Tag «football»

Fresh Fridays: Ball Buster (The Playbook #1) by Kara Sheridan

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

The Playbook Series

Other books planned to be in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Ball Buster (from Goodreads):

Playbook Rule #1: Never ever give up

It’s official. The Alabama Warriors have the worst reputation in pro football. As the team’s captain, Carson Savage has his ass on the line and – thanks to a leaked photo – his ass is also online. Now the team is getting an image makeover from Sadie Reynolds, the hottest redhead in the South and Carson’s high school sweetheart. Maybe making a play for his sexy ex is a risky move… but Carson didn’t make it this far by playing it safe.

Alabama is the last place in the world Sadie wants to be. Going home again only reminds her of what – and who – she gave up. Seeing the insanely hot ex she never quite forgot is dangerous. Carson’s too sexy. Too tempting. And Sadie can’t afford to go out of bounds. So she’ll do whatever it takes to finish this job and leave town with her heart still intact. The only problem? Carson’s decided it’s not about winning the game… it’s about winning the girl.

breakdown

Series: The Playbook
Author: Kara Sheridan
# of Books: 3 (Ball Buster, Tight End, Big Jock)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, Tight End is to be released December 2018
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Second Chance
Heat Rating: Hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: May 15, 2018 – ongoing
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC  |  Thank you Forever Yours!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I found Ball Buster as a Read Now title on Netgalley a few months ago and was drawn in by the cover. I’m a sucker for a good sports story and I’ve had great success with the genre in the past.

Ball Buster had me hooked with its synopsis. I love stories filled with unresolved tension and Carson and Sadie seemed like that had a lot of it. Not only are they high school sweethearts but you’ve got the forbidden-ness that comes from a client and PR agent romance.

What I Liked:

–The Physical Chemistry–

I mean these two can hardly be in the same vicinity as each other before they start making love on any surface. But the many sex scenes we get were not overly repetitive–which is hard to do–so I appreciated that.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Dramatic, Romantic and Character Development Cut Short–

For me, this story lacked the plot and character depth I crave my from second chance romances. When it comes to second chance romances I really need to see the proof of why these two need to reunite despite everything that has torn them apart. And while these two had great physical chemistry, I wasn’t sold on the emotional connection between them.

Any development in this story, whether it be character, romantic or drama, was cut short in order to watch these two spontaneously make love on whatever surface is near by. We’d finally see them start to work out their differences and problems of the past and we would lose all that progress. I’m not saying the physical aspects aren’t important in their relationship–I just needed more than that to see why these two haven’t been able to move on in 7 years with other people.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

Since no one in particular stood out to me, I’m not going to be picking up the sequels.

My Rating: DNF

Ball Buster 2/5 | Tight End N/A | Big Jock N/A

overall

This book was just “meh” to me. Those who like second chance sports stories that stay par for the course will likely enjoy this but for more seasoned readers who want more surprises and deeper characters will need to look elsewhere.

Read if You Like: second chances, light reads, sexy times
Avoid if You: want more character depth
similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Series Review: Freedom by Bella d’Amour

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Freedom Series

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Free to Play (from Goodreads):

He’s a player and she’s ready to play… but what happens when the fun gets serious?

“Brent, will you be my first?”

Joey is mortified to face Brent the next morning after letting the question slip in a weak moment. She’s shocked when Brent not only agrees but proposes a friends with benefits arrangement. How can she accept when it threatens what’s most important to her: her friendship with his sister, her new job with his football team, her self-respect when an ex-girlfriend is suddenly back in the picture – and her heart?

After years of working hard to fulfill his responsibilities, Brent is finally enjoying his life – with women who want nothing more than a good time. But when Joey asks him to be her first lover, he can’t resist finally getting his hands on her luscious body, one he’d been lusting after for years. Only problem is, once isn’t enough. He’s not ready to give up his hard-earned freedom nor is he ready for a woman to invade his life – or his heart. When demons from his past come back to haunt him, will he let them ruin what he’s found with Joey?

breakdown

Series: Freedom Series
Author: Bella d’Amour
# of Books: 2 (Free to Play, Free to Live)
Book Order: Companion
Complete?: No
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 27, 2017 – ongoing
Source & Format: Author–eARC | Thanks so much Bella d’Amour!

