Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood To “Score”

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood For X. Since there’s so many great sports romances out there, I decided to make it Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood To “Score”. Or, Ten Books To Read If You Are In The Mood For Sexy Athletes. I’m also not just stopping at books. I’m including series. And there may be a lot few more than ten…


HOCKEY PLAYERS

1.The Off-Campus Series by Elle Kennedy

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2. The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen

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3. Him Series by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy 

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4. Chinooks Hockey Team Series by Rachel Gibson

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5. Roommates by Erin Leigh

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FOOTBALL PLAYERS

6. Waiting on the Sidelines Series by Ginger Scott

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7. Bad Boys of Football Series by Bella Andre

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8. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

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BASEBALL PLAYERS

9. Let Me Be The One (Sullivans #6) by Bella Andre

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10. This is Falling by Ginger Scott

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11. Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

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12. Pacific Heat Series by Jill Shalvis

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FIGHTERS

13. The Hurricane Series by R.J. Prescott

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14. 5th Street Series by Elizabeth Reyes 

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15. Knockout Love Series by Kelley R. Martin 

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16. Wayward Fighters Series by J.C. Valentine

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17. Maybe This Time by Chantel Fernando

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VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS

18. Blocked by Jennifer Lane

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BASKETBALL PLAYERS

19.Wild Reckless by Ginger Scott

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SKIERS/SNOWBOARDERS

20. Gravity Series by Sarina Bowen

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SOCCER PLAYERS

21. S.O.B. by J.C. Valentine

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SKATEBOARDERS

22. Kick Push by Jay McLean

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MOTOCROSS RIDERS

23. Blindness by Ginger Scott

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Review: Blocked by Jennifer Lane

23110334Title: Blocked

Series: Blocked, #1

Author: Jennifer Lane

Publication Date: October 24, 2014

Publisher: Psyched Publishing

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Political Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:

College freshman Lucia Ramirez has a secret crush on Dane Monroe. He’s a tall drink of water — blond, brash, and one hell of a volleyball player. ¡Híjole! Lucia hopes her volleyball scholarship to his school will make him notice her.

Too bad what’s noticeable is Dane’s obvious hatred for Lucia. Her family’s politics contradict everything he stands for. And politics are front and center in both their families. Dane’s mother is about to face Lucia’s father in the race for US President.

When Secret Service throws them together, Dane can’t deny his frustrating attraction to Lucia’s athletic curves and sweet faith in the world. Amid the intense pressure of college athletics and presidential politics, can opposites not just attract, but overcome overwhelming odds to be together? Or do their differences block their match from the start?


4 / 5 Stars


 

What originally drew me to Blocked was the cover. I love sports related romances and I was intrigued by the volleyball. I had never read a romance centered around the sport, so I was excited to see how it would play into the story.

Several things surprised me about Blocked. First, the amount of volleyball in the book. Second, the parts psychology and beliefs played in the story. Third, how politics and family worked into it all. Blocked had so many different components going on.

Blocked was unlike typical New Adult sports romances I’ve read, where the romance is heavy and the sport is light. Several scenes featuring the sport were showcased throughout the book. It helped to develop the characters and explain their actions.

At first, I didn’t like Lucia. Her poor body image and low self-confidence drove me nuts. I could relate to it, but at the same time it frustrated me because–Hello! Lucia’s a college athlete. You have to be in darn good shape to be a college volleyball player. But as the book went on, I grew to understand her thinking and the psychology aspect of it all. I ended up liking her character and how she triumphed over her problems.

Dane was the quintessential New Adult jock. I loved him from the beginning. He was hot, cocky and talented. Dane also had problems of his own, but they didn’t quite move me the way Lucia’s did.

My favorite parts of the story were when Dane and Lucia gave into their feelings for each other. I loved the slow-burn of their romance and how they took care of each other.

What really made this book interesting and different, though, was the Presidential race between Lucia’s Republican dad and Dane’s Democrat mom. It influenced everything the two did, from their actions on the court to their feelings for each other. Neither wanted to fall for someone of the “wrong” political party. I loved the way they worked through their many different beliefs to come to an understanding so they could have a relationship. It made me wish more of the world could do the same.

My only major complaint about Blocked was the ending. I would have liked more than I got.

**I received an electronic copy of Blocked from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

ARC Review: Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

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Title: Us

Series: Him, #2

Authors: Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy

Publication Date: March 8, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, LGBT

Goodreads Synopsis:

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves–Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they? When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes, and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.


5 / 5 Stars


Back in July, I read an ARC of HimIt was the first M/M romance I had ever read. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I just knew I loved both Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s novels. I was pleasantly surprised. I loved Wes and Jamie and their love story. There was just something about two strong men falling for each other, especially when it was based on an amazing friendship. I was excited to find out the authors were going to be releasing a follow up novel. I jumped on the chance to read an ARC of Us, the continuation of Wes and Jamie’s story.

