Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

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Off-Campus #4

It’s here! It’s here! Tucker’s book! Sabrina’s book! THEIR LOVE STORY. And it is terrific. When this book showed up on my Kindle, I was sadly stuck at work. But inside my head, I was dancing with joy because I knew I would soon be able to dive in.

This book. Oh, this book. I just absolutely loved it. I liked Tucker and Sabrina equally and together, they were about as perfect of a couple as romance land has created. Elle Kennedy, she is a master.

If you read the end of The Score, you know the book ended with a bit of a bombshell. The Goal does not pick up directly at that point. It takes readers through Sabrina and Tucker’s first moments together all the way until Tucker finds out. And this man. He is just about as sexy as it is possible to be. For me, John Tucker is easily the sexiest hero in the Off-Campus series to date. He is my new number one Elle Kennedy hero. And Sabrina is not far behind as a heroine. In fact, I kind of really fell for her too.

Sabrina is tenacious. She is determined. She is smart and ambitious. This girl is going places and right now, her dream is Harvard Law. Nothing will stand in her way, certainly not her body’s pesky reaction to Tucker. (To note: her body’s reaction is to basically go up in flames any time he is in the room.) Sabrina owns her future. She is a hard worker, a good friend to her two besties, and she is not at all afraid to show Tucker how much she can please him. But that’s it. No love or hearts worn on her sleeve.

Tucker wears you down though, in the best way possible. This man is a treasure. He is a Southern gentleman, concerned with his mom and wanting to make her future great. He has a keen sense of business and is eager to use his degree, even if he’s not one hundred percent sure what business to invest in. And he’s a good friend. Hockey isn’t his life, not the way it is for Garrett and Logan, but he loves the time with his friends and the exhilaration of winning.

I don’t want to give too much away so I’m afraid this review has turned into one big love fest from me to Elle Kennedy. I thoroughly enjoyed knowing next to nothing about Tucker and Sabrina’s romance going in and I want the same for anyone else reading this book. I’m afraid this review is going to come off like I didn’t read the book but I promise you, I devoured this story. From start to finish and I can tell you baby’s name if you so desire (but I won’t!).

Truly, Sabrina and Tucker are going to enslave readers. I loved how both of them embrace their connection. I love how Sabrina loves sex, particularly with Tucker. I enjoyed Tucker’s friendships with his teammates, particularly Fitzy, who we get to see a tad bit more of in this book (I’m hoping he will get his own story!). Basically, I’m in love with The Goal and I cannot recommend this book highly enough. (Though I do caution you, while this book The Goal by Elle Kennedytechnically does stand alone, there is something much richer in knowing the back stories of the characters and their connections.)

The Goal is available today! And in fact, it even has a new cover. I’m going to miss the abs covers, personally, but I do see the appeal in this cover too.

Head on over to your favorite bookstore of choice and purchase The Goal today. Elle Kennedy, I dare you to top this amazing story!!

ARC provided by publisher for review.

Cover Reveal: One Summer with Autumn by Julie Reece

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One Summer with Autumn
Julie Reece
Published by: Swoon Romance
Publication date: October 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Seventeen-year-old Autumn Teslow arrives at her father’s job fair knowing she’ll never measure up to the perfect image of daddy’s little girl—her twin sister.

Wearing anger management issues like a second skin won’t help Autumn win her dad’s approval for the big trip she’s been planning—or meet his condition that she successfully complete a summer internship for college.

Autumn’s cool unravels when her sister lectures against disappointing the family again. And when a young, bearded guy steps through the crowd to settle the growing argument between siblings, Autumn lashes out, dubbing him a “Duck Dynasty wannabe.”

At Nineteen, Caden Behr is clueless as to why his man parts are threatened by the fearsome girl before him. He’d only come to find an intern for his recreational equipment company, not break up a girl-fight between two sisters.

Unfortunately, the only candidate left is the girl who just told him off. Without her, he’ll never prove to his CEO mother that he’s ready for more responsibility.

Autumn and Caden agree that if they can keep from killing one another, they can use one another to get what they want and then never have to see each other again. Which is what they want.

Until it isn’t.

Because despite her best efforts to scare him off, and his fading desire to push her into the lake, they’re beginning to enjoy the time they spend together. But pride is a hard habit to break. And if neither will admit their changing feelings, they could lose a whole lot more than one summer.

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Author Bio:juliephoto

As a child, Julie’s summers were about horseback riding and fishing, while winter brought sledding and ice-skating on frozen ponds. Most of life was magical, but not all. She struggled with multiple learning disabilities, and spent much of her time gazing out windows and daydreaming. In the fourth grade (with the help of one very nice teacher) she fought dyslexia for her right to read and won.

