Review: Varsity Captain (Ginger Scott)

Varsity Captain
Series: Varsity, #4
Author: Ginger Scott
Publication Date: October 15, 2021
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance, Mature Young Adult, New Adult

Note: This review is for an ARC provided by WordSmith Publicity and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

June Mabee is a lot of things.
She’s the girl next door.
She’s the best friend I ever had.
She was my first kiss, as awkward as it was.
And she’s the last person I should have feelings for. Ever.

Two years ago, I cut all ties with her because I had no choice. No more late night phone calls, no hellos or goodbyes, not even a passing smile. I left her to wonder what happened to the us we used to be. We were best friends, and then suddenly…we weren’t. And I know it hurt. But the truth would have hurt her more, and being anything with June would have destroyed my family.

For a while, we managed to exist a hundred feet apart with no connection at all. She changed schools. I kept busy. We existed, apart. But no matter how hard I tried to not think about her, I just couldn’t stay away from the funny, adventurous, steadfast girl with wild green eyes.

She’s back. We’re seniors now. We’ve grown—all of us. And while I might be different, she’s different too. She takes risks, stands up for herself and doesn’t back down. The more we’re forced together, the more I miss her. But for June to be a part of my story, I need to tell her the whole truth, everything that happened. And I’m not sure any of us are ready for that. 


When I read Varsity Heartbreaker I really wanted Lucas’s point of view. Lucas was frustrating to say the least in that book. I just wanted to shout at him to give it up and admit to what was going on with him. The secrecy around his character was fabulous for the storyline with June, but it felt like something was missing. The thing that was missing was Varsity Captain. I am so happy that Ginger Scott decided to give it to us! 

Being in Lucas’s head wasn’t all that fun in the beginning. If you’ve read Varsity Heartbreaker (which you should absolutely do before reading this book because this is a companion to that book) you know why. Getting his thoughts and feelings made his actions more understandable and him more likable. I didn’t always love what Lucas chose to do, but I now have a better understanding of his actions. I also loved how this book wasn’t just a copy of that first book in his POV, but gave us all sorts of new goodies to enjoy. It was honestly the perfect companion novel to Varsity Heartbreaker

now available

Review: The Introvert’s Guide to Speed Dating (Emma Hart)

The Introvert’s Guide to Speed Dating
Series: The Introvert’s Guide, #2
Author: Emma Hart
Narrators: Avery Reed, Will Watt

Publication Date: October 5, 2021
Publisher: Dreamscape Media
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

After four years living the single life, it’s decided that I, London Stuart, am back on the market. I’m not even mad when my cousins and best friends put my name down for the speed-dating sessions. In fact, I’m actually a little excited about it.

But then one of my dates turns out to be my six-year-old son’s irresistibly sexy soccer coach―his irresistibly sexy British soccer coach. Oliver Hayes is too good to be true―he’s tall, dark, handsome, hilarious, and genuinely loves kids…especially mine. But he’s not sure if he’s even staying in the country, and I’m not sure I can handle giving him my heart if he’s only going to leave.

So why is he over for dinner almost every night? Why is he giving Leo private goalie lessons in the backyard? Why is he sending flowers to my desk at the newspaper? And why, oh why, can’t I stop kissing him?


There was something so simple and sweet about this romance from Emma Hart. I loved pretty much everything about it. London was a boss. She was a single mother who was balancing work and taking care of her young son. She didn’t have time for romance — no matter how many times her family tried to get her to speed dating events. Her son, Leo, was adorable. I loved his dedication to wanting to be a soccer goalie and how London supported this. It was especially fun that that dedication led London to meeting Ollie. Ollie was Leo’s British soccer coach. He was one of those great guys who is amazing with kids. I loved how London and Ollie’s relationship burnt slowly.

There were a few things that kept me from giving this one 5 stars. First, the title doesn’t fit. London does not come across as an introvert and speed dating is a very little part of the story. Second, I can’t decide if I missed Hart’s normal sarcastic banter and steam. Neither would have fit London or her relationship with Ollie, but it’s been so ingrained in Hart’s romances set in White Peak. Now that I wrote it out, I actually think it’s a positive. It might not be for readers looking for those two things, though. The final thing is that everything wrapped up at warp speed. I wanted more for and time with London and Ollie.

