Dogs and Dragons

Animal Attraction by Kate Willoughby

I adore Ms Willoughby’s quirky set ups, time and time again she creates cute but believable scenarios. My face hurts from smiling so much. And I’m not a dog person, at all!

I really warmed to both characters, Maggie in particular was that combination of ordinary and extraordinary that we all want to be besties with. I kept imagining that I was Jade and got to hang out with her. Fun, fun, fun!

I’m not sure why I love an ice hockey story so much, I’ve never seen a game live and only one on tv. But I love how Ms Willoughby’s passion for hockey shines. She’s super generous with her knowledge, I learned quite a bit about the game.

I hope for the next book we get some glimpse of San Francisco, we got a few insights but I need more. As for these San Francisco Dragons, what a team! I’m loving this journey with them, I’m already seriously invested in the Dragons winning that Stanley Cup! I’m willing to pay to be in their locker room, I may even remember about the team logo, then again a big hockey boy telling me off wouldn’t be all that bad would it?!

This is a great easy stand alone read. Go for it!

Yes to the Silver Fox


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









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


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.

having & eating your cake


Under the Spotlight by Kate Willoughby out December 14th

I have to say upfront I love a good sports romance, and Kate Willoughby is fast becoming a new absolute fave.  She knows her hockey and what makes a swoon worthy hero.

Joe and Christine are a really interesting couple.  Joe is a guy who wants to do the right thing by his lady. But the lady he chooses to go the distance with comes with a whole load of challenges.  Clearly, I don’t want to give the game away (like my pun?!) but they are two people focussed on their careers yet wanting love all the same.

As alpha boys go, Joe is definitely up there.  He is a hockey god after all!  So, how does a modern alpha boy or rather man deal with it when his lady’s career is so important to her.  Add in the fact that whilst she’s about to hit it big, being a little older and a sportsman he knows his days are numbered.  Can he go from super athlete to playing second fiddle?

It’s tough. Should you prioritise your hopes and dreams for your beloved?  And should they expect you to?  Of course, coming up with the platitudes are useful here (not!).  But the truth, as all us career girls (god how I hate that term!) know is that compromise is the only way forward.  For the majority of couples compromise is often about the practical stuff – money, travelling, prospects, child care etc.  Yet if money is no object and you’re both at the top of your game – would you or should you compromise?  And if so, who does it?

I think its called having your cake and eating it.  Is it possible?  And when it comes to super couples should it even be?  Made me wonder do Brad and Ange compromise?  What about George and Amal?  I bet they do.  Its just from the outside it seems so charmed.

That’s what made this a great read.  Ms Willoughby’s is an innovative take on the problem.  I love her fresh style, and there’s a level of honesty in her character development.  Joe in particular was easy to like, Christine probably took more effort, but I think that was deliberate.  And there’s no hiding that this author really is a hockey fan.

It’s fun, sexy, sweet and thought provoking, well above the normal sports romance.  Usually I’m not a fan of the epilogue, but this one was just perfect!

It can be read alone but I wouldn’t – go get the others and immerse yourself in Kate Willoughby’s Barracudas!

Oh and don’t forget that cover- talk about cake and eating it!

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.