Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

THE CHASE
Series: Briar U #1
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Author: Elle Kennedy
Release Date: August 6, 2018

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

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She brings out a growly, primal side of me I hadn’t known existed until she showed up and started driving me batshit crazy.
And…I frickin’ love it. 

Opposites attract in this brand new spin-off series and I frickin’ loved it! See what I did there? Alright, that was entirely too cheesy but I simply couldn’t resist.

As much as I loved Dean in The Score, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I’d love his younger sister, Summer. She’s a heroine that instantly jumps from the pages at you and there’s something so incredibly endearing about her. She’s beautiful, popular, and a social butterfly. But she’s not a girl without insecurities either and those are the things that make her as endearing as they did.

A woman isn’t defined by her boyfriends. She’s defined by her achievements. And her shoes.”

Colin “Fitzy” Fitzgerald is the quiet, self professed nerd of his hockey buddies and roommates. Where Summer is the social butterfly, he’s the hermit. He knows that Summer has a crush on him, but no matter how strongly he may be attracted to her as well, she’s the opposite of the type of girl he needs.
Then Fitz goes and puts his foot in his mouth, and what was gearing up to be potentially something, soon turns into angry stares and snarky come backs…and he has no idea why.

When a turn of events leaves Summer without a place to live at Briar, the college she’s transferred to after her snafu at Brown, her brother is all too eager to help. Unfortunately it also lands her as the fourth roommate to Fitz; the man she’s determined to now stay away from.

What begins then, is the most sexually charged game of push and pull I’ve read in a while. Summer is determined to stay away from Colin. Colin doesn’t want to want Summer, but can’t help but be pulled into her orbit. Colin’s buddy and other roommate, Hunter, wants Summer. Summer doesn’t want to want Colin, but also has no reason to turn down Hunter. Oh the madness of it all!

While I can see some readers going crazy from Fitzy’s back and forth feelings and behavior, I gobbled it up. I got why he acted the way he did, even if I did want to throttle him for it half the time. HE struggles with his attraction to a girl that’s always in the spotlight when he does his damnedest to shy away from it.

I also absolutely ADORED Summer’s friendship with Brenna. Summer is a true girl’s girl, and I loved the genuine friendship these two forged. I’m also absolutely DYING for Brenna’s book now. The potential set up there sounds utterly delicious.

The Chase was an addicting opposites attract romance that had a smile on my face from beginning to end. The banter, the sexual chemistry, the secondary characters, and the romance were absolutely fantastic! And then there was the quirky humor that I couldn’t get enough of. In particular, the appearances with Dean and the sibling dynamics with him and Summer.

Life isn’t always about you!”
They stand there bickering as if I’m not bent in half on the marble floor, gasping for air.
“I’m not having kids with you,” I wheeze at Summer. “I don’t want to be part of your insane family.” “Oh hush, sweetie. It’s too late. I’ve become attached.”
You’d think it would be impossible to laugh while I’m writhing on the floor in agony. But Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis makes everything possible.

The Chase set the stage for an amazing new series from one of my favorite authors and I already can’t wait for more. If you’re a fan of sizzling New Adult romance, this is a book that’s not to be missed!

Review: Hooked On You by Kate Meader

HOOKED ON YOU
Series: Chicago Rebels #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Kate Meader
Release Date: May 7, 2018

The steamy Chicago Rebels series returns with this racy and sassy tale of embittered hearts, second chances, and going for the goal—on and off the ice.

Violet Vasquez never met her biological father, so learning he left his beloved hockey franchise—the Chicago Rebels—to her is, well, unexpected. Flat broke and close to homeless, Violet is determined to make the most of this sudden opportunity. Except dear old dad set conditions that require she takes part in actually running the team with the half-sisters she barely knows. Working with these two strangers and overseeing a band of hockey-playing lugs is not on her agenda…until she lays eyes on the Rebels captain and knows she has to have him.

Bren St. James has been labeled a lot of things: the Puck Prince, Lord of the Ice, Hell’s Highlander…but it’s the latest tag that’s making headlines: washed-up alcoholic has-been. This season, getting his life back on track and winning the Cup are his only goals. With no time for relationships—except the fractured ones he needs to rebuild with his beautiful daughters—he’s finding it increasingly hard to ignore sexy, all-up-in-his-beard Violet Vasquez. And when he finds himself in need of a nanny just as the playoffs are starting, he’s faced with a temptation he could so easily get hooked on.

For two lost souls, there’s more on the line than just making the best of a bad situation… there might also be a shot at the biggest prize of all: love.

AMAZON

If he could resist a drink, he could certainly resist the charms of Violet Vasquez. Siren. Temptress. His daughters’ primary caregiver.

