Tailgates & Heartaches is the second book in the wonderful The Locals series by Haley Rhoades and it sure lives up to its title. Oh, how my heart aches for Madison!
This series follow a group of friends from their High School graduation in small town Athens as they are about to start their lives for real, and in this second book, Madison’s past affects every part of her future. She has left her friends and the love of her life, Hamilton, to keep a BIG secret, but the weight of the secret grows heavier with every passing day. Madison is such a brave, kind and unselfish person and that sacrifice she does is remarkable. I don’t agree with her decision to keep the secret, but I can understand her reasoning for it. I just hope that she will change her mind in the next book in the series…
I really liked the way Madison and her friends were growing up and dealing with their new lives. There were some great character developments in this book, Madison of course, but also Bethany and Troy after the hardship they go through. I also liked the way Haley Rhoades described Madison’s struggle to come to terms with the way her life has changed. She who always wanted nothing but to leave Athens behind, now comes to realize how much her home town and friends means to her and how she wishes to come back, but her secret makes it impossible. Haley Rhoades describes this so beautiful in this quote:
“It’s the whole “opposites attract” saying coming to life. From middle school to high school, Athens and I were south-pole magnets; we repelled one another. In high school, my only goal was to leave town after graduation and never return. One year has now passed since my graduation, and I’m not the south-pole magnet I thought I was.”
All in all, this is an enchanting, sweet story about a lovely group of friends and I cannot wait to continue the series to find out what will happen to them all, and if Madison and Hamilton will get their happily ever after and become a family in the end.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Haley Rhoades
Eight friends in small town Athens are getting ready to start their lives after High School. Two of them want nothing but to leave Athens behind (Madison even has a list of 4,247 reasons for leaving), the other six are happy to stay and build a life amongst friends and family where everything feels safe and familiar.
I love the premise of this book, that we follow a group of friends during that time when life shapes and small decisions can have such major impacts on the whole future. The description of small town life is absolutely on point, you can tell that Haley Rhoades knows from experience, growing up herself in a small Missouri town.
In this book the story is told from Madison’s perspective, but it’s also focusing a lot on Adrian. In the next books in the series I believe focus will be on the other friends in the group.
I really love Madison and my heart aches for her dealing with her alcoholic mother and chaotic home situation. I also love her friendship with Hamilton and the way it evolves after one of those seemingly small decisions that will change life forever. Madison is such a brave, kind and unselfish person and that sacrifice she does is remarkable. The other part of the story focusing on Adrian does not engage as much. Adrian’s bossiness and her sex talk was not my cup of tea and I couldn’t connect to her at all. But all in all, this is an enchanting, sweet story about a lovely group of friends and I cannot wait to continue the series to find out what will happen to them all.
Find out more about the book and the author here: Haley Rhoades
I’ve previously read Haley Rhoades’s The Surrogate Series and loved it, so I had such high expectations for Boxers and Briefs. And I sure was not let down, Haley Rhoades has written another gem!
Boxers or Briefs is so much more than you expect. It’s a story about Ali, who has experienced something truly traumatic that made her flee her hometown and drop out of college. When we meet her she’s struggling with the trauma and with getting by without her friends and family and without any steady income. Luckily she gets two part-time assignments, at a law firm and a gym, where she also gets two bosses, Tyson and Clay. As different as they are, Ali soon finds herself drawn to them both...
”I feel like a character in the contemporary romance novels I read in between the self-help books from the library. I’m not naive enough to believe this will all remain easy and smooth. No, my two worlds are about to blow up in my face - nothing this comfortable can ever work out for me.”
You expect the story to continue with a classic love triangle after this, but no, there is so much more to this book and instead it continues to deal with Ali’s healing and about how friendship and the love of a dog can do wonders to support.
I really felt for Ali and I loved her fierceness, humor and bad-ass attitude. Most of the book I felt like I wanted to hug her and comfort her, to help her through the difficulties she’s experiencing. Some of the scenes that I liked the most were the babysitting ones, I loved that Ali was so good with children. Another detail that I loved was that all names used in the books are referring to famous boxers and lawyers.
I would have liked some more character developments and some more background info to Tyson and Clay though, as well as some more explanations about the traumatic event than just the short retelling about the love subject. But, all in all, this is a wonderful, hopeful and romantic book about finding love and friendship under the most unexpected circumstances, and the strength to live your life fully even after a big trauma.
4,5 shining stars!
Find out more about this book and all other of Haley Rhoades’s amazing books here: Rhoades to Writing
Today I’m doing a shoutout for a wonderful trilogy that has now reached it finale in such a five-star, unexpected, but completely perfect, way and has been released into a new collection as well, The Surrogate Series, with the new collection The Third Wheel, by Haley Rhoades. All the books in this series are fast-paced, enjoyable and addictive, and dealing with a new topic I’ve never read about before, surrogacy. But also with friendship and love, and about wanting something so bad you won’t let anything stand in your way.
In the first book, The Proposal, we get to meet Taylor as she’s going for a reunion with her two best friends, the married couple Kennedy and Jackson.
Taylor, the main character, is such a lovable person. She’s definitely not flawless (a lot of booze and bad decisions…) but that makes her even more lovable. She’s fun, smart and bad-ass. Her background story is described so well that you can really relate to her struggle to find herself and build up her confidence again after getting out of an abusive relationship.
I love the friendship between three of them and how Kennedy and Jackson never gives up on Taylor and how supportive and protective they are of her.
In the book we also get to follow Kennedy and Jackson’s struggle to start their eagerly awaited family. When this turns out to be impossible the “ordinary” way, Taylor volunteers as the surrogate.
The Proposal is such an enjoyable, fast and fun read! I read it cover to cover in one sitting basically. One thing I totally adored in the book was the song references and the game “Song of the day”. So gonna start playing that game with my own family!
The second book, The Deed, picks up right where The Proposal ends, with Taylor agreeing to be the surrogate mother of Kennedy’s and Jackson’s child.
In this book my heart reaches out to Taylor even more, I feel that she’s kind of letting her friends take advantage of her. I’m also getting a hunch that I might not like her friend Kennedy as much as I thought from the first book; I’m really eager to find out what will happen to their friendship in the next one!
This book started off a bit slower than The Proposal, and it is also longer, but the second half really took off with so much happening and intensity. This book contains some really sexually explicit scenes and talk that made me blush even though no one saw me reading it…
In the third and last book, The Confession, Taylor is successfully pregnant. But Kennedy is being eaten by guilt for the things she’s done to reach her endgame, and Taylor and Jackson are experiencing strange flashbacks, threatening the harmony and trust between the threesome. Will this friendship endure nine long months of love, sacrifice, and loss?
The third book is definitely darker and really getting into the difficulties. I really liked the character developments and the focus on their feelings and thoughts. And what an ending, I so did not see that coming! Often when you read a series you get a little disappointed at the end as it seldom lives up to your expectations. But not this series!
The Confession not only met, it exceeded, all my expectations! It was a rollercoaster of emotions, and even though I never expected the story to end the way it did and there were some really sad events leading up to it, I cannot think of a more perfect ending.
Find out more about the books and the author here: Haley Rhoades
Hi! I'm Annie, a Swedish bookworm, YA addict and coffee lover, who writes romantic YA books in English. I'm the author of the Angelheart Saga series (First Came Forever and Forever Disguised).
I love YA books and want to share what I read with you too, so check out my reading tips here!
Below you can find the reviews per author as well.