Mini Review: Worth the Fall (Claudia Connor)

Worth the Fall 
Series: McKinney Brothers, #1
Author: Claudia Connor
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Military

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

They meet on a beach. . . . Abby Davis isn’t wearing a skimpy bikini or sipping umbrella drinks, not when she’s busy chasing around four little ones. And Matt McKinney isn’t looking for fun—he’s a Navy SEAL, a grown man with a long list of missions . . . and fallen brothers.

They only have a week. . . . Abby has brought her children to this beach to start over, to give them the enjoyable memories they deserve. Matt’s been sidelined by a combat injury, and haunted by the best friend he lost and the promise he made: to remain a SEAL—focused and dedicated. This leaves no time for what he’s always wanted: a family.

But a week is all it takes. . . . Matt opens her heart while Abby soothes his soul. And though they plan to say good-bye when the week is over, something magical happens on that beach, something neither can forget. Something utterly, completely worth falling for.


This book was so stinking adorable I can barely stand it! I mean, a Navy SEAL goes on vacation and falls in love with a single mom and her brood of four kids. How can you not find that situation adorable? Not just that, but Claudia Connor has the writing chops to take that plot and turn it into magic. I didn’t even mind that she did it in third person (I dislike that tense!). I absolutely loved Matt and Abby together. I hate to say it, but I think I loved the relationship between Matt and Abby’s kids even more. My only teeny tiny complaint was that sometimes it seemed just a bit too insta-lovey for me. I can look past that, though, because I loved this book so much.

Review: Again Again (E. Lockhart)

Again Again
Author: E. Lockhart
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★

Synopsis:

In this novel full of surprises from the New York Times bestselling author of We Were Liars and Genuine Fraud, E. Lockhart ups the ante with an inventive and romantic story about human connection, forgiveness, self-discovery, and possibility.

If you could live your life again, what would you do differently?

After a near-fatal family catastrophe and an unexpected romantic upheaval, Adelaide Buchwald finds herself catapulted into a summer of wild possibility, during which she will fall in and out of love a thousand times—while finally confronting the secrets she keeps, her ideas about love, and the weird grandiosity of the human mind.

A raw, funny story that will surprise you over and over, Again Again gives us an indelible heroine grappling with the terrible and wonderful problem of loving other people.


I’m a fan of E. Lockhart’s earlier releases, and have been eagerly awaiting the chance to read Again Again. It was one of my most anticipated YA books of this spring, and I had high hopes for it. Usually I love the way Lockhart switches up her writing style with every book, but it didn’t work for me here.

I’m sad to say hated the structure of this book. Again Again was trying to do too much. It was this odd blend of a “normal” writing style, prose, texts, and another dimension in bold letters. The prose felt out of place, even though Adelaide is into poetry. I found myself wanting to skip over the broken sentences. The bold dimensional stuff felt redundant, even though I knew what it was trying to accomplish after a bit. I liked the texts, but added in with everything else it just felt like just another thing added to make the story different. All of that made it hard to focus on what was actually going on with the story.

I am frustrated about that. There is a great story about Adelaide and her brother Toby somewhere within all this other extra stuff. It’s a story about addiction and family. Even the romance of the story felt like it took away from time I would have rather spent with Adelaide and Toby’s relationship than everything else going on here.

Hopefully, the frustration with Again Again is just a me thing. I hope other readers enjoy what this book has to offer more than I did.

Review: That Secret Crush (Meghan Quinn)

That Secret Crush
Series: Getting Lucky, #3
Author: Meghan Quinn
Publication Date: February 11, 2020
Publisher: Montlake
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

USA Today bestselling author Meghan Quinn brings more humor and heart with the third novel of her Getting Lucky series: a story about breaking curses and laying your heart on the line.

What happens when your secret crush isn’t so secret anymore?

I’ve had feelings for Eve Roberts for as long as I can remember, but because she also happens to be the twin sister of my best friend, Eric, I’ve never acted on my feelings and long ago resigned myself to keeping my crush under wraps.

But after a terrible falling-out with Eric involving a failed restaurant venture and plenty of blame on both sides, I’m back in Port Snow without my best friend and without any direction. But can you guess who’s here? Eve. And my attraction to her is as strong as ever.

As old feelings rush back, Eve and I find ourselves pulled together, whether we like it or not. Lines are crossed, secrets are kept, and we soon discover that the difference between love and friendship may not be so black and white, after all.

