Review: The Bromance Book Club (Lyssa Kay Adams)

The Bromance Book Club
Author: Lyssa Kay Adams
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.


Okay, guys. Get ready for me to gush about The Bromance Book Club! There wasn’t a thing I didn’t love about it, so this one is going to be a fun review to write / read. I don’t even think I can fit in everything I loved about it without giving you a play by play, so I’m going to try to break it down a bit. Here we go!

The writing: I am not one for third person narration, but it worked for me in this book. The transitions between points of view were smooth and there was all the emotion I normally only get from first person.

The characters: I really loved Gavin’s character. He wasn’t perfect. He had some hard truths to face in this book, but I loved how he was willing to do anything and everything to save his relationship with Thea. Thea was a little harder to love only because I wanted her to give into Gavin so much earlier. The reasons she didn’t were important, though, and I liked how she also had some things to learn. The character development was great.

The story: I liked how real and raw the story felt. Gavin and Thea were married, had small children, and some of the possible issues that come with that. Gavin finding out that Thea had been faking it was the straw that broke the camel’s back, but there was so much more to what was going on in their marriage. They had bigger issues to deal with.

Both Gavin and Thea needed to not only work on their marriage, but themselves as well. Thea needed to take a deeper look at herself. I could relate to some of Thea’s thoughts and feelings. It’s very easy to “lose yourself” when devoting all your time and energy to your children. I can see how it would be even more overwhelming when your partner travels most of the time for work. Gavin needed to listen to Thea and think about why he reacted to things the way he did. It was all so true to what happens in many marriages. I loved that.

Their family: Thea and Gavin’s twin daughters were adorable! I love how they worked into what Gavin and Thea were going through. Thea’s sister, Liv, also played an important part of this story. Her character was spot on. She resembled the friend or sister everyone has one of when going through a breakup. I also really liked Gavin’s dad.

The Bromance Book Club: “But wait!” you say, “What about the book club?” The Bromance Book Club was such a clever thing to have in this story! I loved how Gavin was initiated and how these guys helped him out. It was funny and cool to read about these super successful men reading romance novels to understand their wives.

Overall: This book deserves all the hype it’s getting. The Bromance Book Club was a delight to read. I basically read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. It was both adorable and heartbreaking at the same time. I loved every moment I spent with it. I am really hoping this book is the start to a series because I would love to read more set in this world. I found a new book to add to my favorites of 2019.

Review: Heartache and Hope (Jay McLean)

Heartache and Hope
Series: Heartache Duet, #1
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: June 28, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Ava Diaz needs saving.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year.
He thinks she’s a brat.
She thinks he’s entitled.
Maybe first impressions don’t always last…
Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her.
He just doesn’t know why.


From the blurb, it sounds like Heartache and Hope is an enemies to lovers (for a lack of better word for a YA book). The line “Maybe first impressions don’t always last…” is accurate and this story quickly shifted away from that trope. Heartache and Hope was really about two high school students who have heavy burdens to carry. Ava and Connor should both be avoiding distractions, but they can’t get past their attraction for each other. Their relationship can’t be what a normal high school relationship should be, so there’s some heartache and some hope.

Since this is a duet, I don’t want to say too much about the plot. What I will tell you is that Jay McLean is back in a big way. She’s given us an emotionally charged romance filled with angst. There are so many ups and downs my head was spinning. I have to admit the angst was hard for me at times — but that’s because of some stuff I have going on in the background, not the book.

Ava and Connor… Man, their lives were tough. They each had something big they were dealing with and I was actually pretty amazed at how they handled things. I don’t know that I always agreed with their decisions, but I understood them. They were a very sweet couple.

As for the rest of the gang, there were characters I loved and characters I loved to hate. Trevor, Rhys, and Corey were my faves. Peter needs to go. I don’t like him and his being involved in the story makes me nervous.

Heartache and Hope ends in a cliffhanger. It wasn’t one that completely shocked me, but it did make me wish I already had the second book to read. I’m very curious to find out where things are going to go for Ava and Connor. I’m not just talking their romance. I am curious how life is going to evolve for them separately as well.

Review: Superfan (Sarina Bowen)

Superfan
Series: Brooklyn Brusiers, #6
Author: Sarina Bowen
Publication Date: June 25, 2019
Publisher: Tuxbury Publishing LLC
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports, Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.


Reading a Brooklyn Bruisers book by Sarina Bowen is like meeting up for a coffee date with an old friend. There’s this comfort to them both, but also excitement and fun. The setting and characters aren’t entirely new, but their story is. Reading Superfan made me so happy!

I loved Superfan from the very beginning. (If I’m being honest, I knew I was going to love it from all of the Silas and Delilah hints dropped in the previous books in the series.) I loved how it started with fame, television, hockey, and Twitter. It was just so much fun! I also enjoyed how it took me back to Silas and Delilah’s first meeting and the kiss that started it all. The set up for Silas and Delilah’s story was perfect.