In Us, Jamie has moved in with Wes in Toronto. Wes’ rookie year is in full swing and Jamie is coaching kids’ hockey. Everything is going smoothly in their new relationship except for the fact they are hiding it from the world. Jamie loves Wes, but the secrecy and long away games are taking a toll on their relationship. He’s not used to having to hide his relationships. To make matters worse, Wes’ teammate moves in above them and likes to stop by unannounced. Jamie and Wes will have to decide what’s more important: their relationship or Wes’ budding career.

I absolutely loved how Us continued Wes and Jamie’s love affair from where it ended in Him. This time, instead of dealing with falling in love and exploring their sexuality, they were dealing with the ramifications of hiding their relationship from the public. Neither of them wanted to ruin Wes’ new career, but the affects of hiding their relationship wore on both of them. They wanted to be able to declare their love for each other.

It was especially hard on Jamie, who felt isolated in his new city of Toronto, Canada. He didn’t have the built in support system Wes had with his team. Jamie didn’t want to have to lie or pretend around people. It caused him to push away potential friends, like his new co-workers. He started to have to deal with the resentment this created between him and Wes. The weather change also had a big affect on the Californian’s disposition.

Wes may have had instant friends in his team, but he also struggled with hiding his relationship with Jamie. Jamie was “just his roommate” and Wes felt like he couldn’t talk about him around his teammates. He was afraid of blowing their cover. Wes wanted to be able to keep his career and his boyfriend, but he was starting to worry it wouldn’t be possible.

While life was tougher for Jamie and Wes in Us, it wasn’t just filled with angst. Jamie and Wes still had their fun and sweet moments. Their banter with each other continued to be funny. I loved their connection with each other and what they were willing to do for their relationship.

Us was a really great story about a young, gay couple trying to maneuver through the world of love, professional sports and fame. Now, I just need Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to write a story for Wes and Jamie’s new neighbor/teammate Blake! I loved that guy so much!

**I received an electronic ARC of Us in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Review: The Distance from A to Z by Natalie Blitt

25393664Title: The Distance from A to Z 

Author: Natalie Blitt

Publication Date: January 12, 2016

Publisher: Epic Reads Impulse

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

This full-length novel by debut author Natalie Blitt is a pitch-perfect blend of Stephanie Perkins and Miranda Kenneally that proves the age-old adage: opposites attract.

Seventeen-year-old Abby has only one goal for her summer: to make sure she is fluent in French—well, that, and to get as far away from baseball and her Cubs-obsessed family as possible. A summer of culture and language, with no sports in sight.

That turns out to be impossible, though, because her French partner is the exact kind of boy she was hoping to avoid. Eight weeks. 120 hours of class. 80 hours of conversation practice with someone who seems to wear baseball caps and jerseys every day.

But Zeke in French is a different person than Zeke in English. And Abby can’t help but fall for him, hard. As Abby begins to suspect that Zeke is hiding something, she has to decide if bridging the gap between who she is and who he is is worth the risk.

Epic Reads Impulse is a digital imprint with new releases each month.


4 / 5 Stars


 

I loved reading The Distance from A to Z. It hooked me right away. I couldn’t tell it was written by a debut author. The writing was amazing, the characters were well developed and the romance sweet. There was even a little bit of mystery behind Zeke to add to the romance. Why not 5 stars then, you ask?

I couldn’t stand Abby half the time. Her hatred of everything sports related was a little over the top. I get that it played into the plot of the book, but it felt crazy. I was expecting a bigger, badder explanation behind her hatred than what actually caused it. Plus, even when it was explained, I felt like I was missing something. Was their a fall out with her mother? What really caused the big switch in Abby’s life?

There were some great things about Abby, too, though. She was an amazing friend. The way she looked out for Alice was sweet. Her relationship with her brothers was cute. Their love for baseball may have annoyed her, but she put up with it (for the most part) because she loved them. I also loved her relationship with Zeke. Her confusion over their friendship/romance felt real and like something I would have gone through as a teenager.

Zeke was pretty perfect. He was that popular guy who was both nice and smart. My only complaint about him was that at times he seemed older than 17. He had a maturity about him.  I’m not sure if that came from his dedication to his sport or what, but it seemed like he was about five years older than Abby to me.

So, even though Abby annoyed me at times, I still loved this book and would highly recommend it to YA contemporary romance readers. I’m actually hoping Natalie Blitt comes out with a sequel to The Distance From A to Z. I would love to see where Zeke and Abby’s relationship goes from here. (There is a short deleted scene from the ending of the book on Natalie Blitt’s website for anyone who wants a little more of the story. It does contain spoilers, if you haven’t read the book yet.)

Oh, and last time I checked, you could download The Distance From A to Z for $1.99 on Amazon.

 

 

 

Review: Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally

12551077Title: Stealing Parker

Series: Hundred Oaks, #2

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publication Date: October 1, 2012

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan’s Hundred Oaks High.

