ARC August: Check-In

Unlike last year I am checking in in the middle of ARC August to show my progress. So far I have done pretty well for myself. I have finished 4 books, I’m in the middle of 2, and I DNFd one . Not too bad considering I went away for a few days and celebrated both my birthday and my mom’s. Would I have liked to have read more over the last 16 days? Sure. But I’ll take what I can. Here are two mini reviews for what I have read:

ARC August: Check-InStealing Home by Becky Wallace
Published by Page Street Kids
Published: July 9, 2019
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four-stars

Fight for your dreams, even if it means breaking a few rules.

Seventeen-year-old Ryan Russell has life perfectly planned. If she keeps up her hard work, one day she’ll take over the family business: owning the Buckley Beavers, a minor league baseball team, and become one of the only female General Managers in the sport.

But when the newest member of the Beavers, child-phenom Sawyer Campbell, shows up, Ryan’s carefully laid plans are thrown a major curveball. Sawyer is far more charming than the arrogant jocks she usually manages, his ambition rivals her own workaholic nature—and he’s completely out of bounds. Fraternizing is against every rule in the Beaver’s handbook.

Then Ryan’s divorced parents butt heads over the future of the Beavers, and her mom plans to sell her shares to a business group known for relocating teams. If this happens, Ryan’s dreams of becoming GM disappear. In a bid to save her future, she partners with Sawyer to use his star power to draw in sponsors who will keep the team in Buckley. But the more time she spends with him, the more impossible it becomes to play by the Beaver’s rules, and she can’t afford a strikeout on the path to her dreams.

Full count with two outs, Ryan’s one pitch away from losing the whole ball game.

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

Stealing Home was a great summer read! It ticked all the boxes for things I love in a sports themed romance. Sawyer and Ryan had amazing chemistry and the bantered back and forth so well. There was also oodles of tension between them because they wanted something they couldn’t have, each other. But what I really loved about it was the fact that it was also a story about going after your dream no matter what it takes. It is so easy to think something is impossible and to give up on it, but Ryan was not that person. She fought for what she wanted and went for it. I struggled a lot with Ryan’s mom’s portrayal and the way she kind of turned towards the end, but all in all it was a quick, enjoyable read with a hot of heart and depth.

ARC August: Check-InHot to the Touch by Jaci Burton
Series: Brotherhood by Fire #1
Published by Berkley
Published: May 7, 2019
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two-stars

Love burns white-hot in this first scorching romance in an all-new trilogy about a family of firefighters from the New York Times bestselling author of the Play-by-Play novels and the Hope series.

Firefighter Jackson Donovan doesn't look back--as a rule. So when his past comes roaring back to life in the form of not-so-damsel-in-distress Becks Benning, the last thing he wants to do is relive old times. No matter how tempting she makes it seem...

Now thanks to his two interfering brothers, Becks is living with them while she looks for a new place and tries to pick up the pieces of her tattoo business that went up in flames. Which means a grown up, smokin' hot Becks is in his house, sharing meals, and digging up old wounds. And despite his better judgement, the more time he spends with this smart, artistic, incredible woman the more he wants her in his bed--and his future.

Becks always had it bad for Jackson. Unfortunately for her, not much has changed--he's still honorable, hard-working, sexy as sin--and closed off. But there's more than one way to get to a man's heart and if Jackson doesn't want to recall old memories, she'll just have to help him make new ones. Because now that she's found Jackson again, she's not letting him go.

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

Hot to the Touch has been on my TBR for some time now but something just didn’t work for me with this one. When I was reading the book I felt more like it was being told at me and not to me and that really rubbed me wrong. I also didn’t find any chemistry at all between Jackson and Becks so I had no interest if they were a couple of not. His personality changed so much I just didn’t like him at all. Plus the pacing felt a tad off. Honestly, I have been struggling with Jaci Burton books for sometime and I think this was the one that finally has made me believe this author just isn’t for me anymore. This book just didn’t do it for me.

