Review: Play Dates by Maggie Wells

Play Dates
Author: Maggie Wells
Publication Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: I received an ARC from Goodreads First Reads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

For single parents, life is often more diapers and daycare dilemmas than dating. But for three dads going solo, a little flirting can lead to a whole lot more than a fling . . .

Colm Cleary lost his wife just moments after his son Aiden’s birth, and it’s been just the two of them ever since. Dating is his very last priority—until he spots gorgeous Monica Rayburn on the playground with her little girl. Suddenly finding a woman sympathetic to the demands of single parenthood seems like a great idea—especially if they agree to a no-pressure, no-strings date . . .

Dazzled by the hot “Saturdaddy” who asks her out, Monica doesn’t get around to mentioning that little Emma is her niece. She’s in commodities, not children. A gambler to the bone, she’s going to take a chance on an adult evening with Colm—and worry about the details later. But when their casual connection deepens into something more solid, the truth will have to come out—and both Colm and Monica will have to throw caution to the wind to hold on to a future together . . .


Play Dates is a book I liked but didn’t love. It started out really cute. I loved the way Monica met Colm. The kids were stinking cute. The friendship between the Saturdaddies was awesome. I even loved the mistaken identity thing at first. Then, Monica’s lies of omission started to grate on me. I was in Monica’s sister Melody’s camp. Why not just tell the truth. It was all so dumb, and it made me not like Monica at all.

I think my biggest problem with the book, though, was the fact that everything felt like it was on the surface. Things didn’t really get very deep between Monica and Colm. I didn’t understand how quickly they fell in love because neither of them really knew it each other. It was more of a sex thing. I wanted to know more about them and their pasts.

Play Dates had the potential to be a five star read. It was an entertaining read and the writing was good. I just needed a little more from it.

Review: Every Little Kiss by Marina Adair

Every Little Kiss
Series: Sequoia Lake, #2
Author: Marina Adair
Publication Date: July 18, 2017
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Note: I received this book from the publisher via Goodreads in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

Synopsis:

There’s nothing that single mom Liv Preston won’t do if it means making her six-year-old son smile again. After a heartbreaking two years, her little family is due for some fun in the sun. She just didn’t expect to find it in the big, rugged, Search and Rescue hero next door—who shows her just how exciting, and sexy, life’s adventures can be.

As head of Reno’s K-9 search division, Ford Jamison knows what it takes to make life-and-death decisions on the fly. He doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t do regrets, and has never doubted his instincts—until he makes a promise that turns his world upside down. Desperate for redemption, he returns to Sequoia Lake, only to find himself face-to-face with his past…and the one woman he can’t have. Not when his secret would destroy her—and everything she holds dear.

For Liv, finding love once was a gift. Finding it twice seems impossible, until the moment Ford’s lips meet hers. Love doesn’t always come easy, but when it’s right, it’s worth fighting for…


Prior to winning Every Little Kiss, I hadn’t heard of Marina Adair before. I was excited to get to try out a new author. Every Little Kiss was a pleasant surprise.

In Every Little Kiss, Liv has been slowly moving on from her husband’s unexpected death. It’s been hard, especially with the way her son has dealt with the trauma. Liv’s finally reached the place where she thinks she’s ready to move on. She couldn’t pick a better man to do that with than Ford. He’s fun and flirty, but most of all he’s amazing with her son.

K-9 Search and Rescue pro Ford came to Sequoia Lake to work on his certification and a free himself of a secret he’s been keeping for the past two years. It’s time the recipient of that secret knows what he’s been doing. The problem is, Ford wasn’t planning on falling for her. Telling Liv his secret just got much more complicated.

Adair’s writing has the qualities I love in contemporary romance authors. The pace was quick and the romance was slow burn perfection. I could see the relationship develop in a believable time frame. Liv and Ford’s characters felt unique and easy to fall in love with. The setting and supporting cast were a big and fun part of the story. I would love to read more about them.

There were only a couple of things that kept me from giving Every Little Kiss 5 stars. One, the plot was completely predictable. There weren’t really any surprises I didn’t see coming. Two, the big problem in the story didn’t take place until almost 90% in. That didn’t give much time for the characters to deal with it and make amends. It made the conclusion feel rushed and Ford forgiven almost instantaneously. I do have to say that I did like the grand gesture in the end. It was really fun.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Every Little Kiss. Ford, Liv, and Paxton will make a great family that I hope to see more of in books to come. I am looking forward to reading more of this series, and I really hope Ford’s boss is the next one to find someone special!

