Mini Reviews: The Wrong Game & Game On

The Wrong Game
Author: Kandi Steiner
Publication Date: October 18, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Two season tickets.
One genius idea.
Zero interest in a relationship.

The plan is simple: a brand new, hot, preferably funny, definitely single male will fill one of those seats for every Bears game at Soldier Field. And I’ll fill the other.

I can’t think of a better way to use the season passes I’d bought for my ex-husband. I am a woman of plans, and this one’s foolproof.

Until Zach Bowen offers to be my practice round.

He’s infuriating. Presumptuous and overbearing. And absolutely, undeniably gorgeous. Any woman with a heartbeat would be attracted to him, and mine picks up speed every time he speaks.

But as I said, I’m a woman of plans — and I’m not backing down on this one.

One night. One game. And then, his time’s up.

He can try to change the rules, but here’s the truth: he can’t win if he’s playing the wrong game.

My thoughts:

You know how some books are just a delight to read? That’s how The Wrong Game was for me. It was a well written, adorable story about two people finding love after heartbreak. I laughed hard, but I also teared up at times. The characters were so fantastic! I loved Gemma’s insecurities and fear of love. I adored Zach and his softer side. I loved them together. I couldn’t get over how perfect their story was. Oh! I also have to add that I thought the way the sport of football was worked into this one was unique and so, so good! The Wrong Game had everything I love in a contemporary romance.


Game On
Series: Aces Hockey, #8
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance, Ficiton
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Cam Brickley and his pro hockey teammates bet on everything: who can win five faceoffs in a row, who can do forty pushups in less than a minute, who can eat a ghost pepper without puking. But when his buddies bet him he can’t date the same woman—like, say, the hot blonde over at the bar—for two months and not fall in love, he’ll take that bet all day. Then he’ll laugh all the way to the hockey arena, where they’ll be washing his jock straps for the rest of the season, because Cam’s never giving up his bachelor lifestyle.

Olivia Lockwood, heiress to the Lockwood Industries fortune, is used to people using her for her money and family connections. When Cam Brickley hits on her in a club, Olivia’s first instinct is to brush him off. But he couldn’t be using her for her money, since he has more than enough of his own. Cam’s gorgeous and built, and it would be no hardship to go out with him . . . besides, he’d be the perfect spokesperson for the children’s charity she works with. Maybe it’s time for her to start using people.

Cam and Olivia are both in it for something. What they don’t know yet is that they’re playing for keeps.

My thoughts:

Game On secured its way into my heart from almost the very beginning with the puking. Yes, you read that right. The puking. It was so close to an experience my now husband while dating that my heart was instantly won. As Cam and Olivia continued to date, I was even more sold. They might not have planned on falling for each other, but they were perfect together.

The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the big ending between Cam and Olivia. It felt too rushed,  but I understand why it was done the way it was since this is the last book in the series.

Overall, this book was such a fun sports romance to read. It was so smart and witty. I really love where Kelly Jamieson has taken this series, and I am sad it’s over.

Review: The Fire Between High & Lo (Brittainy C. Cherry)

The Fire Between High & Lo
Series: Elements, #2
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry
Publication Date: March 25, 2016
Publisher: BCherry Books
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

Logan Francis Silverstone was the complete opposite of me. I danced while he stood still. He was quiet, and I was always running my mouth. He struggled to find a smile while I refused to frown.

The night I saw the darkness that truly lived inside of him, I couldn’t look away.

We were broken together, yet somehow whole. We were wrong together, but always right. We were the stars that burned across the night sky, searching for a wish, praying for better tomorrows.

Until the day I lost him. He threw us away with one hasty decision—a decision that changed us forever.

There once was a boy, and I loved him.

And for a few breaths, a few whispers, a few moments, I think he loved me, too.


The Fire Between High & Lo is a book that has been on my TBR for a few years now. It is the last book I needed to read in the Elements series. I am happy I finally got to read it because it was an experience I enjoyed.

From the beginning, The Fire Between High & Lo hit me hard emotionally. The story followed Alyssa and Logan through their friendship, falling in love, falling apart, and finding each other again. It wasn’t a simple or happy story. Alyssa and Logan were not perfect people. Drug abuse and poor decisions played a huge part in everything they went through. Alyssa and Logan’s experiences were high emotion and filled with angst. I felt every one of their feelings in only the way a truly outstanding writer can make me feel. I didn’t always love what I was feeling, but I loved that I could be made to feel that way.

