Intercepted (Playbook #1)

Intercepted

Intercepted (Playbook #1)

By: Alexa Martin

Blurb:

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.

Review:

Intercepted was a lovely palette cleanser after the last book I read. I was a little bit concerned at the beginning, though. Marlee is in an abusive relationship; her boyfriend of almost a decade is a pro football player that takes a lot out on her. I was starting to wonder why I kept picking up books with women in abusive relationships, but thankfully it didn’t last long.

Marlee was easily one of my favorite heroines of the year. Her humor was hilarious, and I loved the relationships she had with people. She’s the type of character you wish you could be friends with in real life. Seeing her discover again who she is without the dead weight of her ex was beautiful.

Gavin was sex on a stick. He tried to protect her but would occasionally go too far. He didn’t give Marlee a chance to defend herself; something that ended up biting him in the ass later.

Marlee and Gavin made a great couple, but what I loved the most was the ending. Marlee could have so easily just jumped from her ex into a relationship with Gavin; instead, she took the time to succeed on her own. I really, really liked that part of the story.

I’m not a football fan and getting to see an almost behind the scenes look did not win me over, but I loved the enthusiasm Marlee had, and I’m excited to read the next book in the series.

4/5

If I Never Met You

If I Never Met You

If I Never Met You

By: Mhairi McFarlane

Blurb:

If faking love is this easy… how do you know when it’s real?

When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.

Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…

Review:

I was sold on this book because I was told it was a romance. It was in an email I got about hot new romance books (or something like that I’ve read a lot of romance lists recently). The blurb also has a setup for a very common romance trope. This was not a romance. It was a woman getting over a long term relationship with a little bit of romance thrown in. Which is fine, I’ve enjoyed those books, but it was not what I was expecting, and I ended up hating this book because of it.

SPOILERS

Twenty percent of the way into this book Laurie has been dumped by her boyfriend of eighteen years, found out that he had an emotional affair, and then only days after they broke up, he’s knocked the new woman up. This is, of course, after he told her he just needed to find himself, that he didn’t want to be a father anymore, and a bunch of other bullshit. He also tries to make her feel bad for him and like he’s a good guy, but basically, he was a piece of shit.

It’s not until well into the second third of the book that we even start to have any kind of interaction with the new guy. She spent most of the book thinking about her ex. She compares everything Jamie does to her ex. She sobs over her ex all the way up to the end of the book, which takes place over a few months.

The more I read, the more horrible stuff you discover about her ex as well as things that happened to her. He cheated on her at one point. She forgave him. He told her he’d never do the same to her. She took care of most things in their life and was always pushing him to succeed and being encouraging, while he held her back so as not to cause a scene or make things uncomfortable. She was left alone with a pedo at eight but was thankfully able to escape before anything happened. Her father was horrible and rarely in her life.

It wasn’t until seventy percent into the book that the romance started to pick up. Jamie clearly likes her, but Laurie is, of course, still talking about her ex and is also stuck on the fact that Jamie is thirty-one to her thirty-six. I could not roll my eyes hard enough over that one. Five years between a couple is nothing, especially in your thirties.

Three men in this entire book didn’t suck; Jamie, Jamie’s dad, and a coworker of Laurie’s. Everyone else was awful. The male employees at the law firm Laurie works at all need to be hit with sexual harassment lawsuits. They were fucking terrible.

Jamie is rarely in the book. His page space is nothing compared to the time spent on Laurie’s ex. The parts he is in are fun because, once again, he’s one of the few men that isn’t complete garbage. Before they knew each other, she made all kinds of assumptions about him, and after their first initial time together, she learns that he’s almost nothing like her impression. Still, she spends most of the last half of the book defaulting to those assumptions.

If this book hadn’t been sold to me as a romance, I might have enjoyed it. It would have at least been a three-star. Instead, I hated just about every moment. I wondered if I was the only one, so read some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and it turns out I am the only one that didn’t like it. A lot of the reviews ended up pissing me off with their views on “normal” romance, but before I go into a rant on the way romance as a genre is viewed by a large portion of people, I’m going to stop.

If you’re looking for a book about a woman coming out of a long term serious relationship, discovering herself, and realizing that she can love again, then you might enjoy this book. If you’re looking for a book about a relationship that becomes love between a couple, this is not a book for you unless you feel like reading the last twenty or so percent.

1/5

Destiny’s Surrender (Destiny #2)

Destinys Surrender

Destiny’s Surrender (Destiny #2)

By: Beverly Jenkins

Blurb:

The child he didn’t know he had . . .

Andrew Yates has come to a decision: it’s time to stop sowing those oats and start a family. But searching for a bride isn’t as simple as he’d hoped, and many of the respectable women of his acquaintance feel . . . lacking. Then beautiful, feisty Wilhelmina “Billie” Wells arrives at the family ranch with a toddler in her arms, claiming Drew is the father!

The woman he didn’t know he loved . . .

