Categories
adult - 18+

Trade Deadline (Hat Trick #3) by Avon Gale , Piper Vaughn

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48999098-trade-deadline?from_search=true&from_srp=true&qid=giXWhiNhgH&rank=1

Blurb

It’s a reunion to remember…

Don’t miss this friends-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn.

Daniel “Bellzie” Bellamy should be on top of the world—a Stanley Cup is the perfect topper to his fourteen-year NHL career. But despite the post-win high, something’s missing. When the chance to play for his hometown team, the Miami Thunder, comes along, he’s open to it. And when he runs into an old friend from his past soon after he makes the move, he wonders if it might be kismet.

Micah Kelly never thought he’d see his childhood crush—and first kiss—again. Danny Bellamy moved on to bigger and better things when they were teenagers, and the idea that Micah’s relationship with the professional hockey player could be anything more than one-sided Instagram thirst seems too good to be true.

Maybe too good to be true is the new reality, though. As the season goes on, Micah teaches Daniel to surf, and Daniel introduces Micah to his lovable pack of rescue dogs and the world of being a hockey boyfriend. Life is good. But when things on the ice don’t go as planned, they’ll have to decide if their rediscovered romance is built to last.

Review

This was fun!

It was great seeing some hockey again;)

There was very little angst and the MCs and the people around them acted like grown ups – which was lovely.

There was very, very, very little hockey playing – which was a drag. But a little bit of dolphins playing -which was fun.

This will not be memorable – in fact it has mostly escaped my attention 2 days later – but it was a nice reprieve from the stress of the world.

The junior hockey dev league and the sad state of affairs of the Miami team deserved more page time – as it was I think we got “told” a lot more than shown.

The MCs were adorable together and fun to watch grow closer.

All in all it was nice, not my favorite from these authors, but definitely worth the read.

3.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47795450-tough-guy

Blurb

They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

Review

This took me FOREVER to get into. I just wasn’t as compelled as I had been with books 1 and 2. I’m not sure exactly why – but I didn’t gel with the couple as much as I had with the others. The chemistry was just off for me I guess.

I do enjoy a good hockey player book and Rachel Reid is a great author – so if you enjoyed books 1 and 2 I’d take a look at this – but it wasn’t my favorite.

3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: Owatonna Christmas by VL Locey and RJ Scott

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/49360923-christmas-lights?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=PKxzcgTi9o&rank=1

Blurb

Under the Christmas lights strung outside a snowy Minnesota cabin, Ryker and Jacob face a future where nothing will be the same again.

Fortunate timing means that Ryker and Jacob can spend a few days together over Christmas in a cabin on the family farm. What’s better is that Scott and Ben are coming as well, with Hayne and Ethan in tow. Ryker can’t imagine a better way to spend time with the man he loves, and the friends he misses, and somehow he knows that this Christmas will be the best one ever. Hockey on a frozen pond, kisses under Christmas lights, and sharing time with Jacob are the best gifts he could ever receive.

Long distance relationships are brutal, Jacob can attest to that fact. So, when Ryker gets a few days off over the Raptors’ Christmas break, the hard-working Minnesota farmer is beyond thrilled. When they find out that their buddies from Owatonna U. are making the trip as well, the holidays are looking to be just about perfect. Jacob has a question for Ryker burning in his heart, and he isn’t asking for much—just a few fun-filled days with old friends and a yes from the man of his dreams.

Review

This was adorable!  It’s so nice to see these guys further down the line in their relationship!  I loved how this ended!!! So hopeful!!!

 

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Hat Trick (Fake Boyfriend #5) by Eden Finley

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48717530-hat-trick?from_search=true&qid=5GalJqEHKu&rank=1

Blurb

Soren:

You know what’s not fun? Going on a Fiji vacation with four other couples. Especially when recently single.
What’s even worse is when a past hook-up arrives unannounced.
Not only do we have a history, but he’s ten years younger and a famous rock star. Most importantly, he’s my friend’s little brother.
Being trapped on an island with Jet Jackson is going to be sweet torture because all I want is another chance.
I just don’t think he’s going to give it to me.

Jet:

You know what’s not fun? Escaping one guy who broke my heart only to run into another.
Being on the road for three years has left me exhausted. The last thing I want is for Caleb ‘Soren’ Sorensen to try for round two.
I can’t fight my draw to him. I’ve never been able to.
I’m suddenly back to being the naïve kid who stupidly lusted after a hockey player.
All I can think is if I let Soren get close, I’ll walk away from this vacation with a double broken heart.

