Tori’s Mini Reviews:
When I picked up Winner Takes All, I was expecting a steamy, sexy antagonistic romance combined with a conflict that deals with a scandalized ex-football star and his chance at redemption through coaching his former high school football team to glory. We sort of get this but the road to redemption is paved with a long rambling story that struggles to assert itself and is punctuated by a woman who exhibits what I like to call the “lady bountiful” syndrome. A woman whose need to help and be in control is so strong she feels she is the only one who can save the world from themselves and pushes herself into every situation, regardless of what the save-ee wants or needs. The fact she is overwhelmed and complains about it only adds to the irritation.
There is a strong inspirational feel to the novel that is at direct odds with the sexual thoughts both protagonists engage in. The romance is extremely slow to build and Kern never convinced me that it went beyond physical attraction. The sexual objectification of men in here had me raising my eyebrows and the fact the heroine kept threatening her mother’s dog did nothing to endear her to me. I did enjoy the the hero and the journey he undertakes. He is a decent man who took the blame for ha situation and paid the ultimate price because of it. I liked he didn’t play games while I felt the heroine did nothing but. She has her reasons for being scared of commitment but her means of avoidance didn’t cast her in a good light. The ending comes quickly, bypassing all their issues and settling them with a single gesture. While I’m sure fans of Kern’s work will enjoy this extremely low-key romance, Winner Takes All just wasn’t a winner for me.
First off I want to note that this is a reissue of her previous Wicked Play series that consisted of 7 full-length novels. It looks to be the same stories only culled down dramatically. I can not say for sure if there have been any changes as I have not read the previous series but excerpts from both show them to be almost identical. I would love to hear from anyone who has read the previous series and is currently reading this one. Im curious if there were changes made.
Wicked Play, part one, is an emotional full bodied story filled with twitchy sexual tension and erotically charged scenes. There are ten parts to this story that revolves around the club and various couples. Even though only 104 pages, Aicher builds a strong foundation for Aicher’s first couple’s sexual journey as she brings together a woman who’s looking to rediscover herself after ending a sexually dead marriage and a man whose inability to commit to anything speaks of dark issues in his past. The chemistry is outstanding and the eventual romance a foregone conclusion as the emotions that Aicher draws forth from both protagonists are intense and prophetic. Introductions to some interesting secondary characters and the BDSM club this world is built upon only adds to the sense of adventure that is felt while reading. A thoroughly enjoyable niblet though it ends way too soon.
Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci
Series: Broads Abroad, #1
Roman Crazy is a deliciously sexy and humorous second chance romance that follows Avery Bardot to Rome, Italy after she catches her husband cheating on her. Reconnection and re-discovery are the themes on which this story is built with strong overtones of friendship and redemption. An appealing heroine steals the show as she begins to dig herself out from under the shroud of respectability she assumed when she married her college sweetheart and pushed aside her own wants and desires for his. Clayton and Bocci pave Avery’s emotional journey with their vibrant descriptions of the city, the food, and the art; each one a new adventure in helping to reawaken the passion Avery has buried inside her. When her first love suddenly reappears, Avery suddenly gets a second chance to right an old wrong and realizes that her own actions and decisions of the past bear some closer inspection.
Readers will delight in experiencing Rome with Avery she repairs her spirit and recaptures her independence while finding her very own Roman to go crazy with. My only qualm was I felt Avery took a little too long to be honest with Marcello about her situation. Regardless, Roman Crazy is a fun, fast read and I look forward to reading the next in the series.
The first installment of this short serial builds a solid background and emotionally intense world when a Navy Seal comes home to discover his mother dying and his absent father has resurfaced. A situation creates even more heartache for Adam “Reaper” Dedman when he finds himself arrested for assault and discovers he may be losing his last lifeline-the Navy. Lies and deception blend well with the hint of developing sensual romance as a young woman attempts to convince our hero that things are not always as they seem and to give his father a chance. Intriguing narrative, multiple plotlines, and a world weary hero engages from page one and leaves you instantly ready for part two.
Kini’s Mini Reviews:
Meant to be be Mine by Lisa Marie Perry
This author is new to me and the blurb sounded really promising. Heroine returns to her home town and rekindles relationship with old lover. Second chance romance is a trope I really like. It started off well but just went down hill for me. Heroine had a heart transplant at 19. Hero is an addict, although sober for 10+ years. He’s kind of a jerk to her, but yet wants to sex her up. She moves back home because her great aunt passed away. The great aunt’s boyfriend/lover is a lawyer and also kind of in charge of a motorcycle club AND he gets page time and chapters from his point of view. After a few chapters from him, I was ready to call it quits as I prefer my books to focus on one couple.
In My Arms Tonight by Sasha Clinton
There are so many things in this book that didn’t work and didn’t make sense to me. I’ll be honest and say I gave up at the 75% mark. I just couldn’t do it anymore. When I received the review request, I accepted because I like political romance and I had not heard of this author. Kat is a newspaper reporter, Alex is running for mayor of NYC. SO much didn’t work for me in this one:
- When Kat is attacked on the subway (serioulsy attacked and almost raped) a video emerges of Alex holding the perpatrator down and it appears that Alex is the one being violent. Kat ends up defending Alex, and no one even comments on the fact that Kat was almost raped. She is the one that has to apologize because the video makes it look like Alex was in the wrong. She admits she feels guilty for the whole ordeal and everyone just kind of nods their heads. — no.
- When Alex and Kat are in an ambulance after the attack, on the way to the hospital, they are just sitting in the back of the amublance – not strapped to a bed. There is no paramedic in the back with them. Just one driver who runs over potholes and they get bounced around, further injuring Kate. Huh?? Aren’t you always on a bed with a paramedic? Isn’t that the point of an ambulance? When they get to the hospital the driver opens the door and they have to go wait in line to be seen. Aren’t you immediately wheeled back if you arrive by ambulance? This made zero sense.
There is more but since this is just a “mini review” those are the two biggest.
Fighting to be Free by Kirsty Moseley
I decided to try this one because the cover said this book had six million reads online (through Wattpad). That’s a lot! But this one didn’t do a lot for me. The hero is recently out of juvie, after stealing cars. That interested me…and I liked him enough. The heroine though – she is miss perfect (blerg) and has this horrible mother who didn’t seem realistc – and the combination of the hero and heroine was immature for my tastes. (18 and 17). Just too much high school feeling drama and I couldn’t get into it.