This was definitely, hands down, my favorite book in the series. As soon as the grumpy Scot came on the scene, I’ve been salivating for his book. And it just doesn’t get better than pairing him with a sassy and smart-mouthed Latina that doesn’t take any of his broodiness. Man. I was in banter heaven.

Violet’s attention was a fresh slice of hell, because in a way it was. She reminded him of everything he couldn’t have. She reminded him of the man he used to be.

Bren was a broody, deliciously grumpy, recovering alcoholic. After almost losing his daughters and career to his drinking, he’s determined to right his wrongs. As the captain of the team, he wants to bring them the Cup, and he wants full custody of his daughters. The one thing he doesn’t need is a distraction in the form of one third of the Rebels owner and stunning Violet Vasquez.

For alcoholics, one drink was too many and a thousand were never enough. He suspected it would be the same with drinking down Violet, an addiction he couldn’t risk.

Violet isn’t anything like her two sisters. She really doesn’t want the team. She just wants to fulfill her duty in order to get her piece of the will from the father that never wanted her, and to hightail it back. But Violet is also nothing like what she seems. This is a woman with a past, and one that carries so much responsibility and strength on her tatted shoulders. She likes to appear like the good time party girl, but she’s so much more than that. She’s a survivor. She’s a fighter. She’s a woman that puts up a hard front that hides a soft heart. When she met Bren a year ago and he turned her down flat at a bar thinking her another hockey groupie, they’ve gone into a delicious back and forth of suppressed sexual tension and desire. GOD. It was soooooo good.

This wasn’t a textbook or fairy-tale kiss. This wasn’t smooth or gentle. It was hard and needy and unrepentant. It was Violet. It was Bren. It was everything.

I adored the way Violet had with Bren’s little girls and the bond they formed. I loved the slow burn between her and Bren. I couldn’t get enough of the strength they offered to each other and the way they each filled in the broken pieces in the other.

With her he felt renewed. Changed. Worthy. With her he felt like the man he was meant to be.

Hooked on You was romantic perfection. It was full of emotion and brimming with passion. It was swoony and sweet, humorous and the absolute perfect book to conclude this series with.


THE SERIES


IRRESISTIBLE YOU | SO OVER YOU | UNDONE BY YOU | HOOKED ON YOU

#DGRFave Review & Giveaway: Undone By You by @KittyMeader

UNDONE BY YOU
Series: Chicago Rebels #5
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Author: Kate Meader
Release Date: March 5, 2018

Dante Moretti has just landed his dream job: GM of the Chicago Rebels. And screw the haters who think there should be an asterisk next to his name because he’s the first out managing executive in pro hockey.

He’s earned the right to be here and nothing will topple him off that perch—especially not an incredibly inconvenient attraction to his star defenseman, Cade “Alamo” Burnett.

Cade has always been careful to keep his own desires on the down low, but his hot Italian boss proves to be a temptation he can’t resist.

Sure, they both have so much to lose, but no one will ever know…

As Dante and Cade’s taboo affair heats up off the ice and their relationship gets more and more intense, they’ll have to decide: is love worth risking their careers? Or is this romance destined to be forever benched?

AMAZON | iBOOKS

Cade Burnett was choosing to put himself out there, and Dante intended to reward him with the hottest experience of his life.


Sexy, emotional, and absolutely perfect! The first MM romance I’ve read from the uber talented Kate Meader and it was a HUGE winner!!

Dante is the GM of the Chicago Rebels hockey team. He’s also ridiculously good looking, mostly grumpy and openly gay. When he runs into one of his star defenseman in a gay club, he’s stunned. When the man he thought to be straight as an arrow and having a fling with one of the Chase sisters clearly propositions him, he’s equally shocked and tempted. Cade is super sexy, easy going, funny, and super off limits. But as determined as Dante is to resist Cade, Cade is just as determined to seduce him. Thus begins the most delicious game of cat and mouse and back and forth.

Dante is hesitant to get involved with a closeted hockey player. He’s had his heart broken in the past and he’s not looking to put it all on the line again. He’s put in blood, sweet and tears into his career, as well. It takes a lot for an openly gay man in the league to get the respect he deserves and Dante earned it the hard way. How can he put all of that at risk for a man that threatens everything, including his sanity. A relationship with a player is frowned upon. The fact that no one knows Cade is gay doesn’t help matters.

Cade was absolute perfection. He knows what he wants and he goes after it with a singleminded intent. He doesn’t shy away from a challenge and he’s not afraid to push all of Dante’s buttons. I loved his easy going nature. I especially loved the way these two alpha males balanced each other out with their completely different personalities.

