Fair Catch (Players of LA #2) by Leigh Carman

Series:

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.

Title: Fair Catch by Leigh Carman
Series: Players of LA
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Pages: 200• Format: e-ARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:  Dreamspinner Press Amazon US

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

*The Players of LA Series are standalones, but characters from each book to appear in subsequent novels. It is recommended to read in order to maximize the reading experience*

two-stars

This was a big miss for me.

This book featured a yoga instructor, Tobias Bennett and an injured football player Sullivan Archer as they first met as an anonymous hookup, and then later as a part of injury therapy. Toby was out and Sullivan wasn’t, so there was the secrecy thing as they sought to protect Van’s successful football career. I had to put this one down several times because it just didn’t engage me at all. I really hate the non-communication thing between grown people. Seriously, people can’t be this averse to talking or asking for what they want. Instead of talking, they humped each other silly.

The writing just didn’t flow, the characters weren’t developed enough for me to feel a connection, and there was way too much sex in it.

I didn’t read book 1, but I was expecting more substance than I got in this book. Van and Toby were nice guys but the actual story is didn’t impress.

The Perfect Play (Play by Play, #1) by Jaci Burton

Series:
Narrator: Lucy Malone
Source: Tantor Audio

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.

Title: The Perfect Play by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play, #1
Release Date: March 4, 2013
Format: Audiobook (8 hrs and 36 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance
Published By: Tantor Media
Purchase Links: Tantor Audio Amazon US

 

The last thing event planner Tara Lincoln needs is the jet-set lifestyle of a football pro like Mick Riley, even though their steamy and passionate one-night stand proved that Mick is an all-star—both on the field and in the bedroom.

Tara played the game of love once and lost big, and she doesn’t intend to put herself out there again, especially with a certified heartbreaker. But when Mick sets his mind to win, nothing will stop him. And he has the perfect play in mind to catch this sultry vixen.
two-half-stars

Aside from this book being uninteresting, I was baffled that two grown-ups were having such simple misunderstandings when they can just text or call each other.

Tara Lincoln was an event planner who was trying to make a name in San Francisco when she landed a huge contract to plan a preseason party for a professional football team. There she met a nice guy Mick Riley and they ended up in bed together. She later finds out that Mick is a quarterback for the professional football team, but they didn’t really discuss this “thing” being anything more. And that was part of the problem for me. There was very little or unclear communication about anything other than sex and career aspirations. Tara and Mick were good at having sex but discussing life and how to have adult relationships, they were quite juvenile in their actions.

Well, mostly Tara was the annoying character as she was full of assumptions and didn’t give Mick a chance to explain himself. She was just one of those heroines you want to slap. I liked Mick but their relationship seemed so shallow that I wasn’t sure why he would even want to put up with her drama.

The characters were not developed that well and the writing was so inconsistent for me. The narration made the story worse that I considered quitting on the audiobook several times and just reading the paperback. Honestly, this book was forgettable because there are plenty of better done sports romances with single parents finding love. I will try book 2 before I decide on this series but I will likely not listen to the audio because the narrator’s tone grated my nerves.

Ezi

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton

Title: The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Format: Audiobook (16 hrs)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio
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?
five-stars


Mariana Zapata came correct! The perfection lay in the way the author subtly developed the character’s relationship. The narrator Callie Dalton’s voice was so smooth that it didn’t feel like 16 hrs. She really gave vulnerability to Vanessa and a gruffness to Aiden that didn’t make him too much of a jerk. The narrator recitation brought these characters to life and aided my enjoyment!

Vanessa Mazur and Aiden Graves barely had a working relationship. Vanessa was Aiden’s personal assistant and he barely acknowledged her even though she kept his life operating smoothly while Aiden played professional football.

After Vanessa quit to pursue her own dreams, Aiden convinced her to return to his employ with promises to help her solve her financial dilemma. In turn, Vanessa agreed to help Aiden solve his issue regarding residency. From that quid pro quo agreement, The author slowly constructed a friendship, which then developed into a deep affection for one another.

