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Just Say (Hell) No

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Need an Escape to New Zealand? Valentine's Day. Even a hard man needs a soft side. Marko Sendoa isn’t a beach man. He’s not an Auckland man. He’s a hard man. Born Basque tough, raised in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done. It’s not easy for a rugby flanker who’s played 13 bruising seasons to make it to age 32 Need an Escape to New Zealand? Valentine's Day. Even a hard man needs a soft side. Marko Sendoa isn’t a beach man. He’s not an Auckland man. He’s a hard man. Born Basque tough, raised in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done. It’s not easy for a rugby flanker who’s played 13 bruising seasons to make it to age 32 at the top of his game, but he’s done it. Next year is the Rugby World Cup, and he’ll do whatever it takes to be on the field in the black jersey when the anthems are sung. He doesn't need a kitten. He doesn't need a pregnant cousin. He definitely doesn't need a too-short, distractingly curvy, totally unimpressed Maori barista and part-time pet portraitist who fills his house and his life with too much color, too much chaos, and too many secrets. He’s getting them anyway.


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Need an Escape to New Zealand? Valentine's Day. Even a hard man needs a soft side. Marko Sendoa isn’t a beach man. He’s not an Auckland man. He’s a hard man. Born Basque tough, raised in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done. It’s not easy for a rugby flanker who’s played 13 bruising seasons to make it to age 32 Need an Escape to New Zealand? Valentine's Day. Even a hard man needs a soft side. Marko Sendoa isn’t a beach man. He’s not an Auckland man. He’s a hard man. Born Basque tough, raised in the heart of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, and bred on hard work, discipline, and getting the job done. It’s not easy for a rugby flanker who’s played 13 bruising seasons to make it to age 32 at the top of his game, but he’s done it. Next year is the Rugby World Cup, and he’ll do whatever it takes to be on the field in the black jersey when the anthems are sung. He doesn't need a kitten. He doesn't need a pregnant cousin. He definitely doesn't need a too-short, distractingly curvy, totally unimpressed Maori barista and part-time pet portraitist who fills his house and his life with too much color, too much chaos, and too many secrets. He’s getting them anyway.

30 review for Just Say (Hell) No

  1. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    This romance was so good and made me sigh. I ended up feeling a bit unsatisfied though cause we have the heroine's mother and stepfather still asses at the end of this, and it continues through the next couple of books. I have an epic rant about the Christmas book in this series, so prepare yourselves. I was so mad I told my friend in Honduras about it and he agreed with my points as well. Back to this book, Marko and Nyree have a past (he doesn't remember) and really work. I also loved the stor This romance was so good and made me sigh. I ended up feeling a bit unsatisfied though cause we have the heroine's mother and stepfather still asses at the end of this, and it continues through the next couple of books. I have an epic rant about the Christmas book in this series, so prepare yourselves. I was so mad I told my friend in Honduras about it and he agreed with my points as well. Back to this book, Marko and Nyree have a past (he doesn't remember) and really work. I also loved the story with Marko's cousin and how that affects an older fan favorite couple in this series. I maybe blubbered like a baby during parts of this book. "Just Say (Hell) No" follows Marko Sendoa who is a rugby flanker. He gets in a spot of trouble and is told by the rugby team's PR manager that he needs some positive press. This has him doing some photography at the local ASPCA where he poses with the world's cutest freaking kitten and finds himself with a new cat (Cat Cat) who loves to climb and ride his shoulder. Marko runs into Nyree who he already had his somewhat earlier meet-cute with. Too bad Nyree wasn't interested. And now that Nyree is on tap to photograph Marko and some of our fellow All Black players (yes we get some updates, nope won't tell you who!) making appearances. What Marko doesn't know is that he and Nyree do have a past, he just doesn't remember it. I loved watching Nyree dance around her feelings for Marko. Her family life though does impact her a lot. Her mother and stepfather are jerks. I got no other words for it. Her stepbrother didn't sound too hot either (it takes two more books to revisit him). I loved Nyree's passion for her art and realizing that she may not make it, but wanting to go for it anymore. Marko has a loving family, though slightly crazy at times. When his cousin runs away to him since she is pregnant and her mother is losing it, he agrees to take her in until the baby is born. I thought Ella's maturity about realizing she was an unwed mother, and not ready to be a mother was wonderful. I also loved how this tied into an earlier book and how wonderfully everything worked out. The love scenes were HOT HOT HOT. And I have to say Cat Cat's love for Marko had me giggling and laughing. The ending was really good and sad at times, but it worked for me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    2.5 stars. I always enjoy Rosalind James' writing and this book was no different. However, I'm feeling a little bit all over the place about this story so if I ramble and bumble my way through this review, please forgive me. The MCs were a bit formulaic. It's not a bad formula: stoic rugby player with a heart of gold and a struggling free spirit h. I've read this book before and I think it was a book by this author, or I could just be confusing two books of hers and running them together in my min 2.5 stars. I always enjoy Rosalind James' writing and this book was no different. However, I'm feeling a little bit all over the place about this story so if I ramble and bumble my way through this review, please forgive me. The MCs were a bit formulaic. It's not a bad formula: stoic rugby player with a heart of gold and a struggling free spirit h. I've read this book before and I think it was a book by this author, or I could just be confusing two books of hers and running them together in my mind. Anyhoo, the H was a good guy. He did right by his family and adopted a kitten. I liked him, but he came across as a bit of a manho before he met the h. There are lots of mentions of how he preferred blondes, all the pictures in the media with him and a different blonde on his arm each time, and all the things that he did with the h that were new for her but clearly weren't new for him. All the times he thought about what he wanted to do with the h, and how he knew she would react a certain way, just drove home the point that he's done all of that before and knew the responses that it would have elicited. All in all, I find manhos unappealing and unconvincing as they've had certain behaviours ingrained in them that have to be hard to override. This is certainly the case here, but James did a decent job of convincing me that the H was all about the h. So there's that. The h was strong in the beginning and I liked that. She didn't succumb to the H right away and she didn't pine for the H for over a decade. Thank goodness she had a love life in the interim. And she actually used her brain and kept her libido in check. She was responsible and never asked the H to pay for anything for her. All good things so far. However, I didn't like to the imbalance between the MCs. He's famous and has enjoyed lots of women over the years. She was a late bloomer and while the h never said that her sex life was bad before the H, she did say that the H was the best she'd ever had. And the H never said this about the h. (Maybe I missed it since I skimmed/skipped the intimate scenes, but I don't think he did.) I wanted some equality. I wanted an ex boyfriend of hers to come back into the picture. And I wanted him to be totally hot, successful, awesome, and buff. Not to create drama, of course. Oh no. You know me. I just wanted him to come around and make the H feel a little threatened. To prove that the h had it going on and that she had options. The only love interest of the h's that we got to know was a cheating scumbag. Le sigh. The extended family was a bit of a chore. The cousin was alright, but I couldn't get over (view spoiler)[ how she even complain about the ugliness of the H's furniture/decor when he was giving her a freaking place to live for five months (hide spoiler)] . Her mom was also a total drama queen and it wasn't fun to read. The tarot card readings were also a little bit of a plot device, and didn't add much to the story. I did like the (view spoiler)[adoption plot (hide spoiler)] as it tied in quite nicely with one of the pairs from the previous books. The secondary romance plot was sweet, too, and I hope we get their story in a future installment of this series. Overall, this was a decent read. I probably won't remember too much of it nor will I reread it, but it was a nice way to pass the time. I didn't love the H, but I did end up liking him by the end. The rugby was fun, seeing some of the previous couples was nice, and there was no OP drama. So even though I won't reread this one, I will probably read the next book (if there is one).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nicole Jackson

