Hat Trick (Black Jack Gentlemen, #4) By Liz Crowe

    Hat Trick was another great Liz Crowe book. I was lucky enough to beta read it and I can't say enough good things about Liz books. I think I have read nearly every one she has written.

    But be warned readers, Liz books aren't for the faint of heart. If you are looking for perfectly glowing over the top fantasy romance you are in the wrong place. Her realism is what I love most about her books. Sometimes her scenes are so real that you actually feel the gut wrenching pain or intense joy right along with the character and I am a total junkie for books like that.

    Hat Trick does not disappoint. Hat Trick, like other books in this series deals with some real life issues sports celebrities face. I laughed, I cried, I wanted to throat punch a particular WAG and I was ecstatic by the end of the book.
    Liz Crowe 3 Stars

    I'm actually torn about this book. I liked it more than the last two in this series, but I still had a lot of issues with it.

    The books have a LOT in common (unprotected sex with just about every woman they meet, unexpected pregnancy, someone injured, men making stupid choices they know they shouldn't, HUGE time jumps, missing important events in main characters lives), however, they also have overall differences that happen.

    I would say the author has a lot of promise because although there is a lot of similar things between books, I still found myself reading. I almost hated both main characters because they were just stupid. They made choices they both knew weren't smart and then kept with them for years even if they knew they were bad ones and made them miserable.

    Simply, I'd like to see some surprises... get away from the same things.. Sure they come in different orders and from different angles, but still, they are all essentially the same and I saw all of them coming from a looooong way away.

    I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads. Liz Crowe I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads

    This is the fourth in the series - and you could read it as a standalone, but would enjoy it even more if you had some of teh other characters backgrounds.

    This was the toughest read for me - and it took so many turns that I really didn't know how it would work out! It follows two characters who are attracted to each other, but just not at that place in their lives, and seemingly never will be. It deals with some very difficult issues, in a forthright and direct manner, which I found refreshing.

    Ms Crowe is a talented author who is not afraid to push boundaries, and make the reader think. This series has definitely achieved that so far for me - I hope there are more to come.

    Liz Crowe Hat Trick is the fourth book in The Black Jack Gentlemen Series by Liz Crowe. Liz did it again with another wonderfully written book with great characters and drama and angst. I stayed up late into the night reading because I didn't want to put the book down. I certainly hope she writes another book in this series because I am not ready to leave these characters yet. Liz Crowe This was my first book that I have read of author Liz Crowe and her writing style is unique from other books I have read. I enjoy reading the point of views of the two main characters. It was like reading two stories at once that overlapped each other. Each of the main characters have their ups and downs that they are dealing with on their own and through the story they have more and more over lap of interaction between them. I found myself hurting when the characters were hurting and hoped when they here hopeful. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to reading the previous books in this series and the upcoming ones as well. Liz Crowe

    Detroit’s expansion pro team has a hot star forward, fresh from the English Premiere League. Thanks to a series of fatal misunderstandings coupled with his famous temper, Declan MacGuire only has one thing left to him—soccer—and he’s determined not to make the same mistakes in his new life stateside.

    Emily Keller, an accidental low-level PR flunkie for the team watches as Declan gets sucked into a whirlwind romance with Cassandra Dean, the team’s Queen Bee groupie, trying not to be jealous while the woman maneuvers him into a sickeningly familiar situation.

    When things escalate, the team is forced to take sides, and Declan faces the toughest choice of his life.
    Hat Trick (Black Jack Gentlemen, #4)

    *This review contains some minor spoilers*

    This story starts off following the lives of Emily, a media consultant for the Black Jacks soccer team and Declan, a star player than came over to play after leaving Scotland.


    I didn't find this to be your typical romance book. There was very little angst, and the main characters didn't get together until the very end for a HEA. For goodness sake, most of the book you didn't even know that these characters might want to be together! There was the occasional though here and there about how one of the characters had a brief though about the other, but that was it.


    Emily starts off marries, finds out her husband has been cheating on her, so she cheats on him as well. Okay...? Nothing like a little revenge sex! They get a divorce , but Emily still lives in the house that he bought for them, and continues to maintain though bills and services. Once divorced, Emily has a little more interest in Declan, and everyone starts referring to him as her 'pet', being the one player that she is infatuated with. After 11 months of being alone (and no action taken with Declan), Emily's ex walks back in and wants to get back together. What does she say, might you ask? Okay. She agrees to get back together with him, even when admitting to herself that she doesn't love him, and he has always just used her as a trophy wife! This I have a problem with. I genuinely enjoy a strong female lead who knows what she wants and makes decisions that are best for her, and I feel that Emily didn't do this.

