The Risk (Briar U, #2) by Elle Kennedy

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Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

Book: The Risk (Briar U, #2) by Elle Kennedy
Published: February 18, 2019
Pages: 432
Genres: Romance, Athlete, College, New Adult
Format: Kindle
Date Read: March 14, 2023
Rating: 4.5 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

I read this book after reading The Dare (the 4th book in the series) and I enjoyed it even more than The Dare!

I loved Jake and Brenna both, which isn’t always the case. Most times I care for either the hero or Heroine more than the other but not with our Jake and Brenna! I loved that both characters were so strong and true blue. They didn’t pretend to be anyone else, they knew who they were at heart and that’s how they acted with the other one.

I loved reading the build up of their relationship and how it wasn’t this insta love where they were professing their feelings 30% into the book. Their relationship progressed at a normal pace and we got to see them slowly fall in love over time.

I loved how Jake was truly such a good guy at heart and wasn’t afraid to be in a relationship once he realized he wanted one. And I absolutely loved that Brenna wasn’t afraid to be with Jake, even though he played for her teams rival. My only wish is that we would have gotten to see where their relationship takes them in a few years but the author can still release a novella taking place after the book.

I enjoyed the Off Campus series a lot and enjoying this series as well!

Athica Lane by Brynne Asher

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Cam Montgomery is a single full-time dad who knows his priorities: his kids, his job, his team, his business. Dealing with his disaster of an ex-wife is bad enough, not to mention delinquent football players and a meddlesome mother. Cam doesn’t have the luxury of time for anything more, especially a relationship. Even if it is Paige Carpino—smart and sweet but at every turn, knocks him on his ass with the unexpected.

That’s figuratively speaking of course. Paige might come in a small package, but she makes up for it in spirit. An energetic spit-fire who has some heat to her sauce, she’s dedicated to her new business, her family, and a select group of friends. She’s never put herself out there, but then again, there’s never been anyone worthy of putting herself out there for.

Until one day in a burger joint, an asshole practically enters her into a wet t-shirt contest with his drink. Who knew a disaster like that could be the beginning of your life? Or more importantly, that asshole would be your reason for being. But anything can happen when you finally put yourself out there for a single dad, ex-football player, and the hottest man you’ve ever run into. Throw in the Carpino’s, the Montgomery’s, and an eighty-five-year-old bossy woman in the mix, and it’s a recipe for something big.

Book: Athica Lane by Brynne Asher
Published: September 29, 2015
Pages: 482
Genres: Romance, Sexy Alpha Male, Athlete, Swoony Males, Single dad
Format: Kindle
Date Read: March 9, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

Holy Cannoli, why didn’t I read this book sooner?

Cam. I love, love, love him! He is stubborn and overbearing in some ways but I loved that about him. He was so sure of himself. And honestly, is there anything sexier than a dad who loves his kids? The quote below from the book speaks for itself!

Dadmire – defined by all single women admiring a man who’s hot to begin with, but his hotness quotient increases leaps and bounds by him doing hot dad things. Examples: calling his girl punkin’ pie, his boy buddy and looking like there’s nothing he wants more in this world than the two kids in front of him.

That being said – I did not like Cam’s incontrollable anger and how he disregarded Paige’s feelings on a lot of things. And I didn’t like how Paige didn’t push the issue of how she felt about things and didn’t force him to include her in things going on in her life.

I also felt that Paige was a little naïve but she is also a young adult so it wasn’t out of character at all. Other than that, I truly enjoyed her character. She was a good person and I felt like she was the perfect other half for Cam. I really enjoyed watching their relationship grow throughout the book.

I loved the kids and how family oriented both of their families were, even though they were sometimes overbearing. I can’t wait to check out more books in this series because I really did enjoy all of the characters!

Start a War (Saint View Psychos #1) by Elle Thorpe

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“Do you want some Goldfish crackers, Bliss?”

Those were the last words my brother said to me before he was shot execution style. A childhood code only he and I knew, and one that had a single, clear meaning behind it.

Run.

I’m not going anywhere. Not when his murderer is still out there.

