Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Review: Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler

Right of First Refusal by Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #2
Published: March 15th, 2016
Publisher: Self-published
340 pages (eARC)               
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for honest consideration
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

{My review of Behind the Scenes || My review of Under the Lights || My review of Last Will and Testament}

On the lacrosse field, Cait Johannssen gets what she wants. Off the field is another story. Because what she wants is the school's hot new basketball student-coach, Lawrence Mason, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart in sports camp two years earlier.

But it's Cait's new roommate who's got him.

Cait and Mase agree it's best to keep their past a secret, but she doesn't expect him to completely ignore their history...or how much it'll hurt when he does. So when a friend on the basketball team asks her to pose as his girlfriend for a night, Cait can't turn down the opportunity for distraction. (Okay, and a little spite.) But what starts as an evening of fun turns into a fake relationship with more lies than the usually drama-free Cait can handle, and it's only keeping her from the one truth that's nagged at her for years: Why did Mase cut her out of his life to begin with?

And is it really too late to get him back?

Dahlia Adler is on my short list of auto-buy/read authors. I’ve read all of her books so far, with the first book in the Radleigh University series, Last Will and Testament, being my favourite (Under the Lights comes in a close second, in case anyone’s interested). I was excited to carry on with the series and read Right of First Refusal, Cait's story. I have to be honest, I don’t remember much about Cait from LWaT, but I do know I’ll read anything Dahlia writes, and I knew from the start this book would fulfill the things I’ve come to expect from Adler’s books: strong friendships, sexiness, great representation of diversity, plus hard truths and plenty of honesty. Not to mention some of my favourite tropes: fake romance (which, in this case, had a nice added twist to it), second chance romance, and an element of forbidden romance.

It’s always so strange to me how much I enjoy sports romances. I was never a sporty girl, but for some reason I enjoy reading about them. I know absolutely nothing about lacrosse, Cait’s sport, so it was interesting to learn about, but most of all I loved Cait’s passion for the sport, her devotion to her team, and the comradery she felt with her teammates. There were times when I wasn’t sure how things would turn out, but toward the end I was cheering for Cait for standing up for herself and making decisions that were right for her. It took me a long time to realize that doing what’s right for you isn’t necessarily selfish - sometimes those things need to be done for your own peace of mind or for your future or for reasons that nobody else understands but that makes sense to you, and that’s all that matters. This message was probably my favourite part of the book, because it’s something real and honest and that not everyone will understand, but for those who do understand, I think it’ll really hit home.

I enjoyed the variation in the plot. Cait’s lacrosse, school, friends, family issues. I was so sad for her when it came to the situation with her dad. I think that’s something most people can sympathize with, even if they’ve never gone through the same thing. This was another case where I was proud of her for doing what was right for herself, and for having the strength and courage to stand up for herself after thinking hard about it and figuring things out.

As for the romance, I really liked Mase, and I liked Mase and Cait together. I enjoyed learning about how they met and fell for each other, but at times I felt like we saw more of them through Cait’s memories than actual interactions between them in present day, and I would have liked to see them together more. I also got a bit tired of how much Cait thought about Mase and how everything always came back to him. Even when she wasn’t thinking about him, she was thinking about him. I wouldn’t say the story dragged, but Cait’s inner angst slowed down the pace for me at times and made me start skimming a bit. Ultimately, I thought they worked well together and I appreciated that they had realistic obstacles to overcome before they got together. Plus, as always, Adler adds in sexytimes that leave you in need of a cold shower!

Right of First Refusal encompasses so much of what I love about New Adult. It reflects what a confusing, stressful, tiring, exciting, hopeful, frustrating time it is, and it does so with a main character who is strong, passionate, flawed, not afraid to screw up, and equally unafraid to pick herself back up again and carry on. I loved that we got to see so much of Lizzie and Connor, and I can’t wait for Frankie’s book, Out on Good Behavior.

Have you read Right of First Refusal? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you enjoy sports romances?

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