*Hat Trick is a full-length M/M romance with a guaranteed HEA. This is the final book in the Fake Boyfriend series and as such is not recommended to be read as a standalone. All main characters of the series feature heavily.*

Review

This is a great addition to the series.  It’s full of fun, rock music, hockey and loads of snark and sex.

 

If you’ve enjoyed the others in the series you’ll love this but you definitely can read this on it’s own.

 

It’s about second chances, being true to yourself, having faith in love and enjoying life.

 

Highly recommended!

 

 

4.5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Goalie Interference (Hat Trick #2) by Avon Gale , Piper Vaughn narrated by Kirt Graves

Audible

https://www.audible.com/search?keywords=goalie+interference&ref=

Blurb

It’s goalie vs. goalie in this brand-new enemies-to-lovers hockey romance from Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn…

Ryu Mori has had a stellar season as goalie for the Atlanta Venom. So when he’s called into management’s office, he’s expecting to hear he’s the new starting goalie for the team, not that some new guy—an incredibly hot, annoyingly bratty rookie—is here to compete for his spot.

Not everyone gets to play in the best league in the world. Emmitt Armstrong knows that, and he’s not about to waste the opportunity after grinding his way from the bottom to the top. If the Venom is looking for a meek, mild-mannered pushover, they’ve got the wrong guy.

Ryu doesn’t want to admit the other goalie’s smart mouth turns him on. Beating Armstrong at practice feels good, sure, but there are other, more fun ways to shut his rival up.

In this league, it’s winner takes all. But there’s more to life than winning, and if Emmitt and Ryu can get past their egos and competitive natures, they might just discover they work better as partners than they ever imagined possible.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

This book is approximately 72,000 words

Review

This is a fun series! If you’ve read and enjoyed book one you’ll absolutely love this one! We get to see the MCs from book one and the entire team again. Ryu is stoic and controlled he absolutely does NOT know what to do with the tempestuous Emmitt, aka Army.
The strike sparks off one another right away and that predominates their relationship. I was glad to see more humor in this and a fair bit of hockey to keep me satisfied until hockey season starts up again!

The emotions come, though they are a little overwhelmed by the smexy times and the angry sex. It was nice seeing the relationship between Tristan and Sebastian from a distance – it made them feel more complete than they had by the end of their story.

This is recommended to fans of hockey, angry sex, the authors and bratty goalies!

 

Audio

 

Kirt does a good job giving all the many characters a voice.  I wanted Ryu to have more of an accent than he did but Kirt handles the foreign words and his parents’ accents well.  Sometimes his narration is a bit stilted and the story always sounds a bit melodramatic.  However, this is a great way to enjoy this story and I recommend it!

 

4.5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Across the Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48637692-across-the-pond?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.

Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.

Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn’t appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.

Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.

As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents – not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted – it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

Review

(Contains mild spoilers)

 

 

 

 

I am soooo disappointed in this. I’ve been (mostly) loving this series and the original and I was really anticipating Alex’s story, but this did not deliver.

First, Sebastian is so bland and not fleshed-out, as to be almost non-existant. There is next to no real romance building between him and Alex and what there is goes by waaaayyy to fast to feel good.

Second, Alex is so all over the map, he gave me whiplash.  On one hand I know some of that is his character, but on the other hand he goes from being so deep in the closet to out and proud at his sisters party!  It just didn’t feel right.  I didn’t get the sense that the two really spent quality time together to build a relationship worthy of his spectacular coming out.

 

I think there are just too many plot points so none got well developed.  One that really deserved attention was the age gap and it was really skimmed over – at best.  Then they have to deal with either a long distance relationship or moving permanently?    We also had Alex’s virginity and his religion to contend with. Nope.  We just didn’t get enough of that for me to buy this romance as settled or even well thought out.

 

I’ll give the story a 2.5 stars for the characters and the continuation of other story lines, but their romance in particular did not shine as I’d hoped.

 

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Heated Rivalry (Game Changers #2) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Heated-Rivalry-Audiobook/1541431634?qid=1572134542&sr=1-2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2

Blurb

Nothing interferes with Shane Hollander’s game—definitely not the sexy rival he loves to hate.

