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review 2018-01-16 01:04
Release Day Review: The Hockey Player's Heart by Jeff Adams and Will Knauss
The Hockey Player's Heart (Dreamspun Desires Book 50) - Jeff Adams,Will Knauss

I liked this story about an out hockey player who in his teens nursed a crush on his older sister's best friend who was also his geometry tutor. Who's now a teacher at the same school where his sister is the principal. 

After an injury, hockey player Caleb Carter returns to his home town of Foster Grove to recuperate and hang out with his sister before going back to NYC to play for the Rangers. He doesn't realize that his one-time teenage crush Aaron Price now works as a teacher for his sister, but is shook when he finds out. That teenage crush he thought he was over - yeah, not so much. So Caleb pursues Aaron - inviting the slightly older man on a date and makes his interest clearly known. 

Aaron is a bit gun-shy to date another athlete after one broke his heart back in California, but Caleb is persistent, and every argument Aaron brings up that a relationship between them wouldn't work, Caleb counters. And obviously, there's a spark for Aaron too. 

The plot doesn't have any big misunderstandings nor any obvious miscommunications, and both men are open and honest about their interest, even if Aaron isn't convinced this thing between them will be anything more than a short-lived romance. 

We get a glimpse into Aaron's life as a teacher, and Caleb's life with his hockey team (gotta love Dimitri, what a great friend), and also the school's hockey team. The kids were an added bonus, and I enjoyed watching Caleb and Aaron interact.

The drama in this story comes primarily from Aaron, shy, cautious Aaron, who doesn't think he fits in with Caleb's life as a star hockey player, so he finds excuse after stupid excuse to not fully give the relationship a real chance. 

I liked Caleb a lot. He was so honest and straight-forward, and so open about how he felt and what he wanted, but also not pushy - he gave Aaron time to come around to his way of thinking. And really, three hours drive isn't a deal-breaker for most people, especially since there's an off-season to consider. Aaron is just gun-shy, which I could understand, but I also didn't think it was fair of him to think that all athletes are alike. Aaron had some self-esteem issues too - again, understandable, after being treated like so badly by the California jerk. 

There is definitely chemistry between the two men, and we are treated to some steamy yet emotional scenes between them. This being a Dreamspun Desires title, I expected a grand gesture toward the end - and yeah, I got that. Lovely scene, that.

The entire story and relationship development takes place in just a few weeks' time, which might be too fast for some, but in this case, I believed the timeline from meet-cute to HEA, because the two men knew each other from high school, and both had a bit of a crush on each other - it was easy to see how that spark might be kindled to burst into flame. 

This was my first read by this author team, even though I own the Hat Trick series by Jeff Adams in paperback, which obviously I need to read. Apparently, there will be another book which will be about Dimitri, Caleb's friend and teammate. And judging by how Dimitri feels about romance and long-term relationships in general, I cannot wait to read that one!

Give this a try. While there's a lot of hockey in the book, the romance and relationship take center stage.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2018-01-13 03:38
Earthly Desires (Tempting Tales #1) by Leta Blake
Earthly Desires - Keira Andrews, Leta Blake

4 solid stars (well, 3.5 really but read on --->). It's not the book, it's me - too much sex for my liking.

Other than that, a very nice and somewhat unconventional tale with Mother Earth as an antihero.
Love conquers all, of course, body parts be damned ♥ ♥

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review 2018-01-05 01:34
ARC Review: Prelude To Love by Anne Barwell
Prelude to Love (Dreamspun Desires Book 49) - Anne Barwell

This was a sweet hurt/comfort romance set in Wellington, New Zealand. Joel is a music teacher at a local school and is still not quite over his ex-boyfriend, and Marcus is a landscaper who is moving to Wellington after a break-up. Marcus' sister is married to Joel's college roommate and best friend. 

Neither is looking for a relationship, but with family/friends in common, they meet early on. There's interest on both sides, and as the book progresses, we see a sweet romance develop. 

The book has little relationship angst, other than both men being concerned about possible consequences with their shared family/friends if things don't work out. Marcus' ex shows up too to wreak havoc but doesn't get very far. Both men had some hang-ups they needed to work on, but once they made the decision to try, it worked out quite nicely.