While Alyssa and Logan’s relationship was the most important and center stage, there were several other relationships that made this book. Logan’s relationship with his brother, Kellan, was beautiful. Beautiful doesn’t really even describe it, but I couldn’t come up with another word. They way the supported each other was everything and added another great layer to this story. I also loved Kellan’s relationship Emily. Emily wasn’t fond of Logan, so it added some extra drama. Plus, Kellan and Emily had some stuff to get through of their own that touched me and made me love this story even more than I already did.

One relationship in this book frustrated me, though. Logan’s relationship with his mom made me sad. Julie was a mess. No, wait. She was more than a mess — she was a rotten person. I am sure underneath it all Julie had a good heart, but drugs took that away. She didn’t deserve any of the attention or devotion her children gave her. She made me so mad. I just didn’t understand how her children could be so forgiving and loving.

Brittainy C. Cherry is one of those authors who excels at bringing on “the feels”. She did an exceptional job at showing how families and relationships can be affected by drug abuse. While this wasn’t the happiest of books, I truly loved reading it.

Review: Get Lucky: A YA Anthology

Get Lucky: A YA Anthology
Authors: Ali Dean, Kristin Kehoe, Cassie Mae, Tessa Marie, Theresa Paolo, Kelly Oram
Publication Date: March 17, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A YA anthology featuring some of today’s hottest Young Adult authors!

Doubles Love by Ali Dean – Mackenzie Bell loves two things: tennis and the Kendrick family. She doesn’t want to be anything like her mother, who hops from one husband to the next. It’s one of many reasons why she’s never dated. The other reason? She’s in love with her best friend’s older brother, Jesse Kendrick.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe – Kennedy Russo has had it rough. She’s become a pro at being invisible. But when she’s paired up for a 5 week assignment with golden boy, Gage, she starts to realize that anonymity may not always be the best option. Gage is on a mission to make her his friend, but will their tentative friendship bloom into something more?

Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae – Jensen is well on his way to the PGA, if only he could focus. Getting stuck with his best friend as co-counselor at the golf camp will help—Penny’s always been one to push him. But when their alone time turns romantic, Jensen wonders if she’ll just be another distraction.

Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie – Charlotte was not looking forward to Spring Break. No technology and a boy she can’t stand. But when she realizes the boy is actually a hot guy now, and wants to hang out with her (!) she cant help but think this break may turn into something pretty awesome. But, is he harboring a secret that will challenge their budding relationship?

16 Kisses by Kelly Oram- All Cassie Caldwell wants for her sixteenth birthday is to finally be kissed. When Cassie’s older brother and his best friend—the lovable, sexy cowboy, Jared—discover her secret, Jared takes it upon himself to make sure her birthday wish comes true.

Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott – Dakota Wright has been making Jace Padgett look good for years…and she’s tired of it. What started as a favor has turned into a habit—one that she’s justified in her mind because Jace also happens to be six feet of gorgeous hunky quarterback, green eyes and a smile that can swing a girl to the moon. But the last favor she did for him may have finally tipped the scales, and Dakota’s ready to call it quits. One small hiccup—her heart can’t seem to let her. And when Jace starts to share pieces of the real him, Dakota begins to think her heart might just be smarter than her head after all.


I bought this anthology back when it was released because there was a Ginger Scott and Kelly Oram novella in it. I have no idea why I hadn’t read it yet. I am so mad at myself because it was really good! I even found some new YA authors to read more of. Here are my thoughts on each novella.

Doubles Love by Ali Dean – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This was the first time I had read anything by Ali Dean and I absolutely adored it! The characters and plot was so much fun. The feel of the story was a little NA angst-y. It almost had a Tijan vibe going on. I really, really want to read more of her stuff.

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not by Kristen Kehoe – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not was another big winner in my book. I was really touched by Kennedy and Gage’s romance. It was cute, fun, and emotional. I need to read more of this author, too!

Stroke of Luck by Cassie Mae – ★ ★ ★

Sadly, Stroke of Luck wasn’t my thing. I am not a big golf fan, so it was hard for me to become quickly interested in the story or the characters. It had it’s cute moments, though.

