Diane's Book Blog
5 Stars
Dark Queen (Jane Yellowrock #12) by Faith Hunter
Dark Queen - Faith Hunter

I loved Faith Hunter’s DARK QUEEN, the twelfth book in the Jane Yellowrock series. Leo, the vampire Master of the City of New Orleans, is preparing for his blood challenge by the emperor on the European vampires. Since Jane is Leo’s Enforcer, she has a lot to prepare for. To top it off, she has some family drama to deal with.


I enjoyed the characters. They are diverse and have a lot of depth. I find Jane’s conversations with Beast amusing. I really appreciated the flashbacks to Jane’s youth. I love that she began remembering things from her life past. I enjoyed the addition of Ayatas FireWind.


DARK QUEEN was skillfully written and exciting throughout the novel. There were twists and a lot of action in the story. The “blood battle” was a fascinating event. The rules and dynamics between the combatants were well developed and exciting. Leo did some surprising things throughout the story. I loved the epilogue. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Misadventures of a Rookie (Misadventures #11) by Toni Aleo
Misadventures of a Rookie - Toni Aleo

Toni Aleo lights the lamp with MISADVENTURES OF A ROOKIE.  Malibu Suns hockey player, Gus Persson, is not used to being turned down.  Sun’s ice girl/sports therapist, Bo St. James, has no problem shutting down the cocky defenseman, or does she.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


I loved MISADVENTURES OF A ROOKIE.  The characters were likable and well developed.  I appreciated the similarities between Bo and Gus’ mother. I loved the banter between Bo and Gus.  I enjoyed the conversations with Gus’ parents.  Many of them were highly amusing; others were serious.  Gus is a great guy.  He is not what Bo expected. The characters go through a lot in this story.  It is understandable why Bo is initially weary of Gus. The two have amazing chemistry and grow throughout the novel.


The plot was skillfully executed.  There are some wonderful life lessons and viewpoints throughout the story.  I found all the ER visits interesting.  The ending was perfect.  MISADVENTURES OF A ROOKIE had a different feel then Toni Aleo’s Assasins series and Bullies series, but I loved it as much as I do her other novels.  Fans of Toni Aleo will not be disappointed.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Shot on Gold (Play by Play, #14) by Jaci Burton
Shot on Gold (A Play-by-Play Novel) - Jaci Burton

Jaci Burton is a medal winner with SHOT ON GOLD, the fourteenth book in the Play by Play series.  Will "Mad Dog" Madigan is excited to go back to the Winter Games for the second time as a member of the U.S. Hockey team.  He meets U.S. figure skater Amber Sloane, who is competing for the third time.  Both are determined to win gold but decide to have some fun together along the way.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


Jaci Burton does a great job with her character development.  Being a Chicagoan, I like that Will grew up there.  He has a supportive family.  He is a good guy.  Amber has had a lonely life.  Her mother put a lot of unnecessary pressure on her.  I like that she meets Will and becomes more social.  The two have great chemistry and make a cute couple. 


SHOT ON GOLD is a great book to put you in the mood for the Olympics or any winter sporting event.  Jaci Burton does an excellent job describing the various sporting events that take place during the novel. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Scoring the Player (Indianapolis Eagles, #2) by Samantha Lind
Scoring the Player (Indianapolis Eagles Book 2) - Samantha Lind, Juliana Cabrera, Jenn Wood, Reggie Deanching
Samantha Lind wins with SCORING THE PLAYER, the second book in the Indianapolis Eagles series. Indianapolis Eagles Hockey defenseman, Brian Kelly, has a reputation as a lady’s man. That is until he meets, Kinley Williams. This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences. Brian is a teammate of Scott Taylor form book one, JUST SAY YES. Kinley is the best friend of Becca Phillips, also from book one. This is the first book that I have read by Samantha Lind. I enjoyed her writing style. After reading about Scott and Becca in this story, I want to go back and read book one, JUST SAY YES. However, I had no problem following SCORING THE PLAYER as a standalone. Samantha Lind did a nice job with her character development. The characters are likeable and believable. Brian is a good guy. He has a hard time figuring out if people like him or are interested in him for his fame and money. He has a great relationship with his family. Kinley is a sweet heroine. She selfless and cares about others. The two face some interesting obstacles including a long-distance relationship. Kinley is in Alaska and Brian lives in Indianapolis. His family is in Minnesota. The story was skillfully written and flowed well. It held my interest throughout. I’m looking forward to book three, PLAYING FOR KEEPS, expecting to be released in 2018. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
5 Stars
Reed (Cold Fury Hockey #10) by Sawyer Bennett
Reed: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) - Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Bennett continues her winning streak with REED the tenth book in the Cold Fury Hockey series.  Reed Olson is celebrating the off-season after winning back-to-back Stanley Cup championships.   After a long shift at the hospital, Reed’s new neighbor, ER doctor, Josie Ives, knocks at his door to ask him to keep the noise down.  The two quickly become friends, making Reed question his usual “type."  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


I loved this book.  Reed and Josie have amazing chemistry.  I like that they start out as friends.  They are fun and help each other grow.  I appreciated the way they met.  I love that Josie calls Reed out on his normal type of woman. Her various Barbie names are amusing.  Both characters are extremely likable.  I didn’t want their story to end.  I’m hoping we’ll see more of them in future books in the series. 


