Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Making Up
Series: London Celebrities, #3
Author: Lucy Parker
Publication Date: May 28, 2018
Publisher: Carina Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…


Making Up is my first Lucy Parker book. My blogger friends Nick, Ari, and Cristina have all been raving about this series, so I jumped on the chance to try it out with this book. I’m very happy I did.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the circus aspect of Making Up. It’s not a setting I’m normally drawn to. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. It was so different from the romance settings I normally read, and I really enjoyed that. Trix’s and Leo’s jobs were so interesting and fun to read about.

Not only did I love the setting, but I loved the characters. Trix was this fiery little sprite, but her self-confidence had been beaten down. The anxiety and self-doubt she experienced were easy to relate to. The emotional journey she went through in Making Up was an important one I think many readers will identify with. Leo had the confidence Trix was missing and more. He had his own problems, but they weren’t as challenging as Trix’s seemed. I loved how he supported Trix and helped her deal with the emotional challenges she was facing.

My favorite thing about this book was the second chance romance. Trix and Leo had a tumultuous past. They had different ideas of what created the hostility between them, and how they figured things out for the future was fun. I loved their hostile banter, but I loved it even more once it took on a sweeter manner.

I haven’t read any of the previous books in the series, so I didn’t have too many thoughts on the characters who made appearances from them. I was interested in them enough to want to go back and read their books, though. I hope I’ll get a chance to do that in the future.

The one teeny tiny complaint I have about Making Up is the third person narration. Third person always takes me a while to get used to. It’s just harder to make the transitions between characters when reading. The third person didn’t really bother me much, but I feel like I would have loved the story even more if it had been in first person.

I’m so happy that I finally got the chance to read one of Lucy Parker’s book. I really liked her writing. Like I said above, I’m hoping to get to read more of it in the future.

Review: In Bed with the Beast by Tara Sivec

In Bed with the Beast
Series: Naughty Princess Club, #2
Author: Tara Sivec
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Swerve
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

A tale as old as time: she needs a place to stay, he’s a grump with a secret and an extra room…can love find a way?

Meet the Naughty Princess Club, a series from USA Today bestselling author Tara Sivec that brings readers to Fairytale Lane and the hilarity—and romance—that three women fall into once they decide to strut their stuff and bring on their own happily ever after.

Living in her overprotective dad’s basement, shy Belle lives her life through books. Being a part of the Naughty Princess Club is the first adventure she’s ever had, plus she desperately needs the money to save one of her favorite places – the local library.

But when her new friends and new business gets her kicked out of her dad’s house, Belle is rescued by the surly Vincent “Beast” Adams who invites her to be his house guest until she gets back on her feet. Despite his attitude problem and long list of rules, Belle finds herself warming to the muscled man with a penchant for growling and starts seeing a gentle side to him that wasn’t there before.

Yet there’s a room that Beast keeps locked and Belle keeps getting hints that Beast is hiding something…can a nerdy librarian tame the beast or will their romance be over before it has a chance to blossom?


Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie ever. When I received an email offering to let me read In Bed with the Beast before it’s release, I took it as an opportunity to revisit two characters I love in a new way and to read a new-to-me author. I was pleasantly surprised.

Tara Sivec’s writing was fun in an over the top way. The story was cute, but silly. Belle was a sheltered young woman with an uptight father. Beast wasn’t a beast in looks, but in his gruff personality. Belle leaves her father’s house to explore grown up life, and Beast ends up sweetly taking her in. He has rules for Belle to follow and, well, some of the story imitates but does not copy the original. This take on Beauty and the Beast was extremely entertaining.

Belle made me smile. She was book smart, brainy, and unaware of her beauty. When she got nervous, she rambled off crazy facts. She did it often and at the funniest moments. (Belle almost reminded me of Janie Morris from Neanderthal Seeks Human by Penny Reid, and that’s a good thing.) The only one who really appreciated it was Beast. He was a stoic man until it came to Belle. I liked what hid between his tough exterior. Beast was surprisingly sweet and kind. Belle and Beast were so cute together!

Not only did I enjoy Belle and Beast, but all of the other Disney-like characters who popped up in this story. All of my favorite characters from Beauty and the Beast are mentioned in hilarious, magical ways. I also liked Belle’s feisty friends, Cindy and Ariel (I’m sure you can guess which Disney favorites they come from). I wouldn’t mind reading their books in this series as well.

In Bed with the Beast was a Beauty and the Beast retelling that I haven’t read before. The story and characters had this over the top humor that didn’t poke fun at the original tale, but made light of it. I truly enjoyed the experience of reading it.

