Source: Kindle Unlimited

Review: Hoops Holiday by Kennedy Ryan

Posted January 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 7 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 A-Z Reading Challenge, Rowena's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Rowena's 2019 TBR Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
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


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Friends with Benefits by Hazel Kelly

Posted December 21, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Friends with Benefits by Hazel KellyReviewer: Rowena
Friends with Benefits (Beta Brothers #2) by Hazel Kelly
Series: Beta Brothers #2
Also in this series: My Best Friend's Ex (Beta Brothers #1)
Publisher: Hazel Kelly
Publication Date: August 8, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 442
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

Carter's been crazy about Nina since the first time he saw her emerald eyes, but his fratastic reputation landed him in the friend zone before he even had a chance to say, "How you doin'?"

So when Nina suggests they become friends with benefits, he can't believe his luck.

After all, once he's gotten in her pants, winning her heart should be easy... right?

**This is a full-length, standalone romance novel with no cliffhanger, no cheating, and a heart-swelling HEA.

Friends with Benefits is the second book in Hazel Kelly’s Beta Brothers series and the story picks up right after the first book ends. It features Zoey’s roommate and Logan’s best friend as they fall in love with each other while trying very hard not to.

Nina is the pretty girl that all the boys try to hook up with so she’s no stranger to hot guys wanting to bang her. Unfortunately, she’s also no stranger to hot guys breaking her heart. Needless to say, she’s over hot guys and the heartbreak they bring her.

Carter is a hot guy who has been crushing on Nina since he first laid eyes on her. She won’t give him the time of day but because his best friend is dating her roommate, they’re around each other a lot so they become friends even though Carter hasn’t given up hope of changing their status to …more than friends. After a night of hanging out, Nina is set to walk back to her dorm room but she’s tired and Carter is tired but doesn’t want her to walk home by herself so he offers up his bed for her to crash on and he promises to drive her home in the morning. She ends up agreeing and before either of them know what’s what, they’re having a lot of sleepovers and they’ve fallen into a friends with benefits relationship that they keep from everyone.

This book was just as good as I hoped it would be after meeting both Carter and Nina in the first Beta Brothers book. I adored both of them and loved seeing them grow together in love. It was really cute to see Carter crushing hard on Nina and striking out at every turn. It was also really cute to see how much he grows to love her over the course of their romance. It was fun, it was sweet and also a little angsty. I wasn’t expecting the angst but welcomed it.

As much as I enjoyed Carter and Nina, they also frustrated me with different things but in the end, I completely adored them and was happy with the ending. I need to read more Hazel Kelly. She’s great. I definitely recommend this book if you’re in the mood for a fun romance between two friends. This was a good one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

Beta Brothers

four-stars


Tagged: , , , , , ,

Review: My Best Friend’s Ex by Hazel Kelly

Posted December 20, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: My Best Friend’s Ex by Hazel KellyReviewer: Rowena
My Best Friend's Ex (Beta Brothers #1) by Hazel Kelly
Series: Beta Brothers #1
Also in this series: Friends with Benefits (Beta Brothers #2)
Publisher: Hazel Kelly
Publication Date: June 8, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 420
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

I’ve always been good at sharing. You have to be when you grow up in a family like mine. But I never wanted to share Logan.

From the moment I saw him, my skin prickled and my insides burned, as if I’d found something I hadn’t realized I was looking for.

Unfortunately, I had to keep that to myself since, like all the kids my parents brought home, he was considered family from the moment he took a seat at our table. So from that day on, I did everything I could to force a familial bond.

Piper didn’t have to, though. She noticed immediately how special he was, and it wasn’t long before she was caring for him in a way I couldn’t, a way I wasn’t ready for.

A way that made me insanely jealous.

Night after night, I’d watch her leave my house and sneak over to the annex above our garage to visit him, and I’d stare at the small, curtain-covered window until my eyes burned with tears.

I wanted to be happy for them. After all, Piper and I had been best friends since I was six, and she was so content with him… at least, in the beginning. But it was hard because their relationship taught me that I wasn’t as good at sharing as I thought. I just never cared about anything enough to want it all to myself before.

Until Logan.

Not that I held it against them that they got together. I know better than anyone that you can’t help who you love. You can only help who knows about it.

And since he’ll always be off-limits, there’s no point in sharing my secret.

It doesn’t matter if my body screams for his touch whenever we cross paths.

It doesn’t matter that my heart swells to six times its normal size at the mere thought of that handsome loner’s shy smile.

