Unwritten Rules by KD Casey

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

Zach Glasser has put up with a lot for the sport he loves. Endless days on the road, playing half-decent baseball in front of half-full stadiums and endless nights alone, pretending this is the life he’s always wanted.

The thing is, it could have been everything he ever wanted—if only he’d had the guts to tell his family, tell the club, that he was in love with his teammate Eugenio Morales. Well, ex-teammate now. When Zach wouldn’t—couldn’t—come out, Eugenio made the devastating choice to move on, demanding a trade away from Oakland. Away from Zach.

Three years and countless regrets later, Zach still can’t get Eugenio out of his head. Or his heart. And when they both get selected to play in the league’s All-Star Classic, those feelings and that chemistry come roaring back.

Zach wants a second chance. Eugenio wants a relationship he doesn’t have to hide. Maybe it’s finally time they both get what they want.
 

The Review

Zach Glasser lost the best thing in life when he left fear dictate staying in the closet. Fear of losing the sport he loves, the friends and family he’s never told, any chance of happiness with a man who had come to mean far more to him than a team mate.

Three years comes and goes but fate has more in store for Zach and Eugenio. They both get selected to play in the All-Star Classic. It doesn’t matter that it’s been years. The chemistry between them is still off the charts.

So y’all know I love a good sport romance novel. They are my JAM. Add in a second-chance romance, friends-to-lovers trope? I’m about it. There’s so much diversity in this novel, like you would see on a true professional baseball team. Also, Zach has a hearing disability which wasn’t treated as a brief mention. It was present throughout the novel.

I read this when I was supposed to be napping … FYI no naps were had. I couldn’t stop myself from reading.

The way this story was told, in chunks of past and present, really worked. At first it was a little off putting because I expected the traditional one chapter past, one chapter present format. This wasn’t like that. Any time there was a shift, it was easily recognizable.

Do you need to know anything about baseball to understand what is happening here? Nope. You do get pieces of spring training, the all-star game, and activities around the club house, but KD Casey paints such a vivid picture that you don’t really need to know anything about baseball.

Now the romance … it was gooood. The way they flirted with each other in the early stages. While they were training, and when they were together during their off hours. Followed by some steamy kisses. Yes please! I’d give this a 🌶🌶 .5 out of 5 on the spicy scale

Zach’s character, he had my heart. Sure, he fell in love with Eugenio (who had me all 😍 too), but he discovered himself. I liked seeing him understand what he valued in life and the steps he was would take to get there.

Get your copy here

Playing it Safe by Amy Andrews

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Donovan Bane loves playing rugby for the Sydney Smoke. And if that means he has to keep his sexuality a secret, that’s a sacrifice he’s prepared to make. At least until after he retires, anyway. He doesn’t want to be the first pro rugby player in Australia to officially come out while still playing. The team doesn’t need the media shit storm and he’d rather be known for his footy skills. Which means no dating, no relationships, no sex. Nothing but playing ball.

Until one man suddenly changes everything…

Beckett Stanton is out and proud—and not looking for a guy who isn’t. Been there, done that, complete disaster. Unfortunately, on the first day of his new job working for the Sydney Smoke, he locks eyes with Donovan Bane and he’s a goner. Big, gruff, and athletic isn’t usually Beck’s type, but for some reason this man is ticking all his boxes. And it’s clear the feeling is mutual. It’s also clear that Donovan is not out, and doesn’t plan to be anytime soon. Still, Beck can’t resist being the man to show Donovan everything he’s been missing.

For the first time, Donovan doesn’t play it safe and allows himself to indulge in things with Beck he knows he can’t have. But when their relationship gets serious, he knows he has to choose between the career he loves and the man he loves, because how can he possibly have both?

The Review

Ya’ll know I’m a sucker for a good sports romance, right? Well, this one didn’t let me down. I think I’m finally coming out of my book funk.

Donovan has plays professional rugby for the Sydney Smoke. During his time with the team, he’s kept one of the most important aspects of himself a secret. His sexuality. He didn’t want to be the first player to come out and to face the media. It would be easier to face that challenge after retiring.

He didn’t account for Beckett Stanton.

Beckett doesn’t know much about rugby, but on his first day at work for the Sydney Smoke he knows he is immediately attracted to Donovan Bane. But he isn’t sure about being Donovan’s secret. The attraction keeps calling to him though. It’s hard to stay away from Donovan when he keeps showing up.

