Genre: Sports

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin Vayden

Posted May 11, 2017 by Tracy in Reviews | 3 Comments

Guest Review: Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet & Kristin VaydenReviewer: Tracy
Block & Tackle by Elise Faber, Stephanie Fournet, Kristin Vayden
Published by Blue Tulip Publishing
Publication Date: March 13th 2017
Genres: Anthologies (multiple authors), Contemporary Romance, Sports
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four-stars

Offsides by Elise Faber

Job title:
Executive Assistant for CEO of Prestige Media Group

Job description:
(1) Deal with a massive amount of emails.
(2) Schedule conference calls and meetings with top athletes and other hugely important people.
(3) Pick up dry cleaning and food, consult on tie selection, make dinner reservations, and book flights . . . basically act as a wife-on-steroids.
(4) THE IMPORTANT ONE: Do not, under any circumstances, fall in love with Devon Scott—demanding boss, former NHL player, and all-around gorgeous specimen of the male persuasion.

Job performance:
Failing.
Absolutely failing at number four.

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Life couldn’t be better for Charlie Woodruff.

After a year of holding out, she’s finally landed the job she’s always wanted in the city of her dreams. An apartment she can afford and new friends at work make the transition easy.
When she meets a gorgeous stranger who makes her laugh and steals her breath, it seems like the icing on the cake...

Until Charlie discovers he’s a client.

Hutch Barlow — newly drafted wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders — looks like an avenging angel, hangs on her every word, and is completely off-limits. The trouble is he also refuses to take “no” for an answer.

And if she’s being honest, Charlie doesn’t want him to.

But seeing him means she could lose everything — including her heart.

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Everything about Ava screams off limits.
To want her is to invite disaster.
To pursue her is to risk my job.
To kiss her might cost me my best friend.
But all those risks seem small in light of the first problem.
She hates me.

To her I’m a sell out, choosing to advance my career rather than protect my biggest client.
Her brother.
And my best friend.
She hasn’t spoken to me in over a year, but that ends now.
Because I’m done with holding back.
To hell with the consequences.
Wish me luck . . .

Offsides by Elise Faber

Devon is a retired hockey player and now the CEO of Prestige Media Group.  Becca is his temporary assistant while his regular assistant is on maternity leave.  Devon is hot for Becca but knows that he shouldn’t get involved with an employee – even a temporary one.  Becca has got it bad for Devon but as much as she wants him her life is too crazy to get involved with him.  Her mother needs medical care and Becca works two jobs to try and pay the medical bills.  She’s also got an angry ex that is messing with her and is more than dangerous to both Becca and Devon.

This was a sweet boss/employee story.  Devon doesn’t hold out for very long before he’s giving in to his desire for Becca but I loved the sexual tension between the two of them.  I liked a lot about this story – the dialogue, the story, the passion between Devon and Becca – it was just a good read.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Guard by Stephanie Fournet

Charlie has finally started the job of her dreams.  She’s recently moved to San Francisco and is out running when she runs into a fellow runner.  They hit it off and she thinks that maybe this guy might be someone she can really like until she finds out his name, Hutch Barlow, and realizes who he is, new wide receiver for the Oakland Raider, and that he’s a client of her boss.  Prestige Media Group – her new employer – strictly forbids employees from dating clients.  Charlie tries to get Hutch to understand that she can’t see him but Hutch refuses to take no for an answer – showing up at her apartment with dinner and his irresistible charm. Charlie finds herself falling in love with Hutch but she knows that she can never be with him as she’s not willing to sacrifice the career she’s always wanted.

This was an adorable story.  I loved Hutch’s persistence with Charlie even knowing that she was off-limits to him.  He just liked her so much and was willing to give up a lot to be with her that it warmed my heart.  I think a lot of people would have thought he was ridiculous but I found it romantic and lovely.  Fournet has a way with words and she did a great job writing this story.

