The Learning Hours

THE LEARNING HOURS

How to Date a Douchebag Book 3

By Sara Ney

Release Day: September 26, 2017

Standalone

He’s not a douchebag; but that doesn’t stop his friends from turning him into one.

MY FRIENDS WANT ME TO GET LAID.

So much so that they plastered my ugly mug all over campus, in bold printed letters:

Are you the lucky lady who’s going to break our roommate’s cherry?
Him: socially awkward man with average-sized penis looking for willing sexual partner. You: must have a pulse. He will reciprakate with oral. Text him at: 555-254-5551

The morons can’t even spell. And the texts I’ve been receiving are what wet dreams are made of. But I’m not like these douchebags, no matter how hard they try to turn me into one.

THIS ISN’T THE KIND OF ATTENTION I WANT.

One text stands out from hundreds. One number I can’t bring myself to block. She seems different. Hotter, even in black and white.

However, after seeing her in person, I know she’s not the girl for me. But my friends won’t let up–they just don’t get it. Douchebags or not, there’s one thing they’ll never understand: GIRLS DON’T WANT ME.

Especially her.

LINKS:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2eUg3jU
Amazon UK:: http://bit.ly/LearningZonUK
iBooks: http://bit.ly/LearningiBooks
B&NOBLE: http://bit.ly/LearningBN
KOBO: http://bit.ly/LearningKobo

Review:

4.5 stars 

So, we are not allowed to reveal the “douchebag” this book is about, so I am gonna do my best without spoiling everyone (even though it’s pretty difficult). This all starts when a member of the wrestling team is getting hazed by his teammates. As a part of the hazing, they decide to put up posters advertising his need to get laid. Suddenly, this hero is getting hundreds of text messages, but one of them stands out among all the trash.

While I can’t say who the hero was, this is who I pictured the heroine as:

Sarah Ney had delivered one of my favorite new adult romance series! For some reason, the college romances seem to have disappeared from the romance genre recently, and I feel like Ney is the only one keeping it alive. I am so grateful she is, because I love college romances! And the douchebags are some of the best heroes there are!

What I can say, is I really loved the hero and the heroine. Both are flawed and don’t always know what they’re doing, or to articulate how they feel. But together they were perfect. This book was also super hot! Steamy romance fans you will be pleased. There were also some small doses of angst that I appreciated, but being me I wished there was a tad but more.

If you haven’t picked up the douchebag series yet, now is the time! It’s perfect for fall weather and curling up with a coffee/tea and these books.

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley. All/any quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sara Ney is the USA Today Bestselling Author of the How to Date a Douchebag series, and is best known for her sexy, laugh-out-loud New Adult romances. Among her favorite vices, she includes: iced latte’s, historical architecture and well-placed sarcasm. She lives colorfully, collects vintage books, art, loves flea markets, and fancies herself British.

She lives with her husband, children, and her ridiculously large dog.

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Temporary

Temporary by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry

4 stars! 

“He wasn’t looking to strike up a thing with a cash-strapped temp who acted as guardian to her teen sister, and I was not looking to have a fling with a playboy ladies’ man I found way, way too likeable.” 

Grace is raising her teen sister and needs a good job, which is why her new temp gig at a renowned company means she has to do amazing work. Given the task of handling the assests of a deceased family member of the company, Grace is expected to itemized and get the value of a giant art and wine collection.

Callan is the nephew of the deceased, and he encounters Grace in his uncle’s apartment. An agreement is made that Callan will work with Grace but not interfere or hinder her progress. But Callan has an alterior motive, he believes his uncle has a new and updated will, which could potentially end up with Grace losing her position.

The attraction between Callan and Grace is obvious, they both feel it. But Grace needs this job, and she cannot risk losing it all for a hunky Australian.

“Don’t get used to it. This is only temporary.” 

