Publisher: Self-Published

Review: Hoops Holiday by Kennedy Ryan

Posted January 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: Hoops Holiday by Kennedy RyanReviewer: Rowena
Hoops Holiday by Kennedy Ryan
Series: Hoops #2.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 14, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 184
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

A jock, a journalist and a second chance . . .

MacKenzie Decker was a question Avery never got to ask, much less answer. They met when she was a young reporter fueled by ambition, and the ink on Deck's first NBA contract was barely dry. Years later, they've climbed so high and lost so much, but one thing hasn't changed. The attraction that simmered between them in a locker room before is still there. With success like theirs, everything has been possible . . . except them.

That was then. But what about now?

In an effort to support our wonderful romance community this year, Book Binge decided as a blog that we’ll be participating in Super Wendy’s 2019 TBR Challenge this year. January’s prompt was We Love Short Shorts! (shorter reads) so I chose to read Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops Holiday since I’ve been meaning to read it long before now.

I finished my first prompt of the year so this is me right now:

Hoops Holiday is a short story from Kennedy Ryan’s Hoops series and it follows MacKenzie Decker and Avery Hughes as they make that journey towards true love that is about ten years in the making. Deck meets the woman of his dreams in the locker room after a game, tries to hit on her and she is not having it. Deck struck out but ten years later, his attraction to Avery Hughes is every bit as fierce and for the first time in a long time, they’re both single and can finally explore the attraction that Deck knows is brewing both ways and not just on his end. Deck just needs to persuade Avery that she should definitely take a chance on him. Avery is going through some stuff having to do with her last relationship and a new relationship just isn’t in the cards for her. She can’t deny that seeing Deck again brings back the attraction she walked away from all those years before.

Kennedy Ryan knocked this short story right out of the park and she’s fast becoming a favorite of mine. She handled the romance between Deck and Avery really well considering she didn’t have a lot of page time to really dig into their pasts, their present and hell, even their futures but I didn’t feel like the story, or the romance, for that matter, was missing anything. I liked that there was history between Deck and Avery (how memorable was that first meet-cute tho??? Ha!) I really enjoyed getting to know both Deck and Avery. I also really enjoyed seeing how they came together. It was just great, solid writing.

This book also comes with some cute extras from the previous books in this series and I loved them. They were like second epilogues for both August and Iris, along with Jared and Banner. I’m glad that everyone is still going through it with lots of love on their side.

If you’re a fan of the Hoops series by Kennedy Ryan, this short story isn’t to be missed. It’s chock full of a romance that is sweet, fun and yet still tugs at your heart the way that only Kennedy Ryan can tug.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

Hoops Series

four-half-stars


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Review: Getting Schooled by Emma Chase

Posted January 11, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Getting Schooled by Emma ChaseReviewer: Holly
Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1) by Emma Chase
Narrator: Zachary Webber, Andi Arndt
Series: Getting Some #1
Also in this series: Getting Schooled (Getting Some, #1)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: June 26, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 310
Length: 7 hours and 13 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

The newest novel from New York Times bestselling author Emma Chase.

Head of the class...

Garrett Daniels has this whole life thing figured out.

The cocky, charismatic former high school star quarterback is an idolized football coach and "cool" teacher in the hometown where he's not just a golden boy — he's platinum. He has good friends, a great house on the lake, and the best damn sidekick a man could ask for: Snoopy, the albino beagle.

Then...Callie Carpenter comes home.

And knocks him right on his tight end zone.

Back to school...

Callie has a pretty sweet life herself...on the other side of the country. But circumstances — that she'd prefer to never speak of again — have brought her back home, helping out her parents and substitute teaching at her old high school.

Now she's facing bickering, raging hormones, constant gossip, awkward weirdness, and drama galore...and that's just the teachers.

Just like old times...

When Garrett offers to show his former high school sweetheart the secrets of his winning teacher ways, Callie jumps at the chance - and then has to stop herself from jumping him.

Good friends are all they can ever be.

Or...these teachers just might end up getting schooled — by love.

Getting Schooled by Emma Chase is the start of a new series featuring high school sweethearts reuniting. I listened to the audio and really loved Zachary Webber and Andi Arndt as narrators. They both did a great job of pulling me into the story and bringing the characters to life.

Garrett Daniels and Callie Carpenter were high school sweethearts. When she went off to college their relationship couldn’t handle the long distance. Garrett stayed in town and became a high school teacher while Callie went on to work as a stage-hand in California. She’s just been offered her dream job when she’s called home to help her sister care for their parents who were in a car accident. She takes a temporary teaching job to support herself while she helps them recover, which means Garrett is her new co-worker. Despite how things ended, she’s nothing but glad to see him and Garrett seems to return the feeling. As they spend time together both at work and outside of it, they come to realize they still have deep feelings for each other. But Garrett is happy in their small NJ town, while Callie has her dream job waiting in CA.

I really liked the maturity of both main characters, and how quickly they settled back into each other once they were reunited. There was some bathroom humor, and the overall tone of the story was light, but I really enjoyed the romance, and the small New Jersey town. All the characters really came to life. I especially loved the way Garrett interacted with his students, and how he helped Callie navigate her first few weeks as a teacher. I totally cracked up at the way the kids took advantage of her during her first few days. Her shell-shocked, glazed-eyed look after the first day gets me every time I think about it.

