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review 2017-03-22 18:53
Defensive Zone
Defensive Zone (Portland Storm Book 15) - Catherine Gayle

Defensive Zone is the 10th full-length novel in the Portland Storm series, a series that has created an immense fan base of romance lovers and hockey fans!


This book focuses on Cody "Harry" Williams, a defenseman for the Portland Storm, and Dani Weber, the impetuous daughter of one of the coaches.  Dani has harbored a not so secret and not so subtle crush on Cody for a long time, much to the chagrin of her father.  After an incident last season, Coach Weber knows more about Cody than he wants to and has ordered Cody to stay away from his daughter.  But Dani isn't taking no for an answer.  She knows that there is more to Cody than his buttoned-up, bowtied facade and she is determined to find out what it is.  She calls him Dirty Harry, after all...!


One of my favorite things about this series, besides the hockey, is that they each have a very serious focus beyond the romance.  But this novel takes a bit of a different direction than most of the other books in the series.  Cody has a secret, one that he is not all comfortable sharing.  And that secret makes the theme of this novel acceptance without judgment.  At first, Dani's quest to find out what he's hiding is just about having fun, but then she realizes that there is a lot more to the ginger-haired hockey player than she realized and she jumps in head first.  And once she has decided that she wants something, she will not be stopped.


Through the first third to half of the book, I really just wanted to slap Dani.  She's young and she acted it.  She was extremely narrow in her vision, wanting what she wanted and to hell with anything that didn't further that goal.  She was dismissive of Cody's protests, almost scornful of his reasons for pushing her away.  Her attitude was beyond selfish and she annoyed me to no end.  But then things began to change when she finds out more about Cody and his family.  Then she grew up and became the woman she needed to be.


As I said, this book was very different from the others.  Less actual romance and a lot less hockey, but no less full of emotion and thought-provoking situations.  I love Catherine Gayle and I love that she keeps her readers guessing.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12775
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review 2017-02-28 19:35
Off the Ice
Off the Ice (Juniper Falls) - Julie Cross

When I was offered the chance to read the ARC of this by Entangled Publishing, I jumped at it! I'm all about any book that features hockey at any level of the game. And it is a book that yanked me in from the very first page.


There is a lot to love about the story in Off the Ice. The characters are well-developed and feel like real people. Tate is a goalie on his high school team, thrust into the limelight when the star goalie is suddenly ostracized by most of the town. He loves the game, but it comes with baggage for him and he just isn't sure where he fits anymore. Claire is a year older than Tate, taking a break from college to put her family first during a crisis. She has baggage of her own and there are days when she just doesn't know which end is up.


These are characters that are thrust into adulthood too soon, dealing with issues that they shouldn't have to. And while my heart bleeds for their characters, I can't help but appreciate that they are characters that act with maturity and strength. Their stories aren't all light and happy, but they are real, with all of the emotions that go along with real life. They were both characters that I understood and related to. And most of all, I loved that their romance wasn't the stuff of fairy tales. It had more than its fair share of angst and issues. In other words, it was real


Overall: I didn't want this book to end. I loved it. I loved the story. I loved the romance. I loved the issues and conflicts and that they had the undeniable ring of truth. This was my first book by author Julie Cross, but it won't be my last

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12626
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review 2017-02-21 20:02
Magic Dreams
Magic Dreams - Ilona Andrews

This is the novella I've been wanting! The story of Dali and Jim. It is something that was teased in one of the earlier novels, but I've been wanting this story. It is the romance of two unlikely people and I loved it.


I have loved Dali from the moment we met her. She is so quirky! She's a shifter, one of the most celebrated in the shifter world. But she's a vegan. Yes, a vegan shifter. And shifting isn't easy for her. And on top of that, she is practically blind. She has self-esteem issues of the highest sort and compensates by drag racing, despite her eyesight. I love her. And then there's Jim. Usually surly, he's the head of security for the King of the Beasts. And, for once, he has to rely on someone else to help him. Enter Dali.


The romance is sweet and rife with all those bizarre issues that exist in relationships. And then if the romance is between shifters? Well, things only get more complicated.


Overall: This is a great side story to the series. They are two very different characters and their relationship is just one I rooted for.

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12618
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review 2017-02-10 17:57
The Sun is Also a Star
The Sun Is Also a Star - Nicola Yoon

The Sun is Also a Star is the second novel by Nicola Yoon and I loved it every bit as much as the first. There was just something about this book that got to me. And, in retrospect, this is surprising, because a big part of it centers around something I usually hate. Instalove. Instalove that takes place in a span of 24 hours. But somehow, in this story and with these characters, it worked.


Natasha and Daniel are two very different people. Natasha is wise beyond her years and highly intelligent. She's a practical soul that believes in science and facts, not love and fate. She's also an illegal immigrant that feels more at home in the US than in Jamaica, the country of her birth. And she is just hours from being deported when she meets Daniel. Daniel is the polar opposite to Natasha. He is just as wise for his years, but he believes in fate and destiny. He's a poet and has a dreamer's soul. But he is first generation American in a Korean family. And his family has very strict expectations for his future. It's a future he doesn't want, but until Natasha, it is the only one he thought he had. Yet the differences between them fall away over the course of a single day.


But The Sun is Also a Star is more than a book about love, even first love. It's a book about family and choices and fate. It's about finding your own way in the world, your own place. Natasha is fighting to stay in the US, unhappy that she losing everything she loves and a future that is bright because of someone else's mistake. Her journey is about family and forgiveness, even acceptance. But Daniel's journey is different. His is about living his own life in his own way, despite his family. And meeting each other is a chance moment that changes both of them forever.


On the surface, this book is a sweet romantic story. But it is also a book that makes you think. It makes you think about your own life and your own choices. The choices that led you to where you are right now and the choices still ahead of you. It makes you think about those random moments that can totally change the course of your life. It's about all the ways family can make a difference in your life, good or bad.


Overall: This is a book that deserves to be taken at more than the surface. It is a book that deserves to be thought about, to be considered. I definitely recommend it!

Source: thecaffeinateddivareads.multifacetedmama.com/?p=12590
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review 2017-02-07 12:43
I Love You Three: A Green Pines Romance - Milou Koenings

I Love You Three by Milou Koenings Book starts out with Mac Bennett and he's back from Iraq and keeps up his physique by hours in the gym. He hopes to get the job as a coach at a nearby school. He lives at home with his parents who work daily and he finds daily chores to do... Story also follows Julie who has a baby and is the prinicpal of the school. She also takes care of her parents and is torn between leaving her child at the babysitters. What I like about this book are the descriptions of Green Pines-I can place my body there and take deep breaths and lose myself in the town. Like the idea of the construction and ideas to go green. The job is his and so is the place to stay after he fixes it up. His brother is due home from prison-drug charges and he doesn't want to deal with any of it. She's got a crush on Mac but her plates full...love interaction he has with the troubled teens. So much past comes forward and this is not a predictable story line. So many twists and turns. Excerpt from the next in this series is attached. I received this book from the author and this is my honest review.

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