Play to Win (Wynn Hockey: Book 1) by Kelly Jamieson

Play to Win: A Wynn Hockey Novel by [Jamieson, Kelly]

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: March 19th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Sports

Series: Wynn Hockey

Play to Win—Book 1

In It To Win It—Book 2 (expected publication date: July 23rd, 2019

Where you can find Play to Win: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Synopsis:

Meet the Wynns—a hockey dynasty built on family, money, and drama. From USA Today bestselling author Kelly Jamieson, the first novel in a new series is a total win-win.

“Kelly Jamieson is an auto-buy for me.”—Carly Phillips

After an injury forced Théo Wynn to give up professional hockey, he turned to his second love: numbers. Now, as the general manager of his grandfather’s NHL team, the Los Angeles Condors, Théo is dying to prove to the rest of his family—especially the brother who betrayed him—that he’s just as successful as the rest of them. If only Théo had a gorgeous woman on his arm to complete the picture. . . .

Lacey Olson needs to get out of Las Vegas right now, thanks to her no-good, crooked brother. When a handsome stranger who’s out partying with friends comes to her rescue in the cocktail lounge where she works, they strike up a conversation that leads to a crazy plan: her leaving with Théo for L.A. tomorrow. A few drinks later, the idea gets even crazier: a quickie marriage that works for both of them.

But back in California, Lacey immediately turns Théo’s precise, well-ordered life into one big beach party. And before long, she’s tempting him with her smart mouth, sexy body, and sunny charm. The last thing Théo needs is a real relationship to distract him. Because he only plays to win. . . .


My Review:

When I saw that Kelly Jamieson had a new series out, I was pumped. I was disappointed when the Aces Hockey series ended. I was also wondering when the next series was going to start. So, when I saw the book up for review on NetGalley, I pounced on it. I am glad that I did. Play to Win is an excellent start to what I hope is going to be an excellent series.

Theo Wynn was forced to give up professional hockey after an eye injury. Not to be deterred, he became the GM of an expansion hockey team based out of Las Vegas. Theo’s grandfather approached Theo with a job offer. Become the GM for his hockey team, the California Condors. Theo accepted the offer but was aware of the backlash that it would cause. When he meets Lacey and hears her story, Theo has a proposition for her. Become his “fake” wife to show his family that he made it. But can Theo keep Lacey at arms length? Or will he fall for her?

Lacey Olson is between a rock and a hard place. Her brother has stolen all the money in her checking account and disappeared. He also tries to pimp her out to his bookie to pay off his debt. She wasn’t expecting her brother’s bookie to show up at her job in a cocktail lounge. She wasn’t expecting the cute customer she was serving to step in and comfort her when she gets fired. She also wasn’t expecting to accept Theo’s crazy proposition. Or have a quickie Vegas wedding. Can Lacey go through with the charade? Or will she fall hard for Theo?


I liked Theo even if I thought he was too uptight. I understood why he didn’t want to jump in the pool with his clothes on. But I didn’t understand why he was so anal about suitcase packing. His horror in watching Lacey pack was amusing. I did enjoy watching his character grow in this book. He went from an uptight, grudge holding guy to a more laid back version of himself. Lacey was good for him.

I loved Lacey. She was one of the most easy going, go with the flow characters that I have read. Not that she didn’t have issues. Because she did. It was the way that she chose to deal with her issues that endeared her to me. She chose to look at the sunny side of things. Even her relationship with her brother (who I didn’t like). But, she wasn’t a pushover. She ruled when she met Theo’s ex. I did a “You go girl“.

Theo’s family wasn’t perfect. They were dysfunctional. Of course, not every family has a suggested gold-digger. Or sons’ suing their father. Or brother’s stealing girlfriends. But that’s what made this book fun to read.

Unfortunately Lacey’s family was all too realistic. Having an addict in your life is draining, emotionally and financially. The author was able to capture it perfectly.

I liked that Play to Win is a romance that didn’t have Instalove. Sure, Theo and Lacey got married the night they met. But the author chose to make up for that by having them build their relationship. Loved it!!

The sex scenes were steamy, once they had sex. I did roll my eyes when Theo and Lacey made the “no sex” pact. That screamed that they were going to have sex, but not right away. When they finally did bump uglies, it was explosive. I also liked how the author had Theo be on the receiving end of something kinky. That sex scene was through the roof!!

I loved the ending of Play to Win. Handsdown, it was one of the better endings that I have read. The talk that JP gave Theo was epic. What Lacey was knitting was epic. Actually, I was laughing my fool head off at that. Then I went to google it. Note to self: Never google that again. Images are forever seared into my brain. But it was the epilogue that made the book. Loved it. I also loved how it set up Book 2. Which I can’t wait to read.


