Thursday, April 9, 2015

Book Review: Below The Belt (First to Fight #1) by Jeanette Murray

Below The Belt
First to Fight #1


Jeanette Murray


Berkley Romance

Release Date:

April 7, 2015


eARC from Publisher for a honest review

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GR's Summary:

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series… 

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking. 

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery. 

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…

My Thoughts:

Below the Belt is the first book that I've read by Jeanette Murray.  I was drawn in by the sexy book cover, and the book summary.  I love reading about Marines.  There is something so sexy about a man in uniform, and I think Marines are some of the sexiest men.

Below the Belt is a sweet, light-hearted and humorous romance about athletic trainer, Marianne Cook, and sexy Marine Boxer, Brad Costa.  Marianne is soley focused on her career goals, and has no time for romance or much of a social life.  She has a passion and love for her career, and has high hopes of becoming an athletic trainer in the NBA one day.  She considers her job working with the Marine Corps Boxing Team to be temporary, and will be moving on soon.

Brad is 29 years old and has finally made the tryouts for the Marine Corps Boxing Team.  It has been his dream for so long, and now that he's finally been given the opportunity, he will not let anything stand in his way.  Brad is one of the oldest marines in the training camp, and finds himself challenged by a painful bodily injury.  However, he needs to suck it up, and hide it, or risk being cut from the team.  While both Marianne and Brad are soley focused on their career goals, they haven't factored in a major game changer; meeting one another and falling in love... 

Below the Belt had a lot of humor infused within it's pages.  Marianne made me laugh a lot, as did Tressler, one of the marine boxer trainees.  It was a fun, light-hearted, feel good type read.  The pacing was slow but steady, and the character's were well-developed.  One of my favorite aspects of the story was the bonding that took place between the marine trainees.  I really enjoyed getting to know these characters, and felt like they were my friends.  The romance between Marianne and Brad was slow-building.  The love scenes weren't very detailed, in my opinion, and the story focused more on their emotional connection.  I would have liked to be more swept away in the romance.  It was very sweet, but I would have enjoyed more passion and intensity in the romance.    

My Rating:

I give, Below the Belt, by Jeanette Murray, 3.5 Sweet Romance, Male Bonding, Sexy Marine Filled Stars! 

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About Jeanette Murray:

Jeanette spends her days surrounded by hunky alpha men…at least in her imagination. In real life, she’s a wife and a mother, keeping tabs on her husband of seven years, her four year old daughter (often called Tot) and the family dog, a lovable (but completely stupid) Goldendoodle named Clyde. Hang around long enough and you’re guaranteed to hear at least one or two stories about these three. She and her family currently live just outside of St. Louis. . 

What’s with the two names? Great question. Jeanette writes for a few different publishers. And due to the timing of some releases, two names just seemed like the right option. But Jeanette can assure you, no matter which pen name you’re reading, you’re going to get sexy contemporary love.. If you want to stay in the know on when Jeanette’s books are coming out, sign up for her newsletter below! She will keep you up to date when new releases are coming out so you’re never caught unaware!


  1. I also loved the relationships between the Marines!

    1. Yes, that was one of my favorite aspects in the story!

  2. I loved her first trio of Marine hero stories so I was happy to pick this one up. Loved the blend of military and sports romance. Oh yes, the guys bonding and the sassy romance were hits with me too.

    1. I love military and sports romance too! That was a big success in this story!

  3. congrats to Jeanette on her new release! I love the sound of the premise :) A female boxing trainer! Count me in! Thanks for sharing!

  4. I enjoyed the humor too! Great review.


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