Full of witty banter, incredible chemistry, and endearing characters, Undone By You totally owned my heart. I loved the connection between Dante and Cade. I loved the slow burn of their developing relationship. I especially loved the way that Cade handled his coming out and Dante and the rest of the team supported him. I loved all the interactions with the secondary characters. I just seriously loved this book and this story.

Originally from Ireland, Kate Meader cut her romance reader teeth on Maeve Binchy and Jilly Cooper novels, with some Harlequins thrown in for variety. Give her tales about brooding mill owners, oversexed equestrians, and men who can rock an apron, a fire hose, or a hockey stick, and she’s there. Now based in Chicago, she writes sexy contemporary romance with alpha heroes and strong heroines (and heroes) who can match their men quip for quip. Visit her at KateMeader.com.

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New Release & Review: Game On by Victoria Denault

GAME ON
Series: Hometown Players #6
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Victoria Denault
Release Date: October 9, 2017

“I don’t break hearts. I break headboards . . . “

When it comes to scoring in the pro hockey league, Alex Larue is crushing it-with the hot puck bunnies. He’s the life of the party, the guy with all the jokes . . . and the one whose Party Guy mask keeps the real him well hidden. The last thing he needs is anyone finding out about his troubled past, or the nightmares that haunt him still.

Brie Bennett is less than impressed by Alex from the moment she meets him. And even though he insists on volunteering at the charity she runs, she doesn’t trust him. He’s hiding something…but so is she. She’s not just the rich, privileged New York princess he thinks she is. The animosity between them is undeniably addictive and as their worlds keep colliding it becomes supercharged with something else – attraction.

But if they stop playing games and let each other in, they both might lose.

AMAZON | iBOOKS

…tell me you want this. Take the shot.”
He nuzzles my hand and but then turns his face and kisses my palm. When he turns back to me he looks so serious it’s startling. “I want this.”
I feel my smile from my toes to the roots of my hair. “Game on?”
He smiles back, raw but darkly playful. “Game on.”

This book was not at all what I signed up for, in the best possible of ways. See, this totally one track reader saw the quote on the blurb and thought, “eeee!!! Another manwhore! GIMME!” And then what I got was an engrossing, unforgettable, and beautiful story that was full of depth and meaning.

You’re this amazing, stubborn, gorgeous woman who wants more than the one thing I know I can give. And as much as I suddenly, for the first time in my life, want to try and give more, I’m also so fucking clueless as to how.”

Alex Larue is the darling of the hockey league. He’s always got a woman on his arm and a quick smile on his lips. Traded numerous times in his career, his one constant is his love for the game and the love the fans have for him. He’s talented, hard-working, and completely shut off emotionally.

I want things from you I shouldn’t want.”

When Alex first notices the gorgeous Brie, she shoots him down in a way that’s hard to forget. The sparks of attraction that ignite between them are almost as hot as their opposites attract interactions. When Alex realizes who Brie is, the animosity between them rises. After all, Brie is the complete antithesis to the life he’s lived and the demons he hides. Being the darling daughter of two wealthy parents, she hasn’t known a struggle in her life. But not is as it seems.

His fingers grip my hips so tight I’ll probably have marks, and I like that idea. That his fingers will leave their imprint on my body the way his soul seems to be leaving an imprint on my heart.

I really don’t want to give much more than that away because it makes the story that much better to discover the small details as you read. What I can tell you is this book has so much more depth than the blurb implies. Both of the main characters are incredibly multi-layered and impossible not to love. Alex and his easy smile and hidden vulnerability will pull at your heart strings. Brie with her quiet and understated strength and the way she doesn’t give up on Alex will make you smile.

Alex makes it clear to Brie that he can’t offer her what she deserves. But after seeing peeks of the man beneath the tenacious flirt, Brie knows what she wants and she knows that she can’t give up on him. There’s something about Alex that pulls her in, and impossible to forget.

You’re going to wreck me,” he whispers into the crook of my neck. “And I’m going to let you.”

With a wonderful cast of secondary characters, Game On was an unputdownable read from beginning to finish. It was full of meaning, emotion, and so much depth, it was impossible not to love. This just may be my favorite Victoria Denault book yet and I can’t recommend it enough.


READ THE SERIES IN ORDER

ONE MORE SHOT | MAKING A PLAY | THE FINAL PLAY | WINNING IT ALL | ON THE LINE | GAME ON

Review: Pipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) by Sarina Bowen

PIPE DREAMS
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: May 2, 2017 

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

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Image result for the lucky one gif

 You’re my happy thought, Lo.”

