The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

review

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The Mistake

Off Campus #2

Elle Kennedy

2.5stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


He’s a player in more ways than one…

College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he’ll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he’s worth a second chance.

Now he’s going to need to up his game…

After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She’s not a charity case, and she’s not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He’ll have to work for it. This time around, she’ll be the one in the driver’s seat…and she plans on driving him wild.

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The Deal didn’t blow me away like I was hoping it would, but I still went into this book expecting to enjoy it.  And again, I was disappointed.  I read the majority of this on the plane and train on my way back from Florida to Baltimore, but I left the last few chapters for the next day.  And I’m not exaggerating when I say that when I went back to it, I had almost completely forgotten what had happened.

I had all the same problems with this book that I did with The Deal.  The Deal at least had a trope that I actually enjoy to fall back on.  The Mistake’s whole plotline was pretty lame.  And again, there was Too. Much. Plot.  Again they get together way before the ending.  I’m not here for that. I mean, getting there was adorable and again, the sex scenes were pretty hot, but it felt like there was even more of the novel left after they got together.

Grace had her weird friend drama which I felt was barely even touched on and I didn’t care about at all and Logan had all the shit with his brother and his dad, which I felt like wrapped up WAY too easily.  And it would be one thing if the drama was effortlessly woven into the plot, but it’s not.  It always seems so forced.  And that epilogue?? There are still 2 more books. I don’t get why she would go that forward when we will probably be seeing these characters again in future books.

I don’t think I mentioned it in my review for The Deal, but I really do love the hockey aspect of these books.  I’m not a big sports fan, but I do really love going to hockey games (Go Capitals!).  I kind of wish that there was more of a focus on hockey.  There seemed to be in The Deal, but in this book it was basically just added on.

I totally see why this book gets so many 5 stars, but it just didn’t do it for me.

The Deal by Elle Kennedy

review

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The Deal

Off Campus #1

Elle Kennedy

3stars

Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy…

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

…and it’s going to be oh so good.

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

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It seems as if everyone and their mother has read and LOVED this book.  All I see are 5 star reviews everywhere so of course, I expected to love it too (stupid, I know).  Sadly, this fell right in the dreaded territory of a 3 for me.  At least I didn’t hate it.

This book is filled with tropes and cliches.  We have the  cocky big man on campus who is basically God’s gift to women, and we have the extremely judgmental, “I’m not like other girls” heroine.  I was actually able to look past all the ridiculous stereotypes and enjoy the actual plot of the novel, for the most part.  And I did actually end up liking Garrett (jury is still out on Hannah).

This book actually lost stars because there is too much plot.  The sex scenes were great and basically all I wanted was a cute, cliched romance where the hot guy helps the shy girl get the guy she wants and they end up falling in love.  And that did happen.  BUT, not how I wanted it to.   It happened way too fast.  They ended up together and there was still like 100 pages left of the book.  What?  Why do I want to read about their lives AFTER they get together?  I’m not here for that.

I’m a firm believer that in most cases, the mind blowing, we’re together sex should happen within the last few pages of the novel.  Otherwise then I get bored when I have to read about their day to day lives.  It’s all about the the chase, the journey. I don’t give a shit what happens when we get there.

And then of course there was the added drama.  I do want a plot in my romance novels, but I don’t want the plot to overtake the romance.  I mean, we have Hannah dealing with the rape that happened 5 years earlier (not a spoiler since she mentions it on the second page and I think it was just used as a plot device) and Garrett with his abusive father and wah woe is me. Stop complaining and have sex.  That’s how I felt reading this. Insensitive? Probably. Do I care? Nope.  It just got a little too angsty for me.

I do feel as if I let my annoyance with how the plot unfolded affect how I rated this (which duh, it should but I still feel bad) so I can totally see myself giving this another try.

 

Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan

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Sleigh Bells in the Snow

O’Neil Brothers #1

by Sarah Morgan

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Once upon a time, Christmas was Kayla Green’s favorite time of year. Now all the workaholic wants for Christmas is for it to be over—as fast as possible! So when duty calls her to snowy Vermont to close a deal with a new client, Kayla is grateful for an excuse to avoid the holidays for another year.

Jackson O’Neil left a thriving business behind to return home and salvage his family’s resort—it’s in his blood, and he can’t let it fail. Now that he’s got marketing whiz Kayla Green working with him to put Snow Crystal on the map, success is on the horizon. The fact they strike enough sparks off each other to power all the Christmas lights in Vermont is just an added bonus.

Kayla might be an expert at her job, but she’s out of her depth with Jackson—he makes her crave the happy-ever-after she once dreamed of, and it’s terrifying. As the snowflakes continue to swirl, will the woman who doesn’t believe in the magic of Christmas finally fall under its spell?


I don’t normally read Adult romances.  Actually, as I’ve gotten older I’ve moved farther away from “Adult” books in general.  But I wanted something Christmasy, which is weird, cause I’m Jewish.  So as  a Jew, I loved Christmas the only way I can…as an outsider.  (My boyfriend grew up celebrating Christmas so now that I have an excuse to have a Christmas tree I am all for it!)  So, I was in the mood for something to warm me up to the holiday season and this was the perfect book!

It was so adorable and sweet and just the right amount of sexy for me to really enjoy it.

Jackson O’Neil has returned home to Vermont after his father’s death to try and save the failing family business, Snow Crystal Resort.  He hires PR whiz Kayla Green to come up to Vermont to get the full “Snow Crystal experience”.  All he wants to do is make sure that the family legacy lives on.  Jackson was so swoonworthy.  It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book where I’ve liked the love interest as much as I liked him.  Perfect amount of charm and sex appeal.  He was the perfect opposite to uptight Kayla Green.  Kayla is driven to the point where she doesn’t have a life outside of work.  She eats, breathes and sleeps work.  I think I just liked Jackson so much that I didn’t even mind that this book was generally about “melting the ice queen”.

They did have great chemistry (although, the book does drive the point home a little too hard.  It seemed as if every other page Kayla is thinking about the Chemistry swirling around) and I love a good slow burn relationship.  Well, as slow burn as a week long relationship can be.  But sexual tension is what I live for in books.

I also loved Snow Crystal Resort itself and the O’Neil family.  Morgan really did a wonderful job of setting the scene.  I want to go and stay in one of those cabins, and go on a romantic sleigh ride, go ice skating on the pond and see a moose.   As soon as I finished this book I started researching “romantic Vermont vacations” and nothing even came close to the idea of Snow Crystal I have in my head.

Jackson is a man who is dedicated to his family, so this book (and review) would be incomplete without talking about said family.  I loved his grandfather, Walter.  He reminded me of my own grandfather, a bit of an asshole but someone you can’t help but love.  And I did really enjoy his brother, Tyler, but just taken together the O’Neil’s are probably one of the best families I’ve had the pleasure of reading about recently.

So besides the somewhat repetitiveness of the inner dialogue, and the fact that I can’t really totally ignore that this all happened in a week, the only other complaint I have is the weird POV shift.  The entire book is a dual POV between Kayla and Jackson, until about 50% through when we then get Jackson’s 12 year old niece and his younger brother coming in with their drama.  I understand why they were added in, but I think it could have been handled a bit better.

All together, as one of my first ventures into the adult romance genre, I don’t think I could have had a better experience.  And it was the perfect Christmas read.  Is it too early to start decorating?

Have any suggestions on romance/Christmas books I should read?