It doesn’t matter if I think I could love him better than she did.

Because Logan Jones and I are never going to happen.

*This standalone contemporary romance features forbidden love, yummy fratboys, and warm fuzzies galore. Ridiculously happy ending guaranteed! Enjoy!

While browsing for titles to check out from Kindle Unlimited, this series caught my eye. I’m a fan of New Adult books, I’m a fan of the whole best friend’s ex trope so I thought that this would be a good fit for what I was in the mood for. I didn’t pay too much attention to the fact that they shared adopted parents but that didn’t even bother me in this book so it’s really a non-issue for me.

So this book starts off with our heroine, Zoey, moving into her dorm room to start her freshman year in college. She’ll be going to the same college as Logan, the guy that her adopted parents took in a couple of years ago. Logan hasn’t really been around but she’s been aware of him ever since he came to stay above the garage. He left for school early, claiming that he had summer stuff to do but really, he just needed to get away from his attraction to Zoey. They both spent a great deal of time trying to not be around each other out of respect to their adopted parents so in an effort to do that, Logan hooks up with Zoey’s best friend Piper. That relationship blows up and Logan goes away to college.

Fast forward to now, Zoey is now at the same college as Logan and Adopted Dad asks Logan to keep an eye on Zoey. That kind of job is just waiting for all kinds of shenanigans to go down. They are both attracted to each other, they’re both single, and they live close by with no obstacles in their way. What could possibly happen?

Everything can happen, that’s what.

Zoey and Logan definitely had great chemistry but their immaturity throughout most of the book got on my nerves so I didn’t LOVE this book. The book is a solid romance and when they finally get over themselves and their issues, I was happy for them but mostly, I just wanted to move on to the next book between their friends. Also? The title makes it seem like the conflict in this book was about the main character falling in love with her best friend’s ex and the real conflict was about them having the same adopted parents. They spent more time, especially on Logan’s end, trying to get past that then Logan and Piper’s old relationship.

Still, this was a fast read that kept my attention throughout. I was completely sold on the next book by the time I finished this one so I jumped right in. This isn’t the perfect romance but it’s still an enjoyable one with characters that you’ll want to be friends with.

Grade: 3 out of 5

Beta Brothers

three-stars


Tagged: , , , , , , ,

Review: Save the Date by Carrie Aarons

Posted December 19, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Save the Date by Carrie AaronsReviewer: Rowena
Save the Date by Carrie Aarons
Publisher: Carrie Aarons
Publication Date: June 22, 2018
Format: eBook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 230
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
two-stars

You know that pact you make with your childhood best friend of the opposite sex? The one where, if you’re both still single, lonely and hopeless at thirty, you’ll marry each other?

This is the story about what happens when you hit the big three-oh and have to make good on that pinky promise.

Personally, I think love, romance and all of that nonsense is a crock of, well, you know. And Reese Collins, the boy who used to put worms in my hair at backyard barbecues, knows that better than anyone.

But when he moves to the same city I’ve happily, and singly, inhabited for years, memories of oaths past resurface. Reese is like a dog with a bone; a really hot dog and that bone just happens to be me.

He won’t stop hounding me, and the crazy thing is, my frigid, traitorous heart is starting to cave. For my best friend.

It seems so far off, when you’re a kid playing Monopoly in your treehouse. But when that clock strikes midnight on your thirtieth birthday, and you’re standing alone in front of a grocery store-bought cupcake, a childhood deal to walk down the aisle doesn’t seem so silly anymore.

Carrie Aarons has been on my TBR pile for years and I’ve been meaning to try her stuff out long before now but I kept getting distracted with other books so when I came across this book on Kindle Unlimited, I knew that I wanted to give it a go. While this wasn’t the worst book that I read last month, it’s one of them. I just didn’t connect with the story, the characters, and I thought the heroine was immature AF.

So this story is about two best friend’s who made a pact when they were fifteen that if they weren’t married by the time that they turned 30, they would marry each other. Sounds like an awesome premise, don’t you think? I am all about best friends falling in love with each other and I’m even more on board the childhood pact made good on when they’re adults. I was pretty excited to jump into this one because the cover is gorgeous, it’s got one of my favorite tropes working for it but…too bad the story itself didn’t work for me.

