Marek (Cold Fury Hockey: Book 11) by Sawyer Bennett

Marek (Cold Fury Hockey, #11)

3 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: May 22nd, 2018

Genre: Romance, Sports

Series: Cold Fury Hockey

Alex – Book 1

Garrett – Book 2

Zack – Book 3

Ryker – Book 4

Hawke – Book 5

Max – Book 6

Roman – Book 7

Lucas – Book 8 (review here)

Van – Book 9 (review here)

Reed – Book 10

Marek – Book 11

Where you can find Marek: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

When the Carolina Cold Fury’s hottest young star gets blindsided by an ex with a scandalous secret, it’s game on.

“One of the best voices in contemporary romance.”—New York Times bestselling author Lauren Layne

Marek Fabritis is used to delivering blows, not receiving them. But when he gets tipped off by an anonymous email about his ex-girlfriend, the news leaves him ice cold—and it’s not because Gracen Moore is getting married to a total jerk. It’s the fact that Marek has a three-year-old daughter he never knew about. Now he’s going back home, not to play knight in shining armor but to make damn sure that no man takes what’s his. For the first time, there might be something more important than hockey.

Gracen Moore has always loved Marek. That’s why she let him go, so he could pursue a career in the NHL. And that’s why she never told him about Lilly. Only now does Gracen realize that she made an unforgivable mistake. But is that any reason for Marek to crash her wedding and make an epic scene? If the spark that still smolders between them is to be trusted, maybe. Still, Gracen’s not getting her hopes up. Because she knows better than anyone that appearances aren’t always what they seem. . . .

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The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers: Book 1) by Erin McCarthy

The Hookup (The Jordan Brothers, #1)

3.5 Stars (rounded down to 3 stars for all outlets that need a star rating)

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of Publication: May 8th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Series: The Jordan Brothers

The Hookup – Book 1

The Breakup – Book 2 (expected publication date: August 14th, 2018)

Where you can find The Hookup: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Is there an equation for the perfect hookup? Turns out it’s a lot more complicated than one plus one. . . .

Sophie: Numbers are my comfort zone, which explains why my sex life is a big fat zero. Then again, if I’m smart enough to earn a PhD, why can’t I calculate a way to get a guy into bed, just to see what all the fuss is about? With my prima donna sister, Bella, getting married in Maine, I figure her wedding is the perfect opportunity for my little experiment. And Cain Jordan seems hot enough—he’s certainly drunk enough—to show me what I’ve been missing. Judging by the body of evidence, it’s a lot. . . .

Cain: Being stuck in the same town as my lying SOB twin brother, Christian—who may or may not be the father of the son I’m not allowed to see—is a hell of a reason to drink myself silly after the lobster boat docks each day. Any port in a storm. . . . But Sophie’s different. She doesn’t play around. And she’s becoming a habit I don’t want to break. Because the smartest woman I’ve ever met is also the sexiest—and the only one who makes me want to change.

Don’t miss Bella and Christian’s story in The Breakup!

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The Big Alpha in Town by Eve Langlais, Milly Taiden, and Kate Baxter

The Big Alpha in Town

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: May 15th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Fantasy, Paranormal

Where you can find The Big Alpha in Town: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Three hot stories about three sexy shifters from a trio of today’s hottest paranormal romance authors, headlined by bestselling authors Eve Langlais and Milly Taiden!

Bearing His Name
Meeting his mate should have been cause for celebration. There’s just one teeny tiny problem. Jade thinks Ark might have impregnated her sister. He didn’t, but convincing Jade is going to take a bit of honey.

Owned by the Lion
Keir’s been told to stop playing the field and settle down—difficult advice for a hard and hot man with a lion’s heart to follow. But his sights have always been set on Ally. She’s his mate, plain and simple. With her sweet and delicious curves, she’s nothing but sugar and trouble all rolled into one. But he’s known her and sparred with her for years. She’s his best friend’s little sister, and it’s going to take a whole new level of convincing that he’s the mate for her.

