I’m Reading Sacked by Jen Frederick

Since I’ve been in a dry spell when it comes to my favorite sports NA romances lately, I ventured outside my trusted favored authors to try a new book and new-to-me author. After downloading a number of samples and trying them out, I finally decided to try Sacked by Jen Frederick.

From the beginning, I liked the premise of this book: Knox, the male lead, is the virgin. He’s been keeping himself tidy, as they used to say, because he’s waiting for the right one. We’re given a little head’s up early on about how he plans to make that determination and why it’s important to him, but it isn’t really defined for a while.

Meanwhile, our female lead, Ellie, has a secret. She’s at the college as a transfer along with her football-player brother. We find out pretty quickly that her brother has some kind of learning disability that has never been addressed, and at the insistence of her mother, Ellie’s been covering for him for a long time.

There’s the requisite dysfunctional parents–it seems it has to be one set or the other, and in this case, it’s Ellie’s. There’re the supportive friends, the courtship (Knox is intent on winning Ellie), the quirky roommate (Ellie’s) and of course the misunderstanding/secret that tears them apart.

I enjoyed the story, but after a certain point, it began to lose me, largely because I felt there wasn’t a lot of balance. Ellie’s parents, whom we saw only briefly, felt very one-dimensional. At the crisis point, there was some inconsistency, and part of the resolution was just simply ludicrous. And the ending felt . . . flat. Nothing had really been resolved in a long-term way, even if the football was going well.

The writing here was good enough that I’d probably consider reading another of the author’s books. It wasn’t a complete loss; the characterization was good for the main and even for most of the side characters. Knox’s POV was excellent. With a slightly different ending, I might’ve been swooning over this book.

I’m Reading If Only You Knew by Kristan Higgins

If you follow me at all, you know that I discovered Kristan Higgins earlier this year and devoured ALL her books. One. After. The. Other. And I have no regrets.

Except that once I’d finished them, I had to wait forEVER for her next release. Seriously, does NO ONE think of me and my reading needs??

So I was on cloud 9 when this book finally released.

I’m used to the classic KH plot: female lead (FL) is unlucky in love. She’s either never found the MOHD (Man Of Her Dreams) or she’s been married and Done Wrong or married and widowed . . . whatever, she’s not in a good place man-wise and she’s definitely Looking For Love. (These are capitalized because it’s a thing. Trust me.)

And of course eventually, she meets the MOHD, but not in a romantic, swoon-worthy meet-cute. No, it’s usually in a very embarrassing, I-want-to-forget-it moment. And MOHD usually isn’t very interested from the get-go. (There are exceptions, such as when the MOHD has actually been in her life for some time, just has gone unnoticed.)

One of the trademarks of KH’s books are a singular POV–we have no clue what’s going on in the man’s head. None at all. (Again, there are exceptions. The Blue Heron books do include the male POV.) We’re very much at the mercy of the FL’s take on things.

So I went into If Only You Knew expecting something very much the same. And about a third of the way into the book, I messaged a friend who is also a KH groupie that I didn’t like this one. But of course, I kept reading, because . . . well, KH.

And I was glad I did. Because by the end, I’d cried more than once, I’d felt my heart turn over and I’d giggled.

This story is about more than a relationship. It’s about growth and change and finding out what’s real. It’s about sisters, and about mothers and daughters, and about marriage–both when it works and when it doesn’t. It’s about loss and how we deal with it. It’s about when civilized behavior becomes a mode for other people to justify their actions.

Oh, and there’s a love story.

I loved Jenny and Rachel. I adored Leo. <le sigh> I liked the sub-plots (Evander and Kimber), the unexpected twist and I really, really loved the resolutions.

So now I’m in the midst of a massive book hangover. Who’s going to supply me with my next #BookFix?

 

 

I’m Reading CAELUM: An Olde City Angels Book

If you know anything about me, you know I got my start in officially being an author with a group called the Twi-Writers. We met in a Twi-Moms forum, and we formed our own little critique group over the next few years. Out of those writers, some went on to be published (including yours truly), others went into the book review/blogging end and others are still pursuing their writing life.

One of them became very close to me. Mandie Stevens and I live about an hour apart, and I’ve been blessed by her all along the journey. She’s taught me more than I can say . . . even while she’s been on her own writing journey.

So it’s with tremendous joy, pride and some tears that I share this with you today–I’m reading (I actually already READ) Caelum: Olde City Angels Book One.

 

If you like Urban Fantasy, check this out. I happen to know, because I’ve been reading Mandie’s stuff for seven years, that this world is huge and fascinating. Angels, demons, fae, vampires, wolves, spirit walkers. . .all set in a place where history is a character in and of itself.

This is the story of how Eva and Thomas meet. Eva’s a guardian angel who had a couple of bad breaks, including losing a charge who became a vampire. Thomas is her new human liason. This mission they’re on together is huge for both of them, even if they don’t realize all the implications and potential fall-out.

Set in beautiful and mysterious St. Augustine, this story will draw you in and make you demand MORE of the world in which it’s set.

RUN now and buy this book, because you’ll fall in love with the characters.

I’m Reading Philippa Carr’s Daughters of England Books

It’s official. I’m out of new reading.

We knew it was only a matter of time, and it’s happened.

I’ve been inhaling my beloved sports romances, and I’ve discovered I really prefer the college sports books. And since I’m really, really picky, it’s not surprising that I’m having trouble finding new reads.

So what to do? Well, I should just work on my own book, along with two I’m beta reading. (And they are good ones.)

But I need something to read as I’m going to sleep at night, so I dug deep, way back into my reading history and came up with something that helped shape my reading and writing life.

My mother and grandmother were huge fans of Victoria Hold, who also wrote under the names of Jean Plaidy and Philippa Carr. I loved them all, but the ones that stuck with me most were the Philippa Carr Daughters of England series. In it, the author follows one family from early Tudor England up through World War I. That’s incredible–and what a way to learn history!

So right now I’m enjoying The Miracle at St. Bruno’s and Saraband for Two Sisters. If you enjoy historical fiction, I recommend these books.

Until the next NA sports romance comes along.

I’m Reading The Girl I Was Before by Ginger Scott

I’m baaaaack!!

The last six weeks have been filled with releases, promotions, events and other stuff that takes me away from what I really love to do . . . and of course, one of my favorite things to do is share my reading fixes with you!

So last week I was positively giddy, because this book came out. You might remember I fell gaga in love with Ginger Scott’s NA con roms, This is Falling and You and Everything After. I was so excited about this third book, whose heroine was going to be a little tricky: Paige Owens had come across as shallow, vain and selfish in the first two books. (Her twin sister is the lead in Everything After.) I was interested to see how the author would handle this, make Paige likable.

Somehow she does. Not all at once; we don’t find out some deep, dark secret that explains why Paige is the girl she is. We don’t fall in love with her right away. But eventually, slowly, as we see her making decisions and better choices, Paige grows on us.

Houston doesn’t needs to grow on us. We love him from the first time we see him, and perhaps it’s at least partly through his eyes that we come to love Paige, as well.

As with her other books, Scott paints an accurate and believable picture of college life, the people who live on campus and the situations they confront. Happily, we get to spend more time with Ty and Cass as well as Rowe and Nate. It’s like catching up with old friends.

You really should read all three of these books. They’re excellent. . . and I’m hoping maybe there might be more. . .?