Review: Fumbled (Alexa Martin)

Fumbled
Series: Playbook, #2
Author: Alexa Martin
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: April 23, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.

Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.

TK Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.

When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.


Alexa Martin’s début novel, Intercepted, was one of my favorite books of 2018. I was very impressed with her writing and story telling abilities. Her characters and their story was so much fun. I have been eagerly awaiting her next book from the moment I finished the first one. I’m happy to report that Fumbled was just as good as Intercepted — if not even better!!! That crazy because of how amazing Intercepted was.

Fumbled is the story of a single mother (Poppy) who is trying to make ends meat as a waitress at cabaret club. One night, her table contains the last man she ever wants to see again. TK is a famous football player and the father of her child — a child he didn’t want. Poppy wants nothing to do with TK, but he feels the exact opposite. Poppy has a hard time fighting her feelings for TK, and knows it’s only time before she has to tell TK about the son they share.

This book had my attention from the get go. Poppy was such a fun character. I loved how strong and resilient she was. Poppy made the best out of the hand she was dealt and didn’t complain. Her emotions were real and raw. I would have felt the same way she did. I could totally identify with how she put her son first.

As for Poppy’s relationship with TK, it was filled with some great ups and downs. They not only had to navigate getting to know each other all over again, they had to learn to trust again. Add in learning to share a child, and there was a lot going on for them. I found their second chance romance very cute. I did wish a couple of times that I had TK’s point of view. It would have been nice to know what he was thinking sometimes.

In case you have read Intercepted, I feel the need to point out that there were not any hashtags in this book. (There were a plethora in that one and they drove me nuts after a while.) There was only one small thing that bothered me with this book. I don’t know if it’s just a me thing or if others will make more notice of it with the foreshadowing. One of the big problems towards the end surprised me a bit. Like I said, it was foreshadowed, but I think it didn’t hit as hard for me because I didn’t get to know these characters before present day. I think if I had some previous knowledge of personality I might have felt a little more invested in this part of the story. Sorry to be vague. I don’t want to give it away.

Overall, I adored Fumbled. It was one of those reads that made me not want to put the book down. I’m happy to have read it, but sad that I have to wait for the third book in this series.

Review: If I Only Knew (Corinne Michaels)

If I Only Knew
Author: Corinne Michaels
Publication Date:  January 28, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From New York Times bestseller, Corinne Michaels, comes a new heartwarming and sexy standalone romance novel.

My life was perfect – until a shocking tragedy pulled the rug out from underneath me.

My children were left without a father. I was without a husband and a provider. Instead of wallowing in my grief, I buried myself in my work at Dovetail Enterprises. Landing the promotion as the CEO’s right hand was exactly what I needed.

Getting saddled with Milo Huxley as an assistant is exactly the opposite.

I can’t stand him.

He’s arrogant, irresponsible, and out for my job. As if that’s not bad enough, he has to be devastatingly sexy, and have a posh English accent that makes me squirm on top of it all. I’ve had enough unpredictability for one lifetime, thank you.

But soon enough, we’re fighting less and laughing more. He’s there for me when no one else is. And those good looks aren’t the only panty-dropping thing about him.

If I only knew what to do about it . . .


To start, If I Only Knew is the fourth and final book about a circle of friends: Heather, Kristin, Nicole, and Danielle. Heather’s story was told in We Own Tonight, Kristin’s in One Last Time, and Nicole’s in Not Until You. If I Only Knew is Danielle’s story. These are all standalone novels, but they do build a little on each other. You get the relationship dynamics between the friends and pieces of their past. I recommend reading them in order (the way I listed them here) to get the full experience.

Kristin was the character I was probably least interested in throughout the series. Probably because she was in a relationship until the last book. I didn’t even think she would get a book of her own like this. I thought it would be in relation to her relationship with her husband. That changed last book, though. I was surprised to find how much I liked Kristin. She was going through a lot and her feelings were raw and real. The way she fell for Milo felt natural. I loved their connection and how things started off rocky between them because of their jobs. It was a lot of fun.

The part of this story that I didn’t quite buy was how quickly Milo went from womanizer who wanted Danielle’s job to devoted to her. Milo ended up being a way better guy than I thought he would be. He had his moments at the beginning, but his change of character was fast. I expected a more gradual transition or Milo to put up more of a fight against his feelings. That was what I thought would be the major problem in this book, but it wasn’t. Not at all. It was a big surprise. I liked what ended up being the issue, but feel like Milo’s character and his demons could have used more focus.

