Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hockey Love - Part 1, A trip to the past

I am very much a mood genre reader.  I get in the mood for a specific sub genre of romance and read and read and read that genre until I get over it and I’m ready to move on to the next one.  If I’m in the mood for Western Historical for example, there is no sense throwing a Regency or SciFi romance into the reading mix because even if it’s the best written book in the world and right up my alley, chances are very good I won’t appreciate it as I’m ‘not in the mood’.  Which brings me to the point of this post. 
For ever so long now I’ve been in the mood for contemporary, almost exclusively hockey romance in particular.  I can’t seem to quit them and they take up the vast majority of my book buys lately.  I’ve been puzzling out why this is.  I don’t even really watch hockey much these days.

Now this is a vast change from years ago.  I’m Canadian eh and hockey is in my blood.  I tried playing it a bit when I was young but I couldn’t skate worth spit and besides that was back in the day when girls didn’t have their own leagues and didn’t even play hockey.  If they tried, they had to play with boys – icky poo.

But that didn’t keep me from being an avid fan in watching hockey.  My bestie when I was young was the niece of an NHL player who played for the Chicago Black Hawks so naturally they were the team I cheered for.

Then my allegiance changed when I grew a bit older and happened to sit up and notice Derek Sanderson of the Boston Bruins. 

 I think girls of all ages who watched hockey sat up and noticed him.  Oh mama was he hot!  He certainly got my girly parts going.  He was so different from you average hockey player of the times.  He had long hair and mustache and was the rebel or ‘bad boy’ of hockey.  And he was a fighter. Now before you young’uns go ‘yuck, look at all that HAIR’ keep in mind in my day, this was the style back then.  Mr. Sanderson or Turk as he was nicknamed was like a rock star for the female hockey crowd. 

Then alas, he left the team.  I still cheered for the Bruins but with him gone the eye candy wasn’t the same.  I should also mention that this was before helmets were mandatory, back in the early 70’s, so we really got to see the player.  As my interest in the Boston Bruins began to wane and they had won a few Stanley Cups – because I cheered for them of course, my interest in the next team would rise.

The Broad Street Bullies.  I don’t know if they are still called that but they were officially known as the Philadelphia Flyers.  But even though they were nicknamed Broad Street Bullies, it took me a while to clue in that they were in actual fact, bullies and dirty players so I dropped them.

That left me teamless for a while and even though I didn’t watch it as much as I used to, I still followed the standings and would watch the playoffs.  And then I met my husband.

He was a Toronto Maple Leaf fan and trust me when I say there are no fans like Leaf fans.  They are like an already rabid fan on steroids.  As I had no team I figured I’d take them on as my new team to cheer for.  It pleased the husband that I did.  Of course if I hadn’t have been willing I’m sure we would have ended up in Divorce Court.  There is reason the fans are called Leaf Nation. 
In the early days with my new team things were great.  But, I noticed something odd.  They never got any better.  Never.  They haven’t even been close to winning the Stanley Cup in over 40 years!!  I can see standing by your team but then it begins to slip into insanity.  There was no incentive to get better.  They are one of the top earning NHL teams in the league whether they lose or not.  So I was stuck.  I couldn’t keep supporting for a joke of a team, but being married to a card carrying member of Leaf Nation, I couldn’t move to another team.  So I gradually lost interest and it’s been quite a number of years since I’ve had a cheer to cheer for. And then there is the fact they all wear helmets these days and many even visors so it’s more difficult to pick out the eye candy.


And going back to my shallow teenage years it wasn’t just hockey on TV I watched. 
The city I grew up in had a Junior B team.  My friends and I went to many a game, always sat behind the penalty box as that was where the action was.  And we were as superstitious as athletes themselves. We simply had to put on a dab of Brute
aftershave to help them win.  How that came about I’ve no idea, all I can say now is teenagers are very strange beings, having been one.  So even though I didn’t play, I was very into the sport for quite a while.

And now that I’ve rambled ever so long, I’ll have to make this a two-parter.  Next up, the appeal of the sports romance.

Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Recent Read

Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros

Why this one: I think it was one of those Amazon Recommended books plus the price was  very good

Genre: New Adult

Steam Level: Just about the perfect temp.  It’s hot but won’t burn my tongue

Outline: Three knocks can change everything…

"She knew. That’s why Mom hadn’t opened the door. She knew he was dead."

Twenty years as an army brat and Ember Howard knew, too. The soldiers at the door meant her dad was never coming home. What she didn’t know was how she would find the strength to singlehandedly care for her crumbling family when her mom falls apart.

Then Josh Walker enters her life. Hockey star, her new next-door neighbor, and not to mention the most delicious hands that insist on saving her over and over again. He has a way of erasing the pain with a single look, a single touch. As much as she wants to turn off her feelings and endure the heartache on her own, she can’t deny their intense attraction.

Until Josh’s secret shatters their world. And Ember must decide if he’s worth the risk that comes with loving a man who could strip her bare.

My Thoughts:  Oh my, what a beautiful and emotional book this is.  I will be honest and confess though I’ve heard a lot of raves lately for NA books, I haven’t really paid them much attention thinking that at my advanced age I didn’t have much in common with the characters in the story.  Well call me So Wrong Kristie!!  (we must include both exclamation points.)  This book has it all!

It starts out heartbreaking and stays that way throughout.  December (or Ember as most people call her) has just had her world ruined.  She, her mother, sister and younger brother have just found out that their father/husband, a doctor in the army, was killed in Afghanistan.  Ember has to take over the family, her mother is too devastated to function and her younger sister, April, is acting out in not so good ways.  August or Gus, her younger brother isn’t old enough to help her.  The only one stepping is to help is Josh Taylor, Gus’s hockey coach and one time crush of Ember’s.  She has known him since high school though was never part of his crowd.  He was a top athlete, a bad boy and a chick magnet bar none.  Plus April had a boyfriend.  But that didn’t stop her from watching him with lust in her heart.

He is everything that her boyfriend isn’t during this difficult time.  And as if things aren’t difficult enough for Ember, she discovers something devastating about her boyfriend of 3 years, something that makes her evaluate her entire life.  She had been planning on going back to school some distance away, but between the shock of what she learns of her boyfriend and the fact her mother isn’t showing much signs of coming out of her deep, deep mourning, Amber can’t go back and transfers to the local college, though she does move out of the house and several miles away and moves in with a friend.

And Josh, who is attending the same college, lets her know that he feels a lot more for her than just friendship.  But there are so many issues to overcome before she can make him any kind of commitment.  She is discovering what a truly wonderful man he is.  Besides being patient, understanding, knowing when to give her space and when to be there, he s drop dead gorgeous, but because of all that Amber is going through, she’s very gun shy about offering him hope.  Her boyfriend really did a number on her, she’s overwhelmed by responsibility and there is Josh’s well deserved reputation as a player.  She sends him mixed signals.  She will let the relationship go so far, then she pulls back and then she does it again and again.
What makes this book such a gut wrenching read is how well the author tells the story.  This is a first person book, written entirely from Amber’s POV so what she feels, the author makes us feel.  Because we are in her head we get to really know and admire her for doing what she needs to do without any self pity.  We understand how complicated her feelings toward Josh are.  She is still a very young person, only 20 and she has a great deal of responsibility thrust upon her in the middle of her own loss of her beloved father.

She finally does let Josh into her life when she finds out something about him that could completely derail the relationship.  As you can tell, I really like Amber.