Top Ten Tuesday: So You Want to Try a New Adult Book…Start Here

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Freebie.

For my Freebie choice, I’m going with So You Want to Try a New Adult Book…Start Here for those readers who are interested in branching into the NA sub genre. I chose these books because I feel that they’re a good representation of the category. I went a little further than ten because I couldn’t help myself. (All titles link to the Goodreads page for that book in case you want to add them to your To-Read shelf or check out reviews.)


1. Bright Side
by Kim Holden

Secrets.
Everyone has one.
Some are bigger than others.
And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.

Kate Sedgwick’s life has been anything but typical. She’s endured hardship and tragedy, but throughout it all she remains happy and optimistic (there’s a reason her best friend Gus calls her Bright Side). Kate is strong-willed, funny, smart, and musically gifted. She’s also never believed in love. So when Kate leaves San Diego to attend college in the small town of Grant, Minnesota, the last thing she expects is to fall in love with Keller Banks.

They both feel it.
But they each have a reason to fight it.
They each have a secret.

And when secrets are revealed,
Some will heal you …
And some will end you.


2. Left Drowning
by Jessica Park

What does it take to rise from life’s depths, swim against the current, and breathe?

Weighted down by the loss of her parents, Blythe McGuire struggles to keep her head above water as she trudges through her last year at Matthews College. Then a chance meeting sends Blythe crashing into something she doesn’t expect—an undeniable attraction to a dark-haired senior named Chris Shepherd, whose past may be even more complicated than her own. As their relationship deepens, Chris pulls Blythe out of the stupor she’s been in since the night a fire took half her family. She begins to heal, and even, haltingly, to love this guy who helps her find new paths to pleasure and self-discovery. But as Blythe moves into calmer waters, she realizes Chris is the one still strangled by his family’s traumatic history. As dark currents threaten to pull him under, Blythe may be the only person who can keep him from drowning.


3. More Than This
by Jay McLean

When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone.

Jake, a handsome boy she just met, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on this near stranger and his family, and he in turn is determined to take care of her. But Mikayla—thrust into adulthood with no one to guide her—is desperate to contain her grief and hide what she considers to be her weakness. Mikayla and Jake both want more, but despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, she tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone and safe or letting love in.


4. Ugly Love
by Colleen Hoover

When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.


5. The Deal
by Elle Kennedy

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cockycaptain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.


6. The Year We Fell Down
by Sarina Bowen

The sport she loves is out of reach. The boy she loves has someone else.

What now?

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.


7. Making Faces
by Amy Harmon

Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She’d been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have…until he wasn’t beautiful anymore.

Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl’s love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior’s love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beastwhere we discover that there is little beauty and a little beast in all of us.


8. This is Falling
by Ginger Scott

First, I had to remember how to breathe. Then, I had to learn how to survive. Two years, three months and sixteen days had passed since I was the Rowe Stanton from before, since tragedy stole my youth and my heart went along with it.

When I left for college, I put a thousand miles between my future and my past. I’d made a choice—I was going to cross back to the other side, to live with the living. I just didn’t know how.

And then I met Nate Preeter.

An All-American baseball player, Nate wasn’t supposed to notice a ghost-of-a-girl like me. But he did. He shouldn’t want to know my name. But he did. And when he learned my secret and saw the scars it left behind, he was supposed to run. But he didn’t.

My heart was dead, and I was never supposed to belong to anyone. But Nate Preeter had me feeling, and he made me want to be his. He showed me everything I was missing.

And then he showed me how to fall.


9. Sacked
by Jen Frederick

What he wants he gets… 

Knox Masters is a quarterback’s worst nightmare. Warrior. Champion. And…virgin. Knox knows what he wants–and he gets it. All American Football player? Check. NFL pros scouting him? Check. Now, he’s set his sight on two things. The national title. And Ellie Campbell. Sure, she’s the sister of his fellow teammate, but that’s not going to stop him. Especially not when he’s convinced Ellie is the one.

…but he’s never met her before. 

But Ellie isn’t as sure. She’s trying to start a new life and she’s not interested in a relationship…with anyone. Beside it’s not just her cardinal rule of never dating her brother’s teammates that keeps her away, but Ellie has a dark secret that would jeopardize everything Knox is pursuing.

Knox has no intention of losing. Ellie has no intention of giving in.


