Book Review

Book Review: Always Only You (Bergman Brothers #2) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: July 25th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Get ready for an emotional ride filled with laughter, longing, and a sweet slow-burn in this sports romance about love’s power not in spite of difference, but because of it.

Ren

The moment I met her, I knew Frankie Zeferino was someone worth waiting for. Deadpan delivery, secret heart of gold, and a rare one-dimpled smile that makes my knees weak, Frankie has been forbidden since the day she and I became coworkers, meaning waiting has been the name of my game—besides, hockey, that is.

I’m a player on the team, she’s on staff, and as long as we work together, dating is off-limits. But patience has always been my virtue. Frankie won’t be here forever—she’s headed for bigger, better things. I just hope that when she leaves the team and I tell her how I feel, she won’t want to leave me behind, too.

Frankie

I’ve had a problem at work since the day Ren Bergman joined the team: a six foot three hunk of happy with a sunshine smile. I’m a grumbly grump and his ridiculously good nature drives me nuts, but even I can’t entirely ignore that hot tamale of a ginger with icy eyes, the perfect playoff beard, and a body built for sin that he’s annoyingly modest about.

Before I got wise, I would have tripped over myself to get a guy like Ren, but with my diagnosis, I’ve learned what I am to most people in my life—a problem, not a person. Now, opening my heart to anyone, no matter how sweet, is the last thing I’m prepared to do.

Always Only You is an opposites-attract, forbidden love sports romance about a nerdy, late-blooming hockey star, and his tough cookie coworker who keeps both her soft side and her autism diagnosis* to herself. Complete with a meddling secretary, tantric yoga torture, and a scorching slow burn, this standalone is the second in a series of novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

*This is an #OwnVoices story for its portrayal of autism by an autistic author.

THIS WAS AMAZING.

My new favorite hockey romance.

This grump and sunshine trope was everrrrrything. They were absolutely adorable. Such amazing chemistry that I was for them from the get-go. I love the way that the attraction and angst is written. It’s an immediate connection, but has the perfect build-up that it doesn’t feel instant. It feels natural and real and brimming with all of feels.

The representation was wonderful. Frankie is on the autism spectrum and has rheumatoid arthritis. I love how she was written. That she wasn’t any less capable of accomplishing the things she wants to. Frankie is exactly who she is and I love that she learned to love herself and learned to let Ren love her too.

There were many great conversations with other characters that helped broaden my understanding of chronic illness and those who are on the spectrum. This is the importance of Own Voices books and the knowledge that can come from reading them while enjoying a beautiful story.

Ren was the best cinnamon roll. I love that he was the sunshine (since it’s usually the female that’s the sunshine). Wow did he bring it all. His commitment and passion for the areas of his life made me swoon. I loved his soul. He’s a nerdy Shakespeare lover, a REDHEAD and absolutely smitten with all things Frankie.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: chronic illness (rheumatoid arthritis), chronic pain
Book Review

ARC Book Review: Set on You by Amy Lea

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Amy Lea
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Release Date: May 10th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A gym nemesis pushes a fitness influencer to the max in Amy Lea’s steamy debut romantic comedy.

Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.

Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.

In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.

Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC.

SLOW BURN SWOON.

This was an amazing debut!! Incredibly heart warming and full on grin inducing. Crystal and Scott will bring the house down.

I loved Crystal. I loved so many of the conversations and topics she spoke about in regards to her identity, fitness, health and more. It was like the author was in my mind reminding me and telling me things I needed to hear. As someone who struggles (and I mean who doesn’t?) with many of the themes I loved the way this was approached.

Now, the ROMANCE. Ohhhh my gosh. SWOON. I didn’t know how much I would adore a love story primarily set-up around a gym. It was the best. I loved the instant charged connection and the subtle ways these two clearly showed their growing feelings. It wasn’t quite as angsty as I was thinking it would be, but it was gosh dang sweet. I loved the development and the banter. All of these tiny moments amounting into tender confessions. Scott Ritchie is the kind of love interest I will never tire of seeing in a romance.

A lot of the ending scenes were wonderful. I had a minor issues with some aspects, but I am all for a grand gesture so I was able to look past [most] of it. Not to mention, throwing in an it’s always been you trope had to be the icing on the cake. I can not handle another moment with Crystal and Scott because I will be in a puddle on the floor.

Please tell me Amy Lea has more books coming??

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: very mild
  • Romance: a few open door with low explicitness
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: fatphobia, cyber bullying, racism, fitness/diet culture, cancer

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Book Review

Book Review: The Trustworthy Groom (Texas Titan Romances) by Cami Checketts

Rating: ☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 180 pages
Author: Cami Checketts
Publisher: Birch River Publishing
Release Date: January 18th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

A lonely football player, a damaged bride, and the fake marriage that can heal them both.
Hailey Knight has two choices: fall prey to a predator who is out to own her and destroy her football team, or marry a man she’s just met. True, her fake husband can make her quiver with a touch, gets her jokes, and is patience personified, but she knows better than anyone how quickly charm can turn ugly.
Brady Giles has dealt with a sweetheart stalker for two years and has no hope of shaking the annoyance. He steps in to rescue the beautiful and feisty Hailey Knight from a leering idiot and somehow ends up engaged to her.
The marriage is supposed to help them both out of sticky situations, but instead turns into a media hailstorm with lies and attacks coming from all sides. When Hailey falls in love with her fake husband and danger lurks around every corner, she knows it’s time to run, but Brady has never given up on an impossible battle.
Can these two trust each other or will the media and predators tear them apart?

RANT INCOMING.

Full stop. This book was utterly ridiculous. Oh my gosh. I didn’t like it at all, but it got 2 stars purely for the entertainment it gave me for a morning of reading. I kept running to my spouse shouting YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.

First of all the book wouldn’t have even needed to happen if there was on small change in the second chapter. The set-up for this marriage of convenience was worthless and sooo not necessary.

Also I hated how Hailey treated Brady. She was the one who used him to pretend he was her fiance and then was the one who was cool with the fake marriage. Why in the world would you spend most of the book then worried he was going to “steal your virtue” (books words) like he was this terrible guy. He gave you no inclination of that kind of behavior and I was upset over that.

AN ATHLETIC TRAINER IS NOT A PERSONAL TRAINER. Good heavens I hate when something is clearly not researched. Absolutely maddening. Use google and get your terms right.

Everything got oddly dark FAST and I didn’t realize I was apparently reading a romantic suspense. I mean seriously, a stalker blew up part of the guys house. WHAT?…WHAT? I can’t even begin to follow the process of thought that led to this being part of the ending scenes.

There’s just so much iffy stuff in this book y’all. Wouldn’t recommend whatsoever.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses, some implied closed door scenes
  • Violence: house explosion
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: Brady has a creepy stalker, sexual harassment, Hailey remembers a rape scene from someone she dated (brief description)

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Book Review

Book Review: Only When It’s Us (Bergman Brothers #1) by Chloe Liese

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 382 pages
Author: Chloe Liese
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: April 1st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Prepare for an emotional rollercoaster brimming with laughter, tears, and slow-burn sexiness in this new adult romance that tackles the vulnerability of love with humor and heart.

Ryder

Ever since she sat next to me in class and gave me death eyes, Willa Sutter’s been on my shit list. Why she hates me, I don’t know. What I do know is that Willa is the kind of chaos I don’t need in my tidy life. She’s the next generation of women’s soccer. Wild hair, wilder eyes. Bee-stung lips that should be illegal. And a temper that makes the devil seem friendly.

She’s a thorn in my side, a menacing, cantankerous, pain-in-the-ass who’s turned our Business Mathematics course into a goddamn gladiator arena. I’ll leave this war zone unscathed, coming out on top…And if I have my way with that crazy-haired, ball-busting hellion, that will be in more than one sense of the word. 

Willa

Rather than give me the lecture notes I missed like every other instructor I’ve had, my asshole professor tells me to get them from the silent, surly flannel-wearing mountain man sitting next to me in class. Well, I tried. And what did I get from Ryder Bergman? Ignored. What a complete lumbersexual neanderthal. Mangy beard and mangier hair. Frayed ball cap that hides his eyes. And a stubborn refusal to acknowledge my existence.

I’ve battled men before, but with Ryder, it’s war. I’ll get those notes and crack that Sasquatch nut if it’s the last thing I do, then I’ll have him at my mercy. Victory will have never tasted so sweet.

Only When It’s Us is a frenemies-to-lovers, college sports romance about a women’s soccer star and her surly lumberjack lookalike classmate, complete with a matchmaking professor, juvenile pranks, and a smoking slow burn. This standalone is the first in a series of new novels about a Swedish-American family of five brothers, two sisters, and their wild adventures as they each find happily ever after.

FOUND A NEW SERIES.

I have sat on this series since the first book came out last year. I was worried the spice was going to be too much for me. And it was at the end (and I’m talking 90%) where I could easily skip past. But it was also less than I was thinking, So if that’s a possible hang up for you, I’ll mention as well that this story was FANTASTIC and definitely worth the read.

Ryder and Willa were the definition of frenemies. Forced to work together in a college class where the game became teasing/pranking each other until they couldn’t keep their hands off of each other. I loved it. The banter and chemistry. The heated glances and moments caught under a waterfall. All amazing stuff.

There were a lot of deeper conversations about disability, coping with loss, grief, depression and more. It’s heavily character driven plot (my fav) and brought about many heart-filled moments where I wanted to yell at the characters, and also hug them fiercely. This will bring out plenty of emotions.

And I loved that Willa was the soccer star! It was different from the majority of sports romances and I am here for it. I really enjoyed this writing style and how involved I became in Willa and Ryder’s lives. I’m happy I picked this one up and have already grabbed book two.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary sports romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to very open door scenes
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of a parent, cancer, depictions of grief and severe depression

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