The Book Barista Reviews: Top Shelf by Kelly Jamieson

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Title:  Top Shelf

Series:  Aces Hockey, #3

Author:  Kelly Jamieson

Release Date:  October 18, 2016

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Top Shelf

ISHO Summary

Whether it’s a clutch goal or a cocktail, nothing beats “top shelf.” In this novel from the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series, a fun-loving jock and an ambitious career woman mix business with pleasure.
Not only is Jared Rupp one of the stars of the NHL’s Chicago Aces, he’s also the owner of the Sin Bin, the after-hours hot spot where the whole team hangs out. Lately, Jared can’t take his eyes off the woman he’s hired to give the Bin a more modern feel: a sexy, sophisticated consultant who has carved out a niche updating drink menus. She’s as passionate about her career as Jared is about hockey—and yet he can’t help wondering what kind of cocktail she really wants.

In her line of work, Sidney Frayne is used to guys hitting on her in bars, but Jared gets her hot enough to burst into flames. When he’s wining and dining her, he’s sophisticated as hell; on the rink, he’s a testosterone-fueled powerhouse. Still, Sidney’s bitter divorce taught her to keep her emotions on ice. With her busy schedule—and Jared’s playboy reputation—she’s not sure she’s ready for a fling. Because if she lets Jared into her bed, she just may have to let him into her heart.


It’s no secret that I love sports romance, especially hockey romance.  There’s nothing like a big, gorgeous hockey player.  Kelly Jamieson knows how to provide the hot steamy hockey romance and the big sexy hockey player book boyfriend.

A chance encounter and an honest comment brings Sidney and Jared together, at first in a business relationship and then as fun.  Both Jared and Sidney are reluctant to get into a long term relationship but both agree to have some fun together.

I really enjoyed Sidney.  She was a strong, independent woman who had gathered up the pieces of herself after being emotionally destroyed in a previous relationship, and made a new career for herself.  I definitely thought she was a great character.  She also had a fantastic dog.  I’m a sucker for pets as fictional characters.

As for Jared…I loved Jared!  He had been introduced in the previous books in this series so I was happy to see him get his own book.  He was a very sexy (and well dressed) hockey player and bar owner.  He’s an older and wiser player on the Aces team. I must also say that Jared  could very well be the king of great dirty talk. Yes indeed!!!

One of my favourite parts of the book was their first real kiss.  Man oh man was it hot!!!!  I don’t know if it was the kiss itself or if it was the build up to it.  Maybe it was just these characters.

Also, I love the way this author actually puts some hockey in her books.  It’s not that he’s just a hockey player and hockey is mentioned.  She actually writes some exciting hockey action into the story.

Kelly Jamieson once again delivered a great story with great characters (including a lovable dog).  I look forward to more in this series.  I gave Top Shelf five hot, rich and steamy cups of Tim’s Dark Roast coffee.


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Note: I received this ARC from the Publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Book Barista Reviews: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

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Title:  The Goal

Series:  Off-Campus, #4

Author:  Elle Kennedy

Release Date:  September 26, 2016

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ISHO Summary

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.


I’ve really loved this series.  I’ve loved the story lines and the characters.  That’s why I was pretty excited to read this one.  At the very end of the last book, the pregnancy bomb was dropped which set up this book nicely.

I have to admit that at first I didn’t much like Sabrina. She just seemed a bit egotistical to me.  As I read through, I found myself understanding her.  She was very driven and had a plan.  A boyfriend didn’t  really fit into that plan.  Life was not easy for her and she worked very hard to be able to achieve her goals. I actually admired her ability to not lose sight of her big picture no matter the hurdles in her way.

That said, I often felt that Sabrina might not be deserving of Tucker.  Tucker has to be the most patient, kind-hearted, beautiful soul to ever exist.  I mean, the guy loves and is good to his mama. *sigh*.  Did I mention his patience?  The man has the patience of a saint.  And through all of these traits, he’s still confident and doesn’t give up on what he wants.  He’s a damn good book boyfriend

I loved their journey together even though Sabrina sometimes made it harder than she should have.

Like the other books in this series, The Goal got five delicious cups of java from me.  I highly recommend this series to everyone.  Especially to anyone that loves a good sports romance.

NEW Five coffee


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Note: I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

Is Being a Fangirl Hereditary?

I’m a Fangirl! I always have been.  I probably will always be. I own it.  First there was Duran Duran and John Taylor during my high school years. In my late teens and very early twenties there was a local band called Images In Vogue and the lead singer Dale Martindale. Not too long ago there was Twilight and Robert Pattinson.  Yes, I know that I have just dated myself and possibly given away my age.

Recently my second born, who is now fourteen, has become enamoured with a young Canadian artist named Shawn Mendes.



Click here to see the new video for Mercy

An opportunity to see him perform in a small intimate setting came up and she was super excited. Sadly, there was a  catch.  You could not buy tickets. You had to line up at a popup shop where the first 30 people in line got a ticket to the show and a meet and greet with the boy himself. Because I am a fangirl and I totally get it, and because she’s a good student and a good girl, I told her she could miss a day of school to line up for tickets.