10. Ten Tiny Breaths
by K.A. Tucker

Kacey Cleary’s whole life imploded four years ago in a drunk-driving accident. Now she’s working hard to bury the pieces left behind—all but one. Her little sister, Livie. Kacey can swallow the constant disapproval from her born-again aunt Darla over her self-destructive lifestyle; she can stop herself from going kick-boxer crazy on Uncle Raymond when he loses the girls’ college funds at a blackjack table. She just needs to keep it together until Livie is no longer a minor, and then they can get the hell out of Grand Rapids, Michigan.

But when Uncle Raymond slides into bed next to Livie one night, Kacey decides it’s time to run. Armed with two bus tickets and dreams of living near the coast, Kacey and Livie start their new lives in a Miami apartment complex, complete with a grumpy landlord, a pervert upstairs, and a neighbor with a stage name perfectly matched to her chosen “profession.” But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle all of them. What she can’t handle is Trent Emerson in apartment 1D.

Kacey doesn’t want to feel. She doesn’t. It’s safer that way. For everyone. But sexy Trent finds a way into her numb heart, reigniting her ability to love again. She starts to believe that maybe she can leave the past where it belongs and start over. Maybe she’s not beyond repair.

But Kacey isn’t the only one who’s broken. Seemingly perfect Trent has an unforgiveable past of his own; one that, when discovered, will shatter Kacey’s newly constructed life and send her back into suffocating darkness.


11. All the Ways You Saved Me
by Jamie Howard

Bianca Easton is the perfect senator’s daughter.

Law school? Check.

Camera-ready smile? Check.

A dull and boring existence? Double check.

But that was before. Before she lost her best and only friend in a tragic accident. Before she found that friend’s unfinished bucket list. Definitely before she turned her life upside-down by deciding to stay in New York for six months to finish it.

It’s while she’s checking off her first item on the list–buy coffee for a stranger–that she meets Ian Mathis. Between the tattoo sleeve curling up his right arm, his guitar-roughened fingertips, and the secrets shadowing his past, he’s a complication Bianca doesn’t need but desperately wants.

With every item they cross off the list together, Bianca uncovers a piece of herself that she’s buried under what’s expected, all the while breaking her own rules by falling hard for Ian. But when her six months run out, Bianca has to decide if she’s willing to risk her empty but picture-perfect life for a chance at real, messy love.


12. Sincerely, Carter
by Whitney G.

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
No, really. She’s just my best friend… 

Arizona Turner has been my best friend since fourth grade, even when we “hated” each other. We’ve been there for one another through first kisses, first “times,” and we’ve been each other’s constant when good relationships turned bad. (We even went to colleges that were minutes away from each other…)

Throughout the years, and despite what anyone says, we’ve never crossed the line.

Never thought about it.
Never wanted to.

Until one night changed everything.
At least, it should’ve …

Just friends.
We’re just friends.
I’m only saying this until I figure out if she’s still “just” my best friend…


13. When It Rains
by Lisa De Jong

One night changed my life forever.

Beau Bennett has been my best friend since I can remember. He was my first crush before everything came crashing down, and now he wants more, but it’s more than I can give him. Things are different now. I wish I could tell him why, but I can’t.

I haven’t told anyone.

I never knew how much I really needed him until the day he left for college, and I was completely alone.

Then one day, Asher Hunt rides into town with his dark, captivating eyes and cocky grin. He doesn’t care who I used to be, he’s simply breathing life into what’s left. People warn me to stay away from him, but he helps me forget the pain that has held me hostage for so long; something I thought was impossible before he walked into my life.

I’ve been hurt.

I’ve been saved.

And I’ve found hope.

I thought my story was written that night, but now I know it was only a new beginning. Until one secret turns my world upside down…

Again.


14. There is No Light in Darkness
by Claire Contreras

A past hidden in darkness. Her present cloaked in secrets. The future holds the only truth that cannot be escaped.

After the mysterious and violent death of her parents, Blake Brennan finds comfort with an unconventional family. As the dramatic loss of her parents continues to haunt her—and hinders her from reciprocating love that others give freely—Blake embarks on a harrowing journey in search for the truth.

Living in a constant state of fear and need for control, vivid nightmares reveal details that lead to perilous situations. The past begins to collide with the present, and Blake must decide if the truth is worth losing the ones she loves.

Can love conquer all as her past comes to light? Or will Blake realize that there is no light in darkness?


15. Paper Princess
by Erin Watt

From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.

These Royals will ruin you…

Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone.

Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.

Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.

He might be right.

Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.


I honestly could go on and on. I tried to give a little variety here. Some are dark and angsty, some are lighter and fluffier. All are great reads and perfect to help you navigate the new adult romance world.