To catch a killer, I put aside my life of money and luxury and take over the running of Psychos, a dive bar in the seedy underbelly of Saint View.

But Psychos delivers more than I ever could have bargained for and three men I never saw coming.

Nash, my brother’s best friend. Older and more experienced, he still remembers me as the neglected child he once saved.

War, heir to a biker gang throne and searching for the man who left his mother in a coma. Bonded over a common goal, he introduces me to a world of after-hours clubs, danger, and violence.

And Vincent, the quiet new guy nobody seems to see except me. He’s sweet and quirky, but there’s a darkness in him just waiting to be unleashed.

With every lie we uncover, every secret we expose, the danger mounts.

Until there’s only one thing we know for sure.

The killer is still out there.

And we’re his next targets.

Book: Start a War (Saint View Psychos #1) by Elle Thorpe
Published: July 1, 2022
Pages: 362
Genres: Romance, Erotica, Menage
Format: Kindle
Date Read: February 8, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

I read all 3 of these books in one day! I’m still trying to decide how I feel about them because I’m a bit conflicted. Were they good reads? Yes. Would I recommend them to other readers? Without a doubt! But part me also feels like the characters were lacking depth in some areas. We learn a lot about them, yes, but I feel like we also don’t learn so much more. We learn very little about the characters pasts and families, except for Bliss’, and the 3 men only seem to think and breathe Bliss. I enjoy reading about heroes that are so in love with the heroine that they have tunnel vision for most other things but these guys took it to a whole other level. There was barely even a relationship discussion about Bliss being with all 3 of them – it was just kind of like, well this is what she wants so I guess we can all share her.

Did I enjoy the steamy love scenes? Of course I did! And I fell in love with all 3 of our heroes for very different reasons.

“Bliss allowed to come visit me now, dad?”
“It’s Daddy to you.”
War snorted. “It’s always the quiet ones.”

I absolutely loved the banter betwen Scythe and War. I loved the banter between Scythe and everyone, really. He was very frank and wasn’t afraid to be who and what he wanted to be. He was honestly my favorite of Bliss’ 3 men, even though he was a cold-blooded murderer. I loved how beneath his rock hard exterior he truly loved Bliss and just wanted her to be happy and he wasn’t going to give her up or their happiness for anyone. I enjoyed Vincent too but Scythe definitely holds a special place in my heart.

These 3 books are well worth the read, check it out for yourself! You won’t be disappointed in the series!

Blindsided by Amy Daws

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What happens when an almost thirty-year-old virgin agrees to let her Scottish footballer best friend give her some lessons in seduction?

Lots of banter, awkwardness, jealousy, and heat.

Midfielder Maclay “Mac” Logan is a loud-mouthed, tattooed ginger content with focusing on football. But when an adorably-freckled seamstress comes barreling into his life, he finds Netflix-And-Bickering with her to be his new favorite pastime.

Freya Cook is used to being the invisible woman with a needle and thread, offering cheeky punchlines as she helps dress London’s finest. She’s plus-sized in body and spirit, and other than her friendship with Mac, talking to the opposite sex is one skill she never mastered.

However, after one innocent game of Never Have I Ever, Mac offers to play Love Coach for Freya.

What neither of them see coming are the feelings that develop when the clothes come off.

Now they’re both about to learn the biggest lesson of all: Don’t fall in love with your best friend.

Book: Blindsided by Amy Daws
Published: November 21, 2019
Pages: 322
Genres: Romance, Athlete, Best Friends Become More, Famous Hero
Format: Kindle
Date Read: February 6-7, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

“You’re pals with adorable pet names for each other who bicker like an old married couple.”

I absolutely loved the chemistry between Freya and Mac! They fit so well together and I loved how comfortable they were. The natural progression from friends to more was so refreshing to read; it wasn’t awkward at all!

I loved the secondary characters as well- the Harris family, Macs family and Freya’s coworkers. I loved everything about this book from start to finish! I may have never read this author before but you can be sure I definitely will be reading her other books now!

Give this story a chance, you won’t be disappointed!