Despite having the feeling I was going to love Superfan, I was a little nervous about Delilah’s rock star status. Rock star romances can be hit or miss. Superfan was definitely a hit. Being a rock star didn’t consume Delilah. Even though she was a hit singer, she was very down to Earth. What she did for a living didn’t have a too much of an impact on her personality when it came to her interactions with people. That made her character all that more likable. Delilah was super sweet. I loved her.

Silas was cute. His obsession with Delilah’s music is even more adorable now that I know all the reasons behind it. He was also a nice guy who truly cared about people’s well being. He showed that over and over again when it came to Delilah. I loved that he wasn’t a macho, cocky guy despite being a professional athlete. There really wasn’t anything not like about Silas.

In some ways, Silas and Delilah’s relationship felt like a slow burn romance because of the bits of the past included. In reality it was more of an instant love. They had this instant chemistry and connection. Some of their first interactions in the present almost seemed too fast and out of character for them. The more time I got to see them together, the more I understood that their feelings for each other may have been instant but they were lasting. Silas and Delilah truly did take time to get to know and trust each other, too. So, yeah. Their connection was instant, but their love was almost slow burn.

One of the pleasures of reading a series with this many books is the little snippets of old character friends one gets to see again. I adored getting to see Castro and Heidi again. Georgia and Leo, too. They all helped Silas in some fun ways. Oh! I can’t leave out Nate and Becca. Those two were made me smile so much!

There were also some new friends I found myself loving. First of all, Becky. Can Becky or Sarah get a book? Please, Sarina? I think your next Bruiser needs to fall for one of those girls. I also really liked Charla the manager. She was a force.

Superfan was just so much fun to read. I loved being back with this family of characters. Silas and Delilah added another couple to my favorites list with their story. It was just so dang sweet! I know there’s already several Brooklyn Bruisers books, but it’s a series I don’t think I will ever get tired of. I hope there are more books to come. Cough Bayer Cough

Review: Teardrop Shot (Tijan)

Teardrop Shot
Author: Tijan
Publication Date: June 24, 2019
Publisher: Tijan
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

I asked for his criteria for bed buddies-that’s the PG version.

He swore at me and said he didn’t do groupies. And just like that, our friendship was off to a great start.

Reese Forster was the starting point guard for the Seattle Thunder.

Gorgeous. Cocky. Loved by the nation.

He’s also attending preseason basketball training camp where I used to work.

Correction: where I work again, because I was fired from my last job.

And dumped.

And I might have a tiny bit of baggage, but that’s normal. Right?

Reese and I shouldn’t have become friends. We shouldn’t have become roommates.

And we really shouldn’t have started sleeping together … (Except we did.)

I’m adorably psychotic. He’s in the NBA.
This is not a disaster waiting to happen, at all.


I feel like Tijan heard my prayers and answered with Teardrop Shot. I have been rereading and revisiting her published books over and over again this spring. I love the affect her writing has on my emotions, and I have been really into that lately. Teardrop Shot gave me a new book of Tijan’s to fall in love with.

What made me love Teardrop Shot? Pretty much everything about it. It had that Tijan infused emotion I was begging for. What impressed me was that the heavy emotions didn’t take over and make this book depressing. There was a lightness and fun to it despite what the characters were feeling. It was uplifting rather than depressing.

When I first met Charlie’s character I was a little worried I wasn’t going to like her. She was odd. Charlie grew on me quickly, though. She had this question thing going on that I adored. It kind of made the book. Her truths truly surprised me and shaped this story in an unexpected way that I loved. I have to admit I shed a few tears over what went down with Damien.

Reese… You’re going to love him. That’s probably all I need to say about him.

Another major player in Teardrop Shot were the settings. I loved the camp setting. It made for such a great introduction between Charlie and Reese. Plus, it enabled me to get to know both Charlie and Reese’s friends at the same time. Those friendships were so special and fun. The only bad thing about camp was Charlie’s boss. I hated that guy!

Teardrop Shot also took us to Seattle. Being from Western Washington, it was fun to see Seattle get a basketball team. We (the people of Seattle) are still not happy with the Sonics’ move to Oklahoma. Which leads to me to my biggest beef with this book — Tijan, how could you make the team name the Seattle Thunder?!?! That was just wrong! It’s either got to be the Sonics or a made up team.

I guess I can forgive that Seattle Thunder thing, though, because I loved every minute I spent with Teardrop Shot. It’s a must read if you like sports romance.

Giveaways:

$50 Gift Card Giveaway: 

Review: In It to Win It (Kelly Jamieson)

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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)

BB - BT banner.jpg

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)

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

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hook Shot - AN.jpg

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

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About Kennedy

A Top 25 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts. She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism. KR W Bckg Verti

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