Review: Under the Bleachers by K.K. Allen

Under the Bleachers
Author: K.K. Allen
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Preorder: Amazon

Goodreads

Blurb:

One kiss can change everything.

Fun and flirty Monica Stevens lives for chocolate, fashion, and boys … in that order. And she doesn’t take life too seriously, especially when it comes to dating. When a night of innocent banter with Seattle’s hottest NFL quarterback turns passionate, she fears that everything she once managed to protect will soon be destroyed.

Seattle’s most eligible bachelor, Zachary Ryan, is a workaholic by nature, an undercover entrepreneur, and passionate about the organizations he supports. He’s also addicted to Monica, the curvy brunette with a sassy mouth—and not just because she tastes like strawberries and chocolate. She’s as challenging as she is decadent, as witty as she is charming, and she’s the perfect distraction from the daily grind.

While Monica comes to a crossroads in her life, Zachary becomes an unavoidable obstacle, forcing her to stop hiding under the bleachers and confront the demons of her past. But as their connection grows stronger, she knows it only brings them closer to their end.

It’s time to let go.

To have a future, we must first deal with our pasts. But what if the two are connected?

Review:

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Last year, I read my first K.K. Allen novel. It was Up in the Treehouse and I was very impressed with the writing and the attention to detail in the setting. It was set south of Seattle, about 15 minutes from my house. I loved Up in the Treehouse, so I was excited to read the next book revolving around characters I met in that first book.

K.K. Allen’s writing was just as good as I remembered it to be. Under the Bleachers did just as much justice to the Seattle area and Up in the Treehouse did. There may have been a few name changes, but everything felt real to me. I loved the characters in this story. The dialog between them all was so much fun.

Monica was that upbeat, fun-loving. sexy without trying to be chick. She hid a lot behind her personality, and I loved the way Zach tried to break through her tough shell. Zach was everything you hope a famous football player would he. He was kind, down to earth and so sexy. He was pretty dang perfect. I loved every up and down of their love story. It felt normal and natural. Plus, their chemistry was super hot!

The one thing that threw me off about this story was the way hint were given to the reader. There bits of information given about Monica’s past throughout the story ended up confusing me. They really should have helped me figure out where the story was going. I’m not sure if that was me or the way things were delivered. Toward the end I was surprised. I honestly didn’t see the big climax coming. Looking back and putting the pieces together, I should have.

Overall, I truly enjoyed every minute of Under the Bleachers. I was enthralled by the storyline and characters. I had a hard time putting the book down to accomplish my responsibilities. All of the back and forth between the characters was just so much fun to read. Now that I’ve finished it, I am really hoping K.K. Allen continues this series. I would love a Desmond book!

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Review: Undeclared by Julianna Keyes

Undeclared
Series: Burnham College, #2
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: February 27, 2017
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: New Adult, Sports Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Kellan McVey is Burnham College’s most prolific athlete, partier, and ladies’ man—and that’s just how he likes it. Returning to reign for his third year, he wants nothing to change. Then Andrea Walsh shows up.

It wasn’t too long ago that Andi and Kellan were lifelong friends, mortal enemies, and, for one hot summer, more. Then Kellan left and Andi stayed behind.

Kellan thought he’d moved past that last summer’s heartbreak, but with Andi sitting next to him in class, befriending his friends, and battling for the same once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity, he’s starting to remember why he hated her…and why he loved her.

Kellan has a long list of reasons that falling for Andi again is a terrible idea, though every new moment together challenges that theory. But Andi’s all too familiar with Kellan’s love ’em and leave ’em approach—and she’s found someone else to get serious about.

Burnham’s campus king has never had to fight for a girl, but if he wants Andi to give him another chance, he’ll have to do the one thing he’s never had the nerve to do: admit it.


This book was a good, but uncomfortable read. It’s all Kellan’s fault. The thoughts in that guy’s head are enough to make most girls cringe. I got the reasoning behind his choices. They were pretty understandable — but understanding doesn’t mean liking. No girl wants to go through what Andi went through because of a guy. As a woman, I couldn’t empathize with Kellan. Kellan was an idiot.  I could only empathize with what I was imagining Andi was going through.

