Series Review: The Sweetest Thing by Sierra Hill

A while back I reviewed two of the books from Sierra Hill’s The Sweetest Thing series. I really enjoyed those two books, and I knew I wanted to go back and read the rest of the series. Last week I finally had time to make that happen.

Sweetness (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

Sweetness is the story of a privileged college basketball player who falls in love with a girl whose life isn’t so easy. Ainsley has Cade changing his womanizing ways, but his past may come back to ruin their relationship. This book was a classic NA sports romance. I loved the ASU setting (I went there!), and the characters. It was a sweet romance with just the right amount of angst.

Sweet Girl (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Sweet Girl was my favorite book in this series. Cade’s younger sister Kylah falls for his teammate Van. Things start out with a forbidden crush for Kylah as Van has a long distance girlfriend. When Van is betrayed, Kylah has the opportunity to go for her man. It was just super cute and sweet. It reminded me of first love and all of the things that come with it. I adored both Kylah and Van. (Oh, and Van lived in the same dorm I did in college! Talk about a blast from the past seeing its name in print.)

Sweet Summer Love (#3) ★ ★ ★ ½

This was the first book I read by Sierra Hill back in 2017. It’s about Cade’s roommate/teammate Carver. Carver is quite the ladies man. When he graduates from college and is drafted by the NBA, it returns him to his hometown of Seattle (Hey! I live here! Another reason to love this series!) where he’s reunited with Logan, the girl who broke his heart. I really enjoyed reading this book, but I had some issues with it. You can read my full review here.

Sweet Disaster (#4) ★ ★ ★ ★

Remember Kylah from Sweet Girl? Sweet Disaster is her wild twin sister Kady’s book. Kady takes an impromptu trip to Europe where she ends up stuck in Italy with no funds. She reaches out to Cade who hooks her up with Gavin who is playing basketball there. The two end up traveling together and falling in love. This book was sweet in a different way than Kylah’s book. It was about two people finally finding their person that they fit with. It was also sexier than the other books in the series.

Sweet Little Lies (#5) ★ ★ ★ ½

I read Sweet Little Lies back at the beginning of 2018. It is Ainsley’s best friend Mica and Cady’s roommate Lance’s story. Mica and Lance had insane chemistry. Their love story wasn’t as easy as ones in the prior books. Sierra Hill touched on deeper issues like interracial dating and addiction. I really loved the romance aspect of the story, but I wanted it to go deeper than it did on the addiction front. You can find my full review for this book here.

Thoughts on the entire The Sweetest Thing series:

Despite the ups and downs of the ratings of these books, I loved this series. It was classic NA college sports romance. Sierra Hill is a great writer. She includes just the right amount of angst in her love stories without going overboard. I especially loved this series because it’s set at my alma mater, ASU. I would recommend this series to anyone who enjoys a good new adult romance.

Series Review: Jackson Boys by Jen Frederick

Before I start my reviews for the Jackson Boys series, I need to give you a little background information in case you’re unfamiliar with Jen Frederick’s novels. The Jackson Boys series is a spin-off of the Woodlands series. Nathan and Nick are the offspring of Noah and Grace. Charlotte is the daughter of Bo and AnnMarie. You don’t have to read the Woodlands series prior to reading this book. The older characters show up, but their stories aren’t really revealed in this new series.

The Charlotte Chronicles
Series: Jackson Boys, #1
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: December 8, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Charlotte Randolph was only fifteen when she fell in love with her best friend’s gorgeous older brother—but she wasn’t foolish enough to hope he could ever love her back. Nate Jackson always viewed her as a pesky kid…until the day she got sick. The one bright spot during her illness? He realized she was all grown up. But just when she allows herself to believe that dreams can come true, Nate disappears from her life, taking her heart with him.

Nate knows he lost more than his best friend when he deserted Charlotte to enlist in the Navy. He thought he was doing the right thing, sparing the girl he loves from the shame and humiliation of his actions. Nine years later, it’s time to right his wrongs. He returns home determined to win back his first love…only to find that Charlotte’s moved on without him.

But if there’s one thing that being a Navy SEAL has taught Nate? Never give up, even when all hope seems lost. And Nate’s never going to give up on Charlotte. Ever.

My Review:

The Charlotte Chronicles is one of those books where I feel like my rating for it doesn’t quite jibe with how much I enjoyed reading it. I loved Charlotte and Nate. Their story was emotional from the start. The writing was great, but the actual story didn’t flow as well as I wanted it to.

