Recent release: Traded Out by Samantha Wayland

Good reads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41555624-traded-out

Blurb

Olle Svensson came to Canada to play hockey, but now he’s wondering if twenty-five is too late to start university back home in Sweden. Things started out well, but then his friend Jamie gets caught with a guy in a men’s room stall at a random bar. Olle knows he should have stood by Jamie, in the bar and the locker room, but he’d been caught off-guard. He’d thought…well, it doesn’t matter anymore what he was thinking.

Jamie Gallagher is in hell. He’d been sure none of his teammates went to that bar, but now he’s been outed against his will and doesn’t have a single ally on the team. He’s giving serious thought to giving up on hockey until the Moncton Ice Cats come to the rescue. Jamie never thought he’d be so happy to be traded.

The only down side is that Olle is coming with him.

A Free Read through Insta-Freebee from August 28th to September 4th together with other authors ->
https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/FC…

Review

I love this series and this author (and hockey)! This is a rather long story for a freebie and is wonderful!

It’s got a fair amount of hockey in it but is definitely relationship focused. We’ve got a clueless Jamie and an adorable Swede who quietly loves and protects Jamie until he finally clues in!

There is a bit of smexy times a lot of laughs and a nice glimpse of some of our previously loved and adored MCs.

Highly recommended for fans of the series/author but is absolutely fine as a standalone!

5 of 5 stars

Audiobook: Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Changing-Lines-Audiobook/B07FTQFYWN?qid=1532653346&sr=sr_1_7&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_7&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4ASJP8BBWXR5XYHCEDXT&

Blurb

Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number, and that love is all that matters?

The Rowe Brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years his junior and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows that his heart could get him into trouble again.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This drew my attention since I’m currently jonsing for some hockey! I was also curious about these two authors as a writing duo. I’ve not really been a Vocey fan, and some of RJ Scott’s latest works haven’t really impressed me – but I love her earlier books.

I think – overall – that they’re a good team. I think the new subgenre is good for Scott and gives a new direction – away from ranching and crime fighting – for her considerable writing talents.

The premise of this story and it’s start are very promising. May/December, Coach/player, family friend, closeted professional athlete, single father… you name it – lots of sexual tension and the need to keep things on the DL. I think, however, that the end result of all these reasons to keep things quiet were too many for our MCs to overcome in a short story.

There were just so many hurdles and not enough time for them to be really overcome in a way that made sense.

I appreciated that they didn’t just jump into bed, but the “slow” was too slow and Jared came across way too “father figure” and not enough “lover”. He was bossy and I never felt his emotions other than lust.

Ten seemed- sometimes – ridiculously immature and I thought his family was both ridiculous ( his oldest brother) and wonderful (his sweet mother). I wasn’t sure why he was there, but the Russian goalie – Stan – was my favorite and I hope we get to see more of him!

The book kept my interest and I’ll definitely pick up more in this series, but this wasn’t my favorite hockey book of all time.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Sean Crisden is such a joy! He always provides a reliably wonderful listening experience and his voice is so damn sexy that I know he’ll make the most of the steamy scenes in any romance! He does a great job voicing the different “characters” and I can’t wait for Stan’s book – he does such a nice Russian accent!

 

Highly recommended!

(On a side note – I’m REALLY missing hockey right now and it was awesome listening to this story – hockey by an author who clearly loves/knows the sport!)

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Skater Boy (Hot off the Ice #4) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36602306-skater-boy?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

In a world that measures success in dollars, how do you put a price on happiness?

Love, marriage, and a baby carriage. It’s all Alex Staunton has ever wanted. Well, that and an Olympic medal for figure skating. The medal he got. The rest of it – not so much.

When his most recent poor decision comes to a door-slamming end, Alex moves into the house of his best friend, Thunder starting goalie, Sergei Pergov. But when tragedy strikes, giving Sergei custody of the twins he fathered confidentially, Alex’s problems take a backseat to the needs of two infants, and Alex vows to be the best fake-dad and house-husband he can be.