The magic of this tale was that the characters were developed well and their individual journey of growth converged into a beautiful love story. The author allowed the reader to glimpses into Aiden and Vanessa’s past as they shared the events that molded their characters so I was able to feel their emotions. That’s a sign of awesome writing when the reader is drawn into the story instead of being told. Aiden and Vanessa came from troubled childhood so they both harbored hurts but through connecting with each other, they slowly let go of the pain and found comfort in their life together.

I didn’t really find the story as slow as others did because it was a steady and consistent to me. It didn’t feel long at all, but more like a well marinated and seasoned romance.

I will definitely check out more books by Mariana Zapata because she impressed me.

Ezi

Getting Inside: (Seattle Grizzlies #1) by Serena Bell

Getting Inside: (Seattle Grizzlies #1) by Serena BellSeries:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

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.

Title: by Serena Bell
Series: Seattle Grizzlies
Release Date: January 3rd, 2017
Pages: 198 pages • Format: e-arc
Published By:Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble

They’re big. They’re hot. And they play hard.

In the kickoff to Serena Bell’s sexy new football romance series, the heat between a female coach and a cocky linebacker turns the Seattle Grizzlies locker room upside down.

Iona: There’s nothing like the rush of going head-to-head with the boys. Football is my life, and I got my new job with the Seattle Grizzlies because I know how to play rough. But as a woman in a man’s game, I can’t afford any distractions—like panty-melting tabloid darling Ty Williams, my star linebacker. I’ve stared down plenty of good-looking players without losing my cool . . . and yet something about Ty’s intense gaze burns straight to my core.

Ty : Despite what they say in the press, I save my best moves for game day. The Grizzlies aren’t just my teammates, they’re my brothers—no way am I going to let some new coach shake up our defense. But Iona Thomas isn’t just some coach. It’s so tough to keep my head in the game when I’d rather be in bed with her. She may take charge at practice, but if I had her in my arms, I’d be choosing the plays. I just need to figure out what makes her tick—and what makes her want to break the rules.
four-half-stars

I was truly surprised at how much I enjoyed this story. On the surface, it seemed like a typical football and coach romance, but the author took the time to develop each character’s narrative that I was engaged in their personal success just as much as the success of their relationship. I was drawn in almost immediately to the end. That’s what great writing does to a reader, transport the reader into the story.

Iona Thomas worked hard to establish herself as female coach and she made sure never to compromise herself by getting involved with a football player…until Ty Williams.
 photo natalie group huddle_zpscln64uge.jpg
Ty Williams is the starting linebacker for the Seattle Grizzlies, a fictional PFL team, and the new linebacker coach is causing all kinds of distractions for him. While she gives very sound coaching techniques, he can’t help but notice her curves or how good she smells.
Both Iona and Ty fight their mutual attraction because Ty is under the microscope for his less than inspired performances of late and Iona has made history as the first female coach in the PFL much to the chagrin of some.

Ty was working through some personal issues and Iona was working on herself esteem as a woman. Ty and Iona seemed to be just what the other needed at this point in their lives, but both were cognizant of what an affair would do to their burgeoning careers. With so much on the line, was it worth it to risk their hearts over the career they were individually building?

Serena Bell really made me believe in both character’s integrity. While there was an almost immediate attraction, the author made them work for the happily ever after. I found the road to love believable, realistic and angsty.
black love photo: Black Love blacklove1.jpg
I applaud her for not going the route of too much sex over plot because I became invested in these character’s aspirations as well as their family lives. I felt their chemistry, I also felt their anguish about what a secret affair would do to each other and the football community. As a person who loves football, I appreciated the author’s effort to being authenticity to the character and the environment that Iona and Ty were a part of. I hope this book is indicative of how this series is going to be because I really enjoyed this story.