Both Callie and Garrett were very mature in their dealings with each other. This was an adult romance, with two people trying to figure out how to have a future while living on opposite ends of the country. In that regard, I really liked the final resolution. I saw others weren’t as satisfied with it, but I thought it was perfect for the people Garrett and Callie had become.

It isn’t perfect. The book started out a bit slow for me and both Callie and Garrett had moments that made me want to facepalm. But those moments were few and far between.

Though the overall tone is light, there were some emotional punches. I even got teary at one point. This was a great contemporary romance and just thing thing I was in the mood for.

4 out of 5

Getting Some

Untitled (Dean’s Book)

four-half-stars


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Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne Wright

Posted January 8, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Echoes of Fire by Suzanne WrightReviewer: Holly
Echoes of Fire (Mercury Pack, #4) by Suzanne Wright
Narrator: Jill Redfield
Series: Mercury Pack #4
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Format: eBook, Audiobook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Pages: 348
Length: 11 hours and 5 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

They may not be made for each other, but animal instincts are impossible to ignore.

Madisyn Drake is a rare breed of cat shifter…a loner, unpredictably wild, and emotionally distant. A recent betrayal has left her ready to sharpen her claws on the next man she sees…until a prowling wolf with steel-gray eyes and a brooding dark edge challenges her distrust. No matter how fully he satisfies her touch-hunger, Madisyn’s not ready to open up again, even if it is oh so gratifying.

Bracken Slater has earned his reputation as an indomitable predator. Once broken by grief and guilt, Brack is feeling alive again, thanks to the heady scent of this independent feline. Convincing her that they’re meant for each other is going to take more than branding Madisyn’s beautiful neck. She’s not interested in joining an unfamiliar pack, much less answering to an alpha. But when threats from both their pasts take shape, their unexpected destiny may be the only thing that can save them.

Echoes of Fire is the fourth book in Suzanne Wright’s Mercury Pack series. It follows Bracken Slater as he finds and courts his mate, Madisyn Drake. Jill Redfield narrated and I really enjoyed her for the most part. She does the voices well and overall I like her voice. I did struggle with two things, however. 1) She spoke in a very forceful way as Bracken, which often made him come off as controlling instead of caring. 2) She did a kind of valley girl, breathy thing during the love scenes that drove me absolutely batshit crazy. Still, I listened to all the books in both the Mercury Pack and Phoenix Pack series’ and she narrates them all, so obviously those things didn’t completely ruin the stories for me.

Throughout the series Bracken was kind of lighthearted and sweet. When his family is murdered right in front of him, including his nephew whom he was holding at the time, it changed him. Now he’s broken and angry, with no outlet for his pain since he wreaked vengeance on those who stole his family from him. When he’s hit by a car and has a moment of openness, he feels the mating connection to Madisyn Drake. They’ve been circling each other for years, rubbing each other the wrong way and denying their mutual attraction. Madisyn is a lone feline shifter who has no desire to join a pack or be stuck mated to a man who doesn’t even like her. But Bracken knows he can’t let her go. She fills something inside him and he knows he’ll never become whole without her.

I really loved how Madisyn was described like Grumpy Cat. She was an angry little cat, but unexpectedly so. She looked so sweet and adorable no one expected her to turn feral and whoop the shit out of everyone. She was the perfect match for Bracken in every way.

My heart broke for Bracken and his struggle to find his footing after his family was murdered. The fact that he was holding his baby nephew when a bullet passed through him and killed his nephew just made it all the worse. His fire and intensity were well contained until then. Now he has a reputation for being ruthless. I liked how well Madisyn balanced him out and how determined he was to put her first, even though he had so many dark parts inside himself.

I don’t really care for the suspense plots in Wright’s novels. The villains are always easy to spot and I often end up scratching my head over some of the decisions the pack makes in their pursuit of them. But the romance and friendships more than make up for any frustrations I feel.

While I enjoyed the entire series, Echoes of fire is hands down my favorite. Bracken and Madisyn made a wonderful couple. His intensity and anger were tempered so well by her inner strength I couldn’t help but love them.

4.5 out of 5

The Mercury Pack

four-half-stars


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Review: Natural Witch by K.F. Breene

Posted January 3, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Natural Witch by K.F. BreeneReviewer: Holly
Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem #1) by K.F. Breene
Series: Magical Mayhem #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: January 25, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First and Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 376
Add It: Goodreads
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four-half-stars
Series Rating: five-stars

The explosive new addition to the DDVN World (Fire and Ice Series) by USA Today Bestselling author K.F. Breene!

Something has always been missing from my life. A hole that I could never seem to fill.

When I accidentally turn a coven of witches into nightmares, I find out what that something is.

Magic.

And it turns out, I have a crap load of it.

As a latent power awakens deep inside of me, I’m exposed to one of the most powerful and corrupt organizations in the magical world—the Mages’ Guild.