And Josh, of my goodness I want to be 20 again and have a Josh of my own.  The patience, the humor, the understanding he shows Amber is amazing.  The author does a marvelous job of letting us see Josh’s emotions, his love and longing for Amber, his pain towards the end of the book where he sees something and misunderstands and things are in danger of falling apart for the two of them and then his strength when it seems they have reached an impasse in their relationship even though it’s clear that they truly need and love each other to be happy.  Though normally I would have troubles believing a relationship between two such young people would  be lasting, but I have not a shadow of a doubt that these two will love each other forever.  This is a very emotional and poignant book and a few times the back of my throat started to hurt like it does in the sad part of a movie.
The only thing keeping this from being a 5 out of 5 book is it’s told entirely from Ember’s POV.  Many of the books I read these days written in first person or third person will have parts of the book from the hero’s POV.  I would have liked actually read Josh’s thoughts.  In the grand scheme of things though and how much I thought of this book, it’s a small thing.  But I was looking at the other books in this series and it looks as though the last book,  Hallowed Ground is a continuation of their story and it’s told from both POV.  I have two others to get through before that one and I’ve already purchased Eyes Turned Skywise.

Full Measure has been read and received very high grades from quite a few readers.  Well add me to that list now too.

Grade: 4.75 out of 5
Would I read again: A resounding YES

Monday, February 08, 2016

Recent Reads

Another one from GoodReads

Grease Monkey JiveGrease Monkey Jive by Ainslie Paton

My rating: 4.5 out of 5

Outline: A romance about changing the game, finding the truth
and fancy footwork

She thought love was make-believe and
the last person to prove her wrong would be a player.

When ballroom teacher Alex Gibson danced with Dan Maddox she’s reminded of the time she stuck a knife in the toaster, gave herself an electric shock and saw stars. He’s precisely the type of man Alex’s mother warned her off – a player, like the father who abandoned her.

Dan Maddox comes from a long line of men who were hiding under the hood of a beat up old car when the ‘successful relationship’ gene was given out, but he was first in the queue for an extra jolt of chick pulling power.

The chicks in Dan’s life are universally gorgeous, random, disposable, and answer to the name Baby until one drunken night when he picks the wrong girl, hurts a good friend and realises that unless he does something to change, he’ll end up like his violent, unstable father.

It’s Pimp My Ride meets Dancing With The Stars as Alex and Dan come together to compete in a ballroom dancing competition that changes the way they both feel about relationships and love.

My Thoughts: This book came up as a recommendation through Amazon. Despite the rather silly sounding title, the grease monkey part got my attention as a much prefer a mechanic over a millionaire as a hero. After reading the outline, it sounded good enough for me so I bought it. Since I was in the mood for a good blue collar hero romance I started it up right away and was enchanted with this book. So much I could barely put it down. Only the fact my power kept being used up on my iPad kept me from reading it straight through.

The book starts out with a "grab your attention" beginning. Alex, our herine is a dancer and when she dances for Dan, our hero, the first time she feels like you do when you stick a knife in a toaster. As I've done that I know how it feels. The story then goes back a bit to give us a look into hero/heroine.

Dan is a real charmer. He surfs, he works, he hangs out with his mates and he fucks. Women find him irresistible and he makes no effort to resist them at all when he and his friends hang out at their favourite bar and it would be so easy to dislike him completely, BUT he is beginning to look into his own character and he's not liking what he sees. He sees he is starting to become like his father, a mean asshole of a guy and Dan wants to change who he is.

Alex is focused and driven. She's attending school so she can become a business woman, she's dating a class A jerk of a boyfriend because her mother approves of him. But her real passionis ballroom dancing. She and her partner for years teach dance and are signed up for one final dance completion.

Alex and Dan meet when on a dare Dan and a couple of his mates sign up for dance lessons. Sparks fly right off the bat for the two of them even though they are complete opposites. Dan is a wonderful hero wanting to change. He completely falls for Alex and I love when this happens. There is so much to love about this book right from cover to cover and it hit all my buttons, great chapter development, well fleshed out secondary characters and a tender believable love story. This book gets a Hugh thumbs up.

View all my reviews

Saturday, February 06, 2016

Recent Read

As stated - somewhere by me - I haven't done many reviews lately but I have done some on GoodReads.  I thought I may as well put them up here too.

