Genre: Sports

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Posted January 5, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Also in this series: Rookie Move, Rookie Move, Hard Hitter, Hard Hitter (Brooklyn Bruisers #2)
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Sports
Pages: 336
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Goodreads
four-stars

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.   In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...   Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

Rookie Move is a spin-off of Bowen’s wildly popular Ivy Years series. It features Leo Trevi, older brother to the hero, DJ, of The Fifteenth Minute. We learned about Leo and his broken heart in DJ’s book. I was anxious to get the dirty details of his breakup with his high school sweetheart, and to see how things were progressing with him in the NHL.

Leo finally got called up from the minors to play in the NHL with the Brooklyn Bruisers. He’s excited to take his shot and prove himself, until he realizes the new coach is none other than his ex-girlfriend’s father, who hates him and wants Leo gone from the team, like yesterday. The owner of the team won’t let the coach fire him, but Leo knows he can be sent back to the minors at any time, so he has to keep his head down and his goals in line. There’s just one problem with that..the team’s acting senior publicist is none other than said ex-girlfriend. Georgia broke up with him in high school and broke his heart. Yet even so, he knows he isn’t over her, and he’d love the chance to win her back.

The last thing Georgia needs is to be reunited with her ex while she’s trying to prove herself to the team as the head publicist. Especially since her father is set against him and she’s on thin ice in her position as is. If only he weren’t so much sexier than she remembered..and so determined to get her back. But for all her warm feelings toward him, she hasn’t forgotten that Leo lost interest in her once. Her heart couldn’t take it if it happened again.

I absolutely adored Leo. He was strong, loyal and loving to the point of being adorable. I wanted to put him in my pocket and carry him around. His absolute devotion to Georgia made me melt. I loved his drive and determination when it came to hockey, too. Georgia was great for Leo. I fully bought their romance, both in the past and in the present. These two were simply meant to be together.

I did not like her as a publicist. She fell down on the job on more than one occasion. Her actions were immature and, quite frankly, she didn’t deserve the position she was clamoring for. I spent a good portion of the book thoroughly pissed off at her for her dumb actions at work. I loved her with Leo and outside of work, but I definitely had problem with her as a professional.

Georgia’s actions at work detracted from my overall enjoyment, but Leo and the romance more than made up for it. Sweet, sexy and fast-paced, Rookie Move had me from page one.

3.75 out of 5

four-stars

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Guest Review: Shut Out by Kelly Jamieson

Posted June 8, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 0 Comments

Guest Review: Shut Out by Kelly JamiesonReviewer: Tracy
Shut Out by Kelly Jamieson
Series: Bayard Hockey #1
Published by Random House Publishing Group, Loveswept
Publication Date: June 7th 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
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three-half-stars

The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where Jacob Flass thought he’d be a season ago. He was a rising star in the Canadian major junior league, cruising toward a spot on an NHL roster—until a single disastrous night on the town brought it all crashing down. Now he’s out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. He’s not supposed to be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick he’s ever met. But how could he possibly stay away?

Skylar Lynwood knows that Jacob is out of her league. She’s just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hunkiness is making a play for her one moment, then giving her the cold shoulder the next. Skylar’s head tells her that this rugged athlete isn’t worth her time, but her body says something altogether different. Risking her heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing she’s ever done . . . but she won’t let him shut her out.

Jacob Flass was playing in the Junior League in Canada (where he’s from) but after an incident where he’s accused of rape (that he was not involved in) he’s kicked off his team.  Even though no charges are filed Jacob and his friends are made an example.  His hopes and dreams are quickly going down the tubes but his parents and coach find a solution to let him keep playing.  He’ll head to New York to a college there who wants him despite the scandal.  He agrees and heads off to Bayard University to become a sophomore.

Skylar is a sophomore at Bayard and her goals for the year include getting straight A’s and that’s about it.  The previous year one of her best friends committed suicide and she’d failed two classes.  She’s pre-med and though it’s really hard for her she keeps on because she determined to be seen as a success by her parents.

Skylar meets Jacob at a party and they hit it off so much that they almost end up in bed together but Jacob knows he has to keep his nose clean and on the straight and narrow in order to stay in the hockey program so he turns her down.  She’s not happy with being rejected so when they see each other again at the school’s pilot training program to educate students about sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking and to promote a non-violent campus.  Jacob isn’t comfortable with the program due to his recent past but he ends up learning a lot from the program. Skylar and Jacob work out their differences and at yet another party Jacob asks Skylar to be his pretend girlfriend to keep the puck bunnies away from him.

What starts off fake soon becomes real but they both keep telling themselves that it’s not.  As the year goes on Skylar opens up to Jacob about the previous year with her friend and his suicide and her emotions are all over the place.  Jacob gets scared and tries to stay away from Skylar but he finds he just doesn’t want to.  Of course when Skylar finds out about Jacob’s past it may be over even though he doesn’t want it to be.

