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Allison Parr

REVIEW:  Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

REVIEW: Imaginary Lines by Allison Parr

Allison Parr Imaginary Lines

Dear Ms. Parr:

This book is definitely my favorite in the NY Leopards series of books. It has two tropes that I love — reunited lovers and friends to lovers.  There was one other thing that made it memorable for me. Both characters are Jewish and their faith and families played an important but not overwhelming role. It just served to remind me of all the cultural differences in our world and how very Anglo Saxon romances are that this particular aspect was memorable.

Tamar Rosenfeld has been in love with Abraham Krasner since the age of twelve. She even screwed up the courage to tell him so. He’d always known but as a young buck about to get drafted he didn’t have an interest in young Tamar, the daughter of a family friend.

When Tamar moves to New York as a new journalist for an online sports magazine, one of the beats she’ll cover is that of the NY Leopards. She doesn’t immediately reveal her past with Abe nor does she seek him out. She moves in with three other young women and makes up a list of things to do while she lives in New York including get over Abe Krasner.

Abe reaches out to her because her mother told his mother that she’d moved to Manhattan. Suffering a mix of excitement and trepidation, Tamar allows Abe back into her life.  Despite Tamar’s early feelings of rejection, I was super disappointed that she did not move on emotionally and mentally from Abe. I wished she had dated someone other than Abe and that she allowed him back into her life too quickly.  Tamar is a virgin and honestly if she had had at least one other sexual encounter I would have felt better about it. She does try to resist him but her friends, interested in having someone famous around, kind of thwarts her efforts.

While Abe’s excuse for why he rejected her made sense, I wanted to see him have to work harder to win her back.  While Tamar didn’t act like she had no backbone, I felt she was too pliable when it came to Abe. The internal emotional conflict frustrated me from that standpoint. Yet I couldn’t be unhappy entirely because I really liked Tamar and Abe, despite that initial rejection, was a lovely suitor.

The second half of the book relies more on an external conflict. Tamar is doing a piece on concussions and helmets in the football league. There’s a safer helmet available on the market but not every team uses them. A competing manufacturer just so happens to have an official sponsorship deal with the League, generally, and the Leopards specifically. The timeliness of this issue helped ground the story in realism. Concussion syndrome in the NFL is a big deal yet no one believes the actual League is doing more than lip service but worse, there are many players who want to play hard and win at all costs no matter what the long term repercussions may be.

Later in the book, Abe stands by Tamar in a very strong fashion which made up a bit for his earlier rejection. There was something endearing about the way that the two interacted. The longstanding friendship that morphed into something stronger and more intimate was sweet and tender. Of course, there are moments of typical possessiveness but I enjoyed those because they came at the right time in a way that reassured Tamar, and the reader, of Abe’s intentions.

His jaw firmed up, and in an instant he had pulled me flush against his body and kissed me so intensely all thought fled my mind, replaced with a perfect storm of heat and desire. His mouth played a symphony of pleasure against mine. It reverberated throughout my entire body until I was weak and clung to him.

When he raised his head, he was smiling in satisfaction, and I was utterly breathless. “What was that?”

“That,” he said, “was to let you know that you will never get me out of your system, Tamar Rosenfeld.”

You get scenes of past characters together as well as witness the wedding of the one non white couple referenced in the Leopards’ books.  Overall, this was a solid B- read for me. I would have given it a stronger grade had I not felt like Tamar was in stasis for all of her young life, just waiting for Abe’s kiss to awaken her. B-

 

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REVIEW:  Rush Me by Allison Parr

REVIEW: Rush Me by Allison Parr

Dear Ms. Parr:

I get the sense from the various internet reviews that people either love this book or hate it. I fall into the latter category. It’s not that I didn’t hate it so much as I wasn’t convinced at the end of the story that the two protagonists actually belonged together.

Rush Me by Allison ParrIt’s sold as a New Adult book by Carina Press, but it doesn’t fit my personal definition. Instead, the heroine is a post-graduate working as an unpaid intern at a publishing house.  She is wandering around New York City one night and stumbles into a party being held at the home of Ryan Carter, the quarterback for an NFL team in NYC.  Rachel Hamilton knows nothing about football (or so she says) and doesn’t recognize either the players or the team name and definitely does not catch that Ryan is the quarterback.

I had a hard time swallowing this.  I would venture to say that nearly everyone in NYC knows who the Jets or Giants are, enough so that if the name was mentioned they would associate it with a sports team.  Rachel is so oblivious, however, that the team name makes her think of animals rather than football.  As if all these hard bodied men were into the zoo or something?  Later in the book, Rachel acknowledges that her friends are fans of the Patriots, the football team of her hometown.  This only ratchets up the unbelievability of the meet cute.

Rachel and Ryan are opposites.  Rachel prizes intellectual and literary endeavors and looks down on Ryan for using his body to earn a lot of money. She immediately presumes that Ryan is merely a dumb jock and insults him at nearly every turn.  Ryan isn’t much better.  He comes on to Rachel, assuming she is a groupie, and returns her insults with his own.  Rachel has zero interest in football and I struggle to understand how someone who hates football would even want to be with someone whose life will be consumed with the sport for some time.  I think one reason I struggled with Rachel is she exudes this East Coast snobbery toward what people like to call the flyover state – always colored with disdain. I live in a flyover state and we aren’t really as backward and dumb and unsophisticated as we are made out to be. My reaction to this book may have been more about my own defensiveness here.

“What?” The note in his voice made me defensive. “If you’re meeting all my friends and family, don’t you think I should get to meet yours?”

“You’ve already met all my friends.”
“Ryan—”
He stopped and sighed, reaching up to tousle his hair. Cleopatra’s Needle towered up

behind him, easily visible through the sparse branches. “Look, Rach, they’re just not— cosmopolitan—enough for you. You’d spend your entire time making fun of the farm, and the trackers, and the clothes—hell, you’d make fun of the entire state.”

“I would not!”

He raised his brows in disbelief. “If you saw a guy in a flannel shirt riding a tractor and smoking tobacco, you wouldn’t snicker to yourself?”

Maybe. A little bit. I tried to joke, “But I would know it was wrong.”

Apparently that had been the wrong thing to say, since Ryan snorted. “Yeah, there’s no way you’re meeting my family.”

One of the best parts of the story is Rachel’s connection with a rookie teammate, Abe, who is Jewish.  Rachel is a half-hearted Jew but together they put on a few Jewish holiday meals for Ryan’s team.  In those scenes my animosity toward Rachel subsided and I enjoyed her interactions with Abe and her rediscovery of her faith.   I know I was supposed to see that Rachel came around and set her snobbery aside (she promised to attend games, met his family and didn’t make fun of them), but I never warmed up to her.  Ryan kind of faded into the background for me because I was so focused on Rachel.  He had his share of really crude moments toward Rachel which made me wonder wherein the attraction lay.

My reaction to this book is two fold. First, I didn’t like or connect to the characters. I thought Rachel was a real bitch and Ryan an asshole.  Second, I really enjoyed the author’s voice and would read her again. But Rush Me didn’t work even though I love football stories and love this younger contemporary romance setting.  C

Best regards,

Jane

 

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