Sergei is dazzled by the way Alex makes managing all the craziness look as easy as doing a triple-axel. As their friendship grows even deeper, Sergei realizes he doesn’t want to imagine a life without Alex in it. Alex is the one who makes their house a home; his love makes them a family. How can Sergei make Alex understand he’s worth everything?

Skater Boy is a story about falling in love with your best friend. It contains discussions about baby poop, day drinking, girls’ night out, and the purchase of a mini-van.

 Review

This was both really sweet, kinda funny and a little annoying.

I loved Sergei and his relationship with Alex. They were both ridiculously oblivious and when they began to explore their “more than friends” feelings it was sweet and sexy. However, I had a hard time with how Alex turned into this obsessed little home maker and completely gave up any “self”. It didn’t seem to fit his character and though I could see him becoming “super dad” and being OTT about everything, I didn’t see him losing all touch with his profession.

In any case, I thought this was a great addition to the series and I really loved 80% of it 😉  There wasn’t much hockey in this…

If you’re a fan of the series you’ll want to give this a go – you don’t have to have read the others to enjoy this.

4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances #5) by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott Smith

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/coachs-challenge-by-avon-gale-8609-b

Blurb

It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

Review
(Book Reviewed here previously)

Avon Gale is one of my favorite authors – ever! She is very gifted at writing humor and romance – together – which isn’t easy. But – in addition- she really knows how to pull at your heartstrings, too. And then you’re laughing through tears which is an amazing feeling.

I love her hockey series best (so far). Her love of the sport is evident and it comes through in her writing. Since I’m such a fan, it’s hard not to compare one book to the other – though each book is very different. So, I distance myself from my fangirl-love and try to look at each story on it’s own merits.

So, if I’m not comparing this story to others in the series, and I’m looking at this as a book on its own – there is absolutely no question that it was EXCELLENT! There’s a lot of humor and the hockey is good. The general storyline is also solid.

My favorite aspect of this particular couple is their need to bicker with one another. It’s pretty hysterical – and then – all of a sudden – they’re having some really hot sex! The chemistry between these guys is phenomenal. (There is a particular scene where some tender things get expressed in the middle of fight – EPIC – so funny!)

I’ll only say that the lack of a character like Lane or Max is really the only thing that makes this “not my favorite in the series”. Neither of these guys is nerdish or terribly awkward and I ADORE those types of characters, so… But that’s about it. This is wonderful and everyone who loves this series MUST read it and yet it stands alone beautifully as well.

Audio

Scott Smith is definitely growing on me. There are still some nuances to his narrative that make me a little nuts – the way his sentences and emphasized doesn’t always match how I think they should flow – but his sense of humor and his ability to make unique voices is pretty good. I definitely can listen to his books over and over and that’s huge.

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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First Season (Harrisburg Railers #2) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/First-Season-Harrisburg-Railers-Hockey-ebook/dp/B073HGLT5X/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1510867793&sr=1-3-fkmr0&keywords=rj+scott+vocey

Blurb

Layton Foxx works hard for what he’s achieved. The condo, the career, the chance to make his mark…it’s all down to the sacrifices he’s made. With tragedy in his past, he doesn’t want or need love. Then he meets Adler Lockhart, the extroverted, sexy winger for the Harrisburg Railers, and abruptly he can’t avoid love even if he wanted to.

Adler Lockhart has had everything handed to him his whole life. Cars, villas, cash, college tuition at the finest Ivy League schools. The only thing he doesn’t have is parents who care, or the love of a good man. Then Layton walks into his privileged life and shows him what real love can be like.

Layton wants success, Adler wants a family…how can love make both these things possible?

Review

This was hysterical! I loved Adler so much! I think this was even better than book 1 and I can’t wait for book 3!

If you love those quirky characters who can’t seem to filter their thoughts – this is totally for you. We get humor, hockey and smexy times! Perfect!

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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City Boy: Hot Off The Ice Book 1 by AE Wasp

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/City-Boy-Hot-Off-Book-ebook/dp/B07339WG93/ref=la_B01FHWWJ90_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504219480&sr=1-1

Free on KU

Blurb

Follow the money or follow your heart? Either way, you lose.