 

Lauren Williams may be known for being an ice princess, but she’s also one of Nate’s trusted right-hand man. So when Becca suffered a concussion and has to rest, Lauren had to step in and take over her job (temporarily) as manager of the Brooklyn Bruiser’s front office. The problem is Lauren would rather be anywhere else than in the Bruiser’s office. Readers of this series will remember her aversion to hockey and the team but we never really knew why. We do have an inkling that she and the Bruiser’s goalie had a thing in the past but it was never fully revealed in the other books yet.

In Pipe Dreams, we finally get to know the reason behind Lauren’s aversion to hockey. And yes, it does have to do with her past relationship with Mike Beacon. Mike was the former captain of the Bruisers. We found out that he stepped down as captain after his estranged wife fell ill and he had to devote his extra time with her. What we do not know then was that this event was also linked with the demise of his and Lauren’s relationship.

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I have been intrigued with Lauren since the series began. I thought there was more to that whole ice princess routine than meets the eye. But at first, I thought, “Oh no, she’s going to cause trouble for one of our heroine, isn’t she?” But then Sarina Bowen sort of turned that on its head when she volunteered to babysit for Becca’s neice (sic) in the previous book.

Since then, my opinion on Lauren changed. I wanted to know why she’s the way she is. I loved that she’s capable, accomplished and ambitious. She’s also heartbroken and vulnerable. And boy, her past with Mike was a doozy. It’s tragic and it’s one of those things where you really don’t have any choice in the matter. And that’s what makes Lauren’s heartbreak even more relatable.

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I was prepared to hate Mike for what he did with Lauren. But when I started reading this book, I realized that things are more complicated than that. Mike had to make the best decision he can for his family, and while I feel for Lauren and I wish he didn’t break her heart, I understand where his coming from.

It also really helped that Sarina Bowen didn’t write Mike’s wife as this shrew who had no personality except to be the bad guy in the story. Again, it was more complicated than that. I actually felt sympathy for Mike’s family especially his daughter. Okay, I admit I was a little leery when it seemed like Elsa is going to be the “obstacle” that’s going to keep our main couple apart. But again, Ms. Bowen did her character justice. She’s not just a prop but a real character with a story arc.

Image result for hockey puck gif

The whole team featured prominently in this book as they chase the Stanley Cup. I enjoyed seeing them in action. My only complaint about this book was  

Click to view spoiler
the baby thing. I don’t mind that she wanted one via insemination but I couldn’t quite understand why she really, really wanted one. And the way she easily accepted Mike’s offer was a bit weird.

Apart that, I liked this one a lot. I’ve always enjoyed Sarina’s writing. Her characters are simply likable and her stories tends to really resonate with me and with a lot of readers. Pipe Dreams is an enjoyable, low-angst, second-chance romance that shouldn’t be missed.

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Review & New Release: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

GOOD BOY
Series: WAGs #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Rom Com
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Release Date: January 31, 2017

A brand new stand-alone romantic comedy from the bestselling, award-winning team of Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy.

Hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody (nobody!) can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

Caution: May cause accidental aspiration of tea or coffee. Do not read in a public place where loud laughter is inappropriate. Contains hot but hilarious hockey players, puppy cuddling and a snarky pair of underwear.

 

Blake doesn’t do anything half-assed. He laughs the way he lives his life—loud and fierce and without inhibition. He fucks that way, too.

To say that I’ve been eagerly anticipating this release from two of my favorite authors may be a miiiild understatement. But as excited as I was, I was also just a teeny bit worried too. See, I remember Blake from Us, and I was scared that a full book of his…well…personality…may be a bit much for me. But Cheezus! This man totally managed to grab me by the ovaries and the heart. Yes, he’s a little rabid at times. Like ADD tween sort of rabid. But at the same time, it totally worked for him. The authors managed to pull off what none have done for me in the past. They took a character like him and made him completely endearing. Think young Ryan Reynolds movies sort of endearing.
You may remember Jess, Jamie’s older sister, from US. I have to admit, she got off on the wrong foot with me in that book, but she totally won me over here. This is a girl that’s having a hard time finding herself. Forever viewed as the flaky one by her overachieving family, she wants to prove them wrong. That for once she can pick a career, and stick to it. That’s how she finds herself in nursing school in Canada, and once again facing the man she’s gone through great lengths to avoid.

What the heck are you talking about? Who’s wrong about what?” “You, about, well, everything.” I grin at her. “We’re way more than friends, Jessie.” “Blake—” She sounds exasperated. “But no worries,” I finish breezily. “I’ll just sit tight until you figure that out.”

Blake is just as determined to get in her pants as she is to make sure he keeps his on. Let’s just say Blakey has a thing for dick pics.

I loved the banter and back and forth between these two. Add in a few secondary characters to spice things up, and it was laugh out loud gold.