*Special Thanks to Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

About Serena Bell

USA Today bestselling author and RT Reviewers’ Choice Award nominee Serena Bell writes richly emotional stories about big-hearted characters with real troubles and the people who are strong and generous enough to love them.

A former journalist, Serena has always believed that everyone has an amazing story to tell if you listen carefully, and she adores hiding in her tiny garret office, mainlining chocolate and bringing to life the tales in her head.

When not writing, Serena loves to spend time with her college-sweetheart husband and two hilarious kiddos—all of whom are incredibly tolerant not just of Serena’s imaginary friends but also her enormous collection of constantly changing and passionately embraced hobbies, ranging from needlepoint to paddle boarding to meditation.

Rushing the Goal (Assassins #8) by Toni Aleo

Series:
Narrator: Lucy Malone
Source: Tantor Audio
Rushing the Goal Book Cover Rushing the Goal
Assassins #8
Toni Aleo
Contemporary Romance
Tantor Audio
May 31st 2016
audiobook
17 hrs 31 mins

Lucy Sinclair was no stranger to pain.

She grew up with three younger brothers, met a bad boy, got pregnant by him, married him, and then suffered through a nasty divorce from him. Pain. That was pain. To top it off, she even had to go through the heartbreaking divorce of her parents. Through it all, she survived. All she cared about was making sure her daughter was happy and taken care of. Despite an ex-husband hell-bent on ruining her life, she fought to overcome. She’s gotten to the point that she’s okay with being just okay. She never cared about herself because she never had the time. It was Angie and only Angie she focused on, but that all changed when Benji Paxton offered to help her daughter on the ice.

Benji knew the moment he saw Lucy, he’d never be the same. Especially when she came with the bundle of crazy that was her daughter. His heart wasn’t ready for them. After years spent sobering up and finding who he was without the alcohol, he never forgot he was being punished for not appreciating the love he had when he was younger. Because of his past, he had gotten used to being alone, a recluse, but even he had to admit it was getting old. He was lonely. Hockey wasn’t enough anymore. He wanted a family; he wanted his true love.

And Lucy and Angie were just that.

They were just two lost souls.

Floating through life with no purpose.

But finding each other gave them direction, a chance at a future.

And had them both Rushing the Goal to be together.

This novel had all the things that I enjoy, single and damaged people, children, sports and romance. Lucy Sinclair had a ten-year-old Angie and she was struggling. Her heart has been so damaged by the men she chose to be in relationships with, that Lucy was jaded and bitter. When Lucy signs Angie up for Hockey, she wasn’t prepared for the gorgeous Hockey coach who was substituting for Lucy’s brother.
Benji Paxton agreed to teach hockey as a favor for Lucy’s brother, and had been warned that Lucy was hostile and cankerous. But Benji knew it was a veneer hiding a hurt heart. He would know since he has been there. Benji’s past was sad but it was satisfying to know he waded through the muddy water and came out somewhat clean. So Benji set out to find the woman hidden behind all that all of protection.
I have to say that I enjoyed this story despite the narrator. Maybe it was a language thing, but I hated the way the narrator said “Bin-ji” instead of “Ben-ji”. Also, other words gave me a pause. The author really took her time to lay foundation for this romance because both characters were quite damaged. It took work to really like Lucy because she was just mean and vicious. It made me like Benji that much more as he was patient and persistent. I am a sucker for men who are able to love kids that aren’t their own biological offspring. Benji put in work and eventually built up trust with Lucy and Angie. Lucy was so hard to get close to and she didn’t even let her family in because of her anger, hurt and general wounded heart. Regardless, her family stood by her and supported her.
I felt the drama with Lucy and her ex-husband Rick was quite realistic, but it was still really hard to watch unfold. I wish Lucy went to some kind of counseling because she made everyone around her walk on eggshells. I do commend her for always keeping her daughter the main priority. The growth that Lucy displayed as this story progressed. I appreciate the character development and how Benji and Lucy came together as a couple. This was an enjoyable audiobook.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Audio for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews

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.

