Coach’s Challenge by Avon Gale

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Coach’s Challenge: by Avon Gale
Series: Scoring Chances #5
Release Date: June 26th, 2017
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

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.

four-stars

I really enjoy this series, and for a time while reading this book I wasn’t certain on how I felt about it. Took me longer to get involved and invested into this installment. I had to warm up to Troy, and ended up liking the relationship between him and Shane. It didn’t help that the dirty talk was so much above board with these two. Good Lord, we needed a fan, and a spray bottle at times. Their quirky, dominating relationship worked well for me. It didn’t have the formula of the past 4 books, but I was okay with it. To be honest, I enjoyed most of the series but Power Play will always be my favorite. 

After reading 5 books, you’d think I would know something about Hockey. Nope, still clueless. Its okay though I just substituted it with other sports in my head. LOL. I really liked the idea of the guys being in their late 30’s, early 40’s. I like mature guys, and it doesn’t help that its their first relationship ever at this age. I really <3Troy. Not saying Shane was bad, I liked him alot. Dirty filthy Shane, but lordy he was freaking hot. Troy though comes off as this brash, careless, dictator. Well dictator was the last dude, but he’s very demanding and I guess him being so blunt takes people by surprise, but that caring side of him will win you over every time. Troy has his reasons and methods for being the way he is. Being a ex-pro hockey player and having dealt with the St.Savoy it only felt right for him being the head coach to take over the Ashville Ravens. They are the most hated team, and Troy is trying to do everything in his power to overcome that negative. When Shane is late his first day of practice, it doesn’t look to good for these two. We see right away their issues, but I seen the UST a mile away. Dude!! I had to fan myself. These two were so freaking explosive together! I will never look at another jigsaw puzzle with innocence again in life. I won’t spoil it for you guys! Avon did us justice!

Once I got involved in reading it, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing these two together, and liked that they were so different from the other couples in previous books. I do hope Xavier gets him a gentleman. He needs one, or maybe a bad boy for his sweet self. I wouldn’t mind reading a Ben & River book. Didn’t see much of those two but the short instances definitely were impact. Fans of this series will truly enjoy this book. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

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About Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Falling for Santa Claus by C.J. Anthony

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

falling-for-santa-clausFalling for Santa Claus by C. J. Anthony
Series: Christmas in July
Release Date: July 24, 2016
Pages: 52 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Link:
Dreamspinner  Amazon  ARE  BN  Kobo

When Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.

Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.

three-half-stars

This was by far the best Christmas In July novella. I loved the whole Falling for Santa bit. Jack Frost & Nick St. James were amazing. I liked the fact that they were older guys (SN: Dude, this is not a 40+ guy on the cover for Jack Frost! Eww). I really enjoyed grumpy Nick!!! He made me laugh continuously by going out his way to stay away from Jack. He didn’t want to potentially fall for someone who wasn’t going to be around next year. I liked the two old ladies who tried to get Jack hooked up. I love the idea of the small community having a secret santa come around to bring children who are less fortunate toys every year. Why no one suspects grumpy Nick? I have the slightest clue. I liked the writing and the heat level was the right amount for this small novella. I wish it was longer, because I really enjoyed it. Looking forward to more from this author.

About C.J. Anthony

C. J. Anthony started reading and writing at an early age. She attributes her love of reading and romance to her mother who not only taught her to read but also made countless trips to the library lugging piles of books home for her to read. She loved getting lost in the people and places and adventures she found in books like the Little House on the Prairie series, Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, just to name a few. It wasn’t a far jump to start writing her own stories, early childhood tales about flower families and travelling to the moon with her best friend.

Writing, however, quickly fell by the wayside as she grew up and turned to other creative pursuits. Recently she was inspired to try writing again, this time with beautiful men in love speaking to her and wanting their stories to be told. C. J. has always been a hopeless romantic, believing in true love and soul mates, and HEAs even if there is a little angst and pain along the way–life is never perfect, after all, but everyone deserves a happy ending and someone there to catch them when they fall.