    Marko Sendoa wasn't a soft man. He was a hard man. And he's finally met his match. Okay, so I received a copy of Just Say (Hell) No early for my honest review, and BOY DID IT LIVE UP TO MY EXPECTATIONS. I am a longtime Rosalind James fan and she completely blew me out of the water with Marko and Nyree's story. But also, Ella & Tom's story was just too precious. I was literally crying at the end of this book. The characters were so well developed and so captivating, I was absolutely smitten. And Marko Sendoa wasn't a soft man. He was a hard man. And he's finally met his match. Okay, so I received a copy of Just Say (Hell) No early for my honest review, and BOY DID IT LIVE UP TO MY EXPECTATIONS. I am a longtime Rosalind James fan and she completely blew me out of the water with Marko and Nyree's story. But also, Ella & Tom's story was just too precious. I was literally crying at the end of this book. The characters were so well developed and so captivating, I was absolutely smitten. And the extra-sexy-funtimes were so, so, sooooooooooooooooooo good. Wow. I'm going to be thinking about those scenes for awhile! What I love about Rosalind's writing is that she doesn't just write a typical romance - she writes a well crafted /story/ that leaves you wanting more. Rosalind, you've done it again. 5/5, would recommend to anyone with a pulse.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alison

    381 pages of awesome! I feel like some evangelical preacher. I want to walk around shaking this book in the air (difficult as I read on a Kindle) bellowing "that's how to do it!". Rosalind James has fit so much into this book that in lesser hands it could have been trope soup but she manages to effortlessly weave her story-lines together into an epic narrative of love but more importantly unconditional support. Yes, there were tears (of happiness) but there was laughter and family and lots of rug 381 pages of awesome! I feel like some evangelical preacher. I want to walk around shaking this book in the air (difficult as I read on a Kindle) bellowing "that's how to do it!". Rosalind James has fit so much into this book that in lesser hands it could have been trope soup but she manages to effortlessly weave her story-lines together into an epic narrative of love but more importantly unconditional support. Yes, there were tears (of happiness) but there was laughter and family and lots of rugby. Marko Sendoa is a rugby player for the Auckland Blues and for the All Blacks. He's 32 years old, responsible, always had his feet squarely on the ground, calm, a credit to his family. I won't spoil the opening of the book for you because I thought it was eye-wateringly funny, but Marko gets photographed in a bar at two o'clock in the morning in a fracas not of his own making. The, when he gets home he finds his 16 year old cousin on his doorstep, she's spent all day travelling from their home in the Southern Alps to announce that she's pregnant and wants to live with him, rather than her drama queen mother, until the baby is born. In order to do some damage control after the fracas he agrees to be photographed with some animals that need rehoming with a local animal shelter. The photographer is Nyree Morgan. Marko doesn't know it but Nyree is the step-daughter of Grant Armstrong, his former coach with the Highlanders. Nyree had a crush on Marko which was totally unrequited, she also has a healthy dislike of rugby players having been humiliated by one as a teenager and having grown up with a step-dad and two step-brothers in the business. Yet when she meets Marko's cousin Ella she wants to help this young girl to get through a difficult time, she and Marko come to a deal, he will pay her and let her live rent-free in his house if she will act as Ella's friend and companion. Everything about this was awesome, from the almost dreamy way Marko and Nyree spoke to each other, Marko's mum and her daily tarot card reading, the exciting rugby commentary, the humour, the hot-hot-hot smexy times, the drama, the friendships - just everything. Best book of the year so far, no question.