Hot Mess (Love is Messy #1) by Emily Goodwin and Twice Burned (Love is Messy #2) by Emily Goodwin

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My life is a hot mess.

Single, working, and raising two daughters, it’s a miracle I get us up, dressed, and fed every morning. Forget about dating—nobody’s got time for that. Even if love hadn’t left me jaded, I’m not settling for anything less than perfect this time around.

Lucky for me, the perfect man just happens to work in my office. But there’s just one small problem: he’s my boss, and is totally off limits. But hey, if it’s meant to be, it’ll find a way, right?

Then a night out with friends turns into a night in with the walking-talking bad boy cliche of a bartender. It’s just one night. No harm, no foul, right?

Except when the hot bartender turns out to be my boss’s trouble-making brother, who wants more than just one night with me. The more I resist the spark between us, the more I find myself wanting him too. Which puts me in the middle of what could be the biggest sibling rivalry of the century.

Life is messy.

And love?

Well, love is even messier.

Book: Hot Mess (Love is Messy #1) by Emily Goodwin
Published: February 1, 2017
Pages: 266
Genres: Romance, Swoony Males, Tattoos/Piercings, Firefighter
Format: Kindle
Date Read: February 2-4th, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

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I’ve been burned before.

Once by love, twice by fire.

And I don’t know which hurt worse.

For years, I’ve been playing with fire. Both in the sheets and in the streets. But after a life changing accident, something had to give. Moving from Chicago to New York to live with my estranged brother is less than ideal, but it’s only temporary. To make it through the next year without killing each other, I need to stick to a few simple rules: no dating, no drama, no getting in each other’s business. Easy enough, right?

Then I met her, and the rules went out the window.

Problem is, he met her first.

Book: Twice Burned (Love is Messy #2) by Emily Goodwin
Published: March 1, 2017
Pages: 280
Genres: Romance, Swoony Males, Tattoos/Piercings, Firefighter
Format: Kindle
Date Read: February 4th, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

“Life is messy, and I think the trick is finding beauty amongst the chaos. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll find someone to notice it with you.”

I enjoyed these characters so much that when book 1 ended on a major cliffhanger I immediately bought book 2!

My favorite thing about these books was how realistic the characters were. They had hard pasts, deal with realistic issues and they weren’t rational and confronted the other with misunderstandings right away. They both reacted impulsively before having to take a step back and thinking things through. Luke and Lexi were both complete messes but fit so well, they clicked and made sense. And I loved them for it!

Luke was the ultimate swoon worthy bad boy with a good heart. For someone who didn’t have relationship experience he sure knew how to treat a lady and was a amazing with Lexi’s girls. I was so happy that all 3 of them finally had someone who made them a priority.

One of my favorite Lexi quotes that really stuck with me since the first book was- “The hardest thing I’ve ever done was accept an apology I was never given.” It just shows how strong her character is and how determined she is to give her daughters and herself the best life possible.

Will I read Coles book? I’m undecided since I don’t care for what he did through a lot of these books, even though I understand his reasoning behind his actions. But I truly enjoyed both books! Brava to the author!

The Sweet Talker (Boston Hawks Hockey #1) by Gina Azzi

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I’ve sworn off hockey players. Until the pregnancy test turns pink.

Noah Scotch is revered in Boston, a veritable god on the ice. I’m a nerdy, newly minted college professor who would rather color code my planner than hit the club scene. Noah shouldn’t look at me twice but when he does, I falter.

Who can blame me?

The sweet talker with the deliciously chiseled abs and sinful chocolate eyes is a force. On and off the ice. One hot and intense night with Noah has me second guessing my lack of a dating life.

Friends with benefits? He offers, I dive in headfirst. Growing up in a hockey family, I know better than to get serious with a player.

But the more time I spend getting to know Noah, the more my intention to keep things casual rings false.

Now, I’ve got a hopeful heart and a baby on the way.

I just need to tell Noah. But when I do, will I end up with everything I never knew I wanted? Or on my own?