Despite that, I did love Milo and Danielle’s story. They fit in a way that I wouldn’t have expected after reading the previous books. Milo and Danielle were cute together, and I loved how her kids made their story even sweeter. Overall, this was a great addition to this series of books.

Review: I Want You Back (Lorelei James)

I Want You Back
Series: Need You, #5
Author: Lorelei James
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

New York Times bestselling author Lorelei James kicks-off her Want You Series with a Lund family cousin hot enough to melt the ice and mend a broken heart.

Former NHL star Jaxson Lund has returned to the Twin Cities, but he’s at loose ends, unsure if he belongs at Lund Industries, or where he stands with Lucy, his ex-girlfriend and mother of his daughter, Mimi. Despite the signs she’d like to leave him in the penalty box, the attraction burning between them reinforces his determination to prove that he deserves a second chance…

Lucy Quade is in a good place with a steady job, a nice apartment, and a well-adjusted daughter, which is why she’s hesitant when Jax insists on co-parenting. It’s not that Lucy doesn’t trust Jax…she’s just unconvinced he can handle multiple responsibilities when he’s been singularly focused on playing hockey. But when issues arise with Mimi, Lucy’s shocked at how levelheaded and paternal he acts, giving her a glimpse of the Jax she used to know, the sexy, sweet man she fell for years ago.

Once Lucy lets her guard down, Jax goes all in to show her how good they are together, but will their past remain too large an obstacle to ever overcome?


If you have read the Need You series like I have, you have probably been curious about Jaxson Lund and Lucy Quade’s relationship. Well, we are finally getting their book!

I Want You Back is a second chance romance. Jaxson Lund has retired from hockey. He’s determined to turn his life around. He is no longer the alcoholic womanizer he used to be. Jaxson has come to recognize what a horrible boyfriend, father, and person he was while he drank. He wants to make that up to the two most important people: his daughter and her mother. Lucy is not sure what to make of the changes in Jaxson. He’s trying so hard to be a father to her daughter. She loves what she sees, but she’s not sure she can ever trust him enough to let him back in completely.

I went back and forth on what to rate this book. I enjoyed reading it, but it was a little slow at times. I guess that might not have bugged me if I wasn’t expecting a slow burn romance, but I wasn’t with the chemistry these two had. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the flashbacks of Lucy and Jaxson’s prior relationship. I think it was because it was only the good times and none of the bad? I liked getting to know how they fell in love, but I also wanted to know more about how they fell apart. It was also a little jarring to go from present to past and back in this book for some reason. I’m not sure why.

What I did love was the way Jaxson worked to show Lucy that he was back for good and in all the ways that mattered. I loved the way they worked through the hard parts of co-parenting. I loved how Lorelei James dealt with Jaxson’s issues with alcoholism, infidelity, and safe sex. That whole mixture really surprised me. I have never read a romance that touched on those topics all together. It made me think it should in more books. I wish more time would have spent on it in this book even though I thought it was well done.

Oh! I can’t leave out that I liked that Lucy wasn’t perfect either. She may have been wronged by Jaxson, but she had some issues of her own. I loved that Jaxson didn’t let those things slide, and that they worked together to both make changes.

Obviously, this book had a couple of ups and downs for me, but over all was a great read.

Series Review: Between the Lines (Tammara Webber)

Once again, I’m working on my backlist. Between the Lines is a series I’ve wanted to read since I fell in love with Tammara Webber’s Contours of the Heart series. I was excited to finally get around to reading it. Here are my thoughts on each of the four books in the series.


Between the Lines (#1) ★ ★ ★

I didn’t love this book, but I didn’t dislike it either. Between the Lines is told in two perspectives. The first was Emma’s. She was an almost eighteen year old who was cast in a movie along side Reid, one of the hottest young stars of the moment. I liked Emma a lot. She seemed like a teenager trying to figure life out. The other perspective was Reid’s. I hated Reid. He was a tool and a jerk. It was really hard reading his thoughts and choices. He is what made me not love this book — along with the fact that there is a third player in this story. Emma also has a developing “friendship” with another actor names Graham that makes a love triangle out of this book. As this book comes to an end, big secrets are exposed and the triangle is sorted out. I’m glad it didn’t leave me hanging. In the end, this one felt a big set up for the rest of the series to me. I am going to keep reading because I’m curious and have the rest of the books.