Which brings me to my next thought about Undeclared. Being in Kellan’s brain was insightful, but I would have really liked to know what was going on in Andi’s mind. I liked her character and how Kellan described her. I felt like she would have been more of an inspiring character to hear their love story through. I wanted to know what she thought about Kellan’s past couple of years at college. I wanted to know what continued to draw her to him besides his obvious good looks.

My favorite part of Undeclared had to be when Kellan is knocked off his throne. I loved seeing him finally discovering what was most important in life. His friends and family were so pivotal in that, and that was very cool. I liked their support of him, no matter how stupid he acted. I absolutely love the friendships in this series.

Despite my frustrations with Kellan, I still liked reading Undeclared. I’m a fan of Julianna Keyes’ writing and her Burnham College series. I’m happy I got to know Kellan better after meeting him in Undecided. I’m hoping this series will have many more books to come featuring Choo, Dane, and Marcela.

Review: Undecided by Julianna Keyes

Undecided
Series: Burnham College, #1
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: April 4, 2016
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Nora Kincaid has one goal for her second year of college: be invisible. Last year’s all-party-no-study strategy resulted in three failed classes and two criminal charges, and if she messes up again she’ll lose her scholarship. But there’s one problem with her plan for invisibility, and his name is Crosbie Lucas: infamous party king, general hellraiser…and her new roommate’s best friend.

Crosbie’s reckless reputation and well-known sexcapades aren’t part of Nora’s studious new strategy, but as she’s quickly learning, her new plan is also really boring. When Crosbie’s unexpected gestures of friendship pull her head out of her books long enough to see past his cocky veneer, she’s surprised to find a flawed and funny guy beneath it all. The muscles don’t hurt, either.

But as Nora starts to fall for Crosbie, the weight of one of last year’s bad decisions grows even heavier. Because three failing grades and two misdemeanors are nothing compared to the one big secret she’s hiding…


I’ve had Undecided on my Kindle for a few months now. I don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. I heard great things about it, and I wanted to read it. What finally kicked my butt in gear was the fact that I had its sequel from NetGalley to read. I’m happy this forced me to read Undecided. 

I loved Undecided. The story and characters sucked me in. I could tell where the story was headed the entire time I was reading, but that didn’t make me any less interested. In fact, that made me more excited to get to the end. I had to know how everything played out.

Telling the story from Nora’s first person point of view was perfect. She was a complex character, and her thoughts and feelings gave enough insight for the story. I didn’t need Crosbie or Kellan’s view points because I could easily imagine what they were thinking. I adored Nora. I applauded her willingness to do what it took to get her life back on track.

The blurb makes you think this might be a love triangle romance, but it wasn’t really. The relationship in this one is between Nora and Crosbie. Crosbie was amazing. I loved that guy so much. While Kellan seemed like a real man whore, Crosbie seemed like a guy who tried it out and then realized he was missing something good. He was actually super sweet. I loved him with Nora.

Every character in this book added to the story. Nora, Crosbie, Kellan and all of the rest of their friends were so cool. They created drama in some very fun ways. I liked them all so much (Well, except for Nate. I don’t care for that guy.) that I hope there are books for all of them in this series!

Undecided  was well written, funny college romance. I enjoyed it, and I know other new adult fans will as well.

P.S. This book is only $1.99 for Kindle on Amazon right now!

Review: Touching Down by Nicole Williams

Touching Down
Author: Nicole Williams
Publication Date: October 8, 2016
Publisher: Nicole Williams
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The whole world might be in love with him. But all he’s ever loved is her.

Grant Turner’s name is synonymous with football. The fans and media can’t get enough of the player known as The Invincible Man, a nickname he earned while growing up in one of the toughest neighborhoods in the country and the nickname he’s kept by being one of the best players in professional football today. No one can take him down. He’s unstoppable.

