Mini Reviews: Scoring Wilder, Do Over & Burn for Me

Today, I have three short book reviews for you. Two are books I read after reading reviews from other bloggers. I was reminded I wanted to read Scoring Wilder by reading Corina‘s review. I found out about Do Over from Nick and Nereyda‘s review. Thanks for the recommendations, ladies! One is a book my book club is read.


Scoring Wilder
Author: R.S. Grey
Publication Date: June 15, 2014
Publisher: R.S. Grey
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

What started out as a joke— seduce Coach Wilder—soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

• A face that makes girls weep – check.
• Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
• Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits . Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”


Around the time of the last Olympic summer games, I read R.S. Grey’s The Sumer Games series. I really enjoyed Settling the Score, and wanted to know more about some of the characters mentioned in that book — they were part of Scoring Wilder. I had completely forgot they were part of this book until I read Corina’s review.

Despite being a little uncomfortable about the coach/player situation in this book at first, I really enjoyed Scoring Wilder. I loved Kinsley. She was just so cool and confident. I also loved Liam, and how he put Kinsley first. Their romance was so cute! Another thing I loved were all the aspects of training for a college soccer team that were included. Scoring Wilder was a fun book to read, and fans of NA sports romances are sure to enjoy it.



Do Over
Author: Serena Bell
Publication Date: January 30, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Toe-curling? Check. Sheet-twisting? Check. But is that enough for a second chance?

Jack: I’m pretty much as tough as they come. But when a woman comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. Scratch that—when Maddie Adams comes to me in tears, I’m jelly. That’s how we ended up making our incredible son five years ago, and that’s why I practically beg her to move in with me when she’s in a tight spot. Of course, the last time I got the chance to be the hero, I let her down, but I’m not making the same mistake twice. This time, I’m going to be the man she deserves—and then I’m going to lay every ounce of sexy on her until she lets me back into her heart.

Maddie: Jack Parker is hot, and he knows it. What he’s not is a family man, something this single mom had to learn the hard way. Still, moving into his place until I get back on my feet makes all kinds of sense. He’s an old friend. He’s, ahem, the father of my child. And let’s face it, now that I’ve just been colossally dumped, we’ve got nowhere else to go. The truth is, I never could resist Jack. Living under the same roof puts dirty thoughts in my head. And when my brilliant plan backfires, my whole body is begging for a do-over. . . .


Do Over is the first book I’ve read by Serena Bell, but it won’t be my last. I adored this book. It was a second chance romance between childhood best friends — who already had a 5-year-old son together. Both harbor secret feelings for each other but are worried the other doesn’t feel the same. I loved how their son helped bring them even closer together. It was so cute and pretty funny. I smiled many times while reading it. I am so happy I spent time with Maddie and Jack. This is definitely a book contemporary romance readers will love.



Burn for Me
Series: Hidden Legacy, #1
Author: Ilona Andrews
Narrator: Renée Raudman
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Romantic Suspense

Rating: DNF 20%

Synopsis:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Ilona Andrews launches a brand new Hidden Legacy series, in which one woman must place her trust in a seductive, dangerous man who sets off an even more dangerous desire…

Nevada Baylor is faced with the most challenging case of her detective career—a suicide mission to bring in a suspect in a volatile case. Nevada isn’t sure she has the chops. Her quarry is a Prime, the highest rank of magic user, who can set anyone and anything on fire.

Then she’s kidnapped by Connor “Mad” Rogan—a darkly tempting billionaire with equally devastating powers. Torn between wanting to run or surrender to their overwhelming attraction, Nevada must join forces with Rogan to stay alive.

Rogan’s after the same target, so he needs Nevada. But she’s getting under his skin, making him care about someone other than himself for a change. And, as Rogan has learned, love can be as perilous as death, especially in the magic world.


Burn for Me was a book chosen by my book group to read for the month. Since fantasy/paranormal romance isn’t really my thing, I decided to listen to the audio version. Sometimes, that makes it easier for me to get into a book in a genre that’s not my favorite.

All that being said, listening to Burn for Me didn’t work out for me. There were just too many things at play. One, I had a hard time connecting to the characters. I think part of this has to do with the narration of the story. Some of the characters sounded ancient when they weren’t past their 40’s. Two, there was a lot of world building to build the foundation of the magical story. That’s probably normal, but I wanted to get to the romance part of the book. The MCs were just meeting at 20%. Three, not only was it fantasy/paranormal based, there was a romantic suspense element to it. Those sub genres combined were an even worse fit for me.

