Gage, by Tess Oliver

gage

Grade: B-

Doing it at: 65%

Catnip: Lumberjack; Opposites Attract; Cowboys; Reformed Bad Boy; Trouser Snake

Shame Scale: Medium shame, Tess Oliver’s books are addictive New Adult that you probably aren’t advertising to strangers and elderly relatives that you’re reading

Fantasy Cast: Henry Cavill; Taylor Swift

Book Description:

After nearly losing his friend in a logging accident, Gage Barringer is convinced now more than ever that he needs to find a different job. But his side business of breaking colts at the small Montana ranch he inherited from his grandfather doesn’t earn him enough money. He has his mind set on running The Raven’s Nest, a popular bar and restaurant near his ranch. The original owner has died and Gage is waiting for it to be put up for sale. But there is a five-foot-four, brown eyed, obstacle in his way, an obstacle with lips made for sin and a voice made for breaking hearts. And Summer Donovan is one road block Gage Barringer won’t be able to find a way around.

The hero in this one is LITERALLY a lumberjack and a cowboy. So, no way was I not reading Gage. Have you google image searched Hot + Lumberjack lately? If the answer is no, change that. I have read a bunch of Tess Oliver’s other books, she was one of the first new adult authors I discovered when I started to devour trash, and since her first novel I think her writing has really improved. If I had to compare her books I would say they’re comparable to Jamie McGuire’s or Abbi Glines, we aren’t sure WHAT makes them so addictive but the stories are eminently readable.

Summer lives in L.A. with her boyfriend who is also her band mate, and is on the verge of a really big recording contract. It’s something she’s been working towards since she was a teen. Everything is looking like sunshine and rainbows, until the sleazy record label guy propositions her and she finds out that her boyfriend has been giving it to her best friend for who knows how long. So, Summer does what any reasonable young lady whose life is in flux would do, she moves to Montana to take over her dead grandpa’s restaurant in a tiny logging town.

Gage, our lumberjack, cowboy, manwhore hero wanted to buy the restaurant so he could stop working on the logging crew since it’s dangerous, exhausting work. Now, Summer has thwarted his plans and he doesn’t intend to be impressed by her. But of course he is, because what the fuck kind of depressing book would this be if he wasn’t?

Our protagonists don’t spend too long pretending to hate each other, Gage is a gentleman and helps Summer out with her car when it runs out of gas, keeps local rough neck douches from molesting her, and generally makes her feel safer and more welcome in the little town. Plus he’s a mountain of a mountain man and his charm isn’t lost on Summer. I’d describe Gage as an Alpha, but like a gentle non-asshole Alpha. An Alpha who likes baby kittens. Oliver’s character building is getting better book by book and I found myself rooting hard for these two.

The bedroom rodeo picks up right at our not at all arbitrary 65% mark cut off, and much is made of how much heat Gage is packing:

He was massive everywhere. His erection glistened with the dew of sex.

She released a throaty groan as she impaled herself lower and lower over my erection. “god, when does it end,”

They *almost* have sex in the hay loft of his barn, but sadly he teases her about rats and carries her naked across the property to ravish her in the house instead. I mean, it was still hot, but hayloft sex would have been a marker on my imaginary smut book bingo card. Just because it’s not real doesn’t mean I don’t like yelling bingo.

The drama in Gage is light, and resolved pretty tidily. This book was a quick read that didn’t require much thinking (a Compliment, I swear) and put a smile on my face. If you haven’t read any of Oliver’s books, this might be a good one to start with, and we get his dare-devil, smart-mouth brother next book. Nothing not to like about that. Plus, I reiterate, hot lumberjacks.

lumber sexual

Pucked, by Helena Hunting

pucked

Grade: B

Doing it at: 14%

Catnip: Hockey Players; Teammate’s Sister; Trouser Snake; Canadians; Beta Hero

Shame Scale: There is A LOT of penis talk in this one, I loved it, but was scared to read it on the bus.

Fantasy Cast: Henrik Lundqvist; Kat Dennings

What do we taste like: He tastes like chocolate, and more faintly, coffee liqueur

Book Description:

With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn’t interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. When Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet’s misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match.

