Tag: Romance

Review: Hoops Holiday by Kennedy Ryan

Posted January 16, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 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: Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

Posted January 10, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Famous in a Small Town by Emma MillsReviewer: Rowena
Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication Date: January 15, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Point-of-View: First
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 320
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four-stars

For Sophie, small town life has never felt small. With her four best friends—loving, infuriating, and all she could ever ask for—she can weather any storm. But when Sophie’s beloved Acadia High School marching band is selected to march in the upcoming Rose Parade, it’s her job to get them all the way to LA. Her plan? To persuade country singer Megan Pleasant, their Midwestern town’s only claim to fame, to come back to Acadia to headline a fundraising festival.

The only problem is that Megan has very publicly sworn never to return.

What ensues is a journey filled with long-kept secrets, hidden heartbreaks, and revelations that could change everything—along with a possible fifth best friend: a new guy with a magnetic smile and secrets of his own.

I used to read a lot of YA but in the last couple of years, my interest in them cooled off some but it seems to be back because this is the second YA book that I read in the last few weeks and I have another on my TBR pile. I tried to read Emma Mills when my interest in YA books was dimming and because of that, I wasn’t in the mood to read the book. I feel like I should go back and give that book another go because I really enjoyed this one.

Sophie is in her high school band and she’s in charge of the fundraising for the next school year. Her band won a slot in a huge competition at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California so it’s going to be expensive to try to raise money to send all 100+ band members to California from their small town in Illinois. Sophie gets the idea of trying to locate and procure one of the country’s biggest country stars who just so happens to be from her same hometown to come back home to do a concert that will help their band raise the necessary funds they need for their trip. It’s not going to be easy because Sophie has no idea where to start to try to lock down Megan Pleasant but she turns to her friends for help and grudgingly, they help.

Sophie is a very busy young woman. She has multiple jobs, one of them being a babysitter and she babysits for Kyle and Heather once a week. When Kyle’s younger brother comes to live with him, Sophie reaches out to him and invites him along with her and her friends so that he knows people when they start their senior year together in the fall. Sophie is attracted to Kyle’s brother, August, but he keeps putting out that this stay in town is temporary and he’s not trying to form any close attachments so anything developing between him and Sophie needs to stop. But the heart wants what it wants and Sophie and August burst onto the scene and Sophie hopes for the best.

I think fans of Sarah Dessen, Kasie West, and Meg Cabot will enjoy this book because it’s such a sweetly written book about a young woman who loves big time and wants to help everyone that she could. Sophie was the kind of young adult protagonist that I adore. She was kind, honest, and strong. She lived her life with heart and my heart hurt for her with everything that she had working against her. From her issues with trying to locate Megan Pleasant, to her text messages with her mystery friend and then all of the stuff she went through with August, I just loved her more and more with each turn of the page. She really shined in this book and I’m glad that I read this one.

I’m definitely going to read more by Emma Mills. She won me over with this one.

Grade: 4 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The One You Fight For by Roni Loren

Posted January 2, 2019 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The One You Fight For by Roni LorenReviewer: Rowena
The One You Fight For (The Ones Who Got Away, #3) by Roni Loren
Series: The Ones Who Got Away #3
Also in this series: The Ones Who Got Away, The One You Can't Forget
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: January 1, 2019
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 384
Add It: Goodreads
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four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

How hard would you fight for the one you love?Taryn Landry was there that awful night fourteen years ago when Long Acre changed from the name of a town to the title of a national tragedy. Everyone knows she lost her younger sister. No one knows it was her fault. Since then, psychology professor Taryn has dedicated her life's work to preventing something like that from ever happening again. Falling in love was never part of the plan...

Shaw Miller has spent more than a decade dealing with the fallout of his brother's horrific actions. After losing everything―his chance at Olympic gold, his family, almost his sanity―he's changed his name, his look, and he's finally starting a new life. As long as he keeps a low profile and his identity secret, everything will be okay, right?

When the world and everyone you know defines you by one catastrophic tragedy...How do you find your happy ending?

Roni Loren strikes again. She writes a captivating romance about two people with difficult pasts, coming together in love in such an emotional way. This wasn’t an easy book to read because it deals with the aftermath of a school shooting, years later, both characters are adults but they’re still struggling with the events of that day. The heroine is a victim, she lost her sister in the school shooting and her family has never completely healed from her sister dying and the way that she died. So throw in that the man she falls in love with is the shooter’s brother? Yeah, you get it.

Right from the very beginning, I was invested in this series. I thought it was such an interesting premise for a bunch of books to be centered around a school shooting, and dealing with that traumatic event years later when each victim and survivor were adults. The previous books featured victims from the school shooting so we saw how the shooting shaped who they were, saw them overcome individual obstacles to finally move on and stop letting that day dictate their lives. This book tackles the other side, the guilt of a family member of the school shooter.

I really enjoyed both Taryn and Shaw’s characters. I thought they were interesting people on their own with Taryn turning to psychology to try to help the cause by preaching preventative actions rather than reactionary ones and Shaw’s guilt really hit me. I mean, how often do people think about the people on the other side of the coin? Shaw carried a lot of guilt for what his brother did and seeing him try to navigate his life and the lengths he went to carry on was pretty intense. My heart hurt for him because he seriously paid for crimes that weren’t his but he took the punishment day in and day out because he felt that he deserved it and man, that was a punch to the gut for me. Seeing them come together, fall in love, and then find a way to be together with everything against them made for some intense reading and I thought Loren handled their story well.

This isn’t a perfect story. It isn’t an easy story either. There were times in the book where I wasn’t a fan of how things were handled but for the most part, I was invested with what was happening. I was invested in who Taryn and Shaw were and the attraction that was building steam between them.

I was torn going on into reading this book because, on one hand, I was excited about Taryn’s story and seeing how things would work out between her, someone who lost a sibling to the horrific actions of Shaw’s sibling. On the other hand, I was scared that because of the issues dealt with in this book, that it wouldn’t be given the care that it needed and deserved but I shouldn’t have worried so much because like I said, Loren handled their story well. I’m glad that I read this book and am pretty anxious to see more from these characters. I recommend.

Grade: 4.25 out of 5

The Ones That Got Away

four-stars


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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
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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


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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
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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


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