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

I would reread Play to Win. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the author, the publisher, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Play to Win.

All opinions stated in this review of Play to Win are mine.


Have you read Play to Win?

What are your thoughts on it?

Do you like reading about dysfunctional families?

Let me know!!

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Ice Hot (New York Nighthawks: Book 1) by Tracy Goodwin

Ice Hot (New York Nighthawks, #1)

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: March 5th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Sports

Series: New York Nighthawks

Ice Hot—Book 1

Where to find Ice Hot: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

The Nighthawks are hockey’s new expansion team. They’re ice hot. And they’re all about the chase.

Christian: They call me a hockey god because I’m a beast on the ice . . . and off. Men want to be me and women just want me. But now that the New York Nighthawks expect me to lead their team to victory, it’s all work and no play. My eyes are on the prize. Until I meet Serena Ellis, a sexy, curvalicious blonde who doesn’t know me from jack. And just like that, I’m hooked.

Serena: I don’t do one-night stands—especially with celebrity jocks who date models. Lots of models. But the god of hockey is a temptation that’s hard for mere mortals to resist. And after the best kiss of my life, I’m ready to throw my one-night stand rule out the window. Except Christian Chase won’t let me. He doesn’t want a one-night stand. He wants it all.


My review:

I noticed lately that I have had a lot of hockey-themed romances in my TBR pile. Which is funny because I haven’t followed hockey in years. All these hockey themed romances are telling me something. They are telling me that I need to turn on the games again.

When I read the blurb for Ice Hot, I was kind of “meh” about it. No lying. I got burned out on alpha males. I also got burned out on women who think that they can handle the alphas but end up becoming submissive.

I surprised when Christian and Serena blew those misconceptions out of the water. While the book did start off with a typical alpha male situation, it turned into anything but. Christian was still very much an alpha male on the ice. But off the ice, when he was alone with Serena, he showed a different side. A side that I wasn’t expecting to see in a book like this. I loved it!!

I thought Serena was awesome!! The whole situation with the Slurpee had me cracking up in bed. But what I liked the most about her was that she was one of the most genuinely written characters I have read to date. I read a lot, so that says something. By the end of the book, she morphed into almost hero status in my eyes.


To the young women out there who are watching this, I have a wish. That you embrace the concept that no one defines who you are but you. No man defines you. Neither does social media. Be yourself. Be fearless. Forge your own path. That’s what I am doing with this video**


The author chose to detail cyberbullying in this review. As well as slut/fat shaming. Serena was at the end of that. She had been at the end of the fat shaming her entire life. Her parents did nothing about it. In fact, her father hired the guy who humiliated her. I thought she was strong and my admiration grew as the book went on.

I was heartbroken when Serena and Christian broke up. Now, I wouldn’t normally be mentioning that but it was huge in the book. I am not going to say why they broke up but I will say that I understood why Christian did it. He wanted to protect Serena and in his mind, this was how he could do it.

The only thing that I found fault with was how the team and management handled Mighty. I know that a hockey team needs to be a cohesive unit. Which is why I didn’t understand why nothing was done about Mighty until the end of the book. He caused so much harm, it wasn’t even funny. I was very surprised that Christian held off as long as he did.

The sex scenes were as emotional and intimate as the book was. The author kept up the sexual tension throughout the book. It didn’t go away at all. Actually, it intensified the deeper Christian fell for Serena. It was amazing to read.

You will need tissues for the end of the book. Thankfully, I had a bunch next to me (I am battling a cold). I started bawling the minute Serena met up with her mother and didn’t start until the end of the book. I loved the epilogue and thought the Slurpee was great!!!


I gave Ice Hot an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be online bullying, face to face bullying, fat shaming, slut shaming and bigotry. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Ice Hot. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

**This quote was taken from an unedited ARC.


I would like to thank the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Ice Hot.

All opinions stated in this review of Ice Hot are mine.

Game On (Aces Hockey: Book 8) by Kelly Jamieson

Game On (Aces Hockey, #8)


4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept, Loveswept

Date of publication: January 15th, 2019

Genre: Sports, Romance

Series: Aces Hockey

Major Misconduct—Book 1

Off Limits—Book 1.5

Icing—Book 2

Top Shelf—Book 3

Back Check—Book 4

Slap Shot—Book 5 (review here)

Playing Hurt—Book 6 (review here)

Big Stick—Book 7 (review here)

Game On—Book 8

Where you can find Game On: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Cam Brickley and his pro hockey teammates bet on everything: who can win five faceoffs in a row, who can do forty pushups in less than a minute, who can eat a ghost pepper without puking. But when his buddies bet him he can’t date the same woman—like, say, the hot blonde over at the bar—for two months and not fall in love, he’ll take that bet all day. Then he’ll laugh all the way to the hockey arena, where they’ll be washing his jock straps for the rest of the season because Cam’s never giving up his bachelor lifestyle.