Suffering from a complete lapse in judgment, Violet discovers just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants. Violet believes her night of orgasmic magic with Alex is just that: one night. But Alex starts to call. And text. And email and send extravagant—and quirky—gifts. Suddenly, he’s too difficult to ignore, and nearly impossible not to like.

The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn’t want to be part of the game.

I bought Pucked as a present to myself during a bad day at work, you can generally judge how stressful my life is by how many books I’m popping into the family library. Currently I’m at book buying level, “Hey Cleone, would you like some Xanax?”, but the upside is that I got Pucked out of this. I’m into hockey player romances, I’ve read the whole Chinook series, by Rachel Gibson and loved them (Gibson is pretty great in general). I also was recently clued in to the existence of Henrik Lundqvist, and I like any opportunity to think about him.

Pucked is funny, you guys. The heroine, Violet, is awkward and goofy and bad at controlling the words coming out of her mouth. As the girl who once ended up talking to her video store District Manager about my underwear, I can relate. Spending time with her inner monologue made me LOL more than once:

I further my own embarrassment and his by cupping my breasts and squeezing. “They’re nice for real ones, huh?”

Cockblockers are everywhere tonight, thwarting my attempts at poor decision making.

Alex is sweet, he’s a perfect beta hero, not too controlling, great manners and sense of humor; but still manly enough that its easy to imagine him manhandling you into bed. The silliness gets a little over the top at times, but this book is so fluffy and the author clearly likes all the characters so much that I just rolled with the silly.

Violet’s stepbrother, Buck the Yeti, is a pro hockey player who has recently been traded to a new team due to some …indiscretions … that were very publicly broadcast. Violet likes him enough, but in general she thinks that hockey players are man-whores with less than stellar IQs. So, when Alex Waters, team captain and legendary player, starts chatting her up at the bar after a game she doesn’t want to like him. But he’s smart, and funny, and really flipping hot. To add to all that appeal she realizes that the reason he looks so damned familiar is because she was “jilling off” to his milk ad earlier in the day.

I don’t know why it’s so hot. I mean, milk isn’t really a sexy drink, but whatever.

Which is how she ends up ” mouth fucking” him outside the bar, Violet has described the kissing as such and I LOVE it. And that’s how later that night she ends up having hot, funny, unexpected sex with him in his hotel room after he’s stripped her out of her Spiderman pajamas and shown her his monster cock.

Now, spoilers to follow, scroll from hot hockey gent to hot hockey gent if you want to be surprised!

henrik 1

After the mouth fucking and trouble-walking-the-next-day-banging,  Alex woos her hard. He’s sweet, unsure if she likes him, and really wants to get to know her better. Both in a mouth fucking and a personality way. Violet tries to resist because she really doesn’t want to date another slut hockey player. The internet is full of rumors about how many ladies he’s bagged and she doesn’t want to become one of many. She works in finance, she wears superhero underpants, she’s a GOOD GIRL. She doesn’t want to be some Puck Bunny. But Alex is calling, texting, emailing, and sending her adorable gifts – like a stuffed beaver wearing a Waters jersey. Violet isn’t made of steel. Plus there’s the hot sex that she wants to have more of, like stat.

Violet and Alex start hooking up every time he’s in town, having dirty fun sex and really enjoying each others company. Alex is uncut and Violet nicknames his monster cock Snuffie after Snuffleupagus, which is adorable and made me giggle. Everything is going well, they’re falling hard for each other and even getting caught screwing in the locker room by his entire team doesn’t mess up the good thing they’ve got going (locker room sex is on my to do list now in case you were wondering).

What DOES screw things up is Alex trying to keep their relationship secret because he’s trying for a big endorsement deal. Not cute, hockey God.

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henrik 2

Pucked was a fun read, it was everything I want in a romance: funny and hot and sweet. Hunting gave us our HEA without too much back and forth. There was the proper amount of groveling from Alex when he makes a boneheaded mistake. With a pretty Rom-Com worthy public proclamation.  This is a solid B read; with summer finally upon us I urge you to take this one with you for reading in the sun and swooning over guys who have solid skills with their … sticks.

Amazon