✍🏻 Professor Romance’s 4 ⭐️ Review: Sara Ney’s Hard Pass, book 1 of the Trophy Boyfriends series ✍🏻

Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

If you pick up a Sara Ney romance, there is a guarantee that you will laugh and encounter moments of discomfort through the course of her story. And in the end, all will be right with the world of her hero and heroine. In many of her books, her heroes are difficult to love because they tend to be “douchebags.”  Even more, her books epitomize the perfect summer read, nothing taxing or terribly angsty. Her newest book, Hard Pass, is no different except that she created a story so interesting in one sense that I can’t wait to see where the rest of her Trophy Boyfriends series goes. What did I l like a whole lot about Hard Pass? Here goes:

  1. This is a quick read. If you want something fast and easy, read Hard Pass. It is a perfect little beach read. Now, I will say that I would have liked more development on the back end of this story, but I think Ney’s purpose here is the set-up of her hero, Noah, and her heroine, Madison. This makes for some keen chemistry building on Ney’s part, but I do think there could have been more development of their characters’ burgeoning relationship later in the story. That being said, I’m hoping for more of them in future books.
  2. Noah intrigues me. In romancelandia, it is almost a standard that the hero is handsome to the point of pleasure/pain. I can’t articulate the number of romances where it is almost  too painful to look at the hero because he’s so handsome. That would be lovely in the “real world,” but that isn’t the real world. While Ney’s hero is still otherworldly as he is a well-built, young, successful professional baseball player, he is not exactly outwardly attractive. Instead, his inner qualities capture the attention of the heroine. I loved this about Hard Pass. I want to read heroes who are fallible and not completely put together, and this is Ney’s Noah. Yet, there is still charm here. There is still compassion and kindness in his characterization, and this draws you to him. 
  3. Together, Madison and Noah have a chemistry that isn’t exactly fiery, although Ney gives them their moments. Instead, these two feel like forever. They connect beyond the physical level. This isn’t always the case in the world of romance, and while this romance isn’t “clean,” there is an accumulation of attraction that builds the fire of their chemistry and grounds their relationship in something other than a physical connection.

Sara Ney’s Hard Pass is a bit of a detour from her usual fare, but not by much. Instead, she’s offered up a story where the hero and heroine (Noah and Madison) fall for each other’s inner qualities of beauty. Since they meet via technology, I find this intriguing because this is the nature of courtship in our present day. It seems like your soulmate could just be a quick email or text away, and a person’s inner beauty feels more important than their outer beauty. We’ll have to see if that message continues in her next Trophy Boyfriend’s book, Hard Fall, where I think we might encounter that quintessential Ney hero. I guess we’ll have to stay tuned.

In love and romance,

Professor A


I teach students to write for college. I love to read writers who write romance. Why not review and promote the writing of people who love to write romance? Win-win for me

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