Saturday, December 3, 2016

Power Play by Avon Gale (audiobook)

Title:  Power Play
Author: Avon Gale
My Rating: A
Narrator: Scott R. Smith

Genre: Sports Romance (m/m)
Series: Scoring Chances #3
Main Characters: Misha and Max
Release Date: October 2016 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Listening Length: 6 hours and 22 minutes

A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 5.0
Story: 4.5

Wow, this story was good. I was surprised when it started and was about the coaches of one of the rival teams in the league, because at this point I'm simply devouring the entire series and not paying attention to story blurbs. But it was a pleasant surprise...mainly because the intertwined backstory between Max and Misha is so good just in the angst that it adds to the characters. 

Both of these guys were playing for the NHL when the accident happened...and it was an accident. A fluke hit that ruined Max's ability to play. Misha certainly hadn't meant to hit him in that way, but in the midst of the league trying to reinforce safety issues, they penalized Misha. He never played again.  So the accident ruined both their careers through no fault of their own. That's not an easy history. 

For Max, he has no hard feelings. Misha's feelings are pure guilt. And it takes a while for the two of them to work past all that. I loved that Misha was Russian. As a result, he doesn't let things slide by as easily as Max does. He's stoic and serious, whereas Max just lets things slide off his back. That made a great partnership between them. They truly balance one another out. 

I loved so much about this book. Pretty much every thing about the story and the characters worked for me. I loved both of them so much and thought they were absolutely perfect together. 

The narrator was perfect on this one. Misha is Russian and Scott R. Smith did an incredible accent for him as well as showing the perfect emotions through the inflections. Overall, this was one of those audiobooks that will remain a favorite for a long time to come. I highly recommend it. 

Friday, December 2, 2016

Say You Want Me by Corinne Michaels (audiobook)

Title: Say You Want Me
Author: Corinne Michaels
My Rating: A
Narrator: Sophie Eastlake and Zachary Webber

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: Hennington Brothers #2
Main Characters: Wyatt and Angie
Release Date: November 2016
Publisher: BAAE, Inc
Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
There’s no way I’ll fall for Wyatt Hennington.

He can keep his Southern drawl, irresistible smile, and those pick-up lines all to himself. I made the mistake of sleeping with him not once, but twice. I’m not stupid enough to give him round three, especially after he left me in the middle of the night so I could see myself out. I vow to return to Philadelphia and forget him.

It proves easier said than done.

When the doctor informs me I’m the winner of door prize number two, I put my life on hold and head back to Bell Buckle. Three months and if we can’t make this work, I’m gone.

The problem is—when the cards are stacked against us, and I can’t bring myself to leave him, I’ll finally know if he truly loves me or if all my fears were real . . .

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.5

With this second book that I've read in this series, I think I have a new favorite author. I loved this second book just as much as I loved the first and I honestly didn't think that was possible because the first book was fantastic. But so was this one.

Angie and Wyatt have hooked up exactly two times. Both times it was fantastic sex, but the second time left an extra little surprise. Angie is not thrilled. She has a life in Philadelphia as a bonafide single career woman. Moving to a ranch in Tennessee is not her idea of perfection for her future, but she gives Wyatt three months to convince her. 

Wyatt is surprised, but actually okay with this surprise. His thing with Angie has always felt different and he's actually anxious to explore what they might have. The difficult part is getting her onboard and giving him an actual chance. She's a city girl through and through...which totally is not the reality of his life.

So, so much love for this book. Angie is tough and I kind of loved that about her especially at the end. She has walls to protect herself and it's not easy to let those down with her background. Wyatt wants her so much. That's obvious as the book unfolds. 

But this is not a book that's all smooth sailing even when things start to shift. Just like the first book in the series, it's highly emotional and with every blow I fell in love with Angie's character just a little bit more. She's so strong when all I wanted to do was sob for her and Wyatt. 

BTW, I owned this book both in audio and print, but the audio was so well done, I didn't ever want to stop it so I could read the book (which I can devour faster) and that's a testament to a GREAT audio in a book that I love. Normally, I can't read fast enough...but I wasn't willing to give up the fantastic voices reading the book to me. Kudos to the two narrators.