I’m Blake Riley,” I offer.
“Dyson Hart.”
“Dyson, like the vacuum?”
“That’s right.” He gives me a sidelong glance. “Want a demonstration?”
“Dyson,” Jess snaps. “What did we talk about?”

Blake was a total marshmallow. I loved how hard he cares for his friends. He may put on a good act with his breezy jokes and easy smiles, but this is a man with a heart of gold. He’ll do anything for those he cares about and when he loves, he loves hard. There’s a hidden depth to him beyond the pervy jokes and tween talk.

The story is written with a wonderful mix of humor and feeling. And man, did I love the humor

His gaze lowers to his crotch, and God help me, but I look down, too. Yep. He’s hard. It looks like he shoved a forty of beer down there and tried to smuggle it into the bar. Why does his dumb dick have to be so stupidly big?

I also loved that it didn’t follow the formulaic romance novel with the crazy misunderstandings in the end. It was perfectly paced and unfolded naturally.

If Good Boy is anything to judge by, we have ourselves a new series to obsess over. I’m already salivating for the next book. If a sexy, humorous contemporary romance with a hot hockey player with a heart of gold and a sassy heroine that’s as snarky as she is smart is your thing, then this is an absolute must read!

Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

the-goal-reviewTHE GOAL
Series: Off-Campus #4
Genre: New Adult Romance
Author: Elle Kennedy
Release Date: September 26, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

thegoal-ibooks

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

Buy LinksAMAZON | iBOOKSReview-DGR3.5 stars

I hate to tell you this, Sabrina. But you’ve made a big mistake.”
“What? Why?”
His fingers draw my thong tight, the fabric cutting into my swollen lips.
“Because I’m going to ruin you for all future guys. I apologize in advance.”

Time out. Did anyone else just have a pervy hot flash here? No? Seriously? You’re a bunch of lying liars, is what you are. You totally did. Admit it. That line right there just totally revved your engines.

It’s always the quiet ones, isn’t it? Well if I had known the mouth that beard of Tucker’s was hiding all this time, I probably would have been stalking Elle Kennedy down on a daily basis and waving my fist menacingly at her to write his story sooner. What? I like pervy bearded heroes, and don’t you judge me either! Those BILFs get things done, I tells ya. But I digress.

Tucker has always been the calm, quiet, rational and unassuming one of the hockey bunch. Compared to the likes of Dean and Garrett, he always kinda shied away in their spotlight…or so it seemed. BOY was I wrong. Because when this man has a target he goes after, he spares no apology and isn’t afraid to play dirty. But Tucker is also incredibly sweet, humble, and beyond patient and understanding. All those things make him absolutely perfect! And dirty…so very dirty

Oh sweet baby Jesus. Sex with Tucker is dirtier and hotter than I thought it would be. He doesn’t look like he’d be this way, but isn’t it always the quiet ones?

The Goal runs parallel to the events in The Score, so if you haven’t read that book yet, I highly recommend reading it prior to this or some details may be lost on you. Admittedly, I hated Sabrina in the previous books. She was extremely waspish and off putting, to put it frankly. Luckily having her background and really getting down to the truth of why she is the way she is helped connect more with her character. That’s not to say she’s my favorite heroine of the series, but I certainly understood and liked her more in this book than the previous ones.

She’s not certain of me yet. I need to bide my time, but as long as I’m in the game, I’m not worried about the outcome.

Sabrina is driven and highly independent. She doesn’t want or need a man, unless it’s for one night of tension relief. But that all changes when the man is Tucker, because Tucker wants more than a few orgasms from her, and he’s not hesitant to show her what she’s missing. Did I mention I adored Tucker?

So why the lower rating? Weeeelll….I actually wasn’t a fan of a particular trope used in this book. The hows of it seemed a little eye raising in the believability department, and the back and forths of it drove me a little bonkers. There were parts that I wanted to hug Sabrina, and others where I wanted to beat her with the nearest blunt object…or a really really big stick. But I digress once more.

Was The Goal my favorite in the series? Probably not. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely. Ultimately it was an entertaining read that kept me invested in the story and their characters and especially the romance. Tucker definitely is a large part as to why, but Sabrina did grow on me at the end as well.

Fans of this series will certainly enjoy this newest installment. And if you’ve been curious about the silent bearded one, you surely won’t be disappointed.


THE OFF-CAMPUS SERIES

THE DEAL | THE MISTAKETHE SCORE  |  THE GOAL

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Rookie Move-Review ROOKIE MOVE
Series: Brooklyn Bruisers #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Sarina Bowen
Release Date: September 6, 2016add-to-goodreads-button-2

rookie move

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….

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Review-DGR3.5 starsRookie Move-DGR Teaser

You and I don’t have one-night stands. We have forever night stands.”