No Need Fur Love
Moving with his pack to the tiny town of Stanley, Idaho has Owen Courtney a little on edge. With literally no women in sight, Owen will be lucky to find a date, let alone his true mate. But you know the saying about a werewolf walking into a bar…
Gorgeous wood nymph Mia Oliver is on a mission: Find a suitable male to get her good ‘n pregnant and provide her with an heir. But when Mia decides to pick up a gorgeous and oh-so willing werewolf at the bar, she realizes she might be in over her head. …

My review:

I have gotten a little bored with shifter romances. They all seemed to follow the same storyline. So when the publishers approached me to review The Big Alpha in Town, I hesitated. I almost declined. But, since I like reviewing for this publisher, I gave this book a try. I am glad that I did because these stories were great!! Only one followed the typical storyline but it was written in such a way that I couldn’t help but like it.

Seeing that this book is made up of 3 full-length books, I am going to give a short review of the stories instead of my usual review. If I did this review my usual way, y’all would be sitting at your computers/phones for a while. So here goes nothing:

Bearing His Name:

I started off the book not liking it. I thought that Ark was stuck in the Stone Age with his attitude towards women. I couldn’t believe that he kept saying “Well I’m Greek“. Like that is supposed to excuse it. Jade was a raging witch with a B. I mean, she threw things when mad. Hello, can we say toddler? I also thought the storyline was a bit too much. But the more I read the book, the more I could see the snarky humor behind the characters. Ark’s obsession with food and honey was an underlying theme in the book. All that man wanted to do is eat….and not all of it was food. Speaking of that, the sex was great. Explicit but great. I loved the end of the book. Everyone got their happy ending.

Owned by the Lion:

I thought that this was a sweet book. Keir was a manwhore who was told by his father to settle down and marry. His mate? A prickly woman named Ally that he has known for years. The spark between Keir and Ally was red hot. I liked that the author kept if sparked through the book. Even after they had sex for the first time. Ally, I wasn’t a fan of. I could understand why she was so reluctant to give Keir a chance, but really? She took witchiness with a b to new heights. Of course, Keir having so many exes’s didn’t help. I would have had little faith in my man if his ex’s kept popping out of the woodwork. The end of the book was great. I love happy endings!!

No Need Fur Love:

I adored this book. Mia knew what she wanted when she went to town. She wanted a baby daddy and Owen was her top choice. I didn’t like the Instalove on Owen’s end. He came across as needy and stalkerish. Other than that, I loved the book. I thought the end of the book was fantastic. I also thought that Mia’s father got what he deserved. Just saying.

What I liked about all 3 books:

A) the humor in Bearing His Name

B) Keir’s sweetness to Ally in Owned by the Lion

C) Mia in No Need Fur Love. She was not someone you wanted to mess with.

What I disliked about all 3 books:

A) Ark’s chauvinism

B) Ally’s attitude towards Keir at the beginning of the book

C) Owen coming across as too needy

I would give The Big Alpha in Town an Adult rating. There is graphic (often inventive) sex. There is language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in The Big Alpha in Town.

I would recommend The Big Alpha in Town to family and friends. I would reread this book.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Griffin, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Big Alpha in Town.

All opinions stated in this review of A Big Alpha in Town are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Rumor Has It (Real Love: Book 4) by Jessica Lemmon

Rumor Has It (Real Love, #4)

2 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: May 15th, 2018

Genre: Humor, Romance

Series: Real Love

Eye Candy – Book 1 (review here)

Arm Candy – Book 2 (review here)

Man Candy – Book 3 (review here)

Rumor Has It – Book 4

America’s Sweetheart – Book 5 (expected publication date: October 2nd, 2018)

Where you can find Rumor Has It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

This is one bad boy who’s fit to print. A notorious jock tackles life—and love—after football with a type-A journalist in this sexy standalone from the author of Eye Candy.

Barrett: As a former pro football star, I’m used to playing the field. After injuries cut my NFL career short, my second act as a broadcaster ended on live television when a hot mic picked up a little verbal . . . indiscretion. But this latest publicity stunt might just land me back on top—much to the chagrin of Catarina Everhart, the prissy, beautiful journalist who’s been assigned to date a bad boy (i.e., me) and write about it. Catarina swears I’ll never touch her, let alone kiss those full lips of hers. Based on our chemistry, I’m not buying it. . . .
 