    All this time, Declan is dating Cassandra Dean, Queen B, leader of the WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends association of the team), complete *please excuse my language* bitch, cheater, and likes to sleep around... a lot. Which of course, the completely hopeless romantic hero doesn't know about.


    Okay, I'm not going to recap the entire book, because if you want to know more, you should read it!

    There were definitely problems I had with the book, and I feel like I'm in the minority about it but that's okay, this is how I felt, and my opinions about it.


    There were major time gaps in this book. I didn't think this was at all necessary, as it left holes in the plot and the characters lives. Personally, I think it took away more from the story than it could have possibly added, nor was there any character development during this time.

    I found there to be too much detail into the secondary characters lives and their stories when this time could have been spent on the main characters.


    This is something that is probably so minor and not a big deal to others, but keep the character names consistent! At the beginning of the book, Emily's daughter's name is Shelley. In the next paragraph, it's Michelle. Then back to Shelley, and so on. I realized later on in the book that Shelley could be a nickname for Michelle, but would it have been too much to ask to clarify that in the beginning? Like really, it would have taken an extra 5 or 6 words and saved me a bunch of grief.

    As I touched a little bit on before, I never understood these characters and their decisions. I never got the feeling that they actually wanted to be together, and all of their actions proved that, despite the odd thought here and there, but never consistent or acted upon.


    No one seemed to pick up on the face that Marcus was a controlling, manipulative douche, or that Cassandra went from a rude, mean girl who only cares about herself, to completely psychotic, with little time or reason in between. After the 'incident', I understand why Declan did what he did, and where his morals came from, but that doesn't mean I have to like it!

    Two things that really bothered me: I'm pretty sure EVERY SINGLE character was a cheater! Except maybe Gabe, or Sophie. These characters had absolutely no loyalty to each other, or respect in their relationships. It was actually kind of disgusting. Secondly, considering how much cheating was going on, the amount of unprotected sex was ridiculous! Like come on... condoms aren't a myth, use one.


    The first 40-50% of the book had maybe 2-3 interactions between the hero and heroine. I would have been fine with this if the second half of the book had more angst or the MCs spending a lot of time together or you could feel them wanting to be together, but I didn't get that. It just didn't happen.

    Pretty sure Emily was drunk in every other scene. I'm fine with drinking, but was this really necessary? Especially when she was at work?


    I felt like everything concerning Cassandra and Agnes was rushed and didn't really get into a whole lot of detail; the readers were just sort of left to make their own conclusions.

    This is all fine and dandy, but to be honest, I wasn't even all that excited for them. There was little effort put into the relationship and I didn't really care at this point.


    I know it's a lot easier to rag on things that you don't like in a review, rather than to find and praise the good. I really didn't want this to be a negative review, I liked the book just fine, but can't honestly see myself reading it again.

    I would like to applaud the author on the plot of this book. I think it held a lot of promise, but the execution was just lacking a bit. The entire situation with Declan's incident was handled extremely well, and I was flipping through those pages as fast as I could to try and figure out what would happen. I found the character's thoughts and actions to be believable, and well written, based on what we had learned about them previously.


    You could also tell that the author has a passion and real working knowledge base of this sport and industry. Everything from the red cards, to the team management, to the WAGs was spot on.

    Overall, I'm giving this book a 3, to maybe 3.5 stars. I enjoyed some of the plot points, but just found that there were too many problems (in my opinion) to rate it any higher at this time. I have yet to read any other work from this author, but will consider it in the future!


    Copy of Hat Trick by Liz Crowe was provided by Rock Star Lit PR via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Liz Crowe My Rating:

    4.5

    Favorite Quotes:

    “He turned and shut the door behind him, leaving her mad, sad, disappointed, relieved, and exhausted, all in one thick clot of emotion.”

    “But his presence in her new life, in her new workspace, now made her so jittery she thought she could climb the walls and cling to the ceiling like a cat.”

    “She shut out the sound of the woman’s high-pitched bleating. She knew that tone. She’d adopted it herself many times and in many situations, but had dropped it thanks to Sophie, who’d told her that first time they’d met that if she didn’t stop sounding like a trophy wife at a fundraiser they’d have to cut her loose.”

    “This isn’t the 1950s Marcus… or… France. You don’t get to have a wife and a girlfriend, sorry.”