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m a sucker for the “in love with BFF’s brother trope”. I just love all the delicious tension it brings when two people inevitabley fall for each other (if they aren’t secretly in love with the other person already). I wasn’t sure what the case was going to be here, but I was excited to dive into Free to Play.

What I Liked:

–Fantastic Chemistry–

These two had great chemistry from the start! Their attraction to each other is palpable and I loved every moment shared between them. They make such a great pair and part of the reason is that:

–They Actually Talked to Each Other!–

Don’t worry, there are plenty of steamy moments between the two of them. However, they had these great moments of conversation where they discussed their hopes and fears among other topics. I like seeing that emotional connection be established in my romances and this one succeeds beautifully.

–Building Joey’s Self-Esteem–

I love stories where the heroine learns to be confident in herself. Sometimes that’s hard to do in a romance because all too often, the heroine only become more independent by becoming dependent on the hero/their relationship. (I know that’s confusing but I hope you get what I am saying). And while Brent does help Joey build her self-esteem when it comes to her body image, I would say he is a vehicle for her start to see herself in a different light, not the sole reason. He helps her to see herself outside the stereotypes she’s boxed herself into and once that seed is planted, she learns to grow on her own. I loved that.

This isn’t to say that Brent doesn’t have great character development. He too goes on a journey where he grows up and figures out what is truly important in his life and I liked that a lot.

What I Didn’t Like:

–A Tad Too Dramatic Near the End–

I get why certain things happened at the end. They help enhance the lessons of the novel and that’s great. But this novel felt so grounded for so long that I didn’t entirely enjoy all the (slightly) over the top drama that occurs. Again, I know why everything happens as it does, I just wish it didn’t.

However, we have more than enough time to wrap everything up nicely so win!

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m super excited for the sequel! I loved Brent’s family and I hope they become the focus of the sequel novels. I already have a hypothesis of who the next book involves so I can’t wait to see if I’m right!

updates

–April 15, 2018– Book #2: Free to Live

I had my suspicions about who the leads for book 2 would be and I was not disappointed!

Despite the quick initial spark with these two shared, I loved the slow burn of this romance. It gave the romance an edge of anticipation knowing that they had crossed the line but were holding back despite their every need not to. I loved watching these two get to know each other and breakdown those barriers that they had erected in the past to stop the pain of falling in love only to be hurt later.

In this story, I think it’s our hero who gets more time to shine but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. He definitely had the more convoluted history and I enjoyed the mystery of uncovering that past so he could move forward. I would have liked to have seen a little more from the heroine in terms of development, but I think she was a great compliment to our hero’s story.

We get just a taste of what the future might hold in terms of possible sequels and I know that I’m definitely sticking around to see what will happen next!

My Rating: 4/5

Free to Play 4/5 | Free to Live 4/5

overall

If you love character-strong romances, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: sport romances, heroines building self-esteem
Avoid if You: dislike steamier reads, dislike contemporary romance

similarreads

readingchallenges

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Single Sundays: Offsetting Penalties by Ally Mathews

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Offsetting Penalties (from Goodreads):

Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fave YA Contemporary 2017
Author: Ally Mathews
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Dance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: November 6, 2017
Source & Format: Netgalley–eARC | Thanks Entangled Teen Crush!

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

When I saw the premise for this novel, I just had to read it! You see, the book that introduced me to the New Adult genre, Crash, featured a football player and a ballerina meeting and falling in love. One of my favourite tropes in romance is when two unlikely people meet and fall in love and this one fit the bill. Throw in a little blackmail, tights and a goth, this is a wicked combination that seemed like it would be both fun and heartwarming at the same time.

The Plot:


I had so much fun reading this book! Not only are Izzy and Garret charming characters but the plot was fun and definitely adorable. I found myself sucked into this book and easily could have finished it in one sitting if I didn’t have to go to work.

What I liked about this book is that it had a great flow and plot progression. It had that great balance between plot development, character growth and sweet, romantic moments. The evolution of Izzy and Garret’s relationship was awesome to watch.

