Superfan

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3)

Blurb:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

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3 Stars

Truth.

I had to think on this one a few days primarily because there’s nothing wrong with it other than it not being super memorable.

While reading Superfan I was invested in Silas and Delilah’s journey. I wanted them to find a way to navigate the obstacles both of their careers inherently pose. I was rooting for them but when it happened I found myself thinking, (a) that was easier than I envisioned it being and (b) how many Bruisers are going to end up with their sweethearts in the same building in Brooklyn?

Quibbles aside, Superfan is extremely readable, something I’ve come to expect with SB’s writes. It’s a second chance romance that’s packed with good feels and two likable protagonists. It also fulfilled my desire to peek in on previous couples and how their coupletry is progressing, which is something I find comforting.

Silas, simply put, is the guy you marry. He’s caring without being overbearing. He’s protective without sliding into alphaholedom. He’s generous both in and out of the bedroom and, mostly importantly, he’s crazy about Delilah; his most fervent desire is to share his life with her. In short, he will melt reproductive organs far and wide.

Delilah is a bit guarded having been burned multiple times in her life but the bottom line is she too is ass over teakettle when it comes to a certain hockey player. But she’s also trying to break into the next level within the music industry and doesn’t want to rely on Silas for the wrong reasons. I appreciated her independent spirit as well as the details regarding the music biz that SB included.

Their romance largely evolves smoothly. Told in flashbacks from both of their perspectives that illustrated their instantaneous attraction which I found touching. Maybe their romance could’ve done with a bit more conflict but that would’ve detracted from the fluffy. Plus, I think the storyline involving Delilah’s wanker of an ex was supposed to satisfy the conflict quotient of the romance algorithm.

Special shout out goes to Mr. Muscles who referred to Silas as a unicorn which, frankly, deserves a bajillion stars in and of itself. I sincerely hope we’ve not seen the last of him because I soooooooo want that gentle giant to find a unicorn of his very own.

I’m looking forward to whomever comes next in this series and would recommend Superfan to fans of the series or anyone in need of a feel good read.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Cover Reveal + Giveaway: Superfan by Sarina Bowen

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BLURB:
Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.
Three years ago I met the most amazing woman. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.
But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.
While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.
But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.
She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.
Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