I always know when I read a Sarina Bowen book, I’m going to get something good! I’ve never read Sarah Mayberry before, she’s a new to me author. But I honestly couldn’t tell which author wrote what, so bravo to this writing duo! That’s the mark of an amazing writing team, I cannot wait to read more from these two.

I loved this story, it was so simple and yet it worked really well. Two people working together in close quarters doesn’t mean things will always be easy, but it does lead to some serious sexual tension. This was a really refreshing read, and it pulled me out of a book slump where I had quit 3 books before it! That’s how well done this book is.

Filled with steam, longing, and a little bit of angst, this is the book you need to read to keep you warmed up inside this fall!

“I will not get naked with Callan Walker during business hours. I will not get naked with Callan Walker during business hours. 

ARC provided by the authors. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Fallen Heir

Fallen Heir by Erin Watt

3 stars 

“You are charming, Royal. That’s the problem.” 

First things first: do NOT come at me asking for spoilers or posting about them in the comments of this review. I will not answer any spoiler questions, and I will delete any comments giving away spoilers or asking for them. You’ve been warned!

Secondly: People, please do not hate me. I wanted to love this book, I did.

Erin Watt books are like a drug, you get a hit of that first amazing one, and you keep on reading them hoping for that same high you got the first time. I loved Paper Princess and Broken Prince, but I haven’t really clicked with any of their books since. I was hoping Fallen Heir would be different, since I loved Easton in the first three Royal books, I was so excited to read his story. I kept reading this series because I know Erin Watt is capable of amazing stories and characters, and because of their first two books they published I will pretty much always read their books.

Fallen Prince is the story of Easton and Hartley. Easton is the brother that’s a mess, in fights, sleeping around, getting into trouble. Now that his brother Reed is off at college and his twins are tied up in their girlfriend, there’s really no one around to keep Easton in check. The first week of school he meets Hartley, a girl who isn’t his type but one that he’s intrigued by. Hartley wants nothing to do with Easton, she’s just trying to get by without any problems. But the more Hartley resists Easton, the more he wants her.

This book is a strong 3 stars for me, I enjoyed the story and was able to keep my attention on it, but the more I thought about the book, the more issues I had with it. But first, the way Erin Watt wrote Easton’s POV was amazing, it never not once felt like women trying to write from the perspective of a man, it just flowed and felt like Easton on his own. Not many authors are good at accomplishing the male POV in a way that’s believable, but Erin Watt does it flawlessly. The pacing was also really great, at no point was I bored or wanted to put the book down.

I did like Hartley, but I never understood why she liked Easton. Maybe because we only get his POV most of the book (and the downward spiral he was on it would have been nice to maybe have a break from his POV) but I felt like we didn’t get to know Hartley. Especially since everything Easton did in regards to her seemed like a colossal mess up or a mistake. So I really wish we had gotten to know the girl a lot more, instead all we have is Easton’s slightly skewed perspective of her to go on.

The ending was a bit too much for me, it felt like a parody of a soap opera with all of these bombs being dropped. It actually made me not want to read the next book, instead of wanting to read it right away. It felt like the authors were trying to top themselves with the shock value and it was just a step too far.

Anyways, for the most part I enjoyed this book, just some issues I couldn’t look past dragged the rating down. Lots of people are going to love this, so if you are on the fence, read it anyway. Erin Watt is a talented duo and I am sure they will bring us some amazing books in the future.

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review 

Wild Card

Wild Card by Karina Halle

4 stars! 

“Just because someone has a broken heart, it doesn’t mean the heart doesn’t work anymore.” 

Six years ago, Rachel left the town of North Ridge and fled to the city of Toronto, heartbroken and alone. Now she’s returned to her hometown because she’s learned her mother has cancer. With a career and a boyfriend to get back to, Rachel is eager to avoid her past, mostly her ex Shane, the man who destroyed her six years earlier.

Shane mad a choice years ago, and it’s one he’s always regretted. Shane works on his father’s ranch, a country boy with a dog and his truck. Now that Rachel is back in town, it brings up many memories for Shane. And while he tried to give her space, it becomes clear the two need closure. But Shane wants Rachel back, and he’s gonna fight for her.

