The Dating Playbook
by Farrah Rochon
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Pub Date 17 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 02 May 2022
When a personal trainer agrees to fake date her client, all rules are out the window in this delightful romantic comedy from the USA Today bestselling author of The Boyfriend Project!
When it comes to personal training, Taylor Powell kicks serious butt. Unfortunately, her bills are piling up, rent is due, and the money situation is dire. Taylor needs more than the support of her new best friends, Samiah and London. She needs a miracle.
And Jamar Dixon might just be it. The oh-so-fine former footballer wants back into the NFL, and he wants Taylor to train him. There's just one catch -- no one can know what they're doing. But when they're accidentally outed as a couple, Taylor's game plan is turned completely upside down. Is Jamar just playing to win . . . or is he playing for keeps?
A Note From the Publisher
"This football romance is a total knockout: funny, sexy, and full of heart." - Kirkus Reviews, starred
"This football romance is a total knockout: funny, sexy, and full of heart." - Kirkus Reviews, starred
For media inquiries, please contact Estelle Hallick / firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Estelle Hallick / email@example.com.
Average rating from 467 members
I loved The Boyfriend Project, and this follow-up was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. And WOWWW, it was even better than I expected. Taylor was so strong, yet so vulnerable, and one of her insecurities was something I could relate to. My heart was hurting for her, while also hoping for her. Jamar was trying to do what he felt was right for everyone but himself. They are exactly what each other needed. An incredibly spectacular read!
We've got fake dating and forced proximity, and I am in LOVE! Taylor was so ambitious yet stubborn and I loved watching her come into her own. I've never read a book about a personal trainer and this one seemed well-researched and non-triggering. Plus when the steam hits, all of the tension that built up is tooootally worth it! But beware, because this book is unputdownable.. so cancel your plans, grab some lentil chips, and enjoy!
*Thank you to Forever for the ARC in exchange for my honest review*
I could not put this book down. It was excellent.
Taylor Powell is an outstanding fitness professional but finds herself struggling to pay her bills after a series of jobs don't pan out, mainly because she doesn't have a college degree. Then she meets Jamar Dixon, a former football star, whose pro football career ended after being carted off the field with a knee injury. Jamar wants another chance to prove that he can play with the pros and he wants Taylor to help him get back into the physical shape to do it. But there is one catch -- no one can know they are working together. When they are spotted in public together, Taylor accidently says they are dating to protect Jamar's privacy. This begins a series of "strategies" for how to handle their fake dating public persona which has now developed to hide the fact that they are working together professionally. But the more they work together, the less "fake" the dating starts to feel.
This book sucked me in from page 1 and I could not stop reading. These characters were so good and there so many deep issues addressed in this book. From grief and guilt to issues of learning and education. I loved the complexity of the characters. All of the characters were so well developed and I wanted to know what happened to them.
I loved Rochon's writing style and the way she handled some of the really hard issues in this book. I read the author's notes at the end and saw that some of these issues were really difficult for her to write about. It came through on the page how much she poured her heart and soul into these characters and this work. I felt these characters and everything they went through. Especially Jamar and his grief and heart break. I wanted to wrap him up and hug him so many times.
This is one of the best reads I have read in a while. I highly recommend this one.
Farrah Rochan does it again, I absolutely loved this book! I loved learning more about Taylor in this book after the whole scandal from the first book. Taylor is such a strong character, and I loved her! My heart was hurting for her the whole time. Jamar was the perfect partner for her, they needed one another. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it!
So hot!! I love this author and was still blown away by how fun and steamy this book was. Very highly recommended for all public library collections!
I adored The Boyfriend Project. It's the one book I read before starting a bookstagram account that I went back and reviewed just to share that it deserved five stars. So I have been eagerly awaiting Taylor's story for a year, but with that little bit of worry that I couldn't possibly like it as much. I am amazed and thrilled to report that I didn't need to worry. I loved Dating Playbook even more.