Barely knowing a spell from a few swear words and luck, I won’t be able to evade them alone.

And that’s when I meet him.

The Rogue Natural. The best and most feared mage in the world.

He’s dangerous, mysterious, and has a vendetta of his own. He is now the only thing between me and magical enslavement.

We first met Penny in the Fire and Ice trilogy when she unwittingly turned a coven of witches into zombies. I do not think you need to read those books before this series.

Penny Bristol has felt her magic her whole life, but she’s never been trained to use it. On a whim, she signs up for a magical retreat where she might learn to harness and control her magic. What she finds is a coven of witches trying to perform a dangerous spell. Before she realizes what she’s doing, Penny joins them and turns them all into zombies. That’s when she meets Reagan and realizes she’s an extremely rare Natural Witch. Now she’s trying to get trained to use her magic, all the while on the run from the Mages Guild, a corrupt organization bent on using her for their own purposes. Oh, and the Rogue Natural, one of the most powerful mages in history has suddenly turned up, and turned her world upside down in the process.

The thing I love best about this series is how aware of her limitations Penny is. She knows she’s untrained and unable to deal with magical baddies, so her first response in every situation is to run and hide. That doesn’t make her a coward, just smart. She doesn’t run and hide, but she wants to. The fact that she stands her ground to protect those she cares about despite her fear really got me. Plus, I love the female relationships in this series. Penny’s best friend is an editor. For fun and to relieve stress, she walks around the neighborhood with Penny, correcting the grammar on yard sale signs. Though Reagan intimidates her, Penny forms a close bond to her.

The romance is light in this book as it spans the trilogy. I liked Emery and Penny together, and enjoyed watching them interact with each other and learn to merge their powers. Though I didn’t love the ending, I admit this was a wonderful story. I couldn’t wait to jump into the next book.

4.25 out of 5

Magical Mayhem

four-half-stars


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Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly Harper

Posted December 28, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: How to Date Your Dragon by Molly HarperReviewer: Holly
How to Date Your Dragon (Mystic Bayou, #1) by Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi, Jonathan Davis
Series: Mystic Bayou #1
Publisher: Self-Published, Audible Studios
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible Romance Package
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Pages: 217
Length: 6 hours and 24 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Anthropologist Jillian Ramsay's career has taken a turn south.

Concerned that technology is about to chase mythological creatures out into the open (how long can Sasquatch stay hidden from Google maps?), the League for Interspecies Cooperation is sending Jillian to Louisiana on a fact-finding mission. While the League hopes to hold on to secrecy for a little bit longer, they're preparing for the worst in terms of human reactions. They need a plan, so they look to Mystic Bayou, a tiny town hidden in the swamp where humans and supernatural residents have been living in harmony for generations. Mermaids and gator shifters swim in the bayou. Spirit bottles light the front porches after twilight. Dragons light the fires under crayfish pots.

Jillian's first assignment for the League could be her last. Mystic Bayou is wary of outsiders, and she has difficulty getting locals to talk to her. And she can't get the gruff town sheriff, Bael Boone, off of her back or out of her mind. Bael is the finest male specimen she's seen in a long time, even though he might not be human. Soon their flirtation is hotter than a dragon's breath, which Bael just might turn out to be....

Length: 6 hrs 33 mins

How to Date Your Dragon is the first book in Molly Harper’s Mystic Bayou series. I generally prefer darker, more serious paranormal romances, but I was looking for a new audiobook and this was part of the Audible Romance Package so I figured why not. It turned out to be just what I was in the mood for. Light and funny, but not campy. This is one of the better audiobooks I’ve listened to this year. Amanda Ronconi and Jonathan Davis were both wonderful narrators. I especially enjoyed Jonathan Davis’s southern accent for Bael. I immediately downloaded the 2nd audiobook after finishing this one.

Jillian Ramsay works for the League for Interspecies Cooperation. She’s about to take a trip to South America to study were-dolphins when she’s suddenly reassigned to Mystic Bayou, Louisiana. The League is worried about how much longer Supernaturals can stay hidden, with cameras and cell phones and GPS everywhere. Mystic Bayou is one of the only places different types of magical creatures and humans have lived in harmony for almost a century. They want Jillian to do a study of the town and find out how and why things work so well. Her point of contact is Mayor Zed, but it’s the Sheriff, Bael Boone, she really sparks with. But things really start to heat up as she tries to discover how Mystic Bayou works so well despite closed-mouth townsfolk, and danger seems to lurk just around the corner.

I enjoyed Bael and Jillian’s romance, as well as the town of Mystic Bayou. The inhabitants of the town were so fun and quirky I couldn’t help but love them. Bael’s surprise and ignorance over how to court Jillian was hilarious, and I like that she was the one who wanted to keep things casual. There were several times I laughed out loud, and a couple times my heart just melted. I wasn’t at all surprised by who the villain was, but since I wasn’t here for that the lack of mystery wasn’t a problem for me. I was so into the romance and the fun, quirky town nothing else mattered.

If you’re looking for something light and breezy, this is a wonderfully done, hilarious paranormal romance. I highly recommend it.

4.25 out of 5

Mystic Bayou

four-stars


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