The Characters:

I loved Izzy and Garret from the start. Individually, these two are genuine people who you can’t help but love. They aren’t over-dramatic or angsty teenagers; they react in the rational ways to the various situations they find themselves in. Their characters could easily have been a cliche but they had this edge of individuality to their presentation that separates them from what you expect.

The Romance:

Together, these two are positively adorable! They have fantastic banter and chemistry from the start. The romance had a bit of a slow burn aspect to it as they two take their time to get to know each other a little more. I loved watching them establish that deeper connection.

A big positive for me was the fact that the romance doesn’t cause them to lose their individuality. I like when couples bring out the best in each other and this one succeeds in that aspect without a doubt. This relationship doesn’t consume them and they don’t lose sight over what they want or need.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

If you’re looking for a cute contemporary romance about two unlikely teens falling in love while aspiring to make their dreams come true, I highly recommend this book! You will easily get sucked into Izzy and Garret’s story.

Read if You Like: YA contemporary, enemies to lovers, high school romances
Avoid if You: dislike YA contemporary, don’t enjoy sport/dance stories

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Wall of Winnipeg and Me (from Goodreads):
Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Adult Contemporary 2016
Author: Mariana Zapata
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: February 29, 2016
Source & Format: Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I first came across this book when reading Sils’ guest post @ Dani Review Things in August 2016 when she was discussing her favourite NA Romance Tropes. Like me, Sil shares a love of fake marriages/relationships in her NA reads and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me was her pick for this trope.

I had never heard of this book before despite the fact that it has the Canadian city of Winnipeg in the title (not many things do) and it would have probably never crossed my radar otherwise. I mean, the synopsis doesn’t tell you that they create a fake relationship–and telling you that isn’t a spoiler because it is the main plot point in this very long novel–so I would never have known.

Regardless, this one peaked my interest and when I accidentally resubscribed to Kindle Unlimited, I needed to make my mistake worth it and decided to use this novel to get my money’s worth. And I sure am glad I did!

Is it Adult Contemporary or New Adult Contemporary?

Ok, Sil listed this as a New Adult read and I can see why. It reads very much like a New Adult read in terms of the character conflicts and stories (both have some darker backstories).

But for me, this is an adult read with some NA qualities. My primary characteristic for Adult/New Adult/Young Adult classification is the age of the characters; my secondary “requirement” for NA classification is whether or not it takes place in or shortly after college. In the case of The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, Vanessa is 26 and has been out of school for a couple of years. I usually classify anything with the youngest lead above the age of 25 as adult and because she is out of school, that just reaffirms that for me.

Nevertheless, this book with appeal to fans of both adult contemporary and NA contemporary.

The Plot:

I think this is one of the longest romance novels I have ever read! The Kindle edition is just a little more than 600 pages–that’s crazy! Most Kindle reads average 200-300 pages; especially in the romance genre.

But surprisingly, this book didn’t really feel that long! It has such a constant pacing that it makes it really easy to read and get involved in the story. New plot points or events are added along the way that keeps everything fresh and the plot moving.

The Characters:

The characters really make this story I think. I really got addicted to seeing how these two interacted with each other. Vanessa was strong and determined; Aiden you just instantly love and want to see succeed.

But what I truly enjoyed about these characters was their growth. These two are flawed in their own ways but what was fantastic was watching these flaws transform. Vanessa and Aiden both evolve so much from the start to the end of the novel. But at the same time, they still remain the same characters underneath. Meaning they don’t become these unrecognizable characters; they just become better versions of themselves thanks to each other.

The Romance:

If you want an example of a slow burn romance, this novel is the very definition of that trope!

As someone who complains a lot about romances being underdeveloped in stories (more tell than show nowadays it seems), this book was uber refreshing. It was great watching these two slowly develop their relationship. It wasn’t focused on the sex or the passion; it focused on the partnership and friendship which is always important in establishing a believable relationship.

These two learn to love and support each other; and I just love when people finally see what has been in front of them the entire time.

My Rating: 4.5/5

overall

This is the perfect read for adult contemporary enthusiasts who want a taste of a New Adult romance. And if you want to experience a true slow burn romance–look no further!