Olivia Lockwood, the heiress to the Lockwood Industries fortune, is used to people using her for her money and family connections. When Cam Brickley hits on her in a club, Olivia’s first instinct is to brush him off. But he couldn’t be using her for her money since he has more than enough of his own. Cam’s gorgeous and built, and it would be no hardship to go out with him . . . besides, he’d be the perfect spokesperson for the children’s charity she works with. Maybe it’s time for her to start using people.

Cam and Olivia are both in it for something. What they don’t know yet is that they’re playing for keeps.


My review:

This was a bittersweet read for me. I had come into the Aces Hockey series late in the series (Slap Shot). But, I enjoyed the series from that point on. I got to see Hallsy, Chaser, and Nick get their HEA’s. I was left wondering who was going to be the next one to fall. When I saw that it was Brick, I went “Yes!!” I liked his character and couldn’t wait to see who he fell in love with.

I thought that the bet that Brick made with his teammates was immature. I didn’t like that he could potentially be playing with someone’s feelings. So, I was a little “eh” when he went on the first couple of dates with her. I figured that everything that happened on those dates was karma for the bet. Then Brick did something that surprised me. He told Olivia about the bet. He did it early on in the book. I thought it was awesome. Olivia did react the way I figured she would (who wouldn’t have). Then, in another move that surprised me, she decided to help Brick win the bet. I was like “no way“.

Let’s talk about the first two dates they had. I thought that the location of the first one was original and made me wonder if there is such a thing. It is a great way of getting to know someone. Take them and play a board game. I did feel bad for Olivia and Brick after the date. I have been on a lot of dates Not lately, though. Been in a relationship for 15 years. I have never had someone get sick at the end of the date. I also have never gotten sick at the end of a date. I am glad that Olivia did the right thing and let Brick stay at her condo. Poor guy would have been puking all over the Uber home. The second date went about as well as the first. A walking tour of Chicago and then dinner. What happens. Brick somehow ends up cracking his head on the floor and then Olivia dumps her drink in his crotch. For the record, I have had the drink dumping happen to me. Poor Brick…lol. The ribbing he took from the guys the next day made me die laughing in bed.

I liked Olivia but she did get kind of annoying after a while. She kept bringing up that she never felt that she measured up to her brother and sister. Which caused issues with her self confidence. While I understood it hurt, it did get old after a while. I did think that her work at her nonprofit was fascinating. I wish that it was featured a bit more than a couple of scenes at her office and the celebrity appearance Brick made.

I liked Brick. I liked that he was honest with Olivia. I liked that he made sure she knew that feelings were out of the question for him. I liked that he was a goofball. But he did annoy me towards the end of the book. He handled the situation with Olivia badly. I do wish that the Ashley substory was explained earlier in the book. Because, until it was, Brick looked like a huge jerk. After that explanation, I went “Well, no wonder he didn’t seriously date anyone.” I wouldn’t have if I had been put through that.

The sexual attraction and chemistry that Olivia and Brick had. It was off the charts hot. I loved that the author kept amping it up. I also liked that Olivia and Brick didn’t have sex right away. So, when they did, that first sex scene was smoking hot.

Speaking of sex scenes, the author kept the heat on with them. I loved it. I loved that Olivia was a bit wilder than the other girls in bed. Plus the lingerie she wore. Fantastic!!

The end of the book was bittersweet. I am not going to get into it but I had tears in my eyes. The author did a great job of bringing each character in the previous books and highlighting them. What got me was what Nick said to his brother Aleks. I was also sad that this was going to be the last book in this series.


I would give Game On an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is mild violence. There is language. There are triggers. They would be mental illness.

I would reread Game On. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Game On.

All opinions stated in this review of Game On are mine.

WWW Wednesday: January 9th, 2019

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WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Wars. So here what I have read/are reading/will be reading.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Personal:

Nothing much going on here. I have settled back into my routine after Christmas break. Unfortunately, Miss R caught a cold over the weekend that settled into her chest. Since she is prone to bronchitis and pneumonia, I am watching her like a hawk. Poor kid is coughing so hard that she can’t sleep at night. Even with nighttime cough medicine, Vicks, and being propped up to sleep. So, I haven’t gotten a ton of sleep since Monday. Averaging about 3-4 hours a night. Saying that I am exhausted is an understatement.

