Relay by Layla Reyne
With the Olympics right around the corner, I’m all about an Olympic romance, even though this one takes place in the summer. We have Alex and Dane, who have both made the team for the Olympics as swimmers – but they hate each other. Like, really hate each other. They have a bad history, and now have to train together in the three weeks heading into the Olympics. Alex sees Dane as the charmer, all-american who gets everything he wants. He doesn’t know that Dane’s parents are extremely controlling his life. Alex has a sick mother and a family without much money and has a lot of stress since he can’t be home much to help them.
I didn’t really enjoy this book. This group of Olympic swimmers were so immature and unprofessional, I just don’t see them in real life (although I should remember the antics of Ryan Lochte….). Dane and Alex get in a physical fight and when their teammate tries to separate them, he slips on the wet floor and his bone comes out of his leg. No longer can compete! Probably forever! And he is like – eh – I can go home and see my wife. It’s all good. HUH?? Even the coach wasn’t that upset. It didn’t make any sense
Dane’s parents are horrible and get way too much page time. I didn’t need to read about them for more than a paragraph. They constantly call the newest member of the team, “pup” and it got on my nerves. The romance gets lost in this one as well. Didn’t work for me.
Myth Manifestation by Lisa Shearin
I jumped into this urban fantasy series at book five, which I normally wouldn’t do but the author thought I could follow along – and I did. I didn’t have a problem understand the world and the back story. But – there are a lot of characters in this book. Many, many different types of supernaturals, who pop up throughout the book. The heroine has a lot of different powers, some new, and it became a bit too much. Not complicated, just overly populated. I was also a little surprised that by book five, the romance was still working itself out, and it wasn’t established yet. Very cute heroine though – and a cute story line. I enjoyed it.
Down by Contact by Santino Hassell
M/M Sports Romance
Where in book one we had a grumpy NFL hero and his assistant who fall in love, in book two, we have two NFL players who have somewhat exhaustive immature banter.
Simeon Boudreaux is a NFL quarterback, who recently came out as gay. He is charming and not shy and doesn’t have a problem speaking his mind…which is how he gets into trouble. Adrián Bravo was a teammate of Simeon’s, where Simeon was treated horribly in the locker room. When the Baron’s quarterback got injured, he was traded to the Baron’s to replace him. Simeon found a good home with this team and has excelled – so much so – that the Baron’s have crushed Adrian’s team ever since. And now Adrián has accused Simeon of “handing over the Predator’s playbook to a longtime rival.”
Simeon does not take kindly to this accusation and they get in a fight – on the field. Both get suspended and assigned community service – together. Now these enemies have to work at a community center working with the kids football program.
The highlight of this book is Simeon and Adrian’s time with the kids at the community center. For all of their frustration for having to do community service, they take their assignment serious.
The non-stop insults and joking and immature conversations was just a little too much for me. Adrián is bi-sexual, so him committing to Simeon in a physical relationship is a big deal for him. Their romance is more of a physical relationship shown in this book, rather than the two of them courting and falling in love. There is a HEA, but the emphasis is on the sex. I liked book one more than this one but I still enjoy the Barons’ team.
Into the Darker Half by Aralind Hargrave
Into the Darker Half is an urban fantasy with a complex female protagonist, Anne, who is half hag and half demon. Working as a messenger for her half-brother Blake who is a warlock, Anne is currently trying to convince him to introduce her to their father to arrange a meeting concerning her mother. An encounter with a Seerer and a motorcycle gang sends Anne into a tailspin that leaves her questioning everything she knows.
An energetic premise and atmospheric beginning instantly hooked me. Unfortunately, the story soon begins to lose steam and direction. So much potential with no follow through. The lack of world building and characterization along with multiple random plotlines that didn’t fit quite right into the story and I found myself confused as to what exactly WAS the storyline. Hardgrove ends on an ambiguous note, hinting at a possible sequel. NOte: This has been retitled The Storm Hag.
By The Book by Julia Sonneborn
Anne Corey, an English professor at Fairfax College, is attempting to publish in order to secure her tenture. Imagine her surprise when she learns the new university president is none other than her former fiance whom she broke up with years ago. Between her novel, the interest of the college Lothario, and her own conflicted feelings towards her ex, Anne soon discovers that sometimes, all you need is a little persuasion.
A modern take on Jane Austin’s Persuasion, By The Book, offers readers a smart, witty, charming, and heartfelt novel of lost loves, family expectations, and second chances. Fans of Persuasion will appreciate the effort Ms. Sonneborn makes to preserve the integrity of the original story while using her skills to make this version wholly her own.
Twice in a Lifetime by Jodie Griffin
This is a quick read about two 50ish women who fall in love. It’s super sexy and you definitely see the tension and chemistry between Eve and Talia. At times it felt like it was weighed down by minutiae of work stuff and kid stuff. The book is on the shorter side, 202 pages, so it felt like some things were really quick- specifically how Eve and Talia went from dating to being in a relationship and telling their kids. There is also a plot where someone is threatening female officers in the city and so that is hanging over the story. Although I could have done without it, it was still handled well. If you are looking for a f/f story, “seasoned” main characters and don’t mind a little bit of suspense, you may enjoy this story.