Series Review: Smart Jocks (Rebecca Jenshak)

I’ve been seeing Rebecca Jenshak’s Smart Jocks new adult college sports romance series around a lot lately, and I kept thinking I read it. After talking to a reader friend who told me she hadn’t been addicted to a series like this in a long time, I decided to jump in. I’m so glad I did! The Smart Jocks series is truly addicting! Here is a short review for each book in the series.


The Assist, Book 1: ★ ★ ★ ★

The Assist had me from the start. Pretty much everything about it was adorable. It combined the right about of sports, college, humor, and just a tiny bit of angst. Blair and Wes had great banter, which is probably what made this book shine. I knew from the minute I met the supporting characters that I would have to keep reading the Smart Jocks series.

The Fadeaway, Book 2: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I’m going to be honest. I didn’t really have much of an opinion about Joel Moreno after reading The Assist. He was just sort of background that didn’t stand out. I was more interested in knowing Zeke’s story. Maybe that’s why I was so surprised by how much I loved Joel Moreno. He might have been a manwhore prior to this book, but he really stepped things up for Katrina. He was a much sweeter, more devoted guy than I expected. I loved him and Katrina together.

The Tip-Off, Book 3: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Tip-Off is the book I have been waiting for since I started this series: Zeke and Gabby’s story. Zeke is a hard working young man with a singular focus to make it to the NBA. Gabby is a young woman recovering from a major accident years ago that left her with physical and emotional scars. On their own, each is one of my favorite types of characters, so you can only imagine how I feel about them falling in love. Their story is a sweet slow burn that hit me right in the heart. The Tip-Off is my favorite in this series for sure.

The Fake, Book 4: ★ ★ ★ ★

Honesty again… I don’t know that I really cared about Nathan before this book. I loved that he was a good friend to Gabby and I felt some distress for him in The Tip-Off, but there wasn’t anything that made me want to know him better. The Fake changed that. Nathan meets this new transfer student, Chloe, in this book. What starts out as a one night stand turns to fake dating turns to real dating in an incredibly fun way. I couldn’t give it 5 stars because it stressed me out a little too much in one part, but I was happy I found myself liking Nathan and loving his relationship with Chloe. The way this book wrapped up the series at the end was great.

Overall feeling about Smart Jocks:

If I had to give a rating to the series overall, it would be 5 stars. It’s such an addicting read that I didn’t want to end. I fell in love with each and every character. There’s so much heart and humor involved. It’s definitely a series worth reading and binging — especially if you have Kindle Unlimited.

Review: The Fight for Forever (Meghan March)

The Fight for Forever
Series: Legend Trilogy, #3
Author: Meghan March
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Meghan March LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

You can only keep what you can protect.

That’s all I’ve ever known. It’s the way I’ve lived my life.

Now, everything I never knew I needed is at risk, and I’m not letting anyone take it from me.

I won’t let anyone take her from me.

They say love is a battlefield, so I’m ready for war.

This time, it’s the fight for forever.

The Fight for Forever is the final book in the Legend Trilogy and should be read after The Fall of Legend, book one and House of Scarlett, book two of the utterly addictive Legend Trilogy.


I loved both The Fall of Legend and House of Scarlett, but what I felt for the first two books in this trilogy was only a fraction of what I felt for The Fight for Forever. This book was perfection. Seriously, Meghan March did everything I hoped she would and more. It picked right back up from the brutal cliffhanger in House of Scarlett and answered with action, chemistry, and love.

Gabriel Legend and Scarlett Priest’s story was FIRE. I loved everything about their relationship. They were both strong individual, but together they were a force to be reckoned with. They had a sweet relationship filled with an intense attraction. I loved how they welcomed the (amazing) people in each other’s lives into their own. Many of my favorite moments included them with Bump.

The fight aspect of this book was so much fun to read about. I loved how Gabriel’s preparation for it was worked in. I also loved the suspense the fight brought into this part of the trilogy. March kept me on my toes with everything that went on. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time!