My frustration with The Charlotte Chronicles was how the story was set up. The only way I can think to describe it is that it felt like three books in one. It starts out when Nate and Charlotte are seventeen and fifteen. The story surrounding Charlotte’s illness is sad, but also sweet because of Nate. They have such a pure love for each other. It really made me fall in love with both of their characters.

While Charlotte’s fighting her illness, Nate takes off and joins the Navy. This begins what feels like a new book. It’s a bunch of letters from Charlotte to Nate while he’s serving. She writes him for YEARS with no response. Her letters are sweet, desperate, and heartbreaking. I am so angry with Nate throughout this section of the book because I have no clue what he’s thinking and I can’t believe he would abandon someone he loves so much during the hardest time in her life.

Time then fast forwards again. The story changes format again. It’s been nine years since Nate and Charlotte last communicated with each other. (I guess they had a few run ins during that time, so I don’t get why they didn’t talk then?) We’re back to both Nate and Charlotte’s perspectives, and they’re older so they almost feel like different people. Nate finally gets to explain himself. He basically ignored her for a VERY STUPID reason for NINE YEARS. I struggled with the length of time the characters were apart and the flow of the story. I think if it had been shorter this separation and reunion would have been more believable to me. I just couldn’t get over the fact that they both held on for almost a decade. Nate was so lucky Charlotte hadn’t moved on.

I think my issues with The Charlotte Chronicles wouldn’t have been issues if it wasn’t for that nine-year separation. I would have found it more understandable/believable had it been three or even five years. I did like everything else that happened in the story, so that’s why I feel so conflicted. It’s still a book I would recommend. I’m excited to read Nick’s book and get to know him more.

Be Mine
Series: Jackson Boys, #2
Author: Jen Frederick
Publication Date: October 3, 2014
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

At twenty years old, Lainey Wilson has made enough mistakes for a lifetime. She’s gotten herself knocked up by a cruel, uncaring man, lost her home, and found herself outside of a ramshackle bar with a crying baby and a broken purse.

When Nick Jackson, the Mustangs’ new rookie quarterback, swoops in like her savior, all she wants to do is fall into his arms. There’s just one problem… she’s sworn off football players and men for good.

He’s charming, eager, and sexy as hell, but Nick’s not the man for her. No matter what her body says.

Besides, she’s got bigger problems to fix such as how she’s going to feed her child, where she’s going to lay her head, and how to stay hidden from her ex. There’s no room for flirtation, a hand on the small of her back, or even the way he makes her daughter smile.

Nick Jackson isn’t in her plan now or ever.

Right?

My review:

Having read Be Mine immediately following The Charlotte Chronicles had me a little confused. Be Mine is Nate’s brother Nick’s and Charlotte’s friend Lainie’s story. In The Charlotte Chronicles, Lainey and Nick seem to have a frenemies thing going on. They were standoffish with each other, and Nick butted into Lainey’s life in weird ways. It made me expect an enemy to lovers story. That wasn’t what I got at all in this book.

Nick and Lainey actually had a very different start to their friendship/relationship than I was expecting. Nick and Lainey’s friendship actually came before Charlotte and Lainey’s. I didn’t find the animosity between Nick and Lainey that I thought I would. When it did pop up, I didn’t understand it. It was all on Lainey’s part, and didn’t make sense. Nick was nothing but a sweetheart to her when I thought he would have been a jerk at times. It threw me off — especially when the timelines for The Charlotte Chronicles and Be Mine overlapped. I don’t want to go into too much and ruin anything for anyone. If I hadn’t just read The Charlotte Chronicles the little changes might not have been so noticeable.

Despite all the questions that arose from reading the books back to back, I did really love reading Be Mine. It was an entertaining love story. Nick and Lainey were a cute couple with interesting obstacles to overcome. I liked the twists involving Lainey’s baby daddy. I loved Nick and Cassidy’s relationship. It also had a very sweet epilogue. Be Mine probably would have been a 5 star read for me if I hadn’t had so many little questions about the possible discrepancies between it and the first book.

Review: The Good Luck Charm by Helena Hunting

The Good Luck Charm
Author: Helena Hunting
Publication Date: August 7, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This received this book from the publisher. This review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Is it love, or is she just his good luck charm?

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Helena Hunting absolutely delights with this witty and fun standalone contemporary romance.

Lilah isn’t sure what hurt worse: the day Ethan left her to focus on his hockey career, or the day he came back eight years later. He might think they can pick up just where they left off, but she’s no longer that same girl and never wants to be again.

