Football

Dance With Me (Dancing, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

Sometimes life requires a partner.

Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.

Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.

When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together.

 

Review

 

This book hovers between 3 Stars and 4 Stars for me but keeps sneaking back up to a 4 Star read.

This book does a relationship really well.

Laurie and Ed have a lot of stuff they need to work out in their own heads and yet they are able to make a wonderful space for each other to have a loving relationship while they heal and grown as individuals. This dynamic makes for a very good romance.

The cover is amazing as is all the dancing in the book. The thinking about failure and self and career is engaging. Ed’s struggle with his new identity as a disable person is powerful. There is a really moving scene about life goals that is so tender and wonderful example of seeing oneself through the eyes of love.

What makes the book less successful isn’t the love story but some dangling threads and just some weirdness.

We get hints that Laurie struggles with sex (its messiness for example but other things as well) and this doesn’t really get addressed or worked through in a way that would be up to the rest of the work Instead, we get a very out of character moment with another couple (not cheating) and really its has an eww factor (on several levels) that really knocked me out of the book. I am not sure why this scene survived the editing of the book.

The Mom stuff Laurie has going on as well as the Dad stuff and business partner stuff is left a mess and maybe it just stays a mess but it felt unfinished.

There other little irritants like that that keep the book from being flat out wonderful.

However, I am glad I read it and enjoyed it overall.

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Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely Review

Review:

Out of Bounds - Lauren Blakely

My career is finally looking up, and I’m leading a new pro team down the field every Sunday. No way will I mess with that. But when I meet the most stunning and captivating woman I’ve ever seen, I tell myself one night will have to be enough.

But it’s not. And now I can’t get her out of my mind. Even when I’m playing. Even when I need to focus. Even when I’m on the hottest streak of my life.

And it turns out, she’s not just some random woman I met. She works for the team. My team.

***

I only have one goal this season–do my part as the team’s lawyer to keep them out of trouble. Help rebuild their reputation on and off the field. There’s no room for error and certainly no room for a secret tryst with a player . . . even if he’s the quarterback.

Right?

 

Review

 

Lauren Blakely is a good writer and this book is well written.

However, its really pretty dull to me. The hero and heroine are just so pretty. In all always.

It isn’t a funny book so it doesn’t become charming and happy to me. I like that the heroine is so self fulfilled and confident. I like that there are details of her life revealed as the book moves on.

The conflict is not great and doesn’t really demand a change in the characters.

So, its not a bad book but doesn’t thrill on an emotionial level.

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Tigers and Devils (Tigers and Devils #1) by Sean Kennedy Review

Review:

Tigers and Devils - Sean Kennedy

The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon’s support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.

 

Review

 

I love sports romances and being a rugby fan makes me very interested in learning about Aussie football.

This is a good opposites attract love story written with humor and angst. The setting was great and I liked Simon and Declan and the circle of friends.

For me the plot dragged a bit which made it less engaging and I don’t love the way Declan not being able to be public with who is lover is was handled. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but it impacted the storytelling.

I can see why so many people love this book but it was just an okay read for me.

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Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1) by Anne Tenino Review

Review:

Frat Boy and Toppy - Anne Tenino

Brad is great at meeting other people’s expectations. But his own? Not so much. Take the gay thing. Okay, so yeah. It took a morning meeting with a frat brother’s hairy, naked ass for him to admit it, but he knows the truth about himself now. Let the gay life commence.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. He hasn’t quite determined how to come out to anyone, even Sebastian, the geeky-hot TA in his history class. Sebastian is everything Brad is not. Intellectual, suave, hairy. Out. And he doesn’t seem interested in Brad, even when Brad makes a fool of himself trying to catch his notice.

Score one for foolery: Sebastian does more than notice Brad; he takes him to bed. Brad’s been with plenty of girls, but with Sebastian, the sex is something else entirely—hot, mind-blowing, affirming, and a little domineering in a way that drives him wild. But when great sex turns into something more—dare he admit the “L” word?—Brad must face the crushing realization that Sebastian doesn’t feel the same. Unless, of course, he does. After all, even grad students can be idiots about matters of the heart.

 

Review

 

This is an interesting tale of self awareness.

 

Brad comes to an understanding about his own sexuality and Sedation comes to an awareness about his emotionial life.

 

I know that there is a second book in the series that will deal with the fact that Sedation has a bit to go yet and doesn’t value Brad (who is emotionally brave as heck) as much as he should.

 

There is also a good look at what happens to a person who is conditioned to please people rather than themselves.

 

This is one of many books In have read where the parents have an idea that their child is gay before the child but doesn’t say anything about it to them. It this case it cost Brad a lot.

 

I wonder what you all think of this choice? In this case, it isn’t as if the parent isn’t accepting and just doesn’t want it to be true.

 

Interesting read with an engaging hero in Brad.

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Sweet Topping (Cattle Valley #3) by Carol Lynne Review

    Sweet Topping by Carol Lynne 3 Stars! 

Wheelchair-bound, Kyle Brynn loves his home above the bakery he owns and runs. He’s proud of everything he’s managed to accomplish since the accident six years ago that took the use of his legs. At the age of twenty-six he’s an independent man living on his own, despite the protests from his family. However, with his independence comes loneliness. It’s not the townspeople’s fault that they see him as less of a man, it’s his.

Darshawn ‘Gill’ Gilling quit professional football at the height of his career without a word to the press as to why. Now settled in Cattle Valley, Gill’s happy running his garage and gas station. His life is much easier since coming out of the closet to his friends and family. He just wishes he’d had someone to come out for. Most folks in town tend to be a little awestruck when Gill comes around, but if he wanted fans he’d have stayed in football. What he really wants is that cute little baker down the street.

 

Review

This is a sweet romance. It does a decent job looking at a love life after an accident that left the one of our heros using a wheelchair.