Overall, this was a fun read. It’s a great book to relax with and very cute. It isn’t as steamy or witty as her other books, but I found that to be refreshing and different. The narration was top notch and brought the story to life in the best way. I’m now very interested in seeing where Hart takes the next book in this series.

WWW Wednesday: October 13, 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. 

WHAT DID YOU JUST FINISH READING?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I finished an ARC of Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy yesterday. I’ve been dealing with a bad back that is very painful, so I haven’t been commenting and such. I will hopefully be back to that soon.

I am reading an ARC of Varsity Captain (Varsity, #4) by Ginger Scott. I’m excited to be back in this world. 

I am going to read an ARC of Wild Love (Campus Nights, #4) by Rebecca Jenshak next. I guess it’s ARC October for me this week!

Top Ten Tuesday: Small Town Romance Settings

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: Favorite Book Settings. I’ve deciding to break that down even further. One of my favorite book settings is small town romances, so that is what you’re getting today.

 Small Town Romance Settings
Totally Folked by Penny Reid
The Highland Fling by Meghan Quinn
Well Matched by Jen DeLuca
Protecting You by Claire Kingsley
Love Next Door by Helena Hunting
Second Chance Charmer by Brighton Walsh
Exes with Benefits by Nicole Williams
Shameless by Lex Martin
The Bribe by Willa Nash
Baking Me Crazy by Karla Sorensen

Review: Boyfriend (Sarina Bowen)

Boyfriend
Series: Moo U, #0
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Publisher: Heart Eyes Press
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance, New Adult

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A new hockey player to steal your heart this fall…

The dreamiest player on the Moo U hockey team hangs a flyer on the bulletin board, and I am spellbound:

Rent a boyfriend for the holiday. For $25, I will be your Thanksgiving date. I will talk hockey with your dad. I will bring your mother flowers. I will be polite, and wear a nicely ironed shirt…

Everyone knows it’s a bad idea to introduce your long-time crush to your messed-up family. But I really do need a date for Thanksgiving, even if I’m not willing to say why. So I tear his phone number off of that flyer… and accidentally entangle our star defenseman in a ruse that neither of us can easily unwind.

Who knew that Weston’s family was even nuttier than mine? He needs a date, too, for the most uncomfortable holiday engagement party ever thrown.

There will be hors d’oeuvre. There will be faked PDA. And there will be pro-level awkwardness…

Boyfriend is a full-length book for Weston and Abbi!


Boyfriend is one of those books where I want to scream “I LOVED IT!!!” and be done with my review. Everything about it was perfect. I don’t even know what to start with. I think I will make things easy on myself and give you a little list of some of the things I loved about this book.

  • The secret crushes Abbi and Weston had on each other were adorable. It made their interactions at Biscuits so much fun.
  • The direction the fake dating situation went was cute and entertaining, but also brought out big emotions for Abbi, Weston, and me. I loved how they got to know each other better through meeting each other’s families.
  • The chemistry between Abbi and Weston was always hot, but the emotional connection made the transition from fake dates to friends to more all the more real. I adored Abbi and Weston — probably why I wanted the novella to be a full length book in the first place.
  • The Moo U hockey team was as fun as ever.
  • This book may have started off as a novella, but I wouldn’t have known that if I hadn’t already read the novella. It was so seamless. Any changes or additions felt natural and perfect for the story.
  • Sarina Bowen proved once again that she can write NA sports romance like no other. I know she said she didn’t think she was going to be writing this age group again before writing this book, but I hope how amazing it turned out gives her motivation to write more NA romances.

I could probably go on and on praising both Boyfriend and Sarina Bowen. This was such a great read that I want to start all over at the beginning again. I already miss Abbi and Weston. A big thank you to Bowen for giving Abbi and Weston (and us!) the full length novel they deserved.

Purchase now:

Amazon | Apple | Kobo | Nook |Google | Audio

ADD TO GOODREADS: https://bit.ly/3jrBZAA

Review: Hate Me Under the Mistletoe (Kelly Jamieson)

Hate Me Under the Mistletoe
Series: Romancing the Rink, #1; Heller Brothers, #6
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: October 26, 2021
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

What happens under the mistletoe stays under the mistletoe…

 Amy’s life isn’t living up to the famous Heller family brand—her love life and her career—and she just wants to be alone for Christmas. So she takes off to a friend’s secluded mountain cabin. Ho fu*king ho.

