Saturday, August 24, 2013

Book Tour for Red Card by Liz Crowe (Review & GIVEAWAY)

Today I've invited the wonderful Liz Crowe here to give us a glimpse of her newest release Red Card, an intensely gut-wrenching read that takes readers on an emotional roller-coaster ride.  Keep reading to get a glimpse of this book, along with my impressions of it, and learn even more by visiting the other blogs hosting this tour.  Make sure to fill out the form for your chance to win the books in the awesome Black Jack Gentlemen series!

Free will makes us human.
Choice makes us individuals.
Love makes us unique.
Metin Sevim has it all. At the pinnacle of international soccer playing success, he has managed to craft a perfect world for himself along the way.
When fate strips him of free will and the ability to choose his own path, he retreats from everyone and everything, destroying his hard-won career in the process.
Dragged back from the brink by his desperate family, Metin reluctantly agrees to coach the Black Jack Gentlemen Detroit soccer team but remains debilitated by memories and loss. When a surprising friendship emerges, it renews his passion for life, providing much needed solace… and extreme complications.
A saga of family dynamics and gender politics that cuts across cultures and circumstance, Red Card illustrates the human capacity for forgiveness through the life of one man as he attempts to rebuild his shattered existence.


Metin studied the attractive woman sitting across from him at the huge kitchen island. Musing that she probably would just as soon pour him a lovely glass of cyanide as sit and drink red wine with him, he smiled, trying not to overreact to her unsubtle hostility.
“So,” she said, sipping and staring at him. “How is Graciella?”
He forced an ever-wider smile. “Fine, I am assuming. She is on a photo shoot in Italy for a month. I haven’t talked to her in…a while.” He lifted the glass to his lips, not breaking eye contact.
Melanie Matthews Miller could be a model herself. Something he was sure she’d heard plenty of times. Her dark brown hair was thick, curly, barely contained by a headband. Dark eyes shone in her angular, handsome face. He noticed that her hand shook when she put her glass on the granite surface. Unable to resist, he reached for it. She yanked it back as if he’d touched a lit match to her flesh. “Your mother must have been a stunning woman.” He said, softly, as if to a cornered, frightened animal.
“Yeah. She was,” Mel polished off her first glass. Metin poured her some more. “Spare me the lecture. I’m not an alcoholic.”
He looked up, shocked. “I wouldn’t think of calling you that.”
“Sure you would. I see it in your eyes.”
“The only thing in my eyes right now is terror.”
She scoffed, left the newly refilled glass on the counter and propped her chin on her hands. The defeated slump of her shoulders made the natural caretaker in him want to soothe. But he knew better than to comfort her, at least at that moment. Hetook another drink of his wine, and the silence took on a life of its own. Clearing his throat, he put his glass down, deciding if anyone could take him being straightforward, it was this woman.
“I love your sister,” he said.
Mel just stared at him, her face betraying nothing. “No you don’t. You’re just a collector of women. And Alicia is something new and exotic to you. Get over yourself.” Her hardvoice fit her. It was as if she had sharp edges he would woundhimself on if he were not careful. Her face was nearly perfect—high cheekbones, large expressive eyes. In a different situation, she would be his type. “I won’t let you hurt her, soccer boy. We clear on that?”
He nodded, believing silence was the better part of valor at the moment. “Tell me about him,” he finally said, unable to stop himself. “This man. Your… husband. Who hurt you and made you into this….”
“Bitch?” Her laughter hurt his ears.
“No, that is not what—”
“Yes, it was. It’s okay. I’m getting use to it now. Scott was the guy who swept me off my feet, knocked me up, installed me in a house while he went to work at the bank. I caught him fucking his secretary one day, right in that very house, when I was supposed to be volunteering at Zach’s school.” She gripped her glass, gazing into the middle distance. “I left. Came home to my father’s house with my son. Told him we were through. And started going out, to clubs, bars… you name it. I was a total slut. As I’m sure you will confirm, being the traditionalist that you are. Men can stick their dicks in however many women they want and they are super studs. I go out a few nights, let a few strange men do that to me, and I’m a whore.”
He gulped, forcing away that very reaction, reminding himself that this woman’s life was absolutely none of his business. She glared at him, holding the stem of her wine glass in a death grip. “And then, bam, I was pregnant again. And Scott said he’d take me back, wanted me back, needed me back. Blah blah. Whatever.”
“Oh, um, Tanner is not…”
“No, Metin. I don’t know who Tanner’s father is. How about that for your traditional principals? Shocked enough by me yet?” Her eyes darkened.
He sat up straighter his ire rising at her seeming need to prove how bad she was for some reason. “I don’t shock that easily.”
“Sure you do.” She got up to pace. Her wild, curly hair kept escaping from the headband and haloed her flushed face. In an instant, he saw what appeal she did hold, when she was not being so bitter.
He glanced around. The giant house was freezing, empty, positively cavernous. He couldn’t fathom it. His family was huge, loud, and annoying, but that was a whole hell of a lot better than this empty, echoing space filled with nothing but unhappy people.
“Mom!” An older boy stomped into the kitchen from the laundry room, slamming the garage door behind him. “I thought you were… oh, hello there.”
Metin stood and held out his hand. “Hi. I’m….”
“I know who you are. My mom and aunt have been doing nothing but argue about you lately.”
“Oh, well.” Metin ran a hand through his hair, watching the boy’s body language around his mother. “Sorry, I guess.”
“Nah, it’s cool. They don’t need much excuse to fight.” He dropped his soccer bag to the floor of the kitchen. Metin fought his inner neat freak. His mother never tolerated his soccer kit anywhere but out in their garage. And a cuff to the head was all it took for him to remember it. He and his three brothers had all played, which made for a pretty smelly garage.
“Mom, where’s dinner.”
“Order out,” she said, her voice low and distant.
“Whatever, I’m going out anyway.”
Metin stared as they did their non-communication dance for a few more minutes then got up before the urge to smack the smartass kid upside the head got too strong.
“Sorry, Metin.” Mel’s voice was soft. “We’re hardly the exemplary family. I have no business being mad at you for judging us.”
“I am not judging…. Oh, thank god,” he said when Alicia strode in, her gorgeous face dusted with makeup, amazing curves draped in a silky black dress. “You are beautiful.”
“Thanks.” She blushed, which he loved. “You guys getting along okay? Zach, are you being your usual teenager jerkish self?”
“Sure thing, Auntie.” The kid grabbed a few cookies from the jar and walked out without another word to his own mother.
Metin shook his head.
“Okay, stud. Let’s go to dinner. Or whatever.” She shot a worried glance at her sister, but the other woman kept her back to them. By the time Metin realized Melanie shoulders shook from crying, Alicia was pulling him out of the room.