When I found out I wasn’t going to be able to attend my book group, I decided to go ahead and let go of listening to this book. I’ve read several positive reviews, so I’m sure it’s a good book. I admit I might not have given it enough time, but with so many other books I need/want to read it just wasn’t worth going any further on for me.

Review: Long Way Home by Katie McGarry

Long Way Home
Series: Thunder Road, #3
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Violet has always been expected to sit back and let the boys do all the saving.

It’s the code her father, a member of the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, raised her to live by. Yet when her dad is killed carrying out Terror business, Violet knows it’s up to her to do the saving. To protect herself, and her vulnerable younger brother, she needs to cut all ties with the club—including Chevy, the boy she’s known and loved her whole life.

But when a rival club comes after Violet, exposing old secrets and making new threats, she’s forced to question what she thought she knew about her father, the Reign of Terror, and what she thinks she wants. Which means re-evaluating everything: love, family, friends . . . and forgiveness.

Caught in the crosshairs between loyalty and freedom, Violet must decide whether old friends can be trusted—and if she’s strong enough to be the one person to save them all.


Utter devastation. That’s what I’m feeling right now. I am so, so sad the Thunder Road series is over. Done. Caput. No more books. Finishing Long Way Home has given me book hangover.

Long Way Home was just as amazing as the first two books in the Thunder Road series. The plot was brilliant, the characters continued to shine, and it was just so much fun to read. My experience with reading it was a little different from my experience with the first two book because I listened to them. I enjoyed both formats. I do have to admit that I did miss listening to the narrators’ accents, though. They made the first two books exceptionally fun.

Katie McGarry had to up the ante in Long Way Home. We don’t just get one Reign of Terror / Riot plot with this one, we get two. Violet and Chevy face a life changing ordeal together. It faces them to deal with lingering questions they’ve had over the years. Each forced to deal with an issue they have regarding the clubs they’re dealing with. This made Violet and Chevy’s book more stressful than the last two books.

I can’t say I was particularly a fan of Violet in the past couple of books. I felt a dedication to the Reign of Terror like the other characters did. I wanted her to get over her problems with them. Long Way Home had me rethinking my judgement of Violet. I finally understood her point and got it. She was right in a lot of ways I didn’t realize. I loved how Violet stood her ground and didn’t back down based on tradition.

Chevy was as lovable as I knew he would be. He had a happy-go-lucky feeling to him. I enjoyed getting to know him better. I loved the realizations he came to in this book. He really matured from a teenager to a young man during Long Way Home.

Violet and Chevy’s relationship had a special magic to it. They were childhood best friend, practically siblings, who grew to love each other. I hurt for them when they weren’t together, and knew how tough their decisions to be apart and together were. Their love was cemented down deep, and I couldn’t imagine them not ending up together.

As for the other series characters, don’t worry, they make appearances. There were some great moments between both Violet and Eli. I especially liked the touching moments between Violet and her mom and Eli and his mom and Cyrus.

The only slight frustration I had with Long Way Home was some unanswered questions that lingered after finishing it. I had some confusion surrounding Issac’s mother in relation to his father. I didn’t how she ended up somewhere based on his job. It didn’t add up to me. Also, who was the new prospect mentioned toward the end that was mentioned with Addison? I really needed the fourth book we didn’t get to make things clearer for me. Dang Harlequin Teen for keeping it from me! 😉

Long Way Home was everything I expected it to be. It reunited Violet and Chevy in the best way possible. It was a fitting ending for the series, even if I wanted more. I guess the sadness of losing this series will motivate me to read the rest of McGarry’s books (I didn’t really need motivation. Her writing speaks for itself.).

Review: Walk the Edge by Katie McGarry

Walk the Edge
Series: Thunder Road, #2
Author: Katie McGarry
Narrators: Callie Dalton, Andre Eiden
Publication Date: April 1, 2016
Publisher: Harlequin Audio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

One moment of recklessness will change their worlds.

Smart. Responsible. That’s seventeen-year-old Breanna’s role in her large family, and heaven forbid she put a toe out of line. Until one night of shockingly un-Breanna-like behavior puts her into a vicious cyber-bully’s line of fire—and brings fellow senior Thomas “Razor” Turner into her life.

