Mini Reviews: Rock Bottom Girl & Cruel Sanctuary

Rock Bottom Girl
Author: Lucy Score
Publication Date: March 8, 2019
Publisher: That’s What She Said Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

“You may be faking the relationship, but you’re not faking the orgasms.”

Downsized, broke, and dumped, 38-year-old Marley sneaks home to her childhood bedroom in the town she couldn’t wait to escape twenty years ago. Not much has changed in Culpepper. The cool kids are still cool. Now they just own car dealerships and live in McMansions next door. Oh, and the whole town is still talking about that Homecoming she ruined her senior year.

Desperate for a new start, Marley accepts a temporary teaching position. Can the girl banned from all future Culpepper High Homecomings keep the losing-est girls soccer team in school history from killing each other and prevent carpal tunnel in a bunch of phone-clutching gym class students? Maybe with the help of Jake Weston, high school bad boy turned sexy good guy.

When the school rumor mill sends Marley to the principal’s office to sign an ethics contract, the tattooed track coach, dog dad, and teacher of the year becomes her new fake boyfriend and alibi—for a price. The Deal: He’ll teach her how to coach if she teaches him how to be in a relationship. Who knew a fake boyfriend could deliver such real orgasms? But it’s all temporary. The guy. The job. The team. There’s too much history. Rock bottom can’t turn into a foundation for happily ever after. Can it?

Warning: Story also includes a meet-puke, a bouffanted nemesis, a yard swan and donkey basketball, a teenage-orchestrated makeover, and a fake relationship that gets a little too real between the sheets.

My thoughts:

I have been seeing Rock Bottom Girl pop up just about everywhere online recently. I read a couple of great reviews for it, and decided I wanted to read it. I’m so glad I did! I have officially found another author whose back list of books I want to binge read. Rock Bottom Girl was a delight to read.

What did I love about this book? Everything. What really stood out, though, was the way 38 year old Marley was portrayed. Way older than people at this age normally act. It’s like they’re premature 80 year olds or something. Marley wasn’t like that. She was still trying to figure out life and navigate relationships. That’s what people are still going in their 30’s and 40’s, people. She (and Jake) were just so relatable. I loved that! Plus, this entire book was funny. It made me smile so much. It was one of those really enjoyable romantic comedies that I would love to see as a movie. You should read it.


Cruel Sanctuary
Series: Wages of Sin, #1
Author: Tara Leigh
Publication Date: March 22, 2019
Publisher: Tara Leigh Books
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

They say New York City is the Devil’s Playground.
They’re wrong.
This city belongs to me.
And so does Aislinn Granville.

She is a pampered politician’s daughter.
A decorative ornament, raised to smile and nod and do what she’s told.
Except… she doesn’t. Not with me. Ever.

In this city full of thugs and thieves, I’ve kept Aislinn safe.
From my enemies.
From me.

Until now.

My thoughts:

Cruel Sanctuary is a classic dark romance: A good girl gets swept up in a bad guy’s world —  which is actually her world, she just doesn’t know it yet. There’s sex, violence, and a political war waging. I enjoyed reading Cruel Sanctuary. It was fast paced and I liked the plot. The chemistry was there between Aislinn and Damien. My only issue is that things were a little stalky on Damien’s part. It was disturbing, but I have a feeling that the next book is going to explain that and it won’t feel as wrong. Overall, it was a fun dark romance.

Review: Pretty Reckless (L.J. Shen)

Pretty Reckless
Series: All Saints High, #1
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: April 21, 2019

Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

From USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author L.J. Shen comes an intense, high school enemies-to-lovers romance with a twist.

Penn

They say revenge is a dish best served cold.
I’d had four years to stew on what Daria Followhill did to me, and now my heart was completely iced.
I took her first kiss.
She took the only thing I loved.
I was poor.
She was rich.
The good thing about circumstances? They can change. Fast.
Now, I’m her parents’ latest shiny project.
Her housemate. Her tormentor. The captain of the rival football team she hates so much.
Yeah, baby girl, say it—I’m your foster brother.
There’s a price to pay for ruining the only good thing in my life, and she’s about to shell out some serious tears.
Daria Followhill thinks she is THE queen. I’m about to prove to her that she’s nothing but a spoiled princess.