  5. 4 out of 5

    maggieandteddy

    I can't believe that this is book 11. It's been a while since I've been back to New Zealand- nearly a year. I had to get back into the kiwi talk. I love the NZ words and phrases (there's a glossary in the back). I love the beautiful NZ scenery. It took a while to get back to my rugby guys. I think that it's been 10 months ! The H, Marko is from the south island, more rural and much slower pace. Nyree and Marko meed (again) near Auckland. A sort of meet cute while they each were out for a run. The I can't believe that this is book 11. It's been a while since I've been back to New Zealand- nearly a year. I had to get back into the kiwi talk. I love the NZ words and phrases (there's a glossary in the back). I love the beautiful NZ scenery. It took a while to get back to my rugby guys. I think that it's been 10 months ! The H, Marko is from the south island, more rural and much slower pace. Nyree and Marko meed (again) near Auckland. A sort of meet cute while they each were out for a run. They don't get off to a great start. Nyree is guarded & hostile. Marko doesn't understand, since he's a well know professional rugby star. Nyree and Marko had met before. They were teens. He was 19 and she was an awkward 15 year old. Nyree has held onto hard feelings from their first meeting. She also has had a crush on Marko all these years. Nyree is very artistic. She's trying to make ends meet. She paints portraits, waitresses, volunteers in an animal rescue shelter and does photography. This is 3rd person POV. This is a longer than average ebook. I enjoyed the entire book, but there was a little slow in the middle. I still enjoyed the slow parts, since- New Zealand- rugby hunks. So all good. Years have passed since their awkward teen years. Marko's 16 year old cousin Ella comes to stay with him. I really enjoyed how Ms James weaves a side story into the main couple's story. Ella is very sweet, but she needs to get away from her mom Mariana. It's a life changing & difficult time for Ella. Marko is very supportive. Once again, family is placed above everything. Marko finds a way to take care of Ella. He enlists Nyree's help while he's away at Rugby matches and training. Nyree is great with Ella. Marko & Nyree's proximity encourages them to become friends. They bury the hatchet. The grudge/misunderstanding doesn't go on too long. Thank God. I love the slow burn. It felt very natural. I loved Marko's inner thoughts about Nyree. She has no idea how much he wants her! A couple from another book have a very important role. This isn't until much later in the story. There's so many touching moments. I found myself really admiring Marko, Nyree & Ella. And Tom. And Marko's mom, Olivia. There weren't any villains-but Mariana is a little (a lot) high strung. Ella's side story was not a tangent. She had a giant role in bringing Marko & Nyree together & also brought happiness to other people (my other favorite escape to NZ couple). This is a long book, so have patience, there's a sweet, sweet payoff. Guaranteed. I am chuffed (pleased). I got this through KU, but would love to own it & read it again. 4.5 choice (fantastic) stars. I wish that Ms James would number her chapters (my personal preference).

  6. 5 out of 5

    namericanwordcat

    I love this series and I am overjoyed that this deep into it Rosalind James can deliver such an excellent romance. Just Say Yes was one of my favorite reads of last year and this book is even better. We get two romances, a emotionially rich exploration of adoption from several points of view, a careful look at racial, immigrant, and native histories in New Zealand and Austerial along with the rugby and the joy of a love that you can set your heart to. I laughed and cried in this book and I loved b I love this series and I am overjoyed that this deep into it Rosalind James can deliver such an excellent romance. Just Say Yes was one of my favorite reads of last year and this book is even better. We get two romances, a emotionially rich exploration of adoption from several points of view, a careful look at racial, immigrant, and native histories in New Zealand and Austerial along with the rugby and the joy of a love that you can set your heart to. I laughed and cried in this book and I loved both Marko and Nyree. The painter and athlete. They are both hard working, straight forward, loving and gifted. There is a bit of kink in the book but unlike some other books in this series, it felt natural to the characters. The love between these two and the heat is something to savor. They respect, like, and value each other. They are partners all the way and that is my favorite kind of couple. They also have full and complicated lives outside of each other which we get to see. The cast is lovely with some couples from the series coming in and we get to see their extended happiness. We also get the world's best kitten and a dog wedding. The secondary love story and the story of family love is tied to the wonderful character of Ella, Marko's young pregnant cousin. She has decided to give up her baby for adoption. This part of the plot is so tender and fierce as is the discussion of "locker room talk" and sexual activity when young. This thoughtful engagement with such a complex and raw issue along with many other details I don't want to ruin for you makes this book one of my favorites I have read in a long time. So very very good and every level!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cait

