Review: 27: Dropping the Gloves by Mignon Mykel

27: Dropping the Gloves
Series: Enforcers of San Diego, #1
Author: Mignon Mykel
Publication Date: July 5, 2017
Publisher: Mignon Mykel
Genre: Contemporary, Sports Romance
Note: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Hockey defenseman, Jordan Byrd, has made some mistakes. Not fighting harder to be in his daughter’s life was one, but the other was thinking that life would be somehow better without his best friend in it. However, as badly as he’d like Marlo back in his life, the last five years showed him a side of her he never imagined possible.

At twenty-two, Marlo Byrd unexpectedly finds herself divorced and raising an infant on her own. Jordan had been her everything—her family and her protector—until one day he decided he wanted out. No calls. No letters. Nothing. She managed to find solace in the team that was once his…until five years later, when Jordan’s traded back.

Back in the Enforcers locker room, Jordan is quickly put in his place—he may have a spot on the team, but his ex has a spot in the “family.”

Everyone has an opinion on what happened between Jordan and Marlo.

Did Jordan leave Marlo, and never look back, wearing the ‘deadbeat dad’ label?
Or did Marlo hold back on Jordan, wanting to hurt him the way he hurt her?

Gloves will be dropped.
Fights will commence.
But who will come out the victor?


Hockey romances are my favorite sports romances. I’m not a huge hockey fan, but the guys in these books make me swoon hardcore. One of my newer favorite hockey romance authors is Mignon Mykel. I enjoy her writing style and the characters she brings to life. I love her Prescott Family series, so I was excited to read 27: Dropping the Gloves, the first book in her new Enforcers of San Diego series.

27: Dropping the Gloves was a harder read for me. It started out in a devastating way and immediately broke my heart. From the prologue, I felt sad for both Jordan and Marlo. In one way, I felt like Jordan might have done the right thing at first. In another, I thought he was an idiot. Then, I got Marlo’s perspective, and things got even more emotional. These two went through some major stuff together and apart. I was so happy they were getting another chance to be together.

While I loved this second chance romance, but I did have some things I wanted from 27: Dropping the Gloves that I didn’t get. It all comes down to the length of this book. I wanted it to be longer. It was only 140 pages long, so more of a novella in length. That didn’t give enough time for Jordan’s grovelling in my opinion. Marlo was quicker to accept Jordan back than I liked. The guy needed to grovel longer and harder. That was really my only complaint about this book.

Overall, I really enjoyed this first look at the Enforcers of San Diego series. I loved the characters, and I’m excited to see what next for the Enforcers players.

Review: Shut Out by Kelly Jamieson

Shut Out
Series: Bayard Hockey, #1
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: June 7, 2016
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where Jacob Flass thought he’d be a season ago. He was a rising star in the Canadian major junior league, cruising toward a spot on an NHL roster—until a single disastrous night on the town brought it all crashing down. Now he’s out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. He’s not supposed to be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick he’s ever met. But how could he possibly stay away?
 
Skylar Lynwood knows that Jacob is out of her league. She’s just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hunkiness is making a play for her one moment, then giving her the cold shoulder the next. Skylar’s head tells her that this rugged athlete isn’t worth her time, but her body says something altogether different. Risking her heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing she’s ever done . . . but she won’t let him shut her out.


I’ve read quite a few Kelly Jamieson novels over the past year, and the Bayard Hockey series has been my favorite of hers. I love how she uses first person narrative in this series. It makes it so much easier to connect to her characters. I read the second book prior to its release and really enjoyed it, so the minute I saw the first book was on sale I had to buy it.

I knew what Shut Out was going to be about prior to reading it because the second book builds upon it a little bit. It didn’t dampen my reading experience at all. I loved Shut Out. The characters were awesome, and easy to relate to. I loved that the author used them to explore the issue of sexual consent. Both Skylar and Jacob had a history dealing with lack of consent, and I loved how their experiences were different, but both relevant.

My favorite thing about Shut Out was Skylar and Jacob’s relationship. It started out as a fake relationship, but quickly moved into the real category. That wasn’t hard to believe because they had great chemistry. What made their chemistry so good was the friendship they built. They cared deeply about each other, and they were both constantly finding ways to build the other person up. It was little things like helping each other study, pushing them in the right direction on a decision, or just complimenting each other that made this romance shine. Their relationship always felt like a positive one, even when things weren’t going so well.

Shut Out was a quick, fun read. It’s a book I would recommend to readers who love new adult hockey romances. It has a swoon worthy romance and exciting hockey moments. Oh, and hot hockey guys to drool over. I can’t forget those!