Daria

Everyone loves a good old unapologetic punk.
But being a bitch? Oh, you get slammed for every snarky comment, cynical eye roll, and foot you put in your adversaries’ way.
The thing about stiletto heels is that they make a hell of a dent when you walk all over the people who try to hurt you.
In Penn Scully’s case, I pierced his heart until he bled out, then left it in a trash can on a bright summer day.
Four years ago, he asked me to save all my firsts for him.
Now he lives across the hall, and I want nothing more than to be his last everything.
His parting words when he gave me his heart were that nothing in this world is free.
Now? Now he is making me pay.


Pretty Reckless is the first book in the All Saints High series. This series is a spin-off of the Sinners of Saint series. You don’t have to read that series to read this one, but since Daria is the daughter of Melody and Jamie from Deny, it doesn’t hurt to know their back story.

The connection between All Saints High and Sinners of Saint is actually the reason I chose to read Pretty Reckless. I was a little on the fence because of the reviews I read. They were either completely gushing or completely negative. There wasn’t really an in between and worried me for some reason. I loved those Sinners of Saint books, so I didn’t want to hate Pretty Reckless. Weird rationalizing, I know. As you can tell, I decided to give it a go. Here are my feelings about it.

What I liked:

  • Daria’s relationship with her mother, Melody. To be honest, it was a horrible relationship. What I liked about it was that it was a real relationship. Both had made mistakes over time with each other, and it was interesting to see how they maneuvered through the tension.
  • Daria’s relationship with her father, Jamie. This was actually really sweet. I liked the support system he was for her.
  • Via. That girl was the perfect girl to keep Daria on her toes. I loved hating her.
  • Daria was another girl I loved to hate. This MC was HORRIBLE. I mean, wicked. I thought I was going to hate her, but I grew to understand her. Her backstory really set her up well. I ended up feeling sorry for her, which is saying something considering the terrible things that came out of her mouth.
  • Penn. His situation was messed up, which made him messed up. I loved his truths, though.
  • The enemies to lovers thing Daria and Penn had going on. The story behind it all and their current situation fascinated me.
  • The ending. I liked the trajectory of the story, and everything it took to get to the ending.
  • Seeing all of the Saints’ kids. I am looking forward to reading all of their books.

What I didn’t like:

  • Daria is the child of one of the toughest, most ruthless men in town. I knew her book was going to be dark like his. What I wasn’t expecting was there to be so much shock value. It was like L.J. Shen threw in every twisted scenario she could think of. There was almost too much. I think what threw me over that edge was this secrets thing. I won’t go into it, but it brought this cheesy feel to something that was super dark… Maybe that’s what gave this book the YA feel it needed.
  • YA. Yeah, this categorization is pushing it. Pretty Reckless was set at All Saints High, but with all the nasty things going on it felt more like one of Shen’s NA novels. The reader would have to be a VERY mature YA reader to read this one, in my opinion. (Re: Sex, partying, emotional/physical abuse, etc.)

Overall, I enjoyed being back in the world of the Saints. Pretty Reckless was a dark but surprisingly uplifting teenage romance. It has me excited for what’s to come. This new generation at All Saints High is going to be about an interesting bunch of teenagers.

Review: Boyfriend Bargain (Ilsa Madden-Mills)

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Boyfriend Bargain
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Publication Date: May 5, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you take a chance on love.

Wanted: one hot guy with rock-hard abs and a big stick.

Broke and desperate, Sugar Ryan has no use for arrogant, bad boy athletes . . . until she’s forced to bargain with the cockiest of them all.

If only he knew she was alive.

Her mission? Get on this hockey player’s radar any way possible.

Zack Morgan is the king of the ice and the bedroom—but nothing prepares him for the mystery girl who shows up everywhere he does—frat parties, his favorite bar, and finally his front door with an offer he can’t refuse. The only rule in her boyfriend bargain: no falling in love.

But after one (um, two) smoking-hot hookups, he’s done with pretending and vows to make their fake relationship real. Too bad she can’t trust a player with a reputation for breaking hearts.

