Review: Head Coach by Lia Riley

May Contain Spoilers

Head Coach is a quick, fun read about a hockey coach and a sports journalist. Neve has been covering the Hellions hockey team, and she is the bane of Tor’s existence. The head coach of the team doesn’t like distractions, and Neve has managed to constantly get under his skin. With his team struggling after one of the retirement of one of his key players and the threat of a team lockout when union negations take a turn for the worst,  he isn’t in a particularly pleasant mood when dealing with the press. When Neve and Tor are caught in a compromising situation, he tries to defuse the situation by letting her sports journalist peers know that he’s rather get naked with a penguin than Neve. Ouch! Not sure that I would be forgiving after a crack like that, and Neve isn’t too sure she can ever forgive him either.

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Review: Heavy Hitter by Sarina Bowen

May Contain Spoilers

I really liked O’Doul from Rookie Move, so I was looking forward to reading his story.  At first I didn’t find that there was much chemistry between Patrick and Ari, and I was a little disappointed.  Maybe I wasn’t totally behind Ari as his love interest. I’ll be honest; a yoga instructor just isn’t on my list of to-die-for occupations.  It’s like my disinterest in chef characters. While I love to eat, I have no love for cooking.

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Review: Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

May Contain Spoilers

I love second chance romances, and I haven’t read many hockey books, so I grabbed this when I saw it at the library. I liked it enough to continue the series, but I thought the romance between Leo and Georgia was a little flat. There’s not much conflict between them that a tumble into bed won’t fix, and they pretty much pick up where they left off back in high school. Leo has never stopped loving her, and Georgia, after being the victim of a violent attack, dumps Leo right after graduation so they can get on with their lives. She feels that she is dragging him down, and that he will be better off without her.

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Interview and Giveaway: Delayed Penalty by Sophia Henry

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[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Sophia! Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Sophia Henry] Driven. Compassionate. Funny.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Whats one thing you wont leave home without?

[Sophia Henry] Lip product of some kind. I’m addicted. I feel like a zombie without it. A dry-lip zombie.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Sophia Henry] Computer, a stack of books for a future giveaway, and a silly little bobblehead of a cat wearing gold chains that my grandpa bought me.

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Spotlight and Giveaway: Melting Ice by Jami Davenport

This morning I have an excerpt and giveaway for Melting Ice by Jami Davenport.

Melting Ice
Game On in Seattle #5

By: Jami Davenport

Releasing June 15, 2015

Cedona Enterprises


USA Today Bestselling author Jami Davenport presents another Seattle Sockeyes hockey romance and the fifth book in her Game On in Seattle sports romance series showcasing alpha male heroes of football, baseball, and hockey.

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Meet Dominic Chekovsky From Debra Kayn’s Seductively

Please welcome special guest Dominic Chekovsky to the virtual offices this morning.  Dominic took some time away from his busy practice schedule to introduce himself, so give him a big hello!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Dominic Chekovsky] Dedicated, competitive, sincere, misunderstood, and sensitive. What? I am.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share a typical day in the life of Dominic Chekovsky?

[Dominic Chekovsky] It’s all about hockey and Diana. I get up and plug in the coffee maker for Diana while I make a protein shake for myself. Usually this takes about an hour, because Diana strolls into the kitchen looking adorable with her curls going in every direction and distracts me. Then I head to the arena for hockey practice. I play hard. It’s going to be a banner season. By the evening, I’m ready to reconnect with Diana again and relax. We’re homebodies lately, preferring to entertain ourselves at home. She’s still trying to beat me in sock hockey. Once in awhile I let her win, because it benefits me. In two weeks, we’re taking a few days to travel to Cottage Grove and meet up with our friends.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to choose one moment that made you the person you are today, which would it be?

[Dominic Chekovsky] *grows serious* My parents. Their unending support and dedication in my career have made me the man I am today. My father gave me the advice as a young boy, "Whatever you do, throw your heart into it and you’ll always be happy." I think that’s true, don’t you?

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words come to mind when you think of Diana?

[Dominic Chekovsky] Hot, Mouthy, Adorable. *sighs on a smile* She’s perfect for me.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you find most exasperating about her?

[Dominic Chekovsky] *scoots to the edge of his chair and lowers his voice* She argues a lot. Don’t tell her I said this, but her attitude drives me crazy. Sometimes I’ll argue with her just to set her off, so I can see the passion in her. She’s beautiful but when she fights, she steals my breath away.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could change one thing you’ve done in your life, what would it be?

[Dominic Chekovsky] Ugh. I approached Diana all wrong back when I first met her. I’ve learned a lot about women since we got together, thanks to her. It all worked out for the best but if I would’ve known the secret to handling women, I would’ve stayed out of trouble early on in my career. I would’ve learned to say no to them sooner, before my life derailed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Dominic Chekovsky] My car keys. Only because if I don’t take them with me, Diana steals my Porsche out of the garage. I’ve never seen a woman so attached to a car before. She drives way too fast.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your dreams for the future in five words or less.

