Hail Mary by Kandi Steiner: My Review of this College Sports Romance

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Hail Mary is Kandi Steiner’s latest book release in her college sports romance series that is a second chance, roommates to lovers story.

Check out my book review below to see if this is a romance book worth reading.

*Disclosure: This post may include affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Hail Mary is one of the most anticipated, new romance book releases of 2023. See the entire list of must-read new romance books for 2023 on romance book blog, She Reads Romance Books.

Hail Mary
by Kandi Steiner

Category: New Adult Romance, Contemporary Romance
Romance Trope Tags: Second Chance Romance, Enemies to Lovers, Forced Proximity, Roommates to Lovers, Neighbors to Lovers, College, Sports, Football
Series: Red Zone Rivals
Published February 2023
Amazon Goodreads
Rating: ★★★★½
Boyfriend Rating: 💍💍💍💍💍

Hail Mary Summary:

Leo Hernandez is North Boston University’s star running back, notorious bachelor, and my new roommate.

I used to think I loved him. But that was before I hated him.

He doesn’t remember who I am, or how he made my life miserable for years. And before I unknowingly moved across the street from him, I couldn’t have cared less.

I was living my life despite him and what happened that summer, chasing my dream of becoming a tattoo artist.

Living across from him and watching him parade his one-night-stands in and out only reminds me of how he broke my heart.

But with rent this cheap and so close to the tattoo shop, I’ve learned to ignore him until this summer. Because when a water and mold disaster leaves me with no choice but to vacate my house, I have nowhere to go. And Leo Hernandez offers me a deal I can’t refuse.

Live at The Pit with him and the guys, free of charge, until my landlord fixes this mess.

Ignoring him was easy when I lived across the street, but now impossible.

My Hail Mary Review:

Any author that can weave the video game Halo into a romance book AND feature a super cool heroine who’s apprenticing to be a tattoo artist as well as a hot as-heck football star then she’s just AMAZING.

That’s Kandi Steiner for you. 😊

Hail Mary made my list of most anticipated romance books of 2023 before it even had a cover and full book blurb and with good reason!

After reading Blind Side, another book in the series, I knew that Kandi Steiner could write! I could not wait to get Leo and Mary’s story, and this one did not disappoint.

Mary is living in a house across from The Pit, a.k.a. the football house across the street where Leo lives.

Unfortunately, the pipes in Mary’s house burst forcing her out and in need of a new place, and that’s when Leo stepped up and offers her the open room in their house. Mary is at first reluctant to take him up on his offer because they have a history that Leo does not remember – a past that broke Mary’s heart and has caused her to hate him ever since.

So the beginning of this story actually takes you back to when they were teens and totally sets the stage and completely sucks you in because it was just so good!

As teenagers Mary and Leo first meet anonymously, sight unseen while playing the video game Halo.

I totally felt like I was right there with them, falling in love as teens who slowly learn to trust each other and share parts of each other that they’ve never shared with anyone else.

But then the tragedy that followed just broke my heart and I could understand why Mary wanted nothing to do with Leo in the present.

Leo, however, is such a charmer that he slowly breaks down Mary’s walls that have been built up around her heart ever since he broke hers. I would describe this as a sort of second chance love story with a roommates to lovers twist!

Mary is a heroine that I adore!

She was just so freaking cool and followed her dream to become a tattoo artist despite the lack of family support.

She survived years of high school bullying and yet really came to find true female friends to confide in. I liked that she protected herself and her heart and yet could see how Leo had changed and that the spark between them was still there.

I thought Leo would come across as this player or at least as a sarcastic dude, but Steiner really showed his inner soft side and how he could really be a good friend.

While Hail Mary is the last book in an awesome 4-book college sports romance series, each book is an interconnected standalone following the football players of North Boston University.

I did read and LOVED Blind Side (book 2) in the series before this one but honestly feel like it can easily be read as a standalone if you want to jump in at the end of the series and circle back.

Do know however that the epilogue gives great closure to the ENTIRE series.

Definitely just jump in with Hail Mary if you love the roommates to lovers and second chance romance tropes, but each book in the series as a favorite romance book trope I love.

Steiner delivered on a romance book I couldn’t put down because of its great writing, awesome story and amazing characters. It’s a must-read if you love:

  • Video games
  • neighbors to lovers stories
  • teenage love gone wrong
  • roommates to lovers
  • football romance
  • tattoo artists
  • strong heroines
  • hot heroes

Plus, I have to say that I adore this book cover. SOOOO GOOD!

*I received an advance reader copy. All opinions are my own.

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Check out She Reads Romance Books' book review of Hail Mary by Kandi Steiner to see if this is a romance book worth reading.

Leslie Murphy is the owner and writer of She Reads Romance Books.

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Leslie is the founder, writer, and producer of She Reads Romance Books (and the She Reads Romance Books Podcast), an online book community focused on romance books and the readers who love them because life is better with a love story.

Leslie reads 150 romance books a year and has been called a "book expert" by CNN. Reading romance is her passion and she cultivates her book lists with the best books worth reading in the genre. Leslie graduated magna cum laude from Davidson College where she honed her writing skills and also holds two Master's degrees. Join her community in the She Reads Romance Books Reader Lounge.

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