This was an interesting story.  I liked how the author wove the story around Skylar and Jacob with their past and present colliding – even though as a reader we didn’t know it was happening until the end and how big of an issue it really was to each of them.  It was cool to see it all unfolding.

The romance in this story was pretty wrapped up in the sex life of the pair.  While it was sexy and fun I wish there had been a bit more connection out of bed in the earlier part of the book.  It was all light and fun until near the end and it was almost too much.  I realize that this is how Jacob perceived things as well and that’s when he got spooked because his fun had turn “real” but IDK, I just needed something more in the earlier parts of the book.

The story ended up being pretty good and I’m definitely interested enough to read the next in the series when it comes out.  I always love hockey romances so I can’t pass it up! 🙂

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

three-half-stars

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Guest Review: Catching Summer by LP Dover

Posted April 4, 2016 by Tracy in Reviews | 1 Comment

Guest Review: Catching Summer by LP DoverReviewer: Tracy
Catching Summer by L.P. Dover
Series: Second Chances #6
Published by Random House Publishing Group
Publication Date: April 5th 2016
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Sports
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two-half-stars

Falling for someone can be dangerous, especially when someone wants to take them away from you. But what happens when fighting for the one you love could cost them their life?

For over two years, Summer Jacobs has tried to get her life back on track. A former nurse and now a prestigious restaurant owner, she’s living the dream just like her husband wanted. After watching him get killed in the MMA ring and almost losing her life herself, it left a scar on her soul. The thought of moving on scares her, but the local NFL star, Evan Townsend, is determined to catch her heart.

Forced to work with him and the football team, Summer succumbs to his relentless attempts at capturing her heart. He has the power to heal her, but there’s someone out there who wants to keep them apart. Even if it means getting rid of Evan permanently. Summer is being chased by hidden dangers and it’s up to Evan to catch her. The question is . . . will he get to her in time

It’s been two years since Summer’s husband was murdered.  She was there when it happened and it’s taken weekly therapy to get her to the place she is now.  At the beginning of the book we hear about the murder and my heart broke for Summer as that couldn’t have been easy.  She decides that it’s time to stop seeing her therapist and he encourages her to start dating again.  She’s not sure about it but then finds out that a friend of hers, Evan, has had feelings for her since he met her and she decides to give dating a chance.

This is where the book lost me completely.  The story went from emotional darkness to the possibility of a relationship down the road – and I liked that about it.  That’s not what ended up happening though.  Summer went from maybe dating to “all-in” with Evan: having sex, saying the “I love you’s” that I did not see coming, and then moving in with him in a matter of weeks.  WTH? There was just no building of the relationship and that really didn’t work for me.  I think the author wanted to focus more on the suspense aspect of the story as it seemed that someone had it out for Evan and they were trying to figure out who it was.  As the reader I had the villain figured out immediately so there wasn’t really any suspense.  IDK, the book went from a 4 star to a 2.5 to 3 star read in a matter of pages and that was quite disappointing.

As far as the characters went…Evan was really hot and sweet but the man had a temper on him.  It was always geared toward other people that he thought were hurting Summer, but holy cow did he fly off the handle a few times!  If I were Summer that would have thrown up a red flag.  It just didn’t sit well with me.  Summer was sweet and very caring about others. She was a strong character and I liked reading about her but didn’t care for how fast she fell into it with Evan.  I don’t think any woman having gone through what she went through with her first husband would have moved that quickly but that’s just my opinion, of course.

This was my first read contemporary read by LP Dover (the other was a paranormal) and the first story I’ve read in this series.  I’m definitely interested in a couple of the characters that I met in this book so I might just have to pick up another book to see what happens. Hopefully those characters won’t rush in like Evan and Summer did.

Rating: 2.5/3 out of 5

two-half-stars

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Joint Review: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

Posted November 6, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Game Plan by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #3
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Friend Zone
Published by NLA Digital LLC
Publication Date: November 1st 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, New Adult, Contemporary, Coming of Age, Sports
Pages: 331
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four-stars

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

*We call this a joint review but really it’s just the two of us discussing the book. There may  be spoilers and bad language. 

Holly: Fiona is Ivy’s younger sister. We met her in the previous book, The Friend Zone. We also met Dex in the previous book (I don’t remember him from book 1). He was the wise, quiet one in that book and we learn here that he’s like that all the time. He has deep thoughts and tends to be introspective.

He’s also huge, tattooed, bearded, has a man-bun and he’s a virgin. SWOON.

Rowena: I feel like this review is going to be me fan girling over how much I loved Dex.

