Snapshot by Reegan Ellis

Snapshot is a story about famous actor Owen, who is in a small Washington town on 51LBTgUL7JL._SY346_location, filming his next movie. He recently had his heart broken in a public way, finding out not only that his boyfriend was cheating on him – Owen was actually the Other Guy. His boyfriend had been in a three year relationship. Not only did he have his heart broken, but the ex sold his version of the story, complete with pictures and private messages, to the tabloids. This was also how Owen was outed to the public.

Heartbroken, he began work on his next film, where he was struggling. Visiting the town to clear his head after a hard day of filming, he is hiding from a group of teenage fans in a bakery, where he meets James, a rude, cranky baker that Owen can’t seem to stop smiling about. They go out a few times and really enjoy spending time together, but James wants nothing to do with fame and paparazzi, and Owen is leaving town when filming is complete.

What I liked: Owen and James, both on their own and as a couple. Owen’s sister Rebecca was fun, the little we got to know her. I liked the story, how Owen and James came to be and how it ended with James getting to experience a normal loving family.

What I didn’t like: This is tough to explain. I don’t like when books drag out the drama and make it into something more than it should be. But on the other hand, when something huge happens, I don’t like when it’s just brushed aside and forgotten instantly. The resolution/conclusion of the story felt rushed and forced to me. I do feel like the same outcome would have happened in the end anyway, but the hurt party would need more than a couple hours of alone time and a five minute conversation with the perceived offender to get over it completely.

All in all, this was a fun, light read. Not the best ever but not bad.

Rating: ♥♥♥

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Playing Defense by Aven Ellis

So book 5 in the Dallas Demons series redeemed itself.  Did the book follow the usual 41uqtqCHSGLformula? Yes. But not in the cookie cutter way the previous books have. This one was closer to the first book, in that the story felt fresh and not same thing, different characters.

We first meet Reece in On Thin Ice, where she is Kenley’s intended setup for Matt. She and Holly hit it off and become besties. She and Matt make appearances in this book, although like all the others the books can be read as standalones.

Reece is a fitness model who has really made a name for herself. She supports herself with both modeling jobs and endorsing products on her blog. She and Jean-Pierre (JP), the Swiss member of the hockey team, run into each other at a restaurant several months after meeting at a game. They decide to start a casual, no-commitment relationship and friendship. JP has been burned too many times when he’s gotten serious about the wrong girl. Reece is scarred by her parents’ divorce and doesn’t believe real love exists.

Of course like the others, a bit of communication would have gone a long way but would have also made for a shorter book, and we can’t have that. I think that Reece and JP are my favourite couple in this series. I love how they interact with each other and how much they respect each other. They are a fun couple, too. Instead of being sappy in-love all the time, they laugh and have fun too.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥ – A strong end to this series

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I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter

After reading Let’s Get Textual, I was certain Zoe, roommate and BFF of Delia, and Robbie, roommate of Zach, were destined to be together. I was so surprised to read I Wanna Text You Up and see that it was Caleb. But as soon as I saw that, my first reaction was “That’s perfect!”

51k6EzXaUlL._AC_US218_Zoe is needing a new roommate, since Delia moved in with Zach. She doesn’t need the money, but the companionship. Caleb needs a place to live, and fast. He answers her ad, neither of them knowing who the other person is until they meet face to face.

Caleb was a great guy in LGT. He’s even better in this one. There is so much more to him than the nice guy baseball player. He has his own demons to face, but he and Zoe are good together. They balance each other out. #CalZoe just works.

As in LGT, there are hilarious parents that have enough personality to fill their own book, and pretty awesome pets.

This is a fun, engrossing read that takes us on the journey through all the butterflies of falling in love with The One, with a little Rocky Horror Picture Show thrown in for good measure.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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Dallas Demons series by Aven Ellis

Today, you’re getting four reviews in one! This series about the fictional Dallas Demons professional hockey team actually has five books, but I just had to stop and do this review at 4.

I randomly picked up the first book in this series via my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I can’t believe I resisted this subscription for so long! Anyway, the first book was fantastic, and all five books are in KU, so I started reading them all in order.

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First in the series is Waiting for Prince Harry. Kylie is a planner. She has binders with plans for when she has a house, when she meets someone and gets married, her future career, and a binder full of magazine quizzes to “find yourself.” While at her perfect brother’s perfect wedding reception, however, she is feeling the pressure and escapes to the hotel’s bar, where she trips and literally falls into the lap of a handsome stranger, a ginger just like her dream boyfriend Prince Harry. She apologizes for spilling her drink all over him, and they end up talking for hours. She is amazed to find out his name is Harrison.

Harrison is captain of the Demons, and is used to being recognized – and used – everywhere he goes. He has learned through betrayals that he can’t trust that people like him for himself, and not what he can get for them, or give to them. He is surprised when this beautiful girl who literally dropped into his lap doesn’t have any idea who he is. They fall in love, there is a conflict, and then they both learn and grow and have their happily ever after.

The second book is The Definition of Icing. This one is the story of Nate, one of Harrison’s51bDVf6eM2L._AC_US218_ new teammates that he’s taken under his wing, and Kenley, a local entrepreneur. They meet at a photo shoot for a local lifestyle magazine where they are both participating in a Valentine’s Day spread. Kenley is there to showcase some chocolates as her business is a confectionery. Nate steps in and backs her up when she’s arguing with magazine staff who want her to showcase her body more than her product. They become friends, and although they each develop deeper feelings both are scarred by past experiences and try to protect their hearts. Eventually they both confess their feelings, there is conflict, they learn and grow and have their happily ever after.