Someone I Used to Know by Tessa Marie – ★ ★ ★

I was excited to read this novella because I had read a previous book by Tessa Marie and loved it. I wasn’t a huge fan of Someone I Used to Know. I liked it, but I didn’t really connect with the characters like I wanted to.

16 Kisses by Kelly Oram – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

It had been a while since I had read a book by Kelly Oram. 16 Kisses reminded me just how much I love her writing. This one might have been my favorite book in the series simply because it was the most fun and cutest.

Four Letter Words by Ginger Scott – ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Four Letter Word was exactly what I’ve come to expect from Ginger Scott. She isn’t afraid to tackle tough topics. I really enjoyed this novella. I just wish it would have been a full length book!

Review: Pucked Love by Helena Hunting

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Pucked Love
Series: Pucked, #6
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Inks & Cupcakes, Inc.
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

As an NHL player, relationships haven’t been my thing. Shrouded in secrecy and speculation, they never last very long. But then that’s what happens when you require an NDA before the first date.

Until Charlene. She’s like a firefly. She’s elusive, and if you catch her she’ll burn bright, but keeping her trapped dulls her fire and dims her beauty.

I caught her. And as much as I might want to keep her, I’ll never put the lid on her jar. Not at the risk of losing her. So I’ve let her set the rules in our relationship.

But as long hidden secrets expose us both, I discover exactly how fragile Charlene is, and how much I need her.

We’re all broken. We’re all messed up. Some more than others. Me more than most.


Gosh, this review is harder to write than I thought it would be. I have all these things I want to say, but I’m afraid I’ll give something away. You’ll have to excuse me if this review ends up being a little vague.

Earlier this year, I FINALLY binge read the Pucked series. I can’t say that it was exactly love at first book (all those MC and beavers about killed me), but I was entertained enough to keep reading. Each book got better and better as the series went on. I found myself loving all the characters, their friendships, and their romances. Throughout the entire series, while everyone else was falling in love, there was one couple that intrigued me: Charlene and Darren. They had this secretive relationship that was only hinted at. I have been dying to know more about them! I was so happy to finally get the chance to know their inner thoughts, feelings, and what the heck they have been up to all this time!

I am a big fan of what Helena Hunting did with this book. She was subtle in ways I wasn’t expecting, but appreciated. Charlene and Darren’s sexual relationship could have taken over the story and defined them, but it didn’t. The emotionally intimate parts shined in a beautiful way. So did all the crazy, cooky moments you would expect in a Pucked novel.

I loved getting to know Charlene as someone other than Violet’s crazy best friend. She had a past that shocked the heck out of me in the crazy way only the Pucked series could do. (I’m still not sure if I liked that part or not.) I also got to know Darren. This pleased me even more than getting to know Charlene. Darren was more than I expected in a very good way. I adored his character and the way he treated Charlene and their relationship.

Pucked Love was a great conclusion to the Pucked series. I couldn’t imagine another ending to not only Charlene and Darren’s relationship, but those of their friends. It was great to be back with the gang again.

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Pucked Love, the final sexy and emotional standalone in the NYT bestselling Pucked Series from New York Times bestselling author Helena Hunting, is available NOW!

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About Helena Hunting

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Helena Hunting lives outside of Toronto with her amazing family and her two awesome cats, who think the best place to sleep is her keyboard. Helena writes everything from contemporary romance with all the feels to romantic comedies that will have you laughing until you cry.

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Review: Fireworks by Sarina Bowen

Fireworks
Series: True North, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Tuxberry Publishing, LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s willing to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. She can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and slide back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

But things go sideways the moment she steps over the county line. Her stepsister is running from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke Skye’s teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.


Every time I hear Sarina Bowen is going to add another book to her True North series I get super excited. I adore this series for not only its love stories but the tough situations and topics it has dealt with. This time, Ms. Bowen tackles a sexual predator who holds a powerful position in the Vermont small town I’ve come to love. (Timely, right?)

Fireworks was a good addition to the Truth North series. It wasn’t my favorite addition, but I really enjoyed reading it. Sarina Bowen’s writing was just as stunning as always. I loved being back in the beautiful Vermont setting and getting to revisit several of my favorite characters. I loved the plot of the book, and the suspense of it. It had me on the edge of my seat at times! I loved the romance at the heart of it all. I loved how it flowed from past to present. What kept me from announcing it as my new favorite in the series? Well, it had to do with one of the characters.

