Shoot Your Shot

Grade : B+
Reviewed by Dabney Grinnan
Grade : B+
Book type : Contemporary Romance
Sensuality : Hot
Review Date : March 14, 2024
Published On : 03/2024

Roxie Nowak is a former basketball player, with a great job in tech and her own swanky place. She doesn’t date, because what’s the point? Men always want someone petite, pillowy, and pastel—everything that Roxie isn’t—so she sticks to casual hookups, and life is good.

As a hot lawyer and a romantic to boot, Chris Dunn should have no trouble finding love. But a gaping hole at his center, left by childhood hurts, prevents him from having the type of relationship he seeks. He knew Roxie years ago, when her basketball career ended, and she inspired him to take the reins to his career.

When Chris moves back to town and into Roxie’s building, their friendship and mutual attraction deepen. They finally give in with blinding intensity, unaware just how combustible the mix of her avoidance and his insecurity can be—until one vindictive ex-lover lights a match.

Dabney: You’ve read this plot before. Hero is sure women can’t/won’t really love him (he was rejected in the past and it HURT) so now he’s sworn off love and sticks to sex only relationships. He meets the woman of his dreams but HE STILL JUST CAN’T TRUST, so, even though she’s clearly the one and she HAZ FEELINGS, he continues his rakish ways until–SNAP!–love finally becomes the thing he realizes he truly deserves and wants.

Except, here, it’s a she.

Not a plot we see much in romance. Lisa, what did you think about the story of Roxie?

Lisa: Roxie absolutely reminded me of Dee from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, only way more confident and MUCH less of a hot mess.  I love seeing role reveals like this – I loved seeing Roxie hook up with other dudes to wash the feeling of TRUE LOVE out of her mouth – only to feel bad about ignoring Chris.

Dabney: I can’t decide if she’s a mite too self-destructive for me. Like, WHY run from true love? is it only her conviction that men just dig her for sex? (This is a plot I’m seeing more in contemporary romance and, in some ways, it seems very retro to me.) And I have to say I found the whole men like to bang Roxie but not seriously date her because she isn’t small and blonde a bit much. I’d hazard that the same men who seek Sydney Sweeney look alikes to be their OTP are equally DTF same. I had a hard time buying that Roxie, just because she’s tall and brunette, could only find men interested in only hooking up.

But I’m ancient. Lisa, am I missing something here?

Lisa: Well, they’d gladly do the same thing to Ms. Sweeney – trust me, I know of men who are the types of dudes who would do what they do with Roxie but ply their wares upon young blondes.  Yeah, that’s a small blemish on the books’ credibility.

Dabney: The thing is, except when she was being an idiot, I really liked Roxie. She’s smart, very good at her job, has a wickedly sharp sense of humor, and, in general, is one of those people you meet in a book that you’d totally like to grab a drink with. What did you think of her?

Lisa: Honestly, she’s probably my favorite romance heroine of the year so far because of all of those things.

Dabney: I also liked Chris. I’d be happy if my kid brought him home as a friend or a date. He’s smart, full of zingy quips, and is cleary deeply loyal to those he cares for. I liked him so much that, when Roxie refused to cut him slack for any of his missteps, I thought she was being overly extra.

Lisa: Chris is smart, normal and super fun – definitely an excellent hero.

Dabney: This is certainly, for a book that is less than 225 pages long, chockablock full of sex, all of which involves Roxie. She has sex with four different guys and all of the scenes are detailed. Which is fine because Ember writes excellent sex scenes. And, props to her given her dedication to writing Roxie the rake’s many hookups judgement free, she manages to show that, when it’s sex and love, it’s a different and better kind of sex.

Lisa: Oh yeah, this one borders on a hot rating for a reason. And I liked the detached fondness of all the hookup sex versus what happens with Chris, which feels more real, so to speak.

Dabney: My biggest complaint is, especially given how short this book is, Roxie’s insistence on HAVING THINGS HER WAY ONLY. Chris was clearly deserving of her trust, love, and great blow jobs–I got a bit bored of the endless stream of NO Roxie defaulted to.

Lisa: I found it more psychologically complex; she was clearly punishing herself here.

Dabney: I think I needed more words to understand that Roxie was complex as opposed to unnecessarily self-destructive. That said, I suspect she’s a heroine that will resonate with many.

This is a very modern romance and I liked that about it. I’m here for a romance novel’s casual sex enthusiast being female. Once Roxie opened up her heart a bit, the power dynamic in the book seemed fab and fair. The sex scenes are focused on female and male pleasure in erotic and realistic ways. Those who are willing to forgo traditional assumptions about women looking for some good D rather than love will find Roxie and Chris’ story appealing.

Lisa: If it breaks down the walls surrounding stigma attached to romancelandia slut shaming, I’m all for it.

Dabney: It’s a B read for me. Roxie took too long to let herself fall for very kind Chris and the book seemed padded with more sex than plot. But, overall, it’s a fun, sexy read.

Lisa: Going a little higher with a B+ because I really liked hero and Heroine alike – the sex was enjoyable and I can’t complain that too much was enough.

Dabney Grinnan

Impenitent social media enthusiast. Relational trend spotter. Enjoys both carpe diem and the fish of the day. Publisher at AAR.
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