Release Blitz REVIEW: Come As You Are by Lauren Blakely

Requesting the presence of your pleasure…

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From #1 NYT bestselling author Lauren Blakely, comes the gorgeous and sexy-as-sin forbidden romance filled with wit, humor, and so much heart, COME AS YOU ARE! Secret trysts and stolen kisses abound in this brand new, swoontastic novel. Get your copy of COME AS YOU ARE delivered now!

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I couldn’t have scripted a more perfect night.

For one fantastic evening, at a masquerade party in the heart of Manhattan, I’m not the millionaire everyone wants a piece of. Fine—multimillionaire. But who’s counting all those commas? Not me, and not the most intriguing woman I’ve ever met, who happens to like dancing, witty banter, and hot, passionate up-against-the-wall sex as much as I do.

There’s no need for names or business cards. And that’s why I’m eager to get to know her more, since my mystery woman seems to like me for me, rather than for my huge…bank account.

Everything’s coming up aces. Until the next day when things get a little complicated. (Newsflash — a lot complicated.)

***

He’s charming, brilliant, an incredible lover, and right now I want to stab fate in the eyeballs.

I’ve had one goal I’ve been working toward, and lo and behold, my mystery man is the very person who stands between me and my dream job. A job I desperately need since my hard-knock life has nothing in common with his star-kissed one.

But it’s time to put that fairytale night behind me, and focus on learning what makes him tick. Too bad it turns out his quirks are my quirks, and his love affair with New York matches mine.

And as we spend our days together, I discover something else that feels like a cruel twist of fate — I’m falling for this naughty prince charming, and that’s not an ending I can write to our story.

ORDER YOUR COPIES HERE!

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REVIEW:

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

Come As You Are wasn’t the office romance I was expecting — and that’s a good thing. Flynn and Sabrina don’t work for the same company, but their jobs put them in close contact. They don’t realize they will be working closely together until after their chance encounter. Knowing it’s unethical to work together and date, they decide to fight their attraction to each other. Despite both agreeing to this, Flynn and Sabrina find it harder and harder to stay away from each other.

Sabrina and Flynn were great characters. I loved their jobs and how they related to each other. That created so many great moments. I adored how they got to know each other, and how their attraction budded into a real fondness for each other. I felt like their growing relationship had me seeing New York in a new light, too. (I haven’t been there, but it was different from any of the other books I’ve read set in this city.)

I loved Come As You Are. I can always count on Lauren Blakely’s writing to be sweet, upbeat, and sexy. I love the connections she creates between the characters she creates, and their journey from Chapter One to the Epilogue. Her writing is so entertaining! Come As You Are. If you’ve never read her books before, this is a great place to start. Come As You Are is a fun romance to read.

EXCERPT:

~FLYNN~

The door crawls shut.

Inch by inch.

A slow-mo door.

I have no patience for its theatrics. I kick it shut, eager for the next part of the evening to begin.

Her laughter sounds across the library and echoes off its dark wood shelves bursting with books. A leather couch takes center stage, flanked by a mahogany table.

“Are you in a rush to read something?” she asks coyly.

Her voice turns me on. It’s like bourbon and honey. A little throaty and husky, but with sweet undertones. Funny, how when you can’t see someone’s face—at least not all of it—your other senses heighten. Your ears work harder, homing in on the voice, or you zoom in on the eyes. Hers are warm hazel with flecks of bronze and green.

“Why, yes, I was looking for a particular book.” I stroll to the bookshelf along one wall, running my fingers across the spines, from old hardcovers like Tess of the d’Urbervilles to modern thrillers from the likes of Clive Cussler to non-fiction reads on the habits of highly effective people. “I thought if you wanted to go to the library you’d want to read. Naturally.”

“Of course. Read me a story. A bedtime story.” She leans against the wall next to a writing desk with a green lamp on it, the kind that has one of those chains you pull down to turn it on. She goes with the moment, and this night seems like role-play with her. I half want to understand who she is. But in a way, I’d rather experience everything she seems to want to give. Her body. Her mouth. Her mind. Whoever she is here in the library is as real as whoever she is behind the mask. My mission is to make sure she gets everything she wants.

I grab the nearest book and crack it open. It’s a James Patterson. “Once upon a time, there was a woman at a party who wanted to be kissed,” I say, walking to her, the pages open.

The angel raises her hands to her hair and sweeps off the headband that holds her halo. She tosses it to the desk. “That sounds like a very scintillating tale.”