Book: The Sweet Talker (Boston Hawks Hockey #1) by Gina Azzi
Published: January 21, 2021
Pages: 228
Genres: Romance, Athlete Hero, Famous Hero
Format: Kindle
Date Read: January 30-31st, 2023
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

I truly enjoyed this book! I love the family dynamics and how close everyone was!

I absolutely loved Noah, our hockey player with a heart of gold. I loved how well him and Indy fit together. She is absolutely perfect for him – not enamored with the glitz and glamor of being famous and she had her own life completely outside of him. They complimented each other so well. I loved how strong of a character Indy was; she had her own goals and wasn’t going to let Noah get in the way of that.

My only wish is that this book was even longer, I would have loved to have seen more moments between Noah and Indy; maybe even an epilogue showing their life a year or two into the future.

#Starstruck (#Lovestruck #1) by Sariah Wilson

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“You’ve done better.”

With one uncharacteristically sassy tweet to her longtime celebrity crush, Zoe Miller’s life turns upside down. Ultrahot A-lister Chase Covington doesn’t just respond to Zoe’s tweet, he does the unthinkable: he messages Zoe directly. Now she must decide between walking away or meeting her crush in person.

Chase knows better than to trust anyone from the Internet, but Zoe’s saucy challenge has totally caught his interest—and her girl-next-door personality is keeping it. He’s been burned enough to know he needs to keep his heart close. But his feelings for Zoe might be a lot more than just an online flirtation. He just has to convince her…

When the press gets wind of Zoe and Chase’s secret relationship, their romance turns into tabloid headlines. Will they be able to hold on to their Hollywood love story?

Book: #Starstruck (#Lovestruck #1) by Sariah Wilson
Published: January 16, 2018
Pages: 316
Genres: Romance, Famous Hero or Heroine
Format: Kindle
Date Read: January 15-17, 2022
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

This book was very predictable for the most part but I still enjoyed every page!

The hero was very down to earth and honest with the heroine about his feelings and issues and I enjoyed his take on what it means to be famous. I felt our hero and heroine had great chemistry and I loved the build up of their relationship. I’m also always a sucker for happy endings so I was glad this book had one, the characters certainly earned it!

The heroine being a bit childish did annoy me, but she is just that a child of 22 or 23? Her friend Lexi was even more childish but again, she is a child, and I have to often remind myself that not everyone was 21 going on 40 like I was at that age. I did enjoy Lexi and Zoe’s friendship and how close they were and what they were willing to do in the name of friendship.

I enjoyed this book and am definitely interested in checking out more books by this author in the future.

Vicious (Sinners of Saint 1) by L.J. Shen

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Emilia
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.

Vicious
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.

Book: Vicious (Sinners of Saint 1) by L.J. Shen
Published: December 27, 2016
Pages: 339
Genres: Romance, Erotica
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 27-28, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

I have never read a book by this author before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I can confidently say I will definitely read some of her other work in the future!

My initial thoughts for this book was how on earth could this be a romance novel? The heroine has a crush on the hero and is just as infatuated with him as he is with her but I couldn’t figure out why. I use the term hero for Vicious very loosely, he is a brutally honest jerk. He is arrogant, obnoxious and down right nasty to everyone he meets. I honestly have no idea why anyone associates with him. I guess money and looks trump personality?

“You were so clean and I was filthy. I guess I wanted to dirty you up.”

I was about 50% into this book when I realized there might be something redeemable in Vicious after all! He began to open up to Emilia and started to change, ever so slightly. At least when it came to her, not so much to everyone else.

“I’m just not sure how you can be both nice and compassionate and a terrible asshole all at the same time.”

Emilia said this to Vicious in a later part of the book and she really hit the nail on the head with this one! It was at this point that I really started rooting for them as a couple! Vicious was actually trying to be nice to Emilia, just because he cared about her and not just to use her as a means to an end.

I honestly did not think I would have anything nice to say about Vicious after reading this book but gosh, he was really dealt a crappy hand in life and didn’t know how to deal with it since he had no support. I understood the whys and even though he went about everything the wrong way I truly wanted him to get the happily ever after he deserved! I love that, at his core, the Vicious in the end of the book is the same one at the beginning, with Emilia being the only exception to the rule.