The Next Competitor: by Keira Andrews
Release Date: December 4, 2016
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: KA Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?

To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

First published as a YA novel in 2010. This new version has been extensively rewritten, updated, and expanded

DNF @ 33%

This is an absolute first for me!!! I’ve never DNF anything Keira has written. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t get through this book. It started from the very beginning for me. I didn’t like the tone of the story, didn’t like the character right away. That’s a big problem to me, and it took me days to make it that far. I’ve put off reading this book because I didn’t like it. I did try to make it to 50% but I was not going to force myself to do it.

There’s nothing much I can say I enjoyed, well maybe seeing Matty Marcus name in another book featuring Figure Skating. There’s nothing more that interested me. I’m going to keep this short since I didn’t get far. From what I did try to digest, the main character was a self-centered, unlikable character to me and fellow skaters. I didn’t enjoy his no mouth to brain filter. It got old after a while, and I didn’t like the information dump on figure skating. I didn’t care to much about that. All in all, this was a complete bust for me by this author. Don’t let this book deter you, Keira Andrews pen game is way stronger then this. I can’t love them all, but this was one I didn’t expect to not even finish.

About Keira Andrews

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Audiobook Review: Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) by Avon Gale

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s arch-rival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences. Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.
Save of the Game Book Cover Save of the Game
Scoring Chances #2
Avon Gale
Gay Romance; Contemporary Romance; Sports Romance
Dreamspinner Press
January 29th 2016
audiobook
200

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His new roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences.Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

Scott B Smith’s narration of the is book (and series) is quite impressive. The delivery, vocal range and overall pace was spot on. I love the accents as well as the rhythm of his voice blended effortlessly with the story. He added enjoyment to an already well-rounded plot.

*See Mika’s e-book Review.

Riley Hunter was first introduced in book 1, Breakaway, as the Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie and teammate to Lane Courtnall. Riley was still coming to terms with his sudden attraction to men. After Lane moves out of their apartment, Riley gets a new teammate, Ethan Kennedy. Ethan doesn’t come from a financially secure background like Riley, so there were some economic adjustments between the roommates.
Riley and Ethan were so complimentary as a couple because of their different backgrounds. Ethan came from a tightknit family who supported him even though they were poor. Riley on the other hand, came from a rich family who was never around. Riley grew up alone with servants for companionship and figuring out his sexual preferences. Ethan was more inquisitive and active in pursuing the object of his attraction even if he was uncertain of how it would turn out. Each hero had what the other lacked so this was a case were opposites attract.

Avon Gale does a great job writing realistic, non-dramatic relationships. I appreciate the way the author just wove the story without silly miscommunications that last forever. Riley and Ethan were good friends and were good teammates, who happen to find themselves liking each other. They went about their sexual discovery in a healthy manner and they certainly had great sexual chemistry. The story was well written, had great flow and just made me feel good. I normally enjoy more angst in my stories, but this series is impressive. It is so nice to see relationships that people didn’t have to suffer the trials of Job before reaching their happy place.
If you want a good low drama friends to lover story, you have to try this series out.

*Special Thanks to Dreamspinner Press for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.
Ezi

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.

The Shameless Hour (The Ivy Years #4) by Sarina Bowen

Series:
Narrator: Nick Podehl, Saskia Maarleveld
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
The Shameless Hour Book Cover The Shameless Hour
The Ivy Years #4
Sarina Bowen
Contemporary Romance
Rennie Road Books
April 12th 2015
audibook
279

The girl who’s had everyone meets the boy who has no one.

For Bella, the sweet-talking, free-loving, hip-checking student manager of the Harkness men’s hockey team, sex is a second language. She’s used to being fluent where others stutter, and the things people say behind her back don’t (often) bother her. So she can’t understand why her smoking hot downstairs neighbor has so much trouble staying friends after their spontaneous night together. She knows better than to worry about it, but there’s something in those espresso eyes that makes her second guess herself.