Read if You Like: slow burn romance, sports, New Adult romance
Avoid if You: want a quick read

similarreads

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Rixton Falls by Winter Renshaw

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Royal (from Goodreads):
His name is Royal, but he’s no prince charming. He’s not even a prince – though you could say I loved him once upon a time.

He was my older brother’s best friend.

Growing up, he sat at our dinner table every Sunday, teased me mercilessly, and pretended I annoyed him.

When I was old enough, he took me on my first date.

Royal taught me how to drive. Escorted me to my junior prom. Gave me my first kiss…amongst other things. He was my first taste of toe-curling, all-consuming, can’t-sleep love.

We had our whole lives ahead of us. There was never anyone else for me but him.

And then he disappeared. No letter. No explanation. Not even a goodbye.

My sisters and brother never forgave him, and my parents forbade me from speaking his name in our house ever again. For all intents and purposes, we were to pretend Royal Lockhart never existed.

I’ve spent the last seven years trying in vain to forget my first love, but just when I think I’ve finally moved on, guess who’s back in town?

breakdown

Series: Rixton Falls

This series crosses over with the Amato Brothers Series in Priceless.

Author: Winter Renshaw
# of Books: 3 (Royal, Bachelor, Filthy)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Drama
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February – June 2016
Source & Format: Own & Kindle Unlimited–eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I bought Royal after seeing it listed as an Amazon Bestseller one day when I was browsing the freebie section. Of course, the cover drew me in but the synopsis listed one of my favourite romantic tropes: in love with brother’s BFF. Forbidden love is my kryptonite! Especially when it is a second chance romance that promises a juicy secret for why these two have been separated for all these years!

The Plot:

My only peeve with the drama of this series was how quickly certain things are resolved. The drama isn’t overly complex but even then, I felt like things don’t get expanded upon enough and things are finished nearly as soon as they are introduced.

Especially in Royal where there has been 7 years of bad tension and feelings; certain plot points seemed to be brushed over and not expanded upon. I just expected these characters to have a bit more of a grudge or at the very least, some damaged feelings that need more than a handshake to fully resolve.

But on a positive note, it was nice to have straightforward–and understandable–drama. I didn’t feel like anything was added just for shock factor nor did things come out of left field. Everything follows a nice progression even if its resolution wasn’t for me.

The Characters:

I feel like Royal has the best characters in terms of uncovering their many layers. We actually get to learn more about these two because of their backstory together at the start of the book. I just felt like I knew these two better than the rest of the leads in the other novels.

For the most part, we just scratch the surface with the other leads. And you know what, it works for their stories for the most part. I would have liked a little more elaboration but I was satisfied with what we were given.

The Romance:

Royal I think had the best romance because they already had an established relationship. It was easy to see why these two liked each other. It was the same situation with Filthy as well.

The reason I downgraded Bachelor to a 3/5 was because the romance was almost insta-love. I just needed to a little more to convince me these two got each other on a deeper level because everything happens so fast.

Series Rating: 4/5

Royal 4/5 | Bachelor 3/5 | Filthy 4/5

overall

If you want a quick and romantic read with just the right amount of drama and likeable characters, this trilogy makes for the perfect weekend series read to binge on!

Read if You Like: forbidden romance, new adult romance, drama
Avoid if You: dislike drama
similarreads

readingchallengesbook

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Series Review: Players by Mackenzie Crowne

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for To Win Her Love (from Goodreads):
To win the game, they’ll have to risk losing their hearts…

When a bizarre child custody stipulation pits popular sports blogger Gracie Gable against football superstar Jake Malone, losing the battle for her twin nieces isn’t the only thing Gracie has to worry about. Forced to live for three months under the same roof as the sexy tight end, will she fall prey to his flirtatious pursuit? Or worse, will the skeletons in her closet destroy her chance for the love and family she so desperately wants?

Neglected by his parents as a boy, Jake doesn’t believe in happily ever after. Yet living with Gracie and the twins might be enough to change his mind—and his womanizing ways. But when the press unearths a scandal from Gracie’s past, will he lose the one woman he was ready to open his heart to?

breakdown

Series: Players Trilogy
Author: Mackenzie Crowne
# of Books: 3 (To Win Her Love, To Win Her Trust, To Win Her Heart)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Sports
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: August 2015 – April 2016
Source & Format: Own–eBook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I read To Win Her Love in its entirety but opted not to pick up the next 2 novels in the series. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I don’t recall how I found this series. I think Kobo had a sale and I saw the cover and decided to check it out. I adore stories where two people who initially dislike each other fall in love so that’s what drew me in. However, the premise of a custody battle sounded like a refreshing one I haven’t come across in a contemporary romance before.