Where You Are (#2) – ★ ★ ★

The Reid – Emma – Graham triangle continues! Well, it becomes a love square as Brooke jumps in on the action and increases the drama. I still hated Reid, but he did do one thing I respected. I loved Emma. Graham turned out to be a total sweetheart. Brooke…I loved her last book, but now I feel as good about her as I do Reid. Where you Are was a wild ride.

Good for You (#3) ★ ★ ★

I really, really didn’t want a book about Reid falling in love. I mean, the guy is a total turd. I didn’t want it to be a woman who changed him because that wouldn’t be real life. I wanted him to change himself. That being said, I liked who Reid became. He grew up. It was refreshing to see him come to some conclusions about himself. Dori was okay. I liked all the stuff she had to go through.

Here Without You (#4) ★ ★ ★ ★

This, in my opinion, was the best book of the series. Everything came full circle for the remaining cast of characters. I loved how it was done. I also really loved how Tammara Webber wrote River. This ended up being an interesting celebrity coming of age series. It’s worth a read if you’re a fan of the author.

Review: The Last Letter by Rebecca Yarros

The Last Letter
Author: Rebecca Yarros
Publication Date: February 26, 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Amara
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan


So…I have found another favorite new-to-me author. Rebecca Yarros has me wanting to go back and read her backlist like now because The Last Letter was so, so good. I can’t even begin to do it justice with this review, so I am going to bullet point my likes and dislikes.

What I liked:

  • The letters. They start out each chapter and are perfectly tailored to the story and how it evolves.
  • The writing. It caught my attention from the beginning and never let go. Like I said above, Rebeca Yarros is new to me and I instantly connected to the way she puts words together. Every sentence is packed with emotion.
  • The plot. I won’t go into it too much, but it’s way more than what you read in that blurb. It was the perfect mixture or heartwarming and heartbreaking. Every moment had a purpose.
  • Ella’s children were so darn cute. Colt and Maisie were twins and their bond was too special. They also added something extra sweet to Ella and Beckett’s relationship.
  • Beckett Gentry. He had his moments of stupidity, but I loved his character.
  • I could go on and on, but I have to stop listing things because I would just give away the entire story.

What I disliked:

  • I didn’t connect as much as I would have liked to with Ella. I understood her reasoning for the way she acted, but her trust issues were almost too much for me at times. Especially towards the end.
  • Beckett’s moments of stupidity when he kept keeping that dang secret.
  • An event toward the end. I can’t say what it is, but I was sad the story went there. I get it, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it.

Overall, The Last Letter was a really great book. It was a romance, but it was more than just a romance. It was a touching story about family, love, war, and life. Despite my few dislikes, I thought it was brilliant.

Review: Best Laid Plans by L.K. Farlow

Best Laid Plans
Author: L.K. Farlow
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The summer before my senior year of high school I had only one goal: to make Alden Warner see me as more than his best friend’s annoying little sister.

Finally, my wish came true and he noticed me. In a big way. Too bad that the next morning he had no memory of our night together, leaving me heartbroken, and as I later discovered…pregnant.

For the last four years, I’ve been rocking the single mom thing, making sure my daughter comes first. In fact, everything is going fine—until Alden storms back into my life, as my new boss.

His reappearance wasn’t something I planned for. Add my nosy, meddlesome three-year-old and an overprotective brother, and I’m obviously in way over my head.

My only hope now is that I can sway Alden to see things my way…but you know what they say about the best laid plans…


I’m fairly new to L.K. Farlow’s books. Best Laid Plans is only the second book by I have read of hers, yet I already know Farlow is an author I’m going to be spending a lot more time with. For some reason, the first thing that pops in my head when I think of how to describe her writing is that it flows well. That really doesn’t adequately describe it. It’s fun and romantic. It’s also emotional without being too angsty. When I start reading one of her books, I don’t want to stop. The two I’ve read have just been so much fun!