“The fault of man is that we never live long enough to be the person we want to be.” 

Second chance romance is like catnip for me, I cannot get enough of it! Karina Halle delivers an emotional and intense romance between two people who were ripped apart too early in their love story. Rachel and Shane had such a sweet and innocent romance, childhood friends to lovers, later to be ripped apart. You couldn’t help but root for them to be together.

I really liked Shane and Rachel as individuals as well as a couple. Rachel is a driven young woman who does the right thing even when she’s been wronged by those who love her. All Rachel really wants is security and for someone to love her. Shane is a quiet yet bold cowboy, a man living a simple life but he knows what he wants and he will tear about the earth for it.

A romance many readers will love, I cannot wait to meet the rest of the men in the North Ridge series!

“My heart would always return to him.” 

ARC provided by the author. All quotes in this review came from an advance unedited copy and may be subject to change in the final product. 

Amnesia

Amnesia by Cambria Hebert

3 stars 

“The sun sees your body, but the moon sees your soul.” 

Amnesia is the story of a small town, where one evening a young woman washes up on the shore of the lake. Eddie, who works at the local grocer, finds this young woman and runs her to the hospital. Once she wakes up a few weeks later, she has no memory of who she is and what had been done to her leading up to her ending up in the water.

Eddie becomes obsessed with Amnesia (as she chooses to call herself) as she reminds him of someone from his past. The two spend a lot of time together, but he’s advised by her doctors to keep his suspicions a secret. Also, someone in town doesn’t appear to be happy that Amnesia is around, and has been watching and threatening her.

“Nothing can stay paused forever. Eventually, you have to hit play.” 

I’ve only ever read the book #Nerd by Cambria Hebert, and I enjoyed it very much. Plus, she’s an absolute sweetheart in real life so I’ve always been meaning to read more of her books. Rave reviews and an interesting memory loss premise are what attracted me to this book. That and an outstanding cover. The book really started out strong, sucking me into the story. Where it fell a bit flat for me was it slowed down about halfway through and seemed a bit too long.

On top of that we have a cliffhanger ending, and I kind of already have my theories what will happen in the next book. I would have been happier with a longer book and gotten all the answers right away than wait for a second book. Plus the romance was a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but that’s just me.

If you want to read something different and well written, this is the book for you. Suspenseful and filled with kind hearted characters, many reader will love this mystery small town love story. It honestly reminded me of a Nora Roberts type novel.

Until It Fades

Until It Fades by KA Tucker

3 stars 

“Something good will come from the bad. It always does. That’s how life balances itself out. That’s how people keep going.” 

Single mother Catherine is driving home from a disastrous blind date when she comes upon a car crash, and she saves the life of the passenger inside. It turns out the man she saved is a hockey star and a celebrity. Having already been through a scandalous affair with her teacher when she was a teen, she doesn’t want any of the media attention that comes with the accident and tries to remain anonymous. But her identity is blown, and that’s when she meets Brett Madden and the connection between them is immediate.

“I promised myself I’d be smarter.” 

K. A. Tucker is a great writer, she has the ability to suck you into a story effortlessly. I thought this was an interesting story, a girl who made mistakes in her past and does everything she can to overcome them. Catherine was a great, strong female protagonist and she was someone the reader could admire. Brett seemed like a really sweet guy and exactly what she needed.

The pacing of this book was very slow, we didn’t even see that much interaction between the main couple until about 60% in. Cinderella story tropes aren’t my favorite, on top of that this book was very sweet so it just didn’t match with my personal tastes. I think a lot of readers will really love this book and this story, so I encourage you to pick it up and decide for yourself.

“No wonder people want the happily ever after between us. I want the happily ever after.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Damaged Like Us

Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie

4 stars! 

“Dear World, stop fucking with me. Sincerely, an agitated human.” 