Rafe is appalled with himself for losing his virginity in a drunken hookup. His strict Catholic upbringing always emphasized loving thy neighbor—but not with a bottle of wine and a box of condoms. The result is an Ivy League bout of awkwardness. But when Bella is leveled by a little bad luck and a downright sinister fraternity stunt, it’s Rafe who is there to pick up the pieces.

Bella doesn’t want Rafe's help, and she’s through with men. Too bad the undeniable spark that crackles between the two of them just can't be extinguished.

I really enjoyed this book. It challenged some stereotypes and prejudices I have about women. I do want to be less judgmental of women and more respectful even if the choices aren’t ones that I’d make for myself.

Bella (before): Just a common groupie. Everyone has a turn on that ride.

Bella (now): Independent, confident, unafraid.

I was entertained with drama between Rafe and Bella because it was cool having the guy be the clumsy and inexperienced one. Rafe was very sweet and sure about what he wanted. It was always something monogamous and committed. I don’t think Bella and Rafe grew that much as characters, but they certainly gave each other strength to go for what they wanted and eschew fear.

I think the author dealt with a very sensitive subject without trivalizing it. I was comfortable with how it played out and I am happy that Bella learned more about herself in this book. I didn’t really care for Bella in the prior books, but I grew to appreciate her more in her own book. She has a certain inner strength that can be overlooked because of her cavalier attitude towards sex. Rafe was a really great guy from a good mother and he really helped Bella see herself in a different light.

Sarina Bowen really creates an interesting college environment that is fun but has real life issues. I look forward to the roommate’s chance at love.

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

The Good Fight (Time Served #3) by Julianna Keyes

The Good Fight (Time Served #3) by Julianna KeyesSeries: Time Served #3
on 2016-07-01
Pages: 216
AmazonB&N

I was born a fighter. You had to be, to survive in Camden. Lucky for me, I loved it. The thrill, the pain, the glory. Until one night things went too far and I almost lost my ticket out.

So I swore off fighting. Never again. No matter how much I wanted it.

I went to college. Got a degree. A job on Wall Street. Yet I still wasn't smart enough to stay away. So now I'm back. And it's just as bad as I remember.

Enter Dr. Susan Jones, superstar neurosurgeon. She's brilliant, she's sexy and she's a pain in my ass. I can't get enough and she's too busy for a relationship. She wants to hook up, get off, go home. She doesn't have time for a thug from Camden. But she keeps coming back.

This place brings out the worst in people. Every day it threatens the project I'm working on, the plans I'm making. Every day it drags me down just a little more, until the hands I vowed to keep clean start itching to get dirty.

If I don't start fighting for what I want, I'll wind up with nothing.

I didn't come back to Camden for nothing.

I came back to start something. And when people hurt the things I care about, the gloves come off.
three-stars

I was looking for that tension and angst from Undecided and I didn’t find it here. Still this author is a good writer because both characters were compelling protagonists. Oscar Hall uses boxing to cope with the tragedy that took his loved ones from him when he trip to the emergency road brought Dr. Susan Jones into this life. Susan Jones was a brilliant surgeon who needed someone to see past the mask she hid behind. This book was a process of emotional maturity for both characters.

I was really excited to read this book because I loved Undecided by this same author. Unfortunately, this one lacked the emotional depth and character building that I had expected. I loved Oscar “Oz” Hall because he was sweet, thoughtful and hardworking.

Dr. Susan Jones was a disconcerting character.
I had a hard time really understanding and being interested in her journey. She was emotionally detached from almost everything except her work ambitions. At first, I thought that perhaps Susan had Asperger’s Syndrome and thus she lacked the ability to connect with others. However, the author never really took the heroine’s narrative that way. Instead, the heroine was portrayed as someone who coped by shutting down emotionally.
Susan was almost inhuman and robotic even with her daughter and I couldn’t help feeling that Oz could do better. There was so many times he described her actions as “mechanical” that I couldn’t even enjoy their sex scenes.