LINKS:
Amazon      Apple      Kobo      Nook

EXCERPT

“Would you like a beer?” the cute bartender asks me.
I glance at the pile of mint leaves on his cutting board and hesitate. “Sure,” I say. But the mint looks so fresh and pretty.
“I could make you something different.”
“Beer is great. A cold…”
“—lager,” he finishes. “No glass, no opener.”
When I look up to flash him a smile, my heart does a little somersault. Those kind eyes are smiling at me, too. “Thank you,” I whisper.
“It’s really no problem.” He turns toward the beer cooler. “You’re an easy customer, trust me.”
But I really meant—thank you for remembering. As he leans down to grab a bottle for me, I find myself admiring the strong muscles in his back. Stop it, I admonish myself. It only gets worse when he turns around and places the bottle in front of me. I’ve never seen hands like his. I didn’t even know wrists could look muscular.
Even so. Ogling him is not why I came here. I pull out my keychain opener and remove the cap from my beer.
He discards it, gives me another pleasant smile and then picks up his paring knife again.
I take a sip, wondering when he’s going to mention my show at the Coconut Club. He was there. I saw him.
He separates some mint leaves from their stems and says nothing.
I last about seventeen seconds. “Well?”
“Well?” He looks up. “Sorry?”
“Jesus lord.” I close my eyes and then open them again. This is not going how I’d hoped it would. “What did you think?”
“Of…?” His amazing eyes are studying me.
“Forget I asked.” I take a swig of beer.
“Think about what?” He pushes the cutting board aside, and his smile turns knowing.
“My set at the Coconut Club! I saw you holding up that wall in the back. Don’t lie.”
He tips his head back and lets out a sudden laugh. “I’m so busted. I loved your show, but I didn’t expect you to spot me.”
“You loved it so much you weren’t going to say anything?” The sentence sounds crazy to my own ears. I put down the beer. “You know what? Never mind. I’m just being psycho right now. This town is getting into my head.”
“Listen, girly.” He braces both (muscular!) hands on the bar and looks me right in the eye. “I loved it so much that I don’t even know what to say about it. From that moment at the beginning—when you shut that asshole’s maw? To the part where you made a lady cry.” He shakes his head. “I couldn’t look away. And I never wanted it to end.”
I give him a slow blink, just trying to take that in. It’s so much more than I was even hoping to hear.
“Shit, Delilah. If that set doesn’t win you whatever contract you’re looking for, they don’t even deserve you.”
Something warm and unfamiliar settles into the center of my belly. “That might be the nicest thing anyone ever said to me. Which only means you’re still trying to get my phone number.”
He laughs immediately. “Can’t both things be true? Both my musical assessment and my interest in your evening plans?”
“Because you know so much about music.” I flip my hair and take another sip of beer.
“Look. I don’t know shit about music. But I know plenty about talent.” He leans down on a set of forearms I shouldn’t be noticing. “I know that talent sometimes takes a nap at just the wrong moment, but it never stays asleep for long. I also know that luck matters, too. If they don’t give you what you want, it won’t be your fucking fault.”
“Thank you,” I say quietly.
But he’s not done. “I saw something else valuable the other night. You’re good in the clinch. And that counts for double, I swear to God.”
“The clinch?”
“Yeah. You’re not just good at practice.” He pauses, wrinkling up his interesting nose. “What word would a musician use? Okay—you’re not a rehearsal musician. That stage was like your home. Either that or you fake it really well. That’s going to pay your rent someday, I promise.”
“Wow.” It’s like he looked right into my terrified little soul and found the very thing I needed to hear. Those beautiful eyes of his are practically burning me right now, so I have to look away. “Thank you. Really. I really needed that pep talk.”
I make the mistake of looking up at him again, and, for a split second, I see pure yearning. It’s like our souls vibrate at exactly the same frequency. And I have no idea what to do with that.

GIVEAWAY

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Be the first to read! Three winners (US or Canada) will win early signed paperback copies of Superfan!

Enter HERE

Giveaway Link: https://geni.us/SuperfanGiveaway

 

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Fireworks

Fireworks (True North, #6) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Fireworks (True North, #6)

Blurb:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern that day created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s agreed to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. Skye can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and get back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

Except things go sideways even as she sets foot over the county line. Her step-sister is on the run from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke her teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

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3 Stars

What I like so much about this series, plain and simple, is the Shipleys. The further removed from the Shipleys it gets, I’ve noticed my interest usually wanes. The problem is, we’re running out of Shipleys.

Bowen’s writing style is engaging and infinitely readable, as always. I mostly like Benito; he has his alphahole moments but he clearly worships the ground Skylar walks on and is upfront about it. Devotion and forthrightness are always good character traits in my book. I like Skylar. Benito and Skylar together, though, lacked the spark I’ve come to expect from Bowen. The razzle dazzle wasn’t there for me.

They have a backstory beginning when she was 16 and he 18 told in flashbacks that, for me, I found unnecessary. I’m well aware of the teenage propensity to turn molehills into mountains and that coupled with high intensity emotions can lead to disaster. But of all the people whose word you’re going to take, how in the sam hell did Jimmy Gage make the list? In twelve years it never once occurred to her to verify? And she’s a journalist?

That I found a little unbelievable which, obviously, dovetailed into the second chance trope not working well for me. The opportunity to reconcile not just with Benito but with Colebury and Zara in particular, I did like. I’m just sad that it took twelve years to transpire.

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate Bowen’s diligent efforts to keep the opioid epidemic and its catastrophic effects part of this series. Here we have Benito who’s in law enforcement and Skylar’s former stepsister is tangentially involved in the investigation which is what brings Skylar back to Colebury. It’s a fairly intense subplot with the nefarious Jimmy Gage as the centerpiece, but I think it overtook the romance plotline. I liked the resolution and Skylar’s role in it, though.

Colebury is as charming and cozy as ever which is part of what keeps bringing me back to this series and I always like catching up with its residents. In a nutshell, Fireworks is a nice addition to the series, but not a favorite of mine.

Copy provided for honest review.