Maximoff Hale is the son of reality television star royalty. His entire life, he has known nothing but the spotlight, the constant nagging of the paparazzi, and has always had a body guard. But when his guard retires, Moffy is faced with having to spend his days with a new guard. He’s even more shocked when that new bodyguard ends up being his childhood crush, Farrow Keene.

Farrow is five years older than Moffy, and with his father being the Hale family physician, he’s comfortable with the family. The more time he spends with his charge, the more he realizes he’s attracted to him, and the feeling seems to be mutual. The only problem? Bodyguard and charges cannot date, making anything between them forbidden.

“Don’t you see, Maximoff? There’s a cement wall in front of you, and you’ve just been told to be satisfied with staring at it. And so you stand there, not able to see the other side.” 

I was so extremely excited for this book, not only is it a spin-off of the Addicted series, but we get an MM romance too? I was completely overjoyed and ecstatic, it’s like Christmas came in June! Finishing this book, I came to the realization of why I love books by the Ritchie twins so much: they always deliver a quality story with realistic, relatable characters and lots of feels. It’s obvious they take their time when writing a book and make sure the reader gets a story of great caliber. And Damaged Like Us follows in that same vein.

I loved both Moffy and Farrow equally, these two men were amazing! Moffy is the oldest of all the Calloway children, and because of that he falls into the role of protector. Moffy will support is siblings and cousins, would kill for them. His loyalty to his family is the most important thing to him. Farrow values his work, he knows that what he does makes a difference, and he will also do anything to keep the family safe. It’s rare that I say this about a character, but I also really dug Farrow’s demeanor, the twins did an amazing job describing him and developing him.

There were some issues near the end that I felt were rushed and kind of brushed aside. I wish that we had seen more of what came of those issues, but maybe we will see more of their impact in the next book? Or a novella? I was just shocked by the behavior of some of the characters from the original series and never really got an explanation or confrontation about it, which I really wish we had.

I love these authors, I after having read eleven works by them I can honestly say they write the best books in the indie romance community. I really enjoyed this book, it’s a fantastic start to a new series and I cannot wait to read what is to come.

“Millions of people know me, but not like this. Not like that. I hang onto that fact like rope on a wall that blocks my view of everything. He’s how I see the other side. He’s made my life feel freer.” 

Hearts on Air

Hearts on Air by LH Cosway

4 stars! 

“Trev was the one thing in this world I could never, ever resist. I’d always want him. Only him. Even when I know wholeheartedly that I shouldn’t.” 

Trev and Reya were best friends, until they became much more. After years of pining for the guy she always wanted, Reya had him. Until he signed on to a parkour reality television series and the two drifted apart. Now, two years later, Trev reenters Reya’s life, and he is determined to bring her back into his. And he does this by bringing her on the road while his show is filming throughout Europe.

Reya is determined not to let Trev get under her skin again, but being in close quarters through some of the most romantic cities in the world make it difficult to resist him. Little does she know, Trev has been harboring some serious intentions for Reya, and this time he’s not going to let her go.

“Happiness was a stranger, but misery was a dear old friend.” 

I love the Hearts series so so much. Each book brings something unique and special to the table, every story something new, and every character a breath of fresh air. While this can be read as a standalone, we got brief glimpses of Reya and Trev in previous books in the series, and I have always been intrigued by their dynamic and have wanted to read their story.

I love reality television romance, it’s something we rarely see in the book world, but when we do it adds a little something extra to the story. That and Reya were my favorite parts of this book, I loved her as a heroine. She was alluring, curvy, and fierce. She had her issues and her insecurities, but they were what made her wonderful and she didn’t let them hold her back from living her life. Trev and Reya were explosive together, a delightful and beautiful couple. I know readers will love their story.

“He smelled like home. He embraced me like love.” 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 

180 Seconds

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

4 cried my eyes out stars

“It’s going to hurt until it doesn’t anymore.”