Taking Shots (Assassins, #1)Taking Shots by Toni Aleo

Elli Fisher has never thought she was good enough, let it be her job, her weight, her love life, nothing. That is until she meets Shea Adler. After doing a promotional shoot for the NHL team, the Assassins, she meets the hunky hockey player who shoots a puck, shattering her world.
Shea Adler was tired of the life he was living outside of the rink. The girls, the money blowing, the drinking, everything had to stop and it all did when he met Eleanor Fisher. He had never met anyone like her. She was feisty, witty, shy, and simply gorgeous. When he laid eyes on her, it was as if he was taking the hardest hit of his life into the boards, and he had to have her. Elli is a little skeptical of Shea, but he knows that they were meant to be together, and he needed her in his life.
Can Elli throw her insecurities out the window and love Shea with everything inside of her, or will she let a past relationship, and her family ruin any chance of her being happy.

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

There are good hockey books and then there are bad one.  This is NOT a good one - at least for me.

I'm kind of surprised I finished this book. It's kind of tough to start the year off reading such a horrendous book but then I suppose I can only go up after this.

There were SO many things wrong with it I'm not even sure where to begin so I'll just list them as they come to me.

Very stilted dialogue between hero (?) and heroine (?). At times they sounded like a couple of junior high kids who have never talked to a member of the opposite sex before.

A heroine(?) who obsesses about how overweight she is AND SHE'S A SIZE F'IN 10!!!!!!! Give me a break. I could only dream of being that size. While I can see obsessing about weight if she truly was overweight, I constantly wanted to smack her upside the head and tell her to get over it.

The WAY over abundance of the word awesome. First off, I think only Mutant Ninja Turtles might use it anymore and a hero (?) who constantly uses it? UUGGHH.

I don't think the author made hardly any attempt to make the hero(?)sound like or act like a guy. Having raised two sons, they would never talk like Shea. Never. And if they did, I'd tell them to 'man up'.

The fact the heroine watches Pride and Prejudice almost every single night!! Who does that kind of thing?? There are movies I love and watch over and over but there is no way I'd watch the same movie every night. Add to that the fact that she has a shrine to the hero and the hockey team in her home and girl needs serious therapy. I think she must have stopped maturing at age 11.

The book clocked in at almost 600 pages in the kindle addition and that was way, way to long. It needed some serious tightening up. There were so many scenes that added nothing to the story, that never should have been added. A story needs to be constantly moving, not mired in minutia that adds nothing.

Small things like the hero scored 4 goals in one of the first games of the season, and he's a defenseman. I'm not saying it absolutely couldn't happen, but it's highly, highly unlikely.

The heroine paints her face and puts on the heroes jersey number on her face for every home game. Again this is more the thing a preteen would do, not a mature woman.

The way over the top Snidley Whiplash villian(ess)

And finally, though I could keep going, the final hurdle. If I didn't already despise the heroine, this alone would do it. All thorough the book our unmanly hero has all but stood on his head and sang ' I Am Woman' to prove his love and heroine sees her sister, a sister she knows would love to destroy her, kissing her love and that's it! Relationship over. The heroine cries - ad nauseum. The hero cries. Things are resolved of course, these two losers deserve each other. But this book left a serious bad after taste.

I absolutely do not recommend this book.

Thursday, February 04, 2016

Recent Read

As I said, I've been a reading machine while I was off so I thought I'd some reviews now that I have access to a computer again and I'm feeling more like doing them.  First up....

Tank by M. Malone

Genre: Contemporary

Steam Level: The kettle is boiling on this one

Why this one: It was (and still is) free

Outline: Money changes everything...

Years ago, Tank Marshall swore off fighting. He exercises iron control to keep his anger in check. But his mother was just diagnosed with cancer and the deadbeat dad he hasn’t seen in years is back offering an inheritance and a chance at redemption.

There’s only one person that keeps him anchored in the midst of the chaos. One person untouched by violence and money and lies. Emma Shaw.

But the one thing that Tank hasn’t learned yet is that when billions are at stake, there’s no such thing as innocent. Money. Changes. Everything.

My Thoughts:  One of the things I see some authors, or maybe it’s not them, but maybe it’s the publishers – but no matter –do is offer the first book in a new series up for free or priced very low.  I think this is a brilliant idea, specially if it’s free.   If this book hadn’t been free I might not have perked up and noticed it.  As it is I’ve already purchased the next book and plan to get the whole series.  Win/Win for both the author and me.