Razor lives for the Reign of Terror motorcycle club, and good girls like Breanna just don’t belong. But when he learns she’s being blackmailed over a compromising picture of the two of them—a picture that turns one unexpected and beautiful moment into ugliness—he knows it’s time to step outside the rules.

And so they make a pact: he’ll help her track down her blackmailer, and in return she’ll help him seek answers to the mystery that’s haunted him—one that not even his club brothers have been willing to discuss. But the more time they spend together, the more their feelings grow. And suddenly they’re both walking the edge of discovering who they really are, what they want, and where they’re going from here.


Last month, I listened to Katie McGarry’s Nowhere But Here. It was my first book by McGarry, and I fell in love with her writing. I couldn’t wait to continue with the Thunder Road series. Walk the Edge was just as amazing as Nowhere But Here. Everything about it was incredible.

I loved the plot of Walk the Edge! It had a similar feel to Nowhere But Here, but was completely different.  Both books are about bonds and trust between family members and friends. They’re also about the characters finding their own truths, and learning to live with what they have discovered. Oh, and falling in love. What sets each book apart is the characters and their situations. The blackmailing plot and the mystery of Razor’s mother’s death were addicting!

Razor and Breanna were extremely lovable. Razor was a young man on the edge. The mystery of his mother’s death had left a piece of him missing. He never felt like he was truly happy until he met Breanna. Breanna was the insanely smart girl who everyone knew of but few really knew. She was one of nine kids and was completely lost in the middle. The last person Breanna ever thought she would find a connection with was Razor.

Razor and Breanna seemed like an unlikely pair, but I immediately felt their connection. I loved how they became their true selves with each. There was a sweetness between them that I loved.

Just like the first book, I also fell in love (or more in love) with the rest of the characters. I grew to love the Reign of Terror family even more. I loved Razor’s relationships with Violet, Oz, Chevy, and Rebecca. Breanna’s family was harder to love. I mostly loved the younger kids, but I appreciated the roles of her older siblings and parents for what they brought to the book.

Walk the Edge was such a great book. I can’t even properly write about how much I enjoyed listening to it. The writing was amazing and addictive. I adored the characters and their story. The narrators were fantastic. I could go on and on. I can’t recommend this book and the Thunder Road series enough. I am not so patiently waiting for my library hold to come through on the third book. I can’t wait to continue the series.

Review: Amber by Elle Casey

Amber
Series: Red Hot Love, #1
Author: Elle Casey
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: I won this book from a Goodreads Giveaway and this review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

In the bright lights of the big city, she’ll find red-hot music—and red-hot love.

Fiery, free-loving Amber Fields has just discovered she’s the daughter of a 90s rock legend. Amber is determined to know more and heads to the bright lights of New York City, a world away from the hippie commune she’s grown up on in Maine.

She tracks down the band but answers seem hard to come by. And then there’s the new lead guitarist—troubled, sexy, intriguing Ty who is anything but welcoming.

Ty is not into commitment and Amber is not into the music yet, soon, sparks begin to fly. The more time they spend together, the hotter things get. They’re bound by music—could they also be bound by love?


I’ve loved reading Elle Casey’s romance novels for years. I was excited to read her newest series, Red Hot Love. I was curious to find out what her take on a rock star romance would be. Unfortunately, Amber is the first book of hers that has given me problems.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like Amber. Elle Casey’s writing is always good. Her stories are fast paced and funny. The mystery surrounding Amber’s father kept me interested. My problem was mostly with the entire plot of this book.

The thing about Amber’s plot is that it was almost too unbelievable for me. Three groupies get knocked up around the same time by a band, and they sneak away to have/raise the babies. They create a hippy commune together where the kids call all three ladies mom and each other sister. None of the ladies know who the father of their baby is, and the fathers never know there are babies. The ladies keep the entire band thing a secret from the kids. It was just too crazy out there for me. I guess it wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for the commune thing and Amber’s personality, but it was.

Amber… It’s hard to explain other than to say she completely annoyed me. Her personality was just abrasive. I found her dialog irritating. She was this tough, angry chick who didn’t care who she was talking to, but at the smallest problems would deflate. There was just something about her I didn’t like, and I don’t know if I’m putting it into words correctly.