180 seconds is about a college junior Allison. After sixteen years of being tossed around the foster care system, unwanted, she was adopted by her father. Now years later in college, she still lacks social skills and would prefer to spend her time studying or in her room. While talking a walk one day, she gets roped into a social experiment where two people stare into each others eyes for 180 seconds, no breaks. The person she does this with is another college junior named Esben, and the experience has a profound effect on the both of them.

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

I went into blind and it was wonderful! It was on the sweeter side and more emotional than I usually like my books, but I still really enjoyed it all the same. I love heroines that aren’t the norm, and Allison wormed her way into my heart very early on in the book. This is a story not just about love, but friendship, family and kindness to others. But what I loved most actually was this was a new adult college read: I really missed reading that kind of book, it feels like no one is writing them anymore.

Anyways, if you are up for an intensely emotional novel, this book is the one for you! I really liked it and look forward to more that Park has to offer readers in the future.

“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”

Rhapsodic

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

5 stars!

“People like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”

Rhapsodic is the tale of Callie the Siren, present day bounty hunter with a past that’s always tied to her. When she was a teenager, she needed help and called upon The Bargainer to help her clean up her mess. Lost and alone, she kept calling him back for more and more favors until her wrist was wrapped in the hundreds of favors she owed him. Until one day, he left her and she didn’t see him again.

Now, seven years later he has come back, and it’s time for those favors to be repaid. The Bargainer needs Callie’s help, for something is wrong in the Otherworld, and she has the ability to get answers where he cannot. The only problem? Callie’s help has made her a target, and no one knows who is coming for her.

“Now, cherub,” his words roll off his lips like honey, “the first repayment of the day: you’re coming home with me, and you’re not leaving until your debts have all been paid.”

Rhapsodic is a book that has been recommended to me over and over again, and yet I waited because only the first book was out. I binge read all three of her Fallen World books, one in a row, so I know how addictive her books can be. So when the second book A Strange Hymn came out, I decided to pick this one up. And I am so glad I did.

Thalassa writes the perfect hero. At least, the perfect men for me. Her heroes are flawed, and not always good, but they love their heroines and treat them well. Plus there’s just the right amount of alpha male where it can be considered hot but doesn’t leave me banging my head on the table with frustration. Des to me is perfect, he may not be your typical good guy or bad guy, but he has a job to do, people to protect, and he cares for those close to him.

I fell into this book so easily, Thalassa’s writing flows across the page. I hope this woman does nothing but write the rest of her life, because I haven’t found an author whose writing I meshed with this well in a long time. I’ve read four of her books so far and loved all four of them. And I’m a picky bitch. Seriously, I’ve been told that by other readers.

I highly recommend this book, for all types of readers. You won’t regret it!

“And the mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea may claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.”

Stay

Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

4.5 stars!

“My confidence took a hit after the divorce. But it’s slowly coming back. I feel stronger. More self-assured.”

Hailey runs her own anonymous virtual personal assistant business with her ex-husband, and her favorite client ends up being her favorite hockey star, Matt Erikson. Matt just recently went through a tough divorce and tries to spend as much time with his twin girls as he can. Matt also is intrigued by his virtual assistant, and wants to meet her in person.

Hailey is definitely interested, but her history with her ex has really taken a hit on her confidence. Matt also has his issues with his ex that get in the way of his personal life. But, it may be time for the two of them to take a chance and put themselves out there.

“I’m ridiculously attracted to you. Hottie. I figured I should be up front about that.”
“Shut up and kiss me again, Snipes.”

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have never let me down! Every single book I’ve read by this pair has been pure magic! I cannot get enough! Stay is another great novel that you have to make next on your to be read. I picked up this book and never wanted to put it back down. It’s actually because of Bowen and Kennedy that I love hockey romances, I’ll pass on the football and you better pass me the puck!

I gotta say the best part about this book is we got mature characters, by that I mean a driven and smart heroine who works hard, and a man who isn’t sleeping around. I cannot tell you how many books I’ve read where the guy is constantly slutting it up until he meets the heroine. Both Hailey and Matt had standards and goals, and it was so refreshing.

