The Friend Zone – Sariah Wilson

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Author: Sariah Wilson
Release day:  June 11th 2019
Pages: 304

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Disgraced college quarterback Logan Hunt was on his way to NFL stardom when he messed up big-time. Now the Texas star player with a bad temper has a new option: Seattle’s EOL College—as in End of the Line, to his fellow misfit recruits. It’s Logan’s last chance. If he can follow the rules. No parties, no fighting, no swearing, and oh, no dating the coach’s daughter, Jess. Simple. Yeah, right. For Logan, there has never been a rule he’s more tempted to break.

The deal is “just friends.” The pretty, confident, and fiercely smart math whiz is fine with pizza, tutoring, and keeping Logan in line. But the closer Jess gets, the more receptive she is to his warm heart and spirit—not to mention his irresistible off-field passes. With defenses down, they’re both heading into the danger zone.

It’s more than thrilling. It’s love. It’s also a game changer that could sideline Logan’s NFL goals—and more important, a future with Jess. But dreams are worth fighting for, right?

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One of these days I will finally understand what makes a New Adult book be classified as such. I would have said this book would be on that genre, but every source I have checked considers this book just Contemporary Romance. In the end, it’s not that important; except for tidy shelves. In any case, here we go with The Friend Zone!!

This book follows the adventures of Logan Hunt, a college student and football player who has been kicked off his former team for bad behaviour. He ends in en EOL College, where he will be given a second and last chance. There he meets Jess, the witty and fun daughter of his current coach. They become almost insta-friends and it could develop much more further if it wasn’t for a tiny detail: the coach doesn’t allow his players to have dates under penalty of expulsion…

If you  told me a couple of years ago that I would enjoy so much the several Sport Romance books I have read lately, I would have thinked you were crazy or talking with the wrong person. I’m not a sports guy. Like, not at all. But I guess I enjoy the healthy banter these books usually have. The Friend Zone is no exception. The most remarkable characteristic of this story is the dynamic between Logan and Jess. It is beautifully written. A slow dance that takes us through all the stages from funny flirtation to mindblowing friendship and an equally sweet and hot romance. No rush. No crazy displays of love. Every step has the utmost respect for the characters and their situations, which makes everything much more realistic.

In case it is not clear, I’m in love with the characters of this book. Jess is the usual woman you find in this kind of books: independent, smart and not an easy prey. What makes her more special is the fact that she remains like that way longer than other female characters in similar books. And Logan… *sigh*. When I started the book the first thing that came to my mind was: I smell a book boyfriend. My first impression was spot on! I’m not going to say he is perfect, because there are a couple of situations that made me frown; but he is pretty close: good humored, funny, honest, loyal, hard-working and, surprie, surprise, a full package hottie. in the previous book I read, I met the worst kind of cocky. Logan, on the other hand, is the perfect kind. So with these two, I really enjoyed the romance between them. Playful, charismatic, sweet… And man… those kisses… they were really hot. The undeniable power of keeping it simple. No need of sex to sell the readers their connection.

Not everything shines under the sun, though. The book has also a couple of things that I don’t like that much. The most obvious one are the coach’s rules. More precisely, the one against dating. Why? I know there is an explanation, but it’s crazy. It’s putting all the young men of this world in the same box and listening to no reason. It’s the same rule used to introduce a bit of drama in the story and in my opinion it is a bit weak. But, I must also admit that the author does a superb job to apply this rule to Logan’s situation. The problem is that Logan is not the only one in the team… With such crazy regulations it is a wonder there is a team at all!!

The other big issue for me is Ben. If this guy were a real contender for Jess’ heart, the story would have been even better. I mean, since the first time we meet the The Bentastic Poet, we know there is zero chemistry. I have a hard time believing that Jess doesn’t realize that way sooner. I also don’t like how quickly the poor guy is belittle by Logan. I admit that Ben is a self-centered jerk, but we don’t get to know that after much later in the book. So, all that mockery about his looks and choices in life feels too much like bullying for my taste.

By the way, I should have skipped the epilogue. The aftertaste of the book would have been much better.

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2019 – Book Gallery

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You’re the One – Lia Jordan

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Author: Lia Jordan
Series: Reckoning on ice #1
Release day:  March 19th 2019
Pages: 208

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With just one puck, my life went from complicated to damn near perfect

I’ve had my fair share of bad nights and the anniversary of my sister’s murder is always one of them. Every year, I just pray for something to take the pain away and help me forget. This year, my prayer was answered.