The book was absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait for Grace and Trent's story.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Too Hot To Handle by Tessa Bailey (available in print)


Author: Tessa Bailey
Series: Romancing The Clarksons, #1
On Sale: November 29, 2016
Publisher: Forever
Mass Market: $5.99 USD
eBook: $2.99 USD

Previously released as an eBook in May 2016, the first book in Tessa Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series is now available in print for the first time!

When rescue looks like a whole lot of trouble . . .

The road trip was definitely a bad idea. Having already flambéed her culinary career beyond recognition, Rita Clarkson is now stranded in God-Knows-Where, New Mexico, with a busted-ass car and her three temperamental siblings, who she hasn't seen in years. When rescue shows up—six-feet-plus of hot, charming sex on a motorcycle—Rita's pretty certain she's gone from the frying pan right into the fire . . .

Jasper Ellis has a bad boy reputation in this town, and he loathes it. The moment he sees Rita, though, Jasper knows he's about to be sorely tempted. There's something real between them. Something raw. And Jasper has only a few days to show Rita that he isn't just for tonight—he's forever.



Too Hot To Handle, #1
Too Wild To Tame, #2
Too Hard To Forget, #3


Tessa Bailey is originally from Carlsbad, California. The day after high school graduation, she packed her yearbook, ripped jeans, and laptop, and drove cross-country to New York City in under four days. Her most valuable life experiences were learned thereafter while waitressing at K-Dees, a Manhattan pub owned by her uncle. Inside those four walls, she met her husband, best friend, and discovered the magic of classic rock, managing to put herself through Kingsborough Community College and the English program at Pace University at the same time. Several stunted attempts to enter the work force as a journalist followed, but romance writing continued to demand her attention.

She now lives in Long Island, New York with her husband and daughter. Although she is severely sleep-deprived, she is incredibly happy to be living her dream of writing about people falling in love.



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“So.” He plunked his beer down on the bar. “Where were you four headed in that big, rusty Suburban before Hurley reeled you in?”
She looked pensive as her shit-stomping boots started to sway back and forth, bumping the wooden rungs of the stool. “We need to be in Coney Island by New Year’s Day. So we can jump into the Atlantic Ocean.”
“Why—what?” He dropped onto the stool beside her, his drink forgotten on the bar. “That’s pretty high on the list of things I didn’t expect.”
“Oh, I know the feeling.” A beat passed. “It was our mother’s last wish.”
“I’m sorry.”
She nodded, brushing her hair back in a jerky motion, as if she were uncomfortable having someone’s undivided attention. He’d never had cause to use the word preposterous before, but that was the only way he could describe her lack of confidence. Despite the inappropriate name, the Liquor Hole was his life’s work, and, at the moment, it was nothing more than an unworthy backdrop for Rita. And, God, he was staring at her hands like an aggressive palm reader. “Most mothers want to avoid having their children turn into floating ice sculptures. What was her reason?”
“Good question.” A hint of sadness winked in her eyes, and Jasper wished he’d let the subject drop. This was what happened when he avoided talking about sex. He stumbled right into deceased parents. And yet he wasn’t sorry. Not even a little bit. He wanted to know everything. “I think…she meant it as some sort of symbolic bonding experiment. But I don’t know. We’re kind of unbondable.”
“Got the feeling I interrupted a near-melee this afternoon.”
“Aaron called my soufflé decent.” A strand of dark hair caught on her lips when she shook her head. It took one hundred percent of his impulse control not to tug it away, but she beat him to it, anyhow. “It sounds silly now.”
“Nah.” Jasper couldn’t help leaning in to get a whiff of cooking spices. “He would have had it coming just for dressing like a preacher on a weekday.”
Another one of those quiet, smoky laughs. “I guess there’s a fine line between politician and preacher.”
“Politician?” Jasper shivered, then recalled the threat Rita’s brother had leveled at his head back on the highway. “Still, I can’t help but like him for wanting you safe from a stranger. He can’t be all that bad if he worries about you.”
“Worried might be an exaggeration,” Rita said.
When her golden-brown gaze lit on his mouth, Jasper realized he’d moved into her personal space without any conscious thought. One of her knees brushed the denim covering his hip and, God help him, if the bar were empty he would’ve been between her split thighs before she could call for Jesus. For someone who hadn’t felt more than a passing appreciation for the opposite sex in years, his libido was sure trying to play catch-up tonight.
“What are you thinking about?”
Lie. He had to lie. I want to strip you down and fuck you on this seat, but I’m trying my hand at being a gentleman, was not an acceptable line. It was too aggressive when she seemed spooked merely from his close proximity. But she was leaving, leaving his town tomorrow, and the slow-game option had been ambitious for Jasper when he knew nothing about it. So he’d tell the truth while leaving out the oh-so-dirty reality in his pants. “I was thinking it would have been a goddamn shame if you’d broken down one town over.” His voice was gravel, so he cleared it. “More than a shame. I’m kind of finding it hard to think about, if you want to know the truth.”
For long moments, he couldn’t hear a single sound in the loud bar. No music, no crunching ice or raucous laughter. And, somehow, he knew she couldn’t hear the noise, either. It was there in the perplexity of her expression. He expected her to call bullshit or make a joke, but she didn’t. She shocked him instead.
“I’ll think I’ll take that kiss now.”

