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.

 

 

A new fave

image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! 

 

More than a second chance

image

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 Ryker please!

Ryker

Ryker  by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury series)

Ryker is loveable – bit fragile but loveable.  What was his idiotic wife thinking?!  (no spoiler as that’s in Zack’s book!)

Its taken me until book 4 to realise that Sawyer Bennett is all about the big picture – she’s got a message to share and this is her medium.  And boy does she do it well!

Its a great romance, all the typical fare you expect and want from a sports romance.  The hockey scenes are fab.  I could fill any number of paragraphs about Ms Bennett’s great writing and her story telling, she’d deserve it of course.

But what steals the whole book is Ryker himself and his attitude as a single dad to two little girls when faced with a  career dilemma for him and Gray.  Quite simply we need more Rykers.

It was moving but refreshingly not overly sentimental.  I hope that every girl/woman reading this takes his message on board and thinks about it.  There are Rykers out there – just not enough and few are recognised.

Thanks Sawyer – we need more from you too!

Challenging my views

Zack #3 Cold Fury Sawyer Bennett   (possible spoilers!)

I downloaded Zack’s book whilst I was reading Garrett’s.  But the scene for Zack’s story was revealed in Garrett’s book, and its not a story theme I’m comfortable with, at all.  In fact, I decided not to read it.

Its a personal thing, but I have an issue with men who seem to move quickly through their mourning to their next relationship.  I find it disrespectful to their dead partner and difficult to read.  The problem was that Ryker’s book is looming, so I decided to motor through Zack’s book so I’d have enough of the basics to enjoy Ryker’s book (like who the hell is he?!).

But damn that Sawyer Bennett she wasn’t going to make it easy for me!  As usual I was suckered in by Ms Bennett’s fabulous characterisation and story telling.  I felt for Zack, even though I knew what was coming and I didn’t feel it was quite right.  Is five months a respectful mourning period?  Should we advocate dressing in black forever more?  Who knows?

In a way that’s the point – who knows what’s right and what’s right is different for everyone.  What was challenging was Gina was a young mother and it was an accident, Zack had no prep for what he should do.  Should you sell the house you shared?  Is that right for her child? What about her clothes?  How many photos are respectful? and how many are creepy?

The fact that Zack and Gina weren’t married was the kicker for me and a genius move from the author.  He struggled with it.  So did I.  I would have liked to have understood how much Gina’s death impacted his view of marriage.  Did it make him more open for marriage?  More likely to commit?  Or was it simply a different person?   What does that say about his relationship with his child’s mother?  He didn’t go there, and I wonder if he didn’t think about it or didn’t realise it.

Twenty-four hours later I’m still thinking about it.   For me, this is the quality of Sawyer Bennett’s writing.  We all know the way romance is rubbished – hell, I’m even guilty of it “need a trashy romance for my holiday”.  Sure this is a romance, but when you’re still thinking about it a day later, its certainly not throwaway rubbish.  There are so few writers who can do what she’s done with the first three of the Cold Fury books.  Roll on Ryker…

Again like with Garrett, to be really honest it was the epilogue that I wanted to change.  It was all going so well, until Zack articulated aloud his views on marriage to Kate.  I just wish he’d kept them to himself, it still would have been a HEA, but I would have felt that Zack got it right.  No doubt, most people will disagree?  Either way she’s fast becoming one of my fave writers.

Here’s what I said about Garrett’s epilogue:  http://biglittlesister.com/?p=333

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.