It’s opening game night and the antidote to my pain just stepped onto the ice: An angel with long brunette locks and crystal blue eyes, picked from the crowd to try to score on me, the goalie. The second I lay eyes on her, I’m determined to have her. I’ll even let the puck pass me; let her score now just so I’ll be the one who ends up scoring later. Once that puck hits the net, I’m hooked. She shows me there’s more to life than I’ve ever known, but all good things come to an end and I never saw this one coming…

Can I let go of my past so I can have her and her daughter in my future?

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Here you have a little bit of information about myself that you haven’t requested: I hate roller coasters. I’m incapable of stomaching the constant ups and downs of that invention from Hell. With this book I have had the same feeling. One moment it was there, going strong for a 5-star review and suddenly it starts falling witthout any hope of getting up again.

In this book we follow Trevor, a famous hockey player who is nurturing a void in his heart since the death of his sister. And Lauren, a single mother going through a tough period where bills are getting too big for her income. The hand of Fate made the path of both of them to cross with an irregular first impression, but Trevor took up the quest of sliding a puck through Lauren’s goal and there is nothing stopping him… (I have no clue about hockey; so, sorry if my attempt of poetry was absurd)

I must admit that the first 60% or 70% of the book is very enjoyable. I was absolutely in love with the dance between the main characters. You can tell that Trevor is not used at all to deal with feelings deeper than a quicky in the back of a bar, so his extravgant attempts of courting Lauren are endearing. It was a pretty risky move the author took, because it could totally look like the hockey player was buying Lauren’s affection. I honestly think he is clueless and that is just his sloppy way of trying to show his love. The fact that she resists him every step of the way is a big plus for the well-being of the story. I love this kind of slow dances in Romance novels, where the main characters just take their time to get comfortable with each other before dropping their clothes.

Another detail I love about the book is Trevor’s cutish way of struggling with the demon in his shoulder. You know, the little fella in his head who just wanted to grab Lauren as a caveman and took her to his lair since day one. That little demon he has been listening to for far too long. So it was great to read how he made the effort to mute the demon in his shoulder to start taking advice from the angel in the other one. Always a pleasure for the reader when a bad boy gets smitten by love. His patience, his eagerness to be better, his relationship with Chloe, his constant grin and his fit body should have granted him a position on the book boyfriend list… But everything implodes dramatically.

I was devouring the book. Incapable of putting it down. Everyday after work I just wanted to get home to reunite with Trevot and Lauren. But then… Chapter 32 happens. That chapter is the equivalent of the Order 66 from Star Wars. It must have been some kind of hidden code to change the characters and story drastically. The beloved characters become very fast some of the most hideous ones. Trevor, who was perfectly charming until then, becomes a cold, mean, cruel, possessive, annoying guy who has no business in the story. Lauren’s behaviour also takes a turn for the worst seeking some really unhealthy exchanges with his so-called lover. It gets so bad, that the happy ending we get is pure smoke. I can’t believe in that couple any longer. I have the feeling they are jus pretending…

After that chapter, there are many details that unnerve me and made the reading a very unpleasant moment of my day. After that milestone, the book becomes something ugly with many dramas pretty bad handled. I couldn’t see any good way to end the torture; so, when everything is solved almost effortless, I couldn’t get along with it. The sex scenes are also affected by the before mentioned change in the storytelling. During the first chapters, the slow cooked meal was the perfect setting for really interesting and hot encounters. But after that infamous chapter… Plain horrible to read.

I have yet to decide if I will read the following books. Colt and Nathan are cool characters, but so was Trevor. Oh, well. I believe in second chances, so I guess I will take a look at them to test the waters.

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2019 – Book Gallery

Wildcard: Volume Three – Missy Johnson

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Author: Missy Johnson
Series: Wildcard #3
Pages: 110

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She’s hiding something from me and I need to know what it is.
I’ve done so many things I never thought I’d do for this woman and it kills me that she’s lying to me.
How can I make her see that she can trust me?
Do I want to know the truth?
Sometimes things are easier when they’re left unsaid…

With this third part of Wildcard I finish a saga I started a long time ago. This is part of my let’s-finish-them resolution. Already December and this is the first one I have finished… about 50 more to go. Obviously, the resolution will still be active in the following years (and possibly in other lifes, if you believe in such things).

