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.

Power Play 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.

PowerPlayLGPower Play by Avon Gale
Series: Scoring Chances, Book Three
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe B&N • iBooks

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt-ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

five-stars

So this might be my new favorite of the series. It might be a Hockey Series, but this one hockey is in the background to the wonderful relationship between Head Coach Misha and Assistant Coach Max. It seems hard to top each book as you go in the series, but for me the was the ultimate best. I did not want it to end at all. It was so good from beginning to end. I loved both characters equally well, and I might slightly adore Misha more because of his Russian heritage and background. Instead of playing both guys are retired and have a sort of history together. Max’s accident and career ending injury coincides with Misha winning the Stanley Cup. This one I understood clearly, hockey isn’t my thing so it was great seeing this from a different point of view. I love that we got both guys point of views and clearly we get to see the build up from sort of enemies to trying to be friends to admitting the love for one another. Which in hindsight wasn’t that hard for Max.

Let’s talk characters. I love the way each guy in this series is different from others. Max is awesome. In the beginning I couldn’t really get a good grasp on him, but once he started going he was amazing. I loved his openness about Bisexuality. He admitted certain things to himself and came to the conclusion of it’s what he likes. Misha is definitely my type of man, the silent and broody types. The guys with the thousand I stare. Misha was really quiet and he held most things close to his chest. After everything he went through in his teenage years and to come to America and being able to have some freedom kinda through him for a loop. He seemed so close off and stoic but I think first and foremost he needed a friend and that was definitely Max.

Misha still holds himself responsible for Max’s injury. I’m glad the conversations were had because I didn’t want it to linger over the entire book. The chemistry was off the charts hot. I loved them together. It was sweeet times and off the chart smoldering times between these two. I enjoyed the characters as well, Besley might be a skeevy perv but when it counts he comes through. I can’t wait to see a Drake book. I’m feeling him and his room-mate. Those two definitely have the potential. Great seeing Ethan!!!! All in all I really liked this book. It’s by far the best in the series and definitely re-read material. It’s going to be hard to outdo it in my opinion, but I have super faith in Avon!

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 Mistake (Off-Campus, Book 2) by Elle Kennedy

The Mistake (Off-Campus, Book 2) by Elle KennedySeries: Off-Campus #2
on April 28, 2015
Pages: 296 pages
AmazonNarrator: Lorelei Avalon
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.
four-stars

I am really enjoying Elle Kennedy right now. Like I have said before her writing style is fun, flirty, and clever. I love her characters and I love that there is a serious issue in the plot, but it isn’t so heavy that the whole story is sad.

We met John Logan, the best friend of Garrett Graham, in book 1 (The Deal). He was Garrett’s wing man and was a smart mouthed Lothario. John was in his senior year and was struggling with his decision to forgo professional hockey in lieu of taking over the family garage repairing cars.
college hockey photo:  IMG_7161.jpg
All those partying ways changed when he met Grace Ivers, a freshman psychology major who didn’t know much about hockey. Logan was used to groupies and people wanting to be around him because he was a hockey player, Grace was one of the first people who saw the guy. Somehow Logan decided that he didn’t want Grace and pushed away.
When he realized “The Mistake”, Logan spent the year courting Grace, who didn’t make his wooing easy. She definitely made him earn her esteem back.

Again, Lorelei Avalon gave the story a great youthful narration, but not so young that it felt like a young adult story. The story made chuckle a lot because Grace and Logan had witty repartee. It was nice to have young adult stories where the characters had depth, and the story wasn’t weighed down with sex. Definitely a great follow up to The Deal.

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!

The Deal (Off-Campus, Book 1) by Elle Kennedy

The Deal (Off-Campus, Book 1) by Elle KennedySeries: The Off-Campus #1
on 2015-04-09
Pages: 340
AmazonNarrator: Lorelei Avalon
(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy... Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. ...and it's going to be oh so good All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.
four-half-stars

Hannah Wells and Garrett Graham were two really adorable characters. Their journey began when the hockey jock (& history major) asked the music major for help on passing the Philosophy class. In exchange, Garrett promises to help Hannah get a date with Justin, whom Hannah has been crushing on for the past year.

This is my third book by Elle Kennedy in a month and I find her writing style and story telling engaging. The author did a good job developing the characters and keeping the story interesting. Both characters gave each other the strength to overcome some past issues and heal the pain associated those events. It was a really good audiobook. Garrett had a very terse relationship with his dad and the author approached the issue of abuse with sensitivity and grace. I also like the fact the author made it very clear that such behavior was not only dangerous, but unacceptable. I was rooting for the victims to get away from such a mean-spirited bully. I was impressed with Garrett overcoming his background to be a good boyfriend to Hannah. This is a series I plan to continue.

I voted for Him and this book in 2015 Goodreads Choice Awards. I hope Elle Kennedy wins in the romance category. She has had a good year in my opinion.

About Elle Kennedy

A New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently writes for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!