Love You

Like it’s going to be filled with heart eye emoji’s and that’s it.

Heart Eyes

But IDGAD, let’s do this.

Holly: Now Dex is in the NFL and like her sister, Fiona wants nothing to do with professional athletes. Her father was a professional basketball player before becoming a sports agent. He cheated on their mom and has mostly been absent from their lives. Fi wants nothing to do with anyone who might even closely resemble their dad. But right from the beginning Dex is different. He’s quiet and observant, funny and sweet…she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but she can’t stay away. I loved how drawn they were to each other.

Rowena: The story really takes off right from the very beginning and I like that we didn’t have to slog through huge backstory to get to the meat of their romance. I liked seeing them both become aware of each other and I loved the forthright way that Ethan was with Fiona. There was none of that silly back and forth between these two. Fiona knew where Ethan stood right from the very beginning. I dug that

Holly: I dug that, too. And I liked that Fiona decided to be just as forthright with Ethan. She could have played games, but instead she met his honesty with her own. There were a couple times I thought she was going to close down or not share with him what was going on in her head, but she always came through.

The first half of the book worked better than the second for me. Something about the big drama rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not that I disliked it, or thought the reactions of the characters weren’t appropriate, but I guess I felt like it was a bit over the top.

Rowena: I thought the big drama was pretty interesting, especially considering everything that went down in the real world with a similar big drama. Does that make sense?

Holly: Yeah, it makes sense. I guess it just felt really dramatic. Though, you’re right, in this day and age it isn’t outside the realm of possibility. I think maybe I struggled so much because she was so selfish during the whole ordeal. She wasn’t the only one affected, yet she was the only one she thought about. Would I have acted differently? I can’t say. But the fact that Ethan fought for her the whole time, yet she turned him away when he needed her most..well. I guess I didn’t like that.

Rowena: That’s kind of realistic though, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you be more worried about yourself because it’s your naked body out there for the masses eyes. For your parents to see, everyone at work, at school, at CHURCH, everyone has access to private photos of you and they got it without your permission. I think I would have been more worried about myself first and foremost. I wouldn’t have thought about Dex for at least two days. ;D

Holly: Sure, I get that. I even agree. But the theme of the entire book was Fiona pulling away and Ethan working for her, for them. So then this big thing happens and yes, it definitely affected her, but it affected him, too. He had his own issues and he got fucked with, too, over that. So this one time, when he really needed her, she couldn’t have looked past her own issues to help him with his?

Ron Swanson WTH

Rowena: I guess not. Ha.

One of the things that low key frustrated me was Fiona’s workplace issues. I wish Fiona would have been as forthright with her boss, or maybe not even the boss but the problem girl, as she was with Dex. I really liked her revenge though. That was some shady and petty goodness.

Holly: You’re right, she shouldn’t have been so quiet about what was happening. I get sometimes you have to eat shit at work. You can’t just run around and demand things. I get that. But she said nothing.

I did love her form of revenge, though. It was petty and shady, but I still laughed. Though, thinking on it a bit more, it was pretty immature. I’m going to laugh instead of worrying about it, though, because that girl at work deserved everything she got. And so did her boss.

Rowena: Holy cow, how dumb was that girl?

Holly: That girl was a moron. For real.

Rowena: The thing that kept me frustrated was that the stuff at work happened more than once. I get not wanting to be the office snitch but hell, don’t be the office bitch eithe/r. Stand up for yourself. Put that bitch in her place. I’ve had to do that and it’s not easy but it needs to be done sooner rather than later because that shit is not cool. At all. Those people are messing with your livelihood. Don’t let them. I kept wanting to yell at Fiona to cut that bitch up (professionally, of course…can you cut a bitch up professionally? Eh, you know what I mean) and I felt like it took too long for her to fix that shit.

cut you like bad bangs

 

Holly: I completely agree. She needed to stand up for herself way sooner than she did. That was no time to be timid and wait for something to magically change on its own.

Rowena: I did like her office friend Alice. We all need someone at work like Alice.

Holly: Yes, Alice was great and I’m glad Fiona had someone she could talk to.

Rowena: As far as the romance goes? I liked it. I liked that their feelings for each other weren’t in question. It was dealing with the dynamics of their lives that was the issue. She lives in New York, he lives in New Orleans. Him being on the road all the time, her hating that lifestyle because of the issues she had with it growing up. That world is so foreign to me so I found that part of their romance quite interesting. I wish I had the kind of money where if my bestie in New York City needed me, I’d be on the first flight out there. To bad for you, since if you need me, you have to settle for phone calls and cyber hugs. Sigh.

Holly: Ha. I wish we could afford to fly to each other every weekend. I will say, I loved that they were both willing to do that for each other.

The romance was sweet. They had good chemistry and a solid understanding of how the other worked.