Will this hockey star score his forever girl or will their Boyfriend Bargain end in heartbreak?


Boyfriend Bargain is easily a book I could gush on and on about, so I’m going to keep things contained by giving you lists of what I loved about this book and what I had some questions about. Here we go!

What I loved:

  • Zack’s mental health issues. So many people are going to be able to identify with his feelings and his worries about how he would be perceived because of it.
  • Sugar’s feelings regarding her ex and how that affected things with Zack.
  • Sugar’s family relationships. There was some drama and a lot of feelings about her father. This storyline really interested me.
  • The whole Willow part of the story. I would have felt the same way as Sugar. It was a little freaky on Zack’s end.
  • Mean girl Veronica. She was perfectly mean!
  • Zack’s relationship with his brother.
  • Both Zack and Sugar’s friends. They were both funny and supportive. I loved the moments with them.
  • Zack and Sugar’s entire relationship. I loved the ups and the downs. Their connection was perfect.
  • Pretty much the entire book. It was an addictive read. As always, I loved Ilsa Madden-Mills’ writing style.

What I thought was missing:

  • The title of this book is Boyfriend Bargain. While the book starts off with one, it quickly goes the wayside. It’s not that I was bothered by that fact. I just found it a little weird because it wasn’t as big part of the plot as I thought it would be. I expected more drama around it.

Overall, I just really enjoyed reading Boyfriend Bargain. I am hoping Ms. Madden-Mills turns this into a series because I would love books about the other characters.

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Excerpt:

“We should kiss, just get it out of the way and move on,” I say, sure of the crazy idea as each second passes. There’s a hitch in Z’s breath, and his eyes go straight to my lips. “Works for me.” “But just one. None of that fancy tongue work.” “Afraid of falling in love with me?” He grins. Well. My eyes take in the broad shoulders and the dragon tattoo on his muscled chest. He’s definitely my type: pure, grade A male hotness—exactly what I don’t need. “I won’t fall in love.” Another grin. “Liar.”

About Ilsa Madden-Mills

Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills is best known for her contemporary romances ranging from new adult angst to romantic sports comedy. Seven of her ten novels have placed in the Amazon US Store Top Six Best-seller List: Dirty English hit #1; Fake Fiancée and I Dare You hit #2; I Bet You, Filthy English, and Very Bad Things all placed #6 in the Amazon US Store. The Last Guy, her collaboration with Tia Louise, hit #4. A former high school English teacher, she adores all things Pride and Prejudice, and of course, Mr. Darcy is her ultimate hero. She’s addicted to frothy coffee beverages, cheesy magnets, and any book featuring unicorns and sword-wielding females. Feel free to stalk her online. Ilsa head shot-2

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Series Review: Pippa Grant’s Series That’s Not Actually A Series

Were you confused by the title of this series review? I completely understand if you were because what’s a series that’s not actually a series? Well, in this case it’s several books that are connected by a ton of characters. Rather than review them all separately, I am reviewing them here for you in READING ORDER. Not that you have to read them in this order — I didn’t. (See, series that’s not a series.) Here we go!


Mister McHottie ★ ★ ★ ★

This is the book that starts it all. Mister McHottie is a second chance/enemies to lovers/co-workers romance. As you can probably tell from that description, there is a lot going on. Ambrosia Berger simultaneously hates and is attracted to Chase Jett. He was her childhood nemesis and her brothers’ best friend. There is a ton of animosity between them that makes for a really entertaining love story. I thought this book was a lot of fun. This book introduces us to almost all of the future characters.

Stud in the Stacks ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

It’s funny that this is the second book in the series and it’s also my second favorite book in the series. In Stud in the Stacks, Parker Elliot (best friend to Ambrosia Berger) needs a date to her high school reunion. She enlists hunky librarian and romance book loving Knox Moretti to play her boyfriend. The thing is that Knox doesn’t just want this to be a fake relationship. This book was absolutely adorable and hilarious. I loved Knox’s personality and his stance on romance novels. Parker’s attempts to keep things platonic was entertaining for sure.