The second part ended with Scarlett hiring a hitman to take out her ex-boyfriend and with Ryder paying to the later a lot of money to leave Scarlett and Jake alone. There are too many secrets boling and, to put the cherry on top, Jake is again very sick…

Finally, the big bad secret of Scarlett is out in the world to be properly dissected. And yes, it was as bad as the author makes us believe during the previous books. It’s a crime she comitted willingly in order to get rid of Tony, her ex-boyfriend. It ended badly: rape. That is why she is so scared of letting Tony tell anyone. Scarlett doesn’t want to give Fate the chance to pull her apart from Jake. Hiring a hitman is a bit extreme, but the love of a mother is boundless…

Buuut, for some reason I still don’t understand, the author ignores the hitman bluntly. I mean, he is mentioned now and then, but he never fulfills his mission. I know some lowlifes beat him to it, but… shouldn’t he return the money? Or at least say something? I have no idea if he had any intention of doing it. Was he a conman? If that is the case… was Scarlett’s friend on it? I know it’s stupid, but I feel there is a whole book out there that for some reason wasn’t told.

Apart from that, I must repeat myself in my adoration towards Ryder. I feel so comfortable reading his point of view. He is such a nice guy with a cocky sense of humor that adds many layers to the enjoyment of the book. Once again, his interactions with Callie are the best part. I’m going to miss this guy like crazy, although he has a couple of huge missteps: the breaking and entering into Scarlett’s house to sort through her things and impersonating her to exchange some messages with Scarlett’s friend. With any other guy, it would be the end of my love for him. With Ryder, even though I don’t like it a tiny bit, I know it comes from a good place. He is worried sick about her and he doesn’t have the experience to deal with such emotions. He was a colder than ice jerk and he barely knows what to do with the warm sensation in his chest… So, yeah, big mistakes are bound to happen. Good to know he is a really fast learner.

Missy could have skipped the usual ending of a Romance Book: the I-barely-know-you-but-here-you-have-an-engagement-ring ending. It made me cringe a little bit, but if I’m being honest, it wasn’t as bad as in other books. I guess I can forgive Ryder even the most repetitive mistake of the Romance genre!!

According to the prmotions at then end, there is a book starred by Callie. Too bad it doesn’t say the title. I’ve lookng through Missy’s book, but I haven’t been able to find it. There is a fair chance of meeting Ryder in that one…

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2018 – Book Gallery

Wildcard: Volume Two – Missy Johnson

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Author: Missy Johnson
Series: Wildcard #2
Pages: 75

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I’m so fucking pissed off that she would do this to me.

I really thought we had something, but instead, I’m left feeling like an idiot.

All I want to do is go back home and forget the last few weeks ever happened, but I’m stuck in this stupid country teaching tennis to spoiled rich kids who care less about playing than I do.

All I want to do is forget about her.

But things are never that easy, are they?

I got the first volume of Wildcard for free in Amazon a long time ago. I loved it. The main characters were very fun to read. I purchased the next two volumes, but I forgot about them until now. Now, Wildcard is a single book; but I will read them as they were originally released. Let’s review the second one!!

If you don’t remember (I barely did), the first one ended with a massive cliffhanger. Scarlett was kissing his ex in front of Ryder. Obviously there must be something else behind that act, but the tennis player is pretty angry and jelous. Jelousy that only grows bigger in the second book when Scarlett avoids him for a while. Later we learn that the ex is blackmailing her, so Ryder puts on his best white knight armor to protect her.

This book, as the previous one, is very simple and easy to read; but Ryder is such a great character that the time invested is worthy. Granted, it’s a short book; so no much time is needed to finish it. His arrogance and cockiness drive everyone crazy in many senses, but it’s so much fun for the reader! You can tell that deep down he has a really big heart and that he cares for the wellness of the people around him. His coaching lessons are the best part of this second volume… Has he found a Nemesis?? And the banter with Josh!! It’s kind of heartwarming to read a couple of guys that are rivals in the tennis court, but best friends out of it.