Pro hockey star Shane Hollander isn’t just crazy talented, he’s got a spotless reputation. Hockey is his life. Now that he’s captain of the Montreal Voyageurs, he won’t let anything jeopardize that, especially the sexy Russian whose hard body keeps him awake at night.

Boston Bears captain Ilya Rozanov is everything Shane’s not. The self-proclaimed king of the ice, he’s as cocky as he is talented. No one can beat him—except Shane. They’ve made a career on their legendary rivalry, but when the skates come off, the heat between them is undeniable. When Ilya realizes he wants more than a few secret hookups, he knows he must walk away. The risk is too great.

As their attraction intensifies, they struggle to keep their relationship out of the public eye. If the truth comes out, it could ruin them both. But when their need for each other rivals their ambition on the ice, secrecy is no longer an option…

Review
This blew me away!

I loved this so much!

I gotta tell you – I was leery. This is a new author to me and though I’m a huge hockey fan – I’m wary of people who don’t know their stuff. I also don’t really love books where the romance has already started before you start reading. But…
First, the author knows her stuff! From World Juniors, to the Olympics, to the NHL and the major rivalries – she’s got it down! It took me a long time to figure out the nuances of the NHL system – it’s not a straightforward thing – and it’s definitely hard to explain – but she does it!

Second, as I said yesterday, the fact that she re-names our current NHL teams just lets us fall into the already understood world of team rivalries and playoff pictures and beards! Well done!

I will say that I’m not super in love with the fact that our MCs have off page sex with other people, but given the 8 year (?) time span, it’s rational and it’s not done in a way that is really all that bothersome to the romantic in me. But I do warn those of you who will hate that aspect.

Ilya is bi-sexual and Shane isn’t (I think he’s actually demisexual but he doesn’t label himself that way.). In any case the two of them are hysterical as rivals and it carries to the bedroom for some very hot smexy times.

I thought the way Shane handles his attraction to Ilya was one of the most “realistic” ways I’ve seen enemies to lovers handled. I’ve always thought that if a guy is struggling with his own sexuality to fall into bed with a guy (especially if he’s not drunk or has some other excuse) would be hard to do without some recriminations/shame etcetera.

Ilya, too, did a fantastic job with his own feelings and in the end I just melted at the way these guys found a way to be together.

I highly recommend this to fans of sports romance, hockey, enemies to lovers, Russian MCs (yum!), sweet HEAs and hot smexy times.

Audio

Tor Thom did such a great job with this! I loved how he depicted Ilya and his contrast with Shane was spot on!

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

 


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Game Changer (Game Changers #1) by Rachel Reid Narrated by Tor Thom

audiobookreview

Audible:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Game-Changer-Audiobook/1541431626?qid=1572134542&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=7TJ5WG0S76CGPFKH47C1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.

Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.

Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.

Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?

Review

First I want to say “How did I miss this when it first came out????”
I’m a huge hockey fan and I’ll tell you I get really annoyed when authors don’t know the sport or do a crummy job integrating the sport with the romance.

Rachel Reid does neither.

I read book 2 first, because that’s what I’d requested but I immediately turned around and read this because it was that good!

I can’t say if this one or that one is better because they are so different.

In this we have a “good boy” but closeted and another pretty “good boy” but out who meet. Kip has no real knowledge of hockey and doesn’t even recognize Scott as the star he is.

The author does a terrific job of giving us the regular NHL cities with probable NHL teams with different names. It allows her to lean on our own knowledge of the city and the fan base and the experience without having to infringe on rights or create an alternate world.

I was very impressed by this and her knowledge of the sport.

The romance is really sweet with some smokin’ hot smexy times and the sweetest HEA ever!

I really can’t say enough about this!

If you like Cinderfella stories, hockey, sports romances, coming out stories and sweet love stories – this is for you!

 

Audio

 

Tor Thom did a fantastic job with this.  He has a lovely deep voice and really tries hard to give all the characters a unique voice to match their persona.  He’s a relatively new narrator (to me) but I’ll definitely keep him on my radar for the future!  Recommended!

5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Surrender the Chase (Grizzly Rim #2) by Mia West

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/47169173-surrender-the-chase?from_search=true

Blurb

Coming Oct 7, 2019: Expanded Novel Edition!

For wolf shifter Dmitri Sernov, life bites.

