Monday, February 16, 2015

Mini Reviews: Give It All & Quarterback Draw

GIVE IT ALL
Desert Dogs #2
Cara McKenna
Romantic Suspense
352 pages
Signet
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review

THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Keep your friends close—and your enemies closer....

Bar owner Raina Harper can’t say for sure what Duncan Welch is to her. With her small Nevada town under siege by a ruthless casino development and still reeling from a spate of murders, she knows that trusting the public face of the corporate invaders is risky to say the least. Though, damn, it’s one fine-looking face.…

Duncan may be a mercenary when it comes to getting the job done, but he’s no villain. In fact, the calculating fixer soon finds himself in the bad guys’ crosshairs, framed and facing professional ruin. To clear his name, he’ll need help from Raina and her roughneck motorcycle club, the Desert Dogs. Gaining their trust won’t be easy, and the molten sexual tension between Raina and Duncan only makes things more complicated—especially since Miah Church, Raina’s friend and ex-lover, would sooner strangle Duncan than shake his hand.

One thing’s certain, though: If they don’t deal with their incendiary attraction soon, the whole damn town might go up in flames.…


MY THOUGHTS
Give It All is a grittier installment than its predecessor in terms of the romance, Raina and Duncan's edges significantly more jagged than that of Kim and Vince's, thus making their journey to happiness a sometimes painful but ultimately beautiful one. Many times with romances featuring damaged characters we spend a lot of time learning exactly what caused all the injuries we can't see, but with both Duncan and Raina very little time is spent dwelling on the past and we're simply allowed to live with them in the present, watching as they learn the nuances of the person each is now. It's not a story of the two of them figuring out how to mend one another through sex, love and everything in between, rather it's one of acceptance, each wishing to let themselves be seen with the type of honesty few others have been gifted.

Duncan is arguably the one whose past has manifested itself in his present in a more life-altering way, his various compulsions dictating his day to day schedule to such a degree that he suffers full-on panic attacks should he not be able to complete certain tasks. What's so striking about his relationship with Raina though is that she never tries to avoid triggering his compulsions or change his life so that she can better address his needs, instead she simply accepts everything about him (and mocks his extreme Britishness at times, much to our delight) and simply stands by his side, there for him should he need her. Duncan is much the same way with Raina, pushing her to let him see all her dark corners, but respecting the woman she is and giving her the space and independence she fiercely craves at the same time. The two of them together are gorgeously messy, and their romance is one destined to be read over and over again.

Rating: 4/5


Find Cara:

Play By Play #9
Jaci Burton
Contemporary Romance
336 pages
Berkley Trade
Available Now
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
Grant Cassidy knows how to be a football star—flash that dazzling smile, throw the winning pass, get the girl. But while the hot quarterback loves the game and the lifestyle, no woman has come close to catching his heart. Then he matches wits with a smart, gorgeous model, and Grant finds himself wanting more than a fling.

Supermodel Katrina Koslova might live in a world of glitz and camera flashes, but she works hard to provide for the family that relies on her. She doesn’t have time for fun—much less a boyfriend—but Grant seems determined to be the exception to Katrina’s rule.

Their explosive chemistry is undeniable, but Katrina’s afraid to let go and rely on anyone but herself. Grant intends to ease her fears and prove he’s a man of style and substance.

MY THOUGHTS
Quarterback Draw, the latest installment of Ms. Burton’s oh-so sexy Play-by-Play series, gives us a very familiar (but still smoldering) hero in football star Grant Cassidy, but she changes things up a bit with heroine Katrina. Ms. Burton’s heroines are always strong, feisty and independent, but with Katrina we have, on paper, our least relatable heroine yet given her profession as a supermodel. While we might not be able to fully relate to being an image consultant, event planner, bar owner or any number of other careers the women in this series have, there’s something about the career of a supermodel that seems so much further outside the realm of our reality.

That being said though, Katrina is as easy to settle in with as the women who came before her, more than able to hold her own against the big personality that is Grant Cassidy as well as the teenage antics of her younger brother and sister. Family plays an enormous role in this story, Grant and Katrina's respective siblings ensuring they both, despite their high profile careers, feel as real and genuine as they come. The chemistry between them is nothing less than we’ve come to expect from this series, and we’re treated to the slow deepening of feelings with very little angst or unnecessary drama. Overall, Quarterback Draw is a fantastic addition to the Play-by-Play series, and I can’t wait to see what Grant’s brother Tucker has in store for us next.

Rating: 4/5
 
Find Jaci:

WebsiteTwitterGoodreadsAmazon 
 
These books were sent to me by the publisher free of charge for the purpose of a review
I received no other compensation and the above is my honest opinion.

38 comments:

  1. I enjoyed Give It All way more than Lay it Down. I was surprised by this because I wanted a second chance romance with Miah and Raina, not one with Duncan. I ended up loving Duncan and his stuffiness! He cracked me up so much. Raina I had a little trouble with at first, but nothing that ruined the read for me. Cara McKenna writes some extremely hot scenes, right?! Wow!