Ty was easier to like than Amber. I could understand his position on everything. I didn’t quite get why he was into Amber, since she was so off-putting, but their relationship was sweet.

My favorite part of this book was the mystery with the fathers. That whole thing was really cool. I wanted more from it than I got at the end, but I liked how everything played out.

Overall, Amber was a good book that just wasn’t my cup of tea. I am interested in finding out where the rest of story goes, so I will be continuing on with the series. I’m hoping I like Amber’s sister, Emerald more.

WWW Wednesday: February 14, 2018

Welcome to WWW Wednesday!

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam @ Taking on a World of Words. The purpose is to share what I’ve reading lately. The three W’s stand for:

What did you recently finish reading?
What are you currently reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Recently Read

This week I read an ARC of The Smallest PartLong Way Home, Sweet Little Lies (The Sweetest Thing, #5), and Amber (Red Hot Love, #1).


I also finished listening to Walk the Edge (Thunder Road, #2).


Currently ReadIng

Right now, I’m reading an ARC of One Last Time.

I am also listening to Dating You / Hating You.


Reading Next

Up next is Saving Me.


What are you reading? Make sure to leave me your link below so I can check out your post. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Sports Romances For When You’re Missing the Winter Olympics

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Love Freebie (Romances, swoons, OTPs, kisses, sexy scenes, etc.). 

My topic choice is Ten Sports Romances For When You’re Missing the Winter Olympics. I know all of us are loving watching the 2018 Winter Olympics and will miss it when they’re over. That’s why I have come up with several series/books to keep the winter sports love alive after it’s all over.


SKIING / SNOWBOARDING

1. Gravity Series by Sarina Bowen

2. Wilder Series by Jill Shalvis

3. Hold Me by Susan Mallery

ICE SKATING

4. From Lukov with Love by Maria Zapata

HOCKEY

5. Something So Series by Natasha Madison

6. Off-Campus Series by Elle Kennedy


7. Him & WAGS Series by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

8. WAGS Series by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

9. Bayard Hockey Series by Kelly Jamieson

10. Chinooks Hockey Team Series by Rachel Gibson

BONUS HOCKEY SERIES

Cold Fury Hockey by Sawyer Bennett
Ivy Years by Sarina Bowen
Brooklyn Bruisers by Sarina Bowen
Aces Hockey by Kelly Jamieson
Taking Shots by Cindi Madsen
Chicago Rebels by Kate Meader

 

Release Day Review: The Smallest Part by Amy Harmon

The Smallest Part
Author: Amy Harmon

Publication Date: February 13, 2018
Publisher: Amy Harmon
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“In the end, only three things matter. How much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” 
– Unknown

It was a big lie. The biggest lie she’d ever told. It reverberated through her head as she said it, ringing eerily, and the girl behind her eyes—the girl who knew the truth—screamed, and her scream echoed along with the lie.
“Are you in love with Noah, Mercedes?” Cora asked. “I mean . . . I know you love him. You’ve been friends forever. We all have. But are you in love with him?”
If it had been anyone else—anyone—Mercedes would have stuck out her chest, folded her skinny arms, and let her feelings be known. She would have claimed him. But it was Cora. Brave, beautiful, broken Cora, and Cora loved Noah too.
So Mercedes lied.
And with that lie, she lost him. With that lie, she sealed her fate.
She was the best friend, the bridesmaid, the godmother, the glue. She was there for the good times and the bad, the ups and the downs, the biggest moments and the smallest parts. And she was there when it all came crashing down.
This is the tale of the girl who didn’t get the guy.


Before I begin, I want to give some advice. If you haven’t read The Law of Moses, I highly recommend reading that book prior to reading The Smallest Part. Noah, one of the main characters, is from that series. It’s not necessarily a have-to situation, but there are scenes and situations that cross over. I felt like those scenes had a greater impact on me while reading The Smallest Part than if I hadn’t read The Law of Moses first. You can still enjoy the book if you haven’t, though. It can be read as a standalone. Now, to get down to business…

The Smallest Part was a very beautiful book. The writing was exactly what I have come to expect from Amy Harmon. There’s a little bit of mystery, a whole lot of love, tons of emotions, and a bunch of inspirational sentences that will be some of my favorite book quotes from here on out. I loved every moment I spent with The Smallest Part — even those that hurt.