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the nerd protagonists she details in Come as You Are. Their chemistry
snaps, crackles, and pops off the pages. ” – TJ Loves To Read

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About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling author, and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s hot, sweet and sexy. She lives in California with her family and has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 90 times, and she’s sold more than 2.5 million books. In April she’ll release COME AS YOU ARE, a sexy new standalone romance. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter! laurenblakely.com/newsletter

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Review: For Finlay by J. Nathan

For Finlay
Series: For You, #1
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: January 30, 2017
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Finlay Thatcher is a lost soul, guilt-ridden after the death of her twin brother. When Alabama’s football coach gives her the opportunity to work for him, she knows it’s her chance to move on, even if it means living her brother’s dream.

Caden Brooks is Alabama’s star quarterback. He’s got it all. The attention of adoring fans. A girlfriend who’d do anything to hold on to him. And a future in the pros. He’s getting along just fine until Finlay steps into his life, despising him at first sight and pushing his buttons like no other.

Unfortunately for Finlay, and her attempt to keep Caden at arm’s length, there’s nothing Caden loves more than a challenge. The problem with this challenge is she comes with a secret that has the power to destroy everything.


Recently, I read the second two books of the three in the For You series. The For You series are standalone novels. The characters overlap, but the main focus of each novel is the relationship between the main characters. Nothing is given away about any of the other couples’ stories. I really enjoyed For Forester and For Crosby, so I knew I needed to go back and read the book that started it all. I’m very happy I did because Finlay and Caden’s story wasn’t what I was expecting.

I have to admit that I didn’t love Finlay at the beginning. The memories she had of her relationship with her brother made me judge her harshly. I understood the reasoning for her actions, but knowing Cole died made them tough to stomach. As time went on in the present, I ended up loving her character. Despite her feelings about herself due to her brother, Finlay had a confidence and inner strength I admired.

Caden started off a little rough, too. I could tell he was going to be a good guy, but his initial attitude sucked. I didn’t appreciate his cocky college football quarterback attitude at the beginning. Caden became more endearing as the story went along. I really think it was how he interacted with Finlay and the choices he made along the way that made me respect  (and like) his character.

Finlay and Caden’s romance was a rocky one. It had so many ups and downs. The way Finlay and Caden solved their problems in this book was touching. I loved what they discovered with each other. How Cole was a part of that was really cool. That was my favorite part of this book. In a way, Cole helped Caden help Finlay heal.

Overall, For Finlay was a great new adult sports romance. It was fun to read. It wasn’t overly angsty or dark. Both characters had their challenges, but For Finlay felt uplifting. I loved the themes of this book, and the relationship between Finlay and Caden. Since I have already read the next two books, I can’t say this book made me want to read them, but I do hope there’s a fourth book in this series. Grady needs his own book.

Series Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

The past couple of weeks I’ve been reading the Pushing the Limits series by Kate McGarry. I’ve wanted to go back and read this series ever since I read the Thunder Road series. Rather than do individual reviews, I’m going to one big review for all of them.
Here we go!


Pushing the Limits (#1) ★ ★ ★ ★

I was impressed with Katie McGarry’s début novel. It didn’t feel like a début. It was so well written. Echo and Noah were adorable. They both had major family issues they were dealing with. Echo was recovering from an injury that she couldn’t remember. Her injury and memory loss unsettled her family, and caused all kinds of conflict between then. Noah lost his family, and he would do anything to get back the members he can. Echo and Noah were so different, but they related to each other in an important way. I loved how their relationship bloomed, and how they grew together and individually. I was especially fond of Noah. Pushing the Limits was a great start to the series.

Crossing the Line (#1.1) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Lila and Lincoln’s story wasn’t long enough in my opinion! I really, really wish Crossing the Line had been a full length novel. I loved Lila and Lincoln. How they met and kept in contact was so special. I wanted to know even more about their family lives and what made them who they were. They had such great back stories! I also wanted more of their futures.

Breaking the Rules (#1.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ½

I don’t know why, but this was the hardest book in the series for me to read. It was hard to go back to Echo and Noah’s relationship. I loved those characters so much, and I guess I wanted to believe they got their happy ending after Pushing the Limits. It was hard to see them struggle again. I don’t mean I didn’t like the story because I did. I loved it. Echo and Noah’s story went in a direction I liked. Breaking the Rules was bittersweet to read, but I loved what Noah and Echo learned about themselves and their relationship.