As a big fan of sports-themed romances I thought I knew what to expect with Liz Crowe's Red Card but ended up with something unexpectedly intense that kept my emotions on a roller-coaster ride.  This book was at times predictable, mostly at the start, but bodly went where I didn't expect a romance book to go late in the story which brought out drastically different sides to the characters.  This is an unconventional romance that might very well upset some readers but I applaud Ms. Crowe for her daring.

Metin is the hotshot Turkish soccer player who could have any woman he wants, and has had them.  Before now they've always been of the superficial model-like variety which has become boring.  His first meeting with the tall, athletic, and sturdy-looking Alicia intrigues him.  He admires her spirit and love of soccer which she desperately wants to play in the big leagues.  He's sexy, charming, and oozes confidence except in his dealings with her.  Though she's not easy to win over, he's immensely attracted and sets out wholeheartedly to woo her in a whirlwind romance that is super steamy but very rocky.  Just when things look to be perfect between them fate decides to intervene and changes the meaning of love and family forever.

Alicia was raised by her sister ever since her mother died when she was very young.  She's never been girly and devotes her life to soccer to the exclusion of all else.  Wanting to play professionally has her angry and jealous of those male players who are making millions.  Her initial meeting with Metin therefore is full of aggression which ultimately morphs into attraction and a relationship that's full of sexual tension, steamy interludes, and a lot of verbal warfare that's really HOT.  All does not go perfectly though with a sister who's been burned by men in the past and who spars with Metin every step of the way.  Alicia is torn by the caring yet judgmental nature of her sister Melanie and her love for Metin which leads to many heart-wrenching moments.  Fate soon intervenes in their happiness and puts their wedding vows to the test.

Melanie starts out as a completely bitter woman, one who I found hard to like.  She seemed angry at the world but Metin's charming and caring nature finally won her over and they ultimately form a friendship that will come in handy when the going gets tough.  Along with adults being put through the emotional wringer, there's also Melanie's teenage boys who are also experiencing hard times in a realistically gut-wrenching manner.  From start to finish this is a difficult read with heart-wrenching moments amidst guilt, fear, and anger.  Ms. Crowe beautifully balances the steamy interludes with the character's emotional journeys in a richly rewarding way that brings a tear to the eye at times.  Characters from previous books make brief appearances which made for a homey feel to the author's book world and provided nice updates to these familiar characters.  This is the second installment in the Black Jack Gentlemen series but can be easily read on its own but I'm now left waiting impatiently for the next installment, as will you after reading Red Card.

My rating for this is a B+

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Microbrewery owner, best-selling author, beer blogger and journalist, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz lives in the great Midwest, in a major college town.  She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse. While working as a successful Realtor, Liz made the leap into writing novels about the same time she agreed to take on marketing and sales for the Wolverine State Brewing Company.  
Most days find her sweating inventory and sales figures for the brewery, unless she’s writing, editing or sweating promotional efforts for her latest publications.  
Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”).  More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction,” while remaining very much “real life.”
With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and many times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate, and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.
If you are in the Ann Arbor area, be sure and stop into the Wolverine State Brewing Co. Tap Room—but don’t ask her for anything “like” a Bud Light, or risk serious injury.


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  1. thanks for taking time to read and review my book

  2. I agree that Melanie isn't always likable but then again, I'm not either. :) I love that about Liz's books. She writes about characters that are real not just those traditional romance characters and her books hit more than the romance button for me...they ask some tough questions about life. Thanks for your wonderful review. :)