Review: Barrelled Over

tl;dr: forgettable novel with too many characters and not enough heart

The Story:

Ava Grace Landy is a country superstar who rose to fame after winning a televised singing competition: essentially, she’s Carrie Underwood, although in this universe, she is competing with Ms Underwood for dollars and fans. Her new management team at her record label are threatening to kick her to the curb if she can’t reel in some male listeners, as apparently her entire fanbase is female.

In order to appease the directive, she decides to partner with her friend’s husband’s friend’s (phew!) bourbon distillery. It’s a unique boutique distillery, located in San Francisco rather than Kentucky, where most bourbon is made. Ava Grace decides rather quickly that she just has to have Beck, the guarded friend of her friend’s husband, who co-owns the distillery with two of his other friends (who no doubt have their own books complete with HEAs on the way).

Continue reading

Review: Hard Knocks

The problem with reviewing this book, and others like it, is that it wasn’t very memorable. Nothing was glaringly awful about it, but it also wasn’t so great that all I can do is wax poetic over it. Partly, I think that’s because the most interesting parts about it were glossed over as the setting. Writing this review, I can hardly even remember the heroine’s name (it was Helen).

The author dances around the topic of her dad’s illness and subsequent descent into dementia, and having her try to battle her inward struggle between her attraction to a hockey player who likely could end up with the same time of brain injury from a violent sport. But there are all these reasons for her reluctance to pursue Adam the hockey player that don’t seem worth wasting the ink on. Her fear of brain injury should be enough. And then, the subplot where they duke it out in public over whether hockey should be banned and the weird Russian mafia guy who has apparently a cadre of concubines on every continent just made the whole thing weird. All of these little pockets of plot could really have been eliminated because they weren’t all that interesting.

I like a enemies-to-lovers trope as much as anyone, but this just seemed way too manufactured. We also get glimpses into Adam’s relationship with his own father but barely enough to go on. The author didn’t let the characters breathe in amongst the plot.

Also, I feel cheated that the adorable scene of ice skating on the cover was not in the book.