Ethan Kane wants his glory days back. And that includes having Lilah by his side. With her, he was magic. They were magic. All he has to do is make her see that.

Just when Lilah might finally be ready to let him in, though, she finds out their reunion has nothing to do with her and everything to do with his game. But Ethan’s already lost her once, and even if it costs him his career, he’ll do anything to keep from losing her again.


The Good Luck Charm is a special second chance romance. Ethan and Lilah were first best friends and then high school sweethearts. When Ethan broke up with Lilah eight years ago to pursue a career in the NHL, they were both devastated. Lilah tried her best to move on. She created a whole new life for herself — a life that came crashing down around her the same day Ethan returned to town. Ethan wants nothing more to have Lilah back in his life, but Lilah’s not the same girl she was all those years ago. She’s not willing to be that girl again, and she’s not so sure she could stand to lose him again. Ethan is willing to do anything to prove to Lilah that they belong together.

Ethan and Lilah were a couple who deserved a second chance. From the moment I met them, I could tell how deeply their friendship and love ran. They may have been apart for eight years, but their chemistry was so strong they immediately fell back in sync with each other. Their romance was sassy and fun, but it was also filled with strong emotions. The ups and downs in this book felt like ones that could possibly happen in real life. I loved how Ms. Hunting was able to mix her witty dialog and sexy scenes with ones filled with angst.

One of the things I liked about this book was how easy it was to relate to Lilah and her concerns about losing herself in Ethan. Ethan was a larger than life hockey player whose confident personality easily overtook Lilah’s quieter demeanor. He went big while she went smart about things. That meant that sometimes Ethan didn’t hear what Lilah needed. She was quick it cave into his demands because she loved him. It’s easy to give up parts of yourself for someone you love. I liked how she dealt with it all. It took strength and courage on her part. Some might feel Lilah’s character was too much of a pushover, but I felt that she was actually a very strong person who just didn’t want to lose someone she loved so much. I also liked how this situation affected Ethan and gave him some new insight into their relationship.

Another thing I loved about this book were all the side characters. Ethan and Lilah’s families added so much to their story. I loved how involved they were in it. It made me want their stories as well — especially Carmen’s.

The Good Luck Charm is now my favorite book by Helena Hunting. In my opinion, it was contemporary romance gold.

Series Review: Kiss and Make Up by Sara Ney

Kissing in Cars
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #1
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: January 26, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Will she, or won’t she…

Studious and (mostly) sensible, the only thing Molly Wakefield wants to do is get through Senior Year and graduate. Well, that and hit the beach in her spare time. Okay, fine – and go shopping every once in a while for a new dress… (and who could blame her?)

And things are going according to plan – until the day she spies Weston McGrath, handsome star athlete and scholar, spying on her in study hall.

A tad creepy? Maybe.
Thrilling? Absolutely.

You see, Weston McGrath happens to be one guy no one can get close to.

Despite her best efforts to avoid it (because let’s face it – the guy isn’t exactly “boyfriend material”) Mollly and Weston form a friendship.
And more….
Sort of.
But it’s a friendship that comes with a price – because Weston just cannot seem to stop screwing things up. Or saying all the wrong things. Possibly in that order…
And who has time for an 18 year old “fixer-upper” that should know better?
Not Molly.
Or does she?

Review:

Oh my goodness.This book was so dang cute! Molly and Weston were just too adorable. I loved how everything went down between them. All the embarrassing, does he/she or doesn’t he/she like me moments were true the high school crush experience. It was cringe worthy, but sweet. Kissing in Cars was just so much fun to read. I felt like I was back in high school myself. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series!


He Kissed Me First
Series:
Kiss and Make Up, #2
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: November 27, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Trust me – If there’s one thing I’m not attracted to, it’s an arrogant, selfish and foul-mouth hockey player. I know what I want, and Matthew Wakefield isn’t it.” – Cecelia Carter

From the first moment they laid eyes on each other, all Cecelia Carter and Matthew Wakefield do is bicker. Fight. Even though he is her roommates brother, Cece just can’t stand the sight of him, and Matthew – well. He could never resist a challenge…

That can’t be a good combination, can it?
But sometimes, love happens when you least expect it.

Review:

I have mixed feelings about He Kissed Me First. On one hand, I loved Cecelia and Matthew’s banter. I loved what an idiot he was when it came to relationships and how everyone could see what he couldn’t. I loved how Molly and Weston from Kissing in Cars fit into the story and all of the new characters.

