Thursday, May 28, 2020

Isn't It Romantic?

Game Changer
Kelly Jamieson
Series: Wynn Hockey, #5
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Kelly Jamieson
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Jackson Wynn

I don’t want anything to do with my crazy family’s drama, which I’ve been watching unfold from a distance over the last year, but now my grandfather has Alzheimer’s and I feel I need to at least make a quick visit to see him. My hockey season’s over, all I have to do is get through my teammate Steve’s wedding, and then I’m on a plane to Los Angeles to do my family duty. After that, I’ll head home to Manitoba for some summer R&R at the family lake cottage.

Molly Flynn

Nobody’s expecting what happens at my wedding, which becomes pandemonium. I need to get out of there. Fast. Who do I turn to? Jackson Wynn, one my fiancĂ©’s teammates. He’s been a friend to me since I met Steve. For one night, we hide out in his condo, but he’s leaving in the morning for California. I want to go with him.


I can’t take Steve’s fiancĂ©e with me to California. He’s going to flip shit over this. But the lying cheating bastard kind of deserves it, and I’ve always had a soft spot for Molly. Or maybe not so soft…because she’s not only sweet and kind, she’s hot as hell. This is a bad idea for so many reasons, and I sure as hell don’t need more drama in my life, but I can’t say no to her.

On this nutso trip, neither of us expect Molly to bond with my bonkers family…especially my poor, confused grandpa. And neither of us expect to bond with each other
After pulling a runaway-bride maneuver at her wedding, Molly was looking to get out of dodge. She begged and pleaded to tag along with Jax, and though he may have had second thoughts, he let her accompany him to California. He thought she could serve as a buffer between him and his family, but the more time he spent with her, the more he realized how special Molly was.

I loved the set up for this book. The wedding scene was fantastic, and I so wanted Jax and Molly to run away together. Their chemistry and connection was easy to see, from miles away, but I concede, it was a tricky situation.

I really enjoyed this book, but it felt quite different from the other Wynn books. I guess that makes sense, since Jax is the only Wynn, who lives away from the family, and plays for a non-Wynn team. It was just odd to spend so little time with the family. Though I must say, the time we spent with them was instrumental in helping Jax come to terms with a lot of his baggage.

Jax's outlook on love and marriage was shaded by his beliefs about what ended his parents union. He couldn't bring himself to believe in love, after watching his parents crash and burn. But, with encouragement from Molly, Jax opened up, and actually talked to his parents, learning the truth about what happened. Not only did Molly's advice help him understand and get an handle on his thoughts about love, it helped him mend a fence with another Wynn family member. Jax was also dealing with feeling he didn't measure up as a Wynn, and I think that made me cheer for him even louder. I always love an underdog. He really grew a lot as he spent time with Molly, and I was happy seeing him find some peace and clarity.

I know some may miss the hockey sequences, as this book takes place during the off season, but I was ok with it, since I had such a fantastic time with Jax and Molly during their trip. It got better and better with each day they spent together, and I was sad to see them have to leave the bubble. We all know, stuff gets real, when they leave the bubble. Needless to say, I was rooting for these two, when they returned to Chicago, because it was clear as day, that they belonged to one another.

This book had a bit of a different feel from the other Wynn books, but I absolutely loved it! Molly and Jax were a perfect pairing, and I had a grand time watching them chase their HEA.

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review.

Crushing It
Lorelei Parker
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
In life, as in gaming, there's a way around every obstacle . . .

To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar's diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer?

Until the moderator says, "Next up, Tristan Spencer . . ."

Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it's not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she's been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player's motivations.

Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .
Sierra wanted to be the one presenting her newest game at a European conference. Unfortunately, she suffered from anxiety, when it came to public speaking, and well, you can guess how well her demo presentation went. But, she was willing to try anything to overcome her fear, and at the suggestion of her best friend, she entered a competition at a local bar, where people shared their most cringeworthy moments. This reunited her with two of her former college classmates, one being her crush, who seemed interested in getting to know Sierra better. As she worked through her performance anxiety, she also had to sort out her feelings for both Tristan and Alfie.

This book had a rather interesting premise. A competition, to see who suffered the most humiliating moments. Combine that with two blasts from Sierra's past, and I got one rather funny story.

Things I really enjoyed

  • I don't know where she got all her inspiration, but Parker came up with some great material for the competition. The readings made me both cringe and laugh, and I enjoyed going back to bar each week to hear what the participants had to share. 
  • Alfie was so wonderful! He had so many fantastic qualities, and it was hard for me not to root for him. 
  • This book was fun and witty, and I just had a great time reading it. I sat back, smiled, and laughed as I cheered for my certain someone, while waiting for Sierra to come to her senses. 
  • The characters in this book were quirky, and I enjoyed getting to know them all (except Tristan). Their love of gaming was unrivaled, and it was fun being taken in by this nerdy and passionate bunch. 
  • Girl gamers and female developers need to be featured more, so I welcome Sierra with open arms. She might not have been the best public speaker, and I may have questioned her taste in men, but she was a savvy and skilled programmer, who had an unbridled devotion to video games. 
  • The gaming references were sprinkled throughout in just the right quantity. Parker featured great games and fandoms, and there were some references that definitely put a smile on my face. 
Overall: A fun rom-com with a touch of drama, which had me provided me with much amusement. 

**I won this book via a Goodreads giveaway

Have you ever played an MMORPG?
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