Catarina: Barrett Fox seems to be doing everything in his power to make me hate him. The cocky egomaniac is infamous for his bad behavior, and now, thanks to my boss’s harebrained schemes, he’s apparently my problem. As one fake date leads to another, I start to see a different side of Barrett. He’s close with his family. He does volunteer work. And, okay, he kisses like a dream. Am I really dating Barrett Fox? Or is he playing me? Because suddenly I’m risking my reputation—and my heart.

My review:

 Before I say what I am going to say, I like the series…a lot. Even the first book, where the female main character drove me nuts, I liked. This one….not so much. Both of the main characters were unlikable. The romance seemed forced and flat. Their interactions with each other were either hot and heavy or cold and icy….no inbetween. I did like the storyline. I love a storyline with a good girl falling for a bad boy.

Rumor Has It is a sporty take on the old and often used storyline where a good girl falls in love with a bad boy. Except the good girl is a journalist who is roped into pretend dating the bad boy. Only the pretend dating soon turns real. But the good girl doesn’t believe that the bad boy can change. Or can he?

I couldn’t stand Catarina. I thought that she was the most stuck up, self-absorbed character that I have ever read. I didn’t blame her for her reaction to working with Barrett but she took it to the extreme. She couldn’t even pick up on the hint that her ex-boyfriend wasn’t interested in her. I couldn’t even tell that she was having feelings for Barrett until almost the end of the book. Even then, I doubted it.

I didn’t like Barrett either. But not as much as Catarina. Barrett made some crappy decisions that influenced everything he did in the book. Like yelling at the female ref and then trying to say “Well, if it was a guy it would be OK.” No, no it wouldn’t be. My dislike did temper when I realized that he was sorry for what he did. It also lessened when his childhood was discussed.

I did not like Barrett or Catarina together. I felt that their interactions were forced. They did not come across as genuine to me. For characters to run hot/cold as much as they did was a turn off for me. As was Catarina’s blatant disdain for Barrett. Which in turn caused Barrett to treat her badly. It was like a freaking merry-go-round and I couldn’t get off.

The romance part of Rumor Has It came across as forced and fake. In turn, the sex was the same way. Forced with no emotions. Don’t get me wrong, I thought that the sex scenes were hot. But because of how I felt about Barrett and Catarina, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Like I mentioned above, I liked the storyline. I wish that I had a connection with either of the main characters.

The end of Rumor Has It was your typical romance ending. All hearts and rainbows.

While I didn’t like this book, I am looking forward to reading book 5. Like I said above, I enjoyed reading the series.

What I liked about Rumor Has It:

A) Good storyline

B) Hot sex scenes

C) Ummm…that’s it??

What I disliked about Rumor Has It:

A) Unlikable main characters

B) Forced and flat romance/relationship

C) No connection to characters

I would give Rumor Has It an Adult rating. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. There is explicit sex, language, and mild violence

There are no trigger warnings for Rumor Has It.

I would not recommend Rumor Has It to family and friends. I would recommend the other books in the series, but not this one. I would not read this book again but I would read other books in the series.

I would like to thank Loveswept, Random House Publishing Group, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Rumor Has It.

All opinions stated in this review of Rumor Has It are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

How to Walk Away

5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: May 15th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find How to Walk Away: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Margaret Jacobsen has a bright future ahead of her: a fiancé she adores, her dream job, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in one tumultuous moment. 

In the hospital and forced to face the possibility that nothing will ever be the same again, Margaret must figure out how to move forward on her own terms while facing long-held family secrets, devastating heartbreak, and the idea that love might find her in the last place she would ever expect. 

How to Walk Away is Katherine Center at her very best: an utterly charming, hopeful, and romantic novel that will capture reader’s hearts with every page.