Skye is truly what kept me from being able to give Fireworks 5 stars. I had a hard time connecting all of her parts into one person. In the past, Skye was a fearful teen facing down a predator. She was also a young woman trying to unsuccessfully trying to understand her sexuality. In the present, Skye was an insecure and slightly immature adult. She was also a strong, capable, independent woman. None of those things (past and present) are exclusive of the others, but they didn’t always meld seamlessly into one character. Does that make sense? I had a hard time understanding some of Skye’s current feelings and choices based on her past ones. Something was missing for me in the picture of Skye’s character. Despite that, I still liked her. I liked her relationship with Benito and their backstory.

As for Benito, I loved the guy. I’ve been wondering what kind of story Sarina Bowen would come up with for Benito since they day I met him. He’s always been a bit of mystery in the True North series, so it was fun finally getting to know what this guy was up to. I really loved his job and how it fit in with the whole plot of the story. I also really liked his personality. He was one of the good guys. My favorite thing about this book was the care he took of Skye. It was so sweet. He did have a few moments of stupidity that had me cringing, though. It was easy to forgive him, though, based on the timeline of the book.

Despite my issues with Skye, I still really enjoyed this second chance romance. Fireworks had the perfect mixture of swoon worthy and intense, emotional moments. Sarina Bowen tackled a tough topic that’s relative to today’s social climate and did it in a uniquely satisfying way.

Review: Hate Notes by Vi Keeland & Penelope Ward

Hate Notes
Authors: Vi Keeland, Penelope Ward
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

It all started with a mysterious blue note sewn into a wedding dress.

Something blue.

I’d gone to sell my own unworn bridal gown at a vintage clothing store. That’s when I found another bride’s “something old.”

Stitched into the lining of a fabulously feathered design was the loveliest message I’d ever read: Thank you for making all of my dreams come true.

The name embossed on the blue stationary: Reed Eastwood, obviously the most romantic man who ever lived. I also discovered he’s the most gorgeous. If only my true-love fantasies had stopped there. Because I’ve since found out something else about Mr. Starry-Eyed.

He’s arrogant, cynical, and demanding. I should know. Thanks to a twist of fate, he’s my new boss. But that’s not going to stop me from discovering the story behind his last love letter. A love letter that did not result in a happily ever after.

But that story is nothing compared to the one unfolding between us. It’s getting hotter, sweeter, and more surprising than anything I could have imagined.

Something new.

But I have no idea how this one is going to end . . .


Hate Notes completely charmed me. I loved the way it began with Charlotte finding the dress and that note. It was just a really cool way to start the story. Then, once she met Reed and he was such a jerk, I knew the fun was going to continue.

Charlotte and Reed were two very different people with two very different outlooks on life. Every time they came into contact, there was this amazing tension. I loved the lust-hate thing they had going on. Their attraction and irritation about it was so fiery and entertaining. I got to laugh a lot.That’s exactly what I expect from these authors.

What I didn’t count on was the emotion and heart that bled through all of the fun stuff. Hate Notes touched me in a way I wasn’t expecting. Both Charlotte and Reed had some baggage they were dealing with. What they were going through wasn’t easy or fun. I loved how they tackled those things. Another thing I loved was that the humor in this book kept the emotion from feeling unbearable — if that makes sense.

Overall, I adored Hate Notes. I felt so many different emotions and had the best time reading it. It was one fabulous love story. Also, I have to say that the authors get extra points for that sweet epilogue.

Review: Long Road Home by Stacey Lynn

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Long Road Home
Series: Love in the Heartland
Author: Stacey Lynn
Publication Date: November 5, 2018
Publisher: Stacey Lynn Books
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I left home ten years ago, promising myself I’d never return to the place where I had never been accepted. I was despised and ridiculed for circumstances completely beyond my control.

But when my grandmother passes away, I’m forced to return to Kansas. I will have to face everyone who hated me. But they’re not who I’m most afraid of.

My biggest fear? Facing him.
Jordan Marx.
The boy I once loved more than life itself. The boy who defended me from them. The boy I’d disappeared on, leaving him nothing more than a horrible nasty lie and hastily scribbled note.

