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Winner Takes All (Champion Valley #1)

3.6  ·  Rating Details ·  104 Ratings  ·  76 Reviews

Money. Fame. Endorsements. Blake Carpenter had it all—before his professional football career spiraled out of control. Determined to rebuild his life, he takes on coaching the high school team in his Colorado hometown. Despite a few fumbles, Blake knows he can lead these boys to victory. As long as he can keep his eyes on the prize and off the team's di
Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages
Published August 30th 2016 by Forever
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Winner Takes All tells the story of Blake, a retired and disgraced NFL player, and the headstrong woman, Annabelle, that he tries to push away. As his hometowns new High School Football couch he already has enough to deal with, so the last thing he wants is to have the teams physical therapist trying to tell him how to couch his boys. Doesn't matter how cute she is when she's arguing with him...or so he tries to tell himself.

This was a small town roman
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

 photo 5bff5ccfe7429d482f036568006858_zpsvx6mvu9y.gif

I swear there is something about small-town romance that has a way of bringing a smile to my face. Maybe it’s the characters or the simplicity of the story line. But either way, I adore reading this trope. And in Erin Kern’s latest upcoming release, Winner Takes All, she has scored major touchdown points in my book. This is the first book that I have read from this author and it surely won’t be my last.

 photo ea41daa025bbe3d7d15aa22624015e_zps38i1w4ot.gif“How could one woman confuse him s
Winner Takes All by Erin Kern is a 2016 Forever publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a cute contemporary sports romance centered around Blake Carpenter, a former NFL golden boy, who left the sport amid injury and scandal, and Annabelle, a physical therapist, determined to keep tight control over life.

After returning to his hometown in Colorado, Blake is given a one shot chance to pull a winning season out of the
3.5 stars

Winner Takes All was a very engaging book that draws the reader in from the very beginning.

I enjoyed watching the relationship develop between Annabelle and Blake, it kept me turning the pages and I ended up reading it in one sitting.
Loved their interactions, their banter amused me and kept me entertained. Annabelle and Blake were likable characters that you could relate with and had amazing chemistry.


Overall Winner Takes All was a well written, sweet and entertaining read.
A great sta
Give Me Books
Aug 21, 2016 Give Me Books rated it really liked it
With its big-time football star returning home in disgrace and small-town girl trying to protect her heart, Winner Takes All is a simply sweet and addictively adorable story.

I'm something of a sucker for small-town romances, and this one was no exception. A fairly easy read, I quickly found myself invested in both Blake and Annabelle, and rooting for them to get past the initial...bumps in their relationship. Their hate-to-love was a slow burn, littered with some fun exchanges and flirty banter,
Winner Takes All was an okay read for me. The blurb sounded good but sadly the actual story did not live up to it. I was not really invested in the characters or their journey which is why this book did not really work for me.

ARC provided by publisher through Net Galley
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)

WINNER TAKES ALL is the first of the Champion Valley series. Erin Kern is a new-to-me author and I was intrigued by the premise of this story. Unfortunately for me, the book just didn’t work.

First and foremost, I didn’t like the hero at all. Blake Carpenter was a former football star who experienced an injury that took him off the field. Since then he’s been coaching his high school football team, but he doesn’t sound too happy about it. Blake seems too used to the money and fame that he’s all
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Rosalie & Slick's reviews posted at Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews

Rosalie's 4 star review
Football coach romance? What can get better?! I loved this plot. Blake Carpenter was an A1 football player, playing for the NFL, when an injury sidelined him. Getting injections that helped him perform ended up getting him kicked off, showing illegal drugs in his system. Not one to rat out the dr's that were injecting, he walked away...right into coaching high school football. Taking his hometown team's f
Romance Novel Giveaways Lauren Seiberling
I really enjoyed this clean romance. It's "clean" in the sense that there are no love scenes, only kissing, but bad words are perfectly sprinkled throughout, which makes the narration and dialogue very realistic.
Although, I will say, those kissing scenes really sizzled!
The book deals with some pretty heavy issues that many people face every day, and reading how Annabelle helped Blake work through his was very endearing.
I liked Blake from the beginning. He was brooding and had a toug
Angy Potter - Collector of Book Boyfriends
Book Review: 3,5 Stars

Winners Takes All was good read, full of romance, football and lots of sexual tension. Blake was a former football player. He was a star and “sadly” he ended up being a high school coach where he has the chance to prove himself again in the sports world. But his pride, reputation and one certain physical therapist didn’t make things easy for him. Annabelle is recently divorced and is fully focusing in her job in the high school football team. Her only goal is to keep those
Bette Hansen
Oct 18, 2015 Bette Hansen rated it it was amazing
I was so excited when I saw that Erin Kern had a new book coming out and she didn't disappoint! This was a great story with clear concise writing, intriguing characters and a nice easy flow. This is the first book in what should be a fantastic new series.

