Category Archives: Books

The Book Barista Reviews: Falling For Flynn by Kate Willoughby

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Title:  Falling For Flynn

Series:  Hockey On Tap, #1

Author:  Kate Willoughby

Release Date:  October 19, 2016

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ISHO Summary

Tracy Duval has spent her life proving women can play hockey. From leading her college team to coaching little girls, she’s been a champion of the sport. But when a sexist ad for the Barracuda Fantasy Hockey Camp seems to exclude women, she signs up to teach the boys a lesson.

Retired NHL player Flynn Hammerstrom meets Tracy at the local ice rink and is immediately intrigued. She’s mature, confident, sexy—and hello, she plays hockey. He’s ready to settle down again and, after his tumultuous marriage, he’s looking for a woman who is high on fun and low on drama.

Unfortunately, even though he’s nuts about her, the drama he desperately wants to avoid flares up at the fantasy camp.

And Tracy is smack dab in the middle of the fire.

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I love Kate Willoughby’s hockey romance series In the Zone, so I was pretty excited to see that she had a new spin-off series for me to sink my teeth into.

The first thing that I liked about this book is that the characters are more mature.  In their 40’s.  How awesome is that?!  It’s nice to read about characters that are closer to my age.

The next thing I liked about it is that Tracy is a hockey player.  It’s good to see females playing the game.  In the book she stands up for women everywhere who love to play hockey.  Aaaaand she also coaches a little girls’ team.  I think it’s safe to say that I really liked Tracy.

Now what can I say about Flynn?  He’s a retired hockey player.  The chemistry between Flynn and Tracy is instant.  He apparently had IT back in the day and he’s still got IT. I instantly also liked Flynn.  He’s sexy and sweet.

This was a quick read as it is a novella.  There was just enough heat and drama to satisfy any reader.  I gave Falling For Flynn four steamy lattes.  The only reason it didn’t get five is because it is a novella.  I would’ve liked more.  Please note that that isn’t a complaint, it’s just my preference.  I’m am definitely looking forward to more in this series.

four starbucks

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Note: I received this ARC from the author 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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the-goal

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.

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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.


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.

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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.


Cover Reveal: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

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Title:  The Goal

Series:  Off Campus, #4

Author:  Elle Kenney

Release Date:  September 26, 2016

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TheGoal iBooks

 

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.

 

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The Book Barista Reviews: Cream of the Crop by Alice Clayton

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Title:  Cream of the Crop

Series:  Hudson Valley, #2

Author:  Alice Clayton

Release Date:  July 12, 2o16

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Cream of the Crop

ISHO Summary

New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Alice Clayton brings her trademark blend of funny and sexy to this second contemporary romance in the brand-new Hudson Valley series!

Manhattan’s It Girl, Natalie Grayson, has it all: she’s a hot exec at a leading advertising firm, known industry-wide for her challenging and edgy campaigns. She’s got a large circle of friends, a family that loves her dearly, and her dance card is always full with handsome eligible bachelors. What else could a modern gal-about-town wish for? The answer, of course, is…cheese.

Natalie’s favorite part of each week is spending Saturday morning at the Union Square Farmer’s Market, where she indulges her love of all things triple cream. Her favorite booth also indulges her love of all things handsome. Oscar Mendoza, owner of the Bailey Falls Creamery and purveyor of the finest artisanal cheeses the Hudson Valley has to offer, is tall, dark, mysterious, and a bit oblivious. Or so she thinks. But that doesn’t stop Natalie from fantasizing about the size of his, ahem, milk can.

Romance is churning, passion is burning, and something incredible is rising to the top. Could it be…love?

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This is book two in Alice Clayton’s Hudson Valley series.  When we were briefly introduced to Natalie and Oscar in the first book I knew I wanted to know more about the quiet creamery owner.

As expected when reading Alice Clayton books there were plenty of laugh out loud moments.  An exchange between Natalie and Oscar that included  the quote: “great comma big ass” was my absolute favourite. [Note of advice:  don’t read Alice Clayton books at work.  It’s hard to explain why you’re laughing your ass off.]

Natalie was one of my favourite book characters.  She’s a successful advertising exec and a big girl that owns her curves.  She makes men bow down to her.  Except for when she sees Oscar.  Oscar is the only man that makes her a little tongue-tied.

