arc · review · romance

The Play by Elle Kennedy

The Play
by Elle Kennedy

Rating: ★★★★
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What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I haven’t been in love with an entire series this much before. Not sure how, but Elle Kennedy always creates the perfect college romance and somehow we deserve the absolute delight of reading her brilliant stories! The Play delivered a delicious slow-burn, friends to lovers combined friends with benefits romance that left me emotionally gratified and romantically satisfied. Filled with humour, some favourite past faces (I fucking wept over Dean and Jake), the sassiest heroines and the greatest hockey players, I couldn’t want or need anything more.

This guy is funny. And he’s much cooler than I’d thought, definitely not the arrogant asshole I expected him to be. I’m not gonna lie—Hunter Davenport is growing on me.

Hunter Davenport captured my immediate attention in The Chase, it left me enamoured and desperate to have more during The Risk. He shares a similar womaniser characteristic to Dean Heyward Di-Laurentis and has the same cocksure attitude of Jake Connelly, my two favourite and greatest fictional boyfriends to ever be written, I found myself an absolute weark, utter mess unable to resist his charms. Discovering all the intricate, multi-facets beneath the humorous, sex on legs jock made Hunter even more irresistable and reminded me why this series is an absolute charmer.

I promised myself I wouldn’t hook up this year, and the temptation to break that vow for Demi is overwhelming.

We don’t just have a hero full of confidence—Demi Davis is just as self-assured with an equally bold personality; a heroine who possesses serious feistiness and the quickest, sharpest intelligence. Despite her experiences with a cheating long-term boyfriend, Demi doesn’t allow her issues totally diminish her dauntless character and her unabashed proposition to have a rebound with Hunter made me realise she’s an absolute compliment to this hero who’s deserving of so much.

The moment our mouths make contact, a hot shiver rolls through me and settles between my legs. My dick is thick, heavy against my thigh. Motherfucker. This kiss is everything.

Witnessing Demi and Hunter’s connection blossom from friendship into a titillating friends with benefits before naturally flourishing into a delicious slow-burn romance left me teeming with endless giddiness, my heart burst with infinite feel-good emotions. Sometimes it felt as if they wouldn’t traverse the friendship mountain, but when they did the heat intensified because of chemistry and sexual tension that brewed between them for such a long time. Mixed together is sweet moments and heated chemistry, tied together with some brilliant humour that left me chortling. Even when they’re bickering, the banter is absolute perfection!

The Play isn’t my favourite (as much as I’m in love with Hunter, no one can best Jake) as the ending felt contrived and somewhat unattached and disassociated with this overall narrative. However, I appreciated the tenderness this romance exuded because I have been officially ruined—shattered as well, because this series of college sports romance featuring some of my favourite fiercest heroines and the greatest hockey-playing heroes is at an end (for now, I hope). Briar U and Off-Campus have carved themselves a forever home in my heart and there is no indication that they will ever abandon me. I have every damn limb on my body crossed because I am desperate as hell to have a Weston romance featuring that bubble butt.

arc · new adult · review · romance

The Perfect First by Maya Hughes

The Perfect First
by Maya Hughes

Rating: ★★★★
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“How long do you last in bed?” Those were her first words to me, swiftly followed up with, “And how big would you say you are?”

Persephone Alexander. Math genius. Lover of blazers. The only girl I know who can make Heidi braids look sexy as hell. And she’s on a mission. Lose her virginity by the end of the semester.

I walked in on her interview session for potential candidates (who even does that?) and saw straight through her brave front. She’s got a list of Firsts to accomplish like she’s only got months to live. I’ve decided to be her guide for all her firsts except one. Someone’s got to keep her out of trouble. I have one rule, no sex. We even shook on it.

I’ll help her find the right guy for the job. Someone like her doesn’t need someone like me and my massive…baggage for her first time.

Drinking at a bar. Check.

Partying all night. Double check.

Skinny dipping. Triple check.

She’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met. The walls I’d put up around my heart are slowly crumbling with each touch that sets fire to my soul.

I’m the first to bend the rules. One electrifying kiss changes everything and suddenly I don’t want to be her first, I want to be her only. But her plan was written before I came onto the scene and now I’m determined to get her to re-write her future with me.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Maya Hughes has started an addictive series featuring irresistible footballers in Fulton U. Despite the countless sports romances floating around, the unique creativity and authentic quality of this narrative prevents it from becoming reused material. With innumerous sweet moments, intense chemistry and stomach-aching humour, The Perfect First ensures your attention is captured and thoughts consumed by this endearing romance of perfect firsts.

I was tired of being me, and the only way to change that was to stop being afraid of what I wanted.

Persephone Alexander’s innocence is charming and refreshing, though her chaste nature doesn’t mean she’s naive. Unashamed and unassuming in conversation, her lack of tact creates an amusing meet cute situation that left me guffawing in absolute delight! Quiet, fierce rebellion unveils itself, as Seph’s determination to experience certain moments before she’s suffocated by an authoritative father’s demands comes to fruition, making me invested in this heroine’s transformation from introverted to free-willed with confidence.