Boy Toy (Man Hands, #3)

Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby: Review by Cupcake

Boy Toy (Man Hands, #3)

Blurb:

A brand new romantic comedy from your favorite snort-laughing duo!

Liam

The moment Sadie Matthews walks through the daycare center door, I feel my world tilt in her direction. Again. I fell for her when I was fourteen, and I’m still not over her. Problem: she still thinks of me as a teen she used to babysit. But I’ve learned a few things about pleasing a woman in the last fifteen years. I can’t wait to show her how good it could be. I need to move quickly before I lose her again. This is more than a game to me, but I still plan to win.

Sadie

I’ve just survived the worst year of my life. As a single mom of twin toddlers, I don’t have time for a man. I barely have time to finish a thought. Who knew that Liam McAllister would grow up to be so devastating? He’s everything my husband was not: tall, built, and willing to have a tea party with my girls.

I can’t possibly get involved with him. He’s too young for me. Too handsome. But he’s so persuasive…

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4.5 stars

Boy Toy is rom com at its finest.

I barely even made it to 20% and I had already cackled, chortled and chuckled.

Sadie is final member of this little sisterhood to find her HEA and the one I identified the most with. She’s kind of a hippie chick, loves pillows and works in the mental health field. She’s getting her life back together after her butt lick of a husband left her shortly after she gave birth to their twin daughters. Decker is a butt lick. Trust me.

She’s reluctantly trying to get her groove back when she runs into a blast from the past: Liam.

She was hired to babysit Liam’s younger siblings and left an impression on 14 yr old Liam. I know this because 14 yr old Liam has a tendency to interject thoughts into 29 yr old Liam’s psyche to hilarious effect.

Liam is all grown up now and makes Sadie a wee bit drooly with his six pack abs and penchant for running shirtless. To add to the ovary explodingness, he’s working towards his Ph.D. in childhood development at the girls’ daycare. He’s really great with the girls and they adore him. There were so many moments where my heart gave a squeeze: when Amy calls him Wiam, when he gave Kate the golden Band-Aid. So adorable! True, he used his chocolate chip smiley face pancake magic too woo them but he then proceeded to prove himself worthy of their adoration time and time again. Not only that but any guy who will hold your hair while you praise the porcelain god is deserving of a little adoration, in my opinion.

So, yeah, I liked Liam. More importantly, I loved Liam and Sadie together.

There’s something about this known-each-other-for-years/unrequited to requited trope that always appeals to me and Boy Toy is another to add to the collection. I can see it becoming a comfort read.

Both Sadie and Liam came across as genuine. Both had depth with the addition of a little water under the bridge that fleshed them out. Both do a pretty good job of communicating their needs excepting the very brief hiccup that was needed for Sadie to gain clarity. The level of attraction that exists between them was palpable but maybe more important than anything else, they have fun together. They fit together regardless of the 6 yr age difference between them. They make time for each other and trust one another making their future a foregone conclusion to my mind.

There is a teeny tiny sliver of hurt/comfort as Sadie’s ex did a number on her self-image but in the face of Liam’s overwhelming desire that negative self-image doesn’t stand a chance. If bossy in the bedroom appeals to you, you’ll enjoy the sexy times.

There are a plethora of comedic moments but Kate and Amy stole the show. I was laughing so hard at Kate at the big fancy party that I had to put my kindle down. Because I couldn’t see it! The kid is a firecracker and her antics are side-splitting.

I sure do hope these two authors continue to work together because they have some mojo that creates comedy gold. This and Man Hands are the funniest books I’ve read this year, so I hope the hits keep coming. Maybe a spinoff involving Sadie and Liam’s siblings? Or a follow up to this one?

Recommend this book and this series to fans of the rom-com and anyone who likes a sweet romance that’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot funny.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Speakeasy (True North #5)

Speakeasy (True North #5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Speakeasy (True North, #5)

Blurb:

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…
May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.
Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.
Alec
I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.
It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.
Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

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ALL THE STARS!!!!!!!!!!

True story. When I discovered that this one wasn’t going to feature Roderick and Kieran I had a sad, because something is up with those two! But I soldiered on and guess what happened?

I fell in love with this book! I might even like this better than Bittersweet! Bold statement I know, but this book filled up my love tank to bursting.

