Thursday, March 19, 2020

Book Review: Old Fashioned by Kandi Steiner

Old Fashioned (Becker Brothers #4)
by Kandi Steiner
Release Date: March 19, 2020
Source: Author
The epic finale of the Becker Brothers series. Each book can be read as a stand-alone.

It’s a man’s world.

When I declared sports medicine as my major and every man narrowed their eyes, that saying proved true. It was true when my ex-husband decided I’d give up my career when our daughter was born. And again when I divorced the Chief of Police in our small town, and he made it painfully clear that I could leave him, but I would never be free.

Landing the job as the new athletic trainer for Stratford’s high school team is my chance to start over. And walking into a male-dominated sport and staff, I’m ready for the challenge. 

I’m not ready for Jordan Becker.

The head coach of our championship winning team is a Herculean force of nature—as severe as he is determined. His icy blue eyes and permanent scowl drive the women in this town mad, and his quiet power and undeniable command conjure respect from every man. 

When I join his team, I expect the doubt and anticipate the fight from him. And I get them both.

don’t expect to form a friendship.

And I never expect to fall for him.

My breath catches when those cool eyes fall to my lips. My body comes alive when his is near. And as those lines begin to blur, every warning bell sounds. 

My job, my reputation are on the line. 
And my ex is around every corner, waiting to remind me of his power.

It’s a man’s world, and if I want to survive, I can never fall in love with Jordan Becker.

Even if he falls in love with me first.

I adore Kandi and every book she writes. I am so sad that this is the end of the Becker Brother series, but what a series it's been! We've had almost every trope of romance within these books, so I was excited to have the workplace romance between a high school football coach and the new trainer! 

Jordan is the oldest Becker Brother, adopted, and the coach of a state-winning football team. He is under an enormous amount of pressure to win again and knows that his gorgeous new trainer is going to be a distraction to the players. I absolutely loved Sydney's character and how she was finally living life the way she wanted to after divorcing her abusive husband. Her daughter was so adorable and I loved how Jordan helped her out with football since she was determined to play, even though she's a girl. Family is such an integral part to this series and I loved all of the family relationships we got. 

As for the romance, it was super sweet and I enjoyed how both Sydney and Jordan had to take down their own walls to trust each other in a relationship. Was it anything special? Not really. But it was sweet. I do think that the mystery surrounding Jordan's dad that has been building all series kind of overshadowed the romance and I didn't like how it played out as more of a soap opera. It just felt too melodramatic and I wasn't a fan of that plot line that carried throughout the series. 

Overall, this is just a great, sweet romance series with an adorable family that I am obsessed with. All of the books are different and if you love a book for all of the relationships within the story, you will love the Becker Brothers series.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Book Review: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

My Dark Vanessa
by Kate Elizabeth Russell
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Source: Publisher
Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, a brilliant, all-consuming read that marks the explosive debut of an extraordinary new writer.
2000. Bright, ambitious, and yearning for adulthood, fifteen-year-old Vanessa Wye becomes entangled in an affair with Jacob Strane, her magnetic and guileful forty-two-year-old English teacher. 
2017. Amid the rising wave of allegations against powerful men, a reckoning is coming due. Strane has been accused of sexual abuse by a former student, who reaches out to Vanessa, and now Vanessa suddenly finds herself facing an impossible choice: remain silent, firm in the belief that her teenage self willingly engaged in this relationship, or redefine herself and the events of her past. But how can Vanessa reject her first love, the man who fundamentally transformed her and has been a persistent presence in her life? Is it possible that the man she loved as a teenager—and who professed to worship only her—may be far different from what she has always believed?
Alternating between Vanessa’s present and her past, My Dark Vanessa juxtaposes memory and trauma with the breathless excitement of a teenage girl discovering the power her own body can wield. Thought-provoking and impossible to put down, this is a masterful portrayal of troubled adolescence and its repercussions that raises vital questions about agency, consent, complicity, and victimhood. Written with the haunting intimacy of The Girls and the creeping intensity of Room, My Dark Vanessais an era-defining novel that brilliantly captures and reflects the shifting cultural mores transforming our relationships and society itself.
When this book first showed up from the publisher, I had never heard of it before. I looked it up on Goodreads and realized it was a highly anticipated book for the book community and that it was about a student/teacher relationship. As a teacher, I definitely have a different perspective on this topic and I was interested to see how this author, who has experienced a kind of trauma herself during her youth, would approach the topic. 