This was an unconventional slow burn romance, one I can see myself rereading in the future. This book was low angst and low drama, so it’s perfect for all of you out there allergic to those things. I happen to prefer angst and drama, and I still loved this book. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like it!

“I’m a goner for this man. Our relationship might not be ‘official’, but holy hell, I officially feel all the feelings for Matt Erikson.”

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review

Riveted

Riveted by Jay Crownover

3.5 stars

“I was the girl that everyone always assumed was good… so they never asked… but he had and the world stopped.”

Riveted is the story of Church and Dixie. Dixie is that girl who is always sweet and happy, who never lets it show when life gets her down. Dixie knew early on that Church was the man for her, but he didn’t get the memo. Coworkers at a bar, Church is aware that Dixie is attracted to him and a nice person, so that’s why he asks her to come home with him to the South when there’s a family emergency.

Dixie goes with Church knowing she shouldn’t, that she’ll lose her heart even more than she already has. But maybe this trip will be the kick in the pants Church needs to see the good thing he has right in front of him.

“No matter what kind of armor we wear, all of it has a chunk, a dent that speaks to a battle we fought and lost.”

Jay Crownover is an author I always come back to if only for one thing: her characters. I love the dynamic, lovable people she brings to life in her books, you never get the same character twice. Her books are a much needed escape from reality, even when her characters have issues, I am always happy to peak into their lives for a little bit.

My favorite parts of this book were Dixie and Church themselves, I felt they were developed really well and neither one of them annoyed me at any point in the book. I understood their actions and what justified them.

I enjoyed this book, but mostly the second half of it. I’ve noticed something in this book, as well as in Honor and Charged: Crownover has been getting long winded with her writing and it’s been taking away from my enjoyment of the book. The first 100 pages of this book felt super long and almost nothing plot wise happened, and this went away the last ⅔’s of the book which picked up a lot for me. In the nicest way possible, I really hope this doesn’t continue, because I almost didn’t keep reading because of the long winded writing. It felt way too long and a lot could be edited out. That’s just my opinion.

Anyways I am excited for Salvaged and cannot wait for Poppy and Wheeler’s story!

“Sometimes all people can see is what’s different, but those differences are what make us who we are.”

Buns

Buns by Alice Clayton

4 stars!

Clara Morgan makes her living rebranding hotels on the verge of closing. It’s a job she’s wonderful at and it’s given her the stability she never had growing up. Clara is tasked by her boss at a classic hotel in Bailey Falls, The Bryant Mountain House. Upon arrival Clara finds the owner is thrilled to have her there, but his son Archie is not. Clara finds she must prove herself to Archie, that she has the best interest in his hotel at heart, no matter how much he resists her.

The longer Clara stays in Bailey Falls, the more she grows to love the place. And the more time she and Archie spend together, it’s hard to deny an attraction between the two of them. But both of them have a past that can interfere with their future, not to mention in a way Archie is Clara’s boss. It’s up to them to decide whether or not they will let their issues get in the way.

Alice Clayton never fails to make me smile. I’ve read every single one of her books, and I love the anticipation of a new release by her. Will it be funny? Or angst? Or sweet? This book was all three! From the moment I began reading until the very last page I was enamored with the story and these characters. I feel like Clara is unlike any character we have seen by this author, and I loved that Clayton tackled a more sensitive subject with this characters past and did it in a way that’s accurate but tactful.

I thought Archie was great as well, I wish we had delved a bit more into his past, maybe developed him a bit more. But what I loved most about him was he was the perfect counterpart to Clara, knowing when to push and when to let things go. His heart and soul was in that hotel and he wanted to save it, so while he may have fought change, ultimately he wanted what was best for his family legacy and those he employed.

This is a great hate to love story about two people who weren’t looking for each other, but found each other. Oh and if you are wondering about the title, it refers to hot cross buns sold by the hotel. And Archie may have had some buns too…….