I do have a question. For those of you who have had or have tween/teen boys, is it normal for them to stuff dirty clothes under the bed? I cleaned Mr. Z’s room this morning and found a crap ton of clothes under his bed. All dirty. I don’t know if I should be amused or angry. I used half a bottle of Febreeze to try and get rid of the stench. Opening a window isn’t going to happen. It’s cold out.

Miss B has turned herself around with school. Her ELA went from a 40 to a 73 (thanks to her teacher allowing her to make up her work). We did find out that she didn’t turn in an assignment that was due last week. She has until tomorrow to turn in it (they have testing Mon-Weds). She came home from school yesterday excited. They are going to play Havanna at her next concert. She brought her trumpet and sheet music home to practice yesterday. I will say, she is good.

Reading/Reviews:

I am doing great readingwise. No missed ARC deadlines or author’s wanting to know what is taking me so long. I also have requested and gotten several books that I wanted on NetGalley.

A small miracle occurred over the past week. I caught up on reviews. I was about 8 books behind and was getting deeper in the hole with every book I finished. I sat down on Monday and knocked out 4 of them. Then on Tuesday, knocked out all but 1. Yesterday, I finished a series (Miss R was home sick so I had time to read) and wrote those 3 reviews last night. Talk about feeling accomplished!! I hope that I don’t get that far behind again.


What I am currently reading:

click on the picture for Amazon link

The Nighthawks are hockey’s new expansion team. They’re ice hot. And they’re all about the chase.

Christian: They call me a hockey god because I’m a beast on the ice . . . and off. Men want to be me and women just want me. But now that the New York Nighthawks expect me to lead their team to victory, it’s all work and no play. My eyes are on the prize. Until I meet Serena Ellis, a sexy, curvalicious blonde who doesn’t know me from jack. And just like that, I’m hooked.

Serena: I don’t do one-night stands—especially with celebrity jocks who date models. Lots of models. But the god of hockey is a temptation that’s hard for mere mortals to resist. And after the best kiss of my life, I’m ready to throw my one-night stand rule out the window. Except Christian Chase won’t let me. He doesn’t want a one-night stand. He wants it all.

I started Ice Hot late last night. So far, I like what I am reading. I have a feeling that this is going to be a quick read, which is fine by me. Ice Hot is currently on preorder. It’s expected date of publication is March 5th, 2019. Look for my review after that date.


What I recently finished reading:

Cam Brickley and his pro hockey teammates bet on everything: who can win five faceoffs in a row, who can do forty pushups in less than a minute, who can eat a ghost pepper without puking. But when his buddies bet him he can’t date the same woman—like, say, the hot blonde over at the bar—for two months and not fall in love, he’ll take that bet all day. Then he’ll laugh all the way to the hockey arena, where they’ll be washing his jock straps for the rest of the season because Cam’s never giving up his bachelor lifestyle.

Olivia Lockwood, the heiress to the Lockwood Industries fortune, is used to people using her for her money and family connections. When Cam Brickley hits on her in a club, Olivia’s first instinct is to brush him off. But he couldn’t be using her for her money since he has more than enough of his own. Cam’s gorgeous and built, and it would be no hardship to go out with him . . . besides, he’d be the perfect spokesperson for the children’s charity she works with. Maybe it’s time for her to start using people.

Cam and Olivia are both in it for something. What they don’t know yet is that they’re playing for keeps.

This was an emotional read for me. I have read all of the Ace’s Hockey series. So knowing this one was the last book made me sad. It was a quick read. Game On is currently on preorder. It’s expected date of publication is January 15th, 2019. Look for my review after that date.


What books I think I’ll read next? (click on the pictures for Amazon links)

An archaeologist with a zest for life finds herself stranded in small-town North Carolina—with a brooding Highland hunk who’s straight out of ancient Scotland.

Ramsay MacDara wishes the goddesses had left his arse back in the tenth century. That way he never would have met the gold digger who made a fool out of him. A loner at heart, Ramsay is riding his beloved horse through the woods near his family’s North Carolina theme park, Highland Life and Legends, when he hears tires squealing—followed by a thud—and rushes to the scene to help. That’s when he sets his eyes on a pair of long legs sticking out of the moon roof of a car. His interest piqued, the rest of her will soon arouse his greatest desires…and deepest fears.

Archaeologist Katie Jenson is on a six-month sabbatical from her job at Princeton University. Following the death of her beloved father—whose dying request was for Katie to live life to the fullest—she’s headed to a friend’s beach house in North Carolina. But a momentary distraction takes her off the road and on the journey of her life…with a sex god in a kilt at her side. Ramsay’s passion is the stuff of legend—and it just may be Katie’s greatest discovery.