Billie had no choice but to show up at Destiny in search of Drew. For the sake of their child, she’s willing to leave him with his father so the boy can have a better life, but then, before she can blink, she’s saying “I do” in front of a preacher in a marriage of convenience. All Billie and Drew have in common is the heat that brought them together, but can their sizzling passion lead to an everlasting love?

Review:

Billie and Drew were a different couple. Billie was a whore, and Drew was her customer. At the end of Destiny’s Embrace, we saw her have a baby, which turns out to be Drew’s. Before that though, they were both a bit in love with each other, but because of her job, neither acknowledged it. Things, of course, change.

Billie was an interesting character to read. She was a prostitute. In westerns, there’s the trope of a hooker with a heart of gold. They may be good, but they never have a happy ending. It was nice to see that trope changed.

Drew was a lawyer that was starting to have issues practicing law due to racism. Then when he finds out he’s a father, things get worse for him. He’s not really my favorite hero, he came off as a pretty rich boy, but he could have been worse.

Like the Destiny’s Embrace, their romance was pretty quick. They did have years of buildup prior to the book, but once they were forced together, things went super-fast.

One of my favorite parts of the series is seeing their mother’s romance blossom. The conversation she had with Billie about sex was amusing. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

3/5

Destiny’s Embrace (Destiny #1)

Destinys Embrace

Destiny’s Embrace (Destiny #1)

By: Beverly Jenkins

Blurb:

Gentleman Seeks Housekeeper. Must be willing to travel.

Desperate for another life away from Philadelphia, headstrong and beautiful Mariah Cooper answers an advertisement for a housekeeper at the other end of the continent. Waiting in California is the most breathtaking—and arrogant—man she has ever met…and he’d like nothing better than for Mariah to go back home!

Logan Yates has run Destiny, the family ranch, since he was a boy. He doesn’t need this Eastern miss his stepmother hired, though his home’s chaotic state suggests otherwise. Still, he’s secretly pleased that Mariah gives as good as she gets—and he must fight the urge to take her in his arms and kiss her whenever she proudly stands her ground. But when he’s in danger of losing her, Logan will have to choose between pride…and his heart’s true desire.

Review:

Finally, the justice I wanted! Lol

Mariah is abused by her mother, emotionally and physically. It’s heartbreaking. At the age of thirty, after basically doing everything for her mother, she finally realized the woman would never love her. So she left.

Logan lives in California and desperately needs a housekeeper. For whatever reason, he is pretty lazy when it comes to doing anything domestic. He lets his house become a pigsty and doesn’t build a bunkhouse after a year of not having one. Honestly, I don’t know why that was such a big hurdle for him. It was odd.

Their love story was fast, lasting just about a week. Not too surprising since it happened in the old West and women were very scarce. There were multiple fights, feisty banter, a loving mother, and good friends. All things I love.

I did find Mariah’s almost complete change in temperament a bit hard to believe, but honestly, I enjoyed it. The image of a woman trapped in such a horrible situation; being able to stand up and conquer everything in her way is beautiful.

As soon as I finished this, I immediately downloaded the next in the series. I’m excited to plow through Beverly Jenkins catalog.

4/5

Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga #1.5)

Her Every Wish

Her Every Wish (The Worth Saga #1.5)

By: Courtney Milan

Blurb:

Crash has never let the circumstances of his birth, or his lack of a last name, bother him. His associations may be unsavory, but money, friends, and infamy open far more interesting doors than respect ever could. His sole regret? Once lovely, sweet Daisy Whitlaw learned the truth about how he made his fortune, she cut him off.

Daisy’s father is dead, her mother is in ill health, and her available funds have dwindled to a memory. When the local parish announces a charity bequest to help young people start a trade, it’s her last chance. So what if the grants are intended for men? If she’s good enough, she might bluff her way into a future.

When Crash offers to show her how to swagger with confidence, she knows he is up to no good. But with her life in the balance, she’s desperate enough to risk the one thing she hasn’t yet lost: her heart.

Her Every Wish is a companion novella in the Worth Saga. It stands on its own, but those who wish to read in order might want to read the first book in the series, Once Upon a Marquess, before this one.

Review:

I didn’t realize that I had not read the first in this series or that this wasn’t a boxset when I started it. Basically, I saw Courtney Milan’s name and started reading. Since I’ve already read book 2.75 in the series as well, no harm done. Oh well.

The dress on the cover is a bit misleading because she is working class. She struggles to take care of her mother, who is ill, as well as herself. That doesn’t stop her from having big dreams. She’s smart and driven to succeed because if she doesn’t, her only option is to hope she can find a man able to take care of them both.

Crash is mixed race and has been raised by a loving family. He’s learned coping mechanisms to handle all the bad that society piles on him, and hide the hurt behind a larger than life personality. He has learned how to make society work for him and has ambitious plans for his future.

Things were said in the heat of the moment that they have to work through and forgive. It’s a cute story. If I didn’t already want to read the rest of the series I would after reading Her Every Wish.

4/5