Wait for It, by Mariana Zapata

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Grade: B

Doing it at: 96%

Catnip: Friends to Lovers; Single Mom; Real Live Grownups; Slow Burn; Strong Female Lead; Coach Me; CoHo Exception; Neighbors; Sports Stuff; Mexican American Heroine; Perfect Gentleman

Shame Scale: No shame, you could share this book with your local little league coach, or read most of it aloud in your quiet office over winter break. It’s basically a clean read, guys.

Fantasy Cast:  Jeffrey Dean Morgan (not doing anything remotely violent!)& America Ferrera

Book Description:


If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?


Wait for It is Mariana Zapata’s newest release, and the fourth of her books that I’ve read, and to begin with I have to say that these are not my usual type of books. Zapata writes SLOW BURNS. And I am not exaggerating the slow, look at that doing it percentage up there! With my growing inability to focus on anything for more than two minutes at a time (ooooh something happened on Twitter, better fall down an internet hole!), I don’t know what it is about Zapata’s books that hold my attention.

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Overtime, by Toni Aleo

Overtime

Grade: B

Doing it at: 47%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Beards, Second Chance Love, Hate to Love You, Addiction, Serious Problems, Sports Stuff, Strong Female Lead, Brother’s Best Friend, Reformed Bad Boy

Shame Scale: Super low shame, the cover is obviously romance, but look at that guy.

Fantasy Cast: The glorious and sadly unknown to us man on the cover, Charlize Theron

Book Description:

Down and out with an injury keeping him away from the game, Assassins’ defenseman Jordie Thomas lives for the blades of his skates on the ice and the feeling of oblivion off it. With no choice but to heal, he’s forced away from the sport that runs through his veins. With everything at stake and darkness setting in, he quickly finds himself spiraling even further out of control. As his life begins to come crashing down around him and his contract with the Nashville Assassins on the line, he’s given an ultimatum. Ready or not, Jordie is forced to face his past, the fears that consume him, and the one woman he let walk away. 

Kacey King had her professional dreams come true, yet her heart was battered and broken. With an Olympic gold medal around her neck, she’s ready to look forward to the future but without the one man she wanted in it. She’s missing the key pieces of her heart she left months ago with the only person who was capable of destroying it, causing her to falter in all her plans to move on. 

In the game of life, there are winners and losers, and neither Jordie nor Kacey want to be on the losing bench. If only Jordie could convince Kacey he’s a changed man and that he wants her right by his side as his MVP for the biggest and best parts of a life they build together. With emotions running high and the game on the line, can two proud people find happiness with each other, or will their hearts and souls be left in the cold? Will they see that sometimes having someone by your side who knows the good, bad, and broken is better than going it alone and losing everything through the back of the net? They are out of time on the game clock and fighting for the win of their lives. 

But overtime was made for an Assassin like Jordie. 


Mary: Full disclosure. We bought this book for the cover model. 100%. Look at him:

Overtime

I don’t even want to admit to the lurid, depraved, bottomless depths of Tumblr I have explored, trying to find a dirty lookalike for this guy.

Dear Toni Aleo, *Slow Clap* Also, how about you HABO (Help A Bitch Out) and tell us who this model is so we can stalk him incessantly on Instagram.

Cleone: Seriously, this is maybe our best cover model of all time, if we didn’t want to avoid angering Jay Crownover we’d tweet this at her RE: this is how you do it (plus she redeemed herself with #HotCop).

Overtime 11

M: And also, hockey is kind of hot. I guess. I’m not really a sports person, but I think out of all of the sports, hockey has some of the better looking players (not counting the dental issues).

C: Hockey has Henrik Lundqvist. It is definitely hot. Plus I adore the Rachel Gibson Chinook series, so hockey has serious catnip for me.

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Lawless in Leather, by Melanie Scott

Lawless in Leather

Grade: B

Doing it at: 49%

Catnip: Burlesque; Motorcycles; Smoking Hot Ex-Military Guy; Sports Stuff; Dead Ex-Girlfriend Issues; Mysterious Stalker; Dual Narrative; Not Xena

Shame Scale: Medium.

Fantasy Cast: Jay Ryan, Isla Fisher

Book Description:

SHE’S GOOD AT HER GAME.
Raina Easton never dreamed she’d end up playing ring master to a bunch of baseball cheerleaders. But when the New York Saints offers her a job to coach its new squad–the Fallen Angels–Raina can’t refuse. As the owner of a burlesque club, she can certainly show the girls more than a few good moves. But as for her new boss? That is, as they say, a whole ‘nother story. . . 