    You know when you know what you're going to think of a book, but you read it anyway? That's me with this. I think I can summarise this by saying that it felt like New Zealand was being... fetishised, for lack of a better word. It's not totally different to how other ~dream location~ book settings are handled, but when you're doing that about a city + country, and then expanding it to the culture, which primarily means trying to include Maori and Pacific peoples, in a way that still feels extreme You know when you know what you're going to think of a book, but you read it anyway? That's me with this. I think I can summarise this by saying that it felt like New Zealand was being... fetishised, for lack of a better word. It's not totally different to how other ~dream location~ book settings are handled, but when you're doing that about a city + country, and then expanding it to the culture, which primarily means trying to include Maori and Pacific peoples, in a way that still feels extremely US based... it's just an added layer of icky-ness that I didn't expect, and don't normally find when reading books set in NZ by non-NZ authors.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jan

    3.5 stars. When I first tried this book, I just couldn't get into it and dnf'ed. The h seemed too silly, annoying and too cutesy-eccentric. I got sidetracked with all of the silly stuff about Pookie and the dog wedding etc. I decided to try again, and this time I liked it much better. I think I was a bit fairer to the h, and understood her a little better this time. The H was sexy, although I didn't really enjoy the light bdsm-type scenes. Spanking doesn't interest me in any way, shape or form. I 3.5 stars. When I first tried this book, I just couldn't get into it and dnf'ed. The h seemed too silly, annoying and too cutesy-eccentric. I got sidetracked with all of the silly stuff about Pookie and the dog wedding etc. I decided to try again, and this time I liked it much better. I think I was a bit fairer to the h, and understood her a little better this time. The H was sexy, although I didn't really enjoy the light bdsm-type scenes. Spanking doesn't interest me in any way, shape or form. I have visited New Zealand and I enjoyed the settings of the book. Overall, this time, quite an enjoyable read. I must try some others I had previously rejected by the author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    I'm a sucker for romances set in my home country so I've been reading this series for a while now. I have my favourite, but this book blew that out off the water. By turns sweet then sexy, this has to be one of the better reads in 2018. The new characters are well thought out and constructed, & its lovely to see the older ones again. I would recommend that this series is read in order, but even if you start here you won't go wrong. I received an ARC of this title but I've already purchased the k I'm a sucker for romances set in my home country so I've been reading this series for a while now. I have my favourite, but this book blew that out off the water. By turns sweet then sexy, this has to be one of the better reads in 2018. The new characters are well thought out and constructed, & its lovely to see the older ones again. I would recommend that this series is read in order, but even if you start here you won't go wrong. I received an ARC of this title but I've already purchased the kindle title. One I will happily read with each addition to the series!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Dana Bell Brown

    I have read all of the Escape to New Zealand books and this latest addition has quickly become one of my favorites. It offers a sweet love story about an All Black rugby player finding the love of his life, but the story intertwines so much family and friendship, and has a theme of courage and passion for life and living to the fullest. I enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from the previous books, and once again, Rosalind James develops her characters to such richness, that you think abou I have read all of the Escape to New Zealand books and this latest addition has quickly become one of my favorites. It offers a sweet love story about an All Black rugby player finding the love of his life, but the story intertwines so much family and friendship, and has a theme of courage and passion for life and living to the fullest. I enjoyed revisiting some of the characters from the previous books, and once again, Rosalind James develops her characters to such richness, that you think about them and forget for a minute that they are not real. The hero, Marko, is quite a man, and you will love him and his family and appreciate his honesty and how he takes care of the people he loves. One of my favorite quotes was by Marko's mother when they visited his family and grandmother, "One thing you should know about the Sendoa men, Nyree. They don't love easily, but they love hard." Nyree is the heroine, who is part Maori, and an artist carrying some past mistakes like a lot of us do. She is sensitive, lively, curvy, short, and beautiful with a 13-year crush on Marko, who doesn't realize who she is for the longest time, even though their paths had crossed many times. With all of the Escape to New Zealand books, you learn so much about New Zealand, the Maori culture, and of course, rugby. This book touched on Australia a little with the Aboriginal culture and The Stolen Generation. I had to watch the film, "Australia" again after reading this book. Like the film, the book will have you laughing and crying. The power of love is so strong. You can read this book as a stand alone, but if you really want to experience the full emotion of some of the characters who are featured in this book, but were from their own book, I recommend you read, "Just Not Mine" as a companion piece. I don't want to give away any spoilers, so with that being said, I will end with it's a wonderful book. If you like love, family, and a little steamy romance, you will be pleased.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    This is seriously an awesome book! It's so much more than a rugby player who meets his match. This book has so many lessons on family, love, self worthiness/awareness. I truly loved this book so much! This is seriously an awesome book! It's so much more than a rugby player who meets his match. This book has so many lessons on family, love, self worthiness/awareness. I truly loved this book so much!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ruthie

    Now I have a series to read! I did that thing where I just jumped into a series in the middle and I’m so glad. This was a stand-alone and although I met characters from other books I think it was fun to realize I was just touching the edges of their stories. This was an excellent slice of life with so much more going on that you would think by the summary. Chemistry and emotions going all over the place, drying my eyes right now actually. Strong and seemingly emotionless hero that gets peeled bac Now I have a series to read! I did that thing where I just jumped into a series in the middle and I’m so glad. This was a stand-alone and although I met characters from other books I think it was fun to realize I was just touching the edges of their stories. This was an excellent slice of life with so much more going on that you would think by the summary. Chemistry and emotions going all over the place, drying my eyes right now actually. Strong and seemingly emotionless hero that gets peeled back but never changes who he is. The richness of the supporting characters and their lives made it such an amazing story. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nancy McGee