Parker Shelton pretty much has the perfect life. She’s on her way to becoming valedictorian at Hundred Oaks High, she’s made the all-star softball team, and she has plenty of friends. Then her mother’s scandal rocks their small town and suddenly no one will talk to her.

Now Parker wants a new life.

So she quits softball. Drops twenty pounds. And she figures why kiss one guy when she can kiss three? Or four. Why limit herself to high school boys when the majorly cute new baseball coach seems especially flirty?

But how far is too far before she loses herself completely?


3 / 5 Stars


 

Since I read Miranda Kenneally’s Jesse’s Girl, I’ve been slowly trying to read the rest of the Hundred Oaks series. I love Kenneally’s feel good writing style. Her books always leave me feeling happy. I was hoping I would have the same experience with Stealing Parker. Unfortunately, it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

There were so many incredible things in Stealing Parker. First, the characters. Parker Shelton is a girl who quits softball, loses weight and sets out to kiss as many boys as she can after her mom declares she’s a lesbian and moves out. Reading Parker’s point of view felt like reading the mind of a real teenager. Her experiences with parents, friends, boys, gossip and church were all real life experiences. Then, there’s Parker’s best friend, Drew. I loved Parker and Drew’s easy friendship and the way Drew supported Parker. I also loved that Parker understood Drew and put his feelings first. My favorite character, though, was Corndog. One, his name was Corndog. That’s a pretty awesome nickname and he does awesome stuff to live up to it. Two, he was surprisingly mature and sweet for his age. I loved Parker’s relationship with Will.

Stealing Parker didn’t just have great characters, though. It also dealt with some huge issues. Parker really resented her mom for leaving her and her family. She didn’t know how to handle her negative feelings towards her mom. Rather than deal with them, she avoided her mom.

Parker wasn’t just dealing with her mom being a lesbian and leaving her family, she was dealing with the fallout the situation created. Parker lost friends due to her mother’s actions and felt the need to recreate herself. She felt the need to hook up with as many boys as possible to prove she wasn’t like her mother. This didn’t help her friend situation.

Parker also struggled with her new found sexuality and what it meant in terms of her relationship with her church and God. Whether it was reconciling her experiences with her church and its member with her belief in God or dealing with her feelings about her lesbian mother, I felt like this was such a great topic to include in a Young Adult novel. So many of us grapple with faith, church and our actions as teenagers. Kenneally did an amazing job portraying this struggle. I loved how it all worked out for Parker.

There was one huge issues in Stealing Parker that I didn’t like at all: the student-teacher/coach relationship. I get that these relationships happen all of the time, but they’re incredibly uncomfortable to read. I cringed every time I had to read Brian and Parker’s interactions. I wasn’t happy with the way their “relationship” ended. I would have liked more accountability to their actions. Honestly, I didn’t see the need for this storyline in Stealing Parker. It would have been a better book without it. It’s what made Stealing Parker a 3 star book instead of a 5 star book.

Overall, I truly enjoyed Stealing Parker. I feel bad only giving it 3 stars because it is a well written book. I just can’t get past the icky vibe the student-teacher relationship gave it.

 

 

Release Blitz & Review: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

 

Title: I Wish You Were Mine

Series: Oxford #2

Author: Lauren Layne

Publisher: Loveswept

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: February 2, 2015

Blurb

Perfect for fans of Alice Clayton and Emma Chase, Lauren Layne’s Oxford series heats up in this story of forbidden desire as a brooding jock hoping for a comeback falls for a woman who’s strictly off-limits.A year ago, Jackson Burke was married to the love of his life and playing quarterback for the Texas Redhawks. Now he’s retired, courtesy of the car accident that ruined his career—and single, after a nasty scandal torpedoed his marriage. Just as he’s starting to get used to his new life as a health and fitness columnist forOxford magazine, his unpredictable ex shows up on his doorstep in Manhattan. Jackson should be thrilled. But he can’t stop thinking about the one person who’s always been there for him, the one girl he could never have: her younger sister.

Mollie Carrington can’t say no to Madison. After all, her older sister practically raised her. So when Madison begs for help in winning her ex-husband back, Mollie’s just glad she got over her own crush on Jackson ages ago—or so she thought. Because as Mollie reconnects with Jackson, she quickly forgets all her reasons to stay loyal to her sister. Tempted by Jackson’s mellow drawl and cowboy good looks, Mollie is sick and tired of coming in second place. But she can’t win if she doesn’t play the game.

Review

4 / 5 Stars

I was really hoping the next book in the Oxford series was going to be Lincoln’s story. Obviously, it wasn’t. But after reading I Wish You Were Mine, I’m okay with that. I really enjoyed Jackson’s story!

Jackson’s life sucked. He lost his wife, his home, his reputation and his football career. Now he’s stuck at a job he hates, in a state he hates. He has no friends. He’s lonely. I felt sorry for him.