All of that was a lot of fun, but there were some things I wasn’t a big fan of. I didn’t really get Cecelia nor did I connect with her. She felt like a contradiction. Cecelia seemed liked the chick who didn’t care what she looked like, but then she had this uptight thing going on too. It just didn’t mesh well together. She had a major reaction to something Matthew said, but it wasn’t ever really explained and I didn’t get her reasoning. She just felt like this big mess while you knew what you were getting with Matthew.

Overall, He Kissed Me First was a fun read. I just expected a little more from it.


A Kiss Like This
Series: Kiss and Make Up, #3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: May 31, 2015
Publisher: Sara Ney LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

ABIGAIL DARLINGTON IS AWKWARD…

She will never be “that” girl. You know the one: that girl on campus, confident in her own skin. Always saying the right things. Putting herself out there. Knows how to talk to a guy without stammering.

Nope. Shy but clever, and easily embarrassed, Abby is fine being the wallflower in her circle of outgoing, beautiful friends; she would rather read about a sexy book boyfriend than actually have a live, breathing one.

…BUT CALEB LOCKHART IS WORSE.

Star goaltender for the University’s hockey team, Caleb is quiet and broody, preferring the solitude of his orderly, regimented life. He doesn’t like, or need people—and plans to keep it that way. One more year left of hockey and he’ll be long gone.

AWKWARD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD.

Both their lives change the day that Abigail falls for Caleb. Well, falls directly on top of him, to be accurate. Because sometimes we don’t settle into love.

We fall there.

Review:

As you can see above, this series so far has been a little hit or miss for me. A Kiss Like This was giant hit for me. I absolutely ADORED this book. Sara Ney’s writing feels more timeless and current in this book. I can really see how her writing evolved to what it is today. I loved it.

A Kiss Like This was awkwardly sweet and romantic. Caleb and Abigail were just too dang cute for words. Neither of them knew what the heck they were doing when it came to a relationship and it was romance gold. I can’t even…I just want to keep going on and on about how freaking adorable and amazing this book was. A Kiss Like This was such a great, classic NA romance. I absolutely loved it!

Review: Fear Me by B.B. Reid

Fear Me
Series: Broken Love, #1
Author: B.B. Reid
Publication Date: January 26, 2015
Publisher: Bebe’s Reads LLC
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

I don’t believe in fairy tales and Prince Charming.

I believe in fear.

He taught me how to be afraid.

We first met on a playground on a wonderful summer day. It was the first time he hurt me and it wouldn’t be the last. For ten years, he’s been my tormentor and I’ve been his forbidden. But then he went away, and yet I was still afraid.

Now he’s back and wants more than just my tears. You see…he thinks I sent him away so now he wants revenge…and he knows just how to get it.

Warning: Fear Me contains sensitive themes.


Before I get into the nitty-gritty of my review, I feel the need to preface it with a few statements. B.B. Reid is a talented writer. She infuses her writing with passion and emotion, making her books highly addictive. I read Fear Me in one evening because I couldn’t put it down. It had some amazing twists and unforgettable characters. I feel the need to tell you these things because my review isn’t going to sound super positive. If you read the blurb above, you will notice the warning that this book contains sensitive themes. It truly does, and some of my negative thoughts revolve around those. I’ll get to that in a minute.

Fear Me is a book I downloaded for free. I had never read a B.B. Reid book before, and I wanted to give her books a try. Prior to actually starting Fear Me, I read reviews from some sources I trust. They were all super positive four and five-star reviews. One was by an author talking about how this book could disturb some but to remember it is fantasy. It’s not a real life situation. That made me even more curious, so I decided to give Fear Me a shot.

Fear Me is told from Lake Monroe’s first person point of view. From the beginning, Lake is filled with fear. Her childhood tormentor is returning to town for their senior year of high school. All Lake can do if try to fly under the radar and hide from Keiran Masters. Too bad Keiran isn’t going to let her do that. He has a plan to extract revenge against Lake, and she is going to be his unwilling participant. As Keiran sets his plan in motion to torment her, the fear Lake has of him forces her to abide by Keiran’s rules. She’s forced to give him everything he wants.