Story rating: 4 out of 5

 

Off Limits by Kristin Vayden

Markus and Bryce were college roommates and best friends.  Bryce got drafted into the NFL and Markus got hired by Prestige Media Group and becomes his agent.  Bryce has a twin, Ava, who Markus has been in love with for forever.  He wants nothing more than to make Ava happy but she hates him because she thought at one point in Bryce’s career that Markus was selling out and taking a risk with Bryce’s life.  Bryce has gotten a concussion but recovered and went back onto the field.  Ava believed that Bryce’s life was on the line if he got hit again but he was fine.  Five years later Ava still hates Markus – or at least acts like she does.  She can’t resist the man for long as she’s always had a thing for him. Markus should stay away from his best friend’s sister but he just can’t do it once she finally forgives him.

Unfortunately this was my least favorite of the three stories.  I didn’t feel the chemistry between Markus and Ava as I felt I should.  I also didn’t feel the whole forbidden love thing that the whole anthology was based on.  There were some decent parts of the story but overall I didn’t care for Off Limits.

Story rating: 3 out of 5

 

Overall book rating: 3.75 out of 5

four-stars

Review: Playing the Player by Amy Andrews

Posted January 30, 2017 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Playing the Player by Amy AndrewsReviewer: Holly
Playing the Player by Amy Andrews
Series: Sydney Smoke Rugby #3
Published by Entangled Publishing LLC
Publication Date: January 30th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Sports, Romance
Pages: 171
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three-half-stars

After a long history with crappy guys, high school teacher Em Newman is going man-vegan. Four months of revirginization has opened her eyes to her doormat imitation but, baby’s got spine now, and some smooth-talking—even if he is sinfully hot—rugby player, won’t be adding her as a notch anytime soon.

Lincoln Quinn loves rugby, women, and poker. And he likes to win at all three. When his team mates bet him he can’t break through Em’s resolve, he’s more than up for the challenge. But this lady has a shoebox of stipulations before she’ll even go on a date with him, much less use that mouth for kissing instead of giving orders.

Something’s gotta give but this time Em’s not settling. And Linc’s questioning everything he ever knew about matters of the heart.

Playing the Player is the third book in Andrews’ Sydney Smoke Rugby Series. I didn’t read the first two and I didn’t feel like I missed anything because of it.

This was a cute contemporary romance. Linc is an unabashed player, on the pitch and off it. He loves women and has no intention of ever settling down with just one. But he wouldn’t mind settling down for the night with Em Newman, the best friend of the soon-to-be wife of one of his teammates. Em is h-o-t, and her refusal to give in to their mutual attraction just makes him want her more.

Em decided she needed a break from men once she realized she was hopping into bed with them in the hopes that they’d fall in love with her. Four months of celibacy has give her a new sense of self, and, okay, maybe the series need for an orgasm. But she knows better than to hook up with Linc. She’s done dating guys who want nothing more than a roll in the hay. If only he wasn’t so attractive..and funny..and sweet.

Linc starts out planning to get Em into bed, but it isn’t long before she’s wormed her way into his heart. Can the confirmed bachelor

Let me just say, I loved how honest Em was with herself. She had daddy issues and ended up falling into bed with any guy who showed her even a bit of affection, because she wanted someone to love her. she recognized what she was doing and took a step back to reevaluate her life and her choices. She didn’t apologize for her past, or beat herself up over it, she just moved on from it. I really liked that.

I expected Linc to be a womanizer, but that wasn’t really the case. He wasn’t picky about who he took to bed, but he wasn’t a jerk about it. He liked woman and sex, and didn’t apologize for it. He was really sweet to Em, and I really enjoyed watching him open up to her.

The final conflict was pretty contrived and didn’t really work for me. They had pretty much hammered out their issues until, bam. I’d have preferred if it hadn’t been included.

Still, the story was sweet and I liked the romance. I’ll plan pick the first two books up soon.

3.75 out of 5

three-half-stars

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), Pipe Dreams, Pipe Dreams
Published by Penguin
Publication Date: September 6th 2016
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, General, Sports
Pages: 336
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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

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

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