Counting stars

Marek by Sawyer Bennett (Cold Fury #11)

Sawyer Bennett doesn’t just tell stories, she makes you question what you think. Every damn time!

As a total romance junkie I’m all about the hero, especially a bad boy.  But when the hero despite his gorgeousness and bad boy ways, isn’t redeemable and actually isn’t even a decent guy, what do you do?  Is it a bad book because the hero isn’t hiding a heart of gold or misunderstood or suffered a dreadful childhood?  Usually, there’s plenty of angst to overcome and the journey cements the hero in your heart, not so here.  Regular guy, fantastic life, just pretty much zero emotional intelligence and pretty selfish.

And then, there’s our heroine.  All will be forgiven, she’s going to be our star. Nope.  She’s as awful and dim witted as him.  And for all the comments about her parenting skills, she’s a pretty rubbish mother. We learn in the previous book that she hid his child from him and his family.  And for no good reason at all, plain spite.  How nasty.

What was she planning to say when her child asked about her father?  And when her child realised that the financial difficulties they faced were unnecessary how would she explain it?  The epilogue makes it clear that all along she knew that his was an open door.

So, do you judge a book by how much you love the hero and heroine?  Well, this book shows me that with Sawyer Bennett it’s all about purpose. Don’t be fooled by the ice rink, Ms Bennett always writes purposeful dynamic fiction. This is one of her better books – an excellent farewell to the Cold Fury.

I might not have loved the story, but I couldn’t put it down.  Neither character are ingrained on my heart, but they’ve got my brain buzzing.  If you’re still thinking about a book well after you’ve finished it – you know it’s a cracker.

Nice guys and gals arent actually the most compelling characters.  We all know that.  But us romance fans, maybe we like it too simple.  Usually a great hero gets 5 shiny stars from me, and the ones I don’t like are heading towards the one star. But this one is a 4 and a half from me.

And for me that’s a big deal. How would you have rated it?

PS this isn’t stand alone you have to read the fantastic Reed first.  Ms Bennett is now leaving Cold Fury, those Arizona boys need to up their game!

Winning Cash

Losing Game by Tracie Delaney (Winning Ace #2) out July 30th

Where her first book was all about her fab heroine Tally, Ms Delaney’s second book focuses on her hero Cash Gallagher.

Oh and what a hero, our Ms Delaney knows her tennis!  Take Murray’s surly professionalism, Federer’s balletic grace, Rafa’s gorgeous sexuality and Djokovic’s gritty darkness and you have one Cash Gallagher.  I held back in the first book, feeling the love for Tally far more.  Not this time. I’m a goner for Cash.

Ms Delaney’s second book is effortlessly enjoyable, perfect for the beach or your back garden!

Warning this is a trilogy and needs to be read in order.  Personally, I hate that it’s a trilogy.  Waiting to know who Gracie was and why she and Cash were involved nearly killed me.  Hands up though, it was worth the wait.  I adored how the story unfolded, it was sensitive, surprising and believable.  I felt for Cash big time.

As its book two of three, clearly not all is resolved.  I thought the ending was really thoughtful and clever.  It would have been way too easy to replicate the success of the first book’s cliff hanger ending.  This way its much harder to see a resolution (it’s a romance I’m hoping there is one???).  And I seriously need to know like NOW!  But sadly I’m made to wait.

To fill the time, I think I’m going to start a campaign for Rupe’s book!  He is charming and ridiculous, definitely Cash’s opposite.  Who could possibly be matched with him?

Winning steel

Winning Ace by Tracie Delaney (book 1)

I’m guilty. Absolutely and totally guilty of sticking with my favourite authors and genres.  Whilst I love to find new authors, when the sun is shining and I’m ordering that mojito I’m not in the mood for a risk.

Well, I’ve done the work.  And here’s a risk free book for you to hit the beach with.

Ms. Delaney’s debut novel is a corker, but be warned this isn’t a throw away easy read (not that I have any problems with those!). This is easy reading but with added steel.  And what steel it is!

From the start Tally is a great character – just that tad different. And with Cash, Ms. Delaney has highlighted what’s wrong with tennis today.  Yep, the ATP needs a super super successful bad boy.  Sorry, Roger, Andy, Novak and even Rafa but you’ve nothing on Cash Gallagher! Bad has never been so good.

Sparkling characters, cracking pace and a kicker of a story – Winning Ace needs to be on your kindle this summer!

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.

 

 

Dripping Luxury

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The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata

Oh wow I wasn’t expecting that!

I downloaded this wondering if it would be any good as I didn’t know the author and hadn’t heard of the book, I took a chance because it was on the best Goodread books of the year.  Well, it’s a terrific read, one of my 2016 favourites.

Sometimes it’s all about the slow burn, in this case a very slow burn.  A dripping tap almost. It might have taken me a while to fall for Aiden Graves but I fell in love with this book by page two.

It’s so gorgeously written that the slow unwrapping of the story is like waiting for the best present ever. How the author holds back on the pace I will never know, but surprisingly you don’t want her to go any faster. And I normally like a heathy dose of pace with my stories. Not this time.

There’s something about the way Ms Zapata describes the growing physical closeness between Aiden and Vanessa. It’s not about sex because they aren’t getting down to it, but it’s so damn sensual and romantic.  She sits on his knee in front of his friends and slowly gets so comfy that she falls asleep in his lap.  I wasn’t reading what happened I was there watching it.  It was so eloquently written that I wanted to frame the words – still might!  Or at least fall asleep in Aiden’s lap.

The writing was romance at it’s best.  It was like fabulous coffee, expensive chocolate, gorgeous silk and aromatic cognac it glided through my senses. Luxurious!

There’s plenty of friends to lovers books or the instant attraction or second chance romance. This is just so different, especially for a sports romance. Bravo Ms Zapata!  I certainly know who you are now!

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!