All in all, I ended up enjoying this book and am thinking of rereading it now that my eyes have been opened!

Not My Romeo (The Game Changers 1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills

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We start off with a lie on Valentine’s Day.

My blind date isn’t the studious guy I expected: he’s a drop-dead gorgeous player with sinful amber eyes. Somehow we end up at his penthouse. I blame the gin and tonic.

The next day I learn he’s Jack Hawke—bad-boy professional quarterback with a murky past. The NDA he has me sign should be a warning that he isn’t a regular person. Please. I sign it Juliet Capulet, so goodbye, famous football player with abs of steel, and good luck tracking down this small-town librarian.

But Jack keeps showing up in places I least expect him. Just when I’m sure he’s gone, he waltzes into my community theater and wins the part of Romeo to my Juliet. How’s a plain, mostly innocent girl like me supposed to resist a man like him?

Is Jack my real Romeo… or will this gorgeous football player only break my heart?

Book: Not My Romeo (The Game Changers 1) by Ilsa Madden-Mills
Published: August 18, 2020
Pages: 346
Genres: Romance, Rom-Com, Athlete
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 23-24, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

So this is another one of my reviews that accidentally got deleted so I apologize if its a little less wordy than usual. Thanks again Google Keep!

This book had me in stitches for the hero and heroines first meeting! I could feel the instant spark between them and love how their journey together began. It is definitely a story to tell the future grandkids!

I loved how realistic both the hero and heroine were. They were both flawed with baggage but truly good people at their core, just trying to do what makes them happy. They didn’t instantly fall in love but they had amazing chemistry and fit each other so well that I kept rooting for them to be together.

The ensemble cast was amazing – loved all the extra characters and their back stories. Well, all but one and I’m sure everyone else feels the same way!

I saw there is a second book to this series and I am definitely intrigued because this is a book I will read again in the future and always recommend if someone asks about it. Check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Meant To Be (Sweetbriar Cove 1) by Melody Grace

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Poppy Somerville believes in happily-ever-after. It’s the reason her romance novels have won devoted readers all over the world—and why she’s broken off her engagement just weeks before the wedding instead of settling for less than true love. Escaping to her aunt’s beach cottage in Sweetbriar Cove, Poppy is looking for inspiration to end her writer’s block and finish her new book. She just wasn’t counting on the handsome, gruff contractor making such a racket next door…

Cooper Nicholson doesn’t believe in soul-mates. He thought he’d found his forever once, and the world proved him wrong, so when the cute brunette comes storming over and demands he keep the noise down, romance is the last thing on his mind. But his new neighbor is full of surprises, and soon, their chemistry is too hot to ignore.

As they grow closer, they discover fiction has nothing on the plot twists life has in store. But will Cooper find a way to let go of the past and risk his heart again? And can Poppy find her happy ending — on and off the page?

Book: Meant To Be (Sweetbriar Cove 1) by Melody Grace
Published: February 24, 2017
Pages: 292
Genres: Romance, Freebie On Amazon
Format: Kindle
Date Read: December 12-13, 2021
Rating: 4 Potatoes 🥔🥔🥔🥔

“Sharing something real, revealing your heart… that always matters, whether its for a week or a year.”

I absolutely love books set in small towns where everyone is considered family so I knew I would enjoy Sweetbriar Cove.

I loved how strong our heroine, Poppy, was from the first few pages. It could not have been easy to break up with her fiance, knowing they were settling for each other and both deserved more. It was very courageous of her.

Cooper…oh Cooper. I enjoyed his character from the first scene he was in! He had absolutely no self esteem when it came to love but was such a gentleman and truly tried to help Poppy with her writing struggles.

I didn’t care for the misunderstandings and childish decisions between the hero and heroine after getting together but I can understand why they would do the things they did, based on their pasts.

I read this book in the span of a few hours and truly enjoyed it. I would have liked a longer epilogue or more chapters of the hero and heroine after they got together. We didn’t get much and I would have liked to see more of the day to day and how things are working out for then.

If given the opportunity, I will definitely look into the rest of the books in the series.