Review: Tomboy by Avery Flynn

Reviewed by Sara

I have been thoroughly enjoying Avery Flynn’s Hartigan series and was thrilled when the most recent book in the series, Tomboy was released in February.

ER nurse Fallon Hartigan loves her friends and would do just about anything for them, but when her friend Lucy needs her to help a sick client, she thinks twice. It’s not that Fallon doesn’t want to help, it’s just that Lucy’s client is the most hated man in Harbor City, Zach Blackburn. The newly acquired defenseman for the Harbor City Ice Knights cost Fallon’s team a mint to bring on and then has not only turned out to be a dud on the ice, but he’s also got a major attitude problem. Fallon puts aside her love of the Ice Knights and her dislike of Zach to help, but ends up way over her head as a paparazzi takes her picture leaving Zach’s and that, plus Zach’s sudden upswing in hockey abilities has her thrust into the spotlight as Zach’s lucky charm. While Fallon is able to work her newfound fame to her advantage, what’s not advantageous are her feelings that seems to be changing where the bad boy hockey player is concerned.

Zach Blackburn never started out to be the bad boy of hockey, he just wanted to play. Unfortunately, he learned the hard way that it’s best not to trust and that sometimes the people that care for us the most can hurt us the worst. When Fallon comes into his life, he does everything he can to push her away, but her resilience, her wit and her indomitable spirit make it difficult for him to keep away. As their attraction grows, Zach has to decide if he’s willing to trust Fallon or if he’s going to let the his past get in the way of what could be a fantastic future.

The Hartigan’s series has been a complete joy for me to read and Tomboy is no exception. Avery Flynn does such a great job taking female characters who are outside the norm. They aren’t traditionally pretty, they’re plus size, or, in Fallon’s case, a tomboy, and gives them the role of heroine. This in itself is great, but what Avery Flynn does that is extra special is that she avoids the make-over cliche and doesn’t pit her characters against the traditional heroines. Fallon isn’t special because she’s, “not like other girls.” She’s special because she’s unique, funny, smart and kind. I love that Fallon, like Lucy and Gina from the first two books in the Hartigan series, doesn’t have to change and that she isn’t competing in some imaginary competition with other female characters.

It would have been pretty easy for Flynn to have mentioned Fallon’s looks and limited how they affected the story to simply Fallon’s relationship with Zach, but thankfully she doesn’t. Love may be blind, but it’s easy to see how a person’s appearance that’s considered outside of the traditional standards of beauty is often fodder for ridicule and derision. In Tomboy,  Flynn takes into account Zach’s celebrity and includes the backlash Fallon faces at the hands of the Harbor City media and Internet trolls. This adds a level of genuineness to the book that takes it from a fun and sexy read to something thoughtful and more than a little uplifting.

Along with what I’ve mentioned above there were so many other elements that I loved. As a Canadian, I know what it’s like to live in or near a town obsessed with hockey/a specific hockey team (Go Leafs!), and Flynn has brilliantly captured what that’s like in Tomboy. I love that Fallon has actual work responsibilities just like a real person. My only real complaint, which isn’t much of a complaint, is that I wanted Tomboy to be a bit longer. I would have loved to have seen Tomboy’s villains get their comeuppance and a bit more of the romance between Fallon and Zach.

Tomboy is a fun, sexy and thoughtful Romance. I look forward to the next book in this great series.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Tomboy
by Avery Flynn
Release Date: February 18, 2019
Publisher: Entangled Amara

Review: The Wolf at the Door by Charlie Adhara

Reviewed by Olive

The Wolf at the Door is the debut romance from Charlie Adhara and the start of her Big Bad Wolf series. The books follow a single relationship ARC and, unlike many urban fantasies with romantic elements, each instalment has hot sex and the critical HFN.

FBI Agent Cooper Dayton was attacked by …something… that left him only 70% of his intestine and stuck in the hospital for ages. In order to discover more, he took what he thought would be a lateral career move to the BSI (Bureau of Special Investigations) where he found out werewolves were real and living among us. That was six months ago.

Since then, he’s been partnered with a long standing BSI agent teaching him all about recognising wolf involvement in crime and tracking down the guilty wolves to remand them into local LEO custody. He’s learning that when there’s violent crime with wolf connections, the closest wolf you can find is probably the guilty one. Cooper is bummed at becoming a glorified bounty hunter but still glad to be doing his part. Until he gets called into his boss’s office on his day off to discover he’s been partnered with one of …them…

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LUNA AND THE LIE BY MARIANA ZAPATA (incomplete)

Reviewed by Debz

This is my third Mariana Zapata book, so I feel like I’m kind of an expert. I’ve read Kulti and The Wall of Winnipeg and Me, and I’ll gladly say I enjoyed them immensely. When I heard a new book was out, I very eagerly picked it up and these are some of my thoughts.