Afterward, she invented stories where powerful heroines kicked bad-guy butt to win the hearts charismatic heroes. And then she wrote one down…

Writing ever since, Julie weaves southern gothic, contemporary, fantasy, and young adult romances. She enjoys sweeping tales of mystery and epic adventure… which must include a really hot guy. Her writing is proof a dream and some hard work can overcome any obstacle.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter

 

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Teaser: The Bachelor Auction by Rachel Van Dyken

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New Romantic Comedy from Rachel Van Dyken!
 
“While they can’t have a fairy-tale ending, maybe they can indulge in a little bit of fantasy . . .”

Pre-order The Bachelor Auction TODAY:
 
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2bNZuQE

Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Brooklyn Bruisers #1

Be still my heart. Another hockey romance! It’s just what my romantic soul needs as I head into fall. I know this is typically football season but believe me, you will soon be on board with the Brooklyn Bruisers too!

This is a second chance at love book and it succeeds on all levels for me. Leo and Georgia were madly in love in high school. Everyone thought it would stick and they’d move out into the real world together. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Georgia is a survivor of sexual assault but it changed her relationship with Leo. They haven’t spoken since but that all that is about to change when Leo joins the Brooklyn Bruisers as the newest recruit and it’s Georgia’s job to introduce him as the publicist for the team. That is much easier said than done however.

The course of second chance romance never runs totally smooth but Leo and Georgia definitely give it a whirl. I swear, my heart went pitter-patter throughout this story (I know that is incredibly sappy to say, but the connection between Georgia and Leo just felt so RIGHT). Of course, they have both grown up and changed but in all the ways that matter, at their core, these two are still madly in love. Not that it is easy to get either of them to admit it.

This book is a lot of fun. I really enjoyed the Brooklyn Bruisers. Sarina Bowen is a master at guy talk and the conversations between Leo and his teammates shine in this story. In a totally manly way, of course! But truly, I always feel Sarina Bowen does a great job at creating authentic male dialog and that holds true for Rookie Move.

I don’t want to give too much away so I will simply say this book held my attention (almost) immediately. I will admit, I found the book somewhat of a slow starter, but as Leo and Georgia’s characters were revealed, their past together coming to light, and their future hopefully coming up rosy, well, I was quickly swept away in the book.

The hockey seemed authentic too. From what I can tell from Sarina’s online media accounts, she is a hockey fan so she knows what she is talking about when she interweaves hockey throughout the story.

Rookie Move is the first book in a promising new series. There are quite a few hockey romances on the romance market right now and while each of them has their strong qualities, I feel Rookie Move is the ultimate package. Strong romance, complex and clever characters, and a great hockey team at its core. This book should please any sports romance reader.

Rookie Move is available now.

ARC provided by publisher for review.

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How hot is Leo’s hockey card???

And if you’re looking for a little taste of just what Rookie Move is all about, I have an excerpt to share below.

“Come right this way,” Georgia heard her coworker and roommate Becca say, the clomp of her Dr. Martens echoing through the grand old passageway. “Nate is excited to meet you.” Becca was the owner’s assistant, and Georgia lingered half a second to wave her down and offer her a donut, too.

But Becca didn’t happen to look in Georgia’s direction as she led a tall man down the corridor. Something about his gait snagged Georgia’s subconscious. So she took a second look.

And that’s when her heart took off like a manic bunny rabbit. Because she knew that man. She knew the chiseled shape of his masculine jaw, and the length of his coal-black eyelashes.

Oh my God.

Omigod, omigod, omigod.

“How was your flight?” Becca asked him, oblivious to the fact that Georgia was spying.

“Not too bad. I got in late last night.”

The sound of his voice fluttered right inside Georgia’s chest. It was the same smoky sweet timbre that used to whisper into her ear while they made love. She hadn’t let herself remember that sound in a long time.

Now it was giving her goosebumps. The good kind.

“Welcome to Brooklyn,” Becca said while Georgia trembled. “Are you familiar with the area?”

“Grew up about thirty miles from here,” he answered while chills broke out across her back.

Holding her breath, Georgia eased her office door further closed, until only a couple of inches remained. She could not be caught like this—freaked-out and speechless, hiding behind a door.

The movement caught Becca’s eye, though. Georgia saw her turn her head in her direction and then pick her out in the crack where the door was still open. Becca raised one eyebrow—the one with the barbell piercing in it.

All Georgia could do was close her eyes and pray that Becca wouldn’t call out a greeting.

There was a pause before Georgia heard Becca say, “Right this way, please.”