I’d give her the other firsts, as many as I could, because if I gave her too much, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from never wanting to stop.

I love a conceited football hero—the cockier, the better—however there’s no denying that hidden sweetness and kind-heartedness creates an irresistible character with dimension. Despite Reece Michaels odd but entertaining meet cute with Seph, he isn’t deterred by the unusual situation. By starting a friendship, Reece provides Seph more than firsts; he also brings friendships and connections, both encouraging and heart-warming gestures that allow this quirky heroine to flourish into a self-assured woman who understands her self-worth.

She’d gotten so fully and completely under my skin, I didn’t know how I’d existed before I met her.

“Sweet” isn’t an accurate definition to truthfully encapsulate the undeniable connection between Seph and Reece. Intense and unbreakable, the friendship they form transitions into an undeniable, romantic bond full of immense affection and charming chemistry that latches itself to your mind, ensnaring your full attention. It tugs on your heart-strings, dousing you in all the good feelings that come with reading a humorous, contemporary romance. Wherever Maya Hughes directs this series, I’m keen to have more of these footballers!

arc · review · romance · young adult

Kiss and Break Up by Ella Fields

Kiss and Break Up
by Ella Fields

Rating: ★★★★★
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Dashiell Thane wasn’t a nice guy.
He was an abrasive, demanding, conniving, intolerable brat.
Yet somehow, we’d been best friends our whole lives.
Until our senior year when I finally decided to dip my toes into the dating pool.

All it took was one kiss for jealousy, lies, and betrayal to sweep in and propel us heart first into dizzying, hostile depths.

You’re not supposed to kiss your best friend.
You’re definitely not supposed to kiss your best friend while you’re dating someone else.
And the absolute worst thing you could do is fall for your best friend.
Unless, of course, you want to ruin everything.

*ARC provided by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*

You can also read this review on Goodreads

I’m so intrigued by this newfound world of Magnolia Cove. Desperate to read more, too. Friends to lovers isn’t my favourite romance trope, but Ella Fields is an excellent wordsmith and brilliant writer—Dashiell Thane and Peggy Newland have carved themselves a home in my heart. Engraved themselves in my psyche. Kiss and Break Up is an all-consuming romance that will captivate your attention with its raw depiction of falling in love with your best friend, leaving your heart aching and your belly fluttering.

“Six ways from Sunday, you’ve fucked me, and I’ve yet to find anything satisfying about it.”

Bad boys and anti-heroes who are non-conforming, defying society’s every expectation, arrogant and conceited have my undying love. And they own every facet of my heart! Dash isn’t an exception, a sweet combination of infuriating and irresistable. Brutally honest and unapologetically passionate, Dash possesses an unwavering devotion to Pegs that made me sigh in frustration and swoon in bliss at his over-protectiveness.

Peggy couldn’t be anymore different to Dash. She’s kind and sweet, yet sassy and fierce; inexperienced with relationships and boyfriends; and full of life, unique eccentricity and realistic authenticity. Despite being Dash’s opposite in almost every way, the complex and multifaceted relationship they have—the connection they have formed—is so endearing!

I’d fallen for my best friend, and she was breaking my fucking heart.

Kiss and Break Up is wonderfully enthralling. When an innocent kiss turns this easy-going friendship into an intense, jealous infested, angst-ridden mess, your emotions will soar and your heart will shatter. Without fail, it realistically demonstrates that love isn’t easy—sometimes it is bittersweet, complicated beyond recognition, full of heart-aching emotions and frayed around the edges, but tender moments and irreplaceable memories await.

If you’re invested in pure innocence, teenage dramatics and first loves, Kiss and Break Up is whole-heartedly recommended, because beyond this friends to lovers narrative is rich story filled with a myriad of emotions and beautifully written characters. I wouldn’t turn away from a standalone featuring Daphne, Lars, Jackson and Willa. I’m very much unready to leave Magnolia Cove!

arc · review · romance

ARC Review | Love Machine by Kendall Ryan

Love Machine

by Kendall Ryan

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SYNOPSIS

She says she needs some help … in the bedroom.

Come again? No, really come again.

Sweet, nerdy, lovable Keaton.

She’s my best friend and has been for years. Sure she likes numbers and math, and thinks doing other people’s taxes is fun. And I like … none of that stuff. She’s obsessed with her cat and reads novels I’ll never understand, and yet we just click. There’s no one I’d rather share breakfast burritos with or binge watch hours of Netflix. She’s my person. And so when she takes off her glasses and asks me to help her improve her skills in the bedroom, I barely have to think about it.

Of course I’ll help her. There’s no one better for the job.

I’ve been there for her through everything, why should this be any different?

But what happens when she’s ready to take her new-found confidence and move on?


REVIEW

★★★★

You can also read this review on Goodreads!

It is no secret that Kendall Ryan is my go-to author for light, sweet and fluffy romance. Some would consider her stories repetitive, but to me it is a sure thing guaranteed. I know what to expect. I know I will have something wholesome awaiting.