When Jordan finds out the secret I have carried for so long, I’m in for the battle of my life.
Or so I thought.

I might have wandered for years on a path riddled with thorns but with Jordan by my side, taking the long road home means more than reuniting with the only man I’ve ever loved. It might just mean finding myself, and the family I never thought I could ever have along the way.


This is the third book I have read by Stacey Lynn and it is by far my favorite of hers. It’s a second chance romance between high school sweethearts. Destiny and Jordan were deeply in love when they were teenagers. Jordan was shocked when Destiny broke up with him days after graduation and took off. Destiny had her reasons for running away, and they become obvious when she returns to town after her grandmother dies. Jordan is extremely angry with Destiny, and he has every right to be. Unfortunately, he’s forced to reconnect with the woman who broke him.

Okay, so I don’t want to spoil what this book is about for anyone. What I will say is if you think you know what Destiny has been hiding for the past ten years, you’re probably right. It’s such a huge part of the story and I really, really want to say more! Instead I’ll tell you what made this book stand out more than some of the other second chance romances I’ve read.

First, I loved that forgiveness and trust took a while between Jordan and Destiny. Jordan had every reason to be mad at Destiny or hate her. I loved that his anger didn’t easily dissipate. The fact that despite his continued attraction and love for Destiny he held onto that anger for a while made this story feel real. He took his time figuring out his feelings and deciding whether he could forgive her not. I loved that.

Second, I really enjoyed was how Destiny was able to return to her childhood home and face her demons. I loved that she got the chance to stand up to the people who tormented her as a teenager. It was also great how returning to town and the person who loved her gave her a new perception of the situation. It was just really cool.

Third, Destiny and Jordan’s relationship was so sweet. I loved how despite their years apart there was still a deep connection between them. They had to learn new things about each other, but it was more about building on their past than starting all over. I also loved the thing that tied them together. That whole dynamic was awesome. The only little thing that bugged me was how quickly things moved once they did reconnect.

Finally, I loved all the family that was included. Jordan and Destiny’s families weren’t the most supportive in the past, but they really showed up for them in Long Road Home. Their friends were also a big part of that. All of these people made it easier for Destiny to return and take her place next to Jordan. I was so curious about some of them that I’m going to look into reading the first book in this series.

Long Road Home was a great second chance romance. I couldn’t put it down, and I can’t wait to read more books in this series now.

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About the Author

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When Stacey Lynn isn’t conquering mountains of laundry and fighting a war against dust bunnies and cracker crumbs, you can find her playing with her children, curled up on the couch with a good book, or behind closed doors, imagining the next adventures she’ll soon write.

She lives off her daily pot of coffee, can only write with a bowlful of Skittles nearby, and has been in love with romance novels since before she could drive herself to the library.

Stacey Lynn lives with her husband and children in North Carolina.

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Review: How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away
Author: Katherine Center
Narrator: Thérèse Plummer
Publication Date: May 15, 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From the author of Happiness for Beginners comes an unforgettable love story about finding joy even in the darkest of circumstances.

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment .

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect.

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.


How to Walk Away has been on my radar since it was released earlier this year. Pretty much everyone has been raving about it. I was slightly hesitant to read it because I thought it might make me very sad, and I wasn’t in the mood to feel that way. Despite my reservations, I went ahead and requested the audiobook from my library. I am so happy I did! I don’t think I’ve ever had 10+ hours of audio feel like it went so fast before. Between the writing and the narrator, this book was pure magic.

How to Walk Away is my new favorite book of 2018. It deserves all the awards it could possibly get. That’s high praise with all the amazing book releases this year. I was so impressed with Katherine Center’s writing. Her words made me feel. I was sad, happy, depressed, excited… She took me on a journey with Margaret that was emotional and special. I was surprised by how I felt inspired and happy even when I was sad and slightly depressed by what was going on in the story. There were moments that brought me to tears, but more often I was smiling. Margaret’s story wasn’t as good as the hype surrounding it. IT WAS BETTER.

With only one book read by Katherine Center, she has already become one of my new favorite authors. I will for sure be going back to read her earlier books. I highly recommend How to Walk Away. It’s perfect for readers who enjoy books like Me Before You, Bright Side, and really anyone who just loves beautifully written novels.

Review: I Bet You by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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I Bet You
Series: The Hook-Up, #2
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: October 25, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love.