**Possible SPOILERS AHEAD (for sensitive themes not the plot)**

This book was royally messed up. It’s probably one of the most messed up books I’ve read. The things that happen in this book are so very wrong. Keiran uses Lake’s fear and her attraction to him to his advantage. He forces her to do things that should put him behind bars. He sexually assaults her constantly throughout this book and basically holds her captive. I hated the way his actions were romanticized. Stolkholm Syndrome is the only way to describe Lake’s feelings toward Keiran. Their entire “relationship” was sick, and I honestly don’t get how readers can can “ooh and aah” over their relationship or swoon over Keiran’s character. Under all his anger and aggression he might have loved Lake, but his actions were not loving and they were downright illegal. Keiran was controlling, manipulative, and savage.

The reason why I’m putting spoilers in my review for Fear Me is that I am uncomfortable that younger new adult readers may pick it up due to the new adult tag. I’m scared they’re going to romanticize Keiran and the things he does. No one should be in a relationship like this book portrays. Fear Me needed more than a warning that it contains sensitive content. It needed a statement saying that if you’re in a relationship anything like the one portrayed in this book, you should contact a help line with the phone number included.

Keiran’s not the only monster in this book. His friends aren’t much better. His cousin Keenan is a cheater whose girlfriend, Sheldon, looks past his indiscretions. He has no problem aiding Keiran in his torture of Lake. Dash is Keiran’s best friend who is also willing to help in any way. Then, there’s Quinton who helps keep an eye on Lake. They’re like the male equivalent of high school mean girls but only worse.

High school. That’s another thing that blows my mind about this book. It’s set in freaking high school. None of these guys act or are described as looking like high schoolers. They’re bigger and badder than that. They have power over people like I can’t even fathom. The things they get away with…it’s unbelievable. Maybe that’s what makes them so interesting?

One thing I feel like I need to comment on was that this was another one of those books where the characters are still in high school but the parents and guardians are rarely seen or heard from. They leave for extended periods of time and leave their kids home alone to attend school, etc. It makes all the things the characters do easier. They don’t really have to hide what’s going on from authority figures. I kept wondering who leaves their kids home all the time like this? My parents didn’t. My friends’ parents didn’t. I won’t leave my kid like that. Maybe some do. It just seemed way too convenient for the plot. I wish they had been around so it would have been harder for the kids to get away with stuff.

**END SPOILERS**

Now, I know what you’re wondering. If it was so horrible, how can I even give it 3 stars? Like I said earlier, B.B. Reid is a talented writer. I may have hated everything that was involved in the relationship Kieran and Lake had, but I was mesmerized by the story woven around it. It was a suspenseful mystery. There were so many secrets to uncover. There were so many fascinating revelations. Lake had amazing friendships with Willow and Sheldon. If Kieran hadn’t been such a monster, I probably would have loved this book. Despite my uncomfortable feelings regarding the sensitive subject matter, I have to read the next book. I need to know Lake that is going to be okay. I’m hoping Kieran gets the help he seriously needs. I guess I need some closure.

Review: Block Shot by Kennedy Ryan

BlockShotBTBanner
Block Shot
Series: A HOOPS Novel, #2
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Publication Date: September 10, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

JARED

If I had a dollar for every time Banner Morales made my heart skip a beat…
The heart everyone assumes is frozen over.
Her anger is…arousing.
Every glare from those fire-spitting eyes, every time she grits her teeth, gets me…well, you know.
If I had a dollar for every time she’s put me in my place, I’d be an even richer man.
I’m a successful sports agent because I assume “no” means you’ll think about it.
I’m sure what you meant to say is “Coming right up.”
They say even rich men don’t always get what they want, but those men don’t know how to play the game. The trick is to keep them guessing.
Take Banner. She assumes she’s winning, but this game?
She doesn’t even know how to play.

BANNER

If I had a dollar for every time Jared Foster broke my heart, I’d have exactly one dollar.
One night. One epic fail. One dollar…and I’m out.
I’ve moved on.
I’ve found success in a field ruled by men.
Anything they can do, I have done better.
They can keep the field while I call the shots, blocking them when I have to.
And Jared has the nerve to think he gets a second chance?
Boy, please. Go sit down. Have several seats.
I’ll just be over here ignoring the man carved from my fantasies with a lust-tipped chisel.
Oh, I didn’t say the struggle wasn’t real.
But I’ve got that one dollar, and Jared won’t have me.


If you have never read a book by Kennedy Ryan, you are truly missing out. She is a phenomenal writer. The books she writes are the total package. Her stories are romances with powerful messages. There’s a social awareness to them that make them stand out. Her words and the stories they create are beautiful and impactful. I’m always a little nervous heading into one of her books because I know it’s going to make me feel all the things. I was especially nervous (and excited) to start Block Shot after the emotional rollercoaster I experienced in Long Shot, the first HOOPS novel.