First things first, you don’t need to have read the previous books in the series to read this one. This is book 7 in the series and the first one I’ve read. Also, if you aren’t familiar with rugby, it’s not hard to follow.

The chemistry between Beckett and Donovan was intense from the get-go. They really couldn’t take their eyes off each other. They both had a lot going on and to consider, but once they made a decision, *fans self* Donovan was such an alpha-like character and to have him want to learn from Beckett? That’s my jam. I’d rate this a 🌶🌶.5 on the spicy scale.

I loved, loved, loved the fact Beckett watched Donovan play and how worked up that got him. I too have experienced that phenomenon and seeing it written into a book was pretty awesome.

I read this one over two nights and had fun reading it. 

To be released September 6th (my bday!!)

Risking the Shot by Amy Aislin

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Time for distractions? Hardly.

A chance at making the playoffs? It’s a dream for NHL forward Taylor Cunningham that just might come true. If he can keep his eyes on the ball—ahem, puck. And study for midterms. Dakota Cotton, eleven years his senior, isn’t just a distraction, though—he’s everything Tay’s ever wanted.

Dakota has no interest in introducing someone who might not stick around to his four-year-old son. Been there, done that, with the divorce to prove it. But there’s something about Tay that hits all of the right buttons and has him wanting to take a chance.

As things heat up between them, and the pressure to succeed hits an all-time high, will they risk a shot at happiness or choke?

Review

Taylor Cunningham, professional hockey player, has been crushing on Dakota Cotton, who works for the team’s nonprofit, since he laid eyes on the man. Dakota may be eleven years older than Tay, but there’s something about the older man that pushes every button for him. Even his four year old son, Andy.

I related to Taylor so much. Not because I’m a hockey player, but because he takes so much on his shoulders. He’s playing professional hockey while pursuing a degree for paramedicine. Then he works on his comic and helps plan a big party for his mom while dealing with the strained relationship he has with his older sisters.

He’s doesn’t share his art with those closest to him because he felt like it wasn’t ever going to be good enough. When he starts gaining his confidence, oh that was such a sweet feeling. It’s something that I struggled with. I’m glad it wasn’t just me (even if Taylor is a fictional character) other people experience the same feelings.

Dakota, oh goodness, he and Andy were my heart. Taylor integrated into their little family unit seamlessly and he treated Dakota’s son Andy the way any parent would want their child to be treated by someone they were dating. And, Dakota, oh boy, he’s quite an attractive fella. He’s smart, creative, and sexy.  I’ll never think about scotch in the same way after reading this.

Dakota and Taylor, the chemistry and tension between them *fans self* whoo boy. I so wish we would have gotten to see what could have happened in the coat room. And the scotch! Like hell to the yes. All the yeses! I’m going to have to file that away for later *cackles*.

Would I recommend reading this book? 100%, read it. It would be helpful reading the rest of the Stick Side series because other characters pop up in this.

 

To be released September 8th 2020 – Get your copy here

Common Goal by Rachel Reid

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.

Review

First, ya’ll I apologize. I’m in a strict hockey headspace because the Stanley Cup and HOCKEY IS BACK!!

That being said, this cover, uh, yes please, thank you. I need all the gorgeous goalie covers in my life. I have a soft spot for goalies and their quirks. Like, the goalie head-bumps at the end of the game? I LIVE for those moments.

Eric, veteran goalie, recently divorced and he is exploring his bisexuality for the first time. He’s seen several other players find the type of love he didn’t think he could have and he’s finally found someone who he wants to experience these moments with.

Kyle is getting over his long time crush and offers his expertise to Eric. As he and Eric end up in each other’s lives more often than not, it would be hard not to form a friendship. That relationship steadily develops the more time they spend with each other.

What I absolutely loved? Eric, just one hundred percent Eric. He had a kinship with the goalie posts and it reminded me of all the moments I caught of a goalie tapping their goal posts after a save, or pregame as they’re getting into the zone. There was more to him than being a professional hockey player. He has a love for art that he wants to share with people (which just so happens to be Kyle). I enjoyed the party scene where he and Kyle were off on their own connecting with each other. Even in a house full of hockey players, it still felt intimate.

Kyle,  oh I felt for him. I just wanted to give him all the hugs. Like I know what it feels like to be in those shoes, crushing hard on someone only to find out they’ll never return those feelings. I just wished he would have had more faith in Eric instead of being stuck on the age difference.