But even a suit of armor has its weak point, and Grant’s has always been Ryan Hale.

They were a couple of kids when they fell in love, and just when it looked like the happy ending neither expected was within reach, Ryan disappeared. No explanations. No good-byes.

Grant coped by throwing himself into the game for seven years, and he’s finally moved on. Or so he thinks.

When she walks back into his life, all of those feelings come crashing back, despite the warnings in his head that tell him she’ll leave him again. Grant can withstand the league’s toughest defensive line, but he’s always been weak where she’s concerned.

No man can take Grant Turner down.

But one woman certainly can.

One woman will.


I’ve been on a sports romance reading kick lately. Touching Down has been on my Kindle for a while now, so I was happy to finally get to it. I especially loved that it wasn’t just a sports romance, but a second chance romance as well. Second chance romances are always full of fun surprises. This one certainly was.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Nicole Williams and I enjoyed her writing. She created interesting, flawed characters. I loved Ryan and Grant’s special connection. Ryan’s point of view was emotion packed and interesting. I would have loved Touching Down to have been in dual point of view because I think it would have been amazing to know what was going on in Grant’s head the entire time. They were both such complex characters. I would have also loved more look backs at their time together as teens.

Ryan Hale knew what she was getting herself into when she returned to her hometown after disappearing from her friends’ lives years ago. I didn’t blame her for the choices she made when her reasoning was explained. Her decisions weren’t perfect, but her strength, determination and care for Grant was. I did think she was a little selfish waiting seven years to see Grant again.

Grant Turner was the ideal man. He was successful, sweet and made choices not very many other men would. I was impressed with how he treated Ryan and his ability to let go of the past. I loved him.

I feel like my 3.5 star rating doesn’t tell you how much I actually enjoyed reading Touching Down. I was deeply touched by Ryan and her predicament. (I may have been close to tears a couple of times while reading.) I adored the way she reconnected with Grant, and how he wanted to take care of her. They were a sweet couple. I just couldn’t give Touching Down a higher rating because I felt like there was a big part missing from it. It ended so abruptly. I would have liked more of the current time frame before the huge jump to the epilogue.

Overall, Touching Down was a great read. There was so much emotion woven into this sports romance, and I loved that. Readers who enjoy a fast-paced second chance at love story will enjoy this book.

WWW Wednesday: February 22, 2017

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 past half way finally in Ready Player One. I need to finish it ASAP because it’s overdue at the library as of yesterday.

I’m currently reading Undeclared (Woodlands, #1)Woodlands makes it sounds like some faerie novel or something, but it’s a college romance.


Recently finished:

Yet another week of a crazy amount of reading. I’m not sure how I’m getting this many books read. I think it’s maybe because they’re all romances and most of them are sports romances. They all felt like quick reads. Well, I did hurt my foot and was trying to stay off it so that might be why. I’m not a TV watcher, so I read when I’m sitting around. This week I read:

All the Ways You Saved Me (Love Unplugged, #1)
The Hot One (One Love)
Lauren (Silicon Valley Billionaires, #1)
Undecided (Burnham College, #1)
Undeclared (Burnham College, #2)
A Boy Like You
Until It’s Right
Bossed

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


Reading Next:

I’m going to read the novella Undressed (Woodlands, #1.5) to finish up the story from Undeclared (Woodlands, #1).

 

Review: Roman by Sawyer Bennett

Roman
Series: Cold Fury Hockey, #7
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Sawyer Bennett steams up the ice all over again as the Carolina Cold Fury hockey team’s hottest bad boy gets his first taste of something good.

In a league full of troublemakers, Cold Fury defenseman Roman Sýkora stands out—at least when it comes to negative publicity. When he’s not chilling in the penalty box, the sizzling Czech skate demon is racking up tabloid headlines for his scandalous behavior with the ladies. But now Roman’s feeling the burn from management to clean up his act, or else. Luckily he’s got an enticing distraction: a fun-loving barista who plays the ukulele and brings out a side of Roman he didn’t know he had.