The couple have some interesting obstacles to overcome, especially with Josie’s ex, Aiden.  Aiden is a thought-provoking character.  He is extremely insightful.  You are never sure how you should feel about him. 


As always, Sawyer Bennett’s writing style is impeccable.  The story flows well.  REED is believable and heartwarming.  The book is interesting from cover to cover.  After the scene that occurs between Reed’s teammate, Merek Fabritis and his ex-girlfriend, Gracen, I cannot wait to read their story next, Marek (Cold Fury Hockey, #11).  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross
Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls) - Julie Cross

Julie Cross lights the lamp with BREAKING THE ICE, the second book from the Juniper Falls series.  Juniper Falls princess/cheer captain, Haley Stevenson, needs help with her Civics class.  She decides scholarly hockey player, Fletcher Scott, is the perfect person to help her pass the class.  However, Fletcher likes to stay out of the lime light, which will be impossible if he’s hanging out with Haley.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences.  It takes place in northern Minnesota.


BREAKING THE ICE is a fun story.  Haley and Fletcher are opposites.  She is popular and outgoing.  Whereas, Fletcher likes to go unnoticed and keep to himself.  Haley bulldozes herself into Fletcher’s life.  I like Haley and Fletcher together.  They both misjudge each other.  I like that they eventually open up to one another. 


My heart went out to Fletcher.  His allergies are extreme.  I know people with less server conditions and sympathize with what he goes through.  Between his family and health issues, it is understandable why he wants to stay under the radar.  


BREAKING THE ICE was skillfully written and flowed well.  There were unexpected twists and pertinent issues.  BREAKING THE ICE is a wonderful addition the Juniper Falls series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Something So Irresistible (Something So #3) by Natasha Madison
Something So Irresistible (Something So Series Book 3) - Natasha Madison

Natasha Madison’s scores a hat trick with the third book in the Something So series, SOMETHING SO IRRESISTIBLE.  I loved Max Horton’s and Allison Grant’s story.  Allison is the daughter of Parker Grant and Cooper Stone (book one), and the sister of Matthew Grant (book two).  Max is Mathew’s teammate and sort of nemesis.  The story takes place a few years after book two.  This contemporary hockey romance is suitable for adult audiences.


I appreciate when an author can sway your original opinion of a character.  I did not like Max in book two.  I adored him in book three. I enjoyed learning his back story.  He grew up a lot.  He regretted his past mistakes, especially where Mathew was concerned. 


We first met Allison when she was a little girl.  She is now twenty-three and working as the New York Stingers Public Relations Representative.


Initially, Alison and Max cannot stand each other, which is understandable due to Max and Mathew's history.  I love that they call a truce, becoming friends.  They have fabulous chemistry. They make each other better people.  


I enjoyed the dynamics between all the characters within the series.  I like that the story was told from both Allison’s and Max’s point of views.  The plot was interesting and carefully thought out.  The story was skillfully written and exciting from start to finish.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Penalty Play (Game On in Seattle #9) by Jami Davenport
Penalty Play - Jami Davenport

Jami Davenport is on a winning streak with PENALTY PLAY the ninth book in the Game On in Seattle series.  NHL defenseman/single dad Matt LaRue is conservative as it gets, but he can’t fight his attraction to tattooed covered Violet Strider.  Meanwhile, Vi is worried her past could hurt them. This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


I enjoyed PENALTY PLAY.  The story was thought-provoking and clever.  Matt and Vi are a classic example of opposites attract, although fundamentally they have similarities.  They are both good people that put their loved ones ahead of themselves.   Both characters had a lot of depth and grew through the novel.  They learned from one another becoming more well-rounded. 


My heart went out to Vi and what happened to her in her past.  I like that she became a better person for it, instead of a becoming bitter.  Matt’s ex-wife is a piece of work, especially where their kids are concerned.  I’m glad they found Vi.  I like that she was uncomfortable around the kids at the beginning.  It was realistic considering her background. 


The story was well-written and fits in nicely with the rest of the series.  As an animal lover, I appreciated how the story ended.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Head Coach (Hellions Angels #2) by Lia Riley
Head Coach: Hellions Angels - Lia Riley

Lia Riley’s HEAD COACH is top-shelf.  Sports reporter Neve Angel and Hellions’ head coach Tor Gunnar are nemesis.  However, a game of air hockey might change it all.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.  The story takes place in Colorado. 