When she’s not writing—or trying to find time to write—she spends most of her time juggling a day job and freelance design work on the side, enjoying music, movies, spending time with friends and, of course, reading.

Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

30138933Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 167 • Format: eARC
Published By: Annabelle Jacobs
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Starting over at forty is hard work for landscape architect Jack Bowman. His long-term partner hurt him badly. With his self-esteem dented by the break up, trusting a new lover is going to take time.

Tyler Freeman is equally unlucky when it comes to love. Now that he’s over thirty-five, he’s tired of getting played. All he wants is someone special. How hard can it be to meet a man who’s honest, with no hidden surprises?

Being set up on a blind date might be a classic cliché, but it’s a stroke of good luck for Jack and Tyler. They have a lot in common, including previous relationships steeped in deceit, but it’s worth navigating their trust issues if it means laying those ghosts to rest.

Making it work finally seems possible—until an accidental discovery threatens their newfound happiness.

three-half-stars

About time we got a really good book with mature men that know how to communicate with each other. Annabelle Jacobs delivered on the second chance love story. Both guys have been burned by their lovers. Jack significantly more because they spent almost 2 decades together. I liked that Jack took time after the break-up to spend some times by himself. I’m never one to push or force a friend to move on because we all grieve differently. But in this instance I think Zena made the better choice. By setting up a blind date with with multiple couples it takes the pressure off of Jack. In walks the younger by 4 years Tyler. I really enjoyed Tyler. I get him so much. I loved that by society’s standards him falling in love quickly makes him reckless, but I think he’s the opposite. I love knowing that when he falls, he falls hard and he’s all in. I don’t think putting a limit on when you can be in love should matter. I don’t think Tyler does as well.

Both guys start off well. It’s put out there by Jack that he’s not ready for a relationship, he’s looking for a friendship. Sure Tyler seems a little discourage but I think he realizes this might be what he needs. It’s slow burn from here. It’s them learning how to date, or be interested in someone after nurturing a broken heart. The story focuses on rebuilding, trusting, and communicating again. They both realized that they’ve fell into a false sense of security that’s not always guaranteed when you are in love or love someone. I like that Annabelle Jacobs, created a romance story with mature adults and was able to treat them within the same regard. Like I said above, it’s a slow burn, but it’s okay because the adults handled it well. Well done mate.

About Annabelle Jacobs

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Review Tour & Giveaway – Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs

Copy of Graphic1 (1)

 

~Excerpt~ 

Everyone said their goodbyes, and Jack tried not to notice the blatant, knowing looks being passed around. He had no doubt he’d be getting some nosy texts later. On the plus side, at least he wouldn’t be the only one.

Now it was only the two of them, they wandered into the bar area and snagged a small table by the fireplace. It wasn’t lit—the late-April weather had been far too mild to warrant an open fire. The Saturday-night crowd from earlier had clearly moved on to somewhere else, and the room had quietened considerably.

“Thanks for offering me a lift.” Tyler smiled and took a sip of his drink. “I wasn’t ready to leave yet.”

“Me neither.” Jack had bought another Coke, and he ran his finger down through the condensation on the outside of the glass. “I have to admit I was a bit—a lot sceptical about whether or not this was a good idea.”

Tyler glanced up and met his gaze. “Meeting me?”

Jack’s smile was wry. “I was talking about the whole blind date thing, but yeah… I guess it was meeting you in general.” He cringed as he said it, perhaps not the best thing to say to someone whom you were hoping to go out with again. And despite Jack’s misgivings and preconceptions, he liked Tyler.

Tyler cocked his head to one side and frowned, as though he wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Jack had probably offended him, because no one liked to hear that sort of thing. But then, he’d offered to drive Tyler home so they could spend more time together—alone—so Tyler must realise Jack wanted to get to know him better. Or maybe not. If Jack had learned one thing from his breakup with Simon, it was that communication was key. Never assume someone knew what you meant or what you were thinking.

