Author: Holly

Sunday Spotlight: Blitzed by Alexa Martin

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

Sunday Spotlight is a feature we began in 2016. This year we’re spotlighting our favorite books, old and new. We’ll be raving about the books we love and being total fangirls. You’ve been warned. 🙂

Sunday Spotlight: Blitzed by Alexa MartinBlitzed by Alexa Martin
Series: The Playbook #3
Also in this series: Blitzed
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: December 3, 2019
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: First
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Content Warning: View Spoiler »
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Add It: Goodreads
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Series Rating: three-stars

Maxwell has finally met an opponent that he can't best in this new football romance from the author of Fumbled.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he's worth. She doesn't care if he's a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she's not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn't matter if he brings more customers to her business--she's still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He'd been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can't. He can't tell anyone, so he'll make amends and hope she'll forgive him.

Brynn's not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn't impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

Excerpt

Some people call me a workaholic.

And they’re right.

But considering I own a bar, it’s the best kind of “holic” I could be. Plus, my job consists of listening to other people’s dramas and hanging out with my girls damn near every day.

“Oh my god! Brynn!” Vonnie’s eyes scrunch and her entire face twists into an abstract painting. “Did you put anything besides vodka in there?”

“Gin.” I wink and write the latest failed martini recipe down in my notebook.

“Why are we taste testing again?” Charli asks as she leans across the bar and grabs the martini from Vonnie. Vonnie narrows her eyes, probably ready to scold her for her table manners . . . but when Charli gives it a sniff, takes a deep sip, shrugs, and then finishes it, Vonnie’s eyes grow wide and her jaw drops.

“Damn, Charli!” I don’t know if I’m impressed or disturbed. “I didn’t know you had that in you!”

“Don’t worry.” Poppy snatches the glass away from Charli and walks it around the bar like she still works here even though she quit months ago to go to school and better herself like a selfish jerk. “Shawn’s on standby. Final roster cuts come in tomorrow and he’s been bracing Charli for bad news . . .” She leans in closer as she passes behind me.

“Something she’s clearly not handling well.”

Reason 8,634 I could never date a football player.

Basketball? Maybe. At least their contracts are guaranteed and they’re gone so often I’d barely have to see them. Baseball? Possibly. I do love sitting outside and eating pretzels and drinking beer. Hockey? Nope, it’s basically football on skates—with more broken noses and less teeth. Luckily for all these athletes I’d have to let down ever so gently, none of them know who I am.

“Your crazy ass better drink some water,” Vonnie, always the mom of the group, tells her. “Besides, I think Aviana is coming, and who knows if she’s still filming.”

“Oh, fucking fuck me,” Charli moans. “That damn show is going to be the death of me and I’m not even on it.”

I can see Charli is clearly in a fragile state of mind, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love everything about Love the Player. I kinda feel like, even though I’m not a cast member, I manifested the shit out of that show. I mean, the concept for HERS came to life as I was sitting on a shitty-ass date, watching a shitty-ass game, sipping shitty beer. All I wanted was to be out with my girls, drinking a fantastic specialty cocktail, and watching the latest Bravo reality show with a roomful of strangers.

And now, not only do we watch reality shows, HERS is a regular fucking setting for one. It just started to air, but the increase in customers is already noticeable. And people tried to tell me my love of trash television was a waste of my time. To that I say, HA!

“Speaking of the show, that’s what we’re doing here.” I push a much lighter, and brighter (hot-pink) cocktail down to Jacqueline, who, even though she’s always with us, is still the quietest person I know, and I’m pretty sure she thinks we’re all in need of serious therapy . . . which might be accurate. How Aviana talked her into starring in Love the Player is still a mystery. “I want to have a few cocktails named after the show ready.”

“Great, now the show gives me alcohol poisoning too.” Charli lays her head on the bar.

“You’re giving yourself alcohol poisoning.” Poppy pushes a glass of water to her and starts mixing up a drink of her own. “I know you and Shawn are smart with your money. If he gets cut, it won’t be the worst thing in the world. TK loves not playing anymore.”

I watch Jacqueline take a small sip of the drink, and almost do a happy dance when her eyes widen. She looks at the drink as if the recipe’s written in the cocktail, and takes another sip.

“Success, Jac?” I ask even though I already know her answer.

“So good, Brynn,” she says in her usual, muted voice.

“Yeah it is!” We do an air high five. “I’m naming that one Peter’s Angel. Wait . . . no!” I shout like she’s not right in front of me. “Fuck Peter. This is your drink. Model Behavior!”

The Playbook Series

Giveaway Alert

We’re giving one lucky winner their choice of one of our Sunday Spotlight books. Use the widget below to enter for one of this month’s features.

Sunday Spotlight: December 2019

About Alexa Martin

Alexa Martin is a writer and stay at home mom. She lives in Colorado with her husband, a former NFL player who now coaches at the high school where they met, their four children, and a German Shepherd. When she's not telling her kids to put their shoes on...again, you can find her catching up with her latest book boyfriend or on Pinterest pinning meals she'll probably never make. Her first book, Intercepted, was inspired by the eight years she spent as an NFL wife.


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WTF Cover Saturday (338)

Posted December 7, 2019 by Holly in Features | 1 Comment


I feel like we’ve been neglecting our Audiobook friends in this feature. There are some real gems to showcase, you know? Case in point, this lovely cover.

I know Langlais’ books are really popular, but this cover leaves a lot to be desired.