Sure, the premise is a lot like the plot for the 2010 movie Life as we Know It where a single guy and girl find themselves the unexpected guardians of their best friends young baby. But the circumstances in this novel greatly differ and I liked the bigger sports spin this novel had.

photography kid romance lovely josh duhamel

What I Liked:

–The Premise–

Like I just said above, the premise was what really drew me to this novel. I thought it was a lot of fun even if it is a touch realistic. I mean why is the decision left to two 6 year old girls to decide who their guardian should be? I remember how wish-washy I was when I was 6 about what candy I wanted–a life altering decision like guardianship shouldn’t be left in a child’s hand even if I appreciate the sentiment.

But I liked that this story was about these two coming together to create a family and finding out what they want in life. They had some really cute moments with the kids that absolutely melted my heart.

–Gracie Knows Football–

I find the heroines in sports novels usually know nothing–or next to nothing–about the sport of their romantic interest. Every once in a while you’ll get a girl who is in touch with her sporty side and understands the world but it’s not a common occurrence. I loved that not only did Gracie understand football but that she actually works as a blogging analyst on football. Awesome.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Third Person POV–

When it comes to my romances, I prefer first person POVs. I just like getting that insight into a character by being directly in their head. I feel so far removed from characters when they are presented in third person. And while I appreciate the fact that it being third person keeps some of the secrets these characters have as secrets, I also found it hard to follow at times. I get a little out of practice with third person reads sometimes because I mostly read first person.

–Slow Moving Plot–

I would classify this romance as a slow burn romance for sure. And normally I don’t mind that because it gives these characters time to get to know each other in a more meaningful way besides sex. But here, I didn’t think that was the case. I wanted their connection to be elaborated on more, especially earlier in the novel when the plot focused more on setting up the circumstances of getting these two together. Which was rather slow in my opinion.

Will I Finish It?

While I enjoyed To Win Her Love, the next two stories don’t really interest me so it’s a pass.

Series Rating: 3/5

To Win Her Love 3/5 | To Win Her Trust N/A | To Win Her Heart N/A

overall

This is a cute story but I just wanted a little more from it.

Read if You Like: sports, family based stories, slow burn romance
Avoid if You: dislike third person stories, want erotica

similarreads

  • The Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick (The Jackson Boys #1)
  • Game for Love by Bella Andre (Bad Boys of Football Trilogy #3)
  • Rush Me by Allison Parr (New York Leopards Series #1)

readingchallengesbook

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Single Sundays: Rewind to You by Laura Johnston

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Rewind to You (from Goodreads):
Wish You Were Here

One last summer before college on beautiful Tybee Island is supposed to help Sienna forget. But how can she? This is where her family spent every summer before everything changed, before the world as she knew it was ripped away.

But the past isn’t easily left behind. Especially when Sienna keeps having episodes that take her back to the night she wants to forget. Even when she meets the mysterious Austin Dobbs, the guy with the intense blue eyes, athlete’s body, and weakness for pralines who scooped her out of trouble when she blacked out on River Street.

When she’s with Austin, Sienna feels a whole new world opening up to her. Austin has secrets, and she has history. But caught between the past and the future, Sienna can still choose what happens now…

Review:

I came across this book completely by accident when I was browsing eBooks from my public library and I’m glad that I took a chance on it and picked it up.

This book has so many layers to it that it’s hard to decide where to start. When I first grabbed this book, I thought it was going to be more New Adult in nature, and to a degree it is, but it is missing the sexual content that often accompanies New Adult reads. I suppose it is just an issue of semantics and what the definition “New Adult” means to you. To me, it means collage students who deal with heavier topics and have sex with their romantic lead. But, I’ve read a lot of “New Adult-like” books that have characters in high school who also deal with heavier subject matter but lack the sex-focus. Anyways…this book straddles the line between Young Adult and New Adult but I would say it leans more towards New Adult than it does towards a Sarah Dessen novel.