As you can probably tell from all of my gushing, I adored this book. The Fight for Forever was an amazing conclusion to the Legend Trilogy. I’m sad I’m done reading it, but I’m also looking forward to reading what’s next from Meghan March. Her writing gets better and better with each new release.

Add to your Goodreads TBR: http://bit.ly/TheFightforForeverGR

Buy Now:

http://meghanmarch.com/the-fight-for-forever
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Kobo: http://bit.ly/TheFightforForeverKobo
Google Play: http://bit.ly/37qt22M

About the author:

Making the jump from corporate lawyer to romance author was a leap of faith that New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author Meghan March will never regret. With over thirty titles published, she has sold millions of books in nearly a dozen languages to fellow romance-lovers around the world. A nomad at heart, she can currently be found in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, living her happily ever after with her real-life alpha hero.

Sign up for Meghan’s newsletter and receive exclusive content that she saves for her subscribers: http://meghanmarch.com/subscribe

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Review: Destructive (Jay McLean)

Destructive
Series: Combative, #3
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: January 6, 2020
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Suspense

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Some villains are made.
Some villains are born.
And some villains aren’t villains at all.

Nate DeLuca was born into a life he didn’t want.
Forced to walk a path that was already chosen for him.
Grandson to a mob boss, he’s forever torn between his duty, his honor, his legacy, and the truth.
But the truth is never simple, and it’s not at all what it seems.

In a world full of secrets, heartache, and betrayals, Nate only has one thing on his mind: redemption.
But with redemption comes destruction.
And that destruction might cost him his heart.

***

Three Lives.
Two Loves.
One ticking time bomb…
Tick tock.


Destructive is the third and final book in the Combative series. Each book builds on the last, so you don’t want to jump ahead because you will miss out on the build up and all the good stuff. You can find my review for the first book, Combative, here.

Woah.

If Combative left me slightly confused with its cliffhanger and Redemptive left me mind blown, then Destructive left me fulfilled. It was everything I didn’t know I wanted, but needed from Jay McLean and her characters. It tested everything I thought I knew about Nate, Ky, Madison, and Bailey. There were so many revelations, so many moments of clarity. It took McLean years to wrap up this story, and I now understand why. It both shocked and amazed. What a way to end such an explosive trilogy!

Review: Love Broken (J.D. Hollyfield)

Love Broken
Author: J.D. Hollyfield
Publication Date: February 24, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

My name is Katie Beller, but the world, as of late, knows me as Bailey Swan, the love guru behind my bestselling book.

Want the shortened version? Here it is:

Love was stupid.
A fake. A farce
Love was broken.

Women everywhere were eating up my advice and fighting back against fake love. My book started a relationship revolution. And I stood by my story.

Until I met Charlie Bates.

When I throw all my own rules and advice out the window after a week-long rendezvous, I start to wonder just how real my words were. Maybe love might be just a little more complicated than I thought.

Maybe I’m the one who’s love broken.


J.D. Hollyfield is an author I found in 2018 that I tried to read more of 2019. I like her writing and the humor she includes in her romances. I chose to specifically read Love Broken because I was fascinated by the plot of an author who wrote about falling in love but doesn’t believe in it. It’s a plot for a devoted romance reader for sure.

What I didn’t expect was for that whole author falling in love to take the twist it did. Now, this is probably a MINOR SPOILER, but this book has been out for almost 2 years, so not really… What made this book even more appealing once I started it was that Katie, the author, goes on a book signing tour and meets a gorgeous cover model to fall for. THIS WAS CLEVER AND FANTASTIC! Having  been to a couple of book signings myself, it was so much fun to read not only Katie and Bates’s interactions, but her interactions with her readers.

Katie and Bates’s romance was a cool thing to experience. She was so anti love and he was such a force at trying to get her to fall for him. It was funny and sweet…until it wasn’t. Hollyfield went deep into Katie’s head. Katie has some major insecurities and negative thoughts that took over when things weren’t sunshine and rainbows. She drove me a little nuts at time — more than I wanted her to. It made for great character growth, though, and put this story where it needed to be.

Obviously, I enjoyed Love Broken. I think readers who love romance, authors, book events, and cover models will really appreciate this book.