Taylor is a fitness trainer, and Jamar is hoping to earn back a spot on an NFL team. Their romance is hot, in a way that is only possible with lots of workouts. And they also connect with each other and support each other at deeper emotional levels. But this romance is so much more.
The things that take a romance novel to the next level for me are having amazing secondary characters and bringing in serious issues. This book nails both. We still have the awesome trio of strong women with Taylor, Samiah, and London supporting each other in their goals (and pushing each other when necessary). And Taylor's family and her interactions with them add yet another amazing layer while I laughed out loud at Jamar's interactions with his parents.
But more, this book tackles really big issues around media representation and stereotypes of Black men in the NFL, military life and the toll it takes on families, and grief and guilt in ways that moved me deeply. One part that touched me particularly strongly was the amazing portrayal of all the feelings that can accompany an undiagnosed learning disability.
I don't want to say more about any of these to avoid spoilers, but just wow. This book made me think and cry and laugh. I expect to read The Boyfriend Project and it again back to back. And now I can't wait for London's book (she was my favorite from the first novel).
Thank you SO much to Forever for the advanced reader copy. Reading it was so special.
Wow! I loved this one! I had to read it as soon as it hit my kindle.
This series is quickly becoming a new favorite. Strong women, amazing female friendships, amazing banter and romance, what more could you want?
I loved The Boyfriend Project and could not wait for London and Taylor's story.
The women in this series are so strong and dedicated to their careers and friendships. If only all women had friendships like this. Even though Samiah, Taylor and London met in less than ideal circumstances, but have developed such an amazing friendship in short amount of time.
Taylor is an amazing trainer and attracts ex-NFL star Jamar. After having a career ending injury, he's determined to get his shot back in the NFL and wants to hire Taylor to train him secretly. The chemistry between these two is immediately off the charts. I loved their friendship and banter. Because of past experiences, Taylor won't sleep with clients (even if she's falling for them.) This causes a lot of tension between the two, but I'm so glad they were able to work it out. I've loved both male leads for this series, Daniel and Jamar. Of course no one is perfect, but it's nice to have wonderful male leads.
I cannot wait for London's story.
I will update as soon as I post my review on bookstagram.
5 STAR READ, I would give it 5 eggplants... but that isn’t an option. I read this as an ARC, from NetGalley, in exchange for my honest review.
Let me start this off by saying that The Boyfriend Project was one of my top reads in 2020. Mainly because of the badass squad that came from it. Don’t get me wrong, I love the romance, but these powerful ladies are a highlight. The support and love that they have for one another is great. I can’t wait to read London’s story in 2022.
Now that we have the groundwork laid, let’s get down to business.
I, like Taylor, know little to nothing about football. I fell asleep during the SuperBowl last year... in my defense I had just flown into Florida for Disney, but that’s a different story. I also, am not, nor have I ever been a fitness guru. This being said, the storyline was fun, and didn’t go over my head. I enjoyed the fact that Taylor was Jamar’s trainer.
The book has a slow burn. The romance is fire 🔥🔥 Don’t get me wrong, but it takes a while to get there. Clients to fake dating turned real. I loved watching it escalate. I wanted them to bang the whole time. Like climb him already gurlll.
I also loved that the book covered many real life topics. Military childhood, grieving the loss of a loved one, learning disorders, poverty, walking away from a dream... just to name a few. Farrah develops real world problems for our hero and heroine. Their story is interesting, and she doesn’t just use them to drive the plot along. They are believable.
I definitely recommend this book, as well as The Boyfriend Project. Farrah has done it again.
I am a sucker for a sports romance! Football? Yes, please. Baseball? I hope the bases are loaded. Hockey? Give me that puck!!
For starters, this is my first time reading a book by this author, and I don't know what took me so long! I need to go and read my copy of The Boyfriend Project now because this book was so fun and sweet! I love how Farrah Rochon also identified a character with a learning disorder in this book too because all our lives we're in school, I'm currently in university, and we're always expected to continue it rather than to stop and think of how we can further ourselves, and to shed light on a learning disability and the issues that arise from that was very informative and thoughtful!