Dare to You (#2) ★ ★ ★ ★

Dare to You is one of my favorite books in this series. I loved Beth and Ryan’s journeys. Both needed to take a look at their lives and families. Beth needed love, support, and guidance when it came to her mother. Ryan needed the same things, but in a different way. He needed to figure out what his dreams were outside of how he had been raised. Beth and Ryan learned so much together, and that’s what made this book so special.

The only reason this book wasn’t a 5 star was because of all of the mystery around what was behind the door in the apartment. I easily guessed it, but I expected it to be something even worse. I don’t know. I just wasn’t a fan of that part of the story for some reason.

Crash Into You (#3) ★ ★ ★ ★

Here’s the thing… I loved Isaiah and Rachel together. Everything about their relationship was so sweet and cute. I adored how he treated her and stuck by her. I also loved getting to know Rachel’s family. There were several of her brothers I would love to read more about. What I didn’t love about this book was the street racing thing. That’s a personal preference. I’m just not into it. It didn’t have too much of an impact on my enjoying this story, though. Isaiah and Rachel were just that perfect for each other. 😉

Red at Night (#3.5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Katie McGarry kills me with these Pushing the Limits novellas. I love them so much, but I always want more story from them!!! Stella and Jonah had such a great, little story. I loved their connection to each other and how it changed both of their lives.

Take Me On (#4)★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Take Me On was another one of my favorites in this series. Haley and West’s story was so much fun to read. I loved seeing the transformation in both their characters throughout the book. West’s were more apparent during the book, while Haley’s came more toward the end. They learned a lot from each other, and it made their relationship stronger. I especially loved West’s discoveries about himself and his family in Take Me On.

Chasing Impossible (#5) ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

This series got better and better as it went along. I loved Chasing Impossible! Logan and Abby totally surprised me! I knew they had great chemistry and already had a little bit of a relationship. What I wasn’t expecting was their back stories! Both surprised me. I loved what the newly revealed did to the story. Chasing Impossible was so much fun to read! This was definitely my favorite book in the series.


Overall, Pushing the Limits was an amazing series. I loved every moment I spent with it. I could go on reading books about every single character in it. I highly recommend reading it.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read

Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic is Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read. Here are some books I’ve read that take place in another country. Since I live in the Unites States, this will be books not set here.Can

Can I say all the books? I rarely re-read. For the sake of the topic, I’m going to list some books that will fit this for sure.


1. Little Bee
by Chris Cleve

2. Where the Heart Is
by Billie Letts

3. Sharp Objects
by Gillian Flynn

4. The Silence of the Lamb
by Thomas Harris

5. Fortune’s Rocks
by Anita Shreve

6. Marrow
by Tarryn Fisher

7. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas
by James Patterson

8. The Book Thief
by Markus Zusak

9. The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

10. The Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan

Review: Something So Unscripted by Natasha Madison

Title: Something So Unscripted
Author: Natasha Madison
Genre: Sports Romance
Release Date: April 2, 2018
Cover Design: Melissa Gill at MGBookCovers
 
 

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

Oh my goodness the feels in this book! Natasha Madison slayed me with this one! Something So Unscripted is a book that will have your emotions on red alert.

Zack’s life has exploded in the past year. First, his five-year old son Jack is diagnosed with cancer. Then, he finds his wife cheating on him with his teammate. Instead of feeling sorry for himself Zack drops the dead weight, trades teams, and moves to New York where the best doctors are for Jack. One of those doctors is Zack’s new teammate Max’s younger sister, Denise. Denise is the perfect doctor for Jack, and she might just be the perfect woman for Zack.

There were so many things to love about Something So Unscripted. Natasha Madison’s writing was as brilliant as always, but this book stood out from her others. It was so emotionally complex. I loved where she went with this one. Even when it was tugging on my heart-strings, it was still fun to read.

The characters in this book were outstanding. Zack was an awesome father. His dedication to his son was exactly what it should have been. I loved how Jack was his first priority and everything else came after. I loved how he dealt with his wife on everything regarding Jack. Denise was also special. I can only imagine what being an oncology doctor for young children would be like. The care she showed the kids and their families showcased what an amazing woman she was. I especially loved how she adored Jack. Their relationship was so special and sweet. It was more important to me than Denise’s relationship with Zack.

As for Jack…he completely stole the show. That kid was so freakin’ adorable. He may have had cancer, but he didn’t let that get him down. He shared his light with everyone. His part in this romance was something special. I loved him so much!!!

I can’t leave out all of the other awesome characters. Max and Matthew were back harassing each other and now Zack. Their wives and families also made several appearances and made this book feel family oriented. I loved seeing them all again!