Review: Checkmate: This is Dangerous by Kennedy Fox

Checkmate: This is Dangerous
Series: Logan & Kayla, #1
Author: Kennedy Fox
Publication Date: July 6, 2017
Publisher: Kennedy Fox Books LLC
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Logan Knight is a real life knight in shining armor. 
A detective godsend in a sleek black suit has me thinking less than secretive thoughts. Brooding and mysterious, he’s the kind of guy every girl instantly notices. Between his seductive smirk and charming good looks, it’s no wonder I can’t help the way he makes me feel whenever I’m near him. 
Too bad he’s unavailable—or so he says.

He thinks I’m a do-gooder who shouldn’t get involved with a guy like him. His past is messy and relationships just add to that. He insists the timing is all wrong and he’s devoted to his career, but I don’t buy that excuse for a second. I see the way his body tenses and his jaw ticks every time another guy is around me. He just won’t admit it, but I’m more determined than ever to show him what he’s missing.

I’m a devoted animal rescuer and I’ll risk everything to save them, but when a dramatic turn of events puts both our lives at risk, I’m positive Logan will write me off for good. But when he asks for my help with a personal crisis, I know it’s my last chance to finally show him I can handle anything he throws my way—messy past and all.

He might think he has me all figured out, but I’ll prove him wrong no matter what he thinks. This game of push and pull has me running in circles. One wrong move and we could both lose.

Checkmate, Knight.


This past week, I binge read the Checkmate series. The series is set up uniquely with each couple getting two books. At the end of the first books for each couple there’s a shocking cliffhanger that immediately had me reaching for the next book. Each book also included first person dual point of view for the male and female main characters of the story. Sometimes the chapters overlapped in time to show what each character was feeling during an event. I loved the way it was all set up. I’ve now read Travis and Viola’s duet, Drew and Courtney’s duet and now this first book in Logan and Kayla’s duet.

This review is obviously for Logan and Kayla’s first book, and I have to say it was SO. FREAKING. CUTE. I adored it. It’s my favorite in the series so far. It’s definitely because of Kayla. Her love for animals and finding them permanent homes made my heart swell. She was such a good person and persevered through so much in her lifetime. I loved how she made her friends her family, and didn’t give up on Logan.

I loved finally getting Logan’s back story. He was so secretive throughout the rest of the series. I wanted to know what was going on with him. Logan had more to overcome than expected. When he finally put his trust in Kayla it was nothing short of spectacular. They were the perfect team.

Once again, the cliffhanger ending shocked me. I truly wasn’t expecting the surprise I got. I can’t believe what happened! There’s a little bit of mystery to this story and I have a couple of guesses. The next book in this series cannot come soon enough! I need to know what happens next NOW!

Review: To Hate Adam Connor by Ella Maise

To Hate Adam Conner
Author: Ella Maise
Publication Date: June 9, 2016
Publisher: Ella Maise
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

*Lucy’s story is a complete standalone*

So you may ask, who is Adam Connor? He is the recently divorced, Academy Award-winning actor who just moved in next door with his kid. He also happens to be an exquisite male specimen and the most infuriating sly bastard I’ve ever come across.

Let’s be honest here, wouldn’t you wanna take a peek over the wall to catch a glimpse of him, hopefully when he is naked? Wouldn’t you melt away after watching him work out as his five-year-old kid cheered him on? Do I even have to mention those abs, the big bulge in his pants, or that arm porn? Oh, wait, you would never spy on him? Sure…

While I was being thoughtful by not breaking and entering and was actually considering going over to offer him a shoulder—or maybe a boob or two—to cry on (y’know, because of his divorce), instead he had me thrown in jail after a small incident. Jail, people! He was supposed to grant me countless orgasms as a thank you, not a jail cell.

After that day, I was mentally plotting ways to strangle him instead of jumping his bones to make sweet love. So what if my body did more than just shiver when he whispered dirty little things in my ear? I can’t be held responsible for that. And when was the last time he’d kissed anyone anyway? Who’d enjoy a kiss with a side of heart attack?

Even if he and his son were the best things since sliced bread—and I’m not saying he was—I couldn’t fall for him. No matter what promises he whispered on my skin, my curse wouldn’t let us be. I wasn’t a damsel in distress—I could save myself, thank you very much—but deep inside, I still hoped Adam Connor would be the hero of my story.