I recommend this book ten fold!
Thank you to NetGalley and Forever Publications for the earc in return for an honest review.
Small-town romance, a tight-knit girl group, football players, and the fake dating trope? Sign. Me. Up. The Dating Playbook, the highly anticipated sequel to Farrah Rochon's The Boyfriend Project is the ideal summer into fall romance read.
The personal trainer and owner of Taylor'd Conditioning, Taylor Powell, is in trouble. She's over-exerted herself financially, and seeing as she considers herself the black sheep of her "perfect" family, going to them is not an option. When former NFL star Jamar Dixon pops up as a student in Taylor's class, she is attracted to him, but apprehensive, even more so after he offers her an exorbitant amount of money to become his trainer. Finally, Taylor and Jamar reach an agreement, she'll train him so that he can return to the NFL and finishing living the dream that he and his deceased best friend shared. In exchange, he'll pay her and endorse her company publicly once he signs on to a team again. The biggest catch? She can't tell anyone that she's training him. When Taylor and Jamar run into a reporter, they accidentally tell him that they're in a relationship -- the perfect cover, right? What follows is a story of finding oneself, learning how to love again, coping with grief, and some very steamy interactions.
Now, I'll be the first to admit I've been on a bit of a romance novel kick this summer. I've come to expect a certain flow of these books. Despite these expectations, Rochon still made the story unexpected and engaging. The writing style of this book is absolutely engrossing, I was drawn in and stayed hooked until the end. Even the epilogue had me wanting to see more of Taylor and Jamar. I haven't read The Boyfriend Project, but after reading this book (and still being able to understand the characters and their personalities), I am absolutely jumping at the chance to grab it off the shelves.
Overall rating: 4.5/5 (rounded up to 5)
The Dating Playbook will be available for purchase on August 17th. Be sure to add it to your Goodreads shelf and see where it's available for purchase. Also, be sure to check out Farrah Rochon's website!
I was lucky enough to be able to read this Advanced Reader's Copy through my partnership with NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
This charming second entry in Rochon's series focuses on personal trainer Taylor and side-lined football player Jamar. The two have instant chemistry but fear that a real relationship would stand in the way of each of their goals. They grow closer as they train privately and spend time in public to sell their fake relationship, and work individually and collectively to address the familial and professional issues that concern them. This book deftly goes from serious topics to laugh-out-loud humor and I highly recommend it.
I absolutely loved The Boyfriend Project so when I realized that this book was a stand-alone spin off centered around Taylor, I knew that I needed to read it.
This has the same witty charm and steam as it's predecessor, yet that is where the comparison between the two books ends. Taylor's project was to grow her fitness business and she is struggling to do just that. A couple of bad moves has left her in debt, she is losing out on positions as some people can't see past her lack of college degree, and she is really struggling to believe in herself. But then Jamar "Diesel" Dixon enters the picture and seems to be the answer to all her problems; all she needs to do is train him in secret so that he can make a return to professional football. Everything seems perfect until all of a sudden Taylor finds herself in a fake relationship with Jamar for the 'gram, and they are forced into spending all of their time together. Oh, and while they both want a real relationship with each other, they are also determined to keep their relationship strictly professional.
I loved every moment of this, and while it could just be a fluffy romance novel, Farrah Rochon writes about so much more. It is a story of believing in oneself, mending relationships with family and friends, overcoming guilt and grief, and the realization that sometimes when one door closes another one opens elsewhere.
This book was really cute! I finished it in less than a day. For fans of The Boyfriend Project, you will love Taylor's story, though this can be a standalone book. The love interest is swoon worthy and I loved how their relationship progressed. I did think it was slow or drawn out at some points, but overall a very enjoyable book.
