Review: Hard Hitter – Sarina Bowen

Review: Hard Hitter – Sarina BowenHard Hitter by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley Books
on January 3rd 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

He’s a fighter in the rink, but he’s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team’s massage therapist.

After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she’s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers’ MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good...

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t in love with the first book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series, Rookie Move. It was just alright to me. I wasn’t wowed or sucked in. So I will admit I was a little nervous to read the second book, Hard Hitter. But since I was almost burned not reading a second book in a series (that I loved) because I didn’t fall insanely in love with book one, I decided to read it. I’m so happy I did. Hard Hitter was so so good. Probably my favorite Sarina Bowen (excluding her co-authored book Him) to date. It had everything I wanted in a romance and left me just feeling happy and wanting more.

What I loved about Hard Hitter was the natural chemistry between Ariana Bettini and Patrick O’Doul. Sometimes in a romance book the relationship can feel a little forced. There just isn’t always that spark. But the spark between Ari and O’Doul was amazing. There was this natural build-up between them that made their story sexy and fun. They both had walls up, but they didn’t force those walls down or completely hide from what was happening between the two of them. Even the always present, random break-up, wasn’t that much of a struggle.

The other thing I liked was the growth of Patrick O’Doul. In Rookie Move he wasn’t very likable. There was something about him that rubbed me the wrong way. But in Hard Hitter you got to really learn what he was like and what made him tick and why he was the way he was. Ari also brought out another side of him, a sweet, compassionate side and I loved seeing that. Watching him slowly come out of his self-imposed isolation was a great addition to this book.

Where there things I wish weren’t in Hard Hitter? Definitely. If I could have removed some of the side story stuff I would have and it would have been a 5 star read for me. But even when that I found myself wanting to devour this book and I think you will too. Patrick and Ari…two thumbs up from me.

 

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Reading Goal

In January I look forward to setting my Goodread reading goal. Some years I have read my face off and have been super successful and some years I am an epic failure. This year I have fallen just around my goal which makes me super happy.

I had wanted to read 125 books in 2016 and I am just 7 away with a month to go. Totally a doable task I think. But that leaves me trying to figure out what books I want to end my year with. Well, these 7 have made the list (baring anything I’m dying for to show up in my mailbox or on Edelweiss or Netgalley)

Reading GoalHow to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore
Published by Imprint
on January 31st 2017
Amazon, Goodreads

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.
After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.

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Reading GoalHard Hitter by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley Books
Amazon, Goodreads

From the USA Today bestselling author of Rookie Move comes the second novel in the series that s hot enough to melt the ice.

He s a fighter in the rink, but he s about to learn that playing nice can help you score...

As team captain and enforcer, Patrick O'Doul puts the bruise in the Brooklyn Bruisers. But after years of hard hits, O'Doul is feeling the burn, both physically and mentally. He conceals his pain from his coach and trainers, but when his chronic hip injury becomes too obvious to ignore, they send him for sessions with the team s massage therapist. After breaking up with her long-term boyfriend, Ari Bettini is in need of peace of mind. For now, she s decided to focus on her work: rehabilitating the Bruisers MVP. O'Doul is easy on the eyes, but his reaction to her touch is ice cold. Ari is determined to help O'Doul heal, but as the tension between them turns red hot, they both learn that a little TLC does the body good..."

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Reading GoalRules of Contact (Play-by-Play #12) by Jaci Burton
Published by Berkley
Amazon, Goodreads

In the new Play-By-Play novel by the New York Times bestselling author of Unexpected Rush, a football player who knows how to win on the field needs a better game plan for his love life.

A defensive end for the San Francisco Sabers, Flynn Cassidy is used to being in the spotlight—he just doesn’t enjoy it. But if getting in front of the cameras will help his new restaurant succeed, he’s willing. Now if he could just meet a woman who loved him and not his fame…

After her divorce, Amelia Lawrence is thrilled to start over as head chef at Ninety-Two. It’s just the opportunity she needs to heat up her career—if only she wasn’t wildly attracted to her sexy new boss. Their chemistry might be sizzling hot, but Amelia has no intention of being burned again.