There wasn’t anything I didn’t love about this book! Well, maybe the whole Zack and Jack name thing. They rhyme and I kept getting them confused! LOL. But seriously. Something So Unscripted was utter perfection right through to the epilogue (LOVED it!!!). It was such a great story. I really, really hope this isn’t the end of this series. I want need more books!

One of the most EMOTIONAL romances I’ve read this year! Natasha Madison continues to AMAZE ME with every new release! – Shayna Renee 


Something so Unscripted is so much more than a love story, it is an all-encompassing, engrossing and engaging novel about, love, life and all the moments that make life special. – Denise Shh Mom’s Reading


Something So Unscripted is positively the most amazing book I’ve read. It gives the most heart wrenching story that will leave breathless. – Book Haven Book Blog

Zack

Finding my teammate in bed with my wife made the decision I had been fighting with for years easier.

It’s time to move on. 

A fresh start and a new NHL team in a big city. Most importantly, it’s my son Jack’s best shot. 

It would be both of our best shots. 
Denise

After a bad childhood, I made sure I would succeed, so I lived for my job. 

The problem is I die a little with each patient I lose. It’s part of my career at Hudson Children’s Oncology Hospital, but it doesn’t make the sting of loss any easier. 

Seeking anything other than a life saved isn’t on my agenda until a NHL player walks into my hospital with his son. 

We’re officially off script the moment we meet. 

If this love is anything, it’s unscripted.

 
“Zack.” I hear her voice and just look at my wife. The woman who said she would love me in good times and in bad yet is currently holding a sheet to cover her naked body. The four-carat engagement with matching eternity wedding ring glistens in the light. “It’s just …” she starts to say, and I look over at the man in bed next to her. In our bed. 

“It’s over.” I say the two words I swore I wouldn’t say no matter how hard it got. No matter how much I saw her push me away, no matter that I always suspected she was cheating on me. Then I look over at the man who I called a brother, the man who stood by my side on and off the ice. “You’re scum.”

“It just happened,” Colton says, getting out of the bed. At least he’s wearing boxers. His knee is still wrapped from the operation he had last month, which is why he wasn’t on the road with us, which is how I surprised them.

We were on the road for the whole week and due back tomorrow, but I hightailed it out of there to get home to my family and my son. “It just so happened you walked into my house and slept with my wife?” I ask him, and I have to wonder why I’m not more pissed, why I’m not more angry with them. “You come here and sleep with my wife with my son under the same roof.”

“Zack,” my wife says, and I look over at her again. Tears are rolling down her cheeks, her perfectly made up face now streaked with the black mascara she always wears. “Please let’s …”

I shake my head, putting my hands in my pockets. “Let’s what? Let’s talk about this?” I throw my head back and laugh. “Let’s talk about the fact that our son is in his room dying. Let’s talk about the fact that instead of helping him, you’re just helping yourself. Let’s talk about the fucking fact that instead of being there by his side with me, you chose to escape the fucking reality that our son won’t make it to six years old.”

“No.” She shakes her head, and I know that I’ve about had it.

“I’ll give you an hour,” I tell them both. “One hour and I want you packed and at the door when I come back.”

“But—” she says.

“But nothing, Chantal. You did what you had to do for you, and now I’m doing what I need to do for our son.”

I turn and walk out of our bedroom, then down the winding staircase that leads to the big brass front doors. Once outside in the warm Arizona air, I take my phone out of my pocket and call the only person I know who has my back no matter what. My agent and best friend, Jamie.

He answers after one ring, and it doesn’t surprise me he sleeps with his phone in his hand. “What’s up?” he says, his voice sleepy since it’s four a.m. in New York.

“I want out of Arizona, make the trade. Call the powers that be; I want out,” I tell him, getting into my Range Rover.

“You can’t just demand that,” he says, and I hear sheets rustle.

“Just walked in on Colton fucking my wife, so you can bet your ass I can. Make it happen. Call New York because it’s the only place I’ll go. I don’t care if I take a pay cut.”

“That fucking scumbag,” he says. “I’ll call them now.”

“Jamie, there is a top-notch doctor who specializes in cancer in New York. Max Horton’s sister,” I tell him quietly and slowly drive out of my gate.

“I’ll make it happen,” he says softly. “I’ll let you know what they say.”

“Jamie, I’m leaving here in a week regardless of what they say,” I tell him and disconnect the call. 

“One week,” I say to myself. “One fucking week.”
 