(Reposted Review with A- rating)
My Review:
I love the premise of this new series. The book starts off with a journal entry from the four siblings mother (she sounds like she was a crazy mom to have growing up), but in it she explains that her dying wish is that her four (extremely different) children all go and leap into the Hudson River in NYC on New Year's Day.

This particular story starts out with the oldest daughter, Rita. Her mother was a famous chef (and had the Food Network show to prove it). Rita has spent her life trying to live up to her mother's and the world's expectations for her. But having just flamed out on her own show spectacularly, she has now just burned down her mother's legacy...her restaurant that she left to Rita. The bad thing...Rita is nothing but relieved that the restaurant is gone. But when all her siblings show up to watch the ashes of the restaurant, she tells them of her mom's last wish that she discovered in her journal at the restaurant. 

And that sends the four siblings off on a road trip to NYC. Rita is a washed-up chef, Aaron is a politician, Belmont is the staid loner who works as a ship salvage captain, and then Peggy is the baby with four ex-fiance's left at the altar. None of the four are fact, they're quite the opposite. At this point in their lives, they don't even really know one another. But they all agree to the trip anyway...maybe all of them needing somehow to connect with the others...something that none of them have managed to do since mom died a year ago. 

But after the first day, they end up broken down in Hurley, NM where Jasper lives and owns the local bar, Liquor Hole (say that out loud...) Yeah, he gave it the name when he was 21 and brash and the town tramp. In the last two years, he's tried to become something better than the good times guy in town that every woman comes to when she needs a good lay. He wants to be more. As a result, he hasn't had sex in two years. And he's NEVER even had a real date. But when he sees Rita all of that changes. Suddenly he sees someone that challenges his self-imposed celibacy...but she's on her way through town as soon as their Suburban is fixed. 

Tessa Bailey wrote an amazing romance in this story. Jasper's want is palpable. It wafts off the page with his need, but it's SO MUCH MORE than just sexual. For the first time in his life he can see something more. Something long-lasting. Something permanent. It doesn't matter if it's only been literally hours. Rita's arrival in town hits him like a brick to the head, and Rita doesn't get one has ever looked at her the way Jasper does. Now he just has to convince her not to leave...not to honor her mother's last wish...not to connect even more with her siblings. Yeah, this is a catch-22 story if ever there was one. While I so desperately wanted Jasper and Rita to work, what about her brothers and sister and this epic road trip that they need to connect?

But I will say...Tessa Bailey makes it all work. The story was amazing. And I'm so excited to see where the author takes these characters on this epic road trip. I need the rest of the yesterday! There's a tiny glimpse into the next story...Aaron. I can't wait!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.