Gold digger?

Max by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury #6)

I love this series.  It’s adorable, thought provoking and feel good reading.  How Sawyer Bennett consistently writes great characters I just don’t know.  Add in that she creates real believable drama that you’re invested in and it kind of blows me away.  Purely fabulous writing.

Of all Ms Bennett’s heroes I imagine that Max is probably the one that most readers will forget.  I admit I’m probably guilty of that.  But having re-read it this week, I can say Max is the sweetest of the Cold Fury stories.  The word heart warming is over used but it’s totally appropriate. In fact heart-warming nails it!

Max asks a simple question how do you prove a negative?  Julianne is accused of being a gold digger.  Is she?  It’s an easy charge to make, especially when a girl struggling financially ends up with a super rich guy.  But just because she’s poor and he’s super rich, does money have to the central tenet of their relationship?  How does she prove she’s not gold digging for his money?  And how do they both move past it so it doesn’t dominate their daily life?

I really felt for her. And for him. It’s a lovely story, that has far more depth than it first seems. Wonderful.

I must also thank Ms Bennett for having not one but TWO new Cold Fury books on the horizon.  Clearly, they’ve been downloaded as this is one series that just gets better and better.

And I haven’t even mentioned the cover!  Who is he?!

The not so bad boy

Roman by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury # 7)

This is one yummy read, inside and out.

It’s offical the Cold Fury series is my favourite sports romance ever.  Number seven? I was expecting a bit of a hump.  No way!

Sawyer Bennett is the undisputed Queen of sports romance.

Roman Sykora is a bad boy, he’s not really a patch on Alex (#1).  But unlike Alex he is a happy bad boy and uninterested in what others think.  As long as he delivers on the ice, he’s not worried what the gossip pages say.  He’s been alone for a long time, he’s self-sufficient and happy in his own skin.

And then he falls in love. Words fail me, it’s just so wonderful.

Here’s this guy who hasn’t ever belonged, never did the family thing but isn’t full of angst, falling for a girl who desperately craves what she has never had. A family.  But not with him, but a father and sibling she doesn’t know.  It’s simple and complicated.

There’s a scene towards the end where he serenades Lexi, and I longed to be her. Oh, it makes me smile even now.  It’s the most romantic thing ever!

We also got a few extra story strands. Gray Brannon (Mrs Ryker) appears and wow is she a judgemental pain in the rear, and with a very short memory when dealing with Roman.  Her dad Brian has his own little romance going on. Loved that!

 

Thank you netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

 

 

The boy done mostly good

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On the Line  by Victoria Denault

I’m steadily getting into Victoria Denault’s Hometown Players series.  But I wasn’t too keen to read this one. Avery Westwood getting his own book?  My nose wrinkled there.  Not too sure.

Ugh! I was wrong Avery is soooooo likeable in fact I love him. Yep I love Avery Westwood.  He’s so lovely.  Sure there’s some difficult stuff with his dad but underneath it all he’s a charming and hockey mad boy who simply lost himself.  And dad did too.  The fame, money, expectations and opportunities pushed aside the sweet little boy.  Up stood this rigid, cautious, image obsessed and almost scared hockey God – the best in the league – with the ultimate well meaning hockey dad.

And then along came Steph.  So, almost without realising it, he takes a chance.

Steph is a fab, spirited, fun and somewhat complicated girl.  She is also Sebastian’s sister and we get loads of Seb! Loads I tell you – one can never have enough Sebastian!

There’s lots of fun and just enough crazy in there!   As it gets darker and colder this will warm you up, right down to your pinky toes!

On the Line is a total must read for all hockey romance fans.  Victoria’s storytelling and writing is wonderful. Enjoy!  And perfectly read as a stand alone.

Yes to the Silver Fox

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Falling for Flynn by Kate Willoughby

I’m not overly a fan of a silver fox romance. Truth be told I only read this as I’m such a fan of Ms Willoughby’s writing.

Turns out I was wrong to completely rule out a hot older guy and girl romance. This is a sweet and easy read, with bucket loads of romance and cuteness.  Interestingly as it’s a story about a chap who avoids drama the story is light on superfluous melodrama (thank you Kate!).