I’m relatively new to the world of sports romance — Check, Please is the only other “sports romance” that comes to mind, actually, but I couldn’t help but find the description of The Dating Playbook to be incredibly intriguing!
The Dating Playbook is the second book in The Boyfriend Project series, although it stands completely on its own, and has some of the best rom com tropes! The Dating Playbook follows personal trainer, Taylor, who is struggling to get her business off the ground. When former footballer Jamar Dixon approaches Taylor to be his personal trainer, she figures it’s the perfect opportunity to make a deal: she’ll be his personal trainer for two months if he’ll endorse her company at the end. It’s a steadfast way to pay off her debt, and get herself back on her feet — Jamar’s only catch is that no one can know what he’s doing. And when they get spotted together in public, it’s only natural that their cover is that they’re dating.
There was so much to love about The Dating Playbook, but what I want to start with is how much I appreciate the way Taylor was written with so much care and compassion. Taylor is undoubtedly a heroine that you can’t help but love, even though some of her choices had me a little frustrated at times. One of my favorite things about The Dating Playbook is how Taylor didn’t go to college, and didn’t need to start her business — as well as how it mentioned how people are quick to judge based on if someone goes to college or not. Throughout The Dating Playbook, Taylor is considering the idea of going back to college, but often hits a mental roadblock at the thought of more education. Without giving too much away, Taylor realizes that she has a learning disability, as well as ADHD, and it was really powerful to see that representation on paper.
Taylor and Jamar were wonderful to read about. There was so much tension and chemistry between them, and while I’m not a fan of insta-love, I felt like this one wasn’t reminiscent of a typical insta-love, and they felt properly developed. I loved their banter, but more importantly, I felt like they really wanted the other person to succeed, and be truly happy. Taylor and Jamar weren’t afraid to give each other the hard-hitting truths they needed to hear, and came together as a team. And the fake-dating, forced proximity, hurt/comfort tropes? Just absolutely lovely.
One of my favorite things about The Dating Playbook was the message about how sometimes your initial career plan isn’t what’s right for you, and how there are multiple ways to best use your skill set. Following Taylor and Jamar on their journey to figuring out what was the right path for them was wonderful to read about.
I read the entirety of The Dating Playbook all in one sitting, and couldn’t put it down! I felt like it was well-paced, and resonated with the way Rochon writes. As I’m not a sports person (far from it), I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Dating Playbook, and all it had to offer. I wasn’t turned off by any of the sports conversations, and I appreciated that any conversations about football or sports were contextualized quite often. I don’t think my lack of sports-knowledge pulled me out of the book, nor did I have to stop and google concepts!
I also loved reading about Taylor’s friends, and am so excited to go back and read The Boyfriend Project to find out more about Samiah’s story — and I cannot wait for London’s story as well. As I’m not Black, I highly recommend also checking out ownvoices reviews.
Another terrific read from Rochon! Taylor's beautiful but insecure because of issues with school. Jamar's rich and talented, but he feels guilty for having the career his best friend never would. Another tale of well-rounded characters finding themselves and each other. I loved it.
Literally my only complaint is that Taylor said she needed to make banana bread while the bananas were still ripe.
**Review based on ARC**
(I'll post on Amazon when the book goes live)
This was one of my most anticipated summer reads! I fell in love with the friend trio of Samiah, Taylor, and London in The Boyfriend Project. In The Dating Playbook, we get Taylor’s story, as she struggles to forge a path for herself that lives up to her family’s sky-high expectations.
-struggling to keep her fitness business afloat
-struggling with the decision to go back to school and get a degree
-struggling to prove her “worth” in her friend group
-struggling to keep things with her new client as professional as possible
This new client--Jamar--could be the solution to MOST of her problems. He’s given her a lucrative private training offer to help him reclaim an NFL spot he lost after a potentially career-ending injury. However, there are plenty of roadblocks--the chemistry between the pair, Jamar’s insistence that no one can know he’s a client, and a long-buried secret that’s been holding Taylor back educationally.