Rowena: I thought that Callihan handled Dex’s story incredibly well. His insecurities and his background made perfect sense and sold me on Ethan Dexter as a whole. I loved the person that he grew up to be…and I really loved that his friendship with Grey and Drew was solid and long lasting.

Holly: I agree. Dex was wonderful. One of the best aspects of this entire series is the friendship between the guys. I love that they’ve maintained it even after their lives split and they ended up in different cities and on different teams.

Rowena: OMG, what about how Dex flew to San Francisco to watch the baby so that Gray and Ivy can catch up on their sleep? Gah. He’s the best.

Holly: I LOVED THAT! When he was like “I know babies and you need help” I about died. I want a Dex!

I loved Fiona. I loved Dex. Like, OMFG LOVED him. I thought the major drama toward the end of the book – or, more specifically, Fiona’s reaction to it – was a bit disappointing, but that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. I loved the way their romance developed and I wanted to see them work it out.

All About the Fairytale

I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5

Rowena: Like you, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Dex. I loved Fiona. I loved getting all of the Gray and Ivy and Baby Grayson bits. The romance between Dex and Fiona was hot and believable and my favorite part of the entire book. The minor disappointments of the happenings at Fi’s work didn’t take too much away from my enjoyment of the book because in the end, that revenge rocked my socks.

I’m giving this book 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly :  4/5
Rowena : 4.25/5

four-stars

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Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen

Posted November 4, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly
The Fifteenth Minute by Sarina Bowen
Series: The Ivy Years #5
Also in this series: The Year We Hid Away, Blonde Date, The Year We Fell Down, The Fifteenth Minute
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: October 13th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Sports
Pages: 319
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

Freshman Lianne Challice is known to millions of fans as Princess Vindi. But sometimes a silver screen sorceress just wants to hang up her wand, tell her manager to shove it, and become a normal college student. Too bad that’s harder than it looks.

She’s never lived a normal life. She hasn’t been to school since kindergarten. And getting close to anyone is just too risky — the last boy she kissed sold the story to a British tabloid.

But she can’t resist trying to get close to Daniel "DJ" Trevi, the hot, broody guy who spins tunes for hockey games in the arena. Something's haunting his dark eyes, and she needs to know more.

DJ's genius is for expressing the mood of the crowd with a ten second song snippet. With just a click and a fade, he can spread hope, pathos or elation among six thousand screaming fans.

Too bad his college career is about to experience the same quick fade-out as one of his songs. He can't get close to Lianne, and he can't tell her why. And the fact that she seems to like him at all? Incredible.

Lianne Challice became famous for her role as a sorceress in a popular movie franchise. She’s under contract for one more movie, but she’s ready to experience life away from Hollywood and enrolls at Harkness college. For all her travels and worldliness, she’s on the young side of 19 in terms of her self-confidence. She hasn’t had many personal relationships – whether platonic or romantic – and she’s rather socially awkward.

She meets DJ through her roommate, Bella, something we saw in The Shameless Hour (book 4). They connect over the jukebox in the previous book, and she becomes smitten with him. She isn’t confident enough to approach him, but when he asks her out she jumps at the chance to get to know him better.

DJ played hockey in high school, but he wasn’t picked up to play in college. He could have played for a Division Three school, but instead he chose to attend Harkness and focus on his education. He snagged a job as the deejay at the hockey games – both men’s and women’s –  and he really loves it. Not only is it really fun, but he’s really good at it. All was going well until he was accused of doing something really terrible and the college puts him on probation.With an ax hanging over his head DJ knows he can’t start a relationship, but Lianne is hard to resist.

DJ and Lianne were very cute together. They kind of skirt around their attraction at first, but it isn’t long before they fall into a sweet friendship that’s ripe with chemistry. Lianne is struggling to find herself and her place away from college. She became quite good friends with Bella, her roommate and the former hockey manager, and by extension she’s been accepted by the hockey team, but for the most part she’s still ostracized by the rest of the campus. I was surprised by this, considering she was a movie star, regardless of what she was famous for. I’d have thought more students would want to befriend her, hoping for a bit of the limelight themselves. Instead, they go in the opposite direction, going out of their way to distance themselves from her. Though I can’t deny I was glad to see that wasn’t the main focus of the book, I’m still surprised by it.

The focus of the book was on DJ and his problems. I’m going to discuss it under the spoiler tag.

View Spoiler »

The tone of the book isn’t pissed off so much as worried and angst-filled. The story was nuanced and showed the other side of  the coin. It was well done. The story was balanced.

For all of the heavy content, there is quite a bit of lighthearted banter and some true laugh-out-loud moments. Bowen excels at creating an atmosphere that’s easy to fall into, with characters that really come to life.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars

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