Erin Carter and Reese Collins have been best friends since they were kids. Reese has had a thing for Erin all these years but because he knew she wasn’t ready for him and his feelings, he’s kept a tight lid on them all these years. Throughout their lives, they’ve kept in constant contact with each other even though Reese hasn’t lived in their hometown for years and years. The year that they turn 30, Reese moves back home and decides that now is their time. When the pact is brought up, Reese is adamant that they get married. Erin has some reservations. Erin doesn’t believe in true love and she doesn’t want to ruin what her and Reese have. Those nerves and reservations stem from her parent’s divorce and how her mother has never recovered from her father leaving her. Mind you, it’s only been a few years and her parents got divorced when Erin was a grown ass woman. Her father just didn’t love her mother anymore so he left. They had a great marriage up until it ended. There was no abuse, no cheating so I didn’t understand Erin’s deep-seated fear of marriage to her best friend.

On the other hand, I also didn’t understand Reese’s drive to make Erin his wife. It felt like he was in such a rush to marry Erin by the time that they were 30 and I didn’t understand why. Sure, he’s known how he felt for Erin since they were 15 but she didn’t know. He never once told her and then once he springs all of this marriage pact business on her, it felt like he was moving super fast to force the issue…and Erin’s sister was all for it. She says to Reese in the book that they needed to force Erin to do things or she’ll never do it. I just felt like if you need to force someone to be with you, maybe you shouldn’t be with them.

The other thing that I didn’t really care for was how immature Erin was. I just didn’t care for her attitude. So her and Reese become a thing and she agrees to become his wife but then she starts getting cold feet about that decisions and instead of being up front with her best friend, she holds it all in until everything blows up out of proportion and I was sitting there like…

My heart did hurt for Erin’s sister and everything that she went though. I loved seeing Reese be there for the family as best as he could and seeing him bond with Erin’s niece. I also really liked the friendship that sparked between Reese and his doctor friend. Aside from that stuff though, I just, felt very meh about it all. I didn’t feel very invested in what was going on, I didn’t connect with the story. The way that it was written didn’t really grip me. I felt like the story was being told to me. I didn’t feel a part of it, if that makes any sense. A good story will grab me by the throat and pull me along with the story but I didn’t feel that way while reading this. It had some good stuff and even the promise of greater things but for the most part, it wasn’t for me.

Grade: 2 out of 5

two-stars


Tagged: , , , , ,

Joint Review: Ache for You by J.T. Geissinger

Posted December 10, 2018 by Rowena in Reviews | 4 Comments

Joint Review: Ache for You by J.T. GeissingerReviewer: Holly & Rowena
Ache for You (Slow Burn, #3) by J.T. Geissinger
Series: Slow Burn #3
Also in this series: Burn for You (Slow Burn, #1), Melt for You (Slow Burn, #2)
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 362
Length: 11 hours, 36 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
one-star
Series Rating: three-stars

In this fairy tale with a sexy twist, she’s a penniless San Francisco seamstress. He’s the king of Italian couture. Who’s got designs on whom?

Boutique owner Kimber DiSanto has seen better days. She’s been dumped at the altar by Prince Charmless, her business went up in flames (literally), and now she’s stuck in Florence, Italy, with an ice-queen stepmother, to try to save her late father’s failing dress shop. Only one thing could make it worse: another man in her life. The arrogant Italian fashion tycoon offering to buy her father’s shop is as rich as he is sexy, and their attraction is off the charts. But Kimber’s not about to get burned again.

Women don’t say no to Matteo Moretti—and certainly not with Kimber’s stinging precision. With all the heat and fury sparking between them, Matteo can’t resist baiting the gorgeous American. His plan? Win her over one scorching kiss at a time.

Kimber tells herself it’s all just a game. That her broken heart isn’t in danger, and that Matteo’s touch does not make her Lady Land dance with joy. But sometimes it takes the fieriest of enemies to turn a fantasy into a real-life romance.

Ache for You is the third book in J.T. Geissinger‘s Slow Burn series. Each book is a fairytale retelling. This is the story of Cinderella.

Kimber is having the worst time of her life. Her intended leaves her at the altar, she finds out her father is gravely ill and her dress shop burns down. All within the space of a week. She flies to Italy to be with her dad when she gets another shock…he remarried several months beforehand. Now she’s living with her Wicked Stepmother and her two evil step-sisters. Oh, and the Prince Charming who gave up his seat so she could be with her father before he died? Turns out he’s her new step-brother…and the man who wants to buy her father’s dress shop, plus steal all her designs.