His late-night hunts leave him winded, the twelfth rewrite of his novel is crap, and his last good lay was five drafts ago. He’s staring down forty with a creative well as empty as his bed.

The last thing he needs is a beautiful, intimidating, obnoxious pup bent on exposing Dmitri’s underbelly…

…and everything else that’s gone soft.

Thierry Marrou has burned every bridge from Montréal to Juneau.

Once a prospect for Canada’s Olympic hockey team, he’s just been kicked off a piddling local squad in Nowhere, Alaska.

But one whiff of the silver wolf on the opposing bench was enough to confirm that the dreams drawing Thierry across a continent have a very real source.

Now all he has to do is convince Dmitri Sernov to be his alpha. Très simple, non?

SURRENDER THE CHASE is the 2nd standalone novel in the GRIZZLY RIM m/m shifter series. Lace up for pheromone-charged hockey, dirty French lessons, a grumpy hero who thinks he’s past his prime, and a pushy young hothead determined to prove him wrong.

 

Originally published in 2015 & 2016 as novellas, the GRIZZLY RIM novel editions have been extensively revised and expanded for republication in 2019.

Review
(Previous novella)

In book one we met this amazing little town in Alaska where some unique shifters and a few humans live. Dmitri is a wolf shifter with a reputation as a slut, but conversely he’s a bit of a lone-wolf, too. He’s older, a bit gruff, and if you get to know him, a lot insecure.

Thierry is a flighty, flirty, fast-playing hockey player who finds himself “compelled” by dreams to find a man, Dmitri. He trusts his gut above all else and his gut tells him he needs to meet Dmitri, but it doesn’t tell him what to do next.
At first, beyond the initial attraction, there is doubt on both sides. Dmitri can’t trust that this beautiful, young, stranger has been having dreams about him. Thierry is also not sure what to make of these dreams and though he finds Dmitri fascinating and sexy he doesn’t know if he can make himself stay put when clearly Dmitri is a stay-put kind of guy.

**

Mia is an amazing author! I absolutely adore this series! I reviewed the first book, Launch the Hunt here: http://kimichanexperience.com/launch-the-hunt-grizzly-rim-1-by-mia-west/

I couldn’t wait for book two and it was worth the wait!

Mia’s writing is so fluid and effortless (though I’m sure she’d say it takes work, if Dmitri is any example!) that the reading of this story is so easy. I was expecting a story similar to book one and got none of that, but it was not a disappointment at all. Dmitri and Thierry have a very different story to tell. They still have that element of magic that connects them, but at their core they have this very human relationship story first.

Dmitri is getting older and doubting his attractiveness and purpose in the world. Thierry is still young, but also has questions about his purpose and future. I LOVED that both Dmitri and Thierry called Thierry’s mom for advice! So. Funny! Her little side story is interesting in it’s own right and I’m wondering/hoping she becomes a continual secondary character.

The use of French and Thierry’s adamant, “I’m not French I’m Quebecois!” was wonderful. So beautiful and touching then funny and heart-warming at the same time.

My heart absolutely ached for both of these guys and I’m always impressed with shifter stories who use the animal part as much as the human part to create their characters and their motivations. It was hysterical that Thierry’s mom asked him about his fur and skin and was he hunting enough! So cute!

The smexy times are very sensuous but also REAL feeling and authentic. Dmitri is older and nervous and that shows!

I can’t wait for book 3, I loved this as much as book 1 and can’t recommend it enough.

(re-read and 2nd edition)

I can see that there were some additional scenes – more hockey, more parental involvement- maybe some more romance building?

All in all I think both the longer story and the novella are good and I couldn’t really say I appreciated a lot of difference.

I still enjoyed these two characters a lot and I guess I felt a little bit more of their HEA with the novel than the novella.

Recommended!

(I liked the original cover better 🙂   )

4.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods and Monsters #1) by Elyse Springer

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/suckerpunch-by-elyse-springer-10800-b

Blurb

A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.

When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.

Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained

Review

This was so much fun! It was great hockey with lots of authentic information that illustrated the author’s knowledge of the sport. It had a compelling alt universe that demonstrated a layer of bigotry that can be used to illustrate any number of biases that are surely occurring in the sport (and in our nation).

The romance was so sweet – slow burn, full of miscommunication and sexual tension.

I loved the HEA and I really hope this is the beginning of a long series because I can’t wait to see more from this world!

Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review