hit for me so THANK YOU for suggesting we read this one for this month’s buddy review. I liked this book so much that I read it all in one sitting. ONE SITTING. There are 670 pages of story in this book and I read them all in one night.

So, what did you think of this one?

Ames: I am so glad you enjoyed this one! As you know, I love this book and it is right up there with Kulti as one of my favorite books ever. LIke I re-read this book almost as much as I have Kulti. Diana and Dallas are quite the pair. But they definitely get off to a rocky start, what with Dallas being wary of her and thinking she wants him so he acts like a jerk. I love that Diana had to keep telling him she didn’t want in his pants. LOL

I know when you saw the page count you were a bit hesitant to start this, but didn’t it pay off? I love the way Mariana Zapata writes relationships. Sometimes with current contemporary romances characters are so quick to jump into a relationship. I like the slow burn MZ creates. She builds up a solid foundation for her characters. And she invites us into their lives. Not just the relationship. Like we get to see Diana and Dallas’ friends, the neighbors, their families. How Josh plays baseball and Diana’s interactions with the other players’ parents. I like that.

Rowena: Yes, that was probably my favorite part of the reading experience as a whole. That we were invited into every aspect of their lives and not just their romance. I loved that we got the day to day stuff, the good and the bad, and were able to rejoice in the good times and hurt along with them in the bad times. Mariana Zapata is really good at pulling emotional strings for the reader to latch on to and ride out throughout the entire book.

I loved that we see both Dallas and Diana meet, get to know each other and then fall in love with each other. I loved that they both acknowledged the complicated mess that a relationship between them would be with Dallas’ situation and yes, like you, I LOVED that Diana was forever reminding Dallas that she didn’t want in his pants.

This was just a great contemporary romance that I adored from beginning to end and honestly, didn’t want to end. I thought Zapata wrote this story exactly right and I was here for it all.

This definitely gets a 4.5 out of 5 for me. What about you?

Ames: Another thing I liked were the boys! Its such a heartbreaking topic Zapata handles with these two little guys and I thought she was very realistic in the way she wrote their story and how Diana stepped up for them. I loved them! The way Lou was with Dallas just made me love the story even more. And how loyal Josh and Diana were. Dallas was right when he called them savages. LOL

I agree with your grade. 4.5 out of 5 from me. I highly recommend. And now I need to find me a Dallas!

Final Grade

Ames: 4.5 out of 5
Rowena: 4.5 out of 5

Other Books Set in this World

four-half-stars

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Buddy Review: Long Shot by Kennedy Ryan

Posted October 9, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Buddy Review: Long Shot by Kennedy RyanLong Shot by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #1
Also in this series: Block Shot
Published by Kennedy Ryan on March 22, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Point of View: Alternating First Person
Pages: 460
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add It: Goodreads
five-stars

A FORBIDDEN LOVE SET IN THE EXPLOSIVE WORLD OF THE NBA...

Think you know what it's like being a baller's girl? You don't. My fairy tale is upside down. A happily never after. I kissed the prince and he turned into a fraud. I was a fool, and his love - fool's gold. Now there's a new player in the game, August West. One of the NBA's brightest stars. Fine. Forbidden. He wants me. I want him. But my past, my fraudulent prince, just won't let me go

*Certain aspects of this story may be sensitive for some readers.

Rowena: Our October buddy review book is a book that we both read last month but it’s also a book that both of us really enjoyed.

August West met the girl of his dreams the night before he played in the national championship game. He knew after that one conversation they had that she was his person, too bad she already had a boyfriend. He may have won on the court but he didn’t win the one thing that he wanted more than he wanted anything else.

Iris DuPree has plans for her future but when those plans go up in flames, she needs a new plan and time to make that plan happen. Her road to freedom becomes a lot harder than she anticipated and with each passing day, her freedom is bogged down with complications but she can’t mess up her escape so she fights day in and day out for the day when her and her daughter can get to freedom, safely.

August and Iris are dealing with a lot of things on their own but coming together again is inevitable because the heart wants what the heart wants.

Gah, this freaking book. What did you think, Ames?

Ames: This book gave me all the feels! I went into it with no expectations and I was blown away. I remember messaging you the morning after finishing this book. I’ve turned into an old lady these days and don’t sacrifice on my sleep. This book kept me up until 3am! Do you realize what that means? This book was amazing. Part thriller and full on epic romance this book was a roller coaster and I loved it all. Really, I don’t want to say anything more because it will just be fangirl gibberish at this point. LOL.

What did you think Ween?

Rowena: I agree. As much anxiety as I felt while reading this book, I couldn’t completely walk away because I needed to know that things would get better. That Iris would get the happy ending that she deserved and so desperately needed. Never have I ever wanted someone to get their happily ever after as much as I wanted Iris to have hers with August. I cried while reading this book and I couldn’t get enough. You’re right, it was pretty amazing and hard to read at the same time. Gah. I have so much love for this book, for these characters and for everything that they went through to get to that ending. So much love.

Ames: I agree that it was hard to read because you know what was coming wasn’t going to be easy. But I think we need to read books like this to shake things up from time to time. The topic here isn’t dealt with in a lot of contemps I read so I liked that it didn’t make it something that happened in her past that she got over – it was something happening to her NOW and that made us root for her and rejoice when she found that inner strength and rallied and made things better for her and her daughter. As much as this was a great romance between Iris and August (loved him!!) it was about Iris and her journey. This was a scary feel good book. It scares you and then you feel good. LOL

And kudos to Kennedy Ryan for writing such an amazing story. I know I tried reading one of her earlier books and I couldn’t finish it (this was years ago) but she’s come a long way and I can’t wait to read more by her.

Rowena: Yes, exactly what you said. I don’t think this story would have been as powerful for me if we weren’t right there with Iris while she’s going through everything. Seeing her motivation to be better for her daughter, seeing her fight for their freedom, it all made me anxious at the same time that it made me eager for her to finally get out on the other side. There wasn’t a moment of this book where I wasn’t invested in what was going on. This is my first Kennedy Ryan book but it won’t be my last.

I loved Iris but I also really loved August. I loved seeing how determined he was when he figured out that Iris was his person. I loved that he knew what he wanted and where his heart lay, he didn’t question the who, the how or the why. He just understood that Iris was his future and he was patient waiting for her to catch up to him. I loved the way that he was with Sarai and I loved Lotus too. Gah, so freaking good!

I give this one a 4.75 out of 5, you?

Ames: I liked that about August too. That he knew Iris was his person and that never wavered. This couple went through hell before they even got to be a couple and August’s steadfastness was great. And the love he felt for Sarai? Melt my heart! He wasn’t perfect and that’s what made him such a great character.

I hope Lotus gets a story. That would be even more epic if possible. LOL

Okay, I have to give this one a 4.75 as well. This was one of the best books I read this year. I highly recommend it.

Buy the Book

AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || GOOGLE BOOKS || KOBO || THE RIPPED BODICE

Final Grade

Ames: 4.75 out of 5
Rowena: 4.75 out of 5

Hoops Series

five-stars

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