One thing I really loved about this book was the character development. When we meet the characters, they are already well developed and complete characters; but as the book progresses their layers really get revealed and that’s what drove the story for me. Laura Johnston did a great job writing this book and I loved how it never seemed to follow a formula in its presentation. When Austin’s story needed to be the focus, we got multiple chapters of him in a row and vice versa.

Another thing I loved was that there was a lot going on in each character’s life. It wasn’t focused on just Sienna with a little bit of a side story for Austin. I felt like it was really well balanced and both characters complemented each other very well.

My only disappointment with the book was that it felt a little too “love-at-first-sight”. It wasn’t really in the grand scheme of things–and I really don’t want it to deter you from reading this if you don’t like love-at-first-sight novels–but it was an element that wasn’t my favourite part of the story. However, unlike most love-at-first-sight novels I really felt like these characters had a connection that simply wasn’t lust and that was super refreshing.

Conclusion:

It was a very refreshing read and very well written; one of my favourite reads this year. If you want a book that is heavy on the dark drama that is often found in New Adult reads but without all the sex, this is a great book for you to grab!

Rating: 4/5
Would I Recommend this Book to a Friend: Yes

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Romance, Tragedy, Coming of Age, Mental Health
Recommended for: 18+
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Standalone 2014
Similar Reads: Kiss the Tiger by Raquel Lyon and Breathe Into Me by Sara Fawkes

Series Review: Rusk University by Cora Carmack

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Rusk University Series

Other books in the series:
book4 book5

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Author
Series: Rusk University Trilogy
Author: Cora Cormack
# of Books: 5 (All Lined Up, All Broke Down, All Played Up, All Closed Off,TBD)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: No, All Closed Off will be published in the near future
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Football, Coming of Age, University Life, The South
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

I loved Cora Cormack’s Losing It Trilogy and when I read the synopsis for All Lined Up, I knew I had to read it!

All Lined Up really reminded me of Losing It. Both follow a similar set up but I think All Lined Up improves upon my complaint that we didn’t get to see much of the relationship develop between the two leads. It definitely gets more of a focus here but it isn’t the only thing the book is about. What I really love about Cormack’s New Adult reads is that each lead character develops independently throughout the novel. They don’t become this person who relies so much on their significant other that it gets to the point of becoming nauseating to me. This book is just as much a coming of age novel as it is a romance.

I found All Lined Up to be a super quick and fun read. I loved the chemistry between Dallas and Carson–it was there from beginning to end. Dallas was a smart heroine who also had her funny moments as well. I really loved that she didn’t create senseless drama by jumping to conclusions (which is a very rare find in New Adult novels that are set in The South and/or deal with football players). They were both also very real characters and I think that most readers can identify in some capacity to each other them one way or another.

The only thing really lacking for me was a dramatic plot line–and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I was just expecting more drama based on the assumptions I drew from the synopsis. Instead, this book focuses on the growth of the characters instead of petty drama which is rather refreshing when I look back on it.

I’m surprised at who the hero is in the next novel, All Broke Down, but nevertheless I am super excited to read it! I hope that the third book, All Played Out focuses on two characters introduced in All Lined Up (Though NewsFlash, it doesn’t!). Regardless, I will be picking both of these books up!

updates

–December 5, 2015–Book 2: All Broke Down

I just finished All Broke Down and I have to say, I enjoyed it more than All Lined Up by just a smidgen. While the feelings for the two leads progressed more quickly than I normally like (not quite love at first sight but more insta-connection) I really felt like they were a good pair. The sexual tension was even better than All Lined Up and I loved watching everything unfolding. Before I new it I was halfway through the book and just kept plowing through it. While I feel like some things were left a little unresolved, it wasn’t enough to truly upset me and I have a feeling the next book will help wrap everything up.

Again, I’m surprised at who the leads are for All Played Up but given what we have seen of them so far and the plot synopsis, it promises to be a very fun and sexy ride. There is one particular character that I hope we get to see more of but I’m not sure if we will given the fact that the initial deal for this series was 3 books. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get something because I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants her story to be told 😉

–September 6, 2015– Book 3: All Played Out

I was really excited to read this one and after a few failed attempts at the library checkout system , I FINALLY got my hands on a copy!