Quietly, Georgia stepped into her office and shut the door. After flipping on the light, she let her briefcase and pocketbook slide right to the floor. Only the folder that Nate had given her was still in her shaking hands. She flipped it open, her eyes searching for the new player’s name on the page.

But she didn’t even need the paperwork to confirm what her racing heart had already figured out. The newest player for the Brooklyn Bruisers was none other than Leonardo “Leo” Trevi, a six-foot-two, left-handed forward. Also known as her high school boyfriend, the boy she’d loved with all her heart until the day that she’d dumped him. And now he was here?

“Thanks, universe,” she whispered into the stillness of her office.

Review: Too Wild to Tame by Tessa Bailey

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There’s something special about a Tessa Bailey book release day. I know it’s mostly because I just thoroughly enjoy her books so much but it’s also partly sharing in release day joy with other fans. Too Wild to Tame definitely brings out that feeling in me because wow, what a book! I know other Tessa Bailey fans are going to be raving about it too.

Too Wild to Tame by Tessa BaileyI must admit, I was a bit on the fence about reading this book because Aaron Clarkson is a political adviser and I’m a bit (A LOT!) burnt out on politics (I think most Americans share this sentiment). And yes, this book does tackle politics to a degree but it’s just a small sliver of Aaron and Grace’s story. At the very heart of this book is an outstanding romance between these two interesting and complex characters.

Aaron is campaigning hard to be on Senator Pendleton’s staff. He knows he can help the Senator achieve his goal of being President. It’s not as easy as it should be however. Aaron had a recent falling out on his political goals and he has to really press to get back in the Senator’s good graces. It should be easy. Aaron is hardened to politics. He is hardened to life. Or so he thinks. Then he meets Grace, the Senator’s daughter who is rather different from her more conservative family. Grace keeps out of the political spotlight but she does have some goals of her own that she hopes her father’s political presence can help with. But it’s not easy to convince her father to let her accomplish those goals but with Aaron’s help, perhaps she can finally make her goal come true and put something in the past behind her.

There is a lot to like in this book. So much in fact. Grace is a sweet woman with a heart overflowing with joy and unfortunately, a heavy burden she carries. Going into this book, I thought I knew what this burden would end up being but Tessa Bailey really shook me up with its reveal. It ties in so much to her personality and her spirit. Aaron is not much like Grace at all. He is used to political games. He is used to being able to manipulate situations and people to his liking with a few carefully chosen words. Those skills win him no favor with Grace however. Not one iota. And Aaron is baffled because this is a woman he wants, desperately, much as he thinks he needs to deny their attraction. But not even Grace can resist Aaron for long, much as she initially tries.

Tessa Bailey tugs at the emotions with this book. Aaron is a man who projects calm on the

Author Tessa Bailey

Author Tessa Bailey.

surface but he is a turbulent mess of emotions, not only in relation to Grace, but in relation to his family who he has a somewhat rocky relationship with. He seems really suave and to a degree, facetious in certain situations, but truly, still waters run deep in him. I know that is cliche but it holds very true for Aaron. Grace seems like more of an open book but there are depths to her that are peeled back as the story progresses. Tessa Bailey did such a great job of creating two somewhat archetypal romance characters that transform and grow throughout the course of the story.

There are plenty of great Clarkson family moments too. Aaron and Peggy have a really lovely relationship but I admit, it was Aaron and his brother, Belmont, that broke my heart a few times. Lots of hidden emotions between those two.

All in all, this is just a lovely romance. And of course, it includes Tessa’s rather signature brand of dirty talk. Aaron is a CHAMP at it, believe me. I enjoyed every moment of this story, more than the first book by far actually. There is just something special about Grace and Aaron when they are together that I couldn’t help but sigh over.

Too Wild to Tame is available on September 6! Pick it up today.

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ARC provided by publisher for review.

Too Wild to Tame is the second book in Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series. Book one, Too Hot To Handle, is available now.

Romancing The Clarksons Series

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Review: For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

For Better or Worse by Lauren LayneAh, I am just totally in love with Lauren Layne’s Wedding Belles series. I am a single woman and don’t really get the whole wedding industry thing but I really admire the passion and ambition these women put into their business, the Wedding Belles. This book focuses on Heather Fowler, assistant planner, who dreams of being a full-fledged planner with the Belles. Heather is close to having it all. She just got a brand new apartment in the city that she loves… for the most part. Unfortunately, her neighbor likes to play his music into the wee hours of the morning, making it difficult for her to sleep. When Heather goes to confront him, she meets Josh Tanner, and his muscled chest. Josh is annoying on every level to Heather, but oh man, is she attracted to him. But seeing a new woman come out of his apartment every few days makes it difficult to envision even a one night stand with him.

