I started out pretty well in January with my goal to read more books this year. I had quite a list of books that I wanted to read and I got through most of them.
1. The Keeper by Jillian Liota– Soccer goalie Rachel Jameson is in her final year at Glendale College on academic and athletic scholarships. It’s quite the achievement for a young woman who grew up in a home filled with drunken abuse, who barely made it out of high school alive. But she’s smart, dedicated, and has her eyes set on that cap and gown next spring. Nothing’s going to get in the way of a hard-fought battle for the freedom and independence she’s so desperately craved. Until she meets Mack. He stumbles into her world with a flirty smile and warm eyes – a man that pushes Rachel out of her comfort zone and into his arms. Their chemistry is swift and undeniable, and soon after meeting the two recognize the depth of their connection. But an unfortunate circumstance forces the two to abandon their romance before it has truly begun. Rachel’s carefully planned life begins to shake like an unstable house of cards, and when she risks losing Mack completely, she has to decide what’s more important. Her future. Or theirs.
I loved this book. I love sports romance books but they have to be written well. I really love soccer romance stories but there are very few well written ones. This was a well written one. Totally believable and the characters were amazing. I was sucked into the story from the beginning and very invested in how it turned out. I read this book in less than 24 hours because I could not put it down! I can’t wait for the next in the series. This book is a standalone!
2. Playing Stacy by Jenn Hype– Stacy’s no stranger to trouble, considering that’s where her smart ass remarks usually land her…in trouble. A drunken night out with her best friend Adalyn lands her in jail. Not that she’d done anything wrong, except for hit on the incredibly sexy cop who showed up to take a report from Adalyn who’d had her purse stolen. Chad, a no-nonsense officer who takes himself and his job very seriously, has no patience for Stacy’s shenanigans and over the top flirting. So he hauls her to jail to teach her a lesson, but didn’t expect it to cause Stacy to become a regular fixture in his life. Stacy ends up befriending Chad’s partner, Joe, who keeps her company after Chad dumps her in a holding cell for the night. Joe and Stacy hit it off right away, resulting in Stacy always being around, no matter how much Chad tries to avoid her. The constant bickering and sarcastic insults only heighten the sexual tension between Chad and Stacy, and Chad’s ability to control his emotions and actions becomes increasingly difficult. A low scale war is declared between them, but their actions continue to both hurt each other while simultaneously pulling them together. When the fighting leads to literal bloodshed, they begin to wonder if they both should surrender before the war destroys them both.
This book was really funny but a little over the top. I couldn’t relate to the male MC, Chad, at all. He just seemed too rigid and it was never fully explained why. Stacy was immature and juvenile and I wanted to roll my eyes at her more than once. So while it was a funny story I probably won’t read anymore in this series.
3. Bad Mommy by Tarryn Fisher– When Fig Coxbury buys a house on West Barrett Street, it’s not because she likes the neighborhood, or even because she likes the house. It’s because everything she desires is next door: The husband, the child, and the life that belongs to someone else.
Holy COW. This book was a roller coaster ride. It’s told in 3 sections from 3 points of view and it’s amazing. AMAZING. I loved it. Throw away all your preconceived notions, don’t read any of the spoilers, and just immerse yourself in this book. You will not regret it!
4. Shelter for Adeline by Susan Stoker– Saddled with a job she hates and a detestable boss she likes even less, Adeline Reynolds could use a break. It doesn’t look like she’ll get one today. Her service dog, Coco, is alerting her she’s about to have an epileptic seizure—and her frustrated blind date has left her to deal on her own. Enter firefighter Dean Christopherson, who escorts her to the nearby fire station, where she can suffer through her ordeal safe from injury and prying eyes. Dean—known as “Crash” to his friends—didn’t expect to find The One in a diner during his lunch break, but he’s blindsided by the beautiful, brave Adeline. She brings out his every protective instinct—along with the carnal ones. As they get to know each other, Dean’s feelings for Adeline grow fast, as does his irritation with her boss, whose behavior is suspicious at best. As much as he wants to protect Adeline from the world, Crash has to tread carefully. His overprotectiveness could push her away…and leave her vulnerable to a man whose obsession has reached the boiling point.
This is book #7 in the Badge of Honor series and it’s so good. I love all of her books, no exceptions. This one was fantastic. You don’t have to read them in order and they are all standalone stories. All of her books have action, suspense, romance, and hot hot heroes. The perfect storm! I highly recommend all of them.