Flynn can’t get enough of Amelia, and Amelia loves every second she spends with the tough yet tender Flynn. But trust is a hard-fought battle for both. Breaking the rules of contact and surrendering to their passion was the easy part. Are they willing to risk their hearts to win at the game of love?

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Reading GoalWait for Me by Caroline Leech
Published by HarperTeen
Amazon, Goodreads

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.

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Reading GoalFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer + Bray
Amazon, Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of 99 Days and How to Love comes a stunning new contemporary novel—all about boy bands, girl bands, best friends, and first love—perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She’s the talented one, the one who’s been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, is the levelheaded one, always on the sidelines, cheering Olivia on.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

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Reading GoalThe Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson
Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Amazon, Goodreads

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.

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Reading GoalHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré
Published by Scholastic Inc.
Amazon, Goodreads

Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermione have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...
Suspense, secrets and thrilling action from the pen of J.K. Rowling ensure an electrifying adventure that is impossible to put down.

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How did you do on your reading goal?

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Blog Blitz: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Today I get the fun privileges of sharing an excerpt of Sarina Bowen’s next book, Rookie Move (out 9/6/16). Check out a sneak peek of Leo and Georgia’s story. And go all the way to the end and enter for a chance to win a copy US ONLY.

“Come right this way,” Georgia heard her coworker and roommate Becca say, the clomp of her Dr. Martens echoing through the grand old passageway. “Nate is excited to meet you.” Becca was the owner’s assistant, and Georgia lingered half a second to wave her down and offer her a donut, too.

But Becca didn’t happen to look in Georgia’s direction as she led a tall man down the corridor. Something about his gait snagged Georgia’s subconscious. So she took a second look.

And that’s when her heart took off like a manic bunny rabbit. Because she knew that man. She knew the chiseled shape of his masculine jaw, and the length of his coal-black eyelashes.

Oh my God.

Omigod, omigod, omigod.

“How was your flight?” Becca asked him, oblivious to the fact that Georgia was spying.

“Not too bad. I got in late last night.”

The sound of his voice fluttered right inside Georgia’s chest. It was the same smoky sweet timbre that used to whisper into her ear while they made love. She hadn’t let herself remember that sound in a long time.

Now it was giving her goosebumps. The good kind.

“Welcome to Brooklyn,” Becca said while Georgia trembled. “Are you familiar with the area?”

“Grew up about thirty miles from here,” he answered while chills broke out across her back.

Holding her breath, Georgia eased her office door further closed, until only a couple of inches remained. She could not be caught like this—freaked-out and speechless, hiding behind a door.

The movement caught Becca’s eye, though. Georgia saw her turn her head in her direction and then pick her out in the crack where the door was still open. Becca raised one eyebrow—the one with the barbell piercing in it.

All Georgia could do was close her eyes and pray that Becca wouldn’t call out a greeting.

There was a pause before Georgia heard Becca say, “Right this way, please.”

Quietly, Georgia stepped into her office and shut the door. After flipping on the light, she let her briefcase and pocketbook slide right to the floor. Only the folder that Nate had given her was still in her shaking hands. She flipped it open, her eyes searching for the new player’s name on the page.

But she didn’t even need the paperwork to confirm what her racing heart had already figured out. The newest player for the Brooklyn Bruisers was none other than Leonardo “Leo” Trevi, a six-foot-two, left-handed forward. Also known as her high school boyfriend, the boy she’d loved with all her heart until the day that she’d dumped him. And now he was here?

“Thanks, universe,” she whispered into the stillness of her office.

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Blog Blitz: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen (Excerpt + Giveaway)Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley
on September 6th 2016
Amazon, Goodreads

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

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Mini Reviews #3

Mini Reviews #3Cherry by Lindsey Rosin
Published by Simon Pulse
on August 16th 2016
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads

In this honest, frank, and funny debut novel, four best friends make a pact during their senior year of high school to lose their virginities—and end up finding friendship, love, and self-discovery along the way.

