Review: Lila by Elizabeth Reyes

Lila
Series: Boyle Heights, #1
Author: Elizabeth Reyes
Publication Date: January 26, 2017
Publisher: Elizabeth Reyes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

When two unlikely paths cross . . . compatibility seems improbable.

Adrift in a foul-mouthed world of ass kicking to survive life on the tough streets of Boyle Heights, Lila is anything but a refined girlie girl. Fighting tooth and nail for those she loves has left her with a chip on her shoulder as big as the gloves on her fists.

After years of being surrounded by glamorous glitzy women, Sonny didn’t even realize how much he’s yearned for someone of real substance. So, when he meets the unapologetic, sexy-as-hell Lila, her in-your-face candor awakens something in him he’s never felt before.

Despite Lila’s suspicions about Sonny’s intentions, the two begin a seemingly innocent, yet deliciously dangerous, online flirtation as his business keeps him away a lot.

The more their rapidly growing connection intensifies, the more Lila feels Sonny is too perfect to be true. But when she’s blindsided by the truth about who Sonny really is . . .

Compatibility suddenly feels impossible.

The first in my new series “Boyle Heights.” A spin-off of 5th Street. Will feature character crossings from other series’. Stay tuned to find out who Lila’s love interest will be. 😉


Elizabeth Reyes was one of the first new adult authors I fell in love with. Her stories are filled with a diverse group of characters who are all mentally tough and willing to fight for what they believe in. I always appreciate the little connections she weaves in between her series, and the incredibly alpha males she creates.

Lila is a sports romance with a little romantic suspense woven in. It’s told in dual points of view. Lila is a badass fighter just trying to get by. Sonny is the guy who sees past her tough exterior to the woman she really is. I have to warn readers, Lila and Sonny kind of have an insta-love thing going on. That didn’t bug me, though. Their relationship might appear a little rushed, but it felt natural. I can see a lot of relationships being formed the way Lila and Sonny’s was with technology being what it is these days.

Lila was one tough chick. I loved how fierce she was and how she stood up for those she cared about. Her determination was amazing. I also liked that she was the fighter in this one. What I loved even more about her was her ability to get a little soft when it came to Sonny. It made her seem like a real human with insecurities like the rest of us.

Sonny was a surprise. I won’t give away who he is or how he’s connected to Reyes’ other books, but fans of hers are going to freak when they figure out who he is! I did. It made me happy that Sonny finally got the girl. He was a lot sweeter than I remembered him, but maybe that’s because he found his perfect match in Lila.

Sonny isn’t the only character making an appearance from Reyes’ series. The entire cast of the 5th Street novels are involved in this story because Lila trains in their gym. It was fun to see some favorites again. I’m hoping more of her characters will continue to pop up in the Boyle Heights series.

The only thing that kept me from giving Lila 5 stars was the ending. Things got a little crazy, and it wasn’t what I was hoping for the story. I did like the character growth shown by Lila. I just didn’t like how she was able to prove herself. I also felt things were sped through at the end with Lila and Sonny. I didn’t feel their relationship got the focus it should have at the end. Instead, the time was spent on Lila’s sister Ali and setting up the next book — which I can tell is going to be suspenseful! I liked the little preview, but would have liked more Lila and Sonny time.

That being said, I still really enjoyed Lila. I loved that Elizabeth Reyes created a character like Lila, who was both physically and mentally tough, and also gave her a soft side. It showed off her talent as a writer. I’m looking forward to finding out what’s up next in the series.

Review: Back Check by Kelly Jamieson

Back Check
Series: Aces Hockey, #4
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: January 10, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The so-bad-they’re-good alphas of hockey’s Chicago Aces are back in this emotionally charged novel of sex, love, and second chances from the bestselling author of Top Shelf and the Heller Brothers series.

Tanner Bennet hates weddings. They just remind him that he simply isn’t cut out for any kind of healthy, committed relationship—never has been, never will be. After getting rejected by the girl he thought was “the one” all those years ago, he made a huge mistake and married the wrong person. Now that the divorced heartbreaker has reluctantly agreed to be a groomsman for one of his NHL teammates, the last thing he expects is a chance at redemption with the one that got away.

After Marc Dupuis of the Chicago Aces hires wedding planner Katelyn Medford, she discovers that her big break comes with a twist: a reunion with her college sweetheart. The way she dumped Tanner still haunts her. Eight years—and three broken engagements—later, Katelyn knows she’ll never have that kind of innocent, wide-eyed passion again. Still, she and Tanner soon generate enough body heat to burn up the sheets. And even with Tanner’s career with the Aces up in the air, Katelyn’s wondering

whether the time is right to let him in for real.


I can’t believe that this is the first Aces Hockey book I’ve read! I’ve been missing out. Back Check was such a fun book to read. It combined two things I love: second chance romances and hockey players. I really have to thank Cristina @ My Tiny Obsessions for cluing me into this series by reviewing Back Check. I might not have found this book otherwise!