    My Review:

    I have read 4 Liz Crowe books in a row, 800 some pages all told. I think it is time to check into rehab… or at least schedule an EKG and a spa vacation. I have enjoyed my sojourn with the Black Jack Gentleman series, but my heart seems a bit worse for wear. I have decided that Liz Crowe thrives on melodrama and conflict, she has it mastered. She also seems to have a contest with herself for creating a more infuriating and self-destructive a-hole than she had previously crafted for the book before. The main characters that populate the Black Jack Gentleman series seem to be the kings of stupidity and bad decisions. These bad-boys are hot-heads, selfish, and stupidly engage in random yet unbelievably hot sex rather than pursue the partner they actually want. I dub Ms. Crowe the queen of smartly written and intelligent smut - as she never fails to bring volcanically hot sensuality that leaves me… dehydrated. She is undoubtedly a keen observer as her books are richly detailed and highly insightful of her characters inner mechanizations, personality traits, and private musings. Although while her storylines often frustrate and antagonize me, she always wins me back by the epilogue. I adore her, but she certainly makes me work for it.
    Liz Crowe As Liz Crowe books always draw me in, this is no exception!!! Declan & Emily will take you for a ride and bring you into their relationship. I could not put it down and always want more of what Liz writes. It was amazing... as is the entire Black Jack Gentlemen series which you will enjoy just as much, SO ENJOY AND READ!!! Liz Crowe I like Liz Crowe's writing style. I like her use of different points of view in relation to the same event - I find it very effective.
    I do not mind the time gaps, as generally they are justified - the author just cuts to the chase by focusing on the relevant events in her story.

    Having said that, I felt this was the weakest story in the series, with regard to the plot and to the main characters, in so far as their choices simply did not make any sense and were not consistent with the events being presented. I nearly stopped reading at 77% when things were simply too illogical and unrealistic. Quite frankly, if someone is that stupid, they deserve everything they get and I simply cannot find any points of interest in their situation, let alone empathising and sympathising with them.

    I did carry on and finished the book but I thought that it continued in the same vein, and I could not comprehend the turn in the groupie's behaviour either.

    The whole story felt disjointed and forced into a set path/formula.

    Therefore, I am really, really sorry, but for me this novel was just about OK. Liz Crowe I’ve read more than 2 dozen of Ms. Crowe’s books and always look forward to her new work.

    Some readers look for certain topics such as sexy/hot males, sexy/hot males in sports, soccer, relationship angst, etc. Hat Trick has all of that and more!

    This is book four of the Black Jack Gentlemen series and is an excellent addition to the previous books. The author writes about everyday experiences but gives the story a special twist that keeps the reader intrigued. The players on this soccer expansion team in Detroit seem to have an overabundance of testosterone, leading to hot tempers and even hotter competition.

    Declan MacGuire (how can you not love that name?), has moved to the states to be the new forward, after the loss of his fiancé. It is unusual for someone to be so aware of their shortcomings and make such an effort to overcome them. Declan knows he has to focus on practice, games, workouts, etc. to keep his temper in check. He has some MAJOR anger management issues and there are times when he loses control, and yet that buildup is essential in his game.

    Emily Keller, who works for the BJG PR office, enjoys the view of the players practicing and is attracted to Declan, but she is married. You find out fairly quickly that her marriage is not working but she has a daughter to consider. There was very little to like about her wealthy husband Marcus but he does love his daughter. He seemed to enjoy pushing and pulling Emily one way and then another throughout the book and I wanted to whack him upside the head. I believed that they did love one another but some relationships just can’t be saved.

    Declan saw Cassandra Dean at a party and fell in love. I couldn’t stand her and the various things she did and Declan just couldn’t see her for what she was. His team members tried to talk to him about her, but it just made him angry. I recall fussing out loud as I read anything to do with her!

    There are so many wonderfully compelling scenes in this book and some that are so heartbreaking. I don’t want to give away too much but Ms. Crowe writes so beautifully and keeps you entertained where you can’t help but turn the pages faster and faster. She pulls you into the story and you feel the deep emotions of the characters. I love her Stewart Realty series and there are some very slight references to some of the characters but not anything where you would be lost. I like reading a series as there are usually some references to, and interactions with, previous characters, and it is always great to see how their lives are progressing. The BJG team began with Jack Gordon, the main character in many of the Stewart Realty books, and that brings back many happy and bittersweet memories for me.

    You can’t go wrong with any of Liz Crowe’s books and Hat Trick is another great addition to her work. She always includes plenty of sexy, sensual scenes which I like, and they move the story forward and aren’t gratuitous. She has her own captivating type of writing and just cannot write a regular HEA! She makes you care about the characters and then sometimes there is a big BAM, and something major happens, your breath catches and your heart breaks. Then she manages to pull you back in again and, even though the story may not go the way you expect, you can’t help but like the new road, with new surprises and twists. The ending to this story is just perfection! She likes to provide a story that is more real life and I love it. I can get a fairytale anytime I want, but I enjoy reading stories that are more true-to-life, with all of the issues we all live through.
    Liz Crowe

    Hat

    characters Hat Trick (Black Jack Gentlemen, #4)