Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Knockout Rule (Showmen #4) by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 340 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: CD Books
Release Date: February 24th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Siskind’s latest slow-burn romance is stay-up-all-night addictive and proves love hits when you least expect it…

Growing up with an adoring father for a boxing legend isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. It looks more like hospital visits, bloody noses, and cracked ribs.

Isla Slade now works as a physiotherapist, helping athletes heal their bodies. Except for boxers. She has no interest in reliving the stress of her teen years. Dating someone in the boxing world? She’d rather snort wasabi powder.

Until she meets Preston Church.

Preston manages heavyweight boxing darling Brick Kramarov. A brute who’s built tougher than his name, with a cocky attitude to boot. She wants nothing to do with either man, but her father begs her to help them prepare for a huge Vegas fight.

She doesn’t expect Preston to recite romantic poems and slowly break her resolve. His fascinating mind gets under her skin, even if his star athlete reminds her how much she hates boxing.

Too bad it’s Brick coaching Preston how to woo Isla, falling for her from the sidelines. Once she finds out, she’ll have to decide if she can risk loving another man who puts it all on the line for the knockout.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own!

BEAUTIFUL STORY.

Oh I adored this! A sports romance gem.

What I loved most was the truly real feeling of the characters. There are some raw and tender moments as over and over our main characters come to terms with the situations around them. I loved the dialogue and conversations that occurred because of this. It exponentially brought another level to the novel by creating beautifully flawed humans who saw some true growth.

Isla and Eric were such a match!! I loved their chemistry and banter. The absolutely precious moments between them. It was spicy and romantic. Even better, I did like how the conflict and resolution came out between them. It worked perfectly for the story and allowed for an adorable ending. I did think [for me] the romance was a bit heavy-handed and I did have to skip over a few scenes, but if you like higher steam, this is definitely a read for you!

I love that this was a sports romance. I found it really insightful actually to boxing. I don’t like boxing at all, but was impressed with seeing another side to it than just fighting. Even when the big match came up I wasn’t quite sure who would win. The way Siskind wrote out this narrative was on point and I’m happy it went the way it did!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses to a few very open door scenes
  • Violence: boxing matches
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: depictions of anxiety and panic attacks, coping with learning a loved one has a degenerative illness

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Book Review

Book Review: The Beat Match (Showmen #3) by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 318 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: CD Books
Release Date: September 16th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Treat yourself to this friends-to-lovers romance reviewers are calling “heart-melting” and “swoony” and “packed with heat and chemistry.”

Two DJs. One beat. An off-limits romance neither of them expected.

Weston Aldrich is known for his devastating looks and crisp Italian suits. He’s been groomed to take over his family business and is on the brink of closing a massive merger. Only two wild cards can derail him.

Wild Card One: If anyone learns he moonlights as a masked DJ, his credibility will be toast.
Wild Card Two: Annie can’t-hold-a-job Ward.

The Annie Ward he promised to help raise after her brother died. The scatterbrained girl who makes it her mission in life to drive him crazy. The gorgeous woman he’s not supposed to fantasize about, let alone kiss.

Annie hates Wes’s insanely overprotective nature, and how his ridiculous bone structure makes him look like a Greek god. His jokes about her plethora of jobs are beyond irksome. She has no plans to tell him about her latest aspiration, to match beats as a budding DJ. Until she learns what Wes does at night. Now she plans to prove Weston Aldrich has met his match.

CUTE & FAST-PACED.

I’ve been enjoying the Showmen series! I still think New Orleans Rush is my favorite, but I really had a good time with this story and loved how quickly I flew through it. There’s something about the way Siskind writes her characters that make the books hard to put down for long.

I thought Annie and Wes were pretty adorable. A long time friends to lovers situation where it was total opposites attract. Kind of a grump and sunshine situation. They both stumbled a bit and how to find their footing within the relationship and I liked watching this growth and maturity that occurred.

Sometimes the plot went a little too dramatic or that it some pieces just weren’t necessary? I did like the exploration of grief and how it’s different for everyone involved. No two people experience a situation the same way and this was clearly shown.

What kind of sealed the deal on the adorableness of these two was that epilogue. OH I LOVE A GOOD EPILOGUE. It was absolutely precious and I just became completely smitten with Wes all over again. A charming addition to the Showmen series!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: depictions of grief, mentions of going to therapy, homelessness, loss of loved ones, gun violence

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Don't Go Stealing My Heart by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 333 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: CD Books
Release Date: April 22nd, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

She wants to steal his Van Gogh. He wants to steal her heart.

Some people would call Clementine Abernathy a criminal. She considers herself a modern day Robin Hood, who steals from the rich and gives to the poor. Not exactly on the up-and-up, but she knows what it’s like to lose everything. Her latest heist involves swiping a priceless Van Gogh from its owner, who’s supposed to be an egotistical trust-fund brat.

Turns out Jack David is a sexy, kind-hearted man…and Clementine is in trouble. Falling for her mark would make her the World’s Dumbest Conwoman, but Jack is charmingly persistent, always singing sweet songs in her ear.

And that earth-shattering kiss? She never stood a chance.