I enjoyed this one quite a bit.  At the beginning of the book Tank Marshall is one troubled dude.  His mother’s cancer has come back, he has a father who abandoned them when he and his brother Finn were just children and now wants back in their lives again.  Tank is very bitter and wants nothing to do  with him.  He’s pretty rough around the edges but that just made him more appealing to me.  But his father is now very very wealthy and offering to pay Tank and Finn for just visiting.  If it was left up to Tank he would tell his father to pound salt, but he has the expense of his mother’s cancer to consider.  An expensive surgery could save her life.

He’s also developed a crush on the receptionist of his father’s attorney, one Emma Shaw.  Tank’s unusual method of dealing with stress is to beat people up.  Bad people that is.  It’s rather an unusual way of handling it, but kind of cute in a “Girl, you are sick” kind of way.  And it is only guys who deserved to get their lights punched out.

He finally gets a chance to connect with Emma who has enough struggles of her own.  Her parents are both dead and it’s just her and her sister.  Money is therefore an issue.  Things are strained between Emma and her sister, she’s dating a real douche bag who keeps hitting on Emma.  She knows and is actually quite fond of Tank’s father.  And when he offers her a deal she can’t resist……

 Therefore we have two people who aren’t in the best place finding and bonding with each other.

Tank is so smitten with Emma and will do pretty much anything she asks.  There is this hilarious ‘cat’ scene that I won’t say anymore on so as not to spoil anything because hey, no sense not getting this book at the mighty fine price of $0.00.

There is conflict towards the end of the story that could have devolved into an annoying Big Misunderstanding, but the author didn’t go there.  Both Tank and Emma were well written

One thing I should note that the book is written in first person, present tense with alternating chapters from Tank and Emma’s POV.  In the past that would have meant I would have passed on this book but thank goodness I outgrew that bias. It would have limited my reading world causing me to miss some really good books including this one.

As mentioned, this is the just the first in a series.  It seems that Papa Marshall was a bunny kind of guy and Tank and Finn have other brothers they never knew about.

This book gets a thumbs up and I’ll read more by M. Malone from me.  I can certainly see me rereading this one again.

Grade: 4.5 out of 5
'til later

Wednesday, February 03, 2016

And 3, 2, 1 – I’m back!!

Not only back to much closer to my old self but also back to work after being on stress leave since mid-November but also as you can see, back to blogging.  Actually I was ready to come back to blogging last week but I couldn’t remember my password.  I’m at work now where I’m automatically signed in.

My leg is about 80% better now thank goodness.  Let me tell you since I’ve done both, torn ligaments are much, much worse than a broken leg.  There was no fun with the ligament damage like there was with the broken leg, just a lot more pain.  I’m still going to physio 3 x’s a week


But the real good news is that emotionally/mentally I’m in a much better place.  I really needed that time off for more than just my leg.  The different medication the doctor ordered is doing it’s job and I’m not in that dark corner any longer.


I did A LOT of reading over the time off.  I planned on keeping up at least on GoodReads but that didn’t seem to happen so I plan on getting caught up.  I signed up for the challenge and I want to make sure I get them all recorded.  I upped the number in 2016 by fifteen more so I don’t want to short change myself.  I’ve been on a really sports romance, particularly hockey romance lately.  I think they must have been comfort reads or something.


So I’m very happy to claim my life back.  I’m even starting to make plans for summer vacation and I couldn’t have done that before.  I’m not 100%.  I still have to see a therapist and I’ve a few issues I need to deal with but overall it’s like night and day.


The main thing I’ve learned is to be kind to myself.  One of the therapists asked me if I would be as hard on a friend then I am on myself and my answer was ‘not a chance’.  That alone was an eye opener. 

So anyone else suffering from the pain that is depression, seek help, take medication, know that it’s not you, it’s the depression and even though you  may not believe or see it, or feel it, there is light and always a hand waiting to help you out of the depth of despair.