Flynn is an all round nice guy who just needs to find his girl or perhaps better said his lady.  Tracy has real backbone to her.  What I liked is that she was the real catch – no doubt Flynn was lucky to have her.  She has a successful career, good friends, hobbies, is super fit, smart, sexy, respected, good fun and all up has a fabulous life. Yep, he’s a lucky boy.  Usually it’s the hockey star with the great life he shares with his lady. That’s so not Tracy’s story.

And her message to sports administrators and fans about women’s sport is perfect for hockey, but also football, rugby and cricket etc.  You go girl!

Totally great start to a new series from Kate Willoughby.  It is kind of a spin off from her Barracudas series but you don’t need to read that to like this. It’s absolutely stand alone.

I always look forward to Kate Willoughby’s books and was so happy I read this one!

A new fave

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Tulsa Thuderbirds series by Catherine Gayle

In case you don’t know I have a soft spot for ice hockey romance. I don’t know why.  Other than once at the last Olympics I have never seen ice hockey, and even then it was the TV highlights.

Luckily, I think I have found a new hockey writer to join my two faves Sawyer Bennett and Kate Willoughby.  Catherine Gayle’s Tulsa thunderbird series is surprising, challenging and fun – just the kind of read I like.

The challenging starts with the heroine. Blushing virgins need not apply!  And certainly don’t go looking for flowers and chocolates!

These are different heroines – a beauty queen with her reputation in tatters, a porn star and a spiky disabled girl. They make life complicated for their men and it’s not down to the usual communication misunderstandings (thank goodness). Catherine Gayle has her heroes confronting their issues and pasts as their relationships with these complicated ladies grow.

Now, I have to admit the blurb for the second book – Smoke Signals – put me off reading it for ages.  And that pretty sums up what I admire about Ms Gayle’s writing – it’s brave, passionate, unconventional and just a tad humourous.  She focuses on the story she wants to tell, not so much what the reader expects and wants.

Ms Gayle also has her Portland Storm series, most of which I’ve four starred so another good read for hockey fans!

To go back to my two original faves, in case you don’t know… Ms Bennett’s writing is hero led, fabulously hockey rich and with a strong message in tow. Whereas Ms Willoughby has the sweetest writing style creating characters that you can’t help but love.

Catherine Gayle’s Rites of Passage (Tulsa Thunderbirds #4) is out Nov 10th

Sawyer Bennett’s Max (Cold Fury #5) is out Dec 13th

Kate Willoughby’s Falling for Flynn (first in a new series) was out Oct 19th review soon! 

 

Yummy beach thinking

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On the Brink Kate Willoughby out June 28th

I finished this book a little while ago. I should have written my reviews then, it would have been a simpler review: ‘Kate Willoughby’s latest has been written for hockey fans to hit the beach with, it’s a yummy, sweet, fun and easy read’.

However, a few weeks later I’m kind of rethinking.

Yep, it’s yummy, sweet and fun. And it was easy to read – that’s the author’s trademark after all. But maybe I got her trademark wrong. Maybe Ms Willoughby gives us sweet and easy whilst she grabs you when you’re not expecting it. Bit naughty hey?

I should have known, she did it with Tim and Joe!  Because I’m still thinking about Hart and Jeremy.

The essence of the story is whether Hart can accept himself as gay and if he can, should he hide it? This is especially difficult given his potential partner’s open nature (think poster boy!).

What is the impact of having a hidden life?  Hart isn’t an idiot, as a top athlete he knows the potential impact of keeping such a secret on his athletic performance.  Can the hidden you, be the best you?

There will be plenty of people who feel that none of this should matter, Hart should join Jeremy’s poster boy status.  Yet, an athlete’s life is very finite. It also takes a level of complete dedication that most of us can’t comprehend. The story is set in the past but today we have nutters in the U.S. worrying what bathroom you use. So, must you be the poster boy just because you want to play hockey? It’s your dream. Is it anyone else’s business? What would you do?!

My only criticism is that if you read the series you’ll get more Hart including his family interactions and the ending of his story. I would have loved to have this woven in here for a longer novel. But on the plus side we’ll get another Barracuda book sooner. Silver linings and all that!

Go grab the latest Barracuda book, hit the beach and enjoy!  Thinking allowed but not essential!

