Review: Temporary by Sarina Bowen and Sarah Mayberry

Reviewed by Joanna

Don’t you just love a book where you’re cross when the story ends ‘cause you have to give the love up? Well I fell for Callan and Grace hard, and I’m sure you will too. Come with me to NYC, if you will.

Grace Kerrington needs to turn her temp job into a permanent one. She’s employed by an Australian company at their Manhattan base, but is late the one morning she’s given an opportunity to show her skills. Luckily they take a chance on her anyway, probably as no one else is available for the somewhat unusual job. [Read more…]

Review: Hello Forever by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

Axel and Caxton were best friends from the age of eight, when they met at church camp. At age sixteen, their friendship took a turn, and they were caught kissing by a pastor.

Theirs was not a progressive church.

The boys’ parents were called, and Cax’s father came down on him like a ton of bricks. The man is a nasty ‘phobe, and it was the last time Cax got to see his friend. For the sake of staying with his family, he gave up all contact with Axel, leaving them both heartbroken. [Read more…]

Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

Hailey Taylor Emery owns a successful virtual assistant business, providing services to her busy and wealthy clients. One client in particular—anonymous, as that’s an option her company offers—is intriguing. She’s almost certain the guy she flirts with, alongside fulfilling his requests, is hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Hailey is a huge hockey fan, and gets a buzz of excitement with every message she receives from Sniper87. Over the course of eighteen months, she buys his post-divorce furniture, sorts him out with a last minute tux, and dashes over the gluten free waffle mix he needs for his twin daughters. But when his pet pooch needs walking, and the company she hires turn out to be creepy snoopers, Hailey has to step in. [Read more…]

Review: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

In this series of more mature hockey romances, Sarina Bowen shows us how love isn’t always enough. Sometimes it doesn’t save the day, and more building blocks are needed to fix some relationships. Trust, honesty and commitment are as big issues. These are grown up thoughts happening right here in this second chance romance.

Lauren, office manager and support staff for the Brooklyn Bruisers, has been in love with Mike Beacon, goalie, for years. They were a loving couple until he broke up with her out of the blue, returning to the wife he’d been separated from, who was sick. Lauren didn’t know his reasons as he rather cruelly left her in the lurch.
[Read more…]

Review: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

This is a rerelease, as Sarina Bowen originally published this story under a different author name. I’d never heard of it so jumped right on the ARC when the email came through.

It’s the tale of Joshua and Caleb, two young men raised in a remote cult in Wyoming. The sort of place where the elders, the men who run the place and have all the power, take lots of wives, picking the prettiest teenagers as they become grown. And the kind of place where young men are of no use if they can’t keep up with the harsh field work. Which Joshua can’t. [Read more…]

Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

Jessie is organizing her brother Jamie’s wedding to hockey super-star Wes. She’s stressed, more so as she’s trying to impress her family in the face of being a screw-up with frequently shifting careers. She certainly doesn’t need the unhelpful advice of Wes’s best man, Blake.

Blake’s also a hockey player, dark haired, green eyed and with a mean case of hyperactive puppy syndrome. Seriously – he’s all over the place though it’s actually pretty charming and he is universally loved. [Read more…]

Review: Hard Hitter by Sarina Bowen

Reviewed by Joanna

O’Doul is the captain and enforcer of his ice hockey team, the Brooklyn Bruisers, which means he gets paid $2 million a year to brawl on the ice. He’s 32, so nearing the end of his career, and has a few recurring aches and pains that need treating. This is somewhat of a problem as O’Doul doesn’t like to be touched.

After a shaky start, he finds he can make an exception for Ari. Ariana is the club’s massage therapist and yoga leader. She’s zen and chill and super professional, but the captain with the cut eight pack gets her hot under the collar. [Read more…]

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

The sequel to Him sees Jamie and Wes several months into their relationship. Their secret relationship, I should say, as Wes’s rookie NFL career is underway, and he doesn’t want it overshadowed by him being outed as the first openly gay ice hockey player in the league.

Jamie has given up his own playing career and taken up a coaching post, teaching elite kids how to be goalies. It’s his calling and he loves it, but it doesn’t go easily. He’s also having to navigate the new world where he’s suddenly bisexual and in a gay relationship. Whereas his family and friends are happy and supportive, it’s a lot for him to deal with, and he hates not being able to be with Wes publicly. Plus he’s in a new city and the isolation adds to his woes. [Read more…]

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Reviewed by Joanna

I read this New Adult sports romance series out of order, picking up the first book of the spinoff series Wags before coming to the start. Silly me, as book one and two couple are sweet as sugar.

Wes and Jamie were camp buddies as kids, seeing each other once a year for six weeks at a time at ice hockey summer camp. Wes knew he was gay, but struggled with it, including receiving rejection from his parents. He also knew he was attracted to his best friend – the guy he loved on a number of different levels. One day when they were eighteen, something happened between them, a bet gone wrong. It gave Wes a terrible case of the guilts. He broke off their friendship and stopped attending the camp. [Read more…]

Joanna’s Favorites of 2016

I joined the team of Red Hot Ladies in January and challenged myself to expand my reading choices past my usual go-tos. I’ve had my eyebrows raised and I’ve found writers I will love forever, from long-established authors to newbies who’ve contacted us at the blog and offered their work.

Throughout the year I’ve been editing my own novel, which is my new favorite and never ending pastime. Seriously – help, I can’t stop. Much respect for my co-reviewers, who published, drafted and dreamed big their own books this year – you guys rule and your work is sublime. On with my other favorite reads from the past twelve months:

 

Magic Binds (Kate Daniel #9) by Ilona Andrews

I’m pretty sure this novel will be on Jen’s list too. I love this series and rate this book as one of their best. The development of the relationship between Kate and Roland, her doting/murderous father, is fascinating. Curran made me laugh out loud, as did the side characters just being their excellent selves. The story is fast paced, compelling and tense, with little let up, and the world of post-shift Atlanta is just as awesome as it ever was. [Read more…]