From the minute I started Block Shot, I was hooked on Banner and Jared’s story. I loved how it started with their past. So much of their present was tied to their past. It influenced the way they dealt with each other, especially on Banner’s side. It made me excited to find out how they would end up together.

For me, the thing (or person) that made Block Shot amazing was Banner. She is one of those characters that I can see bits and pieces of myself in. Banner walked a fine line between being self-confident and filled with doubt. She knew she slayed at parts of her life, and she knew what her downfalls were. I liked that because I think no matter how confident a woman portrays herself, there’s always some insecurities hiding in the background. I loved how Banner took ownership of those negatives and put forth the effort to make them positives. It was inspiring to say the least.

My feelings for Jared are a little mixed. I had moments I loved him and moments I didn’t. I, personally, wouldn’t call him a swoon worthy main character. Jared was a highly flawed, like many of us are. He wasn’t a good guy, but he never claimed to be. I respected that, but I also didn’t like how he let that fact enable his decisions. Jared wasn’t all bad, though. He didn’t take the easy way out on anything. Jared worked hard for what he accomplished. The best thing about Jared was how he saw Banner.

Despite not falling completely in love with Jared’s character, I did love his relationship with Banner. They were a great match. Their story surprised me, though. I didn’t expect the nature of the obstacles that stood in their path. I should have known there wouldn’t be an easy fix for them (This is a Kennedy Ryan novel, after all.), but I guessed I hoped there would be. Their initial problem was a simple misunderstanding. I should have known that wouldn’t be the only thing they would face. There had to be some major hurdles and heartbreak. In the end, all of the good, the bad, and the ugly made for a touching love story.

There was only one thing that kept Block Shot from being a five-star read for me. A boundary was crossed that Banner tried to set with Jared. It was a boundary I believe in. I was disappointed that Jared had no problem using any excuse to cross that boundary. It made a big impression on how I felt about him and this book. His actions actually made me put the book down and walk away for a while because I was uncomfortable and afraid of what was to come. Everything that stemmed from his actions wasn’t all his fault. Banner played a part as well, which honestly shocked me, so I have some negative feelings about her as well. I guess when it comes down to it, I think the book would have still been as impactful without this part. I can understand in the end why Kennedy Ryan made the choices she did, but it isn’t something I love to read about.

Overall, Block Shot was a really great read. I loved the connection between Jared and Banner. I adored Banner and identified with her in so many ways. I know other women will, too. Honestly, that’s the most important part of this story.

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About Kennedy:

A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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Review: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Intercepted
Series: Playbook, #1
Author: Alexa Martin
Publication Date: September 11, 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.


Every once in a while I come across a book and I wonder how this could be the author’s début novel. That’s how I felt about Alexa Martin’s Intercepted. If I hadn’t looked up what other books she had written, I would have never have known this was the first. Intercepted was that good.

I loved the writing. It felt fresh and real. I could totally imagine all of the scenarios going down happening to a professional footballer’s girlfriend or wife. It was like watching it on one of those reality television shows. The crazy was just crazy enough to be believable.

Marlee was one cool chick. This goes back to the writing, but she felt like a real person because the voice the author gave her was so authentic. I loved her confidence and strength. Marlee had this sassy, snarky attitude. She didn’t let petty jabs get to her. It was so much fun. My favorite thing about her, though, was her independent streak. Marlee was determined to make it on her own. She wasn’t going to be the kept woman of a professional athlete.

Intercepted was all in Marlee’s point of view, but that did not stop me from getting to know Gavin well. Sometimes when a book is lacking the hero’s point of view, it feels like something is missing. This book did not feel that way. I got to know Gavin well enough through Marlee’s eyes. I loved Gavin. He was the professional athlete women hope they fall in love with. He wasn’t a womanizer and he treated Marlee like a queen. He did have his moments of stupidity, but it wouldn’t have been such a great love story if he hadn’t.

Another thing that was awesome about this book was the biracial representation. I can’t claim to identify with that piece of Marlee since I’m not biracial, but I know several readers who did. I loved everything about Marlee and how that piece of her identity worked into the story, so I think I can agree that it was well done. Normally, I might leave this paragraph out since I cannot personally identify, but I think readers who would identify should know about this.

I only had one beef with Intercepted: all of the #hashtags. Gosh, there were so many of them. At first it, I thought they were cute and kind of funny. By the end, #Iwasjustdonewiththem.

