Consolation Prize (Linda Kage)

Don’t you just hate it when someone destroys all your carefully made plans?

I mean, I had goals: college to graduate in one semester, a future I was working hard to reach, and an image of myself I wanted the world to see. My life was stacked into these precisely placed blocks. But then Colton Gamble came along and knocked them all askew.

I hated how he messed everything up, how he could hog all my attention whenever he was around, how he made my pulse quicken — but only because he ticked me off… not because I was attracted to him. Oh! And I hated how he knew how attractive he was too, the shallow, full of himself, doesn’t take no for an answer, too-flirty, too cocky, extremely irritating jerk.

The boy had all the qualities that turned me off. Or so I thought.

One night he wasn’t quite the brainless, over-confident jerk I usually took him for.

One night, he took care of me when I was at my lowest. He opened up to me and made me open up to him.

Now I’m learning maybe he’s not what I first thought he was. And maybe I’M not what I first thought I was. Maybe it’s okay to rearrange a couple of my perfectly set blocks. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop worrying about what I’m afraid everyone else will think and finally reach for something I really want. It’s possible some of my plans need to be destroyed, and Colton Gamble is exactly the kind of mess I need in my life.

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Desperately seeking your advice,
Julianna Radcliffe


I will admit that I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. But here we go. The last book of the Forbidden Men series was another amazing one, and I cannot believe that this series is over. I need more. I need more of the whole gang!

This book is about the youngest Gamble brother, Colton, who we met when he was a small child, when his brother and sister in law took him in and raised him as their own. Colton is definitly a grown up now, and he’s such a smartmouth, so hilarious, and he has such a big heart. What a family. Julianna we met on the previous book, when she went on a date with Colton’s older brother, Brandt. I really liked Julianna, and I understood her struggle to always present a perfect image and project the best of herself. But I loved that Colton helped her be more relaxed and start doing things for herself and not anyone else.

Julianna is a black woman, and she’s older than Colton. The interracial aspect of their relationship plays a big part in the book, especially from Julianna’s side. But I was happy that their age different didn’t gather that much attention (even though they met while he was still a minor…).

I loved their banter though, they spurred each other on, and were always ready for a verbal fight. I loved their dynamic.

I’m sad to see this series end, because I fell for all the characters in this series. Family and friends played such an important role throughout all these books, and I really liked them all. I’m sorry to see it come to an end.

But it was a great ending, that’s for sure.

Price of a Kiss (Forbidden Men #1) 
To Professor, with Love (Forbidden Men #2) 
Be My Hero (Forbidden Men #3)
With Every Heartbeat (Forbidden Men #4) 
A Perfect Ten (Forbidden Men #5) 
Worth It (Forbidden Men #6)
The Girl’s Got Secrets (Forbidden Men #7) 
Priceless (Forbidden Men #8) 
Consolation Prize (Forbidden Men #9)

Pipe Dreams (Sarina Bowen)

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future — she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve — his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.


I read this book as a buddy read with  Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, so go check out her blog in the next few days.

It shouldn’t come as news by now that Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors. I’ve read most of her work, and I always love her books. This series and this book is no exception. I loved Rookie Move and I really liked Hard Hitter, so obviously Pipe Dreams also stole my heart.

I’m a sucker for second chance romances… and also single dads, so this book had a pretty great premise for me. Once again I really enjoyed the writing. Third person is still not my favorite style, but Sarina does it well.

I really liked the characters. Lauren was fierce and independent and Mike was loyal and amazing. Together they were fantastic, and my only wish is that they had talked about the past before they actually did. I understood Lauren’s heartbreak, what Mike did in the past was shitty, but it was also understandable, and I never felt like he truly lied to her or anything like that.

Elsa, Mike’s teen daughter, was an acquired taste. I understood her feelings and issues completely though, and I LOVED that Mike didn’t give up his pursuit of Lauren because Elsa didn’t approve of it. I LOVED THAT! Though I still think that some more talking would have been the way to go there…

Overall, I really liked the characters and the romance, and I liked the plot a lot. For a little while there I was a bit worried by the way it was going, but it ended up being really cool, so everything was awesome 😉 .

I have to say, Sarina, I NEED A BOOK OR A NOVELLA ABOUT NATE AND BECCA! Come on… so many tidbits, but I want and need the real thing… pretty please?!

So, guys, have you been reading the Brooklyn Bruisers series by Sarina Bowen? If yes, don’t forget to pick Pipe Dreams up, because it’s awesome. If no, what are you waiting for????

The Year We Hid Away (Sarina Bowen)

tywha

She’s hiding something big. He’s hiding someone small.

Bridger Macaulley used to be a player both on and off the ice. But now, while his teammates chase the next hockey victory, Bridger worries that the dean will discover he’s housing his eight-year-old sister in his dorm room. Juggling a full course load and a big secret, it’s only a matter of time until the other skate drops.

Scarlet Crowley is the only freshman at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. Her name is as new as the shiny student ID it’s printed on. The only way to survive college will be to conceal her identity, even if it means lying to the green-eyed boy she’s falling for.

Bridget and Scarlet form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.