 

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The Luck of the Bride (The Cavensham Heiress: Book 3) by Janna MacGregor

The Luck of the Bride (The Cavensham Heiresses #3)

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Paperback

Date of publication: May 1st, 2018

Genre: Romance

Series: The Cavensham Heiresses

The Bad Luck Bride – Book 1

The Bride Who Got Lucky – Book 2

The Luck of the Bride – Book 3

The Good, the Bad, and the Duke – Book 4 (expected publication date: December 4th, 2018)

Where you can find The Luck of the Bride: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Family secrets, mistaken identities…love and money make people do crazy things in The Luck of the Bride, the third Cavensham Heiresses novel.

March Lawson has never had much luck, and in a desperate move to save her family, she’s been posing as the Marquess of McCalpin. But when she’s summoned to a meeting with the Marquess himself, March expects jail time…not to be bewitched by dark hair and sapphire eyes.

Michael Cavensham, the Marquess of McCalpin and heir to the Duke of Langham, finds himself drawn to March despite the judgments from his peers. He isn’t sure he can trust March, especially since Michael has a secret that could ruin him and his family.

But society conspires to keep March and Michael apart, and when March is accused of not being who she says she is, will Michael toss her aside or fight for the woman he’s come to love?

My review:

I went into reading The Luck of the Bride thinking that it would be a typical Regency era romance. I based my assumption on the blurb. So, wasn’t I surprised when the prologue set the tone for the entire book. I am not an emotional reader but this book made me ugly cry during most of it.

I had a lot of respect for March. She took over raising them after their parents died. Her sisters were preteens and her brother was an infant. She raised those children with no help and almost no money. When a damaged roof takes all the money that she had saved, March was driven to do something that she would have never considered. She embezzled money out of her dowry account. That money was going to the upkeep of the estate and more importantly, to keep food on the table.

I thought that March and McCalpin had chemistry from the beginning. So much heat came from a single glance. I did like that the author kept them from having sex until almost the end of the book. Even after that, the chemistry was still there.

The romance between March and McCalpin had me in tears during certain parts of the book. Theirs wasn’t a slow burn romance but it wasn’t Instalove either. They both had a lot of obstacles to overcome. Trust was a huge issue on either end. Mainly on McCalpin.

I liked McCalpin from the get-go. His secret, while not shocking, was painful for him. I could understand why but I didn’t understand why he didn’t tell his parents earlier. Pride and not wanting his father to think any less of him was a huge reason. I loved how March was the only one for him as soon as he met her. Even though they met because she embezzled money from him. Her money but still. He only had eyes for her.

I wanted to strangle Cousin Rupert. He was an awful, awful man. When he burst into the ball with his “evidence” of March being a bastard, I wanted to throat punch him. Before that, I wanted to kick him in the boy bits for lusting after Julia and being horrid to Faith. All I have to say is that he got what he deserved in the end.

The end of the book was fantastic. The author did a great job of bringing all the storylines to a close. There were no storylines left dangling or forgotten. The emotional scene between McCalpin and March had me sobbing. The epilogue was spot on!! I am hoping that there are more books in this series!!

What I liked about The Luck of the Bride:

A) Excellent romance

B) Fantastic storyline

C) 3D characters

What I disliked about The Luck of the Bride:

A) March resorting to embezzlement to keep a roof over her head.

B) Cousin Rupert. He disgusted me.

C) McAlpin’s secret

I would give The Luck of the Bride an Adult rating. There is sex. There is mild violence. There is no language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings in The Luck of the Bride.

I would recommend The Luck of the Bride to family and friends. I would reread this book.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Paperbacks, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review The Luck of the Bride.

All opinions stated in this review of The Luck of the Bride are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Royal Treatment (His Royal Hotness: Book 2) by Tracy Wolff

Royal Treatment (His Royal Hotness, #2)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Trigger Warning:

Series: His Royal Hotness

Royal Pain – Book 1 (review here)

Royal Treatment – Book 2

Where you can find Royal Treatment: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Trigger Warning: PTSD, talk of past torture

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

What’s a crown prince to do with time on his hands? Or better yet, who? It’s Prince Garrett’s turn to find love in this mouth-watering standalone novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Royal Pain.