 Ryder’s workaholic tendencies have made him super successful in his business, but he hasn’t spent time with family for years. That’s all he wants this Christmas, plus a little down time at a cabin in the mountains. He loves Christmas and can’t wait for the family ugly sweater contest!

 When Ryder walks in on Amy at an “awkward” moment, she can’t believe the man she’s hated since she was sixteen has shown up here. He has to leave. But Mother Nature has other ideas when a blizzard shuts down the entire region…

 Amy thinks a good place for Ryder’s Christmas cheer is up his ass. Ryder thinks Amy’s grown up into a smokin’ hot babe. Christmas is all about giving, and he’s got a really big package for Amy. Maybe naughty is the new nice…


I have mixed thoughts on this one. The first couple chapters started out strong setting the scene for Amy and Ryder being trapped together. Once they were actually trapped together I had some issues with Amy’s animosity toward Ryder. I get she was in a bad place, but the grudge she was holding felt so juvenile. She was rude to Ryder simply because she had a teenage crush she didn’t reciprocate. I couldn’t stand her actions. I thought she needed to get over herself. Ryder was being completely pleasant to her. The fact that it lasted about half the book was a big turn off for me — even if the blurb did warn me.

It wasn’t until Amy gets over herself and gives into her attraction to Ryder that I started to enjoy the story. That’s when it truly started feeling like a cute holiday romance. I loved their snowed in time together and then in Garland Grove. The second half of the book was adorable. I wish I could have fast forwarded through some of the beginning anger to get to the fun sooner.

Overall, this ended up being a cute read. It wasn’t my favorite Kelly Jamieson book, but it was a good start to the Romancing the Rink series. I’m curious to see what’s next.

WWW Wednesday: October 6, 2021

WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words. 

WHAT DID YOU JUST FINISH READING?

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I finished up the Deanna Madden series with If You Dare by A.R. Torre. It’s kind of weird reading books where the MC has your name — and they’re a serial killer. I loved this series, though. This last book was my favorite.

NetGalley had an ARC of The Reunion by Meghan Quinn as “Read Now” yesterday, so I jumped on downloading that. Thanks to my friend, Ari, for telling me about it. 

I think I’m going to pick up an ARC of Drop Dead Gorgeous by Rachel Gibson next. Might as well knock off another 2022 ARC while I have the time.

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Pet Peeves

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:

Bookish Pet Peeves

Here are things I don’t like centered around books.

1. Cheating – I am a romance reader and I hate cheating. The only time it works for me is in thrillers because karma is not nice in a thriller.
2. Love triangles – I don’t want to stress out about who the MC is going to pick or be uncomfortable with the choices that person makes. The third person is always hurt. 
3. Miscommunication – Just talk to each other already. 
4. Lying/keeping secrets from a significant other – The truth always comes out, so why lie? It bugs me. Unless, of course, it’s a thriller.
5. Slow pace – I don’t mind if there is a slow burn, but a slow pace kills a book for me no matter what genre.
6. Student/teacher romances – College is one thing. If it’s high school then it’s a giant NO from me. Gross. I would be beyond angry if my child was that student, so… No romanticizing it. I would include any romances with an MC who is underage and one who is an adult.
7. Emotionally abusive love interests – Relationships where the abuser is not kicked to curb or does not receive psychological help. I’ve read a few of these and they make me so mad. 
8. The haters – People who crap on romance novels, reading romance novels, and romance authors. 
9. Certain words used to describe books –“Clean” as a descriptor for a closed door romance or one without sex. I might as well include “dirty” for one with steamy sex scenes. Also, “spicy”. That word grates on me as well.
10. Third person narration – It only works if the author is skilled at writing it. Otherwise, it becomes a confusing mess. First person works so much better and allows me to connect better with characters.

Review: Canary (Tijan)

Canary
Author: Tijan

Publication Date: October 4, 2021
Genre: Contemporary, Dark Romance, New Adult
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Synopsis:

We were on the front lines in that world, the mafia world.

There was nothing soft or glamorous about it.

Who you were before no longer mattered. Names didn’t exist.

I joined anyway. I had no other choice because they took my sister.

Join. Find her. Try and make it out alive.

Then he won me in a poker game.

I hated him instantly, thinking he was like my other bosses before him.