I am really looking forward to reading Katie’s Highlander. I have read the previous books in the Highland Protector series and was thrilled to see that Ramsay was getting his book. Katie’s Highlander is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is January 22nd, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Beckett,

If you’re reading this, well, you know the last-letter drill. You made it. I didn’t. Get off the guilt train, because I know if there was any chance you could have saved me, you would have.

I need one thing from you: get out of the army and get to Telluride.

My little sister Ella’s raising the twins alone. She’s too independent and won’t accept help easily, but she has lost our grandmother, our parents, and now me. It’s too much for anyone to endure. It’s not fair.

And here’s the kicker: there’s something else you don’t know that’s tearing her family apart. She’s going to need help.

So if I’m gone, that means I can’t be there for Ella. I can’t help them through this. But you can. So I’m begging you, as my best friend, go take care of my sister, my family.

Please don’t make her go through it alone.

Ryan

The blurb made me request this book. And I have a feeling that I am going to need a box of tissues by the time I am done reading it. The Last Letter is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is February 26th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Chloe was three years old when she became Chloe Holden, but her adoption didn’t scar her, and she’s had a great life. Now, fourteen years later, her loving parents’ marriage has fallen apart and her mom has moved them to Joyful, Texas. Starting twelfth grade as the new kid at school, everything Chloe loved about her life is gone. And feelings of déjà vu from her early childhood start haunting her.

When Chloe meets Cash Colton she feels drawn to him, as though they’re kindred spirits. Until Cash tells her the real reason he sought her out: Chloe looks exactly like the daughter his foster parents lost years ago, and he’s determined to figure out the truth.

As Chloe and Cash delve deeper into her adoption, the more things don’t add up, and the more strange things start happening. Why is Chloe’s adoption a secret that people would kill for?

I was intrigued by the blurb when I saw In Another Life on NetGalley. I also liked the cover. In Another Life is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is March 26th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

When life gives you curves, you gotta learn how to rock them.

Successful businesswoman Avery Barrows likes her dips and curves, but she’s sick of the haters telling her that she should be ashamed of her body instead of embracing it. Determined to send them a big f*** you, Avery resolves to cut loose during a girls’ trip, hightailing her quick-mouthed, plus-sized self to New Orleans. So, what’s a smart woman with a little extra gotta do to get laid in this town?

Not much if you ask Declan McGinn, the lead singer of BlackSmith. Tall, dark, and tattooed, with a body made for sin, Declan prefers his women as curvy as his guitars. Avery’s sharp tongue and keen mind makes him want her even more.

As they burn up the sheets, Avery and Declan realize this is no one-night (or even one-week) stand. But for all of her bluster, Avery isn’t sure she can handle any more rejection. Besides, Declan has demons of his own. Now Avery has a choice to make: play it safe, or place her trust in the hands of a man who’s as tempting as the devil himself.

So yeah. This book. I liked the cover. Plus the blurb made me want to read it. Hopefully, it will be good!! Moonlight & Whiskey is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is March 12th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.

Montauk, Long Island, 1938.

A simple town on the brink of a glamorous future.

A marriage drifting apart.

A life on the edge of what is and what could be…

An epic and cinematic novel by debut author Nicola Harrison, Montauk captures the glamour and extravagance of a summer by the sea with the story of a woman torn between the life she chose and the life she desires.

Montauk, Long Island, 1938. 

For three months, this humble fishing village will serve as the playground for New York City’s wealthy elite. Beatrice Bordeaux was looking forward to a summer of reigniting the passion between her and her husband, Harry. Instead, tasked with furthering his investment interest in Montauk as a resort destination, she learns she’ll be spending twelve weeks sequestered with the high society wives at The Montauk Manor—a two-hundred room seaside hotel—while Harry pursues other interests in the city. 

College educated, but raised a modest country girl in Pennsylvania, Bea has never felt fully comfortable among these privileged women, whose days are devoted not to their children but to leisure activities and charities that seemingly benefit no one but themselves. She longs to be a mother herself, as well as a loving wife, but after five years of marriage, she remains childless while Harry is increasingly remote and distracted. Despite lavish parties at the Manor and the Yacht Club, Bea is lost and lonely and befriends the manor’s laundress whose work ethic and family life stir memories of who she once was. 

As she drifts further from the society women and their preoccupations and closer toward Montauk’s natural beauty and community spirit, Bea finds herself drawn to a man nothing like her husband –stoic, plain spoken and enigmatic. Inspiring a strength and courage she had almost forgotten, his presence forces her to face a haunting tragedy of her past and question her future. 