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*I will be reviewing The Bromance Book Club closer to release and November and Tweet Cute closer to release in January.

How is your ARC August progressing?

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Berkley Bookmas – Excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton (+ giveaway)

Andi’s ABCs is so excited to participate in Berkley Bookmas and I’m hosting an excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton today! Berkley Bookmas is chock full of exclusive content from authors like exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, author recipes and more! Check out the calendar of events below:

Berkley Bookmas – Excerpt of Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton (+ giveaway)Shot on Gold by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #14
Published by Berkley Books
Published: February 13th 2018
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Hockey player Will “Mad Dog” Madigan is back for his second shot at the international games. He’s fired up and ready to play—both on and off the ice, and when he meets figure skater Amber Sloane, she’s unlike any woman he’s ever met. She’s ambitious and driven and takes no time for fun. But Will wants to show Amber there’s always time for romance—even in this competitive environment. Between fierce competition and chasing gold, will they have a chance at finding love?

“Yeah? What are your cravings?”

“Hmm, let’s see. Thick crust pizza with sausage and extra cheese. Lasagna. Chocolate chip cookies. Brownies. Oh, and cheeseburgers. I really love cheeseburgers. With onion rings.”

He laughed. “That’s a damn fine menu, Amber. Surely you can have some of those things at least once a week, right?”

“I get healthy proteins, like lean chicken and fish. Only when I finish a competition am I allowed to indulge.”

“Allowed? Come on, honey, you’re a grown-ass woman. You can make your own decisions.”

She looked down at her ice cream, suddenly losing her appetite for its creamy sinfulness. She pushed it aside. “I do make my own decisions. Like now. I’m full.”

Will looked over at her cup. “You barely ate two bites.”

“It doesn’t take much to fill me up.” Which was her mother’s mantra.

Eat half of what’s on your plate, Amber. You’re thin anyway, so you don’t need a lot of food.

Except she was always hungry, and drinking more water never filled her up.

“Yeah? Well I’m eating this entire cone and two scoops, which I know I’ll burn up on the ice. You should do the same.”

Will didn’t understand how hard it was for her to maintain the balance between strength and figure. But she did. She’d worked so hard, and nothing was going to derail her.

Not even the tempting chocolate raspberry ice cream that sat in front of her.

This had been a mistake. She should have never come here with Will. But since she had, she’d politely wait until he finished his ice cream and then she’d make her way back to her apartment.

“Would you like to taste mine?” he asked.

She shook her head. “No, I’m good.”

“So’s this mint chocolate chip. And I promise I don’t have germs.”

Oh, she’d love to put her mouth where he’d had his mouth. That wasn’t the issue at all. Just the thought of swirling her tongue where his tongue had been caused flames to lick along her nerve endings, making her wish they were outside where it was cooler.

“Do you like mint, Amber?” he asked.

“I do.”

He leaned forward, offering the cone. “Take a lick.”

She was going to self-combust if he kept talking to her that way.

“Okay.” She started to take the cone from him, but instead he wrapped his hand around hers and held the cone steady. She leaned forward and flicked her tongue over the top of the cone, watching the way his gaze was glued to her mouth, which only made her previous heated state grow more incendiary.

She sat back and pulled her hand from his. “It’s really good.”

“Yeah, it is really good,” he said, and Amber was certain he hadn’t been talking about the ice cream.

She’d been hit on by a lot of guys over the years, mainly at skating competitions, and especially at the international games. She’d ignored them all to focus only on her goal of winning. Never before had she been affected by flirting or guys coming on to her. She knew she’d be nothing more than a one-night stand, and she wasn’t much interested in being some guy’s forgettable bang.

But there was something about Will Madigan that intrigued her. He was hot, and had a magnificent body. She liked that they were compatible from a skating point of view, but she’d had attractive male figure skaters hit on her before and they had certainly been more compatible than Will, so what was the deal with this guy? Why him, other than she’d madly crushed on him four years ago when he’d never once even looked in her direction.