The plan was that she would stay at my sister’s place and my sister would drive her over to the popup shop location at 6am [My sister really is the best aunt EVER!]. THAT was the plan.  The plan got blown to pieces when fans tweeted that there was already a line up starting and that people would be lining up overnight.

She asked me to please let her camp out overnight. I wasn’t keen on this idea because she’s only fourteen, because she’d be doing this alone as none of her friends’ parents would let them go, and because she’s my baby!  As I waited for my husband to get home so I could discuss it with him she managed to find a Twitter friend who was going to camp out.  I didn’t like it but I understood it.  Could we let her do this?  We decided to go scope it out, see what the crowd was like and then make a final decision.  After forcing her to listen to “my rules” she packed up extra sweaters, a blanket, a book and some snacks and off we went.

By the time we got there, according to the tweets, there were 20 people in line already.  Her friend had not shown up yet and I was very reluctant to leave her there alone.  The thought of staying there with her did cross my mind.  Don’t think it didn’t!  My sister came by since she doesn’t live far and brought her a couple of camp chairs, so she could sit comfortably. [Have I mentioned that she’s the best aunt?] Her friend then showed up and she seemed to be a very nice quiet girl.  Later, the daughter of a friend of ours also showed up.  I now was able to leave her there.  It wasn’t easy but I did it.

I wondered if I was being too lenient a parent and if I was doing the wrong thing.  At one point, my husband looked to me and said “You realize that we just left our fourteen year old daughter on a sidewalk, where she will sleep all night, in downtown Toronto?” *gulp* What I said to him was “You know, when she’s my age, she will look back and she will remember this moment as a fun thing she did”.

She made it through the night and the full day.  She managed to be among the first 30 people so she got her ticket and she will go to the meet and greet.  I’m so excited for her.  I’m also surprised at how brave she was.  I would not have been willing to do that alone.  I guess she’s a bigger fangirl than I am.😀


The Book Barista Reviews: Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci

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Title:  Roman Crazy

Series:  The Broads Abroad, #1

Author:  Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci

Release Date:  September 13, 2016

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ISHO Summary

Avery Bardot steps off the plane in Rome, looking for a fresh start. She’s left behind a soon-to-be ex-husband in Boston and plans to spend the summer with her best friend Daisy, licking her wounds—and perhaps a gelato or two. But when her American-expat friend throws her a welcome party on her first night, Avery’s thrown for a loop when she sees a man she never thought she’d see again: Italian architect Marcello Bianchi.

Marcello was the man—the one who got away. And now her past is colliding with her present, a present where she should be mourning the loss of her marriage and—hey, that fettuccine is delicious! And so is Marcello…

Slipping easily into the good life of summertime in Rome, Avery spends her days exploring a city that makes art historians swoon, and her nights swooning over her unexpected what was old is new again romance. It’s heady, it’s fevered, it’s wanton, and it’s crazy. But could this really be her new life? Or is it just a temporary reprieve before returning to the land of twin-set cardigans and crustless sandwiches?

A celebration of great friendship, passionate romance, and wonderful food, Roman Crazy is a lighthearted story of second chances and living life to the fullest.


When I first heard that Alice Clayton and Nina Bocci were going to work together on a book I knew I’d be in for a treat.

Right from the opening lines of the book I was already laughing.  How can you not with this opening:


I was staring at a penis, and yet I couldn’t actually comprehend what I was seeing.  Which was weird, because technically that penis in question belonged to me.  Not in the anatomical sense, but in the marital sense.  As in, I’m familiar with that penis, I know that penis, I’m married to that penis, except…this penis is in fact, doing something it really shouldn’t be doing.

Avery is faced with the end of her marriage and takes up her best friend’s invitation to visit her in Rome to get away from things. At a party thrown for her by her friend, she comes face to face with “the one that got away”.  Marcello. Quite some time has gone by and now she’s got an opportunity at a second chance at true love. This is where I mention what a swoony book boyfriend Marcello is.  You can just picture yourself dodging in and out of traffic on the back of his Vespa, holding on to him…really tight.

Aside from a great second chance romance story, it was so amazing to have Rome as a backdrop.  I’ve never been to Rome (although my Italian husband and I keep saying we must go soon) so I really enjoyed all the places and attractions that were mentioned in this book.  Google images really was my friend throughout this book.  I also kept asking a friend who has traveled to Rome many times about certain places (you can see her travel blog here).

This book was an absolute pleasure to read.  I definitely look forward to reading more from both these authors.  I gave Roman Crazy five steamy hot and delicious espressos served with some very yummy cornettos.

five espressos

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ISHO Author Bio



Alice Clayton worked in the cosmetics industry for over a decade before picking up a pen (read: laptop). She enjoys gardening but not weeding, baking but not cleaning up, and finally convinced her long-time boyfriend to marry her. And she finally got her Bernese Mountain Dog.




Nina Bocci is a novelist, publicist, eternal optimist, unabashed lipgloss enthusiast, constant apologist, and a hopeless romanticist. She has too many college degrees that she’s not using and a Lego addiction that she blames on her son.