Review: Echoes Between Us (Katie McGarry)

Echoes Between Us
Author: Katie McGarry
Publication Date: January 14, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Echoes Between Us is bestselling author Katie McGarry’s breakout teen contemporary novel about a girl with everything to lose and the boy who will do anything to save her.

Veronica sees ghosts. More specifically, her mother’s ghost. The afterimages of blinding migraines caused by the brain tumor that keeps her on the fringes and consumes her whole life haunt her, even as she wonders if it’s something more…

Golden boy Sawyer is handsome and popular, a state champion swimmer, but his adrenaline addiction draws him to Veronica.

A girl with nothing to live for and a boy with everything to lose–can they conquer their demons together?


Katie McGarry is one of those authors who I will read whatever she writes. She could write a book about aliens on Mars and I would be all in (Not something I would ever plan to read.). There’s a magic to her writing that pulls me in and makes me fall in love. That’s exactly what happened with Echoes Between Us. It blew me away. Here’s why.

  • Katie McGarry’s writing was as amazing as ever. The story in Echoes Between Us was spellbinding. I read it in two sittings. I would have read it in one, but sleep is important.
  • It pretty much took me most of the book to figure it out, but many of the characters are also from McGarry’s Only a Breath Apart. Once I did, I wish I had remembered that from the start. I loved how the two stories meshed a bit.
  • I loved the emotion of the story. Vi and Sawyer are dealing with some big, emotional things personally and it makes the connection they form so special.
  • The whole ghost aspect was so cool!!! It also creeped me out a bit, but I’m a wimp.
  • There were some twists and surprises I honestly didn’t see coming. That might have been because I was so wrapped up in the story.
  • How everything played out. I just loved this entire book. It’s selfish to say this, but I hope that we get another book with this same setting and group of friends.

Honestly, there wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this book. It was classic Katie McGarry and I couldn’t ask for anything more or different. Fans of her writing will love this book.

Review: The Map from Here to There (Emery Lord)

The Map from Here to There
Series: The Start of Me and You, #2
Author: Emery Lord
Publication Date: January 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Acclaimed author Emery Lord crafts a gorgeous story of friendship and identity, daring to ask: What happens after happily ever after?

It’s senior year, and Paige Hancock is finally living her best life. She has a fun summer job, great friends, and a super charming boyfriend who totally gets her. But senior year also means big decisions. Weighing “the rest of her life,” Paige feels her anxiety begin to pervade every decision she makes. Everything is exactly how she always wanted it to be–how can she leave it all behind next year? In her head, she knows there is so much more to experience after high school. But in her heart, is it so terrible to want everything to stay the same forever?

Emery Lord’s award-winning storytelling shines with lovable characters and heartfelt exploration of life’s most important questions.


The Map from Here to There is the sequel to Emery Lord’s beloved The Start of Me and You. It begins at the end of summer before Paige’s senior year of high school. Paige is excited for Max to return from Italy and for them to start their relationship and senior year together. The only thing standing the way of Paige’s happiness is the pressure of choosing a college and what that means for her new relationship with Max.

I’m just going to be blatantly honest with you all. I did not love this book as much as The Start of Me and You. It had some of the things I loved from that book: Paige and Max, Emery Lord’s addictive writing and the feels it gave me, all the friendships, the families, new characters to like, dealing with mental health issues. All of that should have been a recipe for success, but this was a case of the first book ending perfectly and the second book trying to mess with everything. I loved that the story was valid and very realistic, but Paige’s anxiety made me anxious and sad, and her actions made me irritated. I just wanted to love it and I didn’t love the feelings it gave me. I had to push myself to through parts of the middle to get me back to the things that made me love the first book so much.

BUT (and that’s a big but) I recognize that The Map from Here to There wasn’t written for me. I’m not a teenager. I can see a ton of value in this book for a teenager. It deals with a multitude of issues relating to senior year, picking colleges, relationships that might change with choices made for the future. It also does a good job portraying stress, anxiety, and being overwhelmed by the future. So while it wasn’t my favorite read, I see a need for it. I see younger people connecting with and enjoying it more than I did and absolutely loving it.

Review: Firecracker (Kelly Jamieson)

Firecracker
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: January 28, 2020
Publisher: Kelly Jamieson Inc
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Arden Lennox’s charmed life may be in pieces, but she’d sooner get her hoohaw bleached than move back in with her parents. She’s no longer the prom-queen princess married to the football star. She’s a broke, penniless widow, and it’s time she stood on her own two feet.

An under-construction unit in a quaint Chicago brownstone is cheap (free), but it comes with an unexpected surprise. Tyler Ramirez, her brother’s gawky high school best friend, is now a smoking hot firefighter who spends most of his spare time in her unit hammering, drilling, and screwing. Usually with his shirt off—a temptation she has no intention of indulging.

Tyler can’t believe his high school crush is living right across the hall, or how fast his fierce lust for her comes blazing back. She’s still gorgeous—a little sadder, a little quieter, but still with the amazing smile and sweet body that fueled his awkward teenage fantasies.

Despite her best intentions, Arden can’t resist grown up Tyler but the sparks between them send her into full retreat. And by the time she realizes the heat between them could last a lifetime, it could be too late to tell him…


I’m a big fan of a few of Kelly Jamieson’s hockey romance series, so when I saw she was releasing Firecracker I jumped on the opportunity to read it. I thought I would love it based on her previous writing and the blurb. I love a falling in love with your brother’s best friend romance.

Firecracker is one of those books that I didn’t completely fall in love with but enjoyed for the most part. Arden and Tyler’s romance was super cute, sweet, and packed with scorching chemistry. Where it lacked for me was in Arden’s character. I didn’t like what was going on in her head. It felt a little forced and frustrated me. That could be largely in part to this book being written in third person or maybe I just didn’t truly connect with Arden’s character. I don’t know. Whatever it was left me feeling in like but not love with Firecracker. I would still totally read a book about Jamie and Mila, though, if Jamieson was to write one.

Series Review: Jamison Valley (Devney Perry)

Over the past couple of weeks I have been binge reading the Jamison Valley series by Devney Perry. Today, I’m sharing with you my mini reviews for each book.


The Coppersmith Farmhouse ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I can’t believe this was Perry’s first novel. It was written like a seasoned veteran author. I mean, I can see how her writing has matured since I read some of her newer releases first, but I was still impressed. I loved everything that was going on in the novel. My favorite thing about it had to be Jess, though. I loved the way he loved Gigi and Rowen. I have some of the same concerns Gigi had, but I loved how those worked themselves out. My only complaint about this book is that Jess didn’t get his own POV.

The Clover Chapel ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I read the Gypsy King last month. I didn’t realize that this book was connected to that book. It was a great surprise — one that started this book out on top. I ended up loving The Clover Chapel so much. It’s Devney Perry’s writing at its best. I adored Nick and Emmy. Their romance and story was fabulous!

The Lucky Heart ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
I thought that I wasn’t going to be as big of fan of this book as I was the first two because of Felicity. The introduction to her character in The Clover Chapel did not make me a fan. The Lucky Heart did. I liked that she had grown up over the years since high school and wanted to make amends to the people she hurt. It didn’t hurt that Silas brought out the best in her. I loved their romance.

The Outpost ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was another book in the series I wasn’t sure I would like because of how I met Sabrina in the previous book. I wasn’t her biggest fan in that book. I ended up really loving it. Beau and Sabrina were so cute together. I loved the build up of their relationship and how it all came together in the end. I also liked the peak at Bryce, who we meet again in Perry’s new series Gypsy King (Tin Gypsies, #1).

The Bitterroot Inn ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I don’t have much to say about The Bitterroot Inn other than I loved it. It was predictable in the way romances with a touch of suspense can be, but that only added to the story. Hunter was so sweet to Maisy. I was so happy she got her happy ending after that first book.

The Candle Palace ★ ★ ★ ★ ½
This was a great way to end the series. It was short and sweet. Perry somehow managed to pack as much punch in this novella as she did in each of the full length books. I loved that I got to know how Milo met Sara.

Overall, this was a great series. I loved that I could see Perry’s writing progress and strengthen throughout it. Plus, all the romances were lovely.

Top Ten Tuesday: Some of My Favorite 2019 Romance Novels

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:

Books I Hope to Find Under My Tree

BUT… I’m not going to do that topic today. I only put two books on my Christmas list this year (I Carried a Watermelon: Dirty Dancing and Me by Katy Brand and #IMomSoHard by Kristin Hensley & Jen Smedley – in case you were curious). Instead, I’m going with:

Some of My Favorite 2019 Romance Novels

This list is only going to be romances that were released and read in 2019. The list is longer than 10 because I couldn’t contain myself. Ready? Here we go!

1. The Guy on the Right
Series: The Underdogs, #1
Author: Kate Stewart

2. Someday, Someday
Author: Emma Scott

3. Letters to Molly
Author: Devney Perry

4. Landon & Shay: Parts 1 & 2
Author: Brittainy C. Cherry

5. The Billionaire’s Forbidden Little Sister
Authors: Max Monroe

6. The Prenup
Author: Lauren Layne

7. I Knead You Tonight
Author: Teagan Hunter

8. Beard with Me / Beard Necessities
Author: Penny Reid

9. Down Too Deep
Author: J. Daniels

10. The Best Thing
Author: Mariana Zapata

11. Lake Redstone
Author: J.D. Hollyfield

12. The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams

13. The Accidental Girlfriend
Author: Emma Hart

14. Top Secret
Authors: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

15. Just One of the Groomsmen
Author: Cindi Madsen

16. The Risk
Author: Elle Kennedy

Review: The Guy on the Left (Kate Stewart)

The Guy on the Left
Series: The Underdogs, #2
Author: Kate Stewart
Publication Date: December 8, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

It started with a lie. A night of blurred lines between a teacher and a student.

I wasn’t her student, yet it was the single most defining night of my life.

I’ve never been the man she thinks I am.

Most people have no idea about the life I’ve lived or the words that ring true when it comes to me—still waters run deep.

But you’d be hard-pressed to find a coed on the TGU campus who knows otherwise…because I’ve never corrected them.

The clock is ticking down, it’s Fourth and Inches with the ball inside the one-yard line and the focus is on me, The Guy on the Left. I’ve never felt like a football god, inside I’m…just Troy.

It’s time to set the record straight.

For my son, I‘ll find the strength.

In her eyes, I’m determined to gain redemption.

I will have them both, even if I have to take my eye off the ball.


Before I get into my thoughts on The Guy on the Left, I want to clarify something in the blurb. The blurb makes this sound like a student-teacher romance. It’s really not. Troy was 18, Clarissa was 25, and they did not meet in a school setting. I won’t go deeper into things, but I’m not into student-teacher relationships and this book did not push my boundaries with that. Okay. Now that I have said that. Here’s what I thought about this book.

When I read The Guy on the Right (The Underdogs, #1), I had all these questions about Troy and the family that lived next door. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Troy. He didn’t seem like the best person. The Guy on the Left put everything from that book into perspective. I ended up really loving and respecting his character in ways I didn’t think could happen. Most importantly, he was a good dad.

What surprised me even more than loving Troy was that I didn’t love Clarissa. I liked her, but her decisions and grudge holding made me lose some respect for her. I get why she did what she did in the beginning, but she played the martyr too when it came to their past too much. That being said, Troy’s evolution probably wouldn’t have been so fantastic without Clarissa’s constant need to paint him as the bad guy.

Troy and Clarissa’s relationship was fascinating, but what really got to me in this book was Troy’s relationship with his son, Dante. Dante was pure delight. The way Troy cared for him wasn’t special — it was the way a father should care for his son. What made it made it so fun to read was how it showed who Troy truly was behind all the rumors and frat boy actions. And, like I said, Dante was a delight. He made me smile so much.

Overall, The Guy on the Left was a great new adult romance. It wasn’t as sweet in a funny way like The Guy on the Right was, but it was sweet in an emotional way. I loved how it kept in line with what The Guy on the Right set up, but was it’s own book with a completely different type of relationship. I’m really excited to continue this series with The Guy in the Middle.