She’s also somehow converted me to friends-to-lovers. Perhaps my least favourite trope. Ever. Because it is too cute and airy and frilly and fancy. But after reading dark, twisted romances, or stories that didn’t enthrall me, sometimes witnessing a friendship blossom into something sweet is needed!

The embers of attraction were always there, I’ve come to realize. All it took was one little kiss to blow on the ashes and make them roar to life.

Post embarrassing encounter during her friend’s bachelorette party, Keaton is feeling dejected. She’s intelligent and confident within her working environment, but she feels inside the bedroom she’s lacking few too many skills.

Using much loved spreadsheets to organise a list and enlisting her long term best friend, Slate, during a drunken night of texting, Keaton is determined to become a confident woman amongst the sheets.

But not everything is as easy or as simple as it seems, especially when intense emotions become involved, and both Keaton and Slate are left questioning themselves. While Slate is determined to prove to Keaton that he is interested in settling down, Keaton would rather maintain their close friendship.

I’m drunk on the sight, the sound, the scent of her, how stunning she is in her passion. And when our eyes meet, a wave of tenderness and desire threatens to drown my heart.

Despite having been best friends since college, Keaton and Slate have never been attracted to each other. Not until Keaton requests Slate become her “sex tutor”, anyway. It seemed awfully strange to me that they never shared this mutual attraction until they decided to cross the friendship boundary.

I also couldn’t ignore Slate’s reason for becoming a womaniser. One bad relationship, no matter how long or short it lasted, shouldn’t be enough to taint someone’s view on dating.

Besides those two negatives, I still enjoyed this sweet, fast-paced read.

arc · review · romance

ARC Review | Mister Tonight by Kendall Ryan

Mister Tonight

by Kendall Ryan


SYNOPSIS

Last night was the most embarrassing night of my life.

I was that girl.

You know, the highly intoxicated chick celebrating her thirtieth birthday with her two best friends—who are happily married. And the more I drank, the more I wanted to do something reckless to celebrate.

By reckless, I mean the sexy and alluring man dressed in a business suit standing near the bar. You know his type—tall, dark, handsome. I was sure he was out of my league, but I’d had just enough alcohol that things like that no longer seemed to matter. I’m not fat, mind you, but you can tell I like french fries, so there’s that.

He took me home, and I enjoyed the hottest birthday sex of my life. Well, until it came to a screeching and rather unwelcome halt.

There’s nothing quite like being interrupted mid-ride with a little voice asking, “What are you doing to my daddy?”

Just kill me now . . . or so I thought.

Come to find out, the man I rode like a bull at the rodeo is my new landlord.


REVIEW

★★★★

Read on Goodreads

Mister Tonight embodies everything Kendall Ryan is good at: delivering swoon-worthy heroes, sassy heroines, and sweet and sexy romance.

To celebrate turning 30, Kate spends the night hanging out with her two best friends, sipping cocktails and finding Mister Tonight. Focusing on her career, leading a carefree lifestyle and being a commitment-phobe means Kate doesn’t have time, or really any desire, to find Mister Forever.

When she meets Hunter, an alluring and handsome man dressed in an impeccable suit, Kate realises she’s found the perfect candidate for Mister Tonight. He is charming and humorous, with cringe-worthy pickup lines and an irresistible personality.

Hunter’s near perfection will leave her questioning her easygoing lifestyle.

I wasn’t committed to being a stable role model for his daughter, and it wouldn’t be fair to him or her to blur the lines in our relationship, especially when things inevitably went south.

What appears to be the greatest, wildest night, filled with passion and steam, quickly turns into an embarrassing and horrifying nightmare. When Hunter’s daughter interrupts them, Kate is quick to escape, hoping she’ll never see her handsome one night stand again.

Fate is interesting. And it has an even more interesting sense of humor. Kate’s newest landlord and neighbour happens to be Hunter.

Rather than shy away from dating, Hunter is interested in finding someone worth it. But his ideal woman cannot just be intelligent, humorous, independent and beautiful. She also needs to embrace his four-year old sassy and outgoing daughter, Maddie.

Kate isn’t interested in commitment. Hunter is. They’re both adults though and prepared to enter an easygoing relationship of friends with benefits. No complications. No expectations.

Until things become a lot more complicated when feelings begin to surface.

“Mister Tonight, huh?” he asked, recalling Jessie’s words.
I rolled my eyes. “Obviously, that didn’t’ work out.”
“I’d say it worked out perfectly.”

Single dad romance doesn’t normally interest me. But there was something intriguing and enticing about Hunter. And his undying love for his daughter melted my bones! They have a sweet, tight knit bond that is unbreakable.

I also love how sweet Kate and Hunter are together. Despite having commitment issues and being wary about stepping into being a parent, Kate eased into that position wonderfully.

Mister Tonight isn’t drama filled, or as angsty as some of Kendall’s other stories. It is one hundred percent sweet and fluffy and the right amount of steamy.