Release Day Review & Excerpt: Man Card by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby

Man Card
Series: Man Hands, #2
Authors: Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby
Publication Date: January 15, 2018
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Nothing ventured, nothing banged…

Ash
I still don’t know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor–our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down…
It can never happen again. I don’t even like Braht. He’s too slick. He’s a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can’t I get him out of my head?

Braht
There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She’s the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don’t call her the Ashkicker for nothing.
Eventually I’ll win her over…if my past doesn’t ruin everything first.


I was eager to get my hands on Man Card after reading Man Hands. Ash and Braht’s characters were so lively and vivid, and I wanted more of them. They had this amazing love/hate thing going on and I couldn’t wait to see the hate implode and love win.

Man Card was a nice, big surprise. I was shocked at how much it surprised me. There was way more going on in this story than I expected. Man Card had a ton of hilarious moments and some serious ones, but it also had a little bit of romantic suspense built-in. I was surprised by how much I loved that aspect of it. What went down made me appreciate Braht more than I might have otherwise.

Braht was a character that I could have disliked. I almost did. His cockiness was so over the top in the first book that I wanted to roll my eyes at him all of the time. Getting to know him through his point of view really helped me bond with his character. There was so much more hiding behind his outward appearance and comical words. I loved Ash. There were so many layers to her. Her backstory went deep, and provided some great bonding moments for her and Braht.

Ash and Braht were so perfect for each other. They both liked to be in charge of everything in life, but I loved how they were able to find small compromises together. Their shared experiences built a nice bond. Plus, their attraction to each other was so fierce! I loved how Braht slowly wore Ash down.

Another thing I loved was seeing all of my favorite Man Hands characters again! Catching up with Brynn and Tom was so much fun. Getting to know Sadie better was also fun, but, since her book is next, also a little sad. I’m really looking forward to reading her book next and getting her happy ending!

Overall, I loved Man Card. I loved it just as much as I loved Man Hands, but in a completely different way. It was definitely its own hilarious story. Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby did amazing things in this one!

PURCHASE LINK:

http://geni.us/MCAmazon

EXCERPT:

Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.

All of them?” He chugs his margarita.

Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”

That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”

I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”

Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”

I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.

And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”

I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.

Yeah, you are,” he whispers. It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”

Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.

Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”

I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: I have a head for business and a body for sin.”

Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”

Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.

“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”

“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.

Right,” he says with a sigh. Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”

Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS:

Sarina Bowen
USA Today Bestselling Author
@sarinabowen
Tanya Eby
Audie-Award-Winning Narrator
tanyaeby.com
@Blunder_Woman

 

Review: Kulti by Mariana Zapata

Kulti
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: December 7, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Trust me, I’ve wanted to punch you in the face a time or five.”

When the man you worshipped as a kid becomes your coach, it’s supposed to be the greatest thing in the world. Keywords: supposed to.

It didn’t take a week for twenty-seven-year-old Sal Casillas to wonder what she’d seen in the international soccer icon—why she’d ever had his posters on her wall, or ever envisioned marrying him and having super-playing soccer babies.

Sal had long ago gotten over the worst non-break-up in the history of imaginary relationships with a man that hadn’t known she’d existed. So she isn’t prepared for this version of Reiner Kulti who shows up to her team’s season: a quiet, reclusive, shadow of the explosive, passionate man he’d once been.

Nothing could have prepared her for the man she got to know.

Or the murderous urges he brought out in her.

“Sal, please don’t make me visit you in jail. Orange isn’t your color.”

This was going to be the longest season of her life.


Kulti is one of the best sports romances I’ve ever read. Why? For oh so many reason.

First, Sal is a professional soccer player. She’s at the top of her game. Sal’s both physically and emotionally strong. She knows she has flaws, but she accepts them and is proud of them. Sal works hard and is dedicated. These are all things I want my own daughter to be. They qualities I want to have myself. I love that Mariana Zapata created such an outstanding female character. Bravo for that!

Second, I was amazed at the amount of attention and detail that went to the sport of soccer. There weren’t just fly by moments on the field. There were moments at practice, during conditioning, the politics of it, and pieces of the games. I couldn’t believe how much time was given to the actual sport and what it takes to be a professional female athlete. It was amazing.