Everyone wants that secret crush to love them back…but will I be ready when she does?


If you wanted to know if the Getting Lucky series could get any better…the answer is YES. Yes, it could and it did with That Secret Crush. Going into this book, I didn’t remember anything about Reid Knightly. I didn’t even remember his character from the first couple of books other than his name. Well, Reid must have been saving all of his pizazz for his own book because he definitely stood out in That Secret Crush.

Reid was a man whose dreams had been crushed early on in adulthood. He just gave up and went with good enough. It made him cranky. I didn’t mind his crankiness, but what I loved was the the guy he was underneath it. He was teasing, fun, and joyful. The person who brought all of those qualities out in him was Eve.

Eve was the perfect love interest for Reid. Having grown up together (Reid’s best friend was Eve’s twin brother), they knew it each other so well and understood each other well. She could put up with sexual humor and moments of stupidity better than anyone. The only thing they didn’t know was their secret crushes on each other. It made their acting on their attractions that much more satisfying.

I don’t want to say too much more about this story. Honestly, I could go on and on about how much I loved it and why. I just loved how the entire romance and story around it played out. I loved how Meghan Quinn added in her rom-com humor through Reid’s character. It was all so much fun. That Secret Crush is definitely my new favorite in this series and moving toward the top of my list of all-time favorite Meghan Quinn books.

Review: For the Win (Kelly Jamieson)

For the Win
Series: Wynn Hockey, #4
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: March 3, 2020
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Harrison Wynn
Even though I’m the oldest player on the farm team, I’m playing my heart out this year to prove that I have what it takes to play in the NHL.
Everyone expects me to live up to my dying hockey hero dad’s legacy, but my chances are receding every season.
What I need is to focus, but the team’s new yoga instructor is a major distraction; I’ve had my eye on her from the first time we met.
Except she’s not interested—okay, maybe actively disinterested—since I accidentally dumped her into the ocean during our paddleboard yoga class.
How can I prove to her—and to the NHL—that I’m worth taking a chance on?

Arya Ross
Men are the last thing I need in my life.
Yoga is my priority; it helps me center myself and heal my soul.
But I can’t turn down the once-in-a-lifetime offer to be the personal yoga instructor for the local hockey team.
Sure, there are some cute players—including Harrison Wynn, who seemingly won’t take no for an answer, and whose boyish smile and sexy charm are hard to resist.
He seems genuine, and I wonder . . .
Can I put my past behind me to start a future with him?


The Wynn Hockey series started out a little bumpy with the amount of family member characters to sort through, but I feel like it’s finally hit its stride with the third and fourth book in the series. I really enjoyed reading For the Win. I loved how Harrison and Arya met and fell in love. Both had personal issues to work through. Harrison had family problems and his hockey career. Arya had a scary incident from her past that kept her from moving forward. I loved how those issues didn’t get magically better because of their love for each other, but that their love pushed them to finally deal with the issues. That doesn’t always happen in romance. A lot of time the love saves the day. I appreciated the difference with this book.

Wherever You Are (Krista & Becca Ritchie)

Wherever You Are
Series: Bad Reputation Duet, #2
Authors: Krista & Becca Ritchie
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I WILL RUIN HER.

You know that old saying “opposites attract” — well, no one ever tells you what happens after the attraction part.

Do opposites stick together forever?

Or do they just self-combust?

And then there’s the third option: someone or something forces them apart.

Look, the third option isn’t happening to us. I will end the bastard who thinks he can keep me from her. I only need to worry about one thing. . .

Epic, soul-crushing self-destruction.
Because I screw up everything I touch.
Even her.


I just have to thank Krista & Becca Ritchie for not making us wait forever for Wherever You Are. One week was long enough to stew over that end in Whatever It Takes. It was nice to be able to quickly jump back in right where the story left off.

I loved how Willow and Garrison’s story came full circle in Wherever You Are. Their love story was sweet. It was satisfying to see them make it through a long distance relationship, the media focus on them, and really everything life through at them. Their story was both a little heartbreaking at times, while also being very uplifting.

My only little issue with this story was all the back and forth between present and past. It didn’t bother me in the first book, but I felt the switches more in this one. Part of that was probably because I was wanting that happy ending. The other was that with every past section, the time in the future jumped so I wasn’t taken back to the last present moment. It was a little jarring at time. It didn’t ruin my reading experience or anything. It was just noticeable this time around.