All Played Out was exactly what I expected: a sexy but heartwarming read. The leads had fantastic chemistry together–both physical and emotional–so it made for a really easy read. So easy in fact that I stayed on the couch all day to finish it.


It’s my favourite of the series…so far…

As it turns out, this series has been extended to include at least 5 books which is fantastic! That means the particular character I wanted to read about will get their own book! It is the next book to be published as well so I simply CANNOT WAIT! I’ve been looking forward to the story we are about to get in All Closed Off since All Lined Up so this has been a long time coming!

Series Rating: 4/5

All Lined Up 4/5 | All Broke Down 4/5 | All Played Out 5/5

overall

Cora Cormack fans will love this new series as will fans of football themed New Adult novels. A quick, fun and romantic series that has that dash of reality that is often rare in this genre. For those who like New Adult novels that focus more on the coming of age aspect of the genre, this is a great one to pick up.

Read if You Like: coming of age, realistic New Adult, football
Avoid if You: dislike New Adult

similarreads

  • Crash by Nicole Williams (Crash Trilogy #1)
  • Losing It by Cora Cormack (Losing It Trilogy #1)
  • The List by Kate L Mary (College of Charleston Series #1)

    Synopsis for All Lined Up (from Goodreads):
    In Texas, two things are cherished above all else—football and gossip. My life has always been ruled by both.

    Dallas Cole loathes football. That’s what happens when you spend your whole childhood coming in second to a sport. College is her time to step out of the bleachers, and put the playing field (and the players) in her past.

    But life doesn’t always go as planned. As if going to the same college as her football star ex wasn’t bad enough, her father, a Texas high school coaching phenom, has decided to make the jump to college ball… as the new head coach at Rusk University. Dallas finds herself in the shadows of her father and football all over again.

    Carson McClain is determined to go from second-string quarterback to the starting line-up. He needs the scholarship and the future that football provides. But when a beautiful redhead literally falls into his life, his focus is more than tested. It’s obliterated.

    Dallas doesn’t know Carson is on the team. Carson doesn’t know that Dallas is his new coach’s daughter.

    And neither of them know how to walk away from the attraction they feel.

    readingchallenges

    book

    recapbutton

    connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

    catchphrase

Series Review: Bad Boys of Football by Bella Andre

Series: Bad Boys of Football
Author: Bella Andre
# of Books: 3 (Game for Love, Game for Seduction, Game for Anything)
Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Sports, Erotica, Chick Lit
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

Thoughts:

After a rocky start with the Sullivan Series, I eventually decided to check out some of Bella Andre’s other series. For the most part, the series have been hit or miss but this was one of the first that I read and I enjoyed them overall.

The books are nothing overly special as they all follow a similar formula for a contemporary romance for women. Game for Love has an “arranged” marriage; Game for Seduction is about a young girl liking an older man for years; and Game for Anything is about a second chance at a high school love. So in that aspect, it wasn’t anything new but I wasn’t really expecting anything new either.

After reading a few of Ms. Andre’s books I have discovered that she too has a formula for her writing. Most of the romances are based off an instant-connection/love-at-first-sight romance which isn’t always my favourite plotline. But I find the sexual tension is always great in her stories. There is definitely a lot more sex than really needed too and when the books are shorter like these ones are, it can be a little too much at times. One of my biggest peeves with her books though are her rushed endings. I find too much time is spent on the erotica bits that the actual plot gets pushed to the side and then is resolved within a few pages. I really hate rushed endings so I am always disappointed in that aspect.

Conclusion:

For readers who want a quick romantic read featuring celebrity sportsmen–this is a good series for you to grab. They aren’t too big on the plot so if you want a steamier contemporary read without BDSM and other kinkiness, this is a good one to get.

Rating: 4/5

Similar Reads: The Look of Love by Bella Andre (The Sullivans #1) and The Marriage Bargain by Jennifer Probst (Marriage to a Billionaire Series #1)

Synopsis for Game For Love (from Goodreads):
In a relationship built on lies…the only truth is their feelings for each other.