Desperate to embrace moments of happiness, no matter how fleeting, she soon discovers that such moments may be all she has when fates conspire to tear her world apart…

I needed to read this book by reading the blurb. It sounds like it is going to be a good read. Montauk is currently on preorder. It’s expected publication date is June 4th, 2019. Be on the lookout for my review after that date.


So that’s it. Be on the lookout for the reviews of all these books in the near future.

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know what you thought of them!!

Rough & Ready (Lightning: Book 3) by Tracy Wolff

Rough & Ready (Lightning, #3)

3.5  Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: October 16th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Sports

Series: Lightning

Down & Dirty—Book 1 (review here)

Hot & Heavy—Book 2 (review here)

Rough & Ready—Book 3

Where you can find Rough & Ready: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

Sparks fly between a football pro and an ex-WNBA player. But he needs to prove that he’s more than a sports hero if he wants it all in this steamy standalone from the New York Times-bestselling author of Down & Dirty and Hot & Heavy.

Tanner: I may be a baller, but I’ve always tried to do the right thing. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in charge of my four younger sisters for half my life, or because I understand how important it is to be a role model—something I learned from my grandfather, a Southern Baptist preacher who marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. Either way, my pro football career makes it easier to give back, so when a local rec center needs help, I do my best to even the playing field. And not just because Elara Vance, the smoking hot ex-WNBA player who runs the place, has me looking to score off the field.

Elara: Before I got sidelined by an injury, my time on the court taught me that pro athletes are all flash and no substance. Sure, Tanner Green talks a good game and wields a big checkbook, but I’m not buying the whole good guy routine. Still, it’s hard to miss all the good he’s doing for my rec center and even harder to ignore the way one look from him makes me tremble in all the best ways. I just wish I knew if he’s for real. Something tells me a little one-on-one might be the only way to find out. . . .

With their own sweet HEAs, Tracy Wolff’s red-hot Lightning novels can be read together or separately:
DOWN & DIRTY | HOT & HEAVY | ROUGH & READY

And don’t miss her seductive Ethan Frost series:
RUINED | ADDICTED | EXPOSED | FLAWED

Or her standalone novel LOVEGAME


My review: 

First impressions are always the best. Every book wants a cover that blows the readers socks off when looking at it. And this cover did knock my socks off, for the most part. Look at the model. He is exactly what I thought Tanner would look like. And he is major eye candy too. But, when I look at the cover, my eyes are drawn to his armpit instead of his eyes. Which is a shame because those eyes are gorgeous. But I can’t keep my eyes off the pit…sigh. I keep thinking “Is he going to turn his head and do a BO check?

Rough & Ready are Tanner and Elara’s story. Elara is a former WNBA player whose career was ended when she suffered a knee injury. The rec center that she runs is her life. When a major backer doesn’t come through with a 15 million dollar donation and gives it to another foundation, Elara sees red. Tanner is a major league football player with a huge heart. Raising his 4 sisters after his parents’ deaths, he has become known as footballs nice guy. His foundation had received a 15 million dollar donation, which he was thrilled about. But when a tall, angry blonde walks into the locker room after a game and tells him off in front of the offensive line, Tanner wants to get to know her better. But Elara has severe trust issues after an abusive past relationship. Can she open her heart to Tanner and let him in? Or will her past not allow her to?

While I love reading about strong, independent women, I though Elara was a witch with a b. I know that 15 million dollars would have gone a long way with her rec center. To use her friend who works with the team to go to a game and then use that pass to bust into the locker room to freak out on him wasn’t cool. Not letting him defend himself wasn’t cool. Everything that she said in that tirade wasn’t cool. She let her temper run her mouth. But, as I got more into the book, the more I began to understand her. Elara was a fiercely independent woman. She was a woman who never fit into any molds that people tried to force her into. Because of that, she has become used to dealing with things herself. So her reaction to Tanner’s supposed “stealing” was normal. Her relationships with her kids at the rec center were sweet and showed a softer side. She also showed a more vulnerable side when she told Tanner about the abuse she experienced. By the end of the book, I was still on the fence about her, though.

Tanner was awesome. Yes, I am “Team Tanner“. He was a stand-up guy. What guy would take on raising 4 girls, all in various stages of being a teenager? His foundation brought sports to those who couldn’t afford it and it was in all 50 states. I thought that he handled Elara’s tirade perfectly. All he wanted was to put pants on and discuss things with her. He did end up discussing things with her but it led to so much more. When he lost his temper, he did it in the spectacular way possible. Also in the most public way possible too…lol.

I didn’t get a romantic vibe from Tanner and Elara’s relationship. There was zero romance. There was no build-up of the relationship. It went from her being mad at him to them being in a relationship. Normally, I would be fine with the lack of build up. But in this case, I was a little disappointed. I wanted to see Tanner woo Elara. I guess he did by donating to her rec center.