Third, the family relationships. I loved how supportive Sal’s family was of her on and off the field. I especially enjoyed her relationship with her father. The closeness they shared was special. I could see how Sal became who she was based on her relationship with him, as well as the rest of her family.

Fourth, there were great friendships in this story, too. Sal ran into some cattiness with other players, but she had two really outstanding female friends/teammates. They stood by and supported her in everything. Sal also had some male friends who had her back. I loved all of these relationships!

Fifth, I said relationships twice now, so I can’t leave out Coach Kulti. The guy wasn’t always my favorite, but he was exactly who and what Sal needed. He pushed her to be her best. He might not always have been a stand up guy, but everything he did for Sal was in her best interest. I loved how their relationship developed and changed over time. It was the perfect slow burn enemies to friends to lovers story.

Honestly, I could go on and on with reasons why this is one of my most favorite sports romances of all time. It was just that good. You should go read it now.

Release Day Review & Giveaway: Joy Ride by Lauren Blakely

From #1 NYT Bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes a steamy new standalone rivals-to-lovers romance…

JOY RIDE!

 Now available on all retailers!Get ready for the ride of your life, and grab your copy today!

✮✮✮ JOY RIDE is here! Grab your copy today! ✮✮✮

From the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of FULL PACKAGE and BIG ROCK, comes a hot & hilarious new standalone romantic comedy…

Let’s be honest, ladies. A good man is a lot like the perfect car. You want a hot body, an engine that purrs, and superior performance under the hood…for the best joy ride of your life.

I’m at your service. Ready to go all night long.

But then a wildly sexy brunette appears in my life and throws a wrench in all my plans. She’s fiery, she’s talented, she’s gorgeous, and I’d really like to know what makes her engine hum.

Henley also happens to be my biggest rival, and now we’re forced to work together every day on the most important custom car build of my career. The trouble is I can’t quite figure out if she wants to kick me in the lug nuts or beg me to give her a good, hard fuel injection. Until one night that question is answered on the hood of a sports car when she calls out my name three times. And we can’t seem to put on the brakes.

If sleeping with the enemy is a bad idea, how much more dangerous would it be to fall in love with her?

You can find this sexy standalone romantic comedy available across all retailers now!

Amazon US Amazon UK Amazon CA Amazon AU

iBooks Barnes & Noble Kobo Google Play Amazon Paperback


✦The audiobook will be narrated by Sebastian York! Link coming soon!


My Review: 

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

When I read the blurb for Joy Ride, I was excited to see that Lauren Blakely was going to tackle two of my favorite relationship tropes: enemies to lovers and a second chance romance. There’s something so fun about two people who already know and dislike each other falling in love. I knew Lauren Blakely would do these tropes justice with her humor and wit.

In Joy Ride, Max is pleasantly surprised when he runs into Henley at a car show. Henley may be talented, fiery and his new competition, but she’s also still just as gorgeous as she was when he fired her all of those years ago. When Max and Henley are forced to work together on a project, their love-hate relationship sparks into a sexy mess.

Lauren Blakely put a really fun spin on the enemies to lovers relationship. Joy Ride was funny, sexy, and sweet. The writing was just as amazing as always, and the characters were easy to fall in love with.

I like that all of Lauren Blakely’s cocky male narrators have different personalities. They don’t all sound the same, which is a feat after writing so many of them. Max was as cocky as the rest of them, but his thoughts and actions didn’t go overboard. He respected women and wanted to do right by them. I loved how this transitioned to his feelings about Henley. He’d went with his gut years ago when it came to her, but it had backfired on him in the present. Max knew he would have to win Henley’s trust, and I loved how he did it.

I also loved getting to know Henley a bit from her lists of things to do. They gave a little bit of insight into what her character was thinking. They were also fun.

Max and Henley had the perfect amount of sexual tension. Their frustration with each other translated well into their desire. Combined with their love for cars, their sexual attraction made for some very interesting and hot moments.

The only thing that kept me from giving this book 5 stars was the ending. I wasn’t completely sold on the way things wrapped up. I won’t say too much about it, just that I wasn’t sure Henley’s character would have been so excited about how things turned out. She was so independent. I thought she would want to fix things her own way, on her own terms.

