Female Athlete

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata Review!

  From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata 3 Stars!

If someone were to ask Jasmine Santos to describe the last few years of her life with a single word, it would definitely be a four-letter one.

After seventeen years—and countless broken bones and broken promises—she knows her window to compete in figure skating is coming to a close.

But when the offer of a lifetime comes in from an arrogant idiot she’s spent the last decade dreaming about pushing in the way of a moving bus, Jasmine might have to reconsider everything.

Including Ivan Lukov.

Review

I am always so excited when a new Mariana Zapata book comes out and this one with its deep dive into figure skating has arrived just in time of the Olympics.

We get a great deal of what we love about Zapata’s romances in this tale: slow burn, banter, excellence, friends to lovers (in this case after enemies).

Jasmine’s internal struggles to have a more balanced life as a professional athlete and the steady reveal of Ivan as a hero are wonderfully done as is the relationships with the larger cast.

We really see Jasmine fall in love though it seems our hero has been in love for a long time.

There are lots of great details from surprise pets, complex relationships with parents, a look at bullying that make this novel really good.

However, this is the kind of romance I read and think this was good but it could have been excellent.

I needed much more after the I love you. I needed to see Ivan talk openly about his feelings and where his head was at all these years because the book is told from Jasmine’s perspective.

There is a lot of talk about Jasmine’s body and think there needs to be a reckoning with the hero as body issues are so rampant in the sport. It felt false not to confront this aspect of the novel which is only skimmed here and hinted at there while the hero calls her Meatball. Now, the why of their “banter” is discussed but not at all to the complexity which would have made this a great book nor is the “one year only” aspect of the contact. These elements of the book felt sloppy. There is only one sex scene which I don’t mind but there is a moment in there where it hurts and she doesn’t tell him and then that again is the only erotic intimacy we get… so, yeah.

However!

I have a mad craving for James’ and Jonathan’s romance (please!) Tali’s should get one as well. And I would love to see how Ben and and Jas’s mom feel in love. This would make a great novella collection.

Nix (Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Club #7.5) by Candace Blevins Review

4 Stars!

Predator and prey…

Nix recently transferred to Chattanooga from the Asheville RTMC chapter. The MC’s new gun store needs someone to teach rifle classes, and Nix was a Special Forces sniper in the military.

Tippy came to Chattanooga to start her life anew. She’s a shooter as well, and she won a silver medal at the Olympics, but she uses a different name now and tries to stay out of the limelight. Most deer can’t function in human society, but she’s found ways to navigate modern life without her deer freezing or running every time something startles her.

Wolves are fiercely monogamous when they fall in love, while deer have trouble understanding the concept of exclusivity. Then there’s the fact wolves eat deer in the wild.

A wolf and a deer madly in love and living happily ever after has to be impossible. Right?

Review

I love a heroine that is very very good at something and a hero who crushes on her for her talent as it embodies who she is.

Our heroine is an Olympic level shooter and gun smith. Our hero is a world class sniper with a big ole crush on her.

Oh, he is a biker wolf shifter and she is a deer shifter. So, yeah.

The romance is hot and touching as predator and prey work out how to be together with cultural differences around sex within the background of a motorcycle club.

I am not thrilled with some elements of how the wolf dealt with the poly piece in terms of what is being said about who and what counts as sex but within the context of this couple and this world it makes sense.

This is a really enjoyable erotic action packed paranormal romance.

The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen 5 Star Review!

Review:

The Year We Hid Away - Sarina Bowen

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two 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.

Review

The magic of this romance is in the combustion of two people dealing with major life changing crisis and trying to keep it all together. And they fall in love at the worst time.

The building of the heroine’s character as the horrible question what if you parent did something unspeakable and you didn’t know about it. How do you handle that?

Our sexy ginger hero is working flat out to escape poverty and take care of his little sister.

There are so many great twists and turns in this love story. They are both full color and it is a great romance.