Overall, this Wherever You Are was a strong conclusion to the Bad Reputation Duet. I’m so happy to have finally gotten Willow and Garrison’s story!

Review: Great and Precious Things (Rebecca Yarros)

Great and Precious Things
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

How do you define yourself when others have already decided who you are?

Six years ago, when Camden Daniels came back from war without his younger brother, no one in the small town of Alba, Colorado, would forgive him—especially his father. He left, swearing never to return.

But a desperate message from his father brings it all back. The betrayal. The pain. And the need to go home again. But home is where the one person he still loves is waiting. Willow. The one woman he can never have. Because there are secrets buried in Alba that are best left in the dark.

If only he could tell his heart to stay locked away when she whispers she’s always loved him, and always will…

Great and Precious Things is a heart-wrenching story about family, betrayal, and ultimately how far we’re willing to go on behalf of those who need us most.


Last year, I found Rebecca Yarros’ books. This year, I’m trying to catch up and read everything she’s written including her newest release, Great and Precious Things.

Great and Precious Things is a romance at heart, but it explores some greater social, moral, familial, and community themes. It hits those themes hard and is unrelenting in its challenges to both the reader and the characters. Perry did an outstanding job tackling all the issues she did, while adding a hint of surprise.

As for the romance, I adored Willow and Cam. I was constantly frustrated on their behalf, but so happy when they found their way to each other. They had each other’s backs in the best ways possible, all while emitting this great chemistry. They were easy to love.

Great and Precious Things is one of those romances that challenges you and makes you feel multiple emotions. It was well written and is sure to be a hit with fans of Yarros’ writing and newcomers as well.

Review: Lucky Caller (Emma Mills)

Lucky Caller
Author: Emma Mills
Publication Date: January 14, 2019
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

With the warmth, wit, intimate friendships, and heart-melting romance she brings to all her books, Emma Mills crafts a story about believing in yourself, owning your mistakes, and trusting in human connection in Lucky Caller.

When Nina decides to take a radio broadcasting class her senior year, she expects it to be a walk in the park. Instead, it’s a complete disaster.

The members of Nina’s haphazardly formed radio team have approximately nothing in common. And to maximize the awkwardness her group includes Jamie, a childhood friend she’d hoped to basically avoid for the rest of her life.

The show is a mess, internet rumors threaten to bring the wrath of two fandoms down on their heads, and to top it all off Nina’s family is on the brink of some major upheaval.

Everything feels like it’s spiraling out of control―but maybe control is overrated?


Lucky Caller is one of those books that I just want to scream, “I loved it! I loved it! I loved it!” and be done with the review. The whole thing was just so darn good and I loved everything about it. I mean, you don’t really need to know anything else right? Don’t worry. I won’t do that to you. Instead, I’m going to give you a list of what makes Lucky Caller so freaking fabulous.

What I loved:

  • Once again, Emma Mills’s writing excelled. She made me fall in love with everything about this book.
  • I loved Nina. I could find pieces of my teenage self in her.
  • Nina’s relationship with her family was perfect. It wasn’t all fun times and feel good moments, but it felt like a true family navigating the changes that come with divorce, remarriage, and sisterhood.
  • If you’ve read an Emma Mills’s novel, you know she excels at writing friendship groups. I’m happy to say she didn’t leave us hanging in this aspect. This time, instead of giving us an already established group of friends, she gave us one that developed over the course of the book. It was cool to see the get to know each other and forge friendships.
  • Jamie was someone from Nina’s past and I loved how he worked into her present. I loved how their friendship proved that even when you have a falling out, you can come back together with a little truth and humility.
  • I loved the glimpses of Nina’s dad’s radio persona.
  • Plus, Jamie made for a sweet love story. A really, really, really, really slow burn love story. The slowness may frustrate some, but I loved it. I felt right for the story AND it made the focus more on Nina and her relationships with the entire cast of characters.
  • The radio show was a great idea! I’ve only read a couple of books with a similar setting and they add such a unique way to tell a story. I loved how it tied into the friendships and family relationships. It was so much fun to read about!
  • The ending was PERFECTION! I loved how everything was all tied up in such a pretty, cool bow. (Blink and you might miss why the book is called Lucky Caller.)