If you love second chance romance with a hero that’s so sweet and devoted it will make even the most cynical heart swoon, then you’ve just found your next read! It seems the romance genre is well saturated with a good share of alpha-holes lately, and I have to say that Leo Trevi was a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, alpha-holes happen to be my crack of choice. But every now and then it’s also great to get a genuinely nice guy that fell hard once for the love of his life and never fell out of it.

Georgia and Leo were high school sweethearts, until the Georgia broke Leo’s heart at the end of their senior year and they haven’t seen each other since. Now Georgia is trying to live her dream as the publicist for the NHL and gets the surprise of a lifetime when the new player to the team her father is now coaching is none other than the boy she’s never forgotten or gotten over.

He inhaled, and the familiar fruity smell of her shampoo misted his already hazy mind. Slowly, she lifted her chin, her nose tracing a line up his cheek. Then their lips found each other’s effortlessly, like magnets realigning.

Their reunion was not angst filled but it was certainly full of tension and emotion. It’s hard not to fall for Leo the very second he appears on the pages. The man is swoon with a capital S. Seriously. He doesn’t hide from his feelings or try to punish Georgia. He’s so incredibly pure with the depth of his emotion, that it practically jumps off the pages at you.

There’s plenty of tension from outside forces like the team coach and Georgia’s father and his mystery loathing and hate for Leo, Leo being the rookie to the team and trying to prove himself, and of course trying to deal with the event that led to the ultimate breaking point of their relationship.

As much as I love a good second chance romance, I have to admit that I did find myself a little bored in the first half. Leo was swoony and sweet, but alas I love my men with a little more edge to them, so while I was full, I wasn’t quite satisfied if that makes sense. The second half more than made up for the first and the story read a whole lot quicker. I was antsy to finally get the full reason about why the coach has it out for Leo and the progression of Leo and Georgia’s relationship really picked up while making me curious about the slew of other characters that were introduced like Silas, O’Doul, Becca, and Nate. I’m already salivating for their books….O’Doul especially.

So while this was a little tame for my tastes and so sweet it almost made my teeth ache at times, it also made perfect sense for this story. I could’t see it play out any other way. I loved the ending and while I wasn’t reading this with my usual devour pace, it was still a light and easy romance that I enjoyed quite a bit. It’s definitely the start of what looks to be a fantastic new series and I can’t wait for more.

Are super sweet heroes my thing? Not really. *ducks head in shame* But Leo made a believer out of me just this once.


BROOKLYN BRUISERS SERIES

ROOKIE MOVE (Brooklyn Bruisers #1)
GOODREADS | AMAZON

HARD HITTER (Brooklyn Bruisers #2) <– available January 3, 2017
GOODREADS | AMAZON

PIPE DREAMS (Brooklyn Bruisers #3) <– available May 2, 2017
GOODREADS | AMAZON

Review: ★The Final Move★ by Victoria Denault

Review-TFMThe Final Move
Series: Hometown Players #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Victoria Denault
Release Date: December 8, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

Denault_The Final Move_E-Book

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . . 

Buy LinksAmazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

Review2 Stars

Minor spoilers to follow, please don’t read my review if you don’t want to know. I’ll spoiler tag the big stuff.

I’ve been a huge fan of this series since One More Shot. The mix of angst and swoony romance just did it for me. And ever since I first met Devin Garrison in that book I’v been not so patiently waiting for his story.

As the calmer and more settled of the Garrison brothers, Devin was refreshingly different. Being married and a daddy also made him even more appealing. But the reader also got a peek into his life and began to understand that not everything in his marriage is quite as perfect as he’d like to make it appear. At first I assumed that Devin’s story would be more of marital issues than reconciliation with his wife, but after the events of Making a Play I realized that he’d be ending up with the other Caplan. After reading the preview in book 2 I have to admit that I was curious as to how this would play out. After finishing it? Well I kind of wish I could unread it, because it made me absolutely hate Callie and strongly dislike Devin in the process. *sigh* Where are those men in black when you need them?
I get what the author was trying to do with this story and while I appreciate her effort, it just didn’t pan out for me. Not even a little. Why?

Issue 1

Villinaize the wife as the catalyst.

Was this really necessary? Couldn’t it just be an “issue” they were dealing with and have them just fall out of love as they clearly were already well on the road for. Did she have to (Highlight to view spoiler)cheat (end spoiler)? I just didn’t find it necessary for the story. Sure, it served as the catalyst for Devin’s decisions, but it just felt like an easy way out.

Issue 2

Devin’s regression.