5. Bad Husband by Shey Stahl– Ridley Cooper is on a mission. And if there’s one thing he’s good at, it’s getting what he wants. What’s he not so good at? Being a husband. At least that’s what his wife would say. For most of my life I’ve been focused on one goal. Making a name for myself and building a business from the ground up. I’m a hard-working man, confident in my trade and quite frankly pretty awesome if you ask me. Sure, I make mistakes, you’ll see, but I think my dedication helps me out here. It’s the devoted work ethic that has me following through with anything thrown my way. That being said, my wife of the last eight years served me with a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. Believe me, I’m shocked too. She’s under the impression I don’t care. Ridiculous assumption. I know what you’re thinking, what the hell did I do? Let’s not judge me yet until you know the whole story. The way I see it, in the state of Arizona, I have approximately 60 days to make her fall back in love with me. Easy enough, right? You’ve clearly never met Madison.
I love this author. She writes some of my favorite books. This one was unique- it was told from the point of view of the husband. And it’s hysterical. I can actually see my husband doing and saying some of the things that the husband in this book did and it made me laugh out loud more than once. I love books that portray a real marriage- with flaws, and fights, and issues. This book absolutely did that.
6. Tiny Threads by Jami Denise– Jenna always thought her marriage was what fairy tales were made of. That was until the heels on her glass slippers snapped and left her tumbling down to reality. But knights in shining armor tend to tarnish after twenty years, and she’s far from the wide-eyed princess she’d once been. Four kids, money problems and a crumbling marriage tend to wipe away all the shiny and bright and bring on the reality of broken dreams. Royal Grainger knows he’s a lucky man—in theory. His wife is caring and beautiful, he has four amazing kids and his own business, and yet, he’s miserable. He’s detached, tired, and dissatisfied. No matter what he does, it’s not enough—for anyone. The Grainger’s know they’re treading in the deep end, and they have to work together to push through the pain, the hurt, and the monotony of a long stale marriage to reconnect again. A marriage once full of passion and consideration, becomes one full of bitterness and resentment. The past comes back to haunt them in a way they never imagined and their happily ever after becomes a battle. Whatever it takes. The stakes are too high to let go, and for each other, they’ll walk through fire.
This book was intense. It’s a really up close, hard look at a marriage in real trouble. It’s ugly, it’s uncomfortable, it’s eye-opening. I could not put it down until the very last page. I felt sorry for Jenna and I wanted to smack Royal upside the head. Hard. I wish the ending had been a little more fleshed out but it was a really good book.
7. Smoke Signals by Catherine Gayle– On a celebratory trip with his best friend, Ray “Razor” Chambers meets sultry Viktoriya Dubrovskaya and immediately recognizes the desperation in her eyes—a sight he remembers all too well. Permanently in survival mode, the destitute and broken Viktoriya makes him an offer—a proposition he immediately refuses. However, Razor’s counter-offer changes everything for her. A ring. A marriage. A lifetime of opportunity. But learning to live together as husband and wife is as foreign as interpreting Smoke Signals. And where there’s smoke, there’s usually fire.
This book was a tough one to read. I will warn you now, if you have any triggers at all with sexual abuse, assault, or rape- this is NOT the book for you. It was graphic, it was uncomfortable to read, and it was heartbreaking. I almost stopped reading it several times. I’m glad I pushed through it because the story was fantastic and worth it. But man, it was graphic.
8. Justice for Mickie by Susan Stoker– For Cruz Livingston, becoming an FBI agent is a lifelong dream, guarding the streets of San Antonio, a calling. His latest assignment—infiltrating the Red Brothers Motorcycle Club—will help stem the flow of illegal drugs brought into the city by the violent gang. He expects the job to be dangerous. He doesn’t expect to meet the woman of his dreams while undercover. Mickie Kaiser is refreshingly sweet, but her sister is intimately involved with the RBMC’s president. Cruz can’t afford to come clean about his double life without putting his operation in danger, but as violence creeps ever closer to Mickie, his priority becomes crystal clear. Cruz will do anything to keep Mickie alive…even if it means losing her love.
Now I love this series so much. But this was not my favorite book in the series. It was good, don’t get me wrong, but not my favorite. I’m not a big fan of undercover stories. But the writing was great as always and the hero was swoon worthy. Definitely glad I read it but I probably wouldn’t re-read it again.
So I read some good ones this month and I’m looking forward to reading more in February!