The only things that could have made me love Lucky Caller more (if that’s even possible):

  • Frank Sanger. I know, I know. He’s from a completely different Emma Mills’s book, but everything is better with Frank Sanger. 😉 I would have been down with a cameo. Just saying.
  • I love the cover, but I do miss that it doesn’t look like all of Emma Mills’s other covers. Those stand out so much and are so beautiful. They’re hard to top.

If you love YA contemporaries and you haven’t picked up a book by Emma Mills, you’re missing out. BIG TIME. She’s easily established herself as one of my favorite writers in this genre because her words make me happy. She puts so much heart into her stories. I honestly haven’t met an Emma Mills book I haven’t liked, and I’ve read all of them.

Review: Things You Save in a Fire (Katherine Center)

Things You Save in a Fire
Author: Katherine Center
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds.

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


How to Walk Away was one of my favorite books from 2018. When I heard Katherine Center was releasing another book, I knew I had to read it. Things You Save in a Fire was exactly what I was expecting. The writing was brilliant. the characters were fleshed out and lovable. The story and drama were entertaining and pulled me in. There wasn’t much about this book that I didn’t love.

Cassie was this tough as nail firefighter who didn’t want to stand out in the crowd of firefighters. She tried to blend in as much as could with her fellow male counterparts. While I was impressed with her ability to do so, I was sad that she had to do that in 2019. I know a lot of women do, though, in many jobs. It added a very interesting aspect to this love story. It made Cassie’s feelings for the rookie a tad bit stressful and emotional in a way I couldn’t have seen coming.

I loved everything about Cassie and Owen’s (non-)relationship. The way everything built between them was perfect. I felt their connection. I enjoyed how Cassie tried to avoid it. It was just really cute…and emotional. I won’t go into why it was so emotional because I don’t want to ruin anything, but Cassie had some healing to do where love was concerned. I enjoyed how she worked through her issues with love.

Part of those love issues for Cassie had to do with her mom. I adored her mother in this book. I get why Cassie had to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness was a huge part of this book, and I liked how it was done — with one exception.

One of the biggest villains was forgiven more quickly than I liked. The severity of the hurt they caused felt almost brushed over by the rate of forgiveness. I am glad this person was forgiven, but I wanted more legal retribution. This person didn’t have to deal with their actions in the way I thought they should have. I did like how they atoned and made a huge effort to apologize, though.

Other than that, this story was perfection in my eyes. It was a great inspirational story that has me eagerly anticipating Katherine Center’s next book.

Review: In It to Win It (Kelly Jamieson)

In It to Win It
Series: Wynn Hockey, #2
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 23, 2019
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

JP Wynn: I admit, I’ve made some bad choices—on and off the ice.
Now all I want to do is show my team I can control my emotions while I’m playing and redeem myself with my family, especially with my brother, Théo.
I hate that I hurt him and I’m determined to stay out of trouble.
But the hot bridesmaid at Théo’s wedding is tempting me into another bad decision.
A little flirting and a hook up with Taylor seem harmless . . . until Manny Martinez jumps me on the dance floor and starts beating the crap out of me.
And just like that I add one more bad decision to my résumé.

Taylor Hart: I always thought hockey players were hot. Now I think they’re crazy.
Manny broke my heart when he got traded to another team and left without even a goodbye.
Then he showed up at my best friend’s wedding. All I wanted to do was show Manny that I was over him.
And the groom’s sexy brother, JP, seemed more than willing to be my distraction.
But after the way everything went down, I want nothing to do with any of them.
Easier said than done. Especially when Lacey’s new brother-in-law is always around. . . .
And I keep thinking about the wedding night, when we snuck away to his room for the best sex of my life.


When I read the first book in the Wynn Hockey series, there were two things I wasn’t impressed with: JP Wynn and the big Wynn family tree I had to learn. I’m happy to say both of those issues were resolved in In It to Win It.

In It to Win It is JP’s book. JP wasn’t the jerk I wasn’t expecting him to be after getting to know him in book 1 as the guy who stole his brother’s girl. He was just a guy who made some poor decisions. I loved how this book had him examining his actions and trying to do better. I loved how he actively worked on making his relationship with his brother better. I also liked his choice in women.