They were such a great pairing though. Their chemistry as both friends and lovers was off the charts. They communicated, tried new things and enjoyed themselves when they were together.

I have so much love for this series! If you are a hockey fan, give these a read because they don’t let you down At all.

Pre-Order your copy here

To be released September 21, 2020

 

The Rivalry by Beth Bolden

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

The first time NFL quarterback Heath Harris meets Sam Crawford, it’s just them, a luxury yacht and a few days of fun in the sun. Sam turns out to be nothing like Heath expects. He’s kind and funny and irreverent—and also unbelievably, shockingly sexy. For three short, glorious, life-changing days, there are no rules.

The second time they meet, Sam has just been traded to Heath’s team, and instead of lovers, now they’re rivals. Heath has spent the last five years working desperately to be the best quarterback the Riptide could ever need, but when injuries threaten to derail his career, Sam is right there, standing on the sideline. Ready to take over, and ready to ruin everything Heath has given his life for.

Rival. Enemy. Teammate. Friend. Lover.

As their orbits collide, sparks fly, and Heath struggles to find the right label and the right box to shove Sam into, hoping to keep him contained. But Sam—and Heath’s feelings—refuse to cooperate.

Sam might not be just one of those things, he might be all of them, and so much more.

Review

Miami was supposed to be a vacation to fish, relax, and hang out with one of his best friends. Except, an early baby arrival, left Heath going on vacation by himself. He did not expect to be on the same boat as Sam Crawford, a younger quarterback and a rival on top of that. The attraction between the two is hard to deny.

Heath, bless it, he’s inexperienced and awkward. He does all he can to cover his inexperience up, which causes a bit of a misunderstanding of what they want from each other in the long run. I loved that Heath wasn’t a confident athlete. He was 100% real. He’s so focused on his career and being the football player he thinks he should be and he forgets to live life on his terms. I felt that in my bones. I related to him so much. It’s hard to pursue a relationship when you don’t have the experience people think you should have.

Sam complimented Heath so well. He’s younger, a little brash at times, but he lives life according to his terms.  He pushed Heath out of his comfort zone, helped Heath learn more about himself while at the same time taking care of his own wants and needs.

At first, they were at each other’s throats and fighting for the starting quarterback position. Eventually, they start to learn from each other. They learn what makes each other tick and how to push each other.

Now to the steam factor … Oh boy, there were some scenes. The tension was expertly drawn out and I needed them to give in to each other. There were intense, burning moments but there were moments that you could tell home much they cared for each other. I melted, just a little bit. They weren’t perfect, but they were just what each other needed.

This is my absolute favorite novel by Beth Bolden.

Get your copy here

My Goal – Narrated by Piers Ryman, Written by: H.J. Perry

Audiobook Review

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

He’s cocky, he’s arrogant, he’s entitled to his big ego. He an International footballer and a multimillionaire. Carlos Garcia’s a huge success on and off the pitch, and he’s got it all. Joining a new football club, he wants his teammates to like him, especially the one man who sets his pulse racing.

As the quietest guy on the football team, Harry Carter avoids attention. He’s so scared of people finding out he’s gay that he’s made sure there are just clothes in his closet. He has nothing to hide, there’s no history, no past, no secret boyfriend, not even a one-night stand. Ever.

Things are changing. Outside of work, Harry’s best friends are a discreet gay couple, but how is Harry going to keep all the secrets when the new guy on the football team keeps hanging around?
Why exactly does Carlos sit next to Harry at every opportunity?
A standalone story with a happy ever after ending and no cliffhanger.

Review

Piers Ryman is probably one of my favorite audiobook narrators. There’s something about his voice that just gets in my bones, puts my in my zen place, and then enchants me as he weaves through the story. He utilized various accents, different regions for each of the characters, even the secondary characters, which brought them to to life.

On to the story part of the review!

I’m a sucker for the friends to lovers trope, stick that together with a sports romance? I am all about it. I don’t know much about football (soccer), but I didn’t have to. I understood what was being written about and didn’t get lost. Which is a huge plus!

Carlos Garcia, well, he’s a man who knows what he wants and he’s going to do what he can to get that. Harry, is in the closet and not all the confident in himself, doesn’t quite understand why Carlos is spending so much time with him. It takes one move by Carlos to open up all the possibilities for the potential between Carlos and Harry to be recognized.

What I absolutely loved about this, was the inclusion of religion and how Harry balances his religious beliefs with a lifestyle he had been taught was wrong. Both Harry’s mother and Carlos’s family were involved and their reactions were shown. There was something powerful in the way they were portrayed.

