Diane's Book Blog
Review
5 Stars
Two Man Advantage by Toni Aleo
Two-Man Advantage - Toni Aleo

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.

 

Review
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.

Review
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.

Review
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.

Review
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.

Review
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.

Review
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.

Review
5 Stars
Destiny Disgraced (Talon Pack, #6) by Carrie Ann Ryan
Destiny Disgraced - Carrie Ann Ryan

Carrie Ann Ryan’s DESTINY DISGRACED is an exalted addition to the Talon Pack series. Beta of the Talon Pack, Mitchell Brentwood and Central Pack maternal dominant, Dawn Levin, have different reason for trying to fight their attraction to one another. However, unexpected circumstances keep throwing them together. This contemporary PNR is suitable for adult audiences.

Carrie Ann Ryan continues to do an admiral job with her character development. I really like Mitchell. My heart broke for what he went through. He kept a major burden to himself for a long time. It is understandable why he kept Dawn at arm’s length. Dawn is a sweet character you cannot help to adore. She is strong and nurturing. She is young and hard working. She has some great friends. They are good for each other, making each other stronger. I love the dynamics between the individuals and their wolves.

The plot was exciting and skillfully executed. There are some interesting things going on with the Aspen Pack. DESTINY DISGRACED was thought-provoking and thrilling throughout. I’m looking forward to Walker’s and Aimee’s story. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
Perfect Love (Perfect #2) by Amanda Cowen
Perfect Love - Amanda Cowen

PERFECT LOVE by Amanda Cowen was the perfect story.  The novel takes place following book one, PERFECT SENSE.  Quinn Ashby discovered Cash Brooks’ secret and left Santa Anna for Harvard to get her MBA.  Both Cash and Quinn struggle to get over their relationship, when a near tragic incident reunites them.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences. 

 

I like Cash’ character.  His situation shows how your life can instantly change from one bad decision.  He really is a good guy.  It was horrible what happened.  He goes through a lot and matures throughout the story.  Quinn is an honorable character.  She is talented and smart.  She has been hurt and afraid to trust again. The two are good for one another.  They make each other stronger.  I love how Cash appreciates Quinn and always gets her the perfect gift.  He knows her, just like she knows him. 

 

I enjoyed the plot.  PERFECT LOVE is a heartwarming and believable story.  Daniela, Hilton, and Aiden cause some interesting conflicts. If you haven’t already read book one, PERFECT SENSE I recommend reading that first.  You will have a better appreciation for the story.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
Lucas (Cold Fury Hockey, #8) by Sawyer Bennett
Lucas: A Cold Fury Hockey Novel (Carolina Cold Fury Hockey) - Sawyer Bennett

Sawyer Bennett’s Cold Fury Hockey series is on a winning streak with book eight, LUCAS.  Luc is the younger brother of Cold Fury Hockey goalie, Max Fournier (book six).  Luc was recently traded to the Fury.  He meets museum curator, Stephanie Frazier, at a gala and has a one-night stand with her, but unexpected circumstances bring them back together.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.  The story takes place in Raleigh, North Carolina.

 

I love that Lucas was traded to the Cold Fury and that Max and Luc could play professional hockey together.  Max is a great character, so I enjoyed reading more about him and getting to know Luc and their sister, Simone.  The Fournier’s are a wonderful family, the opposite of Stephanie’s family.  Her parents are something else.  It’s amazing she is well adjusted as she is.  I’m glad she had Hilda when she was growing up.  Her past causes a lot of emotional issues for her.

 

Sawyer Bennett does a fantastic job with her character development.  Lucas is a remarkable guy.  He is insightful and thoughtful (most of the time).  He is good at expressing himself.  Family is important to him. He grows up faster than he was intending.  Stephanie is smart and fun.  She has always relied on herself and finds it difficult to open-up to others.  She doesn’t have any close friends.  She has always felt unworthy.  She doesn’t know what it is like to have a true family.  Lucas and Stephy are good for each other.  They make each other better people.  They have amazing chemistry.  They face multiple obstacles and become stronger for it.  