Taylor as JP’s love interest was a surprise to me. Last I knew she was into Manny. I had been pulling for her and Manny, so I wasn’t sure I would buy into a relationship between her and JP. She was just too nice. Once I started this book, I totally got her reasons for hooking up with JP. Taylor and her motives were so easy to relate to. I also found myself a fan of their chemistry and relationship. I loved how it grew — even when it was filled with so much up and down drama that sometimes I felt like I was getting whiplash.

As for the crazy Wynn family tree, now that I knew what was going on with them, it took less explaining and time away from the story. I loved seeing bits and pieces of the family. They became more endearing. I can’t wait to see how some of those relationships work out and the single family members find love.

Overall, In It to Win It was another fun contemporary hockey romance by Kelly Jamieson. I would recommend it to sports romance lovers.

Review: Hook Shot (Kennedy Ryan)

Hook Shot - BT banner.jpg

Hook Shot
Series: Hoops, #3
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Publication Date: March 2, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A deeply emotional standalone romance set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion.

Divorced. Single dad. Traded to a losing squad.
Cheated on, betrayed, exposed.
My perfect life blew up in my face and I’m still picking up the pieces.
The last thing I need is her.
A wildflower. A storm. A woman I can’t resist.
Lotus DuPree is a kick to my gut and a wrench in my plans
from the moment our eyes meet.
I promised myself I wouldn’t trust a woman again,
but I’ve never wanted anyone the way I want Lo.
She’s not the plan I made, but she’s the risk I have to take.

A warrior. A baller. The one they call Gladiator.
Kenan Ross charged into my life smelling all good, looking even better and snatching my breath from the moment we met.
The last thing I need is him.
I’m working on me. Facing my pain and conquering my demons.
I’ve seen what trusting a man gets you.
I. Don’t. Have. Time. For. This.
But he just keeps coming for me.
Keeps knocking down my defenses and stealing my excuses
one by one.
He never gives up, and now…I’m not sure I want him to.


I adore Kennedy Ryan’s writing, but I have to admit I am always a little nervous to pick up one of her books. I know from experience that my heart and mind are going to be slayed by what I read. I also know that I’m going to love whatever story and lesson Ms. Ryan is dealing out.

Hook Shot was rollercoaster of emotional ups and downs. I think the author was trying to give me a heart attack at times. She took these two amazing characters and threw them into some gorgeous and some troubling situations. There were moments when I wanted to cry from both happiness and sadness. There were moments I was shocked by the twists thrown my way. Ms. Ryan put so much heart and soul into this book. She made Hook Shot is my favorite book in this series

Lotus was as magical as I hoped she would be. I didn’t always love her in the previous HOOPS novels, but I think I was just missing some pieces. I knew Lotus’ story, but didn’t know everything. Her past was devastating and shaped her in important ways. Lotus’ past gave her this hard exterior that I loved seeing Kenan crack. Inside, she had this softness that was beautiful.

What I liked most about Kenan was that he could have been a real person. He wasn’t perfect, but he was a guy who strove to be the best person he could be. I loved how he approached situations with caution and wanted to do good to those closest to him. I loved his relationship with his teenage daughter, Simone. Their relationship wasn’t smooth sailing, but I liked how Kenan’s reactions proved the type of person he was. I also liked that Kenan didn’t let his basketball fame change him. He was just really cool, a good partner, and a good dad.

Kenan and Lotus together — GAH! That chemistry was so dang hot! They got each other on this basic level that made them connect in the coolest way. I don’t even know how to describe them except for that they were made for each other. They were undeniable soul mates. It was so, so beautiful the way they supported each other in all of the ups and downs that orchestrated by their creator. I just loved them together.

One of the things I loved and hated about this book was Kenan’s ex-wife, Bridget. Grrr… She was a great character, but that woman made me so mad! She hurt everyone around her to try to get what she wanted. Her point of view wasn’t necessary, but I wish it would have been included in a couple of places. I would have liked to have been in her mind to know what was driving her decisions. I don’t feel like I ever got the answer on some of her whys.

Hook Shot was an outstanding read by one of my favorite authors. No one does relationships and drama like Kennedy Ryan. The heart she gives her characters and their stories is something to be experienced. She had some wonderful surprises in store for her readers with this book.

Hook Shot - AN.jpg

Hook Shot, a deeply emotional standalone set in the worlds of professional basketball and high fashion from Kennedy Ryan, is available now and FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

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About Kennedy

A Top 25 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. KR W Bckg Verti

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