Holly: I want to start this review out by saying this was a great, sweet romance and satisfied everything I needed in a Cinderella retelling…but I can’t. The truth is, I hated Kimber, the heroine, so much the book was a total flop for me. I spent the entire book filled with rage over her attitude and all the conclusions she jumped to. She was such a pure, unadulterated bitch I have no clue why she even had friends or why the hero was interested in her.

Rowena: I’m pretty sure that this is what my face looked like after reading that first sentence of your review, Holly.

I’m right there with you, where Kimber is concerned. She was extremely hard to like. When the story ended, I wasn’t over all of her stupidity. The constant assumptions on her part, the quick jumps to conclusions, even when she knew that she was in love with Matteo, she just couldn’t turn that shit off and it annoyed the ever-loving crap out of me. She didn’t deserve Matteo and she most definitely didn’t deserve Matteo’s Mom.

I started wondering what the hell Matteo saw in her because there wasn’t much to like. She was a bitch through and through so I low key started wondering what the heck was wrong with Matteo that through all of that, he saw good in her. I didn’t any of what he saw.

Holly: Girl, same. I spent the entire book hating Kimber. I didn’t understand her motivations or why she was so quick to jump to so many negative conclusions. Why Matteo wanted to be with her is beyond me.

Rowena: It’s hard for me to sympathize with grown ass women who behave the way that Kimber does. Elle Kennedy posted a quote on her IG story last week that sums up exactly how I feel about Kimber and her behavior throughout the entire book.

Your crappy childhood isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy luck with relationships isn’t an excuse to be a crappy person. Your crappy experiences aren’t an excuse to be a crappy person. We all have our crap, and you can either let it define you or grow from it.

Holly: In the beginning I cut her some slack because she’d just been left at the altar, then discovered her father was dying, he’d remarried and not told her, and her shop burned down. But any sympathy I had for her was soon washed away by her anger and overall piss-poor attitude.

Rowena: I can understand being hurt and guarded around new men, especially so soon after her heart was broken so publicly but Matteo was paying for shit that had absolutely nothing to do with him. When he gave up his first class ticket so that she can get to Italy faster to see her father, the way she treated him pissed me off. I wanted to reach into my kindle and smack the shit out of her. He didn’t deserve a lot of the shit that she dished his way….and that shit just kept right on happening. Matteo couldn’t get the benefit of the doubt even in the end. She alone ruined this story for me.

Holly: I probably would have DNF’d the book except 1) we agreed we couldn’t DNF any book we’re reading together and 2) I kind of wanted to see what Matteo was up to. He was kind of shady in the beginning.

Rowena: I know that I would have DNF’d this if not for our buddy review rules. I hated Kimber that much.

Holly: I did really like Kimber’s BFF, Jenner, and I even came to like Brad, her ex-fiance. I really liked Matteo’s mom and her manservant. But the longer the novel went on, the more I wondered WTF was wrong with them that they liked and wanted to be (Friends)with Kimber. They should have booted her out of their squad and gone on without her.

Rowena: Yeah, I enjoyed everyone except the two villains: Kimber and the actual villain. I thought that Jenner was a great best friend to Kimber and tried to wrangle in her crazy but there’s only so much one person can do, right? And I thought I would hate Brad a lot more than I did. There were times when I really felt for him and his dilemma. I felt how sorry he was and how eager he was to make things right with Kimber. She was just too stupid and selfish to think of anyone but herself.

Holly: This part, though? This part was almost enough for me to raise my grade by half a star. Almost, but not quite…

View Spoiler »
 

Rowena: As to your spoiler?

Yeah, call me an asshole but what happens to Kimber cracked me up. Like, a lot. I’m still laughing about that.

I didn’t understand the romance because I didn’t see what Matteo saw in Kimber. There was absolutely nothing to recommend his attraction to her. She wasn’t headstrong or stubborn in a likable way. She was a complete bitch and any attraction to that mess didn’t make a lick of sense to me. All the way until the very last page, I was still annoyed with Kimber so there was just no saving this book for me. I hated this book so much that I’m taking a long break from all things Geissinger. I just…can’t.

Holly: If she’d realized how terrible she’d been and genuinely apologized, that might have been something. Since she was just as awful on the last page as she was on the first, I can’t find anything to recommend about this book.

Seriously, y’all, save yourselves. Don’t read this book.

Holly’s Grade: 1 out of 5
Rowena’s Grade: 1 out of 5

Slow Burn

one-star


Tagged: , , , , , , , ,