And now I’m going to squee. A lot. So brace yourselves.

This series always feels like coming home. I love the atmosphere in this sleepy little Vermont town called Tuxbury that SB has created. I love the Shipleys and look forward to catching up with them every time a new book comes out. Tuxbury is really more of an extended family than made up of merely neighbors. They love their craft beers, baked goods, whatever Audrey cooks up in the Shipley kitchen for Thursday dinner, organic farming and the sense of community that pervades the True North series are what make it special for me.

May is the oldest Shipley daughter. She calls herself a hot mess for many reasons; she’s an alcoholic, made mistakes aplenty and she generally feels like she’s always fucking something up. In short, no one is harder on May than May. She’s bisexual and been in love with her best friend Lark for years, but Lark does not reciprocate her feels. She actually went and fell for the nicest of nice guys Zach in Keepsake. That probably sent May into a bad “rebound” relationship with Daniela. Who is a bitch. A controlling, abusive and awful bitch.

Coming home from work one night May spots Daniela’s car at The Gin Mill and in an effort to be a nice girlfriend goes in and finds her putting on a show in a booth. With her ex. Who is also awful. Alec, The Gin Mill’s proprietor, intervenes before blood is shed. Good thing since I’m guessing the Vermont Bar Association would frown upon one of its members being charged with assault.

Alec Rossi is the boy your momma always told you to stay away from. He’s made a lifestyle out of partying. He’s the fun guy that found a way to hold a kegger in high school. Every weekend. He’s allergic to relationships and commitment, an allergy which has earned him a rep as a sex wizard. The ladies are never in short supply. Oozing charisma with an aura of laid back that borders on zen makes him VERY popular. He’s also a Rossi. There’s been bad blood between the Shipleys and Rossis since forever, so there’s a certain Romeo and Juliet vibe about Speakeasy that’s extremely appealing. There’s something sexy about sneaking around, isn’t there? Adds to the excitement or something.

Naturally both of these characters have more depth than they believe themselves to have. Both are well constructed and infinitely likable. The banter between them put a smile on my face and kept it there for the majority of the book.

They have sizzling chemistry and embark on a friends with bennies relationship which of course segues into deeper feelings. They both have baggage but that baggage felt genuine, honest. I never felt that mountains were being made out of molehills or that their angst was contrived. As I watched them fall in love I could see how well they compliment one another which is guaranteed to make me swoon.

May’s addiction is still very much a part of her life and isn’t downplayed. I wouldn’t say that I enjoy reading about addiction but if it’s going to be integral to the character then I applaud when it’s portrayed authentically and SB not only did that for May but she again addressed the opioid epidemic that’s plagued the northeast for several years now and is now spreading like wildfire through the rest of the country.

May’s bisexuality wasn’t sidestepped either. She truly believed that her future lay with another woman but once she realizes that she’s fallen for Alec she doesn’t hold back. She fully commits to him and the possibilities of a future with him, but it’s made clear that doing so doesn’t make her any less bisexual.

The fact that Alec isn’t intimidated by her bisexuality and is prone to “perving” on her lesbian fantasies made me adore him. Well, that and that he’s not afraid to show emotion. He wears his heart on his sleeve and is honest with both himself and May where his feelings are concerned. He’s a refreshingly honest male character who is alpha in many ways without being an alpha-hole. As much as he likes to believe he’s the antithesis of Griff, I noticed a lot of similarities between them. Alec’s just not as grumpy.

 

Making her happy makes me happy.

The backdrop of their love story is The Gin Mill and its future. It’s Alec’s baby and he has designs on expanding, just not the capital to do it. The way this storyline evolved put May and Alec’s connection front and center. It also showcased what makes me love the Shipleys and this little town so much. It made me a little verklempt a couple times to see it unfold. Maybe it was a little “too easy” but I do not even care. Not. One. Care. It was perfect to me in every single way and I can’t wait to reread it.

I have nothing else to say on this long and rambling road other than I LOVE GRANDPA SHIPLEY AND HIS OLD SCHOOL WORDS! Can’t wait to catch up with everyone in the next installment *side mouths* which I’m rully hoping is about Kieran and Roderick. Please don’t make me beg, SB.