Bless her, through it all, Taylor tries her best to stay positive, but everyone has their breaking point, right? I love that Taylor was able to be vulnerable to Jamar, her friends, her family, and eventually, herself to try to achieve her dreams. By showing Jamar those raw and authentic parts of herself, she was able to form a deeper connection with him and really everyone she loves.
The Dating Playbook lived up to expectations and made me even more excited to read London's story next summer! Thanks to Forever for a digital review copy.
I really enjoyed Farrah Rochon’s first novel in this series and found myself so excited to read more from her! As much as I liked The Boyfriend Project, I thought The Dating Playbook was even better! This was such a fun take on the fake relationship trope. This gets a solid four stars from me. Looking so forward to the next in the series! Thank you Netgalley for my advanced reader copy in exchange for my honest review.
In the Dating Playbook, Farrah Rochon takes on some big issues in addition to serving up a sweet and sexy fake dating romance. It's an absolute joy to be back with Samiah, London, and Taylor. The friendship is stronger than ever, even as Taylor struggles with being the broke friend in the group as she's trying to get real traction for her fitness consulting business. And Jamar, our other MC, well, his NFL career might have been brief, but he's a big ol' cinnamon roll in a running back-sized package.
As the relationship develops (fake until it's not), the two open up to each other, revealing survivors guilt, bumpy family dynamics, and a suspected, but undiagnosed learning disability. It all gives Taylor and Jamar's story emotional heft and complexity that adds up to a really satisfying read.
If you liked The Boyfriend Project, I'm betting you'll LOVE The Dating Playbook.
Taylor secures a former NFL star Jamar Dixon as a client for her fitness and nutrition consulting business, Taylor’d Conditioning. In a struggle to make ends meet, she feels as if this would save everything she’s worked hard for. After a devastating, knee-busting injury that put Jamar out of the game, he wants nothing more but to get back in. Of course, the Playbook gets a bit complicated when the two put up a dating front for the media.
Rochon does it again, guys! Taylor’s story, much like Samiah’s, was about empowered and empowering women, and debilitating internal conflicts, such as learning disabilities, grief, guilt, atonement, and self-deprecation. The laugh-out-loud humor, banter, and chemistry, the football elements, fitness and nutrition details all culminated into a rather flawless development of the romance. So much encouragement, support between the main characters, as well as Taylor’s family and the girls, rounded everything up nicely, too.
All the stars for this amazing book!! The Dating Playbook by Farrah Rochon is somehow even better than book 1 in the series!! This one follows Taylor Powell, the fitness trainer as she meets and agrees to train Jamar Dixon in secret as he prepares to get back into the NFL after a career ending injury his rookie season.
Jamar and Taylor had great chemistry, a fun story, and so much heart. The steam level was just right although be warned you may find yourself blushing more than once!! :)
I LOVED everything about their story and how vulnerable they each had to be in order to find that well deserved happily ever after!! High recommend!!!
In short: Personal Trainer, Taylor, agrees to fake her client Jamar, a former NFL player trying to get back in the game.
My thoughts: As a die hard football fan I really enjoyed this Romcom! This book explored so much from the pressure to play to grief to family dynamics and learning disabilities all while having 2 characters discover their real purpose I’m life while falling in love.
The characters in this book were had great chemistry. I loved their banter along side the more serious moments. I related so much to Taylor, especially the situation with her family and how she perceived their comments to her and her struggles with learning.
Jamar was also a great character. I enjoyed seeing the dedication it takes to be a professional athlete, his love of chips and cheese and his loyalty to his best friend and the promise he made to always take care of his friends family after he passed. His determination to return to the NFL was so much more than to just wait play. Seeing this more human side of an elite athlete was nice to see.
I highly recommend this book for any romcoms fans, but especially for sports fans.
A fake dating trope, references to the Princess & the Frog, and kissing in the rain what more can you ask for.