[Dominic Chekovsky] Babies. *grins and looks away* Yeah, babies with Diana.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

[Dominic Chekovsky] Thanks! It’s been fun. Don’t forget to watch the San Jose Sharks. We’re gonna kick ass this season.

To learn more about Dominic and Diana, be sure to read Debra Kayn’s Seductively.

Purchase link

Check out Wildly Book One in Debra’s Playing for Hearts series, too

About the book:

Independent and goal orientated, Diana Spenner has set her sights on buying the old Ferriday House and running her own Bed and Breakfast by the end of the year. Nothing will sway her from her plans, especially the famous hockey player Dominic Chekovsky, who can’t take no for an answer. But, when Dominic strolls into Cottage Grove and begs her in his thick Russian accent to keep his adoring female fans away from him, she’s not going to turn him down—because the job pays half a million dollars.

Dominic Chekovsky life is out of control. American women go crazy around him. They invade his personal space, leave their husbands for him, and make his life hell. Except, Diana. She’s the one woman who always turns him down, no matter how many times he asks her out on a date. Now he’s desperate. He needs Diana’s help to figure out why she’s the only female immune to his charm, so he can continue to play hockey in the United States. Maybe when Diana finally allows herself to say yes to having sex with him, he’ll be over his wild fascination with the one woman who always tells him no.
Warning: Sexy Russian accent, big ego, and thick, hard thighs on ice. Go Sharks!

Review: Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo


Title: Falling for the Backup

Author: Toni Aleo


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


After serving as a dutiful bridesmaid in the wedding from hell, Aynslee Shaw just wants to slink home to Nashville and forget the whole trip. That is, until the hottest guy she’s ever seen is seated next to her on the flight and dazzles her with his easy laugh and killer smile. But just when she thinks things are getting good, he vanishes, leaving Aynslee wondering, was that guy the one? And did she just let him slip through her fingers?
Former superstar goalie Jordan Ryan is back on the ice—finally. After a crippling knee injury that had him wondering if he’d ever play pro hockey again, he’s got his full attention on rebuilding his career. So a pretty—okay, beautiful—girl on a plane shouldn’t be a distraction. But Jordan is very, very distracted. And when Aynslee crosses his path again, he’s not sure any job in the world is worth missing his second chance with a woman like her.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from the Loveswept title Empty Net.


This novella did not work for me, and judging from the ratings on GoodReads, I am definitely in the minority in regards to this title.  I wanted to read Falling for the Backup because it’s a sport romance with hockey, and I love hockey.  How can I not? I’m from Detroit, and hockey is in our blood.  What else is there to look forward to in the middle of the long, dreary winters?  Why, the battle for the Stanley Cup is about all that keeps us from falling into a bleak, seasonal depression.

Jordan Ryan is a goalie for the Assassins, but after an injury that almost ended his career, he’s gone from superstar to backup.  Frustrated with his life, he’s watched his career go down the toilet, his fiancée left him when he was at his most vulnerable, and now he’s warming the bench for a hotshot youngster who’s taken his position, as well as the all of the glory that goes with it.  Desperate to play again, he’s shopping himself around the league with his father’s help.  His father is his agent, and he’s adamant that Jordan stay on the straight and narrow and that he doesn’t do anything to jeopardize a contract offer from another team.  Easy enough.  Jordan’s only interest in life is getting back on the ice full-time.

Until he meets Aynslee on a flight home to Nashville.  After he accidentally dumps a cup of coffee on her dress, Aynslee can’t keep her eyes, or her mind, off of Jordan.  She thinks they have a connection, but after disembarking, he takes off with a curt good-bye.  No phone numbers are exchanged, and Aynslee is confused.  And disappointed.  How could the most breathtaking guy she’d ever seen take off without even getting her number.  Ugh!

When they continue to bump into each other, Jordan finally gives in and allows Aynslee to sweep him off his feet.  The timing stinks because he’ll be leaving town once he signs with a new team, but he lets her know up front that they aren’t, and can’t be, a long term thing.  Aynslee goes along, willing to put her worries about their breakup in the back of her mind.  She’s sure that Jordan will change his mind and that they will figure out a way to stay together.

Why didn’t this work for me?  Because Jordan and Aynslee are obviously meant to be together, but Jordan is too caught up in himself to even think of asking Aynslee to go with him to his new team.  He’s convinced himself, without asking her, that she’s got a perfect life, with perfect friends, in Nashville, and that she would never consider moving.  This just frustrated me, because after dismissing a long distance relationship because they never work out, he is resigned instead to breaking up with the love of his life and moving off to reestablish his glory on the ice.  Aynslee isn’t much better, because she can’t seem to discuss their impending breakup, either.  She’s just content with the way things are, and she has faith that things will work out, without any effort on her part.

The other aspect of the novella that bothered me was that both characters acted too young for their ages.  Jordan is in his early thirties, but his behavior was closer to a guy in his early twenties.  Sure, his confidence has taken a few knocks after losing his starting position and after getting dumped by his girlfriend, but it was like he reverted to a much younger version of himself, and I just couldn’t buy into that. 

This is a quick, steamy read, and you can get beyond the contrived conflict, it will make a great beach read.

Grade:  C-

Review copy provided by publisher