    At first I didn't understand what the title had to do with the story... to me "hell no" had to do with being a stubborn jerk or someone whk didn't want to listen and compromise. That had nothing to do with this story, so I thought about it. This story is so beautiful, it's all about love and family, it's about saying "hell no" to what society thinks should be normal. It's about doing what you believe is right deep down in your gut, no matter what others might think. I loved the characters in this At first I didn't understand what the title had to do with the story... to me "hell no" had to do with being a stubborn jerk or someone whk didn't want to listen and compromise. That had nothing to do with this story, so I thought about it. This story is so beautiful, it's all about love and family, it's about saying "hell no" to what society thinks should be normal. It's about doing what you believe is right deep down in your gut, no matter what others might think. I loved the characters in this book, they were fun, and sweet and real. I truly encourage you to read this book. Five stars Rosalind. Well done!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miekenstein

    What a lovely book! I am a Rosalind James fan and I have enjoyed all of the Escape to New Zealand series (and her other series as well) and this book really lives up to her past books. I adored the hero, Marko, and found him the perfect combination of strong and sweet. He cares deeply for his family and friends and lives his life with integrity. Nyree, our heroine, is kind and a bit of an old soul. I really liked how true to herself Nyree always managed to be, while still being grounded. To some What a lovely book! I am a Rosalind James fan and I have enjoyed all of the Escape to New Zealand series (and her other series as well) and this book really lives up to her past books. I adored the hero, Marko, and found him the perfect combination of strong and sweet. He cares deeply for his family and friends and lives his life with integrity. Nyree, our heroine, is kind and a bit of an old soul. I really liked how true to herself Nyree always managed to be, while still being grounded. To some extent, our couple is a case of opposites attracting. Marko, hulking and tough with a love of simplicity, and Nyree, small and empathetic with a love of color and the textures that make life more interesting. They were a perfect complement to each other and I really cheered as their relationship unfolded. I also loved the secondary characters and really hope to see a more of them in the next book in the series. This book dealt with some really deep and bittersweet topics so I would love to see an HEA in the future for the characters who were most challenged by what life threw at them in this book. This book can be read as a stand alone in my opinion, however, I would strongly recommend reading the series from the beginning. The series is too fabulous to pass up and all of the books are sweet and engaging. Plus, it is really fun to see characters from earlier books in the series as you go through each book. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys great contemporary romance.

  15. 4 out of 5

    ~nikki the recovering book addict

    This was lovely!! This had me laughing and crying and so, so happy. The comedic timing was awesome too! And while I love the two main characters, it’s a first for me, to be more than a little invested in the side characters. I truly adored Ella and Tom and I hope they get their own book too, although I don’t think so? For Nyree and Marko, it was a lovely progression - from their first encounter and then their subsequent encounters, it was so natural and adorable. But I think for me, Ella stole the This was lovely!! This had me laughing and crying and so, so happy. The comedic timing was awesome too! And while I love the two main characters, it’s a first for me, to be more than a little invested in the side characters. I truly adored Ella and Tom and I hope they get their own book too, although I don’t think so? For Nyree and Marko, it was a lovely progression - from their first encounter and then their subsequent encounters, it was so natural and adorable. But I think for me, Ella stole the show with the strength of character for a girl going through teen pregnancy. Great read!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim Cecelski

    Just Say Hell No is another wonderful book by Rosalind James. Marko and Nyree are wonderful characters. He may come across as hard as steel, but Nyree sees the softer side as the book progresses. Nyree gives Marko a run for his money with their verbal jousting and her own steel demeanor. Marko's young cousin Ella is just a "WOW" factor with her bravery, "more mature than her years" decision- making and her snappy quips. Add in some other great new friends and relatives to this series as well as Just Say Hell No is another wonderful book by Rosalind James. Marko and Nyree are wonderful characters. He may come across as hard as steel, but Nyree sees the softer side as the book progresses. Nyree gives Marko a run for his money with their verbal jousting and her own steel demeanor. Marko's young cousin Ella is just a "WOW" factor with her bravery, "more mature than her years" decision- making and her snappy quips. Add in some other great new friends and relatives to this series as well as bringing back (some in a BIG way) people from previous books in the series and you have a magical experience. I think this may be one of Rosalind's best books to date. I say this over and over, Rosalind is the master of bringing the essence of the people in her books to life and into your hearts

  17. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Rosalind James is one of my favorite authors. I received an arc and I have already pre ordered this book on Amazon. This book made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me sigh. This was such a wonderful story that will tug on your heartstrings. If you read this, you won’t be disappointed!

  18. 4 out of 5

    B.

