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July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

picture of the bare upper back (kind of a side view) of a young woman with long dark hairThe Risk by Elle Kennedy, narrated by Teddy Hamilton & Virginia Rose – B+ I bought this on a Whispersync special a while ago. Teddy  Hamilton is one of my favourite male narrators and I’ve had some good experience with Virginia Rose before as well and $2.19 was a bargain I could not resist. Book 2 in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series, which is in itself a spin-off of the Off Campus series set around the same college hockey team, The Risk tells the story of Brenna Jensen, the coach’s daughter and her secret relationship with star Harvard forward Jake Connelly. Jake and Brenna have smoking hot chemistry but it takes a while before they do more than smolder at each other – Briar and Harvard are deadly rivals on the ice and Brenna taking up with him is tantamount to treason. However, their chemistry cannot be denied, particularly when Jake may be able to help Brenna in her quest for an internship at Hockeynet, a cable TV channel devoted to all things hockey. Brenna is studying journalism (she wants to focus on sports) and is up against all sorts of misogyny in getting a chance. Jake agrees to help her out – one fake date in exchange for a real one and off we go.

The romance is great, very satisfying and very hot. I liked both Jake and Brenna. I especially loved how sex-positive they were with each other.

Arm Candy by Jessica Lemmon, narrated by Teddy Hamilton & Erin Mallon

Stubbled, dark-haired white guy in a blue/grey suit and a light blue shirt and a blue tie, standing with his hands in his trouser pockets against a backdrop that looks like a projection of boiled lollies against a white wallWhy I read it:  I had this one on my TBR but hadn’t got around to reading it yet. Teddy Hamilton is a big draw for me on audio so it was a no-brainer.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Last call! At the end of the night, a clean-cut hunk and a rebellious bartender act on their unlikely chemistry in this frisky standalone novel from the author of Eye Candy. Davis: I’ve had my eye on Grace Buchanan for a while now. Unlike the bubbly blondes I usually date, the feisty, flame-haired bartender both intrigues and bewilders me. Something about Grace – the tattoos? The nose ring? – makes every part of me sit up and beg. There’s only one problem: She hates me. Trading insults and one-liners has become our M.O. But when Grace bets me that I can’t get a date with a non-blonde if my life depends on it, I’m determined to prove her wrong by landing the ultimate non-blonde: her.

Grace: I’m used to regulars hitting on me, and I’ve turned them all down except for one: Davis Price. I like giving him a hard time, and he’s kind of cute in his suit and tie – if you’re into that kind of thing. Anyway, I don’t care how many blondes he takes home…until one of them sidles up to him in my bar. Nuh-uh. But after my little bet with Davis backfires, our first date lands us in the sack. So does the second. And the third. Neither of us wants more than the best sex of our lives. The trouble is, it’s not a question of what I want. It’s what I need. And what I need is Davis.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I’ve heard great things about Jessica Lemmon books and I’ve bought a few but not managed to actually read them. (This isn’t uncommon. MOST of the books on my giant TBR will languish unread forever and ever unless I stumble across a time turner and live an extremely long life. And also if they stop publishing new books.) So when I saw Arm Candy in the Audible Romance package it was a nice opportunity to give her a try at little risk. Plus, I’ve recently become enamoured with Teddy Hamilton’s narrations and I was happy to have an excuse to listen to his voice in my ears again. I like Erin Mallon’s narrations too. But Teddy Hamilton’s voice has a sexy drawl which just does it for me.

Keepsake by Sarina Bowen, narrated by Erin Spencer & Teddy Hamilton

face and upper chest of a shirtles guy. A dark-haired woman is embracing him from behind and he's holding her arms to his chest, her face buried in his neck, his face turned toward her. There are trees in the lower foreground to signify the Vermont setting.Why I read it:  This one is available via the #AudibleRomance package.I have it in digital format too but hadn’t found time to read it.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  There’s a first time for everything.

Lark Wainwright used to be fearless. Her life was a series of adventures, each one more exhilarating than the last. But her recent overseas adventure was one too many. Now she’s home and in one piece. Mostly. But her nights are filled with terror.

When her best friend offers her a stay at the orchard in exchange for help at the farmers’ markets, Lark jumps at the chance to spend fall in Vermont. But her nightmares don’t stop. Desperate to keep her fragile state a secret, she relies on the most soft-spoken resident of the Shipley Farm to soothe her when her dreams prove too much.

Zachariah is a survivor, too. It’s been four years since he was tossed aside by the polygamist cult where he grew up. He’s found a peaceful existence on the Shipley’s farm, picking apples and fixing machinery. But getting thrown away by your own people at nineteen leaves a mark on a guy. He doesn’t always know what to make of a world where movie quotes are the primary means of communication. Before hitchhiking to Vermont, he’d never watched TV or spoken on the phone.

Actually, there are a lot of things he’s never done.

Zach and Lark slowly grow to trust one another. One night they become even closer than they’d planned. But Lark may still be too broken to trust anyone. When she pushes Zach away, he will have to prove to himself that he’s good for much more than farm labor.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I have all of the True North books on my TBR but I haven’t read any of them yet. Keepsake works as a stand alone novel however and I didn’t have any trouble following the story. The blurb attracted me and I was in the mood for an angsty listen so I loaded it up on my iPod. It wasn’t as angsty as it could have been actually but I enjoyed, particularly, Zach’s vulnerability in the story. He’s a bit of a cinnamon roll hero (h/t Olivia Dade) and I have soft spot. Also, I’ve recently listened to Goodbye Paradise and Zach had also been at Paradise Ranch so there was a link.

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