Intercepted was such a fun read. It was it was sassy, romantic, and hilarious. It brought a smile to my face. I can’t wait to read more from Alexa Martin. (Which reminds me, I read the blurb for her next book and I am dying to get my hands on it!!!)

Review: Three Little Lies by Sara Ney

Three Little Lies
Series: #ThreeLittleLies, #s1-3
Author: Sara Ney
Publication Date: February 2, 2016
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Three Littles Lies…. Three complete novella’s in one spot.

BOOK 1: THINGS LIARS SAY

Lies, lies, lies; everybody tells them….
Greyson Keller didn’t intend to lie; it just came out that way. So when the object of that lie shows up on her doorstep, she is confused, shocked, and embarrassed.

Calvin Thompson is an Ivy Leaguer, attending University over an hour away, playing rugby and basically not giving a crap. So imagine his surprise when some guy named Greyson begins rumors online that they’re dating — the only logical solution is to drive an hour and confront him…

Be there when Greyson and Cal finally meet face-to-face because. Sparks. Will. Fly.

BOOK 2: THINGS LIARS HIDE

Secrets, secrets, everybody has them…
Tabitha Thompson is many things, but a liar isn’t one of them. Unless you count the sexy secret she’s spent a year hiding from everyone: her friends, her family. The secret she never counted on anyone discovering…

One chance encounter.
One clumsy mistake.
One sexy discovery.

Now, only Collin Keller stands in the way of her secret–and everyone else. And he just may be the one who ruins it all. Tabitha Thompson, you secretive little sneak…

BOOK 3: THINGS LIARS FAKE

What if…
Someone you barely knew asked you for a favor.

What if…
They needed you to be something you weren’t, in exchange for nothing. Unless you count a mouth full of lies and a half-broken heart. Faker. Pretender. Liar. There are worse things to be called.

So would you do it? Would you?
Daphne Winthrop did.
And you’re about to find out what happens in the end.

***This novella series is intended for a mature audience, 17+ due to sexual content and foul language.***


Three Little Lies is the combination of all of Sara Ney’s #ThreeLittleLies novellas. Each book has its own main characters, but it is best to read them in order because each one introduces us to the characters that will be starring in the next book. You could read them as standalone novellas and not in order, but that could ruin some of the fun. Here are my thoughts on each book…

Things Liars Say★ ★ ★ ★ 
I adored this novella! It was hilarious how Greyson and Cal met and fell in love. There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about it. It was exactly what I expect from a Sara Ney romance.

Thing Liars Hide ★ ★ ★ ★
The way this book started out KILLED ME! It was so perfect. Collin and Tabitha were perfect. I completely got why Tabitha lied the way she did. I loved that Collin knew what was up. Too cute!

Things Liars Fake★ ★ ★ ★
Adorkably cute. That is how I would describe Dexter and Daphne. They were both so awkward and yet fit together perfectly. I loved how Dexter’s family played such a big part in their story.

Overall, this series of novellas was fun, hilarious, and sweet. I adored them all, but I did have a few things that bugged me a bit. One, they all heavily use texting or email in them. I like how they were used, but it’s relied on almost too much when used in all three novellas. Second, all of these stories, with the exception of the first novella, felt too rushed. I really wish they weren’t novellas but full length novellas. That’s probably just me being greedy, though. I wanted more…

Review: Reckless King by Maya Hughes

Reckless King
Series: Kings of Rittenhouse, #2
Author: Maya Hughes
Publication Date: August 23, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I’m Heath Taylor. Laid back. Easy going. Fastest guy on two skates and chill to a fault, at least that’s what they say. Until Kara.

Three nights together and I’m done for. Her laugh, her smile, the way my hand curves around her waist. She’s the one. Not a doubt in my mind…until I walk into my last class of the semester.

Kara, the woman of my dreams, is my new instructor. My hockey season and her career prospects are on the line. One false move–if anyone finds out–we’re both sunk.

On the ice I’m a beast that can’t be stopped, but thoughts of her are throwing me off my game. My fingers itch to feel her in my arms again. But risking everything could ruin what we’ve worked so hard for.

Sometimes life has a way of changing the best laid plans. And sometimes you can’t stay away no matter the promises you make.

Life doesn’t play fair, but neither do I…


The more books I read in the Kings of Rittenhouse series, the more I love Maya Hughes’ writing. She’s got a really special thing going on with this series. She’s created a team of hockey players that I want to get to know. It all started with Declan in the prequel novella and Shameless King. Those books were so much fun that I couldn’t wait to get my hand on the second book, Reckless King. Reckless King is Declan’s friend Heath’s story.