I looked forward to reading Neve’s and Tor’s story ever since book one, MISTER HOCKEY.  The two have an interesting relationship, enemies that are attracted to each other. The plot was clever and believable. There were a lot of interesting twists throughout the story. I liked the wedding aspect of the novel.  I love when Neve went dress shopping.  Kendall was just what she needed.  I thought the traffic app aspect was smart.  The moose was entertaining.


Lia Riley does a great job with her character development.  Neve is smart and feisty.  She has some self-esteem issues.  Tor is a good man and father.  He is reasonable. He is usually good at reading people.  I like that Neve and Tor always respected each other.  Both love their jobs and realize that a relationship between the two could cause a conflict of interest. 


I like how the story ended.  It felt well concluded.  Because of the tidbits told about Patrick Donnelly that happened in this book, I cannot wait for book three, VIRGIN TERRITORY, to hear his story.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Two Man Advantage by Toni Aleo
Las Vegas Sidewinders: Brock - Kat Mizera

Toni Aleo lights the lamp with TWO MAN ADVANTAGE.  I had been looking forward to reading Wells Lemiere’s and Matty Haverbrooke’s story ever since I finished IN THE CREASE (Assassins #15). Wells is the BFF of Assassins’ Jensen Monroe and Vaughn Johansson (DELAYED CALL, Assassins #13).  IN THE CREASE was Jensen and Wells’ sister, Wren’s book.  They were attending Well’s wedding to another man, which Matty objected to at the end of their story.  Needless to say, it made for an interesting twist for TWO MAN ADVANTAGE.  Matty is the son of the NHL Commissioner.  He is also in the closet.  He is afraid to come out to his family.  Wells is tired of being kept a secret.  This story is suitable for adult audiences. 


I love both Wells and Matty.  Matty is the twin brother of Avery, who is married to Jace Sinclair HOOKED BY LOVE (Bellevue Bullies #3).  I didn’t like him in that story, but his character came a long way and did a lot of soul searching.  What he did to Avery was horrible.  He regrets his choices.  He struggled with knowing he was gay and feeling like he had to hide it.  For good reason, not all his family is supportive.  My heart went out to him.  Wells is a great guy.  He is ten years older than Matty.  He is in a different place in his life.  The two have numerous obstacles to overcome.  They make each other better people. 


TWO MAN ADVANTAGE was full of meaningful substance. The story was compelling and entertaining throughout.  It had interesting twist and emotional outcomes.   


You can read TWO MAN ADVANTAGE as a standalone, but I love the Assassins and Bellevue Bullies series so much, I would suggest reading them first. All the characters are amazing and knowing the back stories makes TWO MAN ADVANTAGE even better.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.


4 Stars
The Proposition by Elizabeth Hayley
The Proposition (A Players Novel) - Elizabeth Hayley

Hockey star, Ben Williamson, hires Ryan Cruz to attend his brother’s wedding with him.  The more the couple gets to know each other the less sure either one is of keeping their relationship strictly professional.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


When I stared to read this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it.  I enjoyed the story more and more the further I got into the novel. 


I like Ben.  He is in an interesting situation with his family.  It is understandable why he did not want to go to his brother’s wedding alone.  Ryan is a strong heroine.  I respect that despite her difficult past, she has upstanding morals. 


I appreciate Ben’s friends Gabe and Jace.  I think it’s great that they met in college and are professional athletes in different sports.


Ben and Ryan grew for the better throughout the story.  They discovered things about themselves and made each other better people.  I like that things are cleared up between Ben and his family.    


This is the first book that I have read by Elizabeth Hayley.  I enjoyed the writing duo’s style. The ending was a good transition for Gabe’s story.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Forbidden Puck June Winters
Forbidden Puck: A Hockey Romance - June Winters

June Winters scores with FORBIDDEN PUCK.  Ella Couture heads to Boston for the weekend to visit her NHL star brother, Lance.  She ends up spending more time with his line/roommate, Ryan Ryder.  The two know that they need to stay away from each other, but…This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.


This is the first book that I read by June Winters.  I enjoyed her writing style and quickly added some of her other books to my “want to read” list.  She does a great job with her character development and plot.  I like Ella.  She is authentic and hard working.  Ryan is a great character.  He credits his recent hockey success to his chemistry with Lance.  That puts an interesting twist into the story. 


I enjoyed the similarities between Ryan and Ella.  For example, Ryan doesn’t know if women are interested in him because he is a hockey star and that Ella doesn’t know if guys just want to date her because she is a virgin, and they want to be her first.  I also appreciated, Ryan’s code and Ella’s honesty policy. 


The other characters in the story added some interesting tension to the plot.  Ella’s ex-boyfriend Mathew is a piece of work.  Lance’s personality is fascinating.  He is a bit self-centered.  He does have a good heart though. 