Josh Tanner is wildly attracted to Heather, even if he thinks she is a tad uptight about her job (something he no longer worries about). Josh is determined to live life to the fullest now that he is in remission from cancer. He is sure that living the life of a laid-back musician is the life for him…unfortunately, it’s not quite fulfilling him either.

As Heather and Josh become closer, as their playful animosity turns into deep attraction, Heather and Josh have to determine if they are willing to risk more than just desire.

The real pleasure in For Better or Worse is Heather’s story. She has big ambitions and is doing everything she can to see those ambitions to fruition. Though her newest client, Danica Robinson (think Kim Kardashian) is anything but pleasant to work with, Heather is doing all she can to make this a wedding to remember. On top of that, she is dealing with the complex feelings Josh is arousing in her. And it’s not easy because though the attraction between them is HOT (Lauren Layne knows how to create chemistry!), Heather is looking for love. She does not want a quick fling. But no matter how she tries to get closer to Josh, beyond physical intimacy, he immediately pulls away. Josh is determined to live in the moment and he may be letting the best thing in his life slip away.

Heather saves this book, big time. I liked Josh, he is a nice enough guy and I certainly understand why he is so scared of his future. But I became really tired of how Josh kept putting off telling Heather any part of the truth about his past. It became tiresome and put him in a weak light for me. Even his big gesture at the end, while incredibly sweet, came a tad too late for me. It didn’t ruin the story by any means but Josh just didn’t wow me by the end of the story.

Heather on the other hand is exactly the kind of woman I love reading about. She is unafraid to put her heart on the line. She has goals and plans. She has friends who care about her and Heather works hard to strengthen those relationships. Heather isn’t perfect (no character ever is) but I really getting to know Heather.

Also, the running joke of banana bread was very sweet and the twist at the end did make me smile.

If you enjoyed the first book in the Wedding Belles series, To Have and To Hold, I think you will definitely enjoy this book. It was nice to really dig into Heather’s character. And now, I am on tenterhooks for the final book in the series which happily comes out on my birthday. Happy birthday to me!

For Better or Worse is available today at your favorite book store.

ARC provided by Edelweiss for review.

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Review: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

tohavetoholdThis is the first Lauren Layne book I’ve ever read but it definitely won’t be my last. What a great start to a new series. To Have and To Hold is the first book in Layne’s The Wedding Belles series. Brooke Baldwin has just moved to New York to start a new job as a wedding planner for the Belles. She is very glad to be out of California, where she had been a rising star in the wedding planning industry. Unfortunately, her own wedding turned into a terrible fiasco when her fiance was arrested at the altar. Brooke is desperate for a fresh start and is eager to make her mark in the New York wedding scene. Her first client is hotel heiress Maya Tyler. Unfortunately, with Maya comes her older brother, Simon Tyler, one of the wealthiest men in New York. And one of the coldest and most annoying in Brooke’s mind.

BUT OF COURSE SIMON IS NOT THAT BAD! He truly is not. He is super protective of his younger sister since she is the only family he has left. And Simon has a bad feeling about Maya’s fiance, Neil. For good reason as readers find out. But truly, the best part of this story for me is Brooke and Simon’s relationship. It starts off as quite antagonistic because Simon does not come off as the greatest of guys at first. He is very reserved and seems a bit cold and stand-offish. But fear not, he is really wonderful as Brooke discovers much to her chagrin. She does not want to fall for any man right now. She is still hurting from her own failed wedding (though she wants to pretend otherwise). The chemistry between Simon and Brooke is very strong however and as most romance readers know, chemistry can’t be denied for too long.

Simon is a complicated man. He wants to protect and care for all the people in his life and unfortunately in doing that, he makes some bad mistakes. He is not always an easy character to like but, if you’re anything like me, he may just be a character you fall for very hard. I like men who are a bit reserved and taciturn and Simon definitely fits that bill. But there is a lot of heart beneath his cold front and he is just waiting for the right woman to show it to.

Brooke is fabulous too. I really liked how dedicated she was to her job. Her career is very important to her and she treats it that way. I also liked the inside look at the wedding planning industry. Lauren Layne did a great job of making it interesting and fit into the story in a natural way.

Brooke and Simon’s relationship is not a smooth ride but it fits their characters. There is depth and strength to each of them as they navigate their growing feelings for each other. I was very happy to see them get their happy-ever-after. And I cannot wait for book two in the series! It will be a lot of fun to read about Heather, another employee at Wedding Belles.

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