Even though the romantic vibe was missing, the chemistry and sexual tension were not. Tanner and Elara had crazy bunny sex everywhere. They were nonstop. What I liked is that the sexual tension didn’t die after their first hook up. Loved it!!

While the main storylines were ended, I did have an issue with the storyline about Elara’s ex being left up in the air. I wish the author had given some sort of ending to it. I did like that Tanner beat some sense into the guy but there was talk about exposing him. Then it was never brought back up. I wanted to know if justice happened.

I did like the end of the book. I liked that Elara and Tanner were able to talk about what happened and continue with their relationship. I was left feeling a bit unsatisfied. Like I mentioned in the previous paragraph, the whole storyline with Elara’s ex was left up in the air. I also wanted to see how Tanner’s sisters took to his relationship. I kinda wanted to see more of Tina too. She was sassy.

What I liked about Rough & Ready:

  1. Tanner. He was such a nice guy.
  2. The sex. It was hot
  3. The end of the book

What I disliked about Rough & Ready:

  1. Elara. I thought she was a witch with a b for most of the book.
  2. No romantic vibe
  3. Storylines being left up in the air

I gave Rough & Ready a 3.5-star rating. The book was well written with compelling characters. The sex scenes were hot and I loved the end of the book. But, Elara killed the book for me in the beginning. Even though her character improved, I couldn’t get past the first scene. I also got no romantic vibe. Storylines were left up in the air.

I would give Rough & Ready an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is violence. There is language. There are a couple of scenes that discuss being raped and assaulted while drugged. Those could cause triggers. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Rough & Ready. I would also recommend this book to family and friends. I would include a note about possible triggers.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Rough & Ready.

All opinions stated in this review of Rough & Ready are mine.

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

Bishop (Arizona Vengeance: Book 1) by Sawyer Bennett

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: August 14th, 2018

Genre: Romance, Sports

Series: Arizona Vengeance

Bishop – Book 1

Erik – Book 2 (expected publication date: November 6th, 2018)

Legend – Book 3 (expected publication date: February 5th, 2019)

Where you can find Bishop: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Meet the Arizona Vengeance, hockey’s hottest new team. They’re burning up the ice—until a one-night-stand with the coach’s daughter freezes one player in his skates.

Bishop Scott, co-captain. Not too shabby, huh? It’s all part of my fresh start with the NHL’s latest expansion team, and that means new teammates, a new coach, a new city, and a big new contract. Basically, I cannot f***ing wait to show my old squad what they’re missing.

But first, I decide to check out the town before the grind begins. Turns out Arizona chicks are totally smokin’, and I’m fortunate enough to meet one who’s looking for the same thing I am: a night of anonymous, unforgettable, no-strings-attached sex.

Fast forward to the Vengeance arena. It’s the last place I expect to see her again—let alone in her own office. Then bells go off and I finally realize who this girl is: Brooke Perron. My new coach’s daughter. All of a sudden, we’re picking up right where we left off, which means our hands are all over each other. That’s when her dad—my boss—walks in. And before I can get a word out, Brooke’s introducing me as her fiancé.

Sure, she just saved my ass. So why do I get the feeling Brooke’s going to turn my world upside down? Maybe it’s because this fake relationship feels way too real. . . .

My review:

I grew up in NE MA, where hockey and football were the most watched sports in my house. I remember hearing my parents screaming at the TV during any of the Boston Bruins games. Fast forward 20 or so years and I discover hockey romance novels. I was thrilled. Then I read too much and got burnt out by. When I saw the Sawyer Bennett had a new series starting, I debated on if I should read it because I was burnt out on them. I took the chance and I am glad that I did. This was a GOOD book.

Bishop’s plot was simple. Bishop had been traded from his previous team to a new team in Arizona. While celebrating in a bar, pre-season, he meets a smoking hot brunette. Thinking it is a one night stand, Bishop is floored to discover that his one-night stand works for the team. Deciding that could be a good thing, he makes a move on the brunette. Only to discover, a few minutes later, that she is the daughter of his new coach. He is soon in a fake relationship with Brooke. A fake relationship that begins to feel all too real.

I didn’t know what I thought about Bishop at the beginning of the book. He was cocky and he most definitely needed to be taken down a peg. As the book went on, I began to see a different side of Bishop. A side of him that I liked. He saw that Brooke was the type of person who couldn’t say no to someone and he stepped in to do it for her. The man who he became at the end of the book was a man that I had seen glimpses of in the book. I loved it!!