The Smallest Part was pieced together in the best way with bits of the past and the present. I felt like I truly got a complete image of what the relationships between Noah and Cora and Mercedes, Noah and Cora, Noah and Mercedes, and Mercedes and Cora were. These friendships felt very real and the dynamics of those relationships are ones I know are out in the real world. Their friendship and love for each other were such an integral part of this story. They were beautiful even when they shouldn’t have been.

Going into The Smallest Part, I already knew I loved Noah Andelin. I knew his story was sad. I knew he was an amazing guy and doctor. What I didn’t realize was that is story could get sadder and that I was going to love him even more after this book. Sometimes he made me angry, but his heart was so good.

Prior to this book, I knew about Cora, but I didn’t know her. I was surprised and, honestly, shocked by her and Noah’s love story. It wasn’t what I had imagined for them. I especially wasn’t expecting the aftermath of it all. I didn’t expect to feel the way about Cora that I did. I don’t want to give away too much in this review because Amy Harmon’s books are always the best going in blind, but Cora might just be her most complex character yet.

As for Mercedes, the girl who didn’t get the guy, I loved her. While I didn’t always like her choices, she was an example of real love and friendship. I loved how she made peace with the choices in her life and tried to do best by herself and others. I also loved that she got a second chance at getting the guy because Noah and Mercedes belonged together.

And that’s it. That’s all I’m going to say other than The Smallest Part is not a book you want to miss.

Release Day Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Brooklynaire
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers, #4
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: February 12, 2018
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?


If you’re like me and have read the entire Brooklyn Bruisers series from the very beginning, there’s a romance you’ve been hungery for: Becca and Nate’s. We all know they belong together and have wanted to see that happen. Thank goodness Sarina Bowen has finally given that to us with Brooklynaire!

Brooklynaire is slightly different from any other of the Brooklyn Bruisers novel. It’s the first book not published in the series by Berkley. That brought about one amazing, important change. Brooklynaire is written in FIRST PERSON! Yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds. As amazing as Sarina Bowen writes in third person, first person is just always that much better. There was a little third person sprinkled in during chapter’s exploring Becca and Nate’s past, but it was done in a comical way that was so much fun.

As for the romance we’ve all been waiting for — IT WAS WORTH THE WAIT! Nate and Becca’s story was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. Everything. Their was heat, sweetness, passion, adoration, friendship…Brooklynaire had it all. I loved the way Becca and Nate admitted their feelings for each other and navigated through what it meant being co-workers and friends. It was just so much fun and so special.

Honestly, I don’t think Sarina Bowen could have done anything better with these two. I loved how the story went back into their history to show how they met. I loved how they fought their feelings for each other, but couldn’t withstand their attraction for each other. I simply loved everything about it. I’m so, so happy Nate and Becca got their happily ever after. The only thing that bugs me is that I have a feeling this might be the end for this amazing series. I’m really hoping that’s not the case. I would love more Brooklyn Bruisers in my life.

Excerpt:

I grab a towel off a waiting stack of them and toss it onto the edge. “You can sit and put your feet in.”

She’s wearing a short little knit dress that’s been making me crazy all evening, so it would be easy enough for her to strip off those stockings, sit on the towel, and drop both feet in.

And that’s what she does. She eases one stocking down over a smooth knee and tugs it off.

I don’t want to stand there staring like a middle-school boy. Okay, I do want to. But I don’t want to make her uncomfortable. So I go over to the sound system instead, and I set my phone on the speaker and cue up a really old playlist. One she’ll recognize.

When I turn around again, she’s seated on the towel, both legs hanging down into the churning water. “Ah. Wow.” She looks up at me, her eyes sparkling. “Nice place you got here.”

“Isn’t it?” I toe off my shoes and kick them to the side.

The first song comes on, and it’s a Macklemore tune that we used to play far too often in our first office. Rebecca laughs immediately. “You didn’t! I haven’t heard this playlist in forever. But I’ll bet I still know every transition. Lady Gaga is next.”

“She sure is.”

Rebecca kicks her feet, making a splash. “I have a little confession to make.”

“What’s that?” I loosen my tie and slide the knot out.

“Well…” She grins up at me. “I used to have a crush on you. Back in the early days.”

My hands freeze on the tie silk. “Get out of town. You did not.”