That was probably it. He’d noticed her tonight, and she felt vindicated. Plus, she was determined to live it up these games.

Though she was going to do it on her terms. She was going to be the one doing the choosing, and it was going to be on her timeline. When she was ready.

She wasn’t going to jump in the sack with the first guy on the first night.

Even if said guy was hot and sexy and had eyes that made her melt.

The giveaway: one $100 Visa gift card, and a book/galley/bound manuscript by each of the authors participating.  http://bit.ly/2zlFxAq

 

For tomorrow’s fun, head to one of the following blogs: GraveTells Romance; The Book Disciple; The Book Bellas; Books & Beauty Are My Bag

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Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci Burton

Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonAll Wound Up by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #10
Published by Berkley
Published: August 4th 2015
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three-half-stars

Tucker Cassidy is going through a slump—both with his curveball and in his dating life. After having a painful altercation involving his ex-girlfriend’s knee, the professional baseball player is convinced things couldn’t get worse…until a gorgeous doctor comes to the rescue at his most embarrassing moment.

As the daughter of the owner of the St. Louis Rivers major league baseball team, Dr. Aubry Ross has been around jocks all her life. She knows the ins and outs of all their games, and she isn’t interested in playing.

When Tucker repeatedly lands in the hospital where she’s working, Aubry starts to think he’s getting injured just to see her. Tucker is both funny and sexy, and Aubry is pleasantly surprised to discover he actually respects her job.

But when her father disapproves of their relationship, will Tucker let threats of a trade get in the way of a game-changing love?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonUnexpected Rush by Jaci Burton
Series: Play by Play #11
Published by Berkley
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two-stars

For Barrett Cassidy, playing defense for the Tampa Hawks is a dream come true. And now he may have discovered his dream woman. Harmony Evans, once the sweet, gawky teenage sister of his best friend and teammate has grown into a smart, gorgeous woman with moves he finds hard to resist. But he knows he can’t get involved with his best friend’s sister—it’s guy code.

Harmony has always gone after what she wants with single-minded determination, from her independence to her education to her career in interior design. She never expected her youthful crush on Barrett to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.

When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over...to develop into something deeper. And she’s not about to let some ridiculous man rules or her brother stand in her way.
When the chemistry is this combustible, lines tend to get crossed. And when Barrett and Harmony’s secret gets out, it just might be game over...

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review: Play by Play Series Books 10, 11 & 12 – Jaci BurtonRules of Contact by Jaci Burton
Published by Berkley
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two-stars

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?

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

Reading a long romance series will definitely have its ups and downs. There will be couples you love, couples you hate. There will be set ups that work and some that don’t. You will never be 100% happy with all books in a long series, but that is what the joy of reading is about.

I started Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series in 2012. Over the last 4 years I have read books 1-9. Over the last 2 months I read the final (??) 3 books, All Wound Up, Unexpected Rush, and Rules of Contact. Each book had a Cassidy sibling (Tucker, Barrett, and Flynn) and the football and baseball we ha e known and loved in this series. All three had love and romance and the ever present happily ever after. But all the did not leave me with the same feelings of joy. To be honest I was slightly disappointed in the last two books.

Basically, I really enjoyed Tucker and Aubry’s story (book 10). They definitely had a natural chemistry between the two of them that sucked me in from the start. Their relationship didn’t feel forced or rushed. It felt like they belonged together and that’s what I love about a good romance. But Barrett and Harmony(book 11) and Flynn and Amelia (book 12) didn’t have that feeling for me. Those two couples felt forced and there was no spark. I almost wish there had been build-up and pinning. I really think that’s what was missing for me.

As a whole I enjoyed the series. There were so hits and some misses, but together it was just a fun sports series with love, life and romance. Book 10, All Wound Up, was my favorite of the last 3 for sure, but I would recommend checking the series out.

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