Kelly Jamieson’s writing is impressive. It takes a lot to pull off a third person, dual point of view narrative and she nailed it. There was no problem connecting with the characters or their thoughts and feelings. I barely even noticed the story wasn’t in first person! I also loved the way she set up this second chance love story. The reasoning behind the characters’ original breakup was perfect. I loved that it was traumatic to them, but not overly dramatic for the reader.

Tanner and Katelyn were both haunted by their past mistakes and dealing with their current pressures. Reconnecting heightened their concerns about what was to come, but it also brought them comfort. Their rekindled relationship was amazing, and while complicated, it also felt simple and right. Their chemistry was incredible and I loved the moments they spent getting to know each other again.

Back Check was an entertaining romance. I loved all of the characters and their hilarious interactions. I couldn’t get enough of this book, and I’m so excited to go back and read the rest of the series! Kelly Jamieson has a new fan!

Review: Strawberry Wine by Darly Jamison

Strawberry Wine
Author: Darly Jamison
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Zebra Shout
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

How do you know if a first love is made to last?
Addison Monroe was eighteen when she fell for Jake Grady, a college student working on her family s farm for the summer. With his sapphire eyes and killer smile, Jake could have had any girl in Lakeside, Georgia. But he wanted Addy, and for those brief, wonderful months before circumstances drove them irrevocably apart they belonged to each other.
Ten years later, Addy is engaged to a doctor and working in Atlanta as a physician s assistant. Life feels full and satisfying. Yet memories of that long-ago summer and wine-flavored kisses are hard to shake. On a return visit to Lakeside, Addy crosses paths with Jake again, and soon finds herself at an unexpected crossroads. So much has changed, and Addy has chosen another route. And the magic of first love can never be rekindled…can it?”

 


Strawberry Wine is the story of a teenage girl experiencing her first love only to lose him. Flash forward ten years later, and Abby runs into her first love Jake again. Their reunion is bittersweet because Abby is engaged to marry another man. Seeing Jake again makes Abby begin to question the life she has chosen.

Strawberry Wine was a of mix of romance genres. Part One was a young/new adult romance filled with lots of immature teenage drama. It was the story of Addy’s past with Jake, and it nicely led into Part Two. The switch from Addy’s teenage view-point to her adult one was well done. She felt like the same person just older, which is what you would expect. Part Two was an adult contemporary romance.

Addie was a typical teenage girl navigating falling in love for the first time. She was dramatic and teenage girl crazy. There was an innocent sweetness of her relationship with Jake that I really loved. In some ways, I wish time hadn’t jumped so much in Part Two and that they could have resolved their issues earlier.

Jake was that hot cowboy of your dreams with a sensitive side. I couldn’t find much wrong with him other than he let Addie slip through his fingers and he made a questionable decision at one point in Part Two. Otherwise, he was perfect.

What kept Strawberry Wine from earning a higher rating from me was the inconsistency in pace of the story. The slow, drawn out beginning of Addie and Jake’s relationship in Part One didn’t feel cohesive with fast-paced conclusion of Part Two. Part Two felt like it abruptly ended and then everything was quickly explained in the epilogue. It felt like something was missing. I would have rather have experienced the time between the end of Part Two and the epilogue.

Strawberry Wine was a good debut novel. Darly Jamison is an up and coming writer with the potential to become great. She created an entertaining story with interesting characters and a lot of fun drama. I’m looking forward to reading her next novel.

WWW Wednesday: January 25, 2016

Welcome to WWW Wednesday! This meme was formerly hosted by MizB at Should be Reading but is now hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words.

The Three W’s are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So here we go…


Currently reading:

I’m reading Sawyer Bennett’s (Cold Fury Hockey, #7) now.


Recently finished:

This week I was laid up in my comfy reading lounger for the week, so I read:

Back Check (Aces Hockey, #4)
The Sun is Also a Star
Just Kiss Me
Bossman
The Feeling of Forever
Lila (Boyle Heights, #1)

Click on the book titles to read the reviews that I have already posted.


Reading Next:

Next up is an ARC of the first book in Marie Force’s new Butler, Vermont series, Every Little Thing.

 

Cover Reveal: A Boy Like You by Ginger Scott

Check out the cover of A BOY LIKE YOU by Ginger Scott! Don’t forget to preorder your copy today!

 A BOY LIKE YOU
NA Contemporary Romance
Scheduled to release: March 3, 2017
Goodreads

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes and Noble | Kobo

 

BLURB:

They say everyone’s a superhero to someone. I’m not sure who I’m supposed
to save, but I know who saved me.

We were kids. His name was Christopher. And up until the day he pulled me
from death’s grip, he was nothing more than a boy I felt sorry for. In a
blink of an eye, he became the only person who made me feel safe.