“No, I really did.” Her cheeks are pink. “That first year especially. But you were taken, and you were my boss. Those two things made it pretty easy to tamp down, when you’re a practical girl like me.”

I walk over and drop down beside her, my back to the water, though, because I’m still wearing trousers and socks. “So how does that work, exactly?”

“What?” She gives me a sidelong glance, but then looks away again and won’t meet my eyes.

“How do you stop wanting someone? I’m a practical person, but I don’t see how that makes it any easier. Nothing seems to mute the raging attraction I have for you.”

Her chin turns quickly toward me, and I seize the opportunity to kiss her. And it only takes one kiss—one slide of my lips over hers, and I’m on fire again.

We’re facing opposite directions, so it’s awkward as hell. But I don’t even care. I take greedy sip after greedy sip of her mouth, until she pulls back to stare at me. Her color is high and her eyes are bright and happy. “This is like Twister.”

“It’s better,” I correct. Lady Gaga comes on, just as Becca said she would. “Are we getting into this pool or what?”

Becca kicks a foot in the water. “I’m tempted. But I don’t have a bathing suit.”

“Oh, snap.”

She smiles and shakes her head. “Are you really getting in?”

“We don’t have to.” I’m never going to pressure her.

Her fingers trail across the surface of the bubbling water. “But this is an adventure, right?”

“Right.” I stand up and remove my socks. She’s watching me. And I can’t read her expression. “What?”

“Just wondering what else you’re going to take off.” She smiles.

“Come here.” The order rolls off my tongue.

But Rebecca doesn’t blink. She gets up and turns toward me, curiosity in her eyes.

“You tell me. What am I taking off?”

She puts two hands tentatively on my chest, and I make myself be patient. Everything I ever wanted is on the other side of this moment. I just need us to break through this awkwardness—the “will we or won’t we” tension.

Her fingers find the top button of my shirt. “I’m not getting in the water unless you are.”

That’s a compromise I can live with. I find my lower shirt buttons and work upwards, until we meet in the middle. She pushes the two halves of my shirt apart and runs a hand down my bare chest.

My inner caveman stands up and cheers.

Review: Sweet Little Lies by Sierra Hill

Sweet Little Lies
Series: The Sweetest Thing, #5
Author: Sierra Hill
Publication Date: February 6, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I won this book in a Goodreads’ giveaway and this review is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Lance:
Some lies are meant to deceive. Others to protect.
My lies have done nothing but harm. They push people away. Even the people that I want to hold onto for dear life. Mica Reyes is too beautiful and pure for my tarnished soul, although I want her with a fierceness of a caged lion.
They say letting go of your grief and your sins will unburden you and set you free. But it’s her I need to set free from the pain I’ll cause from loving her too much.

Mica:
My Abuelita always said I should never give my heart away unless I knew it would be in capable hands. To give it to a man who would love and cherish me and put me first above all others.
But my heart didn’t listen. I fell for Lance Britton, the college basketball player who uses humor to outwardly disguise the emotional turmoil that lives inside him. To hide his painful secrets.
But I know him. And although I hate ultimatums, I may need to give him one before the lies between us grow any deeper. Letting go may be the only way to reach him.

This is a standalone book that can be read alone or accompanied by the other books in this series.
This book covers sensitive topics such as drug and alcohol addiction, recovery and racism.


Sweet Little Lies is a college sports romance that digs deeper than just falling in love and playing sports. It’s a story of two young adults finding love while dealing with addiction and racism.

Lance has wanted a relationship with his friend Mica since they met. He knows she’s different from all the girls he’s hooked up with in the past. She’s a forever kind of girl. Lance knows he doesn’t deserve her, but he can’t help but want her. Mica has kept her attraction for Lance hidden deep. She can’t afford to let her feelings free. Her family expects her to end up with a Mexican man. Lance is not one. He’s also a serious partier and womanizer. Mica has standards, and she won’t be just another hook up.

When Mica finally gives into Lances advances, they find a love neither could have truly imagined. They have a connection and chemistry that can’t be denied. Life isn’t easy, though. Soon their families’ views on interracial relationships and Lance’s addiction issues are tearing them apart. Their new-found relationship will have to weather obstacles it may not be able to survive.