The Pilot & the Puck-Up ★ ★ ★ ★

This was actually the second book I read in this series, and I enjoyed it. Joey Diamonte was a kick-butt chick who flew planes and took names. I didn’t always love her and her virgin status was a little weird to me, but all that didn’t matter. It didn’t matter because Zeus Berger was larger than life (in both description and action). The giant of a hockey player was awkward, caring, and shameless. Zeus was just so sweet. He made this book the delight that it was. I especially loved his relationship with his twin brother, Ares. Oh, and yes. Zeus is also Ambrosia’s brother from Mister McHottie.

Royally Pucked ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

This series has a little bit of everything: a billionaire, a librarian, a hockey player, and now a prince. Manning Frey wasn’t my favorite character from earlier in the series. He was just a bit of a nuisance. I wasn’t exactly sure what his deal was, and I was kind of confused since I had skipped ahead after The Pilot & the Puck-Up to read Ares Berger’s book. All my questions were answered with this read. I ended up really liking Manning and adoring Gracie Diamonte. Joey’s younger sister was a refreshingly real character mixed in with a prince. I loved this accidental pregnancy romance. Plus, a certain monkey is introduced.

Beauty and the Beefcake ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Beauty and the Beefcake is hands down my favorite book in this series. Felicity is an awkward, odd gal that I just loved. She got a little annoying at times, but that was because she was always talking — as herself or as her ventriloquist dummies’ voices. I’ve never had that experience before. What made this book even more special was Ares Berger. All of the other books make the dude seem like the biggest idiot on the planet. He may not have been the smartest, but he was more than who he was portrayed to be. I loved his personality and lack of words. His actions showed more than words ever could. I also can’t leave out his emotional support monkey. Yes, you read that right. Emotional support monkey. You’re just going to have to read this book to find out what that’s all about.

Rockaway Bride ★ ★ ½

Well, I guess they can’t all be favorites. This one did not start out strong for me. It was a little too — I don’t even know how to explain it. There was just so much build up and not enough knowledge of the characters from previous books to really tie into things emotionally from the start. It took me until about 52% into this book and a bunch of nuns to actually start enjoying Willow and Dax’s story. After that, it started to get exciting. When I was finally getting their connection, it was over. I expected to love this book, but didn’t.

Hot Heir ★ ★ ★ ½

I was super excited to read Viktor and Peach’s book. There was some tension stewing between them back in Royally Pucked, and I knew it would be romance gold. It didn’t start off super strong, but I really liked certain things about it: lamas, crazy castle, etc. Viktor and Peach were a cute couple. I thought it was going to go one direction, and it went another. Overall, it was a cute read.

The Hero and the Hactivist ★ ★ ★ ★

The Hero and the Hactivist was the last book I read of all of these books. I’m happy to say it ended things on a more positive note for me. This was Rhett Elliot (brother of Parker from Stud in the Stacks) and Parker’s bandmate Eloise’s book. It was a lot of fun. I liked how their different jobs shaped them and their romance.

Charming as Puck★ ★ ★ ★

Charming as Puck was really good! This was my first book by Pippa Grant. I loved her writing style. It was really funny. The one thing that did bug me was that I felt like it dragged along a bit at times. I can’t wait to read more of this series! This was my original review of this book before reading the rest of the series. I have to add that Nick Murphy (Felicity’s older brother and Ares’ hockey teammate) was an idiot, but I loved his how his relationship with Kami (Felicity’s friend) worked out. Plus, that donkey!

Overall thoughts:

This was a fun group of books to read. I definitely had my favorites: The Beauty and the Beefcake and Stud in the Stacks. I would recommend starting with those two if you don’t care about reading in order. The others weren’t quite perfection like those two, but they were good romantic comedies. The only book I wasn’t a fan of was Rockaway Bride.

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.

