Series: The Summer Games

Out of Bounds by R.S. Grey

Out of Bounds by R.S. GreyOut of Bounds by R.S. Grey
Series: The Summer Games #2
Published by Amazon Digital Services on July 30th 2016
Pages: 312
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three-stars

I despise Erik Winter.

He’s arrogant and cruel—a man I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy—and by some twisted turn of fate, he’s my new Olympic gymnastics coach.

I’ve had to contend with gruff coaches in the past, but Erik is far worse. His stern demeanor complements a body built for intimidation, and his reprimands come from a mouth so cunning, I know it could strip me of my defenses—if I let it.

Though each of us would love to be rid of the other forever, we are bound to each other by need and necessity. I’m his rising star, his best shot at proving himself to his critics. And without a coach, I have zero chance of winning gold in Rio.

The easiest way forward would be to wave a white flag and make peace with the man I’ll be sharing close quarters with for the foreseeable future, but he is intent on war.

Fine. By. Me.

If he pushes me, I’ll push back harder. If he wants to test me, to play with my head, I’ll show him just how many boundaries I’m willing to cross. Because I know it’s not a choice between winning or warring—not if you can have them both. At the end of it all, I plan on leaving Rio with gold around my neck and his icy heart in the palm of my hand.

If I’d only known this is what athletes get up to in the Olympic village, I would have really tried to have done better in physical education class just to get in that mass of writhing but sculpted bodies. ‘Out of Bounds’ is yet another book about the antics and the competitive spirit of athletes and is thankfully a standalone, so book one’s characters and their shenanigans aren’t part of this developing story arc at all. And I suppose the release of the book is never more appropriate, considering we stand at the cusp of the Rio Olympics, waiting for the elite few to mesmerise the world and then party it all up later (this bit, I’m still a little bitter about).

There’s a huge element of the forbidden here which I completely ate up; the coach-trainee relationship and not least, the huge age gap that never seemed wider when both Erik Winter and Brie Watson come into close contact with each other. I generally liked Brie’s no-nonsense attitude towards training and her quest for gold; her solid reason for wanting to support her mother resonated with me strongly and she didn’t quite behave in any way out of line than what I expected girls of her age to behave, especially those who’d never quite had a chance to grow up normally among cliques and friends in school. Yet it was hard to reconcile this Brie with the angsty, hormonal teen she became each time she was with Erik – juvenile, spitting and pushy – as her behaviour made the nine-year gap between them insurmountable. The man himself was difficult to read and like with his on/off, hot/cold attitude and it wasn’t easy to see him as anything other than someone who played with Brie in hurtful and sometimes spiteful ways, which is primarily the reason why their relationship never quite caught on for me. There were constant push-pulls and insults and anger that inflamed lust, yet it never felt as though they’d never moved past toxic and superficial to trust and understanding – which made the declarations of love at the end unbelievable because I’d never really felt it in the first place.

‘Out of Bounds’ isn’t the most memorable sports NA book I’ve read, though compared to the abysmal read I had of the first installment, I’d go as far as to say this is way above the cut after being burnt by the first.

three-stars

Settling the Score by R.S. Grey

Settling the Score by R.S. GreyThe Summer Games: Settling the Score by R.S. Grey
Series: The Summer Games #1
Published by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform on April 19th 2016
Pages: 434
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two-stars

As an Olympic rookie, Andie Foster has spent far more time in her cleats than between the sheets. For 21 years, her Friday nights have consisted of blocking shots rather than taking them. But now that she's landed in Rio, she's ready to see for herself if the rumors about the Olympic Village are true: The athletes are all sex-crazed maniacs... The committee passes out condoms like candy... The games continue long after the medals have been handed out... As Andie walks the line between rumor and reality, she's forced into the path of Frederick Archibald, a decorated Olympic swimmer and owner of a sexy British accent-too bad he's unavailable in a way that "it's complicated" doesn't even begin to explain. In other words: "off limits." It doesn't matter that he has abs that could bring peace to the Middle East and a smile that makes even the Queen blush; Andie fully intends on keeping her focus on the soccer field. But the Village is small. "Suffocating." Everywhere Andie goes, Freddie happens to be there-shirtless, wet from the pool, and determined to show her a whole new meaning of the phrase "international affairs.""

I liked how this started out – I did after all, read in the news what a horny pit the Olympics village tends to be – with a spunky voice of a sportswoman blasting clear and true, determined to win while battling some raging hormones when meeting other members (with equally raging hormones) of other sports teams. There were some funny bits and I did learn to appreciate early on, the commitment it took to be a sportsperson in today’s hyper-competitively, pressurising world.

It didn’t take too long though, until the story all but devolved into very juvenile shenanigans worthy of a reality series or a soap opera that came in the form of a blame game that everyone threw around as freely as a fault-finding javelin. I cursed the stupidity of the characters, rolled my eyes at the wicked-witch stereotype and the teenage-moments better suited to high-school students and asked myself if I should have bothered to even continue reading.

I thought Andie behaved as abominably as Freddie; stepping into a so-called relationship when it wasn’t clear whether Freddie was taken or not seemed as irresponsible as Freddie who didn’t bother to level the playing field before pushing for something more. Perhaps the most frustrating element here was the utter lack of realisation – and we’re talking fully formed adults who are supposed to have brains here – that every action breeds consequences, which conveniently, didn’t seem to be something that both protagonists had the good sense possess because lust had them firmly in its goggly-eyed, moisture-inducing grip.

Wish I could have liked this much better, but my sympathies for both Freddie and Andie were long exhausted before their HEA arrived.

two-stars