AND HE’S GOT IT BAD.
Army veteran, biker, and all-around tough guy, Malachi Coulter isn’t your typical sports-team owner. For one thing, he doesn’t think cheerleaders belong on the baseball field. Another: he can’t seem to separate business and pleasure when he meets his somewhat scandalous new employee. Seems the major-league bad boy has met his match in the gorgeous, feisty Raina. All’s fair in love and baseball…could it be that, after all this time, Malachi is playing to win?

We recently got our hands on a bunch of ARC’s (Advanced Reader Copy), making us Shame Girls feel verrrry professional and pleased with ourselves. Luckily the first few have been pretty good so we don’t have to say mean things, or lie and feel like we’re compromising our “Journalistic Integrity.”

Lawless in Leather is the third book in the New York Saints series. I’ve been wanting to check one of these out (because I like the covers. Faceless buns, bulge, and abs. #sorrynotsorry) and I was thrilled to have a chance to read this one for zero dollars. Also, when I was googling this book to get an image of the cover to use in this review, this was what came up:

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So excellent. 🙂

Raina is a dancer who has been hired to choreograph a cheerleading squad for the NY Saints, a baseball team recently purchased by Malachi (love that name – it’s NOT too Children of the Corn, you guys) and his friends – the heroes in the previous two books. Raina and Malachi are both looking to settle down and do adult things, but both of them look at the other and see capital “T” Trouble: A curvy burlesque dancer with fiery red hair, versus a broody guy on a motorcycle, wrapped up in a leather jacket.

“Would you believe me if I said it’s not you, it’s me?” Dark brows lifted. “I might. If you explain it more.” “It… it sounds silly. But I just don’t trust my instincts with men anymore. Too many mistakes. So when my instincts say This one, I’m forced to consider if it’s more sensible to do the exact opposite.” He frowned. “Did someone hurt you?” “I’m thirty. It would be a little strange if I hadn’t had my heart broken by now.”

They spend a good bit of time letting the chemistry simmer and bubble, before they realize that it might not be the worst idea ever to explore the obvious attraction between them. Add in a mysterious someone who is messing with Raina, and Mal’s protective instincts, and it’s a pretty enjoyable read. Also, Raina’s cat is named after Wash in Firefly, so I’m sure Melanie Scott and I would be friends IRL.

I loved the characters in this. Raina is confident and mature, knows what she wants and is extremely direct about it. There’s no cliched misunderstandings that insult the reader’s intelligence. The drama between Raina and Mal feels real and satisfying. And this book manages to strike a good balance between giving us that protective alpha male we want, and the feminist hero we want to be. Take these excerpts for example.

“I don’t need to lock you up.” Her face went pensive. “Not literally. That would be weird. And really creepy and I’d have to call the cops on your ass. But there are things I want to do in my life. And some of them aren’t the safest things on earth. I want to learn to ski and maybe bungee-jump and some other stuff that I never got to do when I was dancing because I couldn’t afford to injure myself. I don’t life my life within the lines. Not all the time.” He sucked in a breath. “I know that.” “Yeah, but can you live with it? Because my choices are mine. No one else gets to choose for me. Or control what I do. So if you already know that the answer is no, we should cut our losses. Before anyone gets hurt.”

************

“Her definition of handling it was apparently different from his. But he remember what she’d said. About not wanting to be controlled. So he couldn’t just take over and do things his way. Not if he wanted to keep waking up next to her. He took a breath. Pushed back the worry and anger. She was safe. And she had told him. She’d given him that much. He could respect her boundaries in return. “Okay.” He nodded once. “Okay. Let’s see what happens.”

See that! He’s protective, she’s not meek, he agrees to compromise. Cleone and I first started throwing around the idea of blogging about romance novels when we realized that we were two educated feminist women, DEVOURING books about men that are borderline abusive. Controlling in the name of overprotectiveness. Truth: we LOVE those books. But we also love it even more when we find a book with characters we can relate to. Who do things we can see ourselves doing in real life. I’m giving this one a B, because I loved it, but I think it could have used a little more drama. I feel like if you’re going to add a stalker, there should be a little more danger or excitement than there was in this one.

Amazon