I received an ARC in return for an honest review.

More than a second chance

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Hawke by Sawyer Bennett out March 15th

First up, I adore Sawyer Bennett’s writing, she’s so much more than my go to sports romance writer – she sets the standard. And Sawyer’s standard is damn high.  As for the Cold Fury boys and gals, well she can’t write them quickly enough for me!

The blurb will tell you that this is a second chance romance. Yep, it is. But it’s a hell of a lot more.

As young lovers, there was no doubt about how much Hawke loved Vale. Ms Bennett made sure his feelings oozed from the pages and yearned to be a young Vale.

Then wham – it was over. So, it’s a second chance romance and the story of how they are reunited.

I wasn’t the same.  She wasn’t the same.  What we had was different now…”

Yet, the real story isn’t how they get back together (as cute as that is) but the impact their first love had on their journey from teens to adults. It’s kind of heartbreaking. You can see how the pain they suffered led to choices they might not have made. Equally, as adults learning about their own history leads to real personal development.

I’m falling in love all over again, and it’s just beautiful to me

It was beautiful to me too.  Thank you Ms. Bennett for capturing the essence of a second chance like I’ve not read before.

She must have dated a real lot, because Sawyer Bennett writes men like few romance writers.  For me Hawke is probably along with Zach my least favourite of her men, yet thanks to her wonderful writing I loved the book. Watching him struggle with all these emotions and a new understanding was simply gorgeous!

As for the cast members great to see Captain Alex and Ryker in their new roles. Loved Vale’s dad and when is it Max’s turn?!

Oh and about that cover, I’m not into bearded blue eyed men but I couldn’t stop staring. Wow!

 

Thank you to netgalley for an ARC in return for an honest review.

More than a bad boy

Out of the Game Kate Willoughby (In the Zone #3)

I’m so glad I’ve found author Kate Willoughby.  I seem to like her hockey heroes, I wasn’t sure I’d find another to rival Tim Hollander, but Alex Sullivan did just that.  On the surface this should have been a pretty easy and predictable read.  Bad boy, man whore and all that, falls for the “good girl”.  Of course, bad boy had a tough childhood which kind of excuses his behaviour but said good girl turns him around.

Read that, a lot and happy to read it again and again.

So, I wasn’t expecting the emotional depth and roller coaster ride of this book.  In fact, at times I was a bit shocked at how much I felt for Alex.  Yes, he was immature and irresponsible, and if I was Clare I would have insisted on a far better apology before I would have forgiven him.  However, even though his story might be considered a cliché there was something both endearing and raw about Alex.  I found his personal ending quite sad and a bit unexpected.

Clare was another good heroine from Kate Willoughby.  I like her everyday approach to her female characters – girls you can relate to.

 

Skip the epilogue

Garrett #2 Cold Fury Sawyer Bennett

Sometimes you just need an easy ronseal romance.  You want a book that just does what you expect (like ronseal!).

Well, I got that and a whole load more with this one.  Sports star finds girl and gets his HEA books are a dime a dozen, but this was actually pretty brilliant.  In fact, I loved it.

Garrett was great, unlike every other manwhore I’ve ever met he wasn’t hiding behind some great tragic childhood.  In fact, he was a pretty stable and happy chap and a fantastic ice hockey player too.  Nope, he just liked sex and he didn’t have a reason to say no.  His and Olivia’s romance was totally believable, it was simple – he changed because he wanted to change.  There was no endless angst waiting to be sorted.  And thank god for that.

Olivia was very likeable, as I’m trying to avoid spoiling the secret in the book’s blurb its hard to say more.  But her story is more than your usual romantic heroine.

Sawyer Bennett writes a cracking story, and creates romance that was simply more.  I can’t stop thinking about it – especially the ending.  And that sadly let it down.  Why oh why did we need that ridiculous epilogue?

We got a real ending that suited both of them and the story and it shone with integrity.  It warmed my heart and made me smile.  Sadly, the epilogue just ruined it.  What on earth is a writer the calibre of Sawyer Bennett writing such silly fluff for?

So my advice is download it (the first book Alex is pretty okay too!) but don’t read the damn epilogue and you’ll enjoy it a whole load more.