Once upon a time, I was being groomed to sit on the throne of Wildemar. Now I’m lucky they let me into the palace through the front door. After I was kidnapped and tortured by extremists, my reward upon my release is that nobody trusts me enough to let me be king. And since my twin brother, Kian, has assumed all my responsibilities, I figure why not take over as the black sheep?

But after breaking things off with my betrothed—we never had much chemistry, anyway—and giving the jet-setting playboy lifestyle a try, I’m starting to wonder if I’m cut out for this s***. Then I meet Lola Barnes, a drop-dead gorgeous entrepreneur from the States who’s as refreshing as she is feisty. 

It’s supposed to be a one-night-stand—until the press catches wind of my “new American sweetheart.” Trouble is, Lola’s no sweetheart. But the more I see our names together in the headlines, the more I find myself craving another taste. . . .

My review:

Don’t let the blurb of Royal Treatment fool you. There is more to this book than a jet-setting prince. I went into Royal Treatment thinking that this was going to be a light read. A book with plenty of sex and Instalove. While I got the latter two, I was not expecting the heavy subject that the book explored.

The author did a fantastic job of catching us up from Royal Pain. Garrett is no longer the Prince Regent. His kidnapping deemed him unfit in his father’s eyes and he was let go of his duties. Now, Kian, his twin, is now the Prince Regent. Garrett is hurting. From the kidnapping and torture. From his father’s unrealistic view of what happened to him. Meeting Lola was what he needed. She soothed his broken soul. Can Lola help Garrett face what happened to him? Or will she be another person who turns their back on him when he needs it the most?

I wasn’t the hugest fan of Lola at the beginning of the book. She came across as brash and argumentative. But, the more the story went on, the more I could see how she affected Garrett. She was able to keep his nightmares at bay. More importantly, she soothed him. It was in Paris where I started to like her. I loved her when she stood up to Kian for Garrett. I said “You go girl” and double fist pumped the sky. I also got her hesitation about being a relationship with Garrett. I know I wouldn’t have dealt with paps all over the place. Which is also why I wonder how Megan Markle deals with it? I would have been driven bat poop crazy.

Garrett was such a tortured person. As I was reading the book from his perspective, I realized that he was still recovering from his kidnapping and torture. His nightmares were a huge clue for me. I got his pain from being relieved from his duty as Prince Regent. That was his life. It was all he knew and when he was told “No more“, he didn’t know what to do with himself.

There is Instalove. Dreaded Instalove. I do expect some degree of Instalove in romance novels that I read. But when it is laid on thick, which it was in this case, I do a lot of eye-rolling and sighing out loud.

I couldn’t get over how cruel the King was to Garrett. As a parent, I was appalled by how callous he was to him. If my son had been kidnapped and tortured, I would have been devastated. He was more worried about how the people would view Garrett. I didn’t see an ounce of compassion towards him. At all. After the phone conversation with Garrett, I wanted to drop kick him in the boy bits. What Garrett went through couldn’t be healed like a physical injury. He needed time to heal. He also needed a family to support him. Which he kinda got with Kian. But not from the King.

Of course, the sex was fantastic. Lola and Garrett could heat up the sheets with the best of them. If my Kindle was a book, the pages would have been on fire for sure.

I am not going to get into the ending of Royal Treatment. All I have to say is that it was one of the rawest, most emotional endings that I have read to date.

What I liked about Royal Treatment:

A) Lola. Took me a while to like her but she was awesome towards the end of the book.

B) Garrett. Read above

C) Kian and Savvy making appearances. Loved it!!

What I disliked about Royal Treatment:

A) Instalove. Bleh.

B) The King. Couldn’t stand him

C) What happened towards the end of the book.

I would give Royal Treatment an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is violence. Also, there is a scene of a breakdown that could trigger people. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are trigger warnings in Royal Treatment. They are: PTSD, talk of past torture, and a scene containing a breakdown.

I would recommend Royal Treatment to family and friends. I would include a note about the triggers. This is a book and a series that I would reread.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Royal Treatment.

All opinions stated in this review of Royal Treatment are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**