Lexi Robertson came to Raleigh, North Carolina, to finally meet her father, Brian Brannon, and her half sister, Gray, both of whom work in the Cold Fury’s front office. That’s where she first meets sexy, intimidating Roman—who’s really a big softie at heart. As one relationship takes off, another begins: Brian seems to be clicking with Lexi’s boss at the coffee shop. But when the friction between Roman and her new family heats up, Lexi wonders whether she’s a pawn in their game. Feeling hurt and foolish, Lexi’s ready to quit while she’s ahead. Trouble is, Roman’s not ready to quit on her.


Sawyer Bennett is not an author I’m new to, but I am new to her Cold Fury series. I’m shocked I hadn’t heard of it before because I’m a big hockey romance fan. I’m so happy I got the chance to try out the series with the seventh book, Roman.

I flew through this book. I basically read it in one sitting. Everything about this story pulled me into it. The writing was so good! I loved the characters and the three different points of view involved. I was expecting Lexi and Roman’s point of views, but I wasn’t expecting Brian’s. Adding his perspective was the perfect touch.

Lexi was this free-spirited girl-woman. I say girl-woman because even though she was an adult, her ability to see the best in everything and go with her gut reminded me more a child than an adult. She was serious when she needed to be, but went where she felt called. I loved everything about her — especially her attraction and connection to Roman.

Roman was a tough shell to crack. He was a bad boy in everything except his relationship with Lexi. His tenderness with her was uncharacteristic. Lexi brought out a side of him he didn’t think he had. His self-discovery was sweet. Roman and Lexi balanced each other out in the best way possible.

Brian is Lexi’s newly found father. There were two things I really loved about his perspective. First, I loved knowing what he thought of Lexi and the bomb she dropped on him. Second, his second chance at love was adorable. Really adorable.

Roman was book 7 in Cold Fury series, but felt almost like a standalone novel. I enjoyed it without feeling like I was missing too much from previous books. Reading it did make want to go back and read the rest of the series, though. I would love to get to know each of the Cold Fury players.

Fans of hockey or sports romances would definitely appreciate Roman. It’s filled with fun hockey, sexy moments and incredible characters.

Top Ten Tuesday: Why Did I Think I Wouldn’t Like That Book?

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would. I’m going with More.


1. The lace reader
brunonia barry

The blurb does not do this book justice. If you like stories with unreliable narrators, you need to read this one!

2. six of crows
leigh bardugo

GASP! I know, I know. I’m not a fantasy reader, so I wasn’t sure how I would feel about it. It’s epic!

3. the understatement of the year
sarina bowen

This was my first M/M romance and I wasn’t sure how I was going to like it. I totally did!

4. we are the ants
shaun david hutchinson

I’m not a big science fiction fan and aliens are on the top of my dislike list (You can blame my mother-in-law’s obsession with them.), so I was a little hesitant to read this. It’s amazing, though; I’m glad I did.

5. the girl with all the gifts
m.r. carey

Yet another science fiction novel, but with Zombies, that I thought I wouldn’t like and did.

6. slammed
colleen hoover

I love CoHo, but I’m not a fan of student-teacher relationships. I thought I would hate it, but I loved it. Oh, the power of CoHo.

7. a different blue
amy harmon

Repeat the last comment about Slammed and change Colleen Hoover’s name to Amy Harmon. This lady is brilliantly talented.

8. nine minutes
beth flynn

When I first read the blurb, I was like “No thank you.” I’m so happy my friends talked me into reading this psychological thriller though. It’s one of the best.

9. the fault in our stars
john green

I have a really hard time reading a book about dying kids. I have a daughter and I just don’t like to think of it. I’m happy I took a chance and read this one, though. I’m a fan.

10. where the road takes me
jay mclean

I had Where the Road Takes Me on my Kindle for over a year before I read it. I had read a poor review of it and decided to put off reading it. Then, I ended up reading her book More Than This and loved it. After reading that entire series and Kick Push, I went back and read this. I’m so happy I did!