Awhile back, me and Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much read the first book of The Ivy Years series together, so we thought it would be cool to do the same with book 2 :D. Check out her blog in a few days to read her review of The Year We Hid Away.

I had really liked the first one of the series, but I have to say that I loved this one even more. There’s just something about truly desperate situations and people who can overcome shitty situations. Once again, I loved the writing, because this is Sarina Bowen, and I’ve read a bunch of her books by now, and I KNOW I will love anything she writes. The book, once again, is told in dual POV, and I really liked how distinct both voices were, but still had a common denominator.

Both characters were amazing. Scarlet’s situation is truly unbearable, and I can’t even begin to understand what goes on people’s minds to treat her the way they did. I thought she was truly strong, making her decision had to be tough, but it hurt that she was leaving a big part of herself behind, so she could be “normal”. The same goes for Bridger, oh boy, he’s dreamy! Maybe it’s the whole “single dad” thing, even though Lucy is his baby sister and not his daughter, it somehow still applies. It was remarkable how amazing Bridger was with Lucy and Scarlet, and how he still managed to have amazing grades and follow his dreams (or part of them).

The fact that neither of them was willing to ask for help, even when they desperately needed it, was beyond sad, and it lead me to cry a bit towards the end.

I really liked the romance between Scarlet and Bridger, the built up was well done, and I really liked how understandable they were of each other’s secrets. When they finally open up to each other, it’s a beautiful thing to see.

The buildup was strong and emotional, and I’m a mess whenever the storyline involves children…

I highly recommend this one, and I can’t wait to read the remaining books of the series.

The Do-Over (L.E. Bross)

thedoover

L. E. Bross’s contemporary romance debut is a fun and sexy tale of unlikely lovers struggling to leave the past where it belongs — behind them — and embrace a bright future.

Melanie McAllister’s brand new copy of Home Improvement for Dummies doesn’t even begin to cover the DIY advice she really needs: how to put the pieces of her life back together. Her cheating ex-husband’s insider trading scandal destroyed her family’s multi-million dollar company and left Mel with nothing but the run-down oceanfront cottage she inherited from her parents. Biscay Beach, Maine, seems as good a place to start over as any. 

Hot-as-hell carpenter Eli Stuart understands new beginnings. Once a rising star in the art world, the former sculptor has been secretly carving out a new existence in the small coastal town ever since the sheen on his old life turned to rust. He’s willing to bet the feisty brunette in need of major home repairs has never lifted a tool heavier than a nail file — until Mel is racing the clock to make her ramshackle home fit for winter and, facing a near-empty bank account, decides she can do it all herself. 

So Eli offers Mel a deal: if she helps him with the renovations, he’ll cut the bill in half. Soon Mel and her damned home improvement book are driving Eli mad with an explosive urge to return to his studio and fire up his torch once more. His new work is crude and raw, and before long, he can’t keep his hands off Mel, either. But a muse from his past could ruin it all for the second time — if Eli and Mel can’t let go of who they used to be and trust their hearts with a do-over.


Once again, I’m starting this review by telling you guys that I read The Do-Over  in a buddy read with Cátia @The Girl Who Read Too Much, my fellow portuguese blogger :D, with whom I read – what?! – around 5 books this month alone (?!) . We’re totally rocking our ARCs! You can find her review for this book here.

Much like Cátia, I’ve become a fan of L.E. Bross writing, because I loved her two previous books, Right Where You Are and Whatever It Takes. The Do-Over, like the other two, is all about second chances, so I was super excited when it became available for request on Netgalley.

I loved that this book once again had alternating POVs, I like my romances from both perspectives! It was a 3rd person narrative, but I can live with that. The writing is funny and easy to follow, and did I mention funny?!

The beginning of the book felt a bit slow, but the pace picked up a bit when the two main characters started interacting more, and for a while it was so much fun to read… Then around 86% of the book I just wanted to throw my phone someplace not nice – I didn’t, because Cátia told me not to, and because I do love my phone to bits.

Now the characters… here is where things got tricky… I usually love all of Bross’ characters, but the female MC of this book, Mel, made it a bit impossible for me to love her, or sometimes even like her. I understood where she was coming from, and her need to be on top of things, organized, put together and so on. What I didn’t get was how someone so fierce in some aspects of her life, let herself be put down the way she had by both her parents and her ex-husband. The more she talked about them, the madder I got.

Eli also had his not-so-great moments, but all and all he was great and he was great to Mel and for Mel, and at least for some time she understood that.

Eli and Mel sure had chemistry together. Their banter and exchanges were loaded and hilarious. Some situations made me laugh out loud. But sometimes I would just slap my forehead and yell “STUPID MEL“…

My favorite character, though, had to be Liesl, Mel’s sister. I loved their relationship, though for the life of me I couldn’t quite understand how they spent so much time apart. I would love to read about Liesl and her husband Dave. It would be so much fun!

There’s a huge conflict near the end of the book, which I thought was kind of silly, and the reactions – or OVERREACTIONS – were a bit too much as well. But I did like how it got solved and I did like the ending.

So, even though it wasn’t my favorite read by L.E. Bross, it was still quite an enjoyable, cute and hot romance.