Harry was a character I don’t get to see often. One who isn’t sexually experienced, but wants to learn and try new things with the right partner. And Carlos was patient, kind, and caring with Harry. They were so sweet to each other. It left me feeling warm and hopeful.

Get your copy here

 

Being Enough by Alie Nolan

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary

Eli has been looking forward to his yearly trip to Camp Lost Lake—a sports camp for underprivileged kids—all season. He is more than ready for a month-long break from his offensive coordinator responsibilities. Until a public fight with the Piranhas’ star tight end, Colton Roth, and the subsequent media fallout, results in the pair being forced to spend the summer at Camp Lost Lake together.

Colton is almost as good at antagonizing Coach Conley as he is at playing football, but as usual, his behavior has landed him in hot water. Now, his position with the Piranhas is on the line, and he must stay away from any potentially scandalous situations. Trying to stay on his best behavior doesn’t last long though, and after hooking up with Coach Conley, it looks like Colton might have put the final nail in his career’s coffin.

Can Colton and Eli survive an entire month in the middle of nowhere together? And will either of them still have their careers intact after the summer is over?

The Review

I found myself falling in love with both Colton and Eli in Being Enough.  They were a true opposites attract couple. Eli Conley is a coach who doesn’t have the time to deal with the drama that one of his players, Colton, brings with him. A risque situation on Colton’s part and a physical confrontation between them lands them both in hot water with their PR people. They needed to find a way to get these men to get along and they find it in Eli’s off season routine. Volunteering at a summer camp together.

Being at this summer camp, seeing each other outside the realm of professional football, allowed them to get to know each other. Being able to see each other in a different light, ignites an attraction they were unaware of.

Colton exudes confidence and sensuality. It’d be hard to resist, no matter who you were. Eli, being older and never having been in a relationship with a man? *fans self* It pushed all my buttons. He’s so open to everything that Colton offers him and willing to explore a completely new part of himself. This definitely had some steamy romance scenes.

I felt the emotions that tore through Eli from the opening pages to the last. He was experiencing something so new, but revelled in everything that Colton had offered him.

I’m really glad that I continued on with this series. It dove in and read it in one sitting. Do yourself a favor, check out this book.

Get your copy here

His Favorite Player by Alie Nolan

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary

Ryan has been living a lie his entire life in fear of losing his NFL career, because of who he is behind the lie. Football is all he’s ever wanted, the thing he loves most in the world—until he meets a gorgeous man in a bar, with bleached-blond hair, a sexy British accent, and a Piranhas hat, who changes everything.

Alec doesn’t understand American football—why would he? The cute stranger in the bar doesn’t need to know that though. What starts as a simple white lie about his favorite NFL player, turns into so much more.

Living in a new city, thousands of miles from his home town, the last thing Alec expects is to be swept up into a secret romance with one of the Portland Piranhas’ biggest stars, but is falling in love enough for Ryan to risk losing his career by coming out? Is it enough for Alec to go back in the closet until Ryan retires?

The Review

His Favorite Player was a quick, fun, and low-angst football romance. Ryan and Alec has instantaneous chemistry and a connection that built as time passed.

I love the trope, a celebrity falling for someone who has no idea who they are. There’s an appeal, for someone famous to find someone that makes them feel normal, and loved, and more than what they are famous for. It just tickled me that he lied that Ryan was his favorite player, with no clue he was talking to Ryan. He and Ryan are so happy together. There were times that had me grinning as I read scenes with them together.

They were such a fun couple, foodfight and all.

The *cough* romance *cough* scenes were plentiful. If you’re looking for more of that than a drawn out romance, this will hit all your buttons. I just wanted there to be more.

One scene that stuck with me, and will stick with me for a long time, is when Ryan’s father met Alec. I could sit here and tell you all about it, but I think it’s best experienced by reading it yourself. It was organic, honest, and touching.

On to book two!

Get your copy here!

Tough Guy by Rachel Reid

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary: They have nothing in common—so why does Ryan feel most like himself whenever he’s with Fabian?

Pro hockey star Ryan Price may be an enforcer, but off the ice he struggles with anxiety. Recently traded to the Toronto Guardians, he’s determined to make a fresh start in the city’s dynamic LGBTQ Village. The last thing he expects to stumble upon in his new neighborhood is a blast from his past in the fabulous form of Fabian Salah.