    Gosh, I enjoy Rosalind James’ New Zealand rugby books and this is one fine addition to the series. I’ve never been to New Zealand, but James writes dialogue and internal monologues that have a sense of verisimilitude. Not knowing anyone from New Zealand or any rugby players or any Maori women, but Rosalind James makes me believe that this is how these characters would talk and think. That’s a talent. The hero, Marko, is a dream guy. He’s steady and loyal to his family and his buddies. He’s willin Gosh, I enjoy Rosalind James’ New Zealand rugby books and this is one fine addition to the series. I’ve never been to New Zealand, but James writes dialogue and internal monologues that have a sense of verisimilitude. Not knowing anyone from New Zealand or any rugby players or any Maori women, but Rosalind James makes me believe that this is how these characters would talk and think. That’s a talent. The hero, Marko, is a dream guy. He’s steady and loyal to his family and his buddies. He’s willing to do anything to help them even if he has to embarrass himself or bring a pregnant teenage cousin in to live with him. Then we get scenes of this big, muscular guy brought low by a little kitten. Seriously, could anything be cuter or sexier to picture? The heroine, Nyree, is a plucky and kind woman who is stubbornly pursuing her own desire to be a painter despite her family’s disapproval and her lack of financial success. Instead, she’s trying to earn rent money by paying pets which leads to a hilarious scene at a pet wedding that will have you laughing as you read. Add in a very moving story about Marko’s teenage cousin, Ella, who has fled her annoying mother to spend the last half of her pregnancy with Marko. She is having to grow up fast and face her decision about what to do with her baby. Ella’s story and her growing romance with Marko’s teammate is quite touching, but readers will cheer her on. All in all, this is a very enjoyable read and I just didn’t want it to end. If you haven’t read Rosalind’s earlier books in this series, get to Amazon and get started on them. You don’t have to have read the earlier books to enjoy this one, but it was nice to see some of our favorites from them show up in this one. I was given a free ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jacky

    This book was just awesome! It was so much more than just a romance novel. It made me laugh and cry, feel happy and sadness, love and pain. You could feel Ella's hurt, uncertainty, and fear. Marko and Nyree were each so strong in their own right. Their sense of family was strong as well as their support of Ella. I really like Marko's mom, Olivia. Reading about Marko's grandmother's journey evoked such strong, intense emotions. It brought tears to my eyes. I loved that Nyree saw people in colors, a This book was just awesome! It was so much more than just a romance novel. It made me laugh and cry, feel happy and sadness, love and pain. You could feel Ella's hurt, uncertainty, and fear. Marko and Nyree were each so strong in their own right. Their sense of family was strong as well as their support of Ella. I really like Marko's mom, Olivia. Reading about Marko's grandmother's journey evoked such strong, intense emotions. It brought tears to my eyes. I loved that Nyree saw people in colors, and Marko accepted and respected that in her. One of my favorite lines was when Marko was asked a question, and his response was about giving the cat a surname. All of that and you still get the steamy, sexy bits. Rosalind James' characters do not have gratuitous sex with each other, even if they start out trying to convince themselves the relationship is only friendly. It means something to them and grows into something more. Her characters are so well developed that they take on a life of their own. I hope at some point, Ella and Tom will get their own story. I have read all of her NZ books, and this one definitely places in my top three. You also get to revisit characters from some of her previous books. When I read the very last page, I felt good, and it left me with a smile on my face.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Melindeeloo

    3.5 stars -I liked this. The artist heroine is charming, and the rugby playing hero awesome as always. The tarot readings were a nice touch and i liked that family was so much a theme in this book - my only nit was the kink(view spoiler)[ - spanking is a turnoff for me, and I am not fond of bondage either (hide spoiler)] . Though the rest of the story makes up for it. Its nice that these are KU. I like the New Zealand flavor and touches of the NZ cultures in these too - the stolen aborigine childr 3.5 stars -I liked this. The artist heroine is charming, and the rugby playing hero awesome as always. The tarot readings were a nice touch and i liked that family was so much a theme in this book - my only nit was the kink(view spoiler)[ - spanking is a turnoff for me, and I am not fond of bondage either (hide spoiler)] . Though the rest of the story makes up for it. Its nice that these are KU. I like the New Zealand flavor and touches of the NZ cultures in these too - the stolen aborigine children bit was so sad.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Quinn Fforde

    I am a fast reader. I fly through most contemporary romance novels. But this one took me three days. I had to slow down, and I had to stop in a couple of places to think. Part of this was due to the Ella subplot because pregnancy and birth pull out lots of emotions. But I was slowing down before Ella even showed up in the book. I think it was because the dialogue between Nyree and Marko is very subtle. I don't mean that I couldn't understand what I was reading. I just had to keep stopping to pic I am a fast reader. I fly through most contemporary romance novels. But this one took me three days. I had to slow down, and I had to stop in a couple of places to think. Part of this was due to the Ella subplot because pregnancy and birth pull out lots of emotions. But I was slowing down before Ella even showed up in the book. I think it was because the dialogue between Nyree and Marko is very subtle. I don't mean that I couldn't understand what I was reading. I just had to keep stopping to picture what was going on in the scene. I finally decided it was because Marko communicates through action while Nyree communicates in paintings. You would almost have to be in the room with them to fully understand what is going on. They use their words, but there is a lot of unwritten byplay happening in body language and expression. It's subtle, and it's powerful. When I got the visualization of a scene, then I could understand everything. There is so much emotion in this novel and some pretty deep themes. I know I didn't get it all on the first pass. I am going to have to read it a few times. And there were some tissue breaks, not gonna lie. But everything ends up beautifully. I loved it. I just have to say this: Koti steals every scene he is in, even when he is flummoxed. I'm going to have to go read his book again. And Kate is still keeping him in line, of course.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Susan Page