An ARC was provided.

Studly Period

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, 3.5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Lost in a Book

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, #3.5)

Blurb:

A serialized story from Sarina Bowen.
Get it here only. 

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?
It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?
A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.
When Pepe Gerault sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.
I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

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4 Stars

This was a refreshing little pick-me-up each week. The best part is that I could be lazy and have it be served directly to my email. For Free. Add in a nerdy girl still carrying her V-card and a hot ass french hockey player named Pepe and I was one verra verra happy Lost.

Pepe is this big bear of a hockey player with a fluffy teddy bear demeanor. English isn’t his native language and he heads to the tutoring center for help on his papers. This is where he meets the shy, Josephine. There’s lots of tutoring going on between these two. For real just tutoring… until there’s more and the build-up was fabulous.

I wish it was longer, the beginning and lead up was on point and once they got together it was sort of rushed and then tada here’s the epilogue. Still totally enjoyed it, it was freeeeeee, hit a bunch of my preference boxes and made me want a Pepe all to my self.

I was excited each time it hit my email inbox. Definitely Recommended.

Cover Reveal: Sarina Bowen’s upcoming release May 29

 

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Synopsis:

Sometimes you fall for Mr. Right. And sometimes for Mr. Right Now…

May

Did you hear the one about the girl who walks into a bar and catches her live-in lover kissing someone else? No? You’re the only one in town who missed it.

Luckily Alec is there to wrap me up in strong arms and carry me out the door before things get too ugly. And that’s not all Alec is good at. Our unexpected chemistry makes him the perfect rebound guy.

Alec

I should know better than to hook up with my rival’s little sister, but the fiery look in May’s eyes really turns my crank. She needs cheering up, and I’m just the guy for the job.

It’s not like I’ll fall in love. Not even after a string of scorching hot trysts, and the realization that we’re good at the same things: wild nights and familial disappointment. I don’t do love, never have, never will. So this is the perfect arrangement, for both of us.

Nobody would approve, but nobody has to know…

 

Amazon:  http://geni.us/AmazonSpk 

iBooks: http://geni.us/iBooksSpk 

Kobo: http://geni.us/KoboSpk 

 Goodreads: http://geni.us/GRSpk 

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FREE Sarina Bowen Serial

Study Period by Sarina Bowen

  Male bodybuilder reading book on sofa
Synopsis:
She’s a brilliant writing tutor. Too bad she’s tongue-tied every time he sits down in front of her…

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?

It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?

A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.

When Pepe St. George sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.

I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

 

How This Works:

Beginning on Tuesday, March 20th, you will get one chapter each week, straight to your email inbox! Anyone who signs up midstream will immediately receive links to previous chapters. No reader will be left behind!
Studly-Hour-Excerpt

“Bonjour.” The deep voice—from right above me—startles me so badly that I jump. My phone goes clattering to the desktop as I whip my chin upward to see whomever snuck up on me. 

Désolé!” he says. “I should come back later?”

“No,” I say, fumbling my phone back into my bag. “Please sit down.” 

My heart is banging against my ribs, and not only because he startled me. If possible, I’m even more awkward with men than with women. It’s worse if they’re attractive.

And this guy? Very attractive. Wow. He has a wide, handsome face and coal-dark eyes ringed by impressively thick lashes, and a broad face. Broad shoulders. 

Broad everything. Wow. He must eat a lot of protein. And now I’m staring as he arranges himself in the chair opposite me and draws out a folder. He’s really handsome. One of the BPs, for sure. 

I can’t stop staring. There’s something rugged about him that’s hard to describe. There’s color in his cheeks—at least the part that’s not covered with dark scruff. And his biceps bulge from the sleeves of his T-shirt. He reminds me of a superhero going incognito, concealing his identity among the ordinary college students. 

Though the muscles can probably be explained by the logo on his T-shirt—Harkness Hockey. 

It’s always the jocks who need tutoring. I swear. Nadia I have a disagreement about this. She says that jocks are used to coaching, and thus accept tutoring help more readily than the general population.

“I think they’re just not as smart,” I always tell her.

She just shakes her head. “You say that, but you’re still intimidated by them. So which is it?”

Indeed.