I’ve wanted to read To Hate Adam Connor ever since I read To Love Jason Thorn. I fell in love with all of the characters in that book, and I wanted to get to know Lucy better. Her relationship with Jameson intrigued me, and she made me laugh so much.

I have to admit I was a little surprised when I read the title and blurb for this book. How could Adam Connor be the star of Lucy’s book? I mean, what happened to Jameson? Not to worry, Ella Maise did an amazing job at explaining why Lucy didn’t end up with Jameson. She gave us a much better man for Lucy to fall for.

Adam Connor was the full package. Not only was he an incredibly sexy famous actor, he was also a doting single father. The way he loved his son increased his hot factor by about a million.He was the perfect match for Lucy’s over the top personality. I loved the way Adam and Lucy fell in love. They started out hating each other, and it made watching them fall for each so much fun.

Lucy was just as hilarious as she was in the first book, if not more so. I was surprised to find out how much she hid behind her humor. Lucy was a much deeper character than I expected. She had a past that haunted her. I’m so happy Adam was the man to prove to her that she could break the cycle.

I was also super happy to see Olive and Jason back in this book. They made many little appearances, and their relationship with Lucy made me smile. Lucy and Olive are some hilarious friends.

To Hate Adam Connor was a great hate to love romance. It was also a really fun take on a celebrity romance. If you like both of those romance tropes, you need to read this book! But read To Love Jason Thorn first. You don’t want to miss out on the beginning of Lucy’s (and Olive’s) high jinks.

Review: For Forester by J. Nathan

For Forester
Series: For You, #2
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: July 19, 2017
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Trace
I’m Alabama’s star wide receiver. I’ve got mad skills on and off the field, and it’s no secret I’m heading into the draft after the upcoming season. But I’m home for the summer to make some cash before my senior year. Being back under my parents’ roof isn’t the ideal situation, but the moment I see Marin, the star of my adolescent fantasies, I know it’s about to get interesting. She may not have noticed me back then, but I’ve got a feeling it’s just a matter of time before she lets me turn those fantasies into reality.

Marin
The last time I saw Trace Forester he was just a kid tearing up the neighborhood on his skateboard. That was when I was foolish enough to think I had the perfect husband and the perfect life. But now my life is in shambles and Trace is back, all grown up, hot as hell, and exuding major confidence. It would be so easy to fall for his good looks and undeniable charm. So easy to let him into my life. Too bad I learned the hard way that nothing worth having ever comes easy.


For Forester is the first book I’ve read by J. Nathan. I was impressed with her writing. I easily connected with her characters and believed in their relationship. That was amazing because I never expected to find a nineteen year old guy falling in love with an almost thirty year old single mother believable. I expected the attraction, but didn’t expect the love.

Trace was a special young man. I loved the way he loved Marin and her son. He was at the height of his college football career with everything going for him. Trace had a multitude of women at his beck and call, but he only wanted Marin. His loyalty to Marin and her son was exceptional considering the distance between their locations.

What Marin went through was tough. Not only did she have to deal with the fallout from the demise of her marriage, but the attention of dating a much younger man. She was constantly being judged while trying to do what was best for her son and herself. I loved how strong of a person she was. Her relationship with Trace only made her stronger and gave her a new outlook. That was so cool.

Trace and Marin’s relationships was filled with so many ups and downs. Everything they went through together and apart made me love them together more. I was totally invested in their relationship. I loved the little family they made.

Reading For Forester has made me a fan of J. Nathan. It’s also made me want to go back and read the first book in the For You series. I would love to know more about those characters! Finlay and Caden seemed like such special characters.

If you’re looking for a new adult romance that’s outside the normal college sports romance, I highly recommend For Forester. I loved the older woman, younger man dynamic.

Review: When I Need You by Lorelei James

When I Need You
Series: Need You, #4
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: July 25, 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Note: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Rules are tossed aside when a pro football player join forces with a spitfire cheerleading coach in New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James’s brand-new romance…

Heir to Lund Enterprises and ladies’ man Jensen “The Rocket” Lund has three conditions when it comes to dating:
1) No single mothers
2) No cheerleaders
3) No medical personnel
So it makes no sense that he’s wildly attracted to Rowan Michaels, who breaks all three.

Rowan Michaels didn’t pass the rigorous requirements to become an athletic trainer and Vikings cheerleader in the hopes of landing a pro athlete: been there, done that, and she has a young son as proof that football players and fidelity don’t go hand in hand. When Rowan learns her new neighbor is Jensen Lund, the smoking-hot tight end who takes being neighborly to a whole new level, she’s grateful for the team’s strict “no fraternization” policy because the sexy man defines temptation.