    This is such a lovely story, you will laugh, and you will cry - tissues definitely required! Marko Sendoa is such a delightful man, strong and stern on the outside, but sweet and gentle, and strong and stern, on the inside, a person you would want on your side if there were problems. After an incident at the start of the book gives him some bad press (and a great deal of teasing from his team-mates), team management decides he must do something to counteract the bad press, and he is sent to a pe This is such a lovely story, you will laugh, and you will cry - tissues definitely required! Marko Sendoa is such a delightful man, strong and stern on the outside, but sweet and gentle, and strong and stern, on the inside, a person you would want on your side if there were problems. After an incident at the start of the book gives him some bad press (and a great deal of teasing from his team-mates), team management decides he must do something to counteract the bad press, and he is sent to a pet rescue centre for a photo opportunity with some of the animals. His interaction with a tiny kitten is lovely, but his immediate attraction to the photographer is spellbinding. Nyree Morgan is the photographer, and she has a secret. She has been around rugby players most of her life, her stepfather ran the team that Marko used to play for. She first met him ahen she was fourteen, plumb with braces on her teeth; and Marko was nineteen. She adored him, because he took time out to chat to her when every else was ignoring her. Her infatuation lasted for years until she finally realised it was futile. She is now trying hard to become a successful artist, but has to make ends meet with a full time job in a diner, and a part time job at the rescue centre. When Marko gets home from the photo session he finds his young cousin Ella waiting for him. She wants to come and live with him for a while, because life is difficult at home. This is the point when you know for sure he is a good man - family is important, and he agrees that she can stay. He is concerned about the occasions he will be away from home, for games with the Blues, and the All Blacks; and asks Nyree if she would be prepared to look after Ella in his absence, staying in his house with her. She agrees, and between Nyree and Ella Marko's calm, ordered life is turned upside down. There are a lot of ups and downs in their relationship, mostly caused by outside influences. If you enjoy visual humour the wedding (not theirs!) is quite possibly the funniest thing you will read this year! The budding relationship between Ella and Tom, a young player in Marko's team, is really rather special, and they will definitely require a book of their own! Rosalind writes emotion so well, and her characterisation is so strong, that you feel part of the story, it all feels quite personal. I think her writing style has changed a little in her last two books. It is a little more teasing of the reader, but assumes that you can work some things out for yourself, you don't require simple explanations for some of the more complex issues that arise. I think it adds great depth to her writing. Such a good book. Read it, you won't be disappointed.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Erin Lewis

    4.5 Star Review of Just Say (Hell) No (Escape to New Zealand #11) by Rosalind James Marko Sendoa is a strong, loyal man who will do anything for his family and friends.He is a man on honour and integrity and one that I really liked. Nyree is a strong, independent woman, not afraid to take on the world, whilst pursuing her passion. Although this is a stand alone, I do feel that if time permits you would perhaps get even more enjoyment from Just Say (Hell) No if you were to read the previous books i 4.5 Star Review of Just Say (Hell) No (Escape to New Zealand #11) by Rosalind James Marko Sendoa is a strong, loyal man who will do anything for his family and friends.He is a man on honour and integrity and one that I really liked. Nyree is a strong, independent woman, not afraid to take on the world, whilst pursuing her passion. Although this is a stand alone, I do feel that if time permits you would perhaps get even more enjoyment from Just Say (Hell) No if you were to read the previous books in the series. Not necessary, just a suggestion. Marko and Nyree should not meld well together as they are opposites but in my opinion they are a perfect blend; two halves of a whole. As with previous books I have read from Rosalind James, this book was as well written with strong characters that I found I could easily relate too. The secondary characters were also great and I found myself invested in this book from the start. I also love the fact that Ms.James has obviously dived into the Maori and New Zealand way of life, at times I truly believed I was in New Zealand such was her ability to transport me with her words. I look forward to reading other stories in this series by Rosalind James.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Penny Dellarocco

    Rosalind James’s latest rugby romance is just amazing. The Escape to New Zealand series is one of my favorites and I’m happy to see that some of my favorite couples from past books have some face time in Just Say Hell No. Nyree is no stranger to rugby. Her stepfather is a coach and stepbrothers are players for a professional team. Nyree has a bit of an ugly duckling thing going on and still has self-esteem issues. Marko used to play for her father way back when Nyree was young and she had a mas Rosalind James’s latest rugby romance is just amazing. The Escape to New Zealand series is one of my favorites and I’m happy to see that some of my favorite couples from past books have some face time in Just Say Hell No. Nyree is no stranger to rugby. Her stepfather is a coach and stepbrothers are players for a professional team. Nyree has a bit of an ugly duckling thing going on and still has self-esteem issues. Marko used to play for her father way back when Nyree was young and she had a massive crush on him. She overheard part of a conversation that broke her heart. When they meet again many years later, Marko doesn’t recognize her. He does recognize the fact that even though she’s the opposite of his usual type – long, leggy blondes - he’s attracted to her and her soft curves. Marko is a stand-up guy that you will love. Marko’s 16 year old cousin, Elle, shows up at his door having run away from home because she’s pregnant and wants to stay with him until the baby is born, which she plans to give up for adoption. I love Elle and I love Tom, a young player on Marko’s team, who befriends her. I would love to see them get their own book five years later. As usual, Rosalind writes an awesome steamy romance, but also deals with important issues, such as self-esteem, teen pregnancy, prejudice and so much more. 5 stars.

