Book Review: All You Need by Lorelei James

December 16, 2019 Book Reviews 2

Book Review:  All You Need by Lorelei James

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All You Need by Lorelei James
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Berkley on April 4, 2017
Pages: 368
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled, What You Need, Just What I Needed, Racked and Stacked, Hang Tough, Spun Out, When I Need You, I Want You Back, Want You to Want Me

Third in the Need You contemporary romance series and revolving around the Lund family in Minneapolis. The couple focus is on Annika Lund and Axl Hammerquist

My Take

It’s all about behind-the-scenes action on the hockey team and on Annika and Axl’s professional relationship that turns personal.

Yep, Axl sounds like a real hunk, especially when you read Deanna’s description. Only…Annika’s internal response didn’t ring true. It was too soon.

Not only does All You Need pingpong back and forth between Annika and Axl, it’s got plenty of other twists and turns! All helped along by James using dual first person point-of-view from Annika’s and Axl’s perspectives. That “I don’t speak English” scheme of Axl’s, while useful in the past, turns out to be a mistake and an opportunity. As for Jaxson’s lousy behavior and the family’s willingness to turn a blind eye is really annoying.

I do like the Lund family. They run the gamut from great to nasty, but on the whole they’re a supportive group. Axl is loving how observant Annika is of him, always doing the right thing for him.

Axl sure has a ton of issues, and he doesn’t handle them all very well. From that “bunny” of a coach’s wife to his out-loud partying. What was with his not telling Annika about why he got that playah reputation? As for his parents?? Hoo, boy.

I do enjoy those crazy generic nicknames Annika comes up with. As for Mama Lund’s whacky word substitutions..!? Then there are the whacky Swedish stereotypes James brings in, in a fun way…from ABBA to meatballs.

The Story

Axl Hammerquist is a bad boy in need of a new image. Mama wants Jensen to have better representation. And so a deal is born…at Annika’s expense.

The Characters

Annika Lund, a.k.a., “the Iron Princess” and Attila, is in charge of the PR department at Lund Industries (LI).

The Lunds are…

…from Sweden and built Lund Industries (LI) from scratch.

Annika’s brother Brady, the CFO of LI and the oldest sibling, is hooked up with Lennox (What You Need, 1). Walker is another brother who hooked up with Trinity Carlson in Just What I Needed, 2. Walker is not involved in LI but runs his own construction company. Trinity’s Grandma Minnie had left Trinity her pink pearls that were taken by Trinity’s wicked stepmother, Laura. The youngest brother, Jensen, a.k.a., “The Rocket” and “Jens”, is a tight end for the Vikings football team. Their very manipulative mom, Selka Jensen Lund, along with Priscilla and Edie, had run Lund Cares Community Outreach (LCCO), a community outreach project, from their homes.

Uncle Monte, president of the LI board of directors, is married to Priscilla. Uncle Archer, CEO of LI and married to Edie, instituted a weekend lockdown at LI.

Cousins include Nolan; Zosia runs Lund Fisheries in Duluth; Jaxson is Annika’s hockey-playing cousin and known as “Action Jaxson” for the number of his hookups; Dallas is also best friends with Annika and on the cheer squad; and, Ash established LCCO, which the moms took over. Great-aunt Erma used to make this nasty pea salad.

Lund Industries
Deanna is Annika’s assistant and a friend. Suzanne Jones runs the Marketing department and was Annika’s mentor. Bud Tschetter had been the head of the old PR department. Victoria Bass had been his second-in-command until she was moved up to take command. Lucille, a.k.a., Lucy or Lucifer, is Mimi‘s mother and Jaxson’s baby mama who currently works for LI as a graphic artist. Brick is the security guard on the main floor.

Axl “The Hammer” Hammerquist, a Swede, is a playah (off the ice) who plays defense for the Minnesota Wild. Axl speaks a number of languages and has a degree in mechanical engineering. His parents never married. His mother, Malla Hammerquist, is an architect in Sweden who is now married to Lars Kagg, a scientist and advisor to the Nobel Committee. They have a daughter, Birget. His father, Bjorn Landberg (the Landbergs are “introduced nobility”), is a now-retired soccer player (with two World Cups and an Olympic gold medal) in Italy. Both are super embarrassed that Axl plays hockey. Roald and Mikel had been Axl’s best friends in Sweden and just as passionate about hockey.

Snow Village is…
…an apartment building that’s popular with a lot of winter sport pro and semipro athletes from all over the globe. Most of the residents are friends of Axl’s, including Martin Michaels, an American snowboarder, and Boris, a speed skater from Finland. Verily is Martin’s girlfriend and Sweden’s snowboarding champion. Mr Darrin is a guard there.

Peter Skaarn is Axl’s agent and an old friend of Annika’s mom. He also represented Axl’s dad, Landberg. Sally is Peter’s associate.

The Minnesota Wild is…
…the hockey team to which Axl belongs. Flitte is a four-year veteran; “Kaz” Kazakov is the team captain; Dykstrand is a veteran forward; MClellan is a fellow D-man; S “Igor” Igorsky is a Russian goalie involved with Dallas Lund; Linc Vanderhal (Leah is his girlfriend? wife?); Ron Ducheneaux; Sundstrom; Masters; Irving; and, Jorgen Sundstrom, who is Finnish and not out of the closet.

The WAGs (Wives and Girlfriends of high-profile athletes) include Leah and Bunny Ducheneaux (who lives for being their leader). The Swedish Relf, a student at U of M, is hired as a translator, joining Jakob, Axl’s regular translator. Bernie is a guard at the arena.

Drew Cheney is the center for U of M’s football team. Elena runs an exclusive dress shop. Maxwell is a chef at the club. Rausch Johnson is a self-centered, old, annoying friend of Annika’s who wants more. Isla was that nasty coach’s wife. At the party, Cash is a hockey player on the AHL. Cara has been Annika’s best friend since third grade; now she’s a chef in Thailand. Lennox’s friends include Kiley; Lola, Lennox’s former boss at LI; and, Sydney, who is an LI coworker. Trinity’s friends include Betsy, who runs Walker’s office, and Tiffany, whose husband is Walker’s partner.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a range of purples from the gradated background Axl’s gym bag handle and jeans, and Annika’s halter dress. Axl and Annika are in an embrace; Axl’s in a warm gray T-shirt, carrying that gym bag, and his hockey stick is clutched in his right hand. Annika is in profile, her long blonde hair flowing down her back. At the bottom of the cover is a silhouette of the Minneapolis skyscape. The text begins with the series info in white followed by an info blurb also in white. The author’s name is large and off-center vertically in a pale blue with the title, in white, beneath that in a split of roman and script.

The title is a blend of All You Need, as Annika views Axl and Axl views Annika.

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