When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
 HOSTED BY:

 

Mini Reviews: Playing Hurt, My Way Back to You

Playing Hurt
Series: Aces Hockey, #6
Author: Kelly Jamieson
Publication Date: July 17, 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

He’s playing hurt. She’s laying low. And they’re both flirting with disaster.
 
“Kelly Jamieson is my go-to author for hockey romance.”—Jami Davenport
 
Chase: The last thing I’d ever want to do is let my team down. After overcoming my bad-boy reputation, I was dominating on the ice. But things aren’t going so well this season, and even my parents think I’m partying again. Now I’m really worried about my career. The only bright spot in my life is the Twitter flirtation I’ve struck up with pop princess Jordyn Banks. Turns out she’s a huge hockey fan—and she’s willing to wager a date on her favorite team. . . .

Jordyn: Even though I’m an L.A. fan now, I’ve always had a soft spot for the Aces, since I grew up in Chicago. Then I lose a bet to Chase Hartman, and suddenly I’m up close and personal with a pro athlete who’s anything but soft. Not only is Chase the hottest guy I’ve ever met, he’s secretly super sweet. As if I had time for a relationship . . . yeah, right. But when I suddenly have nothing but time on my hands, he’s the only one who understands. Now, with both of our careers at stake, Chase is tempting me to put my heart on the line too.

Review:

Playing Hurt is my new favorite Kelly Jamieson book! I absolutely loved how Jordyn and Chase’s interactions started over Twitter. Their flirting was cute and funny. I could imagine a real relationship starting between two celebrities exactly this way! It was so much fun! Once they actually meet in real life, the story gets even better. Chase and Jordyn really had to work to make their relationship work with the spotlight on them. It wasn’t easy. I enjoyed how each had their own struggles and things to deal with. Their growth individually made their relationship stronger. I loved how it all played out. Playing Hurt was truly a delight to read.


My Way Back to You
Series: Second Chances Duet, #2
Author: Claire Contreras
Publication Date: March 15, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

Book 2 in the Second Chance Duet . . .

Love isn’t always about timing.
Sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and roll with it.

I admit I wasn’t ready.
I know you don’t want to look at me, let alone talk to me, but please, let me explain.
Let me tell you all the ways my heart broke when you walked away.
Let me show you what our years apart have done to me.

Give me a chance to find my way back to you . . .


My Way Back to You begins a while after the cliffhanger from The There Was You. It’s a little disorienting for a couple of chapters figuring out where the story was now, but once I had everything straight I was pulled into the story. I liked it a lot better than the first book. That book was one big set up for this one. I wish they had been one book with some of it condensed down because My Way Back to You was really the fun, meaty part of the entire duet. I really enjoyed reading this one. The only thing that I would have changed in this one was that there should have been more time of anger between Rowan and Tessa. They forgave each other too quickly and easily in my opinion. Still, it was a good read.

Review: For Crosby by J. Nathan

For Crosby
Series: For You, #3
Author: J. Nathan
Publication Date: March 14, 2018
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

Crosby Parks had the life most guys only dreamed of. A wealthy family, girls vying for his attention, and pro scouts after his hockey skills. But when the life he knows comes crumbling down, he’s sent to Alabama to escape the media storm and to rebuild his life. If Crosby has any shot of playing professional hockey, he must keep a low profile and graduate from college. But the second he steps foot on campus, keeping a low profile becomes impossible.

Sabrina’s mind is made up. After encouraging Alabama’s star wide receiver to friend-zone her and pursue someone else, she’s determined to focus on herself and stop being everyone’s trusty sidekick and shoulder to cry on. But when she stumbles upon a naked hockey player tied to a tree in the middle of the night, Sabrina’s life is thrown upside down. Because when you leave someone tied to a tree, they eventually get free.


I loved this book. For Crosby was such a fun, quick read. It started off hilariously and I was immediately addicted to reading it. I loved the love-hate vibe it had going on for most of the book.

Sabrina and Crosby bantered back and forth expertly. Each barb they exchanged was wickedly entertaining. Despite hating each other, they had intense chemistry. Once they were through with their hate and got to the love part of their relationship, the story got even better. I didn’t think it could, but it did! The way they stood up for each other was awesome. Their support of each other was just really cool.

Another cool thing about this book was seeing some returning characters from previous books in the series. It was fun to catch up with them through their friends. It was fun seeing Forester especially through Sabrina’s eyes.

So yeah. For Crosby was an excellent new adult sports romance. The more I read of J. Nathan’s books, the more I love her writing. I hope there will be more books to come in the For You series. A certain nerdy freshman friend of Crosby’s needs a book!