Original post:
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Jam: Roller Derby in Romance Novels

I love Sports Romance. I just love a hero or heroine who is really really good at something. I love capable heroines who aren’t afraid to punch someone in the face. I use to be a competitive speed skater. Thus, I love Roller Derby and if I can get it in a Romance Novel–Joy is Mine!

Here are some Romances with Roller Derby! My lists are never in any particular order.


1.  The Mane Squeeze by Shelly Laurenston

 

Growing up on the tough Philly streets, Gwen O’Neill knows how to fend for herself. But what is she supposed to do with a nice, suburban Jersey boy who has a tendency to turn into a massive Grizzly? Despite his menacing growl and four-inch claws, Gwen finds Lachlan “Lock” MacRyrie cute and really sweet. He actually watches out for her, and unlike the rest of her out-of-control family, manages not to morbidly embarrass her. Too bad cats don’t believe in forever.

At nearly seven feet tall, Lock is used to people responding to him in two ways: screaming or running away. Gwen–half lioness, half tigress, all kick-ass–does neither. She’s sexy beyond belief and smart as hell, but she’s so busy protecting her family and friends that she’s forgetting about her own safety. Lock probably shouldn’t get involved, but he can’t simply walk away. Not when Gwen means absolutely everything to him.


2. Falling Hard by Megan Sparks

 

When Annie moves from London to a small town in the midwest, she struggles to fit in. She gets off to a bad start when she makes an enemy of her school’s queen bee, Kelsey. But she discovers a new passion, the exciting sport of roller derby, and makes friends with the cool and quirky girls on her team, the Liberty Belles. She also meets Jesse, the friendly boy who works at the roller rink, and Tyler, a cute, all-American sports star.

 

 

 


3. Found by You by Victoria H. Smith

 

He’s noticed by everyone…

Griffin Chandler.

He’s captain of our college’s basketball team. I swear to God I’ve already seen him in a Nike ad, and he’s one of the top picks when he goes pro following our spring graduation.

His life is on display for the world. Both his accomplishments and demons there for judgment.

I’m a girl who likes to play roller derby from, of all places, Wisconsin. My own demons better concealed. And one day…

He notices me.

Found by You is a new adult contemporary romance.


4. Love and Skate: Books 1-5, The Complete Series by Lila Felix

 

On the rink she’s tough, she’s a leader, she’s fast and she’s the epitome of a rebellious girl. But Nellie’s been hurt, only once, but it was enough to make her look at life through different eyes and off the rink she’s a timid girl who loves with no pretenses.
A long time ago Owen Black was betrayed by the girl he thought he loved and the guy he called his best friend. The anguish set off a domino effect of negativity in his life and he never has fully recovered. He meets Nellie Forrester and thinks he can let it go for her.
But how can you love someone when the wounds from your past are still wide open?

 


5. The Derby Girl by Tamara Morgan

 

Roller derby girl Gretchen “Honey Badger” Badgerton lives in the moment, no apologies. Like every woman in Pleasant Park with a pulse, she finds Dr. Jared Fine irresistible, but she’s taken by surprise when her unattainable new neighbor asks her out.

On paper, Jared is the perfect man: gorgeous, wealthy and charitable. But his golden image is just that, and opening an upstate practice is a welcome chance to start a new life. When Gretchen stops to help him with a flat tire, he’s intrigued by her feisty attitude—and her sexy body art. There’s something refreshing about being with a take-charge woman who doesn’t expect him to be anything but himself.

Though Gretchen is hesitant to shatter Jared’s “bad girl” illusion of her, she has to face facts: she’s fallen for the good doctor. She’s used to putting everyone else’s needs before hers, but as their relationship heats up, can she handle having someone take care of her for a change?


6. Derby Girl by Shauna Cross

 

Meet Bliss Cavendar, a blue haired, indie-rock loving misfit stuck in the tiny town of Bodeen, Texas.

Her pageant-addicted mother expects her to compete for the coveted Miss Blue Bonnet crown, but Bliss would rather feast on roaches than be subjected to such rhinestone tyranny.