Blake Carpenter finds himself back in his Colorado hometown coaching high school football. After his pro football career went off the rails amid a huge scandal he needed to start over and this is where he landed. The school's football program ha
Kayla Ritenour (In Between The pages)
First off I want to send a huge thank you to the team over at Forever Romance. For not only sending me the ARC for this one, but for all the work they put in to getting posts for us bloggers made up and sent.
They work so incredibly hard and I can't you enough guys *Kisses and Hugs

I was quite surprised by this book.

I'm always up for a good sports romance. so when the awesome team at Forever reached out to review an early copy if the book, I jumped on it.

But this one was really nothing like I expe
Katrina Tinnon
Aug 14, 2016 Katrina Tinnon rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Bookish Things & More

Anyone who knows me knows I love a good football romance.  And this one is set between a coach and physical therapist.

I think my favorite thing about this book is that it's a slow romance without you even realizing it.  You get sucked into the pages and it seems like it goes really fast, when in reality it's over the course of a few months.  I loved the tension between Blake and Annabelle. It pretty much jumps off the pages.

Both Ann

(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
Originally posted at Smexybooks-

Grade: D

When I picked up Winner Takes All, I was expecting a steamy, sexy antagonistic romance combined with a conflict that deals with a scandalized ex-football star and his chance at redemption through coaching his former high school football team to glory. We sort of get this but the road to redemption is paved with a long rambling story that struggles to assert itself and is punctuated by a woman who exhibits what I like
Tina "IRead2Escape"
Hotness Rating 2 out of 5

I am a huge football fan, so when I read the description of this book I couldn't resist. I'm new to Erin Kern and didn't know what to expect, but I am so glad I gave this book a chance. Being the first of the Champion Valley series Winner Takes All does an awesome job of setting up the series for future books. The main characters are well developed and just seem so real that you feel apart of the story rather than a reader. The secondary characters are introduced in a wa
Janna ♥ I'm A Sweet And Sassy Book Whore ♥
***This and other reviews can be found at ***


Winner Takes All was a sweet romance that takes place in a small town and is about an ex-NFL football player who leaves under not so great turns who becomes the high school football coach and the high school’s football team’s physical therapist. If you are looking for a sweet, leave you with a smile on your face romance then this is the one you need to pick up. I enjoyed Winner Takes All, I can’t say that is was
P.e. lolo
Sep 14, 2016 P.e. lolo rated it it was amazing
Blake Carpenter has moved back to his home town to become the head football coach of the high school. His pro football career over because of injury and PED’S, now he must move ahead with his next phase of life. The person who knows about his injuries and wants him to succeed is physical therapist Annabelle Turner who also moved back to her home town to take care of her mother, and she also helps with the team but Blake is leery of her presence because he feels he can only trust a few people and ...more
Jun 17, 2016 Danielle rated it really liked it
I new series by Erin Kern? Yes, Please! Kern starts her Champion Valley series with a story about Blake who happens to be a former football star. Now he is coaching his high school football team and he wants to have them go all the way. Blake

Blake first comes off as rude and like he hates his job when in fact he really does enjoy it. He just doesn't like all the other people who are involved in trying to form his team. He meets Annabelle when he finds out she will be the teams Physical Therapis
Isha Coleman
Aug 29, 2016 Isha Coleman rated it really liked it
Blake had big plans. Become famous doing what he loved was just the beginning to what he saw as his long term goals. When an injury derailed his football career and left his good boy rep destroyed, his big dreams imploded and left him on the outside looking in. Winner Takes All is an all too familiar scenario. Life not working out according to plan is a format that every person has faced at one time or another. What Blake has to learn is that upsets help a person discovery their inner strength. ...more
Susan (susayq ~)
I enjoyed this so much!

Blake and Annabelle had so much chemistry! Both of them have some baggage they're clinging to...for him it's the disgraceful end to his pro football career and for her it's her need to not get hurt again after her divorce. There are some other things going on in here that I don't want to spoil. But let me say, I love how it was handled (when you read this, you'll know what I'm talking about LOL).