“How can I help you,” I whisper up at this handsome giant. 

He frowns, and then folds massive hands onto the desk between us. “Excusez-moi?” 

People always tell me my voice is soft. That I’m hard to hear. He must agree, because he leans forward, those big, dark eyes blinking in close proximity. It doesn’t help the knee-knocking, teeth-rattling nerves that overtake me whenever a beautiful man looks at me.

Get a grip, Josie. “How can I help you today,” I ask carefully.

Bon. I have the paper due for English. And my English is not so excellent. So I hope you will help me find all the places I fuck it up. I bring it…” He opens a folder and rifles through some papers.

For a long moment I just blink at him. “Your English…” Did he just say that he didn’t speak the language?

“When I come to Harkness last year? I don’t speak much English at all,” he says, dropping a rough draft of an essay on the table between us. “Please help me find zhe places where I fuck up the grammar.” 

His honesty has stunned me. The Harkness students I’ve met so far would never admit to any kind of weakness. In fact, they tell me that most students wait until their grades are in jeopardy to find the tutoring center at all. 

And I don’t blame them. Struggling? That’s shameful. Harkness is a top-notch school where everyone worships at the alter of intellectual exceptionalism. With an admissions rate that hovered around nine percent, having a big brain is the only way to get in. 

Or at least I thought it was. Every year, something like a thousand valedictorians get rejections from Harkness. Who would dream of implying that he isn’t as qualified as the next student? 

This guy.

Studly-Period-Sarina-Bowen-free-download

More In This Series:

The Ivy Years novels are a series of inter-connected stand-alone stories. The first book is The Year We Fell Down, available at:

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Brooklynaire

 

Reviewed by Cupcake

4 So, Cat tacos Stars!

O Fluff Queen! My Fluff Queen!

I’ve been waiting for this story since Rookie Move where Nate and Becca leapt off the page. Through the first three books their story has evolved but always maddeningly in the background. Until now.

“Everything worthwhile is complicated.”

If you’ve not read the first three, no worries! You’re probably better off than the rest of us, because much of this I already knew thus I found myself getting impatient for them to just be together already! Were there another 10-20 chapters after they got together, I would’ve been happy as a clam. I know they’ll show up in the rest of the series, but if there were to be another Nate and Becca book I would not be mad about that. At all.

Brooklynaire is a bit Cinderella with a dollop of opposites attract and a recurring fairy tale vibe.

Billionaire tech genius Nate Kattenberger has been pining for his office manager Rebecca Rowley for years! YEARS! She’s seemed oblivious and uninterested. Turns out she’s been sublimating her attraction. A head injury sets the wheels in motion triggering all of Nate’s protective instincts. Once he opens his heart and house to her in an effort to help her recover, he can’t seem to stuff everything back inside the box he’d put all his feelings.

I love love LOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEE Nate!! A geek who has a tendency to get lost in his own head, loves Sherlock and palindromes, he’s levelheaded, scary intelligent and generous. He’s a billionaire who hasn’t lost sight of what really matters, cares about his employees, is forthright and hasn’t lost the ability to identify with people far removed from his tax bracket. Is he too perfect?

Just look at that cover! Would you look at that cover? Don’t we all want that dude to be perfect? I admit it. I swooned. Sorry. Nope. Not sorry.

Rebecca, on the other hand, confused me. Through all three of the books she’s been sassy and fierce, but here she’s suddenly insecure and self-conscious about her body and her reputation within the company? Every woman I know struggles to some degree with body image issues so that felt authentic. However, she’s worked for Nate in some capacity for seven years. Seven years of proving herself invaluable, competent and reliable, so when she started freaking out about everyone assuming she’d slept her way to the top not only was a squinting but it just didn’t jive with the Becca I thought I knew. I still love her, her bubbliness and her ability to make everyone feel at ease. Ultimately she finds a way to make peace with her feelings and her reputation so it was a moot point.

Brooklynaire is sexy. My Fluff Queen is in a class by herself when it comes to bossy tops, so I should’ve anticipated it but I was still caught a little off-guard when the words started coming out of Nate’s mouth. He seemed so… sedate. Always the quiet ones, I tell ya.