Review: Darkness Matters by Jay McLean

Darkness Matters
Author: Jay McLean
Publication Date: June 26, 2017
Publisher: Jay McLean
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

It’s the same old story, really.
Good versus evil.
Heroes versus villains.
Light versus dark.
For two years, college freshman Noah Morgan lived his life somewhere in the middle, fighting darkness and light, always searching for answers to a single question:
Why, Noah, why?
The same three words keep him up at night, struggling for air while gripping a plastic cylinder containing white pills to match the white label with his name printed in ink as deep and dark as his memories—memories that turned him into a recluse.
A shut-in.
An introvert.
Luckily for him, that’s not how the girl next door sees him.


I’m sort of at a loss of what to tell you about Darkness Matters. The blurb only gives you a peek at what this book is about. It doesn’t even give you a whole peek, only half a peek. There’s so much more to this story than the blurb even hints at. I want to tell you so much about it, but I refuse to give anything away. I’m only going to give you the bare bones here.

Jay McLean is a writer who always surprises me. I’m never exactly sure what I’m in for when I begin one of her novels. I definitely didn’t expect what Darkness Matters delivered. It was brilliantly written (which I expected because, come on, it’s Jay McLean I’m talking about here). The story was told in three different points of view, and alternated between past and present. Bits and pieces of the characters’ past and current situation were dealt out slowly throughout the story. I thought I knew where the characters were coming from or where they were headed, but I was always missing something due to those pieces. It made for amazingly shocking moments.

The main characters, Noah and Andromeda (Andie), were beautifully broken. Both had a darkness in their past that clouded their present. Each was fighting for life in a different way. Their meeting wreaked havoc in their lives. Noah and Andie’s  attraction to each other threatened the stability each strove for. Darkness Matters wasn’t exactly their loves story, but how knowing each other changed their lives for the better.

I know I mentioned a third point of view above, but I’m going to let you discover that person on your own. I was surprised by the point of view, and it shaped the story in a way I never would have expected. It still leaves me with a lot of questions.

Heck, the whole book leaves me with questions. I’m not sure if Jay McLean means for “The End” to be the end for these characters, but I hope not. There is so much more I’m dying to know! I am 99.9% positive that everyone who reads this book will feel that way. There were so many revelations made toward the end, my head was spinning. I didn’t get all the answers I wanted. I need more!

Darkness Matters was an addicted read that I loved. It was gritty and raw, but surprisingly sweet and inspiring. If you’re a fan of new adult novels and haven’t read a book by Jay McLean book yet, you’re missing out. I’ve read all but one of her novels and highly recommend all of them, especially Darkness Matters.

Review: Defy by L.J. Shen

Defy
Series: Sinners of Saint, #0.5
Author: L.J. Shen
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: L.J. Shen
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆

Synopsis:

Defy is a smutty, insta-love, insta-lust short novella. Defy is a prequel to Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1). It is recommended, but unnecessary, to read Defy before reading Vicious.

First included in Hot for Teacher Anthology: 19 Stories Filled with Lust and Love.

My name is Melody Greene, and I have a confession to make.
I slept with my student, a senior in high school.
Multiple times.
I had multiple orgasms.
In multiple positions.
I slept with my student and I enjoyed it.
I slept with my student and I’d do it all over again if I could turn back time.
My name is Melody Greene, and I got kicked out of my position as a teacher and did my walk of shame a la Cersei Lannister from the principal’s office, minutes after said principal threatened to call the cops on me.
My name is Melody Greene, and I did something bad because it made me feel good.
Here is why it was totally worth it.


If you read the blurb for Defy, it mentions that it should be read before Vicious. Well, I didn’t do that. In fact, I read the entire Sinners of Saint series backward starting with Ruckus. I’m glad I did that. Why? Well, to be honest, student-teacher romances are not my thing. I’m not sure I would have picked up this awesome series if I had read Defy first. The only reason I read it was curiosity. Vicious and Ruckus mention Melody and Jaime’s relationship a lot, and I had to know more about Jaime since he’s one of the HotHoles.

Defy was a good read. I still wasn’t 100% on board with the student-teacher aspect, but it was fun to see how Melody and Jaime ended up together. I liked how it played out. I could almost —almost— understand why Melody broke her code of conduct. It helped that Jaime was eighteen, more manly, and more mature than most high school seniors.

The one thing that could have maybe made me fall in love with Defy would have been Jaime’s point of view. Unlike the other books in this series, we don’t get it. 🙁 I liked reading Defy from Melody’s point of view, but Jaime’s would have added so much more to it!

Overall, Defy was a good, short novella that added to my enjoyment of the Sinners of Saint series.