Now she’s imagining a fresh start with this dashing man, but that means telling Jack about her past. And other nefarious sorts are after the same painting. Too soon, Clementine learns what it means to risk it all for love.

Thank you to Kelly Siskind and Netgalley for the eARC. All opinions are my own!

BURNING LOVE.

I didn’t know that I would love an Elvis, tribute artist, as much as I did. But Jack swooned me away with those hips and voice [which unfortunately had to be totally in my head] BUT STILL. Ultra-swoonworthy Not-Maxwell Jack is a lovely romantic interest.

Clementine was a solid heroine. I thought the way she approached her past was heart-breaking, but what she thought was best (at the time). I loved seeing her learn to accept love and trust in her life. It was a long time coming for Clementine to get a break for once. The way she gave up what she was doing, knowing it was wrong, was the kind of changes I love seeing. Especially the fact that she communicated with Jack.

Now, the communication was great for 95% of it. Then, the critical moment when she honestly should have just said something to Jack, she decided it was best to go in the complete opposite direction? WHY. Clementine spent the entire time learning to open up, and when the test came, she failed. And it bothered me. I thought it at least worked out better than I’ve seen in familiar moments in other books. It let to a bigger reveal that I hadn’t quite realized was happening.

I thought the story was cute and playful. The idea of Clementine being a Robin Hood-type criminal was different than my usual romances. Add in the fact that Jack loves dressing up as Elvis and I have definitely never read a book like this! I love its uniqueness factor. Kept me interested and flipping pages. The small town vibes and sub-plots were great. There was a good amount of steam and innuendo throughout. You can feel the slow burn between them (even as the time is short), for a more insta-love, it was written so well I hardly noticed. I was cheering on Clementine and Jack.

The ending was a bit abrupt. After the big ending, it skipped to a year-later epilogue. While that kind of jarred me, I did love the epilogue. It was perfectly cute and the best happily ever after. I can’t wait to read her next story!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs, innuendo, a few very detailed love scenes
  • Violence: guns, physical, knives
  • Trigger warnings: mentions of Clementine’s parents suicides (at different times, methods mentioned); abusive foster family situations

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Book Review

Book Review: New Orleans Rush by Kelly Siskind

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 310 pages
Author: Kelly Siskind
Publisher: Everafter Romance
Release Date: April 23rd, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Falling for your surly boss is a rotten idea.
Letting him saw you in half is even worse…

Beatrice Baker may be a struggling artist, but she believes all hardships have silver linings…until she follows her boyfriend to New Orleans and finds him with another woman. Instead of turning those lemons into lemonade, she drinks lemon drop martinis and keys the wrong man’s car.

Now she works for Huxley Marlow of the Marvelous Marlow Boys, getting shoved in boxes as an on-stage magician’s assistant. A cool job for some, but Bea’s been coerced into the role to cover her debt. She also maybe fantasizes about her boss’s adept hands and what else they can do.

She absolutely will not fall for him, or kiss him senseless. Until she does. The scarred, enigmatic Huxley has unwittingly become her muse, unlocking her artistic dry spell, but his vague nightly activities are highly suspect. The last time Beatrice trusted a man, her bank account got drained and she almost got arrested. Surely this can’t end that badly…right?

WHERE CAN I GET A MAGICIAN LIKE HUXLEY?

This quick romantic comedy is a hidden gem in the genre. I absolutely adored this and it took me a day to finish because of it!

Beatrice is effervescent and optimistic about most things in her life. Being betrayed by the men she’s known (including her Father) she ends up in New Orleans, single, without a job or a home. But then she meets…HUXLEY. Oh their chemistry is dynamite y’all. Sparks flying every which way it could light up a night sky.

I couldn’t get enough of their banter and flirtatious moments. It was purely them meeting and getting to know each other that formed their friendship turned romance. I usually prefer a stand-out trope (like enemies to lovers) but this worked in such a magical way I was smitten with them. I love that Huxley took care of Bea and helped her get on her own two feet. Not only that, but Bea helped Huxley see the glass half full rather than empty. These two peas in a pod really completed each other. THEY’RE JUST SO PRECIOUS OKAY? Trust me on this.

Huxley and his brothers, Axel and Fox are also what brother goals are made of. These three had an incredible dynamic too. I love the different personalities and banter that made up their daily conversations. They all kind of grew up (even though everyone is in their late 20s and 30s) as they started to take care of each other. Huxley as big brother never got a chance to take a breath and his brothers (plus Beatrice) helped him step back and enjoy the finer moments of life.

The only reason I took off a half a star was a personal preference. I didn’t love that there was a whole chapter and a half dedicated to the sex scene. It was a bit much and a bit too detailed for me. It’s easily skipped over though so if this also isn’t your scene I promise the rest of the book is gold.

I liked the plot of this as well. It was different than other rom-coms I’ve read before. I felt there was a bit more at stake and it upped the drama overall. It never over took the romance, but wove seamlessly with it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong language
  • Romance: kissing, make outs, flirting, innuendo, Chapter 23 & beginning of Chapter 24: detailed love scene; Chapter 30: fade to black with a little detail
  • Violence: physical, being held at gun point
  • Trigger warnings: gambling addiction, gambling in general

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