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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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Review: Team Player (Julianna Keyes)

Team Player
Author: Julianna Keyes
Publication Date: March 28, 2019
Publisher: Julianna Keyes
Genre: Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Don’t hate the player…

BOTTOM NINE
Gwen Scott wants to love her job with the Charleston Thrashers, the MLB team she’s worshiped since she was a kid, but she can’t. Hateful colleagues and mind-numbing work make her days unbearable—until her head for baseball gets her exclusive access to the Thrashers’ clubhouse and she comes face-to-face with Tyler Ashe, the team’s sexy shortstop and baseball’s most ineligible bachelor.

BASES LOADED
Ty has sworn off relationships in order to focus on his all-star career, but with his best friend gone, his team struggling, and the press blaming him for every loss, the most recognizable man in the majors is in a slump. Until he starts spending his time off the field with a stern blonde who recites baseball stats for kicks and sees through his arrogant façade.

TWO OUT
As the Thrashers’ season gets into full swing and Gwen adjusts to her new job, their fun banter and friendly teasing turns into stolen kisses and countless steamy nights. The team’s strict policy against player-staff relationships throws a curve ball into the mix, but they can’t hide from their feelings any more than the most famous man in baseball can hide from the spotlight…


Team Player is a classic contemporary sports romance. It’s written in third person dual point of view. While that’s not my favorite type of narration, it was well done. I almost didn’t notice it was third instead. I loved how each chapter started off with a fun Tweet that applied to what was coming up.

There was a lot of stuff going on in this book. Gwen was dealing with her aunt’s death and trying to hold onto her job with the Thrashers. Her attraction to Ty wasn’t something she was ready to face. Ty wasn’t quite ready for Gwen either. His baseball career hasn’t been the same since his best friend abandoned him. Despite all of this, they don’t want to fight their attraction and start to secretly see each other. The secrecy of their relationship adds a bunch of other things for Gwen and Ty to deal with.

Gwen and Tyler were both similar and completely opposite people. Gwen was quiet and spent a lot of time trying to fly under the radar. Tyler was a cocky athlete who was always in the spotlight. Surprisingly, both of them were loners. Neither had a good support system or friends. I thought that was weird and a little too convenient, but it was one of the things that helped them connect to each other. They had great chemistry. I loved their quiet moments together — especially how they watched a baking show together.

I think what shocked me most about Team Player was that it wasn’t the couple or the romance that was my favorite thing about the book. I loved other stuff more. I thought Gwen and Ty’s backstories were really good and important. I wish they had gotten a little more focus. I loved reading about Gwen’s relationship with Marge and how it shaped her life — especially when it came to her job with the Thrashers. The dynamic in Gwen’s office was fun and fresh. I loved how smart she was when it came to her job. I adored all of the Thrashers’ players. Ty’s teammates were hilarious. They made his character feel more “real”. I would love books about a couple of them. (Preferably in first person…) Overall, Team Player was a fun contemporary sports romance.

Review: Fumbled Hearts (Meagan Brandy)

Fumbled Hearts
Series: Tender Hearts, #1
Author: Meagan Brandy
Narrators: CJ Bloom, Alexander Cendese
Publication Date: September 21, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

He’s the persistent playboy who refuses to walk away. I’m the impassive new girl with nothing left to give.
Things are about to get complicated…

After months of refusing, I finally agreed to make the move to Alrick Falls. My family thought it was best – that a new scene would be good for me—and I was sick of having the same conversation.
So here I am, and the plan is simple. Smile through each day and avoid her at all costs.
It’s perfect.

Until the cocksure quarterback comes into play.

The last thing I want is his crooked grin and dark brown eyes focused on me.
Yet here he is, constantly in my space, pushing me, daring me to care. Telling me what I think and feel, as if he knows.
He doesn’t know anything. And  I plan to keep it that way.


Yeah. I’m not where to start with this review, but I’m going to apologize ahead of time if it ends up being a complete rant.

I have to give Meagan Brandy props for her ability to write completely messed up characters. I have read a couple of her books now, and both of them had characters who had been through some rough times. Kalani’s flippant, hard-shelled personality was exactly what I would expect of someone trying to shield herself from the world. I loved how Nate broke down Kalani’s walls and how sweet their relationship was.