Ryder’s jelousy attack doesn’t last long and Scarlett is capable of explaining to him what her ex is trying to accomplish. He helps her as best he can, but Ryder is not a warrior; so Scarlett has a plan B that I guess we will see in motion in the third volume. Will Tony accept Ryder’s money or will he face the hitman? By the way, how can Scarlett afford to pay the hitman and not her ex? It’s the same amount of money.

I’m also worried about Scarlett’s son. He is in the hospital due to some breathing issues… I hope he is OK. It must be hard for Scarlett to keep away from her son in order to protect him from his father. That reminds me of the secret she is still hiding… What is that thing so terrible that his ex is using against her?? Will that put in danger her relationship with Ryder once again? The player is having some trouble trusting her…

I also need to mention that the three books have some really nice stock photos as covers. The simple composition is perfect. Too bad the are so many words all over it…

The cliffhnager of this book is not as big as the one in the first volume. I wouldn’t even call it a cliffhanger. Anyway, I need to know how this will end; so I hope to read the third volume this year.

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2018 – Book Gallery

The Rivalry – Nikki Sloane

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Author: Nikki Sloane
Pages: 352

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This tight end is at the top of his game.

He’s good with his hands, even better with his sexy mouth, and the best at making me forget my own name. His—ahem—stats are perfect.

But I can’t fall for him.

He might be everything I want, all rolled into a glorious package of gridiron god, but there’s one teeny-tiny problem. The vile, loathsome team I’ve spent my entire life hating—my beloved school’s arch-rival?

This guy is their star player.

According to many people over Goodreads, this book is New Adult, but after reading it, I don’t think that’s the case. At least, it’s nothing similar to other New Adult books I have read. Which it’s a good thing, because that genre hasn’t given me much joy.

This story is about Kayla, a cheerleader for the Ohio State University football team, and Jay, the star player of the Michigan team. The problem, those teams are the nemesis of each other. There is a lot of hate between them. Kayla is a fanatic supporter of her team, so falling in love with a Michigan player makes her uneasy. The story is about getting over that rivalry and just enjoy themselves as human beings. At least that is what the author tries to do.

I must admit I’m not a sports fan, so maybe I don’t understand Kayla’s behaviour defending her team. It’s not just that she thinks OSU is the greatest ever (as every fan should), she also hates with an annoying passion everything Michigan. Not only the football team. The whole Universitty, the colours, the people… It’s crazy!! And so wrong!! Her mother is even worse, though. Everytime Kayla and Jay had a fight about the rivalry, I wanted to scream (well, I screamed a lot actually): “Get over it, you idiot!!“. I couldn’t believe she was about to sacrifice something good in her life just because their football interests were unaligned. She was even incapable of answering the question: “Who do you love more? Jay or the Ohio team?“.

Along most of the book, Jay is presented as the levelheaded one. The adult that claims the rivalry is stupid and they shoud look beyond that to forge a strong relationship. I was digging that. Tall, handsome, hot, nice, funny and also smart. Almost the perfect combo!! And Kayla was about to dispose of him due to her football preferences!! Buuuut, by the end of the book Jay shows his true colours. Yes, he doesn’t care about the rivalry between the two teams. But I think the real reason behind that is that Jay believes that the Michigan team is so superior that calling Ohio a rival is crazy. When he loses his playbook, the mask is dropped. Once the Michigan team is in danger, Jay doesn’t care for anything else and becomes a pretty mean person. In just one chapter he loses a lot of points for my list of book boyfriends. You could have been great, Jay. Just shut up and be pretty the next time.

Even though the rivalry was driving me crazy, I must admit it is also the reason this book is a lot of fun. I was laughing hard very often. The banter among the may characters of the book is the best part of the story. So, thumbs up for Nikki. Writing a fun book is not an easy task!!

What I didn’t like was the ending. The rivalry was such a big issue during the whole book, that I don’t understand how it becomes forgotten smoke in the last chapter. Not only is fast and confusing, it happens during The Match. That dreadful encounter of Michigan vs Ohio… The same match that should have brought Kayla and Jay appart for a long time. At least, that would have made more sense. Instead of that, they become closer together. Kayla even cheers the last play of Jay. The one that gave the win to Michigan… Where the hell is the real Kayla?? They got their happy ending too fast if you ask me.

It’s my first Nikki Sloane’s book, but I will check more by her. I like the style of this book. A nice surprise that was very enjoyable.

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2018 – Book Gallery