Then, he decides to call the one person he should stay away from: his ex-sister-in-law, Mollie. Seeing Mollie again awakens Jackson in ways he knows are wrong. He can’t want his ex-wife’s sister. But he does.

I couldn’t decide how I felt about that. One one hand, it’s just wrong. Seriously, it’s kind of creepy if you think about it. Both sisters? Ick! One the other hand, you can’t always help who you love. I’m sure this happens all of the time.

Mollie’s kind of nerdy, but in a hot way. She’s grown up and ready to be seen as a woman. She just wishes she didn’t want it to be by her sister’s ex-husband. When she ends up spending more time with Jackson than she ever planned, she knows she has to keep her feelings hidden.

I liked intelligent Mollie. It’s hard for me to sympathize with her having a crush on her sister’s ex, but then I’ve never thought of my brother-in-law in any way but as a brother.

But as Mollie and Jackson get closer and I learn more about Mollie’s sister, I stopped caring whether or not their relationship is a little taboo. They’re both nice people and deserve to fall in love with someone just as nice. Plus, Mollie’s sister deserves to get a slap in the face!

If you can look past the taboo aspect of this story, it’s a lot of fun to read! I’m looking forward to reading more of the Oxford series in the future!

**I received an electronic copy of I Wish You Were Mine in exchange for an honest review.

Add to Goodreads

 

Purchase Links

AMAZON US / UK


Also Available

AMAZON US / UK

 

Author Bio

Lauren Layne is the USA Today bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels. Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals. Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you’ll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Author Links

Review: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Score_CVR.inddTitle: Catching Jordan

Series: Hundred Oaks

Author: Miranda Kenneally

Publication Date: November 18, 2011

Publisher: Sourcefire Books

Genre: YA, Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

ONE OF THE BOYS

What girl doesn’t want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn’t just surrounded by hot guys, though-she leads them as the captain and quarterback of her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys and that’s just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university.

But everything she’s ever worked for is threatened when Ty Green moves to her school. Not only is he an amazing QB, but he’s also amazingly hot. And for the first time, Jordan’s feeling vulnerable. Can she keep her head in the game while her heart’s on the line?


5 / 5 Stars


I started off the Hundred Oaks series by reading Jesse’s Girl, which comes several books after Catching Jordan. I fell in love with the Henry family in Jesse’s Girl and I’ve wanted to read Catching Jordan ever sinceI wanted to know more about best friends Sam and Jordan. I’m so happy I finally got to read it!

 

What I loved about Catching Jordan was, well, everything.

Jordan was an awesome main character. I loved her tomboyish ways and her reasons behind them. I also loved the way she figured out she didn’t have to act like a guy at all times. She could also be girly.

My favorite part was Jordan’s relationship with her guy friends. They were hilarious and accepted her for who she was. It was also cute to watch her slowly let other girls in. Jordan needed some girls on her side to help her figure out her new relationship with Ty and boys in general.

I liked and disliked Ty. He has great for Jordan in that he was supportive of her and made her feel special, but his jealousy of her relationship with Sam made me sad. Jordan was willing to put Ty first and I felt sorry for poor Sam. I felt sorry for Jordan, too. She didn’t have Sam to support her when she needed him most because of the rift Ty created between them.

Another thing I enjoyed was the family dynamic Jordan had going on. Her mom and brother were so supportive. They were there at all her games and supported her every decision. Her dad, and NFL player, was not. It added another great dimension to the story.

The only thing I would have liked to see added to the story was Sam’s point of view. I’m not sure why (Maybe the title?), but I thought Catching Jordan was going to be from a male perspective. I would have liked to know what was going on with Sam and his thoughts when Ty moved to town and took away his best friend.

If you’re a YA contemporary romance lover, I would highly suggest reading Catching Jordan or any of Miranda Kenneally’s books. (No, I haven’t read them all yet, but I’m going to!)  They’re guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

 

Series Review (PART 2): Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

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This review is a continuation of the Calendar Girls series I began yesterday. You can find the review for books 1 – 6 here.

Series Title: Calendar Girl

Books: JulyAugustSeptemberOctober, November and December

Author: Audrey Carlan

Publication Dates: January 15, 2015 – December 29, 2015

Publisher: Waterhouse Press

Genre: Erotic Romance (PLEASE NOTE: Unsuitable for audiences under age 18 due to foul language, graphic sex and some violence.)


 

I decided to review the Calendar Girl series in two posts instead of each separate installment because  it seemed an easier way to put my thoughts together. I flew through each book and it didn’t make sense to stop and review in between when there was more of the story to read. I would have done one post, but it would have been SUPER long! This is the second part of the review.

The Calendar Girl series is about Mia, a young woman who has become an escort (not a call girl!) in order to pay off debts her comatose father has incurred. Each book is titled by month and detail Mia’s monthly assignments. It’s important to read them in order, as each book has a little surprise of its own that would be ruined if you read them out-of-order.