Joy Ride was a joy to read. I loved what Lauren Blakely did with this enemies to lovers second chance romance. I highly recommend it and the entire series of connected standalone novels to anyone who enjoys lots of laughs and smiles while reading romances.

Excerpt:

I point to the guy behind the glass. “You want Peter’s number?”

“I don’t know. Do you think he likes piňa coladas and making love in the rain?”

For a flash second, a burst of wildfire curls through my veins. It feels like white-hot jealousy. Which is ridiculous since she’s not making love to Peter.

Or me, for that matter, obviously.

I fight off the envy with a full dose of sarcasm. “Have you ever noticed you never have a good pair of headphones when you need them?”

She huffs. “Message received. I’ll just shut up and read a book.” She reaches for her phone on the seat, but accidentally knocks it to the floor of the car. I lean down to pick it up, and when I hand it to her I see her playlist.

Nena’s “99 Luftballoons.”

The Go-Go’s “Vacation.”

Madonna’s “Like a Virgin.”

I smirk. That’s too fucking adorable. “You like bubblegum pop?”

Her cheeks go red. “There’s nothing wrong with bubblegum pop,” she says as she tries to grab her phone from my hand.

I. Can’t. Resist.

I don’t know what comes over me, but I’m pretty damn sure it’s the way this girl needles me. It’s her French maid routine. It’s her pushing all my buttons. It’s the way she detests me.

I hold her phone behind my head.

“Max,” she says, in a perfect plea. God, it’s hot. I can hear her saying it in bed.

I feign surprise. “Oh, did you want your phone back, tiger?”

Her eyes widen when I use that word. Frankly, I’m surprised I said it. But she is a tiger, especially right now as she leans across the seat, reaching for it.

Damn, I’m an asshole. And yet, I can’t seem to stop playing keep-away with her phone, jamming it far behind me so that it hits the side of the car. She lunges for it, thrusting her arm out, but only hitting my forearm.

She swats me. “Give it to me.”

My brain short-circuits. She would sound hot saying that bent over the bed.

Then in a flurry, she unbuckles her seat belt and lunges at me.

Foul play indeed.

She’s on me. She’s fucking on me. She climbs, stretching high, her tits near my motherfucking face, so help me God. They are saggy, drooping, ugly breasts.

Except they’re not.

They’re perfect. Lush, ripe.

Like her sweet perfume scent. Like her cinnamon breath that flutters across my cheek as she rises higher. As she reaches, her T-shirt rides up, revealing a sliver of her stomach.

I’ve never seen anything so sexy in my life.

I don’t move. I don’t breathe.

I simply try not to grow more aroused. But then she wraps one hand around my wrist and pries the phone with the other as her breasts smash against my eyes.

Man down.

“If I was going to place a bet on an author to consistently deliver a FANTASTIC romance time and time again, I would put all my money on Lauren Blakely. She always writes amazing comedic romances—they are sexy, entertaining and always original. Consider me a fangirl.”

~Mary, Harlequin Junkie

 

“At some points during my read, I would have to remind myself to breathe. I was so utterly consumed with what I was reading, with the compelling chemistry between Henley and Max . . . The S. E. X. Was. Soooooo HOTT. I’d argue it was Blakely’s best writing by far.”

~Jess at joandisalovebooks

 

“The dynamic between Max and Henley is addictive, and the story line in Joy Ride was down right juicy! I can’t wait for you to read it.”

~Angie, Angie & Jessica’s Dreamy Reads

 

Add it to Goodreads here!

http://bit.ly/2bUfoME

And don’t miss Lauren Blakely’s other standalone Romantic Comedies!

BIG ROCK
MISTER O
WELL HUNG
FULL PACKAGE

✮✮✮Enter to win this amazing JOY RIDE GIVEAWAY!✮✮✮

Celebrate the release of JOY RIDE with this amazing giveaway!

The JOY RIDE giveaway is filled with:

Kate Spade Patton Leather Tote and Kate Spade Desktop Planner ($325 value)

$50 Gift Card to Bath and Body Works

$50 Gift Card to Amazon

http://laurenblakely.com/joyridereleaseweekgiveaway/

 

About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than seventy-five times, and she’s sold more than 1.5 million books. In May she’ll release JOY RIDE, a standalone romantic comedy. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

 

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