  25. 4 out of 5

    kookyquinn

    *dreamy sigh* I love this series. I love everything about it. I wasnt sure as the first heroine was a little annoying (book 1) and Rosalind's sex scenes are pretty mellow and very Nora Roberts non-descriptive but as they progressed they just got better and better. This one was just ugh! SOOOOOO good! Low to no angst. The sexy times were unusually HAWT and the cameos from past characters perfect little snips! I've probably said this about a million times but my favorite books are where the MC's ar *dreamy sigh* I love this series. I love everything about it. I wasnt sure as the first heroine was a little annoying (book 1) and Rosalind's sex scenes are pretty mellow and very Nora Roberts non-descriptive but as they progressed they just got better and better. This one was just ugh! SOOOOOO good! Low to no angst. The sexy times were unusually HAWT and the cameos from past characters perfect little snips! I've probably said this about a million times but my favorite books are where the MC's are actually together for a good portion of the book. It's so depressing and frustrating when as soon as the couple gets together the book ends. I want to see them as a couple! See how they handle things as a team. This was one of those! YAY! If you haven't read this series you're truly missing out. I honestly hope it never ends.

  26. 5 out of 5

    SandyL

    Marko Sendoa has recently joined the Auckland Blues and is getting settled in his new house when his 16-year-old niece shows up and announces she's pregnant. Marko agrees to let her stay with him, at least for now. Nyree Morgan is a struggling artist who used to have a crush on Marko. When Marko is ordered to pose for publicity photos at a local animal shelter, Nyree is the photographer. Marko doesn't recognize her, but he is attracted to her. After several encounters Marko asks Nyree to stay wi Marko Sendoa has recently joined the Auckland Blues and is getting settled in his new house when his 16-year-old niece shows up and announces she's pregnant. Marko agrees to let her stay with him, at least for now. Nyree Morgan is a struggling artist who used to have a crush on Marko. When Marko is ordered to pose for publicity photos at a local animal shelter, Nyree is the photographer. Marko doesn't recognize her, but he is attracted to her. After several encounters Marko asks Nyree to stay with his niece when he's out of town, and, as you do, one thing leads to another. I struggled at the beginning of this book - I kept feeling like I was missing something. But, things improved and by the end of the book I was really into the story. I loved the kitten and the characters and I'm glad it all ended on a great note!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    I really liked this one and as much as I liked the romance between Marko and Nyree, I really loved how Marko dealt with his cousin, Ella. I loved that Marko immediately was on Ella's side, that he gave her a safe place to be, a safe place to make some hard decisions. With Nyree there as well, it added to the atmosphere for Ella. As Nyree brought literal color to Marko's life, she brought so much more. I loved the ending, knew what was going to happen and as happy as I was for things, I was a bit I really liked this one and as much as I liked the romance between Marko and Nyree, I really loved how Marko dealt with his cousin, Ella. I loved that Marko immediately was on Ella's side, that he gave her a safe place to be, a safe place to make some hard decisions. With Nyree there as well, it added to the atmosphere for Ella. As Nyree brought literal color to Marko's life, she brought so much more. I loved the ending, knew what was going to happen and as happy as I was for things, I was a bit sad too.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    Laughter and tears both in this latest Escape to En Zed book by Rosalind James! Authentic characters, from the hero and heroine to the family, friends, team-mates and pets around them in a good story. How far does a famous rugby player go to help a pregnant teenage runaway cousin? Pretty far, in this case, as Marko is a real family guy. He enlists help from artist Nyree, who sticks him with a tiny kitten and with whom he shares a not-so-great history and an big attraction. The daily communicatio Laughter and tears both in this latest Escape to En Zed book by Rosalind James! Authentic characters, from the hero and heroine to the family, friends, team-mates and pets around them in a good story. How far does a famous rugby player go to help a pregnant teenage runaway cousin? Pretty far, in this case, as Marko is a real family guy. He enlists help from artist Nyree, who sticks him with a tiny kitten and with whom he shares a not-so-great history and an big attraction. The daily communications with his mom were a cool thread running through the story, too. (Trust me!) For fans of the series, lots of updates with the Blues players! Not going to spoil anything, but this is a book to stay up late finishing!

  29. 5 out of 5

    MB (What she read)

    3.5 stars. I enjoyed this a lot. I liked that the hero wasn't a jerk. I also found Ella's perspective touching, and something I've never thought much about before. (view spoiler)[Kind of glad to see the tough choice was realistically followed through, although it was mitigated since we readers are also invested in the new parents. (hide spoiler)] 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this a lot. I liked that the hero wasn't a jerk. I also found Ella's perspective touching, and something I've never thought much about before. (view spoiler)[Kind of glad to see the tough choice was realistically followed through, although it was mitigated since we readers are also invested in the new parents. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    El

    Um I love this series so freaking much WTF

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