Oh boy. Where do I even start. So your wife (Highlight to view spoiler)cheats(End spoiler) on you, what do you do? Proceed to drink yourself stupid and have a one-night stand because…why? It felt like revenge and punishment more so than anything else. Hey, I was the perfect husband for so long, I need to slut it out now just to see how the other half lives. It didn’t make sense. And yes, I understand that he was hurting. But what he also was, was still married. Sure, I also get that this is a common occurrence and I shouldn’t judge. But do two wrongs really make a right? Considering how Devin has been for the past two books and always being the voice of reason, I wanted him to take the high road.

Issue 3
Callie.
Now I hate to name call, so I won’t. I also hate slut shaming, so I won’t. What I will say, is I absolutely hated her decisions and treatment of Devin for basically the entire book. One, she’s dated and flirted with his teammates. She proceeds to go on a date after her and Devin finally sleep together. Then there was her decision to go down on him after she finds him in the middle of a drunk hookup and throwing the woman out of the house they’re currently sharing. Also knowing how Devin is, her decision to continuously sleep with him but refuse anything more was downright infuriating. Considering everything Devin’s been through it was almost callous.

Issue 4
Did I mention that Devin is still technically married (though separated and no longer living with his wife) through all of this?
Again, I understand that this happens, and if this was any other character, I could have looked past it. But with Devin? No. I felt like he regressed and just wasn’t the Devin that I ultimately fell in love with throughout the series. I did not like him for a good 75% of this book.

Issue 5
And this is ultimately what lowered my rating even more. I felt zero, no connection between Callie and Devin. There wasn’t an undercurrent of sexual tension or longing throughout the series between them. Not even in this book did that come into play. It felt like they just ended up together because it was convenient and not because it was meant to be. I couldn’t connect to them as a couple. Hell, I didn’t believe in them as a couple. And what’s more, I didn’t like them as a couple.

Le sigh.

To say that I’m disappointed would be an understatement. I love this author, and I will definitely read any of her future work without a second thought. But sadly this book didn’t work for me at all. Maybe because I had such high hopes? Who knows. It is what it is, and I have a feeling this is just one of those books you’ll either understand and enjoy, or you won’t. I don’t see much middle ground here. But that’s just my opinion. Clearly I’m in the minority with my opinion so read it and judge for yourself.

★The Final Move★ spotlight & interview with author Victoria Denault

Spotlight-TFMThe Final Move
Series: Hometown Players #3
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Author: Victoria Denault
Release Date: December 8, 2015add-to-goodreads-button-2

Denault_The Final Move_E-Book

Hockey legend Devin Garrison thought he blew his shot. But his relationship with Callie Caplan just went into overtime.

Sexy, rich, and one of the biggest stars in the NHL, Devin Garrison has always been the one who had it all. That is until his marriage falls apart and he realizes he has to start over. If he’s honest, there has only been one woman who ever really excited him-Callie Caplan. They shared a night that was hotter than the late-summer sun, but in an instant-Callie was gone, pretending it never happened.

Callie Caplan isn’t the wild child people think she is. It’s true she’s avoided relationships, but only because she’s seen how crazy love can be. And her messy, imperfect life is crazy enough without opening her heart to a man-even one as picture perfect as Devin. But when fate brings them back together-just as they need each other most-Devin is determined to convince Callie that what she’s feeling is real. And this final play may be their chance at forever . . . 

Buy LinksAmazon / B&N / iBooks / GooglePlay / Kobo / BAM

Author Interview

I’m so excited to have Victoria Denault on DGR today and she’ll be answering all my questions about her Hometown Players series, The Final Move and what’s to come next!

Hi Victoria! Thanks so much for stopping by DGR today!

DGR: Can we start by having you introduce yourself?

Victoria: Hi! I’m Victoria Denault very happy to chat with you. I’m the author of the Hometown Players series. I’m Canadian but I live in Los Angeles with my husband and our two chubby Chihuahuas who like to try and lie on my laptop while I write. LOL

DGR: Now can you introduce your Hometown Players series to those that may not have read it yet?

Victoria:  Hometown Players started off as an idea about three essentially orphaned sisters who, in their twenties, have to go back to the small town in Maine when the cold-hearted grandmother who raised them passes away. Heading back to Silver Bay has them reconnecting with their childhood best friends – the Garrison brothers and their friend Luc Richard and it reignites a whole lot of unresolved feelings towards these boys (now men).

DGR: Was One More Shot your debut novel? And what inspired you to write it?

Victoria: Yes, One More Shot was my debut. I wrote it several years before I tried to have it published. I have always dabbled in creative writing, and was an avid romance reader. I’ve also always been a hockey fan. Those passions collided when I watched the first HBO Road to the Winter Classic series. It was the first time I saw an in-depth glimpse of hockey players lives off the ice – the small towns they came from, their families’ sacrifices and commitment, etc. – and I thought, this kind of lifestyle would make a great background for a romantic story. That’s when Jordan and Jessie’s story started to grow in my head.