Farrah Rochon’s The Dating Playbook is the sequel to last summer’s The Boyfriend Project. In the book, we find Taylor whose fitness company is struggling, especially as she is in a financial bind; she is a at a crossroads, when one day ex-NFL player Jamar attends her pop-up bootcamp fitness class. Jamar needs a new trainer to get in back into shape, so he can attempt to re-enter the NFL. However, he doesn’t want anyone to know about his plans or his true connection to Taylor, so to keep the fact that Jamar is training under Taylor they pretend to date. As always, the lines get blurred and their is undeniable attraction and chemistry between Jamar and Taylor.
I absolutely enjoyed the Dating Playbook, and I enjoyed it more than The Boyfriend Project. This book is funny, adorable, a bit steamy, and it has emotional depth. TayJar are definitely #couplegoals.
What a fun book! The Dating Playbook gives us Taylor's romance story following The Boyfriend Project (which I hadn't read yet, but still loved this book and was not lost). Jamar's a football player who's blown out his knee and needs a trainer to get him back into shape for another season. Taylor needs the money and a confidence boost to make decisions about her future. Both of them have some lessons to learn and some trauma to work through.
I ran through this book. Rochon writes excellent characters and knows how to create great tension/conflict that is super realistic. This book makes me want to read the rest of Rochon's work, especially this series, so I can see how this all started and what happens with the other two friends! If you enjoy fake relationships, are looking forward to football season, or just like a good romance where both characters make each other better, offer support, and aren't toxic, then you might like this book!
Thank you to Netgalley and Grand Central Publishing for an e-ARC of this book.
If you are looking to for one more perfect beach read to read before Summer ends, The Dating Playbook is a perfect option. This was super cute and such a fun read - I loved the characters!
You will love this book…
…if the fake dating trope is one of your favorites! Taylor is broke and really struggling to make ends meet with her personal training business. Jamar is trying to return to playing professional football after a career-ending knee injury. Jamar hires Taylor to get him back in shape - and if he is successful, it could put Taylor’s business on the map. They find themselves pretending to date in order to hide the fact that Jamar is training for a return to the NFL, potentially jeopardizing his future endorsement of Taylor’s business.
…if you love characters you can root for. I thought Taylor’s character was so strong, and loved her independence and willingness to work hard to overcome her challenges. Jamar was a great love interest, and I liked that the book really address his struggle with his best friend’s death and the impact has had on his life.
…even if you haven’t read the first book in the series. I hadn’t yet read The Boyfriend Project when I picked this up, and I thought it worked really well as a stand-alone novel. It does reference some events from the first book, but the author did a great job summarizing it and I never felt lost or confused. After finishing this I immediately bought an ebook of The Boyfriend Project because I couldn’t wait to read more!
Thank you to Net Galley and Forever for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Oh I loved this book! How can I care so little about actual football but love football (or football-adjacent) romances so darn much?! To be fair, after loving The Boyfriend Project (the first in this series) I knew I'd love this one, and it didn't disappoint.
Taylor Powell (who we met in the last book) is a personal trainer, but things aren't going so hot right now and she's struggling to get her business off the ground and pay her bills. At a pop-up bootcamp session, she meets Jamar Dixon who's trying to work his way back into the NFL after blowing out his knee early in his career. He thinks Taylor is just the trainer to help him, but he wants to keep it all under the radar.
When a nosy reporter starts asking questions about the two of them Taylor blurts out that they're dating, so as not to blow Jamar's plan. Obviously, the more time they spend together the more undeniable their chemistry is. But they both have goals they're working hard for and don't want to jeopardize, plus they each have a healthy amount of issues they need to work through before they can really commit to another person.
I loved both of the main characters so much. They felt like people I've known all my life, and I just wanted to hug the book at the end. Plus, the female friendships in the book are just amazing. It'll make you chuckle, and it will make you cry, and basically feel all the feelings. Farrah Rochon has done it again folks!
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