The supporting cast was fantastic! Cam and Brandon. Stella. The Beehive Mafia
The Book Disciple (Samantha)
Aug 20, 2016 The Book Disciple (Samantha) rated it liked it
Shelves: arc-s
Link to full review below!Cute, sweet romance between 2 people who start off rocky but find they are quite attracted to each other. See full review on The Book Disciple
Jun 18, 2016 Heather rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
Based on the blurb for this book I wanted to like it. The blurb reminded me of a Jaci Burton novel. However, I never really felt connected to the characters or the story. I finished but I can only say it was an ok plot.

ARC provided in exchange for an honest review.
Series: Champion Valley #1

Warning: Drug Abuse (view spoiler)

--What’s Going On--
Ex-NFL star, Blake Carpenter, has fallen from the limelight and is now working as a high school football coach. He has one season to get this losing team in shape or he'll lose his job. But he's not happy about having to work with physical therapist, Anna
Nov 05, 2016 Sandy rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Winner Takes All even though it wasn't hard to figure out where the author was going with the plot. It's light, fun and there aren't the very graphic sex scenes which -- while I enjoy a hot read as much as the next person -- are a bit boring and similar so I was glad that when the couple went into the bedroom (finally) I didn't have to read every specific detail of what went on. The interesting subplot is about Annabelle's sister Naomi and their mother, who Annabelle takes care of. If ...more
Dec 10, 2016 Sofia rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book after winning a copy through a giveaway on Goodreads. I do not have much too say because I found it just meh. I was able to start this book, put it down, and not come back to it for more than a month. It might work for better those who like angst but I felt that the plot was slow, and there was not really any reason to believe that the hero and heroine should be together.
Jan 11, 2017 Josephine added it
Shelves: dnf
Loved the premise and the cover, but this didn't work for me at all. The pacing was so slow, it was repetitive, and the author spent too much time talking about other stuff than working on relationship development (for example, several pages dedicated to the heroine's mother's annoying dog and its diet). This was a DNF for me and I won't be continuing with the series.
Jun 20, 2016 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first installment in Erin Kern's Champion Valley series, Winner Takes All is a wonderful romance between two protagonists with plenty of emotional baggage.

Blake Carpenter retired from football under a scandal laden cloud then returned to his hometown in Colorado. Recently hired as the high school football coach, he is under intense pressure to get his losing team into this year's playoffs. With his job on the line, Blake is not at all happy when physical therapist Annabelle Turner shows up a
Liana Smith Bautista | Will Read for Feels
***I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review, which was first posted on book blog Will Read for Feels.

Because I like a good sports romance, I was curious about Winner Takes All by Erin Kern after reading the blurb, but I was doubly so when I learned this was the first book in an all-new small-town romance series called Champion Valley. I’m a big fan of the trope, so it w
Aug 23, 2016 Lena rated it really liked it
Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley. This review also appears at

As the first installment in a new "Championship Valley"series, Winner Takes All does not disappoint. Blake is disgraced, begrudingly retired football star who's return to his hometown with one season to turn around a high-school football team's losing record. Annabelle is a control-freak physical therapist who refuses to quit on the team, even if it means she's constantly under Blake'
✰  BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

ARC received via Netgalley for an honest review

I love a sports romance. I think it makes up for me not having an athletic bone in my body!

I know absolutely nothing about American football (other than it seems to take all day to play a game lol). Throw in a small down and romance and I am a goner.

Blake and Annabelle, there is just so much spark, so much fun between them. There is attraction, but as much as they are attracted, they annoy each other no end. But the sniping and bickering is extende
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I started writing back in 2004 and six years later self-published the third book I wrote. Two years after that I landed a contract with Grand Central Publishing.

Now I'm just chugging along, spitting out books faster than my kids can turn my living room into a disaster zone...

Actually, that's not entirely true. I only wish it were true.

But in all seriousness, I write sassy and sexy contemporary rom
More about Erin Kern...

Other Books in the Series

Champion Valley (2 books)
  • Back in the Game (Champion Valley, #2)

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“Look at him being all relationshipy and stuff. (Annabelle)” 0 likes
“He knew exactly what it meant to her, because it meant the same to him. That this was anything but casual. The very thing he'd tried so hard to prevent, he was now smack in the middle of. (Blake)” 0 likes
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