To fulfill his grandmother’s dying wish, linebacker Cole Taylor must find and marry a good girl. First grade teacher Anna Davis fits the bill perfectly. Their deal is simple: If she’ll be his temporary wife, he’ll give her more pleasure than she ever imagined was possible.

Only, love is the ultimate game-changer.

Series Review: Infinity by Layne Harper

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Infinity Series

book2 book3 book4

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Most Annoying Couple 2014, Least Favourite Read (Falling into Infinity) 2014
Series: Infinity Series
Author: Layne Harper
# of Books: 4 (Falling into Infinity, From Now Until Infinity, Finding Infinity, Infinity.)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Sports, Romance, Drama, Contemporary
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts on Falling Into Infinity:

PLEASE NOTE: That I did not finish the 2nd book in the series, From Now Until Infinity. Read why below…

I was SUPER excited to see this book on Amazon for free one day. It had been on my to-buy list for a very long time and it wasn’t available on Kobo so that made my day when I saw it on the Top 100 Free Reads.

Having just finished the Crash Trilogy, I was looking for something to fill the hole in my New Adult loving heart. To me, the Crash Series is the standard I compare all other New Adult books that have a sports theme to because it was the first one I read and it is one of the best that I have read. So this series seemed to fit the bill perfectly–and even better was the fact that it started right when they were in college!

I thought this book would start from the beginning of their relationship. I thought I would get to see them fall in love and the first book would end the typical way these books do: with a cliff-hanger and them at an impasse in their relationship. But that is NOT what I got at all. What we actually get is alternating flashback chapters about how the two met and got to the current point in their relationship. It was an interesting way to do it and it made me want to keep reading the book to see what happens next; but, I would have liked to have read the book all in order of the sequence of events because I think it would have let me fall in love with the characters.

Charlie was not what I expected either. I thought I would like her; that she would be a strong lead but she was a hard person to like at times (i.e. practically always). She was annoying, selfish and very immature. I didn’t get her thought process and I had a hard time respecting some of her decisions and actions. She just didn’t do it for me and because the story is told from her POV it was hard to read at times; especially when I was rolling my eyes at her.

Colin…sigh…he was a disappointment too. He started so charming and likeable. I felt so sorry for him that he was stuck with a girl like Charlie and I was confused about what he saw in her. But eventually I came to dislike him too. He also turned a little too alpha-male–which turned me off. I actually felt a little disturbed reading this story at times because their relationship was very unhealthy to me. About halfway through I thought we were going to get a relationship-gone-bad type of story because it got a little intense and not in a good, romantic, happy fun-times type of way.

I actually managed to finish Falling Into Infinity despite wanting to give up on it a few times. And at the time I was glad because it seemed like the story was going to get a lot more interesting based on the way it ended. Believe it or not, I was a little excited to see where From Now Until Infinity was going to take us. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stomach Charlie and Colin for more than a few chapters. It was boring, I still didn’t like the characters and I had other books I wanted to read so I put it and the rest of the books at the bottom of my to-read list.

Conclusion:

Knowing that there is a FOURTH book in this series made me glad I stopped reading because I wouldn’t want to feel obligated to read a series I have no interest in but feel the need to finish. This series just didn’t do it for me and it’s a shame because it had all the great makings. But alas, the plot was under utilized making the book slow, the characters came across as self-centred teenagers and everything is slightly overdramatic. Some people might enjoy the slower overdramatic plot but others will not.

Rating: 2/5

Similar Reads: Crash by Nicole Williams (Crash Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Falling Into Infinity (from Goodreads):
Pre-med student Caroline “Charlie” Collins, a sophomore at Texas A&M, knows exactly what she wants in life and the order that it will happen: finish college, complete medical school, and then fall in love. A chance meeting with A&M’s star quarterback Colin McKinney changes everything. A friendship between the two grows over time and blossoms into a powerful love affair. Charlie and Colin must learn to cope with his transition to playing professional football, the crushing attention of the media, and constant demands of his fans. At the same time, she’s struggling with how her dream of attending medical school will fit into their already stressed relationship and Colin’s new life. Falling Into Infinity asks the question is just loving someone enough to make a relationship work?

Connect: Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase