Early Review: Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

Hawke by Sawyer Bennett
Series: Cold Fury Hockey #5 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: March 15th 2016
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The Carolina Cold Fury hockey team proves that love is a power play. As Sawyer Bennett’s New York Times bestselling series continues, the league’s most notorious party animal gets blindsided by the one that got away.

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.

Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.

Second chance romances are favorite kinds of romances to read, so when I heard Sawyer Bennett was going to have one in her Cold Fury Hockey series, I couldn’t wait! I adore this series – sexy hockey players get me every time. Hawke is the fifth book in the series, though it can be read as a standalone. Though this isn’t my favorite of the series, it’s still got that sweetness and sexiness that Sawyer Bennett excels at writing. If you enjoyed the previous books in the series, you’re sure to enjoy Hawke too.

I’m not prepared to see her at all because I’m not sure I can behave myself around her. I want her and yet I don’t want to want her.
And I mean I want her viciously.

Seven years ago, Hawke and Vale were twenty, volatile, and head over heels in love with each other. But when Vale breaks up with Hawke out of the blue right before he’s set to leave to play professional hockey, he’s understandably devastated and confused. The both of them move on and never once look back, until their lives collide again, now that Hawke is part of the Cold Fury team and Vale is working for the team as the assistant athletic trainer.

I wonder, had this one horrific event not occurred, would we have grown together over the years, or apart?
I’d like to think together, because despite the fact we were young and probably clueless as to what real commitment was like, there was something we had that I’ve never found again, and I’m pretty sure Vale hasn’t either.
And that was a tethering of our souls.

Hawke is… predictable. A fun predictable, but still, there just wasn’t anything about this story that popped out to me. I didn’t connect all that well with Vale or Hawke so I didn’t love this like I hoped to. I hate when miscommunication is the reason for a breakup, so I was a little disappointed that that was the reason for this couple’s fallout. Plus, I didn’t like that Hawke kept blaming everything that went wrong with their relationship on Vale. Yes, she has most of the blame, but he has some part in it too for not fighting for her. He got on my nerves more than a few times, honestly. But while I wasn’t a fan of Hawke’s character, I absolutely adored Vale. She’s so much more mature now than she was at twenty and she’s been working to the bone to help with her father’s sickness. It sucks when you like one main character over another, but sadly this was the case for me, so it was hard to fully love the story because of this.

This is definitely my least favorite of the series, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it at all, because there were still some fun, entertaining parts to this. Hawke is frustrating at times, but also sweet at others. And since it’s Sawyer Bennett, it’s also sexy as hell. I’m definitely looking forward to Max’s story now, and I hope it won’t be the last of the series!

3 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Cold Fury Hockey series

Alex by Sawyer Bennett Garrett by Sawyer Bennett
Zack by Sawyer Bennett Ryker by Sawyer Bennett Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

#1 ~ Alex: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ Garrett: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#3 ~ Zack: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#4 ~ Ryker: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#5 ~ Hawke: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#6 ~ Max: Ebook • Goodreads (Dec. 13, 2016)


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Early Review: I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne

I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: February 2nd 2016
Links: Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

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 for Oxford 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.

I’m a huge Lauren Layne fan – she is definitely a go-to author for feel-good, funny, entertaining contemporary romances. I’d been looking forward to reading I Wish You Were Mine ever since reading Irresistibly Yours, even though the blurb had me feeling a bit nervous. But I never should’ve doubted Lauren – while this book isn’t my favorite of hers, it’s still a sweet, heart-warming story. If you have worries about Jackson’s ex-wife, you absolutely shouldn’t – her character didn’t impede on Jackson and Mollie’s romance like I thought she would!

After an accident that causes him to lose his ability to play football, Jackson has a job he hates and an ex-wife who left him for another man. He has nothing going for him anymore… except Mollie, his ex-wife’s little sister. The one who has always been his friend, who has always been there for him when he was going through the rough times in his marriage, the one who he’s always been able to lean on. But seeing her now, all grown up as a beautiful, successful woman, Jackson wonders if he married the wrong Carrington sister after all.

But somewhere along the line, Mollie Carrington had ceased to be that awkward kid who talked about bugs at inopportune times. Somewhere along the line, she’d become his rock. The one person in the world, save for perhaps his parents, who always knew the exact right thing to say to make him feel like a human whenever he’d started to feel like a caricature of himself.

Mollie has been in love with Jackson since forever, but since he was always classified as her sister’s man, he was off-limits. But now that he’s single, and has offered her to room with him in his apartment, all the feelings she once felt come rushing back, as if they never left. Still, she worries about betraying her sister, who raised her when their parents died. Can Mollie find it in herself to pursue the one man she’s always wanted, or will her loyalty to her sister hold her back from having the love of her life?

I adored Jackson and Mollie together. I love friends-to-lovers romances, so of course I enjoyed this book. I loved the history these two characters had between them, how the chemistry simmered until they finally couldn’t help but fall in bed with each other (and they are HOT together!). They are so sweet and wonderful, definitely meant to be, but they have to first get over obstacles that prevent them from together.

“You are your own woman, and you are a woman, Mollie. You’re not a kid. You’re not a girl. And if I’ve been a complete asshole lately, it’s because I’m having a hell of a time coming to grips with the fact that I want you. And fuck, Mollie, I want you. I want you so bad, I’m dying.”

I don’t really like reading romances that involve hero’s exes, because sometimes I get worried about the hero’s loyalty to the heroine. But I absolutely shouldn’t have worried at all about Jackson and his ex-wife. Madison is a total bitch, and Jackson knowns that the woman he thought he loved never really existed. He is 100% done with his ex-wife, which I definitely appreciated.

The main reason why I didn’t fully LOVE this book was because I do wish there had been more romance. We get plenty of Jackson and Mollie as friends and as something more than friends, but we never really see them TOGETHER. As in, in a relationship. If that had been expanded upon more rather than in just the epilogue, I’m sure I wouldn’t hesitate to love the book. I also hated Madison whenever she popped up in the book, but I was expecting that, so it wasn’t too bad.

I may not have loved I Wish You Were Mine, but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable read. The humor, the writing, Mollie and Jackson’s characters, I loved them all. It’s not as light-hearted as the previous Lauren Layne books I’ve read are, as there is some angst and tension, but if you’re a fan of the author, you won’t want to miss this book! You get to see a lot of the Oxford/Stiletto gang as well – right now I’m dying to read Lincoln’s story!

3.5 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Oxford series

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne 

#1 ~ Irresistibly Yours: My Review • Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ I Wish You Were Mine: Ebook • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Someone Like You: Ebook • Goodreads (Dec. 13, 2016)


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Early Review: Calling the Play by Samantha Kane

Calling the Play by Samantha Kane

Calling the Play by Samantha Kane
Series: Birmingham Rebels #2 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: December 1st 2015
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Samantha Kane’s Birmingham Rebels series—perfect for fans of Shayla Black and Lexi Blake—proves that three’s never a crowd . . . at least not for the hard-bodied football all-stars who give teamwork a sexy twist.

Quarterback Tyler Oakes plays hard and parties even harder. That reckless lifestyle nearly derailed his career, and now the Birmingham Rebels are Ty’s last shot at football immortality. But staying out of trouble can take its toll—especially for a man with a taste for girls and guys. Because curvy, gorgeous Randi McInish is just the kind of trouble he’d like to get into.

A tough-as-nails undercover cop, Randi meets her match in Ty. After they get wrapped up together in a drug bust and a high-speed car chase, Randi’s eager to take the notorious bad boy for another wild ride. Turns out Ty already has something in mind. When he introduces her to the Rebels’ sexy new quarterback coach, things start heating up a little too fast for Randi.

Brian Mason coached Ty in college, and boy do they have history together. With Brian taking control on the field and in the bedroom, they were an unstoppable team. But Brian, blindsided by love, ran from his feelings for Ty. He won’t let Randi make the same mistake. Both men agree they need more than each other. They want a woman they can share. And when they make a pleasure play for Randi, all three are sure to score.

The Birmingham Rebels series is one hot, kinky series! Football and threesomes apparently makes for a great combo. I really enjoyed the first book, Broken Play (my review), so I was looking forward to Ty’s story ever since he was first introduced. I didn’t quite like Calling the Play as much as Broken Play, but it was still a seriously hot and fun read. If you were a fan of the first book, you should definitely give Calling the Play a try!

Tyler Oakes is the quarterback for the Birmingham Rebels and is openly bisexual. He’s quite the player, both on and off the field, but he’s been trying to change his ways since joining the Rebels. But one night, he’s caught at the wrong place and the wrong time and ends up in a car chase with an undercover cop named Randi… who he can’t get out of his mind. The two of them jump straight into bed, the chemistry on fire between them, but neither of them expect more, until night after night, they keep coming back for each other.

Randi is one awesome, badass cop. She’s fierce, brutally honest, and has zero filter. I loved her character! She’s definitely my favorite in this book. She’s hilarious and dirty, but she’s also got a good heart. So when Brian Mason (‘the one who got away’) comes back into Ty’s life to try to win him back, Randi bows out of the game, despite her growing feelings for Ty. But both Brian and Ty realize how much they both want Randi, and now they have to prove to her that they’re there to stay.

I liked Ty, but Brian I had a hard time connecting with. I believed in the love between them, but the love between Randi and Brian was too rushed and didn’t feel real. The whole book takes place over the course of a week or so, so the romance grew super fast and was pretty unbelievable. But as individual characters, I liked that each of them had flaws and vulnerabilities, despite how they appeared to everyone else on the outside.

If you’re a fan of menages and kinky books, you should definitely check out this series. It is HOT and dirty, and so much fun to read. The romance might be a little unbelievable, but you’ll still have a fantastic time with the smuttiness.

3 hearts
lacey


Reading Order: Birmingham Rebels series

Broken Play by Samantha Kane Calling the Play by Samantha Kane

#1 ~ Broken Play: My Review • EbookGoodreads
#2 ~ Calling the Play: EbookGoodreads (Dec. 1, 2015)


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Early Review: Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne
Series: Oxford #1 (full reading order below)
Publication Date: October 6th 2015
Links: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Meet the men of Oxford magazine! In the first captivating spin-off of Lauren Layne’s Sex, Love & Stiletto series, a not-so-friendly battle of the sexes turns into a scorching office romance.

Hotshot sports editor Cole Sharpe has been freelancing for Oxford for years, so when he hears about a staff position opening up, he figures he’s got the inside track. Then his boss drops a bombshell: Cole has competition. Female competition, in the form of a fresh-faced tomboy who can hang with the dudes—and write circles around them, too. Cole usually likes his women flirty and curvy, but he takes a special interest in his skinny, sassy rival, if only to keep an eye on her. And soon, he can’t take his eyes off her.

Penelope Pope knows all too well that she comes off as just one of the guys. Since she’s learned that wanting more usually leads to disappointment, Penelope’s resigned to sitting on the sidelines when it comes to love. So why does Cole make her want to get back in the game? The man is as arrogant as he is handsome. He probably sees her as nothing more than a barrier to his dream job. But when an unexpected kiss turns into a night of irresistible passion, Penelope has to figure out whether they’re just fooling around—or starting something real.

Lauren Layne has quickly become one of those authors for me that I won’t hesitate to read because I know she’ll give me a book I won’t be disappointed with. She does a fantastic job of infusing humor, wit, and lots of sexiness into her books, all of which I’m a fan of. Irresistibly Yours is no different in that it’s a wholeheartedly enjoyable read. This is the first book in the brand new Oxford seres, the spinoff of the Sex, Love, and Stiletto series.

What I love most about Irresistibly Yours is how it’s got a mix of romance elements incorporated into it. Office romance, sports themed, rivalry, opposites attract, friends-to-lovers – Lauren Layne manages to balance all of these so well to create an incredible book I adored so much!

Cole Sharpe is a freelancer for the Oxford magazine, but there’s the open spot of sports editor that’s calling his name. Unfortunately, even with his inside connection, he’s got competition for the position – competition in the form of a small, tomboyish, adorable-as-hell woman named Penelope Pope.

She was looking up at him, her expression unreadable, and he felt a sudden surge of tenderness for this woman he barely knew and yet somehow knew completely.

What starts off as a competition and rivalry soon turns into something friendlier and more charming – Cole and Penelope both feel some chemistry between them, but they put their feelings aside in order to work together at Oxford. Penelope has moved to New York for a fresh start, and Cole has become her very first friend, though he’s the sexiest man she’s ever met. Penelope knows the gorgeous playboy is totally out of her league, and puts herself firmly in the friendzone. Cole, however, is completely taken aback by this incredible woman who is his equal in every way. Never has a woman meant as much as Penelope does to him. They share an incredible love for sports, they’re around each other at the office every day, but before long, neither of them can fight the attraction they try to hide.

How had this happened? How was it that this sweet, feisty tomboy could turn him on just as easily as she turned him completely inside out every time she looked at him?

You’re really in for a treat when you pick up a book by Lauren Layne. Equal parts sexy, sweet, and hilarious, Irresistibly Yours is a fun-filled read you won’t be disappointed in. Cole and Penelope are wonderful, endearing characters, and I rooted for them right from the very start. And I absolutely loved their group of friends at Oxford, who had me laughing so hard. I haven’t read the Sex, Love, and Stiletto series, whose characters are also in Irresistibly Yours, but now I’m thinking I should – which means more Lauren Layne for me! I highly recommend any of this author’s books for those who love funny, light-hearted romances. You are missing out if you haven’t tried her books!

4 hearts
lacey

Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.


Reading Order: Oxford series

Irresistibly Yours by Lauren Layne I Wish You Were Mine by Lauren Layne 

#1 ~ Irresistibly Yours: Ebook • Audible • Goodreads
#2 ~ I Wish You Were Mine: My ReviewEbook • AudibleGoodreads
#3 ~ Someone Like You: Ebook • Goodreads (Dec. 13, 2016)


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Early Review: Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin

Bad Romance by Jen McLaughlin
Series: Standalone
Publication Date: September 15th 2015
Links: EbookGoodreads
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

In this explosive novel from bestselling author Jen McLaughlin, a good girl falls for the ultimate bad boy: her stepbrother. Perfect for fans of Sabrina Paige, Caitlin Daire, and Krista Lakes, Bad Romance proves that passion can be so wrong it’s right.

Seven years in the army will change a guy. But after a shoulder wound ends his career as a sniper, Jackson Worthington finds himself back home, fighting a battle that’s all too familiar: keeping his hands off Lily Hastings. She’s still her rich daddy’s little angel, innocent, impossibly lovely, as squeaky-clean as Jackson is dirty. And she’s still his stepsister—forbidden but not forgotten, not after the soul-melting kiss that got him kicked out of the house at eighteen. He couldn’t resist her then. How the hell can he resist her now?

Lily is about to marry a man she doesn’t love, and commit to a high-stress job she hates, all to please the father who controls every waking moment of her life. On top of everything, her teenage crush is back, with a sleek, chiseled body and a trace of the rebellious boy whose lips sealed her fate. Jackson’s timing couldn’t be worse . . . or better. Because Lily’s all grown up, too. She’s aching for another taste. And for the first time, she’s ready to be a bad girl.

I was really looking forward to Bad Romance, since I’m a sucker for forbidden love stories, and this one’s a stepbrother romance at that! But unfortunately, this book wasn’t what I’d hoped it would be. I didn’t like the characters at all, and found myself skimming parts of the story. I really wish I could’ve liked this more, because I did enjoy the writing, but it was the characters that ruined the book for me.

Jackson Worthington is back from the army after seven years, back to the home and family that turned him away. Well, everyone turned him away except for Lilly Hastings, his stepsister. The sweet stepsister sent him letters throughout his time in the army, keeping him sane, but not once did he write to her back. He felt like a clean break between them, after that kiss they had when she was fifteen and he was eighteen, was the best thing for her.

Lilly Hastings has had a crush on Jackson ever since he came into her life, but unfortunately as her stepbrother. She held out hope for him until she left for college, but now that he’s back, she’s going to go after what she’s always wanted – Jackson.

While I liked the premise of Bad Romance, the execution of the story played out poorly. The forbidden love aspect of the story was a disappointment – I felt no chemistry between the main characters, and I didn’t feel like there anything nothing forbidden or taboo about their relationship. They met at 15 and 18, he left right away and stayed away for seven years, neither of them like their parents – what exactly was holding them back from being together?

I didn’t like either Jackson or Lilly, and I didn’t like how repetitive their back-and-forth was. Jackson keeps going on and on about how ‘innocent’ and ‘pure’ Lilly is, and how he doesn’t want to ruin her life. I hated how assuming he is about the kind of person Lilly is without really getting to know her after not seeing her for seven years. And Lilly has her own little problem of being forced to marry someone to save her father’s company. Really? I absolutely didn’t believe she no choice but to marry someone just to save a company she’s not even involved in. Everyone keeps guilting her, telling her how she’ll make thousands of people lose their jobs, and she doesn’t do anything to fight all the people hounding her. She is quite the doormat around everyone but Jackson, but even her times with Jackson wasn’t enough to make me like her.

I didn’t hate this book, but it was a disappointing read. The only saving point to the book was the writing, but sadly everything else was a bust. I really hoped for something exciting and taboo, but I got neither of those.

2 hearts
lacey


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