Book Review – Necessary Roughness by Julie Brannagh

Okay, so listen. I meant to post this review this morning… but I ended up reading the entire book last night and then didn’t wake up in time to post the review this morning. Whoops! In any case, I’m here, and I’m so ready to talk about this book!

In Necessary Roughness, Tanner Cole is trying to figure out his life after a severe knee injury ends his professional football career. Except he has no interest in figuring out his life post-football. There’s nothing pushing him to move on, so he’s laying around, being a grump about everything. His best friend Harrison drags him to his physical therapy appointments, and that’s where he meets Jordan. And Jordan is just… so PEPPY. Like, way too much for Tanner, to the point where he starts calling her DP for Disney Princess. But Jordan has a way of pushing Tanner through his PT, and when he starts truly healing, he also starts thinking of her as a little more than just his physical therapist.

Jordan Mueller has known what she wanted to do since she was twelve years old. She’s wanted to be a physical therapist, and now she’s working in her field after earning that doctorate. But her living situation is significantly less than ideal, and she finds herself needing a place to crash for a while. Her overly surly PT client, former football player Tanner Cole, just so happens to have a gigantic house and a guest bedroom with Jordan’s name on it. And bonus! They can do his PT in her free time rather than continuing to make appointments outside of his home! Jordan has no interest in the grumpy former pro athlete, but he slowly starts to grow on her until she can no longer deny her feelings for him.

But Tanner has never been in a serious relationship, and Jordan has never found anyone who continues to interest her after the first date. Will their relationship last?

necessary roughness

3 Things I Loved

  1. Jordan. A woman who has worked hard for her career and won’t sacrifice that career for a man? GET IT, GIRL. I loved Jordan, and especially loved how she always held her own with Tanner and Harrison.
  2. Tanner. I LOVE GRUMPY ROMANCE HEROES. Y’all already know this about it. Enough said.
  3. Harrison. Tanner’s best friend is the best. Is there a book about him? There should be, if there’s not!

Dislikes/Problematic Content

What I kind of liked about this book is that race isn’t so explicitly described. So the default didn’t HAVE to be white! But, according to the cover, it is, so there’s always that complaint. There was one gay side character, so a small amount of credit for that, and it wasn’t distractingly white, like some books I’ve read. So yeah, not great, but it could have been worse.

There were two big things in this book that I didn’t love, though. First, there’s the fact that Jordan has no friends? Like, we get Harrison, and I know that Jordan’s been really career driven, but so am I, and I have all kinds of friends. If she grew up in Seattle and went to school in Seattle, then she should have a shit ton of friends in Seattle! What is happening? Give the girl some friends!

Second, Star. UGH, the Star storyline was dumb and I hated it. I get that we needed a little conflict, but it was weird and icky to portray his only ex – and really, the only other female character in the book, for the most part – as someone who only wanted attention, who broke in and tried to get him back. As crazy girl, is what I’m saying. He dated her, so there must be more to it than that, but all we got was crazy girl. It was gross and I was super not into it.


A reminder of the rating scale:

  • Red = DNF, I hated everything
  • Orange = Ugh, no thank you
  • Yellow = I mean, I’ve read worse, but there were problems
  • Green = This was good! 
  • Blue = Oh my gosh, I loved this book!
  • Purple = This is the unicorn of books and I will be rereading it until the binding falls apart and EVERYONE should be reading it!

So I really liked how easy this book was to read (literally read it in a single night!), and how likeable the characters are. I’m such a sucker for grumpy + sunshine! But there were things I didn’t love, and some missing pieces to the story that would have added to it. So I’m going to have to give Necessary Roughness a YELLOW rating. I’d read more by the author, but this one could have used a little more.

This was an old ARC (another thing I’m trying to do in 2020 – get through my old ARCs!), so thank you very much to the publisher and to NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for an honest review! Sorry it took me almost two years to read the book! Better late than never?

Happy reading!

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