Nicely, the books begins several years after the injury and he has a fully life and a hot man with a huge crush on him.

There is nothing really wrong with this book but the setting, the characters, and the plot are pretty thin. As with a lot of long running series, it likely relies on the series as a whole to build depth.

This is my first book in the series. I may or may not read more.

Until You Loved Me (Silver Springs, #3) by Brenda Novak Review

   Until You Loved Me by Brenda Novak  3 Stars!

After catching her fiancé cheating—with another man—usually straitlaced, workaholic scientist Ellie Fisher liberates her wild side just long enough to indulge in a passionate one-night stand with a tall, dark stranger she meets at a trendy Miami bar. Embarrassed by her recklessness, she ducks out the following morning without learning the guy’s full name, something that shouldn’t have been a problem…until a pregnancy test turns positive.

Being a professional football player, Hudson King has always been cautious around women. But this one had been different—so disinterested in his celebrity, so convincingly into him. When Ellie tracks him down, claiming she’s carrying his baby, he’s stunned. And more than a little betrayed.

But after growing up as an orphan, he’ll do anything to stay involved in his child’s life, so he urges Ellie to move to Silver Springs, where they can co-parent. Hudson has a lot of love to give, certainly enough for his child, and when their initial spark reignites, perhaps for Ellie, too…

 

Review

I like the heart of this novel very much. A one night stand leads to a pregnancy between a scientist heroine and a football player hero.

The hero has major trust issues and the heroine is just trying to do the right thing,

I like watching them fall in love.

The heroine’s ex is really a non subtle bad guy. And I really hate the my ex was gay and cheating on me with a dude horror show. And this one takes it all the way home Sad face.

The mystery around the hero is intersting. I am interested in the other books in this series.

I was given this book for my honest review, So, there you have it.

Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love, #1) by P. Dangelico Review

4.5 Stars!

Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.

Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.

 

Review

I am so excited. I found an new author to love and a comfort read. I know I will read this one again and again.

The pacing of this book is just excellent. Each section is delicious. I love a slow burn romance and this one is so well done.

The hero and heroine start out not knowing each other or liking each other and then they do and become friends and then we watch them fall in love.

Calvin is gruff and grumpy and yet emotionially intelligent. He raised his siblings and is taking care of his nephew. He is closed off after his divorce and childhood.

Cam is grieving the death of her husband who left her with a scandal.

They each have friends and family. They are complex.

There is a lot of wit to this book as well as charm and ache.

It is full of little details and kindnesses and raw love and hurt.

I love that the hero is far from a man whore. I can’t get enough of the kind of hero who sees women (all women and not just the heroine) as people and not bodies.

The last turn of the book is a little melodramatic but it is still great. The epilogue is good but I wanted more. I am thrilled this is going t0 be series!

Really loved it!

Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell Review

4 Stars!

At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

Review

I love this hero and I love this heroine and together they are perfect.

We start with a cute meet when she knocks him out. Love it.

The hero, who does keep who is under wraps for a bit, is a wonderful guy. The heroine has a full life and is a little resistant to joining the spotlight but the hero makes it worth it.

Very funny and sweet and sexy. All the good things. Loved it and will reread it with pleasure.

Getting Inside (Seattle Grizzlies, #1) by Serena Bell Review

3 and Half Stars!

 

Iona: There’s nothing like the rush of going head-to-head with the boys. Football is my life, and I got my new job with the Seattle Grizzlies because I know how to play rough. But as a woman in a man’s game, I can’t afford any distractions—like panty-melting tabloid darling Ty Williams, my star linebacker. I’ve stared down plenty of good-looking players without losing my cool . . . and yet something about Ty’s intense gaze burns straight to my core.

Ty: Despite what they say in the press, I save my best moves for game day. The Grizzlies aren’t just my teammates, they’re my brothers—no way am I going to let some new coach shake up our defense. But Iona Thomas isn’t just some coach. It’s so tough to keep my head in the game when I’d rather be in bed with her. She may take charge at practice, but if I had her in my arms, I’d be choosing the plays. I just need to figure out what makes her tick—and what makes her want to break the rules.

 

 

Review

This is a well written compelling love story of one of the first female pro football coaches and a player.

The characters are full developed, the conflicts real, and the plot well paced.

I loved the look at sexism in sports.

All that said, it just wasn’t a favorite for me. I never liked the hero that much though his character evolved and was finely painted. I liked the heroine.

I think because so much of the attraction between them was physical I missed the falling in like with each other though they certainly respected one another.

So, a very good book for someone else.

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it.

Making the Play (Hidden Falls #1) by T.J. Kline Review

Review:

Making the Play (Hidden Falls) - T. J. Kline

Grant McQuaid has dedicated his entire life to his football career. Now an injury threatens his place on the team and he’s forced to return home to rehabilitate. But when he meets his “biggest fan,” a precocious, blue-eyed, hearing impaired boy named James—and his beautiful mother, Bethany—Grant begins to question whether football is the future he still wants.

Bethany Mills has been doing just fine since her husband walked out on them… and she definitely doesn’t need another man to disappoint her—or her son. But when James runs into his hero at the park, Bethany admits there is a void in her son’s life that she just can’t fill. Her attraction to the handsome football star is undeniable, but a man in the limelight is the last thing she wants for herself, or James.

Grant doesn’t want to subject Bethany to the chaos of dating a professional athlete. But the more time he spends with her and James, the harder it is to resist making a play for her heart…

 

Review

I wanted to like this one. I didn’t.

 

The heroine is too prickly for too long and beats the same drum of resistance. The hero is a guy going through a career change and well developed. I liked the child character a great deal and everything else about the book but I couldn’t buy the romance. The writing is well done but not the development of the heroine.

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