Aspiring musician Fabian loathes hockey. But that doesn’t stop him from being attracted to a certain burly, ginger-bearded defenseman. He hasn’t forgotten the kiss they almost shared back in high school, and it’s clear the chemistry between them has only intensified.

Fabian is more than happy to be Ryan’s guide to the gay scene in Toronto. Between dance clubs and art exhibits—and the most amazing sex—Ryan’s starting to feel something he hasn’t experienced in a long time: joy. But playing the role of the heavy on the ice has taken its toll on his body and mind, and a future with Fabian may mean hanging up his skates for good.

The Review

I looooved this book. I’m an unabashed hockey fanatic stuck in Louisiana. I don’t think we get enough books featuring players from the defense (or goalies or gingers). There is more to Ryan Price as a person than being an enforcer on the ice, and he’s trying to figure out what that means for him. He gets traded from team with the expectation that when it comes down to it, he’ll be there to drop gloves. Arriving in Toronto, he doesn’t want to be that player. He wants to find his love for hockey again, and but he doesn’t know how to find it. I’m going to focus a lot on Ryan’s character, I apologize in advance, but some of the things he said and did, I felt it in my bones.

Ryan and Fabian met when Ryan billeted with Fabian family for a year during his junior hockey years. They shared a moment with each other, but then were separated. (I have such a need for a YA book with this premise, just FYI) Fabian is chasing his dreams, playing music, working in a drug store support himself, and then Ryan unexpectedly comes back into his life.

The chemistry between the two of them, it was present since their youth and it has only grown stronger since they’ve reconnected as adults. As they’ve started to get to know each other as friends, their relationship slowly transitions into something more steamy, delicious and just perfect.

Rachel Reid does something great with Tough Guy. She acknowledges the mental health stigma that men face, and the impact treating those illnesses can have on a personal physically and intimately. There is a moment between he and Fabian, that I wish I could quote it here but it would be entirely spoiler-y and I won’t do that to you, but I felt it in my heart and it brought tears to my eyes. Anxiety makes your mind do crazy things, even during sex, and Ryan trusting Fabian enough to be open with him about this? That got me. I finally felt like there was a character out there that was written for me!

Fabian supported Ryan and Ryan supported Fabian in the very best way, even though they had their ups and downs, they were such a great couple together. The supporting characters, Fabian’s friends and Ryan’s teammate, kept this story moving and fun.

Please, go pre-order this. I apparently did in October, then got approved for an E-ARC, so I was all about this book months ago and younger me was on to something.

Order your copy here!

 

 

 

 

Slammed by Lola Keeley

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary:

World No. 1 tennis star Elin Larsson is in hot pursuit of a record number of Grand Slam titles. But between pressing injuries and growing anxiety, it’s starting to feel like her heart isn’t in it.
Gorgeous rival player Toni Cortes Ruiz bursts onto the scene, chasing her first slam.
As their paths keep crossing in big matches, a growing attraction starts to burn between the competitive women.
Elin’s used to winning—but not when the woman she’s falling for is on the other side of the net.
As scandals, the media, and the world starts closing in on them, Elin and Toni need to decide whether they’re competitors or on the same side.
A sparkling lesbian tennis tale about rivals and romance and putting everything on the line.

The Review

Slammed by Lola Keeley was such a fun read. I was unsure that I would enjoy it because I know absolutely nothing about tennis, but while I was reading I felt like it was a sport that I had grown up with. It was easy to get lost in and I connected with Elin and Toni from start to finish.

Elin is at the top of her game, nursing an injury, and working to break a record. Toni has just come back to the sport after rehabbing a injury and is slowly working her way up the standings. Elin finds herself attracted to Toni, but it is a slow burn between them. The best kind of romance. Now I will say, tennis was the main focus here. The romance was secondary, but there were scenes filled with chemistry, flirtation, and intimacy between Elin and Toni. They were so sweet and supportive of each other (I do this happy little sigh when I think of them).

While Elin is pursuing her ultimate goal, there was more to this story than playing tennis and finding love. Elin makes a move to do the right thing when she sees inequality in the tennis world she takes a stand. It made me proud that a woman of her stature wouldn’t ignore what was happening to her colleagues. It’s how we should all strive to be.

I love sports romances, and finding a new sport and author to read was awesome. Even if you don’t know anything about tennis (like me), give this one a read. This book is one that I’ll probably end up rereading because that’s how much I enjoyed it.

Get your Copy Here