Heath’s book wasn’t what I was expecting at all. Reckless King was more. Both Heath and his lady-love, Kara, had some heavy things marring their pasts. It gave them an extra special connection beyond their amazing chemistry. I loved going through the ups and downs of their relationship and their lives. The emotions of the characters in this book were palpable and hard-hitting. I loved that.

Another thing I loved were the surprises Maya Hughes had in store. Well, maybe loved wasn’t the right word for how I felt about them. They shocked me. I wasn’t prepared for them. My mind was blown. I didn’t exactly love the surprises, but they pushed the story in a direction that had the greatest impact on the characters. I appreciated that.

Overall, I found Reckless King to be even better than previous books in this series. I truly enjoyed reading it. It made me excited for what’s to come for the rest of Declan and Heath’s friends. I cannot wait to read the next book! If you’re a fan of new adult sports romances, you really need to check out Maya Hughes’ Kings of Rittenhouse series. I’m super impressed with it.

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Author Bio
Maya Hughes has always loved romance novels. One look at her Kindle is confirmation. She started writing her first romance novel while pregnant with her third child and she hasn’t looked back. Now, her romance writing addiction has replaced her romance reading addiction.
 
You can find her writing on her foldable keyboard and phone anytime inspiration strikes. Her sweet and steamy stories range from rockstars to small towns and everything in between. When she’s not writing, she’s playing with her three kids, running errands or vegging on the couch with the love of her life and biggest fan, her husband.

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Review: Big Stick by R.C. Stephens

Big Stick
Author: R.C. Stephens
Publication Date: September 17, 2018
Publisher: Entangled Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, New Adult, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Hockey is my life. And it’s a great one. There’s an endless line of women, and I get to hang with my best friend Oli. Everything is perfect until she shows up. Oli’s twin sister, Flynn…hates my guts. I don’t blame her. I’m part of one of the worst nights of her life.

Now she’s next door and seeing her every day is killing me slowly. I wonder if we can ever get back to being friends. The way she looks at me sometimes, well, let’s just say my hockey stick isn’t the only thing that’s feeling hard these days.

But if she finds out the secrets I’m keeping, forgiveness will be the last thing on her mind.


Big Stick is one of those books that caught my eye by the title and cover — but for reasons you wouldn’t think. It wasn’t the half-naked man or what “big stick” could possibly be. I am a sports romances. Hockey romances are usually very well done. I learn a little more about the sport each time and get to fall in love with (normally) a cute couple. So when I saw the title Big Stick and the hockey stick, I clicked “request” on NetGalley. I’m really glad I did.

Big Stick was not just a hockey romance. It was also a second chance romance between childhood best friends. Flynn was a tomboy growing up. She hung out with her twin brother, Oli, and their best friend Myles constantly. As she got older, Flynn developed a major crush on Myles. Their friendship was dramatically severed in high school, and Flynn has been avoiding Myles for years. That all changes when Flynn is forced to move in next door to Myles.

I’m fairly new to R.C. Stephens writing. I enjoyed it a lot. It was fast-paced and easy to relate to. I appreciated that she included dual points of view. That gave me a good look into what her characters were thinking and feeling.

Myles and Flynn were fun characters. I liked the dynamic they had going on. They had great chemistry. It wasn’t quite a hate to love thing, but close. Flynn feelings were all over the place, and I loved her hesitation to renew her friendship with Myles. Myles desperately wanted to have Flynn’s friendship and possibly more back, and wasn’t going to let everything that happened in the past keep him from her anymore. It was sweet and frustrating in the best way to watch them dance around each other.

I had one problem with Big Stick. It was so over dramatic at times. Some heavy stuff had happened to Myles and Flynn. I got that and I understood why their relationship was they way it was. What I didn’t quite get was the reaction Flynn had to Myles’ big secret. Honestly, I was shocked at how affected Flynn was by it at this point. It just seemed like she was reacting to the same thing over and over again even though it wasn’t exactly the same. That was really just a small part of this story, though. It didn’t take away my enjoyment of Flynn and Myles’ story.

The weird thing about Big Stick was my favorite thing about it. I adored Flynn’s best friend and brother. They kind of stole the show for me. I actually found myself more interested in them than Myles and Flynn by the end of the book. I’m really hoping there’s going to be a second book about them. Sign me up to read that one now!

Overall, Big Stick was a great contemporary sports romance. Fans of that genre are sure to enjoy this book.