As much as I liked Brooke, I wanted to shake her. I understood why she told her father that Bishop and she were engaged but at the same time, I was like “Whyyyyyy“. Then the whole fiasco with Nannette. I didn’t understand why she couldn’t have told her to leave. I would have thrown her nasty butt out the first time she pulled the crap she pulled. What I didn’t doubt was what she felt for Bishop. That came across crystal clear.

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The chemistry between Brooke and Bishop was red hot. Even though they had sex within the first chapter, it didn’t take away from their chemistry. Instead, as weird as this sounds, it increased the chemistry. You will not find me saying that again.

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Because the chemistry was so red-hot, the sex was insane. What got me was the Brooke was a dirty girl. She was a freak in bed. Which Bishop loved. Because Bishop was as freaky. A match made in sexual heaven.

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Let’s talk about Nannette for a minute. I disliked her. She was a witch with a b. The things she put Brooke through was awful. She was the houseguest from hell. I don’t understand why Brooke didn’t boot her sooner. Her confession to Bishop and what she did afterward only cemented my dislike for her. I hope that she stays gone from this series.

The end of Bishop tugged on my heartstrings. I will say that I laughed when Brooke’s father confronted Bishop. All I have to say is “Go Dad“…lol. The end of the book made my heart jump a beat and brought a huge smile to my face.

What I liked about Bishop:

A) A hockey romance that I loved

B) Bishop’s transformation during the book

C) The chemistry and sex. Hot!!!

What I disliked about Bishop:

A) How cocky Bishop was in the beginning

B) Brooke letting people (ie Nannette) push her around

C) Nannette. She was vile

I gave Bishop a 4-star rating. I enjoyed reading this book. It was a quick read with enjoyable characters and hot sexual situations. The beginning of the book didn’t jive with me as did the storyline with Nannette.

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

I would reread Bishop. I would also recommend it to family and friends.

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

All opinions stated in this review of Bishop are mine.

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

Playing Hurt (Aces Hockey: Book 6) by Kelly Jamieson

4 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept

Date of publication: July 17th, 2018

Genre: Sports, Romance

Series: Aces Hockey

Major Misconduct – Book 1

Off Limits – Book 1.5

Icing – Book 2

Top Shelf – Book 3

Back Check – Book 4

Slap Shot – Book 5 (review here)

Playing Hurt – Book 6

Where you can find Playing Hurt: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

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, but he’s also 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.

My review:

I needed to read Playing Hurt. I needed to read a romance where I didn’t have to use my brain to figure out complex plots/relationships. I was able to relax and enjoy reading this book. Which is something I haven’t been able to do in a long time!!

Playing Hurt is the 6th book in the Aces Hockey. This book can be read as a stand-alone. While the other characters from the earlier 5 books are in Playing Hurt, they do not take over the book. Which is something I liked.

The plot of Playing Hurt was cute. Chase starts flirting with Jordyn over Twitter. Eventually, they go on a date after she loses a bet to him. Sparks fly but nothing happens. It wasn’t until Jordyn suffers a vocal injury that lays her up for a year that she reconnects with Chase. That is where the story takes off.

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I liked Chase, even if he was a stubborn SOB. Why was he stubborn? Well, he refused to go to the Dr and checked out. Even when he was in obvious pain. So yeah, that was the one part of him I didn’t like. Everything else, I loved. He was romantic (hello, surprise trip to Aruba!!) and more importantly, he knew how to communicate. Well, except for his injury. I did feel bad for him. His parents were jerks. Withholding love because he wanted to quit hockey as a child. That was awful.

I loved Jordyn. She was down to earth. She was sweet. She knew how to hold her own with Chase. My only issue with her was that she was almost too nice. There were a few points in the book where I wanted her to do something naughty to spice up her character. She was almost too sugary sweet. But that aside, I loved her. She was perfect for Chase. She was the ying to his yang.

The romance part of this book was sweet. I loved how the author chose to keep their relationship on a slow burn for the first half of the book. It made the chemistry between them insane. Sparks flew when they interacted. Be it Twitter, text, face to face or phone. And in turn, those sparks made for some pretty intense sex scenes.

I loved the end of the book. While it was your typical happily ever after, I had no issue imagining Chase and Jordyn lasting in real life.

What I liked about Playing Hurt:

A) Chase and Jordan’s Twitter romance

B) How romantic Chase was

C) How realistic their romance was

What I disliked about Playing Hurt:

A) Chase being so stubborn. I wanted to smack him upside his head

B) Jordyn being sugary sweet.

C) Chase’s parents

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I would give Playing Hurt an Adult rating. There is explicit sex. There is language. There is some very mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

There are no trigger warnings for Playing Hurt.

I would reread Playing Hurt. I would recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Playing Hurt.

All opinions stated in this review of Playing Hurt are mine.

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