Everything else drove me absolutely positively nuts. Despite understanding Kalani’s attitude, I hated it. I hated the way she acted. She had a superiority complex that was insane. She complained others were judgemental, but she was just as judgemental. The way she treated people — Nate included — was not good. Kalani hid things from Nate when she didn’t have a reason to. She kept him at arm’s length even when she swore she loved him. She was a mess and I don’t think she truly got the smack in the face she needed.

I loved Nate. He didn’t hide who he was or what he did. He treated Kalani in a way I didn’t think she deserved. Nate did have a time of stupidity, but I wasn’t shocked by it and he had legit reason to be upset. He could have solved his problems before they started, but I didn’t blame him for his conclusions.

The rest of the characters were crazy, over the top high school students. I never really got a good read on Kalani’s cousin and her boyfriend. Parker was a sweetheart, but I couldn’t figure him out for a while. Things didn’t go where I thought they would with him, so I have to admit that despite not loving this book I will be reading the second. I loved Nate’s parents. Everyone else sucked in that snotty, mean girl/guy way.

Now for one of my biggest complaints about Fumbled Hearts. It was set in high school. HIGH SCHOOL, people! These characters and their actions were more suited for COLLEGE. Kalani had been emancipated for like FOUR YEARS before this book. She was 18. Who gets emancipated at 14? Maybe some kids do, but it seemed crazy when it could have easily have been only a year or two with the storyline. Then, there was all of the drinking and sex. I know this stuff happens in high school, but with the attitudes of the characters it made the whole feel of the book that much older. I kept waiting for someone to show up pregnant with all the talk about sex without a condom at times and pulling out. Seriously, why is this included? Nate’s parents seemed more than happy to let their son have sex under their roof AND didn’t say much when he admitted to not using a condom all of the time. If you’re going to write sex into a YA book, PLEASE advocate safe sex or show the consequences. Finally, there was the ending. It was cheesy and I honestly expected more from it.

I found Fumbling Hearts to be an addictive listen. The narrator did a great job, and I wanted to know what was going to happen to these messed up characters. I just didn’t really enjoy where things went. It was all too problematic for me. 🙁 I’m hoping book 2 is better.

Review: False 9 (Megan Erickson)

False 9
Author: Megan Erickson
Publication Date: February 4, 2019
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A mouthy soccer stud virgin meets the secretive new girl on campus…

The last time I got laid was… oh right. Never. The only game I have is on the soccer field, where I mostly exist to make my teammates look good. I don’t get the glory or the girl, and in true Lavin Saint fashion, the first impression I make to the gorgeous new girl on campus is chair-crashingly, soul-crushingly bad.

Bianca Santos seems undeterred and even intrigued by my inability to form coherent sentences around her, which is why it sucks when I find out she’s my coach’s niece. Off limits.

Except Bianca doesn’t listen to that memo, and the more she focuses on me with those beautiful brown eyes, the less I care about the real possibility of being relegated to the bench. So when I find out she’s hiding something that’s threatening her, I’m done playing passive defense. I’m on the offensive now, no matter the risk—my sport, my sanity, or my life.

This time, I’m getting the glory. And the girl.

False 9 is a standalone romantic comedy with some sports, a bit of action, and a whole lot of sarcasm. HEA and no cliffhanger.


False 9 was my first time reading a book by Megan Erickson. She’s not an author I’ve had on my must read list, but I have seen her name around a lot. What drew me to read False 9 was a review I read by my blogger friend, Lenore. She had some really great things to say about False 9. After reading her review, I decided that I wanted to read this book.

I didn’t have quite the same reaction to False 9. I honestly think it might have been the books I read prior to picking it up. I had a couple of 5 star reads with some pretty darn amazing writing. False 9 just didn’t have the same level of writing. I liked it, but wasn’t blown away.

Lavin Saint was a cute character. He was this studly soccer player, but he was super awkward and insecure when it came to the ladies. It was pretty darn adorable and refreshing. He won me over with his sweetness. I liked who he was. He was a good guy to himself, his family, his friends, and Bianca.

Bianca… I hate to say it, but I didn’t like her. She was going through some tough stuff. I completely understood some of her reactions, but others were just nuts. I think her personality hit me wrong from the beginning. There is a comment about something that happened and what she thought that struck a nerve with me and set me off on the wrong foot with her. Which I feel bad about because she did really care about Lavin. They did have great chemistry.