There’s still a good bit of hockey happening since Brooklynaire overlaps Pipe Dreams. We learn how the playoffs actually went between Brooklyn and Dallas. The twist at the end kicked things up a notch and has me wondering if that’s going to crop up again in the future.

The secondary characters are fantastic, as always. I can’t even decide who I’d like to read about next. Castro? Heidi Jo? Silas? Stew?

Nate and Becca’s relationship is fluff magic and the last chapter plus epilogue were incandescent leaving me with a bad case of the feels and wanting more.

If you need some fluffy, swoony goodness in your life, look no further.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.

Man Card

Review by Cupcake

3.75 Nothing ventured, nothing banged! Stars

There were some great one-liners in this one but it’s less lighthearted than Man Hands. Man Card picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first and involves the hard-nosed Ash and the guy who worships her, Braht. Who also just so happens to be her biggest rival at VanderMollen Realty.

Both of these characters have suffered hardships in their past and those hardships play large roles in the narrative. How their pasts intertwine was a clever twist that I wasn’t expecting but solidified them and their coupletry in my mind.

Overall Man Card is what I would categorize as enemies to lovers lite. Yes, Ash “hates” him and puts up a decent front but she’s unconvincing in her hatred especially considering every two minutes she’s thinking about jumping on Braht’s brat. Granted, she views this as a character flaw but try as she might, she is unable to resist him. The thing is, she doesn’t trust herself anymore so she’s reinvented herself as a together, self-sufficient woman who is highly organized with her color coded… everything, planner with inspirational stickers and washi tape who absolutely, unequivocally is not interested in a relationship.

Underneath the Ash-kicker exterior though something in her seems to recognize that Braht is for her and that evidences itself in little ways that add up to everything. As they become closer over the course of the story she begins to trust him and seek him out when she needs comforting. She’s still take no prisoners when it comes to besting him in the real estate biz, but some part of her recognizes that Braht would never hurt her, never betray her.

Braht is one of those characters that’s hard to resist. He’s cocky, self-assured, charismatic and oozes confidence with his exceptional wardrobe, manscaping, excellent hygiene and constant usage of cheesy endearments. The thought that his honeybear a.k.a. Ash won’t be forever his some day never enters his mind. No matter how much she snubs him, he just keeps pounding at her gates. He is a force but he’s also intuitive particularly when it comes to her and I never expected to like him as much as I did.
 

Looking your best is 70% confidence, 20% raw material, 10% imported photographic lenses and 5% lighting. Pay no mind to the total of more than 100%, because in my case that’s what you’re getting. The poster is 105% awesome.

What these authors are really bringing to this series, aside from their chemistry, is the sexiness. If these two aren’t banging each other they’re thinking about banging each other. Braht even gets Ash’s office supplies in on the X-rated fun! If one were to fall into the judging a book by one’s cover category then one would probably believe that Braht with his penchant for spa days, mani/pedis, chick flicks and highbrow facial creams would be extra genteel when it came to visiting Pound Town for fear of mussing his hair or wrecking his manicure.

Exhibit A:

 

“I don’t like you very much,” she says in a small voice.
“You’ll like me better when I’ve tied you to the bed in your parents’ cottage.”
She makes a noise that’s half rage, half lust. Oh, I’ve got her number. I really do.
“I brought four neckties in preparation, Hermès, of course. Very silky.”

The defense rests.

He may be metrosexual but he’s also a “sex god in pastel”, so give that man a platinum man card! STAT!

As sexy as it is it does have more weight than the first in the series. It’s still captivating, not overly heavy and left me with the warm fuzzies, but I missed the levity of the first one. In addition to the evolution of Ash getting her HEA, Brynn and Sadie are still integral to the story as is Tom. There were also a couple of tertiary characters that really made an impact in Bramly and Hank. Hank who used the term “pancake sandwich” in reference to someone’s balls. Werd. Now, if that doesn’t leave an impression I don’t know what does.

I really hope Sadie’s story is next and that it’s not that far off, because that Earth mother needs some happy PRONTO! I *might* have a genuine conniption if it happens to be with Mr. Pancake Sandwich, because epic.

Recommend to enemies to lovers and contemporary romance fans who enjoy low-angst and fluffy reads.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.