But Jensen is intent on rushing straight to the goal line to prove to Rowan he’s much more than just a player…on and off the field.


A month or two ago I read my first book by Lorelei James. It was the first book in the Need You series, What You Need. I enjoyed that book and getting to meet the Lund family. Even though that was Brady’s book, I found myself wondering about his youngest brother, Jensen. I have to admit it’s because Jensen was a football player, and I’m a big sports romance fan. When I saw Jensen’s book was up on NetGalley, I had to request it. I’m so, so happy I did.

I really enjoy Lorelei James’ writing. Sometimes, contemporary romances can feel a bit dated. The characters act more mature than their age and aren’t very easy to relate to. Lorelei James’ books don’t feel that way. The writing feels fresh and new. Rather than use third person narration, she tells her stories in first person dual point of view. It makes her characters vibrant and easy to connect with.

When I Need You was a cool sports romance because it involved two athletes. Jensen was a professional football player and Rowan a professional cheerleader. This book told their love story, but also spotlighted the harsh reality of how cheerleading is viewed in the professional football world. I loved how that was woven into the story and affected the couple.

I loved Rowan. She was a single mother who strove to give her son the best while doing what she loved. If I loved Rowan, I don’t even know how to tell you how I felt about Jensen. That guy was incredible. He made this book. He was a gorgeous sports star with a huge heart. The way he was with both Rowan and her son made me swoon so hard. I couldn’t get over how he dealt with the challenges of dating a single mother. Jensen was all in with them, and it made me so dang happy!

All of the characters in When I Need You shined. It didn’t matter how big or small their part was in the story. They made me want to go back and read books two and three, and also hope there will be more book in this series. This is one of those series I wouldn’t mind if it went on forever because each book can be read as a standalone and doesn’t focus too much on past characters.

When I Need You went above and beyond my expectations for it. I knew I would enjoy it, but I didn’t know how much I would adore it. If you have a soft spot for a sexy sports star falling for a single mother and her son, this is a book you won’t want to miss. It’s such a sexy, sweet story.

Review: 27: Dropping the Gloves by Mignon Mykel

27: Dropping the Gloves
Series: Enforcers of San Diego, #1
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: July 5, 2017
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Hockey defenseman, Jordan Byrd, has made some mistakes. Not fighting harder to be in his daughter’s life was one, but the other was thinking that life would be somehow better without his best friend in it. However, as badly as he’d like Marlo back in his life, the last five years showed him a side of her he never imagined possible.

At twenty-two, Marlo Byrd unexpectedly finds herself divorced and raising an infant on her own. Jordan had been her everything—her family and her protector—until one day he decided he wanted out. No calls. No letters. Nothing. She managed to find solace in the team that was once his…until five years later, when Jordan’s traded back.

Back in the Enforcers locker room, Jordan is quickly put in his place—he may have a spot on the team, but his ex has a spot in the “family.”

Everyone has an opinion on what happened between Jordan and Marlo.

Did Jordan leave Marlo, and never look back, wearing the ‘deadbeat dad’ label?
Or did Marlo hold back on Jordan, wanting to hurt him the way he hurt her?

Gloves will be dropped.
Fights will commence.
But who will come out the victor?


Hockey romances are my favorite sports romances. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but the guys in these books make me swoon hardcore. One of my newer favorite hockey romance authors is Mignon Mykel. I enjoy her writing style and the characters she brings to life. I love her Prescott Family series, so I was excited to read 27: Dropping the Gloves, the first book in her new Enforcers of San Diego series.

27: Dropping the Gloves was a harder read for me. It started out in a devastating way and immediately broke my heart. From the prologue, I felt sad for both Jordan and Marlo. In one way, I felt like Jordan might have done the right thing at first. In another, I thought he was an idiot. Then, I got Marlo’s perspective, and things got even more emotional. These two went through some major stuff together and apart. I was so happy they were getting another chance to be together.

While I loved this second chance romance, but I did have some things I wanted from 27: Dropping the Gloves that I didn’t get. It all comes down to the length of this book. I wanted it to be longer. It was only 140 pages long, so more of a novella in length. That didn’t give enough time for Jordan’s grovelling in my opinion. Marlo was quicker to accept Jordan back than I liked. The guy needed to grovel longer and harder. That was really my only complaint about this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first look at the Enforcers of San Diego series. I loved the characters, and I’m excited to see what next for the Enforcers players.