I have to give Sierra Hill props for taking on two very tough topics. I loved how she dealt with racism in this book. Hearing Mica’s thoughts on her family’s opinions and those of other people was cool. Her truths were a little devastating, but I loved how strong she was. I also loved how Lance’s addiction was portrayed. He slowly and then quickly succumbed to it, and I imagine that’s how it might be in real life.

There is one question I had while reading Sweet Little Lies. How did Mica truly feel about Lance’s alcoholism and drug abuse? I don’t feel the book touched on this deeply enough. Mica was completely in love with and supportive of Lance, but other than her worries about him drinking, I didn’t learn how she felt about him using drugs. There was no hesitation or heavy thinking about whether she could handle the pressure of having a relationship with an addict. For someone as grounded and determined as Mica was, I expected her to have more internal strife about that than just worrying about if Lance was done with her. It just felt like a huge piece of the equation was left out. That might sound mean on my part because most of us want love to be unconditional, but there’s also the reality of how Mica was treated by Lance.The love Mica and Lance had for each other was sweet, but if I’m going to be honest, it was also a little toxic. If this would have been touched on, this would have been a 5 star read for me.

Overall, Sweet Little Lies was a good book that covered some very tough and socially relevant topics. Even though I found it to missing a little something, it is still a book I would recommend. I think we need more romance novels that deal with both racism and addiction.

Review: From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

From Lukov with Love
Author: Mariana Zapata
Publication Date: February 1, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contem

porary, Sports, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.


Last year, I fell in love with Mariana Zapata’s writing. I loved how her books were set up. They are super slow burn romance. In fact, the majority of her books aren’t necessarily about the romance. They are more about the main character’s journey within themselves. I love how that journey leads them to a romance with (usually) someone unexpected.

But back to when I fell in love with Zapata’s writing… My first book by her was Dear Aaron. I loved that book so much, and I was so excited to find out that From Lukov with Love was about Ruby’s sister Jasmine. It was a fact I didn’t connect until I started the book. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t remember that Ruby’s sister was an ice skater, but I did binge read all of Zapata’s books in between reading the two. Anyways. I was so happy to be back in the world of the Santos family!

Jasmine was the complete opposite of Ruby. She wasn’t the sweet one. Jasmine was outspoken almost to a fault. She didn’t hold back, and in the past that had hurt her. Life was also harder for Jasmine in some ways. I really liked how Mariana Zapata portrayed all of Jasmine’s issues and insecurities. Jasmine had to do more than most to accomplish her dreams. Life wasn’t easy for her, and I applauded her determination. It’s not often that I run into characters who share Jasmine’s problems in other books. I wish more did because there are so many people who will identify.

Ivan wasn’t a character I immediately loved. I was such a fan of Jasmine’s from the beginning that her hatred for Ivan became mine. He had this refined almost silent personality thing going on. I had as many problems reading his thoughts at first as Jasmine did. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to find some good in Ivan. I ended up loving his sneaky tactics to worm his way into Jasmine’s heart.

Jasmine and Ivan had a snarky, competitive frenemy relationship that I loved. Ivan could easily give back what Ruby dished out. I loved how much his character complimented hers. Any time Jasmine and Ivan were together, it was like powder keg waiting to go off. There was that much electricity between them. I absolutely adored their relationship and how it slowly built.

I mentioned earlier being happy to be back with the Santos family again. That was because they have such amazing family dynamics. I loved how Jasmine interacted with her siblings and her mom. She had a very close-knit relationship with her family with the exception of her father. Her dad was another story. That relationship was so tough, but I loved how Jasmine dealt with it in the end. Ivan’s family seemed to be just as tight as the Santos family. I didn’t get to see too much of them, but what I saw I loved.

One of the things that impressed me the most in From Lukov with Love was the figure skating. Man, was the attention to detail about it good. It feels weird saying that because I wasn’t watching it, but I feel like I learned a lot about what it takes to be a figure skater. It’s something I’ve never really thought about before. All that practicing and falling and…well, just everything. It’s made me excited to watch the competition in the upcoming Winter Olympics. I gained even more respect for those athletes than I had before.

Sorry, this review is starting to feel long and rambly. I can’t help it. I loved everything about this book. Everything. I cannot find one fault with it. Well, except maybe that I didn’t want it to end. I could have gone on reading about Jasmine and Ivan FOREVER. I’m really, really hoping that Mariana Zapata will give us another book about one of the Santos or Lukov family members so that I can spend more time with them.