Throughout this book, you really see Vanessa fall into the trap her teacher built and be manipulated by a man in power. This does not at all glorify student/teacher relationships like so many other books and shows and movies do. Instead, this book shows how a man grooms a young girl and how that young girl carries that trauma for the rest of her life. I could not put this book down but not because I enjoyed it and was craving more; the story was engrossing and explored the emotions and confusion of a girl who is taken advantage of. 

To me, the ending was perfect and when I finished this book, I had to stop and just think. We hear so much about abuse and trauma in the media and it's easy to see these women as just another victim. This book, though, shows us that these women all have different experiences and are truly affected for life because of what they have gone through. Especially because of the world we are living in today, I think that My Dark Vanessa is a book everyone should pick up.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Release Day Blitz: After the Fall by Giana Darling


AFTER THE FALL (The Fallen Men #4) by Giana Darling 
Release Date: March 13th    



Lesson In Corruption #1 is on sale for ONLY 99¢!!


Blurb: I was settin’ up to live a good life, the kinda life I’d fought hard to deserve. With a good woman––the best woman––at my side, a degree under my belt, and the whole world at my feet, I was livin’ the kinda happily ever after usually denied the rebellious and the criminal. I’d turned my back on that kinda life, thinkin’ I needed that clean, wholesome kinda happy. Then the devil came dressed in the wings of an angel and took someone from me. And I realized I was wrong. There was no clean and wholesome for a man like me with poetry in his heart and outlaw in his blood. The life I’d been livin’ was only purgatory, holding me over until the time came for me to descend into Hell and pick up the tarnished crown that awaited me. I was condemning my woman to a life of violence, blood, and heartache, but I had to hope she’d step up and finally be the rough and tumble queen to my Fallen MC king. After the Fall can be read as a stand-alone romance, but you first meet the couple in Lessons in Corruption (The Fallen Men, #1)     


About the Author: Giana Darling is a USA Today Bestselling Selling Canadian romance writer who specializes in the taboo and angsty side of love and romance. She currently lives in beautiful British Columbia where she spends time riding on the back of her man's bike, baking pies, and reading snuggled up with her cat Persephone. She loves to hear from readers so please contact her at gianadarling[at] if you have any questions or comments.


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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Book Review: Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams

Undercover Bromance (Bromance Book Club #2)
by Lyssa Kay Adams
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Source: Publisher
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.

Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.

Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.

Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.

After reading and LOVING The Bromance Book Club last year, I was so excited for Liv and Mack's story. Mack was so endearing in book one and I was so ready for this hate to love romance. 

When this book started, I knew we would have a more serious storyline with Liv trying to take down a boss who sexually harasses his employees. Unfortunately, though, I feel like that storyline really took over the plot and we didn't get as much connection to the romance as I wanted. Liv and Mack fight so much and their romance is really slow, but not necessarily slow burn. I didn't really feel the chemistry between them and was missing that connection. Liv was a very closed off person, but I felt like she was way too hard on Mack, especially near the end where she was mad at him for keeping secrets. She was hypocritical and I wasn't a fan how that was used to spur on the conflict. 

Because so much of the plot was focused on the guy that Liv and Mack were trying to bring down, I also think this book dragged too much at the end. We were already at 280 pages and things were dragged out another 60 and I was ready for the story to end. I wish there was more to Mack and Liv's romance and that there was more with the book club like in the first book. They only read one small snippet from a romantic suspense and didn't correlate the fake book to their current situation as much, which is something I had loved from book one. 

While I still did enjoy this book, I was left more bored than not and just wanted more. I am definitely still excited about the next book and being back in this world of lovable and adorable characters. 

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