    I read one installment of the Play by Play series and I'll have to get back to it someday. Wonderful minis, Jenny! :)

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    1. I really wanted that too initially, but I fell in love with Duncan as you did. He was a good fit for her:) I'm looking forward to Vince's brother's story. I'm guessing he's going to be with the pregnant waitress:)

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  2. "There’s something about the career of a supermodel that seems so much further outside the realm of our reality." I know, right? I hate getting my picture taken or being the centre of attention so I'd find a supermodel extremely hard to relate to. So, it's good that Burton somehow made Katrina relatable.

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    1. I would cry a little if I had to be in front of a camera for a living. I'm a behind the camera kind of girl Z! I really enjoyed Katrina though, she was so matter of fact about her job - it really was just a job to her, not a way of life.

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  3. I really enjoyed the books by Jaci Burton I've tried and I'm really curious to read the whole series! It sounds so fun! As for the first one I didn't know about this one and I haven't read a biker book yet but I'm quite curious too. thanks for the 2 reviews.

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    1. Love Jaci Burton Melliane! She and Cara both know how to write some sexy scenes:)

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  4. I need to read some rom sup soon

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  5. Gorgeously messy can be just the right mix in a relationship. I like the sound of both of these couples, but I think Give it All might be a more relatable story for me (not that the supermodel/football star story doesn't sounds like fun :D). Lovely minis! :-)

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    1. I had such fun with both of these Lauren!

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  6. Ok, so the second book cover caught my eye. Wow. :) How have I never heard of this Play-by-Play series? It sounds like something I'd love. You had me at football star….I LOVE football. I will have to check out this series. Great mini-reviews, Jenny!

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    1. Ummmmmm. Yes. The whole series of covers renders me incoherent:)

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  7. Well both of these are some sexy as heck covers, Jenny! I'd read them just for that! ;)
    I love the sound of Give it All! I like that the relationship is messy, but that it's still beautiful. Also, I need to give a Cara McKenna book a try soonish!

    Quaterback Draw sounds pretty great as well. I love that family plays such a huge importance in the book. I'll have to check this one out as well.

    Lovely reviews, Jenny! Although, you didn't need them to convince me to read these books! Just those drool-worthy covers were enough! :D

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    1. Aren't they now? I think Mondays need a little sexiness:) I was really impressed with both these stories, I hope you give them a try Nick!

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  8. Both of these are pretty much right up my alley :) I am really hoping to get back to Romantic Suspense soon :)

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  9. Both of these sound good. I actually have the Burton book but was hesitant. Does it work as a standalone Jenny?

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    1. It definitely works as a standalone Kim, you won't have any trouble settling in with these two:)

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  10. I'm all about this genre during the cold months so I'll be adding these two to my TBR at once! So glad you enjoyed these and fantastic mini-reviews, Jenny! :)

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    1. YES! It was beyond cold today, so I'm off to find more romances:)

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  11. Like Keertana I love the idea of reading these types of books with steamy covers during these cold and winter months. I've also been in the mod for some romance lately! Fantastic reviews Jenny :)

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    1. I highly recommend both of these authors Lily, you can count on them to provide lots of swoon-worthy moments:)

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  12. Both theses covers incite drool like behavior, gorgeous! Cara McKenna sounds like she created a smexy and beautiful messy romance to fall into. And, I've been wanting to try Jaci Burton, and can't decide if I should dive in or start with book one. Any suggestions? Lovely reviews, Jenny! :)

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    1. Right? *scrolls back up to stare*

      Book two of the Play by Play series is my absolute favorite, but Liz and Gavin's relationship starts in book one, so I would definitely start there:)

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  13. I really do love reads like this one, even if the journey is a sometimes painful one. As long as it is beautiful too, I can handle them. :)

    Wonderful reviews Jenny!!

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    1. SAME! I'm find with darkness as long as there's a light at the end of the tunnel Ali:)

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  14. I really really want to try both of these authors. I always love Jaci's covers they are so sexy.

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    1. She has the BEST covers. *stares dreamily*

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  15. I've heard good things about these authors, especially Jaci. I'm not sure if they are for me or not though. For some reason I don't really feel drawn to them. Maybe not my genre? Maybe I'm judging by cover too much cause the stories sounds good.

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    1. Cara's books are a touch grittier, Jaci's series is more lighthearted and quite a bit sexier:) If romance isn't necessarily you're thing, you might still give Cara's series a try as there's the suspense aspect as well.

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  16. Why have I not read a Burton book yet? I should be collecting her books for the covers!! :D I need both of these because I've been wanting more romantic suspense in my life. Thanks for the rec!!

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    1. THE COVERS ARE SO PRETTY! And she'll have you adding a whole slew of new men to your harem Melissa:)

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  17. Glad to hear that both books earned 4 stars and were thoroughly enjoyed! With amazing chemistry and no drama I think these could be candidates to be added to my wish list!
    Great reviews Jenny!

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    1. I need romance in my life Pili, it just makes me happy:)

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  18. Two books I would like, I bet! Love romantic suspense and sports romance. Cara McKenna is the author of Hard Time, I believe? I liked that story. Yummy men in prison LOL.

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  19. wow sound like you get to read really good books, happy to see that you enjoyed those two books jenny :)

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  20. Pfft ... I totally identify with supermodels. lol. Seriously though, these sound good, especially Give it All. I have a feeling I'd love those characters.

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  21. Yay for amazing chemistry and little to no drama! I've yet to pick up a book by either of these authors but I definitely should. :)

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