Bliss’ escape? Take up Roller Derby.

When she discovers a league in nearby Austin, Bliss embarks on an epic journey full of hilarious tattooed girls, delicious boys in bands, and a few not-so-awesome realities even the most bad-assed derby chick has to learn.

7. A Hinky Taste Of You by Jennifer Stevenson

Hel became an energy vampire at seventeen and accidentally reduced her first boyfriend to ashes. Forty years later, she still looks seventeen. Her life is teaching hyperactive boys, roller derby, and worrying about paying her mother’s hospital bills.

Nick Jones, federal anti-magic cop, has a secret, too. Magic excites him, to his shame. This makes it hard for him when he’s assigned to recruit Hel.

Nick feels guilty for his attraction to a teenager. Hel adores Nick’s yummy energy. If he learns she’s a vampire, he’ll send her to Hinky Guantanamo.

But can they keep their hands off each other?


8. Going in Circles by Pamela Ribon

In fact, she reached her life’s quotient when her husband of five months walked out on her, only to abruptly change his mind a few weeks later and move back in. Stung by a whiplash of grief, resentment, and confusion, Charlotte calls a time-out, taking a small apartment where she can figure out what shewants. Instead, the thought of making even the simplest choices triggers an anxiety attack. In order to get out of bed in the morning, she must concoct a to-do list for each day, The Plan, one with absolutely no surprises.

“Without The Plan, horrible things can happen. I’m likely to end up sitting on a curb beside a taco truck on Sunset Boulevard, crying over a carne asada burrito, wondering where my marriage went. I can’t handle being the Weeping Burrito Girl.”

Charlotte knows all this self-absorbed introspection isn’t good for her, but she’s running out of people to turn to, as seemingly everyone in her life is pressuring her to make an immediate decision about her future. Then her new friend Francesca—an impulsive, smartass co-worker—offers Charlotte salvation in the unlikeliest of places: the fast-paced, super-tough, bump-and-bruise-filled world of roller derby.

Sure, it’s dangerous. Yeah, she could get hurt. But what’s a little physical pain when healing your soul is at stake? The question is: whether she’s on or off the track, will Charlotte be strong enough to stand on her own two feet?


9. Prom Nights from Hell by Stephenie Meyer, Kim HarrisonMeg CabotLauren MyraclMichele Jaffe

 

n this exciting collection of paranormal tales, best-selling authors Stephenie Meyer (Twilight), Kim Harrison (Once Dead, Twice Shy), Meg Cabot (How to Be Popular), Lauren Myracle (ttyl), and Michele Jaffe (Bad Kitty) take prom mishaps to a whole new level—a truly hellish level. Wardrobe malfunctions and two left feet don’t hold a candle to discovering your date is the Grim Reaper—and he isn’t here to tell you how hot you look.

From angels fighting demons to a twisted take on getting what you wish for, these five stories will entertain better than any DJ in a bad tux can. No corsage or limo rental necessary. Just good, creepy fun.


10. Demon Derby by Carrie Harris

 

Casey kicked cancer’s ass. Now a demon wants to kick hers. . . .

Casey hates being known as the girl who survived cancer. She wants people to treat her like her old self, fearless and strong. And after a creepy encounter with a crazy guy in an alley, Casey is all about reclaiming her power.

So when she has a chance to try out for the Apocalypsies roller derby team, she jumps on it. Being a derby girl would prove that she doesn’t need anybody’s pity. It doesn’t hurt that Michael, the team manager, is almost unnaturally hot. Which makes sense when Casey finds out that he’s not human.

Michael’s got a secret: he trains demon hunters. That crazy guy in the alley? Demon. And the fact that Casey went head to head with evil and lived makes her a threat to demonkind. Casey thought she’d already fought and won the battle of her lifetime. But it’s only beginning. . . .
Did I miss one? Let me know!


Vote on my Goodreads list: Jam: Roller Derby in Romance Novels