When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a white knight named Dakota, pro-hockey player Bryce Lowery discovers he is most definitely gay.

Being with Dakota opens up a whole new world. Bryce can’t imagine life without him. But he refuses to be Bryce’s dirty little secret. If he wants to keep Dakota, he’s either going to have to come out publicly or retire and walk away from millions of dollars.

Bryce Lowery feels like the answer to all of Dakota’s prayers. But is Dakota willing to leave the only life he’s ever known only to be thrust into the spotlight as the boyfriend of the first out gay hockey player? Would their relationship even survive it?

He’ll lose Bryce if doesn’t because Bryce will leave eventually. No one would turn down millions of dollars for a nobody with nothing.

City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)

Review

This was just plain fun! It was sweet, had some emotionally charged moments, great chemistry, somewhat believable situations and – most importantly – Hockey!

Well, a little hockey anyway.

I loved the exploration and the tender sides we get to see of both MCs.

Highly recommended and an author I’ll now be looking for!

5 of 5 stars

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Back to School Month: My Hero Audiobook by Max Vos Narrated by Jared Bradford


Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/My-Hero-Audiobook/B0147LP8RC/ref=a_search_c4_1_7_srTtl?qid=1504115418&sr=1-7

Blurb

When he was 16 years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means “bear”. The shy jock remembers his saviour, and the two men become friends.
Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there…
Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the worlds are just around the corner. His father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.

Review

Let me start by saying sports and/or college based books are not my first choice when choosing a book. They get a little angsty for me and so I normally avoid them. This audiobook was suggested for me to listen and review and I am really glad I did not let my aversion to this type of story stop me because it really was a nice, sweet and thoughtful story. Rich is portrayed as a man who is comfortable in his skin, knows what goals he has set for himself and is working hard to achieve them. Johnny is a younger man who is just starting out at college and he too seems comfortable with who he is and where he’s at in life so far. But college opens many doors for students, and Johnny finally gets to meet his hero, the person who saved his life many years ago. From there a friendship develops and seems to move on to a curiosity phase of man on man action. And wow what action, there was no hesitation on Johnny’s part!
You have the typical problem of coming out for Johnny and Rich feeling like he was used, but in the end a HFN ending that leaves you with a warm feeling.
Jared Bradford is a new narrator for me and I have to say his timing and inflection were spot on. The voices for each character were recognizable, and appropriate. You always knew who was speaking and what emotion was being expressed.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

release day review

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Illegal-Contact-Barons-Santino-Hassell-ebook/dp/B06W2P5N55/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1502056167&sr=1-1&keywords=illegal+contact+santino

Blurb

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

This was soooo much fun! I was a bit leery of this, I have to admit. Sometimes Santino Hassell’s writing is a bit dark and melancholy and I’m not always in the mood for that. I’m also really not a football fan, but I am a huge “geek/jock” fan and “opposites attract” fan so I figured I’d give it a go.  (I love that Noah absolutely HATES football at first!)

I’m very glad I did!

This was super funny at times, but also really tender. There’s a fair amount of very hot sex once we get past the sexual tension stage.

The football was kept to a minimum (in my opinion) yet was clearly part of the story in a meaningful way.

I loved that our guys TALKED to each other. There wasn’t any “big misunderstanding” beyond the figuring out who is interested stage and I appreciated that when the end “conflict” arose, it was done with eyes open and a decision mutually made.

The fairly predictable ending is still very heartwarming and though we aren’t given much to go by, the HEA felt pretty solid. I’m really hoping we’ll see their story “finalize” more in the coming books and I also hope Simon’s story is next!

Highly recommended for fans of sweet and sexy romance, football fans, geek fans, and those who like some laughs and dirty talk with their romance.

5 of 5 stars

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You Never Know by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/you-never-know-by-mary-calmes-8692-b

Blurb

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Review

Well, hell. You all know I’m a giant Mary Calmes fan and it pains me deeply to say – this book wasn’t for me. It can happen, I know, and I’m sure others will still love this to pieces because it’s Mary and she is fabulous after all, but this wasn’t one of my favorites.