He wasn’t. He was worse.

He wasn’t just cold. He was dead inside.

It didn’t matter that he was gorgeous.

He was the most lethal thing I’d ever met.

He was also the only person who could keep me alive, if he didn’t kill me himself.

A/N This is a 102k mafia/cartel standalone.

This is the most violent book Tijan has ever written.

Trigger warning: references to sexual violence

“Canaries sing to save lives. I sing and people die.”


Canary was a wild ride. If I had to pick one word to describe it, I would probably pick “extra”. It was like other mafia romances by Tijan, but it was extra: extra violent, extra mysterious, extra addicting. While some may find those extras too much, I enjoyed them.

I was sucked into Canary from the very beginning. Our main character was a shell of herself. She had entered the mafia world to save her older sister, and had taken on new identities and roles. Her most recent role was “Girl” along side Raize. Girl had a very interesting job in Raize’s organization.  That role was cool. I would have loved to have seen it explored more. It was fun to discover more about Girl and her mission as the story went on.

Raize was a man with a violent job and no hesitation. He was the best at what he did and I could understand why. I wouldn’t necessarily say he’s a Tijan hero that I would swoon over because of his nature, but I did love how he took care of her. Maybe I just feel that way because Canary had a romance, but didn’t really feel like a romance for most of the book. A good 50% of it was just being in her head while living the mafia life. I wasn’t surprised when Girl and Raize turned their working relationship into a romantic one, but I also was. I think part of that was not getting Raize’s POV until later on.

As with all of her books, Tijan is great at creating a cast of characters you want to root for. I loved Girl, liked Raize, and thought Cavers and Jake were fun. Even the bad guys added entertainment to the story.

I thought the reason this book was titled Canary was cool. Tijan said this was her most violent book so far and she wasn’t wrong. While it was violent with all the killing, it wasn’t gory. It was a fast paced, multidimensional mafia romance. I devoured it from beginning to end.

CW: violence, murder, drugs, mentions of sex trafficking and rape

Be captivated today!
Available in Kindle Unlimited
Amazon | Amazon Worldwide

Add Canary to Goodreads

About Tijan
Tijan is a New York Times Bestselling author that writes suspenseful and unpredictable novels. Her characters are strong, intense, and gut-wrenchingly real with a little bit of sass on the side. Tijan began writing later in life and once she started, she was hooked. She’s written multi-bestsellers including the Carter Reed Series, the Fallen Crest Series, and the Broken and Screwed Series among others. She is currently writing a new series from north Minnesota where she lives with an English Cocker she adores.

Connect with Tijan
Amazon | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Reader Group | Audiomen Group | Goodreads

Review: Well Matched (Jen DeLuca)

Well Matched
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Berkley

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.

Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.

Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.

As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.


Each new book Jen DeLuca writes is my new favorite of hers. I absolutely adored Well Matched. DeLuca gave me the romance I was hoping for. Mitch has been a big part of the last two books in this series, and I couldn’t wait for him to get his own book. The man is known for being a bit of a playboy and the life of the party. Matching him up with introverted, single mother April was perfection. April is another character who has played a part in the series since the first book, and I’ve always been curious about her as well.

As readers of this series will know, April and Mitch are sort of friends. They’re in a friend group together. When Mitch needs a fake girlfriend for a family function, he ropes April into helping him out by helping her out with some renovation projections. The more time the two spend together, the more lines between fake relationship and real relationship are crossed. It’s all sorts of fun, especially when you add in a teenage daughter, an ex, one bed, a gossipy town, and the Faire. There’s a little drama sprinkled in, but it is well worth it for the HEA.

One thing I feel like I should mention is that this book follows the first two by being written in a single, first person POV. I know some readers are probably hoping to hear from Mitch, but it’s told in April’s POV. I’m not complaining about that (even though I would have LOVED Mitch’s POV) because there’s enough of both characters’ lives and feelings in there to make a complete story. Plus, seeing Mitch through April’s eyes was all sorts of sweetness.

If you’re a fan of the Well Met series, you’re bound to be a fan of Well Matched. It was just as well written as the previous books in the series and chalk full of great moments and characters. I loved that it gave us not only our favorite Faire setting, but more of Willow Creek. It was a book that had my attention from beginning to end. I loved Mitch and April. I didn’t want their story to end.