FORBIDDEN PUCK was well-written.  The story flowed well and held my interest from start to finish.  I love how the epilogue concluded the story.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Midnight Unleashed (Midnight Breed #14.7) by Lara Adrian
Midnight Unleashed: A Midnight Breed Novella - Lara Adrian

Lara Adrian’s MIDNIGHT UNLEASED is an excellent addition to the Midnight Breed series.  Breed Gen One vampire Trygg is partnered with Atlantean Tamisia (Sia) on a mission to stop the dealing of Red Dragon.  This PNR is suitable for adult audiences.  It takes place in Rome. 


Lara Adrian continues to do a wonderful job with her character development.  Sia and Trygg have both gone through a lot in their lives. They are both very different, and they seem like an unlikely match.  I like that Sia really understood Trygg. She sees more than the former Hunter.  Sia is not the type to back down and Trygg is stubborn; it made for some interesting confrontations.  I appreciated their chemistry and banter. 


I enjoyed the plot.  It was clever how the characters end up working together.  The story was exciting with interesting twists.  I like that incidences from previous books in the series had relevance in this story.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Branded by Fire (Blood & Magic # 4) by Danielle Annett
Branded by Fire: A Paranormal Urban Fantasy Series (Blood & Magic Book 4) - Danielle Annett

Danielle Annett’s BRANDED BY FIRE is scorching hot.  The story takes place following book three, BURNED BY FIRE.  After nearly dying, Aria Naveed was mate bonded to Pacific Northwest Pack Alpha, Declan Valkenaar.  She is struggling to control her powers after being experimented on by H.A.C. (HUMAN ALLIANCE CORPORATION), while trying to avoid the catastrophic outcome of her prophecy.  This PNR is suitable for adult readers. 


Danielle Annett continues to do an amazing job with her character development and plot.  The characters have grown and overcome numerous obstacles.  I like that the story is told from both Aria’s and Declan’s point of view.  I appreciate how their relationship evolved.  There is some interesting tension with Inarus.  My heart went out to Aria and everything she endured, especially with her mother. 


BURNED BY FIRE was fast-paced and exciting throughout.  There were fascinating twists with unexpected outcomes.  My only complaint about this book is that it ended.  I enjoy this story so much I wanted it to keep going.  Needless to say, I am anxiously awaiting book five.  I love this series.  I would compare it to Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series and Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

5 Stars
Game On (Hometown Players #6) by Victoria Denault
Game On (Hometown Players) - Victoria Denault

Victoria Denault is on a winning streak with book six of the Hometown Players series, GAME ON.  Hockey star for the Brooklyn Barons, Alex Larue, doesn’t want anyone to know about his past. He decides to volunteer at a charity dedicated to a cause important to him that is run by Brie Bennett.  The two bump heads and immediately judge each other, not realizing everything they have in common.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult and adult audiences.


I loved this story.  My heart broke for Alex and everything he went through.  I love that he makes so much of an effort to help those who were in similar situations he was, especially Mackenzie.  I also appreciated that Brie knew what her life could have been like and dedicated her life to helping others that were not as fortunate as her.  I thought it was clever how their lives intertwined.  GAME ON is an excellent example of why you shouldn’t judge people that you don’t really know.


Once again, Victoria Denault does a phenomenal job with both her character development and plot.  GAME ON is skillfully written and impossible to put down.  I love the trades that happened in this series.  I enjoyed that the characters from the previous books had pivotal roles in this story.  The ending was perfect and felt well resolved.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

4 Stars
Puck Love by Carmen Jenner
Puck Love - Carmen Jenner, Lauren Clarke Editing, Be Designs

Carmen Jenner scores with PUCK LOVE.  NHL bad boy, Van Ross, rescues country music sweetheart, Stella Hart, when she is stranded during a snow storm.  Van is not good for Stella’s image, but they cannot deny their chemistry.  This contemporary sports romance takes place in Calgary and Nashville.  It is suitable for adult audiences.


PUCK LOVE is a fun romance.  The characters are likeable.  Van is a good guy.  He is an awesome big brother to Emmett, who has Down syndrome.  Stella is a gracious character.  It is understandable why she freaks out.  She hasn’t had much of a life outside of performing.  Her mother dies when her career was just starting, and she doesn’t have any family.  She is great with Emmett, treating him with respect.  As different as Stella and Van are, they also have a lot of similarities and amazing chemistry.  They understand what it means to be a celebrity, but can be themselves around each other.  They are good together.


I love Sigi the otter.  The meaning of her name made me laugh, very clever. 


The plot was entertaining.  There were some unexpected twists.  The story held my interests throughout the novel.  I could see PUCK LOVE as a movie.  This is the first book that I have read by Carmen Jenner.  I enjoyed her writing style and would read something by her again.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.