Sexy Athlete: I bet you…
Penelope Graham: Burn in hell, quarterback.

The text is random but Penelope figures out exactly who “Sexy Athlete” is. And why she shouldn’t take his wager.

Ryker Voss.
Football star.
Walks on water and God’s gift to women.
Just ask him.

His bet? He promises Penelope he’ll win her the heart of the guy she’s been crushing on. His plan—good old-fashioned jealousy. Once her crush sees her kissing Ryker, he’ll realize what he’s missing. Sounds legit, right? The only question is…why is Ryker being so nice to her?

Penelope Graham.
Virgin.
Lover of sparkly vampires and calculus.
His mortal enemy.

Penelope knows she shouldn’t trust a jock, but what’s a girl to do when she needs a date to Homecoming? And Ryker’s keeping a secret, another bet, one that could destroy Penelope’s heart forever.

Will the quarterback score the good girl or will his secrets mean everyone loses this game of love?

*Author’s Note: This is a standalone sports romance with an HEA.

**You do not have to have read I Dare You, although you should if you love jocks and nerdy heroines.


I Bet You was a fun new adult sports romance. The main character, Penelope, was a little quirky and a whole lot sassy. She had a thing against football players and knew that she wanted a smart, nerdier type of guy in her life. That was all blown to pieces when Ryker Voss inserts himself into her life and offers to help Penelope get the guy.

Ryker was the college’s well-loved quarterback. Despite being a cocky jock, he was actually a nice guy. Penelope wasn’t the type of girl he normally went for, but the more time he spent with her the more he wished it wasn’t someone else she was pining for.

I really liked both Ryker and Penelope. My issue with I Bet You wasn’t their romance, but a bet that was going on in the background. It was predictable and made it hard for me to read the book at times. I knew what was going to happen and I hated it. BUT I ended up really liking how it was all handled and explained at the end.

One of the great things about this book were the supporting characters. I loved Penelope and Ryker’s friends. Charisma, Margo, and Blaze were so much fun! I also liked the bad guy in this book. He was just the right amount of scummy. LOL. Oh, and I really liked everything that went down with Penelope’s family situation. That was a great story line.

Despite the moments I spent worried about what was going to happen, I enjoyed reading I Bet You. It was a light, fun new adult romance.

IBY-AN

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Love football heroes and nerdy heroines?

Start the series of standalones today with I DARE YOU.

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About the Author

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap. She’s best known for her angsty, heartfelt new adult college romances.

A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice; Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero.

She’s also addicted to frothy coffee beverages, Vampire Diaries, and any kind of book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females.

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Review: Muffin Top by Avery Flynn

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Muffin Top
Series: The Hartigans, #2
Author: Avery Flynn
Publication Date: October 29, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

The only thing about me that’s a size zero is the filter on my mouth. I’ve got a big personality, a big rack, and a big number on the scale. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

But when some random guy suggests I might not be eating alone if I’d ordered a salad instead of a hamburger I’m shocked silent, which is a feat, trust me.

That brings us to one sexy fireman named Frankie Hartigan. He’s hot. He’s funny… And he’s just apologized for being late for our “date” then glared at the fat-shaming jerk. Next thing I know, he’s sitting down and ordering himself dinner.

I have no problem telling him I don’t need a pity date… unless of course it’s to my high school reunion next week. Oops where did that last bit come from? And what do I do now that he’s said yes?!

Because this is no make-over story, and I think Frankie is using me for something. I just have to figure out what…


I was excited to read Muffin Top for two reasons. One: I have heard great things about Avery Flynn’s writing, but hadn’t read one of her books yet. Two: I loved that Lucy was a heroine who is larger in size than most romance novel women. My experience reading Muffin Top didn’t work out for me the way I was hoping, though. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. In order to simplify my reasons why, I’m going to break this review down into what worked and what didn’t for me.

What worked:

  • Avery Flynn’s writing in third person. I am not a fan of third person, but it worked in this book. I was able to build connections with the characters and easily follow the switch between points of view.
  • Frankie’s character. I loved this guy. He had his hang ups, but he was comfortable in his own skin. Plus, I adored how stood up for Lucy in the best possible ways.
  • All the family moments in this book. Both Frankie and Lucy’s families were awesome.
  • Lucy’s acceptance of her weight, her frustration with those who judged her, and her struggle to let go of her feelings about it. She was such an easy character to relate to.