Here we go again…


 

25791683 July 

5 Stars

Hip-hop, Miami heat, and the Latin Lov-ah.

The second half to this year-long journey has taken me to Magic City…Miami. I’ve been hired by the nation’s top hip-hop artist, Anton Santiago. His name is as sexy as he is, and it rolls off the tongue the same way his muscled form rolls to his music. He goes by the name Latin Lov-ah, and boy does he work that title from his rock-hard body, Latin hip-hop fusion dance moves, to the way he beds his women.

He’s raw, dirty, and one hundred percent player…and I want to wrap my naked body all over him and forget about everything.

Every word that comes out of his mouth is a siren’s song.

Every thrust of his hips draws me closer.

Every breath against my neck sends me into a tailspin of need and desire.

After what happened in June, I need to rip the bandage off. Move on. Anton could be just the thing I need to get my groove back.

I was hired to play the part of a seductress in Anton’s new music video, but, in the end, I’m the one being seduced.

***
In the seventh book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is sent to Miami, Florida. Still on her mission to save her father, she is hired to be in a hot new music video where her unique look and recent popularity will prove invaluable.

My review:

After the ending of June, I was wondering where the story would go. I actually really liked how it moved on and showed how Mia dealt with everything that happened in June. I was also happy to see Will show up again and how he and Anton helped Mia through a tough time.


 

26007992 August

5 Stars

Pretending. I’ve always been good at pretending.
Being someone else is easy, and that ability has served me well these last seven months.

This time, I’ve been hired to be the long lost sister of oil tycoon, and down to earth cowboy, Maxwell Cunningham. Recently, Maxwell’s father passed away and in his last Will and Testament he dropped a bomb no one saw coming.

One of the richest men in the world, left forty-nine percent of his company to a sister my client never knew he had. A woman named Mia Saunders.

Maxwell has a year to find this sister or he loses almost half of his empire to a greedy board of investors. Somehow, he found me and here I am.

Sharing in family dinners, pretending to be someone I’m not and fooling bigwigs left and right. Only I’m finding myself falling in love with a family I can never have. One that will hurt to leave.

Stetsons, soul-searching, and sisterly duty all come into a sharp tangle with twists and turns I never saw coming.

***

In the eight book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is sent to Dallas, Texas. Still on her mission to save her father, she is hired to be the long lost sister of Maxwell Cunningham, one of the newly richest men in America.

My review:

Ooo! I really like where the story is headed now! Maxwell and his family were so sweet!


 

26523227 September

4 Stars

Vegas, Viscous Exes, and Ventilators.

My life felt like a fast ride on a too short highway. Coming home should be roses and rainbows, but nothing that comes out of the desert blooms free. I was most certainly not free. I’d missed my payment to Blaine, owed the last client a hundred grand I didn’t have, and my father was on his deathbed. To make matters worse, Wes was missing in action. As in, no one had seen or heard from him in three weeks. Devastation didn’t begin to explain where my mental state was at.

Like anything life had thrown my way, I pulled on my big girl panties, not the sexy lacy ones I enjoyed teasing my guy with, but the kind that said, “This ass means business.”

I had no choice but to make the decision I made.

My ex, the man that ruined the concept of love for me, put my father in the hospital, was about to get everything he ever wanted…at least that’s what I led him to believe.
***
In the ninth book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia rushes back home to Las Vegas, Nevada. Things have taken a turn for her father, putting her into debt up to her eyeballs.

My review:

The story takes a turn in September that I didn’t see coming. It was an emotional book for both Mia and the reader. It was good, but was more family oriented.


 

26523230 October

5 Stars

Silicone, surgery, and Hollywood starlets.

The land of the stars was beckoning and I answered its call. Now that I was free, well, as free as anyone could be, I decided to pursue something for me. To grab life by the horns and ride that sucker until I found my place within it. That decision brought me back home to Malibu, California, where I awaited the beginning of this next phase in my journey.

The job? Create a segment surrounding Living Beautiful for celebrity doctor and daytime television guru, Dr. Hoffman. The man was known for his cunning wit, good looks, and no nonsense lifestyle. In a city that was filled with plastic Barbie dolls, and nothing you touched was real, I set out to find beauty. And in doing so, I found a lot more that, for me, for the man I loved, and for the rest of the nation.

***
In the tenth book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is settled in her new home in Malibu, California. Now that her debt has been paid, and the threat from her ex is gone, she no longer has to live life as an escort. Only life has thrown her some new challenges to round out her year.

My review:

Mia’s popularity is finally catching up to her and she’s got a new job. She’s also got a lot on her plate to deal with when it comes to Wes. It was a little bit heartbreaking and made me worry a bit about them.


 

26523232 November

4.5 Stars

Life, Love, Laughter.

Three things I never expected to experience in the month of giving thanks, but that is just what I received. Wes had survived Hell on Earth, and was back where he was meant to be…in my arms and my bed. For good. There would be no breaking us apart after the trauma we experienced up to this point.