Best Laid Plans is an accidental/surprise pregnancy mixed with older brother’s best friend love story. Natalie and Alden have a drunken teenage hook up that results in pregnancy. When Natalie finds out she’s pregnant, she makes the tough decision not to tell Alden for multiple reasons. Four years later, Alden’s back in town and he is ready to make a move on the one girl he couldn’t have growing up. Natalie loves the attention Alden’s giving her, but she knows things might change when she tells him who Tatum’s father is.

I really liked how the accidental pregnancy and reveal to Alden was handled in Best Laid Plans. It was easy to understand how hard Natalie’s decision had been for her and how well thought out her choices were. I also thought the way Alden responded was perfect. There wasn’t instant forgiveness, but their was acceptance. It was how I imagine real life might be in this situation. I also loved how it all worked out.

For those of you who like reading about single parents and young children in a romance, you would love this book! Tatum is so stinking adorable. She was sweet, sassy, and her comments made me smile so much. I love when the children in a love story make it that much sweeter.

The only small hole in the story for me was how no one in Natalie’s family even suspected that Alden could be Tatum’s father. That didn’t make sense to me because Tatum supposedly resembled Alden more than she did Natalie. I think there might have been a hint of suspicion since Alden had been Nate’s friend since childhood.

Overall, Best Laid Plans was a great romance novel with a lot of heart. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Review: Big Stick by Kelly Jamieson

Big Stick
Series: Aces Hockey, #7
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: October 23, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

A brooding hockey hunk learns to embrace life—and love—from a single mom who takes the world one puck at a time.

Big move . . . Jodie’s motto is “Don’t wait for the perfect moment – take the moment and make it perfect.” And that’s just what she decides to do when she moves to Chicago with her two-year-old daughter. Now all Jodie needs is a place to live, and her best friend’s boyfriend has just the answer.

Big stick . . . Nick Balachov has zero interest in socializing, partying, or flirting right now. It’s not that he doesn’t like women. He loves them. It’s just that hockey, casual hookups, and hanging out at home are enough for him these days. Now Nick has a big problem – because the woman living in his empty coach house is a major distraction.

Big deal? The more Nick tries to keep his distance, the more Jodie needs him – around the house, that is. First he helps with the snowstorm, then the power outage. Nick even finds himself trying to impress her little girl. What the hell is wrong with him? Jodie represents everything Nick doesn’t want. But maybe she’s just what he needs. . . .


Big Stick is the seventh book in Kelly Jamieson’s Aces Hockey series. This time it’s Nick’s time to shine. When Nick and Jodie meet at his buddy Hallsy’s party, neither is particularly impressed with each other. Jodie’s too talkative for Nick, and Nick’s too grumpy for Jodie. When Hallsy asks Nick to help Jodie out by letting her and her daughter stay in his coach house, he isn’t exactly ecstatic about his new neighbors. Slowly, as he gets to know Jodie and Zyana, his feelings start to change.

It was so great to be back in the Aces Hockey world. Kelly Jamieson’s writing is always impressive. I’m not one for third person point of view, but somehow she writes it so that I don’t even notice it! I love how she makes what could be a light and fluffy romance a little deeper and more emotional. Her characters in Big Stick were special ones.

I adored Nick’s character. He was a grouchy grump and it came across cute in this story — especially with Jodie’s daughter Zyana. He thought he was mean and nasty, but he was actually a gentle giant. I liked how both Jodie and Zyana brought that out in Nick. Nick had his issues, but in general he was a great guy.

What made this book cool in my eyes was Jodie. She was a smart, independent woman who went after what she wanted. She owned a successful business and was a single mother. Jodie had her family with Zyana (I’m still not sure how to pronounce that one!) and was content. She didn’t need a man in her life, but she wouldn’t mind finding a partner in life. I liked her attitude about romance and her relationship with Nick. It was refreshing.

I can’t leave out Zyana. Zyana was a doll in only way young children can be. She was sassy, smart, and a total nightmare at times. I loved the part she played in Jodie and Nick’s romance. It was so sweet! I did have a couple of questions about her abilities, though. I think it was mentioned that she was 2 years old at one point. She seemed older than that to me. I would have guessed 3 or maybe even 4 years old. Maybe I’m just forgetting how toddlers act or maybe Zyana was ahead of the curve. I don’t know. I just remember being a little shocked at how young she was.