There were two things about this book that stuck out to me. One was Lavin’s group of soccer friends. I loved all of them! Despite not falling completely in love with False 9, I would be tempted to read books about Zac, Dre, and especially Shane. The other was this cool suspense part of the book. That really got my attention and kept me reading.

False 9 might not been my favorite sports romance, but I still enjoyed it. I might not have had as strong of reaction to it as Lenore, but I do think it was well worth reading.

Mini Reviews: A Bunch of Them!

I haven’t been in the mood to write lengthy reviews lately, but I wanted to be able to share some of the I’ve read lately. That means that  today you’re getting a bunch of mini reviews from me! The format is going to be a little different from my normal mini reviews because of the number of them. You can find more information by clicking on the title of each book which will link to the Goodreads page for that book.  Many of these books are off of my TBR. Here we go!


Hired
Author: Zoey Castile

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

I don’t know…I feel like I should have liked this one more than I did. I was a big fan of the first book in the series, but Hired fell flat for me. It took me a really long time to become invested in the story. Aiden and Faith were both interesting characters enough on their own. I loved that they were an interracial couple and all of the different social issues the author delved into. I just didn’t love their relationship until like 75% into the book. They just didn’t have a big enough spark or something. I was bored too much with the majority of the book. Sad, but true. I’m still planning on reading the next book in the series because I do think the author is talented. This one just wasn’t for me.

Play to Win
Author: Kelly Jamieson

Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I love a Kelly Jamieson hockey romance, and I was so excited to get to read the first book in this new series. It had everything I love about Jamieson’s books: gripping writing, two amazing characters, a fun plot, and a love story to swoon over. The only thing that bothered me at times were the myriad of new characters. The Wynn dynasty is a large on and keeping everyone straight was tough. There was a helpful family tree at the beginning, but that’s kind of a pain to flip to on a Kindle version. I’m sure as the series goes on I’ll get to know everyone better. I also wasn’t sure by the end of the book who the next one was going to be about. There were kind of two options. I would be fine with either, though. Overall, I loved reading this book and I’m happy Jamieson is giving us more hockey romance.


For Emery
Author: J. Nathan

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

For Emery is the fourth book in the For You series. It can be read as a standalone novel, but some of Grady’s personality and character traits are woven throughout the series. That is important because Emery is from further back in Grady’s past and his previous behavior is a reflection of their relationship. Emery was a great match for Grady. Her story was actually more interesting to me than his. I actually didn’t fall quite in love with Grady’s character as I hoped. There were just some times that I didn’t like him and that made me question how much I liked Emery’s relationship with him. Overall, it was a good romance. I loved how it ended.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told
Authors: Meghan Mullally, Nick Offerman

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This is probably one of my favorite celebrity memoirs ever. If I had to describe it in one word it would be fun. That’s what the entire listening experience is. These two were candid, funny, and a good time to listen to. If you like either of these two actors, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend the audio version so you can listen to them tell their stories — they even describe the pictures in the book for you so that you’re not missing out on anything.


Love the One You’re With
Author: Lauren Layne

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I have so many reasons to be happy I finally read Love the One You’re With. It’s my last book in this series to read, my last LL book that I hadn’t read yet, and it’s the book that’s been on my Goodreads TBR the longest! Now those are all great reasons, but the biggest reason I’m happy I finally read this book was because I loved it. Grace and Jake were so much fun! They got up to some crazy antics and I loved how entertaining it all was. I also loved Grace and Jake together. They made a sweet couple.


Now That You Mention It
Author: Kristan Higgins

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

What I want to know is why did I wait so long to read this book? I have loved every single Kristan Higgins book I’ve ever read. I’m so mad that I put this one off because it was a great book about healing. Nora has been through several tough times in her life. The latest one sends her home to an island in Maine. There she not only confronts her present situation, but her past and her possible future. Kristan Higgins’s writing was amazing as always. I loved all of the quirky characters and things that happened to get Nora where she needed to be.

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.