Mary’s books are strongly character driven (for the most part) and as such you really have to love the characters to love the story. She’s done an excellent job of creating two unique characters and I really feel like I have a pretty good grasp of Hagen and where he’s at. I didn’t feel like I understood or knew Mitch as well, and that is part of my problem.

Hagen and his involvement with Ash gets a lot of page time and this relationship and how Hagen handles it didn’t sit well with me. I was kind of rooting for them to be the couple that “makes it” more than Mitch and Hagen. Ash seems infinitely redeemable and I felt like I knew him better than I knew Mitch so I was rooting for him 😉

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Mitch hurt so many people and didn’t do nearly enough groveling to earn his way back into Hagen’s life – IMHO.

I worried for Mitch’s kids and wanted to know more about their mother and what was going on there. It made my heart hurt to think of them uprooted every 6 months.

The fact that Ash and Hagen have more on page times of intimacy (if not the full act) also felt wrong. I needed more time with Hagen and Mitch working things out to really pull for them as a couple.

So… all in all – this just didn’t fit my tastes in romance. It’s a blip and I’m sure others will love this – but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

(The cover is amazing though!!!)

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

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Gnarly (World of Love) by Mickie B. Ashling 

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/gnarly-by-mickie-b-ashling-8583-b

 

Blurb

Dr. Ed Hollingsworth, widowed for five years, returns to San Sebastián, Spain, after a thirty-year absence. He seeks out his first and only male lover, pro surfer Javi Elizalde. 

After surviving a near-fatal shark attack, Javi turned his back on the sport he loves and became a recluse. 

Iker Lizaso, professional jai alai player, finds himself at loose ends now that his contract has expired. Forced to retire at thirty-eight, he returned to his home in the Basque Country to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. 

Three different men, encumbered by their past, converge in a city famous for its food, summer festivals, and romantic promenades. Can they find happiness together? It’ll be difficult, maybe even improbable, considering their backgrounds, but Cupid’s arrow usually hits the mark, and this particular strike might be epic.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

Review

This just didn’t work for me.

Things I liked/loved: learning about the Basque, the language, the culture, the geography. The references to surfing. The information about Jai Alai. This country and the people sound amazing and so, so colorful. I could definitely feel the heat and passion and spiciness – it seems very rich and flavorful! I enjoyed learning about the advances in prosthesis technology.

Things that didn’t work: The ménage. I never felt like Iker was integral to this relationship and I really wasn’t sure why he was even part of this story. He felt like a third wheel. He’s so sweet and enthusiastic and I didn’t understand his willingness to be part of this couple or his attraction to the somber and rigid Ed. Which brings me to my second point. Ed. He was a total dick to Javi and seemed to completely forget him for 30 years! Then he suddenly shows up and expects that time to have just disappeared. Javi gave him a lecture – ONE – and that was completely insufficient. He’s bossy and manipulative and condescending at the best and cold and uncaring at the worst. I did not understand Javi’s attraction, nor Iker’s and I was always rooting for Iker and Javi to kick Ed to the curb.

This story was all over the map. It wanted to be a reunion story, a story of opposites attract, a May/December story, a bi-sexual discovery story, a PTSD/hurt/comfort/recovery story, a ménage…it was too much. As a reader I needed to understand how Ed could act like he did so that I could forgive him and I really received no other explanation other than – school kept me busy where I met my wife. And apparently left all of Javi and his life in the dust.   I ached for poor Javi and though I applaud his willingness to let Ed help him I couldn’t help but feel like he seems like a doormat almost as much as poor Iker.

Another thing that really bugged me was how the ménage worked. I felt like Iker was on the outside. Though it was sweet that Javi and Ed shared some firsts, Ed’s holding that over Iker’s head like a prize seemed unkind and definitely made me feel like the group was seriously out of balance.  We get a HFN instead of an HEA and that, too, left me a little disappointed.

I did not feel a strong connection between these characters and as a result the “romance” in this did not pass muster. The cultural information was interesting and for that I’ll give this a 2.5 of 5 stars.

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