If you’re a fan of hockey romances and have yet to read one of Kelly Jamieson’s, you’re missing out. She’s a fantastic writer who creates strong characters with a lot of heart. Her stories are easy to fall in love with. Big Stick was one those.

Review: Can’t Text This by Teagan Hunter

Can’t Text This
Author: Teagan Hunter
Publication Date: October 11, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“Hi Monty. Wanna see my python?”

That’s how I ended up in the bathroom of some dive bar with a stranger.

Me, Monty Andrews, the quintessential virgin girl next door.

I was so out of my element, but there was no denying our explosive attraction, even via text.

Commence Operation Bang Each Other Out of Our Systems, because that was all it was—unfinished business.

I had no intention of falling back into the sheets with the tattooed, muscly, dirty-in-the-best-kind-of-way single dad over and over again…but I did.

Everything was going great—until we discovered I was his son’s teacher.


Everything I’ve been reading lately has been intense, dark, or emotional. I had been looking for the perfect fluffy love story and hadn’t been able to find the one to lighten my mood — or at least I hadn’t until I picked up Can’t Text This.

Can’t Text This is was so much fun! Robbie and Monty couldn’t be more different. He’s covered in tattoos and swears. She’s prim and proper. Robbie is all about textual innuendos and Monty’s curious but also apprehensive. It’s all fun and games until they fall for each other.

I absolutely loved everything about Can’t Text This. It was so adorable! The banter, whether over text or in person, was hilarious. The things these two came up with to text and talk about made me laugh so much. Robbie and Monty were just so cute. Their relationship had ups and downs, but they weren’t ones that broke me. They were ones that were easily resolved and added to the entertainment value.

Oh, I can’t leave out Xavier! Robbie’s relationship with his son was so sweet. I loved how he parented and how his friends had a part in Xavier’s life. I also liked how Robbie’s ex was dealt with. It made my heart so happy!

As you can tell from this glowing review, I really enjoyed Can’t Text This. It was the perfect contemporary romance to get me out of an emotional book slump. I loved it, and I really hope Teagan Hunter will continue on with this texting series. Maybe a book for Denver? I would read that!

If you’re into fun and fluffy romances, I would definitely recommend picking up Can’t Text This. It’s a standalone, but it has two related novels with several recurring characters. You don’t have to read Let’s Get Textual or I Wanna Text You Up before Can’t Text This. The only reason I would recommend reading them first is so that you don’t miss out on all the fun of those two books. Teagan Hunter does an amazing job hooking readers with hilarious text messages and then making them fall in love with her characters. It’s fun to see the characters again in each book.

Can’t Text This just went live, and it is available to read for FREE in KindleUnlimited. Check out some teasers for the book below.

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Other standalones in this series:

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AUTHOR INFORMATION:

TEAGAN HUNTER is a Missouri-raised gal, but currently lives in North Carolina with her US Marine husband, where she spends her days begging him for a cat. She survives off coffee, pizza, and sarcasm. When she’s not writing, you can find her binge-watching various TV shows, especially Supernatural and One Tree Hill. She enjoys cold weather, buys more paperbacks than she’ll ever read, and never says no to brownies. For more information, please visit www.teaganhunterwrites.com.

AUTHOR LINKS:

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InkSlinger Blogger Final

Review: Sleepover by Serena Bell

Sleepover
Author: Serena Bell
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Elle and Sawyer just look so happy. Which is, of course, exactly how they end up.

But it’s not an easy trip.

It was just supposed to be once.

It was just supposed to be sex.

But now they’re next-door neighbors. And before they can put up their fences—or defenses—their eight-year-old sons have forged an unstoppable friendship.

They’re still reeling—Elle, from a Facebook message she was never supposed to see, Sawyer, from the kind of death it’s hard to live through. A relationship seems like a terrible idea. So they make a deal. One more blazing hot night, at Elle’s ex-husband’s wedding.

You know, because the “just once” thing has worked out so well for them …


You want to know the question I asked myself the minute I finished reading Sleepover? Why haven’t I read more of Serena Bell’s books? I’ve only read one other of her books and I absolutely loved it. I felt the same way about Sleepover. It was

charming,
delightful,
darling,
clever,
amusing.

I could go on and on with words that described what a good book this was. I cherished every moment I read it. I loved the story line.

Sleepover is the story of two single parents falling in love unexpectedly for the second time in their lives. Elle is a newly divorced mother who doesn’t know if she’ll ever find a man who will love her the most. Sawyer is a stoic single father who lost his wife a couple of years ago. Elle and Sawyer randomly met in a bar outside of town a few months ago and spent one night together. They never planned on repeating that night. A wrench is thrown in their plans when Sawyer and his son move in next door to Elle and her son. Sawyer and Elle are both slightly uneasy about the situation, but their sons have found the best friends they have always wanted. Soon Sawyer and Elle are spending way more time with each other than they ever planned.

Oh my goodness. This has to be one of the sweetest second chance at love stories I have ever read.Their first connection might have been a bit x-rated of hook up, but the rest of their story was one of bonding, friendship, and love.

I loved Elle and Sawyer.These people had lived through some tough times. Elle had her pride and self-confidence knocked. Sawyer had decided he would never love another woman again. It was so nice to read about two adults taking the time to get to know and care about each other. They built each other back up again.

Another amazing thing about this book was the children. Madden and Jonah added so much to this story. Their friendship was that instant connection that lasts forever. I loved how they helped bring their parents together. Like I said before, so sweet!

Obviously, Sleepover was a book I more than enjoyed. It had everything I love in a contemporary romance. I highly recommend it.

Review: Stacking the Deck by C.L. Collier

Stacking the Deck
Series: Discovering Us, #1
Author: C.L. Collier
Publication Date: August 27, 2018
Publisher: C.L. Collier LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Brooke:
I’m convinced happily ever after is a myth. Discovering my husband’s secrets has given me no choice but to take my daughter and start over. Unfortunately, that means living with my parents again. Just when I think life has stacked the deck against me, I run into Ryan. It’s been over a decade, but old feelings quickly reignite. The chemistry between Ryan and me is undeniable, and I’m left wondering if this is the way things were always meant to be.

Ryan:
After being a Marine for fourteen years, I move home to start a business with my brother. The last person I expect to walk through the door is the woman I let go. She’s the one I’ve never forgotten, and thoughts of her kept me going all these years. Now I have the chance to prove my worth to her, but will the odds be stacked against us?


Stacking the Deck is the first book in C.L. Collier’s new Discovering Us series. It’s a second chance romance between high school sweethearts, Brooke and Ryan. They haven’t seen each other since they broke up ten years ago when Brooke went to college and Ryan went to the Marines. Each went their separate ways. Brooke ended up married and had a baby. Ryan spent all those years traveling with the Marine’s. After an unexpected betrayal, Brooke has divorced and moved home to live with her parents. Ryan has also recently returned home to open a gym with his brother. When Brooke and Ryan run into each other for the first time in years, neither of them can deny the spark is still there between them.

This the fourth book C.L. Collier has written and it’s the fourth book of hers I’ve read. With each book I have enjoyed seeing her writing grow and blossom. Each book has been better than the last. I really enjoyed Stacking the Deck. The story felt real, like one that could be happening to someone I know.

Brooke and Ryan were great characters. Brooke was a strong woman. I was surprised by how she wasn’t mopey. Her life had exploded, and while she was upset about it, she was determined to make the best of things. I liked how positive her character felt. She took things at her own pace and did what was right for herself and her daughter. Ryan was a winner. He was basically perfect. Ryan had a few flaws, but they weren’t anything that couldn’t be overlooked. I especially loved how Ryan bonded with Brooke’s daughter. I loved what a great support system he was for Brooke and how he wanted to do things right by her and Ellie.  Brooke and Ryan truly had something special together. I could feel the spark they shared.

This book wasn’t just a romance, though. It’s also the story of Brooke coming to terms with her ex-husbands unexpected betrayal and learning to move on. I liked the ups and downs she went through on her journey of reclaiming her life. I actually would have liked to see more of those moments. I am still curious about what went on between the prologue and the first chapter. I was interested in how she got through the tougher times. To go deeper into this, there were times Brooke was telling the reader about something going on or something she went through and it would have been higher impact for the reader if she was experiencing it in the story rather than telling about it. That is probably more a personal reading preferences than anything. I like to experience all the emotional stuff with a character while reading.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading Stacking the Deck. It was a fun, sweet second chance romance involving high school sweethearts.