ARC provided by the publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Pipe Dreams

Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

5 stars!

OH MY GAWD. I loved this book so hard! Sarina Bowen, you have outdone yourself!!!

Pipe Dreams is the third book in the Brooklyn Bruisers series but can easily be read as a standalone novel. This book follows Mike Beacon, goalie for the Bruisers and Lauren, the office manager to the man who owns the team. Four years ago they had been in a relationship, happy and in love, until two years ago when Mike broke up with Lauren and basically disappeared from her life very rapidly. What Lauren didn’t know was Mike needed to take care of his young daughter, as his wife who he was in the middle of divorcing became terminally ill.

Currently, Lauren has been brought in by the team owner to cover the Bruiser’s while they are in the playoffs. Mike and Lauren find themselves together more often and old feelings resurface. Mike wants to pursue Lauren again, but after he left her Lauren has issues with trust and doesn’t want to risk getting hurt again.

This is a book that every single time I put it down, I found myself craving to pick it back up. I gobbled this one up and wanted to hug it to my chest after reading it! Sarina Bowen is one of my favorite authors, and this book just reaffirmed why I always come back to her books every single time. I was even hesitant to pick this one up, because I just kind of liked the first book, and dnf’d the second. But I wanted to see what else was happening in the Bruiser’s world and I am so glad I did!

Second chance romance is my favorite subgenre of romance, I love seeing two people who belong to each other, make their way back to one another. Mike made a mistake two years before, but in my opinion he made it for all the right reasons. Does that mean he still didn’t mess up big time? No. But my heart bled for the man and the tough choices he had to make, and the one he chose ultimately for the better for his daughter.

Surprisingly for a second chance romance, there was zero to no drama. I kept waiting for it to happen at the 70% point on and when it didn’t, I was impressed! There was a little bit of angst, mostly because Lauren had to learn to trust again, but I completely understand that and so did Mike. And for having a 13 year old daughter in the book, delivering no drama is quite the achievement! What we did get as readers is emotional moments, ones that squeezed your heart but not too hard that it hurt. I found myself rooting for this couple for all that they had been through and was pulling for them so hard!

Anyways, this is a single parent, second chance, hockey sports romance that I think many readers will love and enjoy. After what felt like a rough start to the series (for me) it’s good to know that it just keeps getting better.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Before I Ever Met You

Before I Ever Met You by Karina Halle

4 stars!

“Where there’s a will there’s a way.”

Before I Ever Met You is an office romance between twenty five year old single mother Jackie and recently divorced forty one year old Will. Will had returned to Vancouver after his divorce, in which his wife slept with and got pregnant with another man. Jackie came back home to her parents with her son Ty after her ex was put in jail. Ted, Jackie’s father, works with Will and gets Jackie a job as Will’s assistant.

Right away Jackie and Will feel a pull toward each other. But with a 16 year age difference and a boss and employee relationship between them, both are hesitant to take the plunge. The more they work together, it becomes clear the attraction is strong, one of them just needs to act on it….

“I’ll call you Dream Girl, cause that’s what you are to me.”

Who knew Karina Halle could put out a sweet romance! Normally Karina does the angsty and emotional reads, but this was a wonderful Cinderella story. It was unlike anything we have seen from her before! I loved Jackie and will equally, both pulled at my heart in their own way. I now desperately want to watch Bridesmaids because Jon Hamm was the inspiration (and I don’t like Mad Men, don’t kill meh!). This book basically made me feel better crushing on older hot men, because I am only 2 years older than Jackie is in this book. So thank you Karina for making my older men crushes seem a little bit more attainable!

Honestly, this is easily one of Karina’s best contemporary reads, the characters were relatable and I wanted them both to find their happily ever after, with Cinderella and Prince Charming. This hits two boxes for tropes people love, single parent and office romance. What are you waiting for??? Go and get it!!!

“The heart is nothing if not resilient.”

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review