My new job with Century Production sent me to the big apple to interview celebrities for a special segment on being thankful. What is a girl to do when she has an entire host of celebrity friends from her past year of travels? You better believe I called up my friends Mason Murphy, all-star pitcher for the Red Sox, and Anton Santiago, the Latin Lov-ah, to participate. They were all too happy to oblige, only my guy’s feathers were a bit ruffled by the ease with which they came running.

Add in my new family and you’ve got a fairytale Thanksgiving. Except for one tiny detail…the single seat at the table, left open by the hole in my heart that only one person could fill.
***
In the eleventh book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is off to New York City to film a segment for her new job. Now that her debt has been paid, and the threat from her ex is gone, she no longer has to live life as an escort. Only life has thrown her some new challenges to round out her year.

My review:

Getting to see a whole lot more of Wes and Mia together in this installment is a huge plus! Wes is working through his issues, but his new found jealousy is a huge problem. I’m nervous to find out what’s really causing it. I’m still really loving where the story is headed. I’m going to miss it when it’s over.


 

26879258 December 

5 Stars

Mountains, miracles, and marriage.

I had no idea what to expect when the producers of Dr. Hoffman sent me to the pristine white mountains of Aspen, Colorado. As the town of Aspen is known for being a winter haven for uber-rich Americans, I knew this desert cactus was going to be way out of her element. The ace up my sleeve however, was a high-class movie-making surfer whose family owned a cabin in those snowy hills. With him by my side, I’d make the most out of the experience.

The job was assigned under unusual circumstances. An anonymous mountain man paid a hefty fee to persuade the producers of my show to send me out for a segment on local artisans. Suited up in my parka and Ugg boots, I put the warmth of the California sun in the rearview mirror and headed to a winter wonderland.
With my newfound family in tow, I was prepared to celebrate the best month the year had to offer…until the one woman who drastically changed my life all those years ago appeared like a shadow out of pure frosted air, shattering my soul all over again.

In the twelfth and final book in the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is off to Aspen, Colorado to film a segment on local artists. Prepare to be wowed as Mia’s journey merges into the ending everyone has been waiting for.

My review:

December was a great end to an amazing series. It brought Mia’s year full circle in an interesting way. I especially loved the extra epilogue, a “Where are they now?” type of chapter.


My final thoughts on the Calendar Girl series…

4.75 Stars!!!

This series is freakin’ addicting. It’s over 1300 pages long and I’m pretty sure I read it in 4 or 5 days. I couldn’t put it down. Mia’s journey throughout Calendar Girl was so much fun to read. It was humorous, sexy, intense, romantic, erotic, heartbreaking, heartwarming and entertaining. I enjoyed the story so much and I’m sad it’s over. I would highly recommend this series to romance readers. I’m definitely going to be checking out Audrey Carlan’s other books in the future.

 

 

 

Series Review (PART 1): Calendar Girl by Audrey Carlan

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Series Title: Calendar Girl

Books: JanuaryFebruaryMarchApril, May and June

Author: Audrey Carlan

Publication Dates: January 15, 2015 – December 29, 2015

Publisher: Waterhouse Press

Genre: Erotic Romance (PLEASE NOTE: Unsuitable for audiences under age 18 due to foul language, graphic sex and some violence.)


 

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Ashley told me I needed to read the Calendar Girl series. She had seen ads for it on Facebook and had heard it was “the next Fifty Shades of Grey“. Ashley had just started the series and was immediately hooked. We usually have the same taste in books, so was nice enough to loan me her Kindle copies of each book as she finished them.

I decided to review the Calendar Girl series in two posts instead of each separate installment because  it seemed an easier way to put my thoughts together. We flew through each book and it didn’t make sense to stop and review in between when there was more of the story to read. I would have done one post, but it would have been SUPER long!

The Calendar Girl series is about Mia, a young woman who has become an escort (not a call girl!) in order to pay off debts her comatose father has incurred. Each book is titled by month and detail Mia’s monthly assignments. It’s important to read them in order, as each book has a little surprise of its own that would be ruined if you read them out-of-order.

So, here we go…


24283477January 

5 Stars

It’s really simple. I needed money. A lot of money. One million dollars to be exact. The amount didn’t matter. All that mattered is that at the end of that price tag held my father’s life.

No money. No life.

The time limit was one year. On January 1st I had to pay up or my Father was going to be killed.

When you’re faced with an ultimatum like this, you do whatever you have to do.

And that’s exactly what I did.

The job…Exquisite Escorts. My role, serve as high priced arm candy to anyone that can afford the $100,000 price tag for a month of my company. Sex is optional (for me) and a 20% increase on the price.

***
Mia Saunders just barely escaped a paltry life back home in Las Vegas until she gets the call that her Father has been beaten to within an inch of his life for not paying his gambling debt. Problem is, the lone shark is her lousy, ruthless ex-boyfriend. Another guy in a long line of men she’d fallen head over heels for. Not anymore.