As we’ve previously discussed, I consider myself an expert in her work, with this book, I’ve begun to notice a pattern with her male main characters. They’re big. I mean, very large men and that in an of itself is not a problem. When it becomes a tad disconcerting is in the way she describes them. They have ‘ham’ sized fists, their legs are like tree trunks, their clothes are always about to burst due to their size and it honestly just feels a little uncomfortable.

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Review: The Ultimate Pi Day Party by Jackie Lau

Reviewed by Olive

The Ultimate Pi Day Party is the first book in Jackie Lau’s new Baldwin Village series, set in the eponymous foodie artistic neighbourhood of Toronto. The story follows Josh, a tech CEO with massive daddy issues, as he falls for Sarah, the owner of a local pie shop. After testing the delicious sweet and savoury concoctions dreamt up by Sarah, he concocts a scheme to throw the ultimate Pi Day party and win his way back into his father’s notice (Josh’s estranged dad is a retired math teacher). Turns out, Sarah is just as irresistible as her pie and romance ensues.

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Review: Storm the Castle by Jolie Vines

Reviewed by Jen

I’m so incredibly proud and excited for Jolie Vines as her first book goes out into the world. As a romance lover, I’ve read tons of books with a Highland hero, but interestingly, almost all of them were historical or involved time travel. This is my first contemporary Highlander and Callum gave me everything I wanted.

As the story begins, Mathilda is contemplating marriage to her father’s business partner. Not because she loves him—she barely knows the man. But she desperately wants to build a home where she can invite her sister to come live, and her father would only allow it if she were married and could provide a stable environment. Her younger sister has a terrible home-life with her parents and Mathilda feels she is the only one who can save her. The would-be fiancé needs her as much as she needs him, to help him with some personal PR.

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Review: My Life With the Movie Star by Meaghan Hoffmann

Reviewed by Debz

After taking about a month to read this, the one word I can use to summarize this story is juvenile. I feel like the author was confused; she couldn’t figure out whether the characters were full grown adults or teenagers, and I could just feel that confusion throughout the book. The characters were in their early twenties but acted like teenagers, or even preteens.

The books follows the life of Abby Smith (very hard to remember by the way, it just blends into the pages), a young 20 something career woman living in Midwest America when she meets and falls in love with Grayson Edwards, the current heartthrob and star of Texas High

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Review: If I Ever by SE Jakes

Reviewed by Jen

What the hell did I just read? I honestly don’t know.

I wanted to enjoy this book. I really did. In fact, I finally got around to reading book 3 recently just so I could be ready to see how Tom and Prophet’s story finally ended. I’m sad to say, it culminated in a convoluted violent and sexually aggressive mess.

These books have always been heavy in the sex department. Tom and Prophet always connected best when they did it physically — and usually with a little bit of kink. But I felt like all this book was, was action and sex.

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Review: Big Stick by R.C. Stephens

Reviewed by Ericka

This is a second chance and friends to lovers romance that I absolutely loved! It has hockey too :).

Myles and Flynn grew up together as best friends with Flynn’s twin brother Oli. They each pegged themselves as the Lost Boys and later Flynn became Myles’s Tinkerbell (Tink). Tragedy happens and it creates a rift in the friendship with Myles and Flynn. They finally reconnect after seven years when Flynn moves in with Oli after she catches her boyfriend cheating and later finding out that Myles is living next door.

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Review: American Dreamer by Adriana Herrera

Reviewed by Olive

American Dreamer is the debut romance from Adrianna Herrera and follows Nesto Vasquez as he tries to transform his dream from one more struggling but up-and-coming NYC food truck into a successful business Upstate. On arrival, he meets Jude Fuller, a sexy librarian with some dreams of his own, and the proverbial spanner is thrown into the works.

I’m gonna get the not-so-good out of the way first so that I can gush unrestrained about this. There are some editing issues, especially around how the timeline is managed, and the dual-first-person POV is a bit jarring initially as though the author is working a little too hard to differentiate them and not just letting their personalities shine though. That’s really it though.

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Review: Hate You Less by Aubrey Wright

Reviewed by Ericka

I probably should have paid attention to the ratings for this book but I really wanted to give it the benefit of doubt. The synopsis was vague and good, but it all was a good click-bait.

Rick and Anne were high school sweethearts that everyone thought would stay together long after high school, including Anne. After Rick pulled a really dick move by taking her virginity and leaving suddenly, Anne feels devastated and is left with a broken heart. Years later, Anne and Rick are back in town for Rick’s little sister wedding which is also Anne’s best friend.

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