“I know that sounds bad, and it’s nothing personal. Christ, I’m pulling out all the clichés tonight, but it really was a case of it being me and not you.” Jack laughed and scrubbed a hand over his face. “Shit. Just when it was going so well. I’ve managed to fuck it up, haven’t I?”

 


30138933Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 167 • Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Published By: Annabelle Jacobs
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Starting over at forty is hard work for landscape architect Jack Bowman. His long-term partner hurt him badly. With his self-esteem dented by the break up, trusting a new lover is going to take time.

Tyler Freeman is equally unlucky when it comes to love. Now that he’s over thirty-five, he’s tired of getting played. All he wants is someone special. How hard can it be to meet a man who’s honest, with no hidden surprises?

Being set up on a blind date might be a classic cliché, but it’s a stroke of good luck for Jack and Tyler. They have a lot in common, including previous relationships steeped in deceit, but it’s worth navigating their trust issues if it means laying those ghosts to rest.

Making it work finally seems possible—until an accidental discovery threatens their newfound happiness.


 

~Giveaway~

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

When Was the Last Time by Kelly Jensen

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

WhenWasTheLastTimeLGWhen Was the Last Time by Kelly Jensen
Pages: • Published by: Dreamspinner Press • Format: eARC
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Amazon • ARe

Paul Summerfield is stunned by the gentle reminder it has been over a year since he and his partner, Evan Akkerman, have made love. He vows to take Evan out for Valentine’s Day. Dinner and sex. Lots of sex. There’s only one catch—he’s supposed to be in San Francisco that week cataloging the art collection of an important new client. No problem, he’ll just change his schedule and cut his trip short by a day.

In San Francisco, Paul struggles with regrets and the fear his love is slipping away from him. Every call to Evan seems only to prove the distance between them is increasing. All this, and a key piece of his client’s catalog is caught up in customs. To keep their Valentine’s date, Paul will have to choose between the career he’s built over fifteen years and the man he’s loved for just as long.????

 

 

three-stars

This was an okay read for me. I liked the concept of the story, but would have preferred a different outcome. I liked that this is able to be categorized with any couple. Not just gay, or straight. I think this is definitely common with people being together for a very long time. Paul got complacent in his relationship with Evan. He zoned out on life. You kinda could say the same for Evan. I personally would not have gone 1 month with this between my husband and I. It happens and I understand work, and social life is a lot to balance sometimes. By doing all of that you kinda forget the small things that matter. Waking up one day to your partner of 10+ years telling you that you guys haven’t been intimate in a very long time is bothersome. I liked the vulnerability that Paul showed when he was trying to remember if that way true.

With Paul knowing those things, I just wish he would have handled this Valentine’s Day better. I understand being your own boss, and work being important. But I feel like he could have tried harder to change a lot of things. Cutting it close by even doing the job to me was like ” Where does Evan stand in your priorities?”. I don’t want to blame Paul for everything, because two people are together. I would say that Evan wasn’t happy but what changed from 6 months ago to now for him to say something. I would have liked way more passion and emotions with what this trope represented. Also I think the emotions, and connections probably could have got there if the story was longer, and the author was able to build on the emotions of both guys. It was an okay start for me by this author. I did like the writing style, and look forward to more from this author.

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Born in Australia and raised everywhere else, Kelly now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counter-clockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, short stories, and this bio. She does not consider this bio a seminal work. Her books are much more interesting (and definitely sexier). You can view a list of them here. She has been writing reviews of books and video games for web and print magazines for nearly fifteen years. Her book reviews can be found at SFCrowsnest, Goodreads and here, on her blog.

Currently, she is working on several projects, including a science fiction romance series co-authored with her best friend and writing partner, Jenn Burke. The first three books of the Chaos Station series are available now, with the fourth due in January 2016 from Carina Press.