What didn’t work:

  • You know how I listed all that stuff about Lucy and her weight above? Well, those struggles she had were on her mind ALL.THE.TIME. It’s really hard to “hear” someone beat themselves up as much as Lucy did. I know most of us have been in Lucy’s shoes with the self-doubt and anger about either our own weight or another issue, but I got tired of it. I don’t felt like it was truly resolved or lessened either. Her problems with Frankie were taken care of, but I wanted Lucy’s fragile self-esteem dealt with deeper.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Muffin Top. It will definitely resonate with readers who are looking for a heroine who is “plus” size.

 

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Excerpt:

The temptation to say “Yes, Frankie, please squash him like a bug while I clap and watch” was so, so strong—like, the guys who pull semi trucks with their teeth strong. Instead, Lucy played along with her best friend’s fiancé’s brother— OMG, that was now the name of her imaginary all-girl ska band—and smiled sweetly up at him.

“He was bothered by my dinner order, honey.”

“Really?” Frankie looked down at her plate, over to the dipshit, and then right at her. There was no missing the devil in his eyes right before he turned his attention back to the other man. “What’s wrong with what my girl’s eating?”

Mr. In Her Business blanched. Literally. The color drained out of his face so fast that he resembled one of those swipe right before and after photos on makeover blogs. How in the hell she managed to not laugh out loud she had no frickin’ clue.

“N-n-nothing,” the man stuttered.

Nope. He was not getting off that easily.

She looked up at Frankie, still standing next to her chair, his big hand braced on the back of it, and said in the clueless voice that anyone with a brain would know meant there was danger ahead, “He said I should have ordered a salad, then I might have a chance to move from a five to an eight. I’m a five because I have great tits.”

Thunderous didn’t begin to describe the dark look of pure vengeance that crossed Frankie’s face, making even the freckles that crossed over the bridge of his nose look scary. Mr. Buttinsky made a little squeaking noise that reminded Lucy of the sound of air coming out of a balloon when someone pulled the tip taut as it was deflating. Frankie took a step forward, menace vibrating off of him in waves. The other guy didn’t bother to say a word, he just took off, weaving his way at a fast clip through the crowded bar and out the front door. Lucy liked to imagine that he peed his pants a little as he did so.

“Thanks, Frankie,” she said to the man still staring at the departing figure of Mr. Peed His Pants. “I owe you one.”

Her ginger knight in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt made some kind of noise that maybe was a response in the affirmative. It sounded kinda like “no problem.” Whatever. She was used to that from guys. She was only of interest until a hotter, skinnier, or prettier woman came along. It

was the universal fat chick cloaking device.

Determined not to let it annoy her as much as it usually would, she turned back to her jalapeño cheeseburger, spicy fries, and soda. Now she could finally enjoy her dinner in peace.

Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Frankie clunked down a three-fourths filled mug of beer on the other side of her table, pulled out the chair across from her, and sat down. Before she could even ask what he was doing, he waved the waitress over and told her he wanted whatever Lucy was eating, plus an extra order of fries and another beer. Once she’d left, he turned his attention to Lucy and gave her what could only be described as a vibrator smile. She named it that in her head—thankfully only in her head—because she now had a desperate need for her vibrator and maybe a fresh pack of batteries.

“You’re not gonna make me eat alone now that we’re on a date, are you?” he asked, swiping one of her fries.

About Avery

USA Today bestselling romance author Avery Flynn has three slightly-wild children, loves a hockey-addicted husband and is desperately hoping someone invents the coffee IV drip.

She fell in love with romance while reading Johanna Lindsey’s Mallory books. It wasn’t long before Avery had read through all the romance offerings at her local library. Needing a romance fix, she turned to Harlequin’s four books a month home delivery service to ease the withdrawal symptoms. That worked for a short time, but it wasn’t long before the local book stores’ staffs knew her by name.

Avery was a reader before she was a writer and hopes to always be both. She loves to write about smartass alpha heroes who are as good with a quip as they are with their ahem other God-given talents. Her heroines are feisty, fierce and fantastic. Brainy and brave, these ladies know how to stand on their own two feet and knock the bad guys off theirs.

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