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

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

Review: Lady Bridget’s Diary by Maya Rodale

Reviewed by Olive

Lady Bridget’s Diary is the first book of the ‘Keeping Up With the Cavendishes’ series by Maya Rodale (click here for a review of Book 2: Chasing Lady Amelia). I have to admit – I was more than a little skeptical at the idea of a Regency romance based on Bridget Jones’s Diary (BJD), a modern romantic comedy based on Pride and Prejudice (PnP), a Regency romance. It was either going to be amazingly meta … or amazingly mediocre. I’m happy to say this landed firmly in the former camp 😉

[Read more…]

DNF Review: Love Online by Penelope Ward

Reviewed by Caitlin

I absolutely loved Never Sweeter by Charlotte Stein and decided to check out books that were similar. Sexy contemporary romcoms sounded like just the thing, and I’d seen the name Penelope Ward a few times before so I decided to check her out. This book had hundreds of four- and five-star reviews, and I liked the idea of a relationship starting out online before turning physical.

If this is reflective of her work, I think I’ll pass.

She’s not a bad writer. I just hated her hero and was not particularly impressed with the chemistry. Or the casual racism. [Read more…]

Review: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings – Parts 1-3 by Audrey Davis

Reviewed by Elise

Where do I start with this book? It was charming, quaint, very British and I adored it. I’m not sure how to categorize this book. It’s a perfect little mishmash of genres and the description of ‘romantic comedy’ suits it well. This story is divided into 3 novellas. I’m not sure why because as a single book it was coherent and flowed well. Each part is dependent on the other for meaning. and in order to appreciate one part, the reader has to read them all.  So this is a review of the story as a whole than just one part.

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings tells the story of 40-something-year-old Hattie who is dealing with the unexpected death of her husband, Gary. Hattie has the support of her son, her mother and brother, and her best friend, Cat. She also has regular visits from Gary, who couldn’t leave without making sure she would be okay. Gary has his own unique way of ensuring this. The scenes between the two speak of a tender and familiar love. [Read more…]

Review: Making Up by Lucy Parker

Reviewed by Caitlin

I’ve been putting off this review because I couldn’t figure out what to write about it. This is the third book in Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series and it has my two favorite leads so far. The book was funny and endearing, and I really enjoyed getting to know Trix and Leo. I’m a sucker for the strong, silent type who isn’t also a dick, and Leo fills that role nicely.

Trix Lane is a performer in The Festival of Masks, a Cirque-du-Soleil type show enjoying a good run in London. She is incredibly talented, but her verbally abusive and controlling ex-boyfriend Dan has done a number on her, and her confidence is in the gutter. When the lead injures herself bad enough that she won’t be able to perform anymore, Trix is next in line to fill in. [Read more…]

Review: It Takes Two by Jenny Holiday

Reviewed by Caitlin

It Takes Two is the second book in Jenny Holiday’s “Bridesmaids Behaving Badly” series. I absolutely loved the first one – One and Only – and highly recommend it. It Takes Two tells Wendy Liu and Noah Denning’s story.

Wendy’s best friend, Jane Denning, is getting married and Wendy is trying as hard as she can to be happy for her. Whereas the bride in book 1 was a straight-up bridezilla in the traditional sense, Jane is almost more difficult to deal with. Every time Jane mentions how “low-key” she wants her wedding to be, I laughed. Girl, just be high-maintenance. It’s not any worse than high-maintenance-pretending-to-be-low-maintenance. [Read more…]

Review: Pretending He’s Mine by Mia Sosa

Reviewed by Caitlin

Pretending He’s Mine is a standalone contemporary romantic comedy with one of my all-time favorite tropes: the fake relationship. This is my first Mia Sosa book, and even though it’s the second in this series (the first one is about the heroine’s movie star brother), I had no trouble following along.

Julian Hart is a bigshot Hollywood agent whose biggest client is superstar Carter Stone – his best friend from high school. Julian is tightly wound and constantly working or working out (Lord do I love when a book details a hero’s workout regimen). He is worried that he might lose his job because he is outspoken on the matter of representation in Hollywood and his asshole boss doesn’t want him to alienate anyone from his “soapbox.” He also religiously works to keep his personal and professional life separate, which means sometimes he’s Carter’s friend and sometimes he’s Carter’s agent, but never at the same time. [Read more…]

Review: Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend by Kerri Carpenter

Reviewed by Caitlin

So far, every review I’ve written for this site has had an element of fake relationship in it. I swear I read other things.

Her Super-Secret Rebound Boyfriend is cute and light-hearted, and I genuinely liked the heroine. It seemed to hint at a romance for the hero’s sister and his best friend, which I admit I was curious about.

Lola McBride is 26 years old and freshly dumped by her boyfriend for a 22-year-old girl who is hotter than she is – his words. Brutal. Seems like a catch. Her roommate Frankie, a Golden Girls aficionado and serial dater, convinces Lola to crash a 10-year high school reunion in a sexier-than-usual outfit to find a man and bring him home for a good old-fashioned one-night-stand. [Read more…]