The third book is Breakout. Instead of featuring a player, this book focuses on Kenley’s 517Vt+W8BhL._AC_US218_hockey loving roommate Lexi, who dreams of being a video editor of her favorite hockey team and makes her own videos on YouTube with footage she films at practices. At one practice, she is saved from taking a stray puck to the head by a hot stranger, who she soon learns is Niko, the new producer for the team. Kenley’s brother in law Ryan works for the same sports television company and had been filling in temporarily, but Niko is the man hired to fill the open position. The next day Niko calls Lexi, but to ask her to help with a rushed editing request. They are both attracted to each other, but each thinks the other sees them as nothing more than coworker or friend. Eventually they both confess their feelings, there is conflict, they learn and grow and have their happily ever after.

Notice a theme here? I understand that formulas work, and even though I adore the characters of this series – both main characters and the recurring supporting cast – I can’t stand predictability. Three books in and I can tell exactly what the conflict will be and when in the story it will happen. I also am frustrated because in each book, although Waiting for Prince Harry was not as bad, the entire issue could be solved if the couple sat down and had an honest conversation instead of each one trying to guess what the other wants and trying to protect them from their own perceived flaw.

I started book 4 yesterday, On Thin Ice. This is the story of Nate’s younger sister Holly, a 511EKmHjdtL._AC_US218_recent college graduate, and Matt, the playboy of the team. Holly is an aspiring writer with social anxiety that she hides from her family and friends, and perpetual “kid sister” in everyone’s eyes. Matt is the 21 year old player who feels that as long as he shows up and performs well in games, that he should be allowed to go out and drink and party like non-professional-athlete 21-year-olds can do. Matt and Nate have played together for two years, and Nate had always brought Matt home with him for holidays so he knows Holly too.

The book opens on New Year’s Eve, when Holly has a panic attack at a party hosted by the team’s owner, and Matt comes to her rescue and talks her through it. They end up spending NYE together, until Nate and Kenley come home and Nate jokingly reinforces the image of Matt as a player. He leaves and Holly is devastated. After he doesn’t show up for the next practice because he’s so hung over, Matt is given one final chance to turn himself around or he’s off the team. He and Holly confess to each other that they’ve been crushing on each other for the past two years, but both thought the other could never like them romantically. They start dating, but in secret. They’re both afraid of how her brother will react to his little sister dating the player. To complicate matters, Nate and Harrison want to pay Holly to essentially babysit Matt, to keep him out of trouble. She turns them down each time, but they think she’s only spending time with him at their request.

I’m halfway through this one right now, and I had to stop and take a break. As much as I’m enjoying the characters together, I can see exactly what the conflict will be, I know it’s coming up soon, and I really don’t want to live through that with them right now. I know it will end with Holly and Matt making up and having their own happily ever after (that’s kind of the point of romance novels) but after three previous books with arguments and breakups that make me want to shake the characters and yell at them to stop whining and TALK to each other, I can’t do it again today. So I’m taking a break from this one to read a different genre, and I’ll come back to it later tonight or tomorrow.

Update: The second half of On Thin Ice was better than I expected. The blowup I could see coming did happen, but it was actually handled better than the conflict in the last two books.

Ratings:

Waiting for Prince Harry ♥♥♥♥♥

Definition of Icing ♥♥♥♥

Breakout ♥♥♥

On Thin Ice  ♥♥♥♥

 

Let’s Get Textual by Teagan Hunter

I am in love with this book. Seriously, Zach and Delia are the absolute best. Their story starts out with a text sent to a wrong number, and instead of letting it go they end up texting each other regularly. A friendship blooms, there’s a baby goat, and finally their roommates coerce them into meeting. 

And it gets better!51zLrSJoBiL._SY346_
There were several instances I literally laughed out loud while reading. Not the internet “oh it’s kind of funny so I’ll put LOL” but full on cackled. Zach is completely swoon-worthy – and I’m not a swooner! But seriously… Wow.

Delia and Zach aren’t the only great things about this book. Delia’s friendships with Zoe and Caleb are fantastic. We didn’t get as much of Zach’s roommate as the other two friends, but he definitely has potential. And Zach’s parents are titanic personalities 🙂

For real, read this book. It’s amazing.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

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Lies That Bind Us by Andrew Hart

51SLlJ5SWOLI loved this book.

Jan is traveling to Crete for a 5 year reunion vacation with friends she and her boyfriend, now ex boyfriend, met when they last vacationed there. The location, the villa, the companions are idyllic. Until they’re not.

Jan wakes up a prisoner, with her captor demanding to know what happened. Unfortunately for her, Jan has no idea what her captor is talking about. The story fluctuates from the present captivity, to the events of the vacation, and of the original vacation five years ago. The problem? Jan is an unreliable narrative. She tells us multiple times that she is a compulsive liar and many times she will correct herself in her narrative, at times long after the original statement. We as readers are kept off guard, not knowing if we can trust what we are reading.

In all, this was a very engaging and entertaining read. Usually I can predict “whodunnit” early in a book, but not this time. However, once the perpetrator is revealed, all the clues I’d overlooked snapped into place and I had an “of course!” moment.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Find it here

Bobby Singer’s Guide to Hunting

I love the show Supernatural. And Bobby Singer is one of my fav51FbBjKSQ6Lorite characters on the show. So when I found this book, I downloaded it immediately.

The book reads like an episode of Supernatural, but told from Bobby’s point of view. We also get more of his back story that hasn’t been shown previously. We learn more about the death of his wife, and then what he did between that incident and becoming the Bobby we know and love today. We also find out how he learned about Hunting, about merpeople, Japanese monsters, and more.

I’m sure any fan of Supernatural will love this book, and even if you don’t watch the show but enjoy fantasy or supernatural novels, you will likely enjoy this too.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Find it here