DGR: You write about some sinfully hot hockey players, is it safe to assume you’re a fan of the sport?

Victoria: I adore hockey. I was born and raised in Montreal where hockey is a religion and so I’ve been a fan since I was young. But I don’t have loyalty to one specific team. I have favorite players I follow and they are on a variety of teams so I cheer all of them. For example Jeff Carter (LA Kings), Kris Letang (Pittsburg Penguins), Carey Price (Canadiens), Alex Burrows (Canucks), Jordan Staal (Carolina Hurricanes). When they play each other it’s kind of like a game of Survivor in my head and I have to vote one of them off (temporarily). It annoys people that I cheer multiple teams, but oh well.

DGR: Did you have a favorite book to write in the Hometown Players series?

Victoria: Each one was my favorite until I wrote the next and then that was my favorite. The Final Move was the easiest to write. Callie’s boldness and snarky attitude came easily. 🙂

DGR: If you had to pick your favorite scene out of any of the three books, which would it be?

Victoria: Oh boy… just one scene? I have favorites in all the books but if I had to pick just one it would be Callie kicking out Devin’s random hook-up. I like the humor in it, when the hook-up assumes she’s the wife, and I love the passionate fight between Devin and Callie and, of course, the resulting shower scene.

DGR: You write some delicious angst, but I think that Devin Garrison’s book was probably the angstiest for me. Was his book difficult for you to write?

Victoria: It was. I wanted to make sure Devin took time to really move on from Ashleigh, emotionally. I didn’t want him to just jump to Callie because I didn’t want anyone to see her as a rebound. But at the same time, it’s a book with only so many pages, and I needed to get them together, I mean that’s the point? LOL. I struggled a little with that balance – letting him move on without rushing it but still keeping the story moving.

DGR: If you had to describe Devin in 5 words, what would they be?

Victoria: Driven. Proud. Passionate. Loyal. Sexy.

DGR: Callie Caplan is one tough cookie. Out of the three Caplan sisters she’s always come across as the toughest. But she also has some inner demons that she tries desperately to hide, doesn’t she?

Victoria: Oh yeah! Of the three sisters Callie is the one who latched onto the worst possible coping mechanism to deal their childhood trauma. She put a protective shell around herself and tried to be a protective shell for her sisters. She honestly feels that she can never open her heart up because she can’t risk being hurt because her sisters have risked it – and one of them needs to keep their heart in once piece. The idea of letting someone in after all the people who have abandoned her in the past is more terrifying than death for Callie.

DGR: Did you always know that you’d have Devin and Callie end up together?

Victoria: Honestly, no. I thought One More Shot was a one-off novel and that Callie, Rose, Luc and Devin were just supporting characters. But halfway through One More Shot, I realized Rose and Luc’s story needed to be told. And as soon as I started their story I knew that a book about Callie had to happen – ripping down her defenses would be so much fun. I didn’t want to introduce a new person for Callie and Devin was the only Hometown boy who would have the strength to knock down her walls. Plus, I could give him an issue (his wife cheating/marriage ending) that Callie could help him through because Callie lives for helping/protecting her loved ones.

DGR: What was the most difficult part for you to write in The Final Move?

Victoria: Writing the end of Devin’s marriage. Even though Ashleigh cheated I wanted the real reason the marriage fell apart to be about more than that. I don’t know how the hockey lifestyle, with the extended absences and raising kids essentially alone, affects a marriage first hand so I did a lot of research on that. There are blogs and articles written by hockey wives that talk about it which were helpful.

DGR: And how about the most favorite?

Victoria: Any scene with Devin and Conner. I don’t have kids and I didn’t think I would really enjoy writing a child but I loved writing scenes between Devin and Conner, like when Devin tries to explain how Callie will live with them now.

DGR: Now that the Caplan girls are all paired up, and the Garrison brothers all seem to be settled, what’s up next? Any chance the sexy Sebastian may be getting a book?

Victoria: Sebastian should get a book, shouldn’t he? He’s so much fun! I can’t confirm anything yet, but there may be more Hometown Player books coming in 2016.

DGR: Anything you’d like to leave the readers with?

Victoria: A giant heartfelt thank you. I am so happy with the reaction to this series! It’s been a dream come true. And I fully intend to give you some more angsty, hockey romance so stay tuned…

About the Author

VictoriaDenault_Mary Costa Photography

Victoria Denault loves long walks on the beach, cinnamon dolce lattes and writing angst-filled romance. She lives in LA but grew up in Montreal, which is why she is fluent in English, French and hockey.

Copyright © 2015 · Dirty Girl Romance

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