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Note: I received this ARC from the Publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Book Barista Reviews: The Darkest Link by Scarlett Cole

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Title:  The Darkest Link

Series:  Second Circle Tattoos, #4

Author:  Scarlett Cole

Release Date:  August 30, 2016

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The Darkest Link

ISHO Summary

When her car breaks down off the side of a lonely highway far from her sunny Miami home, tattoo artist Lia never expected her very own white knight to ride up on the back of a barely street-legal motorcycle…and she never expected to fall for her dark savior. After a string of failed relationships and a bruised heart, Lia is not looking for forever, and the hot mechanic, with his sexy scruff and shaggy hair, is simply impossible to resist and the perfect candidate for mind-blowingly-perfect, no-strings-attached one night stand.

Reid left his life in Chicago far behind him and hasn’t been back, but he’s never been able to escape the guilt he feels about his own painful role in inviting a monster into his baby sister’s life. A monster who almost destroyed her. Being with Lia is an unexpected gift, one he doesn’t feel he deserves, and their one night together has him wanting more than he should. Especially since she doesn’t know the truth about his past. However, when he finds Lia’s bracelet in his bed, he has the perfect excuse to drive down and surprise her at her tattoo studio, Second Circle Tattoos, in Miami. He’s in for an even bigger shock – and a fist to the face – when his past and present collide in the humid Miami weather when he runs into the last person he’d ever expect to see in a tattoo studio: Harper, the sister he betrayed, and the last link to his former life.


I was kind of sad to see that this would be the last book in this series, but at the same time I was happy to see that we would find out about Reid.  Reid was mentioned in the very first book and I was definitely left wondering about what had happened to him.  Why he just disappeared from his sister’s life.

Right off the top I want to say that I loved Reid.  A LOT! He rides a motorcycle.  He’s a gentleman.  He’s really caring.  AND he’s sexy as all get out!  All these things are what make him perfect for Lia. She’s smart, talented, looks like a pinup girl and drives a classic car.

Reid and Lia seem to have an instant connection.  They try to treat it lightly but soon realize it’s more than they expected.  Both of them have unresolved issues with their parents, especially their fathers. With each others’ help they manage to navigate through and come to some resolutions.  Along the way there is a some drama which leaves you wondering “WTF?!” but it gets resolved.

Scarlett Cole has wrapped up this series very nicely.  It was a pleasure to read this series and I am definitely looking forward to her next series.  I gave The Darkest Link four very satisfying and delicious cups coffee.

NEW four coffee


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Note: I received this ARC from the Publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Book Barista Reviews: Ghost by A. Zavarelli

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Title:  Ghost

Series:  Boston Underworld, #3

Author:  A. Zavarelli

Release Date:  August 26, 2016

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ISHO Summary

I have always been a bird. Caged by one prison or another when the only thing I ever wanted was to fly away.
Sold. Beaten. Starved. Drugged.
Nothing scares me anymore.
Until him.
He makes the numbness go away.
He is hazardous to me. It has nothing to do with his mafia lifestyle, and everything to do with what he offers.
A gilded prison.
A retreat from everything that I once knew. The reality I have no desire to return to.
He thinks he’s caged me, but soon…
I’m going to fly.

I live by a code. The Vory code.
In this mafiya world, there are traditions.
She does not care for these things. She does not care about anything.
She thinks she has me fooled with her haunted eyes.
What she can’t know is that I see her better than most.
She wants to fly.
But I’m going to clip her wings.
And make her my wife.


I’ve only recently become a fan of A. Zavarelli, thanks to an audiobook group I’m in on Facebook.  After listening to Crow and reading Reaper (the first two books in this series) I was dying to get my hands on Ghost.  I knew that I was going to have to brace myself for this because I had a feeling it was going to be INTENSE.

Alexei and Talia are two extremely damaged people.  Alexei lives with the pain of being disowned by his father and for living with a secret that no one must know.  Talia has endured unspeakable things, both as a child and then again as a young woman.  Although both broken, they seem to come together on a basic level.  Of course, neither one of them will admit how deep their relationship actually is.

Along the way, we get to see some of the characters we already know and love and we meet a few that we now love and a few that we hate A LOT!

A. Zavarelli did not disappoint with Ghost.  I couldn’t put this book down and read through it pretty quickly (if only work and real life didn’t interfere, I would’ve finished faster). This book was definitely worth five very strong and intense espressos.  I now endeavour to read all the other books written by Ms. Zavarelli and I especially look forward to more in this series.

five espressos


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Note: I received this ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

Hottie Hump Day 130

This beauty needs to be shared!!!

Olivia Cunning's Blog

d3272f6dfdb35090fa1351524eaa69a2 How about  hotties with pretty eyes this week?

d61995c2544a472e8a46f4ed1b3eee0b His eyes are gorgeous and he’s not to bad either! 

163016.88737058_500 I’m not sure his eyes are the theme here but he’s HOT! Hope everyone has a fantastic Wednesday. 

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