And then he disappeared.

Now I’m seventeen. I’m not a kid anymore. I haven’t been for years. While
death didn’t take me that day, the things that happened left me with
scars—the kind that robbed me of everything I once loved and drove me into
darkness. But more than anything else, that day—and every day since—has
taken away my desire to dream.

I wasn’t going to have hope. I wouldn’t let myself wish. Those things—they
weren’t for girls like me. That’s what I believed…until the new boy.

He’s nothing like the old boy. He’s taller and older. His hair is longer,
and his body is lean—strong and ready for anything. I don’t feel sorry for
him. And sometimes, I hate him. He challenges me. From the moment I first
saw him standing there on the baseball field, he pushed me—his eyes
constantly questioning, doubting…daring. Still, something about him—it
feels…familiar.

He says his name is Wes. But I can’t help but feel like he’s someone else.
Someone from my past. Someone who’s come back to save me.

This time, though, he’s too late. Josselyn Winters, the girl he once knew,
is gone. I am the threat; I am my worst enemy. And he can’t save me from
myself.

About the Author:

Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling and Goodreads Choice Award-nominated author of several young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless, Wicked Restless, In Your Dreams, The Hard Count, and Hold My Breath.

A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than 15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors, scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work, visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.

When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).

Social Media Links:
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/GingerScottAuthor
Twitter: @TheGingerScott
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/thegingerscott/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/GingerScottAuthor
Google: https://plus.google.com/u/0/+GingerScottAuthor/posts
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/GingerScott
Website: http://www.littlemisswrite.com

Review: On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins

On Second Thought
Author: Kristan Higgins
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Following in the footsteps of her critically acclaimed novel If You Only Knew , multi-bestselling author Kristan Higgins returns with a pitch-perfect look at the affection—and the acrimony—that binds sisters together. 

Ainsley O’Leary is so ready to get married—she’s even found the engagement ring her boyfriend has stashed away. What she doesn’t anticipate is for Eric to blind side her with a tactless breakup he chronicles in a blog…which (of course) goes viral. Devastated and humiliated, Ainsley turns to her half-sister, Kate, who’s already struggling after the sudden loss of her new husband.

Kate has always been so poised, so self-assured, but Nathan’s death shatters everything she thought she knew—including her husband—and sometimes the people who step up aren’t the ones you expect. With seven years and a murky blended-family dynamic between them, Ainsley and Kate have never been overly close, but their shared sorrow dovetails their faltering worlds into one.

Despite the lifetime of history between them, the sisters must learn to put their differences aside and open their hearts to the inevitable imperfection of family—and the possibility of one day finding love again.


I was so impressed with this book. Not because I haven’t always loved Kristan Higgins’ writing, but because On Second Thought felt so much more raw than her other novels. It still had that sassy humor and sparkling romantic element to it, but it also had heartbreak so deep and jarring. I wasn’t expecting it, but I loved it. (Here’s where I have to admit that I didn’t expect it because I didn’t read the blurb of this book before reading it. I just saw Kristan Higgins wrote it and was in.)

The characters in On Second Thought were spectacular. I loved ever single one of them — even the evil ones. I was especially impressed with the two main characters, Kate and Ainsley. Kate and Ainsley were sisters, but they weren’t close. When both of their lives implode, they find themselves leaning on each other for support. I empathized with both of them. I’ve never been through what Kate was going through, but I could understand her despair and confusion. I loved the frankness of her point of view. Her thoughts and feelings felt natural. Ainsley was very easy for me to identify with. The feelings of contentment with taking care of her loved ones and being pleasant with those around her really hit home with me.

One of my favorite characters in this book was evil Eric. Higgins couldn’t have made him more perfect. Everything he did made me want to smack him. I hated him, but I loved what his character brought to the story. Plus, his stupidity made me laugh.

The thing that made On Second Thought truly special was the journey Kristan Higgins took the reader on. I experienced heartbreak, grief, healing and the possibility of life after all of those things. The journey through all the emotions was beautifully crafted and well-timed. I loved every moment of this book.

On Second Thought is Kristan Higgins’ second foray into women’s fiction and exploring the bonds of sisterhood, but hopefully it won’t be her last. I loved this story so much, and I know other readers will as well.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books That Made Me Crave A Tasty Treat

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Freebie. My choice for this week is Ten Books That Made Me Crave A Tasty Treat.


1. Garden Spells
Sarah addison allen

2. Sweet addiction
j. Daniels

3. deep dish
Mary kay andrews

4. sweet on you
Kate perry

5. savor the moment
nora roberts

6. nuts
Alice clayton

7. cream of the crop
alice clayton

8. candy store
Bella andre

9. garlic and sapphires: the secret life of a critic in disguise
Ruth reichl


Have you read any books that have made you crave tasty morsels?