Aug 27

All In With Him by Lauren Blakely Review


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Once upon a time all I needed was baseball, friends and extracurricular activities. Then everything changed when Declan Steele stormed into my life and upended all my priorities with his heart, his love, his passion.

So my next five-year plan will include this new ground rule—Love big.

Only, that’s easier said than done when my man and I come face to face with hard truths and new troubles about what it means to be all in.

That’s when I learn that finding love isn’t the hardest part.

Keeping it is.

All In with Him is the final novel in the Men of Summer series, and should be read following Winning With Him.

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As a romance reader, there’s a few things I expect when reading a romance novel. First, I expect a love story. Insta-love, hard-fought, sweet and swoony or a good old second-chance romance, it doesn’t matter to me as long as I get swept up in the couple’s love. Second, I expect heat—I need to not only feel their chemistry but I want to see it play out. For me personally, that means I don’t read closed-door, fade-to-black or “clean” romances. Finally, I expect a happily ever after, or at the bare minimum, a happy for now. After spending a few hours connecting with the characters and becoming invested in their stories, I absolutely need—no require—this closure, this ending on a high note, in order for me to move on from their story to the next one I pick up. It’s a non-negotiable, a hard limit, my personal, literary line in the sand.

A happy for now can absolutely be a satisfying end to a story, especially in one like Declan and Grant’s which spanned five years. Just knowing that they made it back to each could have been enough. But sometimes it doesn’t shake out that way. Sometimes a happy for now winds up feeling more like it’s just the beginning of a couple’s story regardless of the long and bumpy road they traveled to get to that point. This unfinished, just-getting-started feeling is what compelled Blakely to add All In With Him, the surprise third book to her Men of Summer Series. While Declan and Grant’s story was technically complete at the end of Winning With Him, it was, in a way, just their starting point. While I was definitely happy that they were riding off into the sunset together, but like Blakely, I too felt as if there was more—something even more significant—to their romance, so I was beyond thrilled that she decided to continue their story.

Declan and Grant had a lot to overcome just to be together in the first place, but their real challenges began after they got together. It’s one thing for a couple to come together, but it’s another thing for them to actually stay together. That’s the hard part, that’s the test—that’s the story. So still flushed with all that heat blazing between them, Blakely gave her readers a real, raw and unvarnished deep dive into those early days, weeks and months of this couple’s relationship as they opened up to each other about their wants and dreams, faced their differences and hashed them out. Every couple goes through this, it’s part of the process of committing oneself to another and merging your lives, and this peek into Declan and Grant’s process secured them as one of my top favorite Blakely couples.

Romantic, sexy and emotional, All In With Him was a wonderful expansion of Declan and Grant’s love story. This couple was playful and fun, a little bit competitive, blisteringly sexy and deeply in love. I was invested in their story the moment I met them. A full-spectrum, consuming love story, the Men of Summer series was my most anticipated read of the summer. It surpassed every expectation that I had, and it is not only a new top favorite romance from Blakely, it’s also a top favorite for the year. Five smooches from me for All In With Him by Lauren Blakely!

~Danielle Palumbo




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