 

I enjoyed the plot.  LUCAS was skillfully written and believable.  The story was interesting from start to finish.  I loved the characters and didn’t want their story to end.  Fortunately, we get to her Lucas’ sister Simone and his roommate, Van Turner story next.  I cannot wait for book nine, VAN, expected to be released on November 28, 2017.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
Complications on Ice (Boys of Winter #3) by S.R. Grey
Complications on Ice (Boys of Winter Book 3) - S.R. Grey
  1. R. Grey scores a hat trick with the third book in the Boys of Winter series, COMPLICATIONS ON ICE.

NHL star, Benjamin “Benny” Perry, decides to get back at his coach by dating his daughter, Eliza Townsend.  He doesn’t plan on falling for her and the complications that come along with it.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult and adult audiences.  It primarily takes place in Las Vegas.

 

We met Eliza in the previous book.  I was looking forward to her story, and I was not disappointed.  I like how the novels overlap. A lot of stuff was going on with Eliza that we had no clue about.  She went through a lot.  She grows up tremendously in a short amount of time.  I like Benny.  He is a former substance abuser.  He matures throughout the story.  He is a sweet guy.  I didn’t really like that they both wanted to get to know each other before having met each other, but I like the way that the story played out. 

 

The plot was clever and believable.   There were numerous obstacles and twists that kept the story interesting.  I like how Drew Chidders was incorporated into the book.  I wouldn’t mind hearing his story down the line.  The baby food diet was amusing.  COMPLICATIONS ON ICE was skillfully written and flowed well.  I had a hard time putting down this book.  I’m looking forward to Dylan’s story, CAUTION ON ICE.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
4 Stars
Tropical Ice by Kat Mizera
Barefoot Bay: Tropical Ice (Kindle Worlds Novella) - Kat Mizera

 

Kat Mizera wins with TROPICAL ICE.  NHL bad boy, Garrett “Hawk” Hawkins, saves Madison Teller from being shot.  The two end-up spending their vacation together in Mimosa Key, Florida; not realizing their live intertwine.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences.

 

TROPICAL ICE is part Roxanne St. Claire’s Barefoot Bay Kindle Word series, which I admit I have never read.  However, I could tell which characters were part of the original world the Barefoot Bay series takes place in.  I thought it was clever how, Kat Mizera, incorporated her characters into this setting. 

 

I enjoyed the characters and plot.  I thought it was creative how Garrett and Madison ended up in Florida, met each other, and how their lives intermingle.  A lot of interesting things happen.  The story was well executed and believable.   Madison and Garrett are both likeable characters.  Garrett is in a difficult situation.  The two bond over this vacation and really get to know each other, helping each other grow in a short time. 

 

I really like Madison’s brother, Jamie.  Reading this book made me want to hear his story, so I’ll be picking up TEMPTATION'S INFERNO (Inferno #2).  He’s a good guy.  I like how he handled the situation between Garrett and Madison.   I love how the story ended.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
In Too Deep (The Blackhawk Boys, #5) by Lexi Ryan
In Too Deep (The Blackhawk Boys) (Volume 5) - Lexi Ryan

Lexi Ryan scores with IN TOO DEEP the fifth book in the Blackhawk Boys Series.  I couldn’t wait to read this story.  Mason Dahl and Bailey Green have been involved since the first book to the series.  Their relationship is complicated, and there was so much more going on than what you gathered from the previous books.  Mason and Baily got married in Las Vegas while at the bachelor/bachelorette party in book four, FALLING HARD.  Now Mason has devised a plan to try to win Baily over for good, but he’s on a short timetable to convince her.  This contemporary football romance is suitable for new adult and adult audiences.

Lexi Ryan did an amazing job with her character development.  Mason and Baily come from different means.  Regardless they have many similarities and make a fantastic couple.  They care about each other deeply.  Mason and Baily try to protect each other in their own way.  They both are very human and make mistakes.  They have difficult obstacles to overcome and become stronger for it.  

The plot was clever and believable.  Mason’s relationship with Gulf Gators NFL franchise owner, Bill McCombs, puts an interesting spin on the story.  Mason’s ex-girlfriend, Lindy, also creates some compelling turbulence. It amazed me what a great guy Mason turned out to be with Christian Dahl as his father.  It must have been his mother’s influence.  We discover multiple life-changing secrets that both Mason and Baily have been keeping.  I like that the story spans over four years, flashing back and forth in time.