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Review: The Governess Game by Tessa Dare

Posted December 5, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Governess Game by Tessa DareReviewer: Holly
The Governess Game by Tessa Dare
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Girl Meets Duke #2
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager, The Duchess Deal
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 28, 2018
Format: Audiobook, eBook
Source: Library, Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 373
Length: 7 hours and 23 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
three-half-stars
Series Rating: four-stars

He’s been a bad, bad rake—and it takes a governess to teach him a lesson

The accidental governess.

After her livelihood slips through her fingers, Alexandra Mountbatten takes on an impossible post: transforming a pair of wild orphans into proper young ladies. However, the girls don’t need discipline. They need a loving home. Try telling that to their guardian, Chase Reynaud: duke’s heir in the streets and devil in the sheets. The ladies of London have tried—and failed—to make him settle down. Somehow, Alexandra must reach his heart... without risking her own.

The infamous rake.

Like any self-respecting libertine, Chase lives by one rule: no attachments. When a stubborn little governess tries to reform him, he decides to give her an education—in pleasure. That should prove he can’t be tamed. But Alexandra is more than he bargained for: clever, perceptive, passionate. She refuses to see him as a lost cause. Soon the walls around Chase’s heart are crumbling... and he’s in danger of falling, hard.


The Governess Game is the second book in Tessa Dare‘s Girl Meets Duke series. I was on a break from historical romance for years, so I missed out on this series when it was first released. I was anxious to read this book after I finished book 1, The Duchess Deal, since I wanted to know more about Alex and The Bookshop Rake. My library had the audio available, so I downloaded it to listen on my commute. When that took too long, I switched to reading the digital copy I had in my TBR.

I really enjoyed Alex and her two charges, Rosamund and Daisy. The girls were hilarious and adorable. My heart broke for them and their insecurities. Both Alex and Chase did very well with them, despite their own issues.

I didn’t enjoy the romance as much as the previous. Chase’s reasons for holding back seemed rather contrived, as I never fully connected with him on that front. That is to say, I wasn’t emotionally invested in him and his plight, so the whole thing came off as rather stupid, rather than heartbreaking. Still, I liked his friendship with Alex and how well he treated his wards. I also loved his relationship with Mr. Barrow.

The rest of the story kept me invested, however. Alex and her three friends, Chase and Alex’s friendship, the girls and even the Duke of Ashbury who comes to protect Alex’s honor…all of it was very well done.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

three-half-stars


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WTF Cover Saturday (337)

Posted November 30, 2019 by Holly in Features | 3 Comments


Happy Thanksgiving! Today we have a special Thanksgiving cover for your viewing pleasure. Because ’tis the season and I’m a giver. You’re welcome.

Alpha’s Harvest Virgin: A Thanksgiving Wolf Shifter Romance

Is any holiday really complete with out a Harvest Virgin? The answer is no. No it isn’t.


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Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare

Posted November 29, 2019 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Duchess Deal by Tessa DareReviewer: Holly
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Narrator: Mary Jane Wells
Series: Girl Meets Duke #1
Also in this series: The Duchess Deal , The Duchess Deal, The Governess Game , The Wallflower Wager, The Governess Game
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: August 22, 2017
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Point-of-View: Alternating Third
Cliffhanger: View Spoiler »
Genres: Historical Romance
Pages: 370
Length: 7 hours and 56 minutes
Add It: Goodreads
Reading Challenges: GoodReads Challenge, Historical Challenge, Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 Historical Challenge
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
four-stars
Series Rating: four-stars


When girl meets Duke, their marriage breaks all the rules…

Since his return from war, the Duke of Ashbury’s to-do list has been short and anything but sweet: brooding, glowering, menacing London ne’er-do-wells by night. Now there’s a new item on the list. He needs an heir—which means he needs a wife. When Emma Gladstone, a vicar’s daughter turned seamstress, appears in his library wearing a wedding gown, he decides on the spot that she’ll do.

His terms are simple:- They will be husband and wife by night only.- No lights, no kissing. - No questions about his battle scars.- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s pregnant with his heir, they need never share a bed again.

But Emma is no pushover. She has a few rules of her own:- They will have dinner together every evening.- With conversation.- And unlimited teasing.- Last, and most importantly… Once she’s seen the man beneath the scars, he can’t stop her from falling in love…


The Duchess Deal is the first book in Tessa Dare‘s Girl Meets Duke series. I read and enjoyed quite a few Tessa Dare novels some time ago, but I went on a mini-historical hiatus and anything published after 2015 has been languishing in my TBR pile. I was searching for books narrated by Mary Jane Wells in my library and found this, so I decided to give it a go. It was such a fun, entertaining read. Wells did a fantastic job as narrator. The story truly came to life for me.

The Duke of Ashbury returned from war scarred both emotionally and physically. His mental state wasn’t helped any by his fiance freaking out at the sight of him, forcing him to end their engagement. When her dressmaker shows up demanding payment for the gown that was created for his wedding-that-wasn’t, Ash realizes this could be the solution to all his problems. So he offers her a proposition: If she’ll marry him and give him an heir, he’ll give her an estate of her own in the country.

Emma Gladstone knows what it is to have her heart broken. She’s not interested in being the plaything of a Duke. But she did offer to help a friend in need, and having her own country estate suits her purposes quite well. If it’s hard to keep her heart from leaping every time the Duke is near, well..no one but her has to know.

Filled with humor, wit and lovely banter, The Duchess Deal is the novel I didn’t know I was looking for. I easily fell into the story and found myself cheering them on. I laughed out loud on several occasions, and found my heart getting all melty whenever Ash did something sweet, in his gruff, surly way. I wasn’t ready for the story to end.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5

Girl Meets Duke

four-stars


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