As for Oscar…*swoon*…he’s a beautiful, quiet man.  I think that he sees things in a simple manner.  He doesn’t get sucked into drama.  Aaaaaand he makes cheese! That’s a win in my book.  He’s a fantastic book boyfriend.

Cream of the Crop gets four delicious cappuccinos made with delicious  milk from Bailey Falls Creamery and served with some delicious brie.  I am definitely looking forward to the third book in this series.

four cappuccinos

 

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


The Book Barista Reviews: The Billionaire Bachelor by Jessica Lemmon

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Title:  The Billionaire Bachelor

Series:  Billionaire Bad Boys, #1

Author:  Jessica Lemmon

Release Date:  June 28, 2016

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ISHO Summary

Indecent Proposal
Manwhore. That’s what the board of directors-and the tabloids-thinks of billionaire bachelor Reese Crane. Ordinarily he couldn’t care less, but his playboy past is preventing the board from naming him CEO of Crane Hotels. Nothing-and no one-will keep him from his life’s legacy. They want a settled man to lead the company? Then that’s exactly what he’ll give them.

Merina Van Heusen will do anything to get her parents’ funky boutique hotel back-even marry cold-as-ice-but-sexy-as-hell Reese Crane. It’s a simple business contract – six months of marriage, absolute secrecy, and the Van Heusen is all hers again. But when sparks fly between them, their passion quickly moves from the boardroom to the bedroom. And soon Merina is living her worst nightmare: falling in love with her husband .

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I know what you’re thinking.  I thought the same thing.  Billionaire playboy needs to marry so he can further advance his empire.  Enter smart, attractive female who will pretend to be his loving wife to help him attain his goal and gain something hereself.  Yes, the story seems to be all too familiar. But guess what?  I loved it!!!  I absolutely loved Reese Crane and Merina Van Heusen!!!

Both Reese and Merina are in the hotel business.  The only difference being that Reese’s company now owns Merina’s family’s hotel. They work together to get what they want.  Reese wants to be CEO and Merina wants her hotel back.  Why not get married?  After a short time (six months) they both get what they want.  As you can expect, things get much more involved than they expected.

I didn’t think I’d like Reese but once again I was pleasantly surprised. [NOTE:  I should’ve known better.  Jessica Lemmon always writes a great male character!]  I really liked Reese and I really loved Merina.  Even though their marriage was a “fake” they were pretty awesome together.

Once again Jessica Lemmon has written a great story with fantastic characters.  This was an awesome start to a new series. The Billionaire Bachelor got five hot and steamy lattes from me.  I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in this series.  Bring on Tag (Reese’s brother).

five caffé latte

 

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

The Book Barista Reviews: On The Brink by Kate Willoughby

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Title:  On the Brink

Series:  In the Zone, #0

Author:  Kate Willoughby

Release Date:  June 28, 2016

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On the Brink

ISHO Summary

Due to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton’s origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love…

Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won’t let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He’s the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick.

One hot night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches him on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down.

 

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This is a prequel novella about Hart and Jeremy, two characters that were introduced in Kate Willoughby’s In The Zone Series.  As they were already a couple in the series, this is a look into how they got together.  I will admit that I don’t usually read novellas because they just aren’t long enough.  That said, I absolutely had to read this for a couple of reasons: 1)  I loved the glimpses I got into Hart and Jeremy and wanted to know more and 2) this is Kate Willoughby!  I love her writing!

I totally understand how it would be difficult for Hart to admit to himself that he was gay. He’s on the verge of beginning his professional hockey career and he’s afraid of what being gay might mean for his future career. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Jeremy.  He’s out and proud.  He’s totally attracted to Hart and I will say that he’s incredibly patient with Hart.  One hot night turns into a great friendship which then turns into more.

I absolutely loved this book (even though I did wish it was longer).  I loved Jeremy and Hart and am so glad that Kate Willoughby wrote this.  I think she did a great job on her first m/m venture.  I think she kept it realistic and stayed true to the characters.  I look forward to more in this series.  I gave On the Brink five refreshing and delicious mocha cookie crumble frappuccinos.

Five Mocha cookie crumble frappuccino

 

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