To be honest, the sex pact wasn’t always part of the plan.

Layla started it. She announced it super casually to the rest of the girls between bites of frozen yogurt, as if it was just simply another addition to her massive, ever-evolving To Do List. She is determined to have sex for the first time before the end of high school. Initially, the rest of the crew is scandalized, but, once they all admit to wanting to lose their v-cards too, they embark on a quest to do the deed together... separately.

Layla’s got it in the bag. Her serious boyfriend, Logan, has been asking for months.

Alex has already done it. Or so she says.

Emma doesn’t know what the fuss is all about, but sure, she’ll give it a shot.

And Zoe, well, Zoe can’t even say the o word without bursting into giggles.

Will everything go according to plan? Probably not. But at least the girls have each other every hilarious, heart-warming, cringe-inducing step of the way.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was really excited for Cherry. It seemed like a book that would be something different in the YA book world and it was. It was very sex positive for females taking control of their bodies and what they want. It also had a great friendship aspect which I have said more than once I think I lacking in YA. All of that really worked for me. But when all was said in done I ended up being disappointed. The entire book is written in 3rd person but for 4 different people’s stories. Because of that I found myself being pulled out of the book. It felt so clinical and like it was being told at me and not to me. It lost some of the greatness about it for me because of this. Also it was super long for the kind of story it was. In the end I was just meh about Cherry and that made me sad.

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Mini Reviews #3A Week of Mondays by Jessica Brody
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Amazon, Goodreads


When I made the wish, I just wanted a do-over. Another chance to make things right. I never, in a million years, thought it might actually come true...

Sixteen-year-old Ellison Sparks is having a serious case of the Mondays. She gets a ticket for running a red light, she manages to take the world’s worst school picture, she bombs softball try-outs and her class election speech (note to self: never trust a cheerleader when she swears there are no nuts in her bake-sale banana bread), and to top it all off, Tristan, her gorgeous rocker boyfriend suddenly dumps her. For no good reason!

As far as Mondays go, it doesn’t get much worse than this. And Ellie is positive that if she could just do it all over again, she would get it right. So when she wakes up the next morning to find she’s reliving the exact same day, she knows what she has to do: stop her boyfriend from breaking up with her. But it seems no matter how many do-overs she gets or how hard Ellie tries to repair her relationship, Tristan always seems bent set on ending it. Will Ellie ever figure out how to fix this broken day? Or will she be stuck in this nightmare of a Monday forever?

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I admit at first I wasn’t sure if this book would work. After reading the same day twice I was scared the book would run out of steam by the time I got to the 4th Monday. Instead I was pleasantly surprised. The days didn’t get boring and monotonous, they got more and more interesting. They became a way for Ellison to find out who she really was and see how capable she was to do things. That is what I really liked about Mondays. With Ellison not having any consequences she was able to really see who she was and what she wanted out of life. Instead of the book being boring I ended up really want to know what would happen and excited for there to be a new day for things to get messy. Plus Ellie’s BFF? Oh how I hearted him! In the end A Week of the Mondays was a fun read that kept me entertained and one I think you will enjoy too.

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Mini Reviews #3Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen
Published by Berkley
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon, Goodreads

The first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series. 


In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold...

  Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.   Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast....

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I didn’t love Rookie Move as much as I wanted to. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t painful to read nor did I hate it, I just didn’t grab me in a way other sports NA/romances have and that was a letdown. I guess what was really bothersome through the whole book was the coach. I didn’t really understand him nor why he was doing what he was doing to Leo. As a grown-up and person of authority he should have known better. Plus he had no idea what he was even talking about which was really annoying to me. I did really like Georgia and Leo together. They had a great chemistry that sparked. But all in all something just felt off. I am eager to read the read of the boys books and to see who Sarina Bowen will give us next. Mark this one as just okay.

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