Mia’s mission is simple. Serve as a high-priced escort for her Aunt’s company and pay monthly against her Father’s bad debt. A month with a rich man who she doesn’t have to sleep with if she doesn’t want to? Easy money. At least that’s the way it was supposed to go.

Each installment in the Calendar Girl Serial will release every month throughout 2015. The stories will feature Mia, told from her perspective as she continues her journey as an escort to twelve clients in twelve different locations.

There’s not much info on January in this description besides the debt and becoming an escort. In January, Mia also goes out on her first month long assignment. She’s to be the “girlfriend” of a popular movie writer, Wes. Mia can’t help but be attracted to the sexy writer and quickly decides there will be some “extracurricular activities” on this assignment. What Mia doesn’t count on is completely falling for her first assignment. It makes leaving at the end of the month that much harder.

My review:

I loved, loved, loved the start to this series! Mia was hilarious and I couldn’t help fall in love with Wes myself. I was sad when she had to move on to her next assignment. I wasn’t sure the rest of the series could be as good or top January.


24514594 February

5 Stars

A muse. Me. The motorcycle riding, ass-kicking, concert t-shirt wearing chick from Las Vegas, is a world-renowned French artist’s muse. For a month.

I had no idea when I took the escort job with Exquisite Escorts I would be standing naked in front of a blank canvas in a Seattle warehouse.

“Love on Canvas” he calls his exhibit, a combination of photographic stills and paint entwined to create the most awe-inspiring pieces the world will ever see. Except every last one of them features me and a moment in time where I was vulnerable.

Alec Dubois played on those vulnerabilities, teaching me lessons about love and life that would stay with me through the rest of my days.

***
Mia Saunders continues her mission to bail out her comatose father whose life is on the line to a dangerous loan-shark who happens to be Mia’s ex-boyfriend. For this journey, she serves as a high-priced escort to French artist named Alec Dubois in Seattle, Washington.

My review:

I shouldn’t have been afraid of what was to come next for Mia! Her assignment in Seattle (I love my home state settings!) was just as good as her assignment in January. While I thought it might bug me that Mia was jumping in bed with another man than Wes, it didn’t because of her connection with Alec. He taught her so much about herself through his art. I liked the way Mia grew in this one. Although, I wasn’t sad to see it end because I couldn’t wait to see what was in store next for Mia!


 

24980433 March

4.5 Stars

A fiancée. I’m going to Chicago to pretend to be some Italian Stallion’s future wife. Why a massive hunk, boxer, and rich restaurateur needs a fake bride is beyond me. Then again, I’m not paid to know why. I’m paid $100,000 to be his escort, or in this case, the woman he’s supposedly “going” to marry.

The moment I met Antony “Tony” Fasano, I thought I might have lost my ability to breathe. In my twenty four years of life, I’d not seen anything like him. Clad only in a small towel precariously dangling from his hips–water droplets streaming down every inch of his muscular frame–I knew right then and there, I’d finally seen male perfection in all its raw glory.

What happened next blew me away. It was now abundantly clear why he needed me…a fake fiancée.

***
Mia Saunders continues her mission to save her comatose father from her dangerous, loan-shark ex-boyfriend. This month, she serves as a high-priced escort to a restaurateur named Anthony Fasano in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois.

My review:

I’m not going to say too much about March because I don’t want to give the surprise away (even though I guess it right off the bat). It was a fun read, but not as exciting as the rest of the series so far. I did love the new role Mia seems to be taking on as the series progresses, though.


 

25157544 April

5 Stars

Baseball, beer, and a hot boy. Nothing can beat that. Until I meet Mason “Mace” Murphy the next “it” pitcher for the Boston Red Sox and my client. He’s immature, arrogant, sexy as sin, and the last man that’s going to get into my panties. He’s not used to hearing the word no from women, so I’m going to spell it out for him.

N = Not going to happen.

O = Out of your league buddy.

I was hired to cuddle up to the annoying, beautiful athlete, and give prospective advertisers and fans a different view of this hot-shot professional baller.

Only he’s everything I detest in a man all wrapped into a dream package. Baseball player, talented, athletic body, sculpted face, and ass you can bounce quarters off of. Unfortunately, he also believes he’s God’s gift to women, a man-whore, throws money around like it grows on trees, and conceited. The challenge for him, to break down my defenses and get in there. My challenge, avoid hopping in the sack with him at all costs.

***
Mia Saunders continues her mission to save her comatose father from her dangerous, loan-shark ex-boyfriend. This month, she serves as a high-priced escort to a professional baseball player named Mace Murphy in Boston, MA.

My review:

I loved April simply because I loved Mason. The cocky baseball player was so crude and cocky. I found myself laughing at his stupid comments constantly. As for Mia, I like her more and more with each book. Her growth as a person continued in this one and I really felt for her.