I liked both characters, though I connected a bit more with Joel, as Marcus felt detached on occasion, and they were both drawn realistically and felt relatable. The supporting cast in Marcus' sister, Joel's best friend, and their daughter was also well done, and they played a huge role in getting Joel and Marcus to push past their fears and give their budding relationship a real shot. The pushy woman who tries to win Joel for herself (lol, he's gay) was a bit annoying on occasion, and I wasn't quite clear on her purpose, to be honest. I don't think she brought anything to the table, and I wouldn't have missed her, had she been removed from the book.

This is a feel-good book, one you'd read on a cold winter's day, curled up with a hot beverage, in your favorite chair. I enjoyed reading it, and I think you will too. Give it a try.


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2017-12-16 00:44
Release Day ARC Review: Getting His Man by B.G. Thomas
Getting His Man (Dreamspun Desires Book 48) - B.G. Thomas

A delightful, fluffy tale of being in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong friends and being rescued by a knight in shining armor... er, I mean a bail bondsman/bounty hunter. 

Artie, one of our MCs, is 23, but everyone thinks he's much younger due to his small build and baby face. He's not had much luck finding a guy who wants more than a quick trick in a bar, where Artie is regularly carded, because baby face. Artie yearns for someone to call his, but the cards aren't in his favor.

He lives with Willie, a sort of but not really friend, who smokes a lot of pot and dabbles a bit with dealing on the side. Artie isn't happy with the weed that's in the apartment, and he's been saving up his meager earnings to get a place of his own.

Upon his return from a concert he attends with his real friend Ross, he finds Willie and cohort and a large amount of pot and the music blaring. Scared because of the drugs and pissed off with the ungodly noise, Artie does take one of the offered brownies, not realizing that they are baked. And I mean, BAKED. Which Artie is also, shortly after. Falling into bed stoned is one thing, being woken up by the police is quite another, especially when Artie is being charged with possession and dealing of an illegal substance and find himself in need of bail. 

Whoopsie.

Enter August, our knight, who's a bail bondsman and bounty hunter and manages to get Artie out of jail on bond, at the cost of basically every single penny Artie's been saving to get out of the shared apartment. As long as Artie doesn't skip town, August is sure that he can get Artie out of trouble with the Po-Po. And the slim, small man, still half-stoned, just tugs on his heartstrings and appeals to his inner hero.

If you love the old Hollywood movies themes in which a damsel in distress (Artie) is rescued by a super smart and super handsome hero (August), with tons of movie references, this is the book for you. Artie is delightfully clueless and helpless, and August dreams of being the man to be Artie's hero. 

Written in the author's usual emotionally charged and somewhat breathless style, this is a must read for all fans of BG Thomas. It's of course, as most books in this series, somewhat unrealistic, but I loved the tropes utilized here, and the expected happily ever after was definitely satisfying. 

Artie, despite being idealistic and slightly TSTL, does have a good heart, and it is because of his feelings and fear for August that he gets himself into additional trouble from which he then has to be rescued. But fear not, August is the quintessential hero and saves the day. 

Due to the limitations put upon authors in this series, there are limited explicitly intimate scenes, but what there was is well done and really brought their connection across. I was rooting for them both to ride off into the sunset together. 

A delightful tale that's well worth your time. 


** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher for an honest and unbiased review. **

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review 2017-12-04 15:49
cute, really cute!
High Test (Dreamspun Desires Book 47) - Elizabeth Noble
Independent reviewer for Divine Magazine, I was gifted my copy of this book direct for the author, that I write a review was not required. Hayden meets Neal at a university fund raiser and the chemistry burns hot and bright. But then Neal turns up at the coffee shop that Hayden works at, and assumes Hayden is an owner of said coffee shop. Every time Hayden tries to tell Neal otherwise, something gets in the way. Then the coffee shop goes bust, and a vindictive woman threatens to tell Hayden's secrets. So Hayden runs. But Neal has other ideas! Cute! Real cute. I've read Ms Noble's Vampire Guard series, and loved those. So when asked to read this one, naturally, I said yes! Its a great read, flows well, and while I saw that maybe Neal already knew that Hayden wasn't who he thought he was, it was kinda fun watching it all unravel. Loved that Neal, while extremely wealthy, was too obnoxious with it. All too often these billionaire characters are not nice people! But I loved Neal, his family though? Not so much. Hayden's family?? Loved them! Not overly explicit, but the heat level does creep up as the relationship between Neal and Hayden moves along. Nicely written. BUT!!! Only Hayden has a say. (and that's all I am gonna say about that!
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