The chemistry and attraction didn’t work for me so I had wished that either Oz would find someone else or that Susan’s ice princess veneer would melt. Susan thawed, but not early enough to engage me. But I did like that she forced Oz to work harder at everything. Susan kept him unbalanced and that was the key for Oz to find Oscar again. Had the author introduced Susan’s past might have made her more relate-able earlier. I also wanted to know more Jade and Rian. I hope they get their own HEAs soon.

*Special Thanks to the author for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

The Baller (A Down and Dirty Football Novel #1) by Vi Keeland

The Baller (A Down and Dirty Football Novel #1) by Vi KeelandSeries: Down and Dirty Football #1
on 2016-01-18
Pages: 300
AmazonB&NNarrator: MacKenzie Cartwright, Sean Crisden
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
 The first time I met Brody Easton was in the men’s locker room. It was my first interview as a professional sportscaster.The famed quarterback decided to bare all. And by all, I don’t mean he told me any of his secrets.No.  The arrogant ass decided to drop his towel, just as I asked the first question.  On camera. The Super Bowl MVP quickly adopted a new hobby—screwing with me.When I pushed back, he shifted from wanting to screw with me, to wanting to screw me.But I don’t date players.And it’s not because I’m one of the few women working in the world of professional football. I’d date an athlete. It’s the other kind of player I don’t date. You know the type.  Good looking, strong, cocky, always looking to get laid.Brody Easton was the ultimate player.Every woman wanted to be the one to change him.But the truth was, all he needed was a girl worth changing for.Turned out, I was that girl.Simple right?Let’s face it.  It never is.There’s a story between once upon a time and happily ever after…And this one is ours.

Author's note
- The Baller is a full-length standalone novel. Due to strong language and sexual content, this book is not intended for readers under the age of 18.
three-stars

Emma Stone meh photo Emma Stone meh_zpswpkqau3q.gif
This one was a big meh.

Delilah Maddox was a sports reporter and she just got the assignment of a lifetime covering the football team The New York Steel. On her first day, she met star quarterback Brody Easton and there was an instant attraction. Brody immediately began making passes at her (pun intended). Delilah resisted his charms for awhile, but eventually gave in. They have both been in love before and are afraid to be hurt again. Delilah and Brody are extremely cautious about giving their hearts to someone else again but Brody was just hard not to love. He was funny, he managed to turn everything into a sexual innuendo and his loyalty gave him depth as a man.

When Brody’s old flame Willow returned to town, Delilah felt threatened. It was clear that Brody cared about Willow and that made Delilah unsure as to whether Brody’s past relationship was truly over and resolved. Who did Brody want for his future?

First of all, the pace of this story was slow! It took a while to build up to where the author was going and then the author made a non-isssue an issue. The narrators did what they could but the issue was the story.

What I loved most was Brody because it was like seeing your college boyfriend. While he was a grown man, he was all boy too. Everything, and I mean everything related back to sex for Brody. I found myself chuckling a lot. On the surface, it just seemed like Brody was about sex, food and football, in no particular order. But Brody was actually more complex as a character. On the other hand, I found Delilah’s character to be flat.

Delilah Maddox’s success as a reporter, would require her to be observant and Brody was pretty much an open book. Yet she didn’t see the most obvious things about him nor did she learn them about him after they had spent so much time together.

I blame the author for making Delilah slightly pathetic because the author spent time developing Willow even more than Delilah. I was rooting for Willow because while she made mistakes, there was a lot of growth in her life. I thought how the author mishandled the Willow, Brody and Delilah situation. I don’t like manufactured conflict and the drama was so forced to extend the pages. It was slowly built up and then the resolution happened as an afterthought. It was never a true triangle.

About Vi Keeland

Vi Keeland is a #1 New York Times Bestselling author. With more than a million books sold, her titles have appeared in over fifty Bestseller lists and are currently translated in twelve languages. She resides in New York with her husband and their three children where she is living out her own happily ever after with the boy she met at age six.