 

25409003 May 

5 Stars

Swimsuits, sun, surfing, and a sexy Samoan. I headed to the island of Oahu, Hawaii to meet with cutting-edge swimsuit fashion designer, Angel D’Amico, to serve as head model for the “Beauty Comes in All Sizes” swimsuit campaign. The designer wants to show the world that beauty is not just a size two. My curves got me into this gig, and, the moment I laid eyes on my modeling “partner,” I’d never been happier with my buxom form.

Tai Niko had everything the average man lacked. Height, broad shoulders, a nipped in waist, square pecs, tree trunk thighs, and a look that rivaled “The Rock.” The part that made me drool and weakened my knees, was the thick, intricate tribal tattoos running down the entire left side of his muscled frame from shoulder to ankle. The design was unlike anything I’d ever seen, and I couldn’t wait to trace the tips of my fingers over every inch.

***

In the fifth book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is sent to Oahu, HI. Still on her mission to save her father, she embraces the model life to prove beauty really does come in all sizes.

My review:

May might just be my favorite book of the series besides January. I loved the tropical setting of Hawaii and Tai. His dominance in life and the bedroom made me smile. I also liked getting to know Mia’s sister a little more in this one.


 

25610306 June

4 Stars

Politics, phallic statues, and pretty women.

Literally everywhere you look, you see an old man and a gold-digging cling-on wrapped around their wrinkly arms.

Luck had not gone my way when Warren Shipley, one of the nation’s wealthiest men hired me to play arm-candy in order to save face with the other one percenters he did business with. At least that’s what I thought when I arrived in Washington, DC, until I was met by old man Shipley’s debonair and insanely handsome son. Aaron Shipley was notably the youngest senator in the history of politics voted Senator of California at the tender age of thirty-five. Single, beyond rich, and the face of every political magazine around the US. Women everywhere wanted a taste of that power.

Me, I’d always thought politics were boring…boy was I wrong. Democracy had never been more exciting.

***
In the sixth book of the Calendar Girl serial, Mia is sent to our nation’s capital, Washington, DC. Still on her mission to save her father, she embraces the life of a gold-digging whore to allow her client to get close to other very powerful men.

My review:

I hate to say it, but June might be my least favorite book in the series so far. It was fun to see Mia give Warren a lessen or two on how to treat someone you love, but his son was a little too creepy for me.


The Calendar Girl series so far…

If I had to rate the entire series so far, I would give it 4.75 Stars. I’m absolutely addicted to the series and I love Mia’s journey so far. She’s learned so much about herself and had a bunch of sexy fun along the way. At this point, I’m still hoping her journey takes her back to Wes in the end. My only big complaint about the series would be skeezy Aaron Shipley. His character made for an interesting story, but he creeped me out a little too much! 

Check out Part 2 of the Calendar Girls series review tomorrow, Saturday, January 30th.

 

 

 

Review: Changing Forever by Lisa De Jong

18808050Changing Forever (Rains #2)

Author: Lisa De Jong

Publication Date: June 20, 2014

Publisher: Lisa De Jong

Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance

Goodreads Synopsis:

I’ve always let my past dictate my future, letting it paint a picture of exactly what I don’t want to be. Where I don’t want to end up.

Drake Chambers is as arrogant as I am stubborn. A college quarterback, a national star. I thought he was just another one of those guys … the type every girl should stay away from, but he’s carrying more than the weight of the football team on his shoulders.

He unravels the feelings and beliefs I’ve held onto for so long.

I thought we had it all figured out. Two people who’d finally found their happily ever after, but the past always has a way of sneaking into the present.

With one decision, everything changes … forever.


4 / 5 Stars


Changing Forever is the second book in the Rains series. The first book was Kate’s story. The second book is her roommate Emery’s story. It can be read after When it Rains (my review) or as a standalone novel.

Emery is happy to be away at college putting all her efforts into her studies. She has plans for the future and none of those plans include a hot quarterback.

College is just a stepping stone to the future Drake and his father have been planning for years. Drake has the talent to make it to the NFL and nothing is going to get in his way. Not his family. Not a girl.

Everything is going as planned for both of them until Drake and Emery end up as partners on a class project. Drake and Emery find they may have more in common than they thought and the attraction they feel to each other is off the charts.

Just as Drake and Emery are finally giving into their feelings for each, one decision will alter their lives forever.

While I admired her drive, I found Emery hard to connect with. She just didn’t have much of a personality — unless she was interacting with Drake. Then she was a firecracker and her comebacks were fun to read.

I loved Drake. Even when he was being a complete jerk, I felt for him. He had so much pressure on him. He was always trying to do what was best for everyone — even if it really wasn’t. I liked watching him mature throughout the story.

I really enjoyed Changing Forever, even if I could see most of the “surprises” coming. I loved watching Emery and Drake try to avoid falling for each other. It was fun and filled with sexual tension.

Other books in this series:

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