I love this series.  Each book is extremely powerful. After reading every novel, I think there is no way that Lexi Ryan can match or top the previous story.  She has amazing done so.  If you follow the Blackhawk Boys series, you won’t want to miss this story.  If you haven’t read this series, you could probably read this book as a standalone, but I think you would enjoy it more if you read the series in order.  Every book is skillfully written and a worthwhile read.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
Defiance (Heart Lines Series Book 5) by Heather Hildenbrand
Defiance (Heart Lines Series Book 5) - Heather Hildenbrand

DEFIANCE by Heather Hildenbrand is an exciting addition to the Heart Lines Series. Sam’s story continues where book 4, IMBALANCE left off.  Sam discovered who Ea’s vessel is.  She is fighting over control of Hina and needs to prepare for the equinox.  Meanwhile, we discover what Alex’s role is in these events.  This contemporary urban fantasy is suitable for new adults.

 

DEFIANCE is thrilling and full of twists.  Alex and Sam have numerous trials and tribulations to overcome.  They discover interesting facts.  They learn things about themselves.  They face more than anyone should have to.   They are strong characters that you cannot help but like and admire. 

 

Heather Hildenbrand does an amazing job keeping this series fresh, exciting and believable.  She is a creative story teller and skilled writer.  I am highly anticipating book six, EMERGENCE.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
4 Stars
The Darkest Promise (Lords of the Underworld #13) by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Promise - Gena Showalter

Gena Showalter’s THE DARKEST PROMISE is an excellent addition to the Lords of the Underworld series. Immortal, Cameo, is possessed by the demon of Misery.  Any time she acquires a joyful memory the demon steals it away.  Everyone who is around her feels dread, except for, Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual.  Lazarus wants Misery, but if she allows herself to be happy, she’ll end up forgetting.  This contemporary PNR is suitable for adult audiences. 

 

Gena Showalter continues to do a fabulous job with her character development.  I’ve always felt bad for Misery.  I feel that her and Torin has two of the worst demons.  Not that being possessed by any demon would be pleasant.  I like that Lazarus is persistent and unaffected by Cameo’s demon.  His gift for reading minds is a plus.  I like that Misery’s godchildren, Urban and Ever, were in this story.  I also, appreciate Viola, keeper of Narcissism, presence.  She is good for a laugh. 

 

The plot was clever and well executed.  There was a lot of action and interesting twists.  The Lords of the Underworld series continues to be thrilling and feel original.  After thirteen books, I still can’t get enough of this series and look forward to continuing following it.  I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.

Review
5 Stars
In the Crease (Assassins #12) by Toni Aleo
In the Crease (Assassins Book 12) - Toni Aleo

Toni Aleo scores with IN THE CREASE, the twelfth book in the Assassins series.  NHL goalie, Jensen Monroe, has been in love with his best friend’s little sister, Wren Lemiere, since they were kids.  So, when she asks him to be her fake husband in order to get her inheritance, he jumps at the opportunity with the hopes of making it permanent.  This contemporary sports romance is suitable for adult audiences.

 

I adore Jensen.  He has become one of my favorite male characters.  He is an amazing individual.  He has some understandable insecurities.  He is a wonderful guy who is patient and loyal.  He and Wren are adorable together.  Her self-esteem has been messed with, and she has a lot of obstacles that she faces in this story.  They both grow tremendously and make a cute couple. 

 

I enjoyed the plot and sub-plot.  I love that Wren’s brother, Vaughn Johansson, and Brie play a major role in this novel.  They definitely added to the entertainment value.  The boys and Wren have known each other forever, so they have a fun relationship.  I love both Wren and Jensen’s families.  My father went through some of the same diabetes issues that Jensen’s dad did.  Therefore, my heart went out to Jensen and his family. 

 

Toni Aleo continues to do an astonishing job with her character development.  She is a talented and skillful writer whom I can always count on for an amazing read.  I loved the last chapter and epilogue. It was the perfect ending.   I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.