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.


Review:

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

Cover Reveal: Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis

Random House has a cover reveal today for their October release Accidental Cowgirl by Maggie McGinnis.  How could I not want to share that with all of you?  I love the premise – I know! I am such a sucker for fish out of water stores and, need I say, cowboys.  I think this is a really cute cover, and I wish I could step out in a sundress and boots like the cover model, but I  just can’t pull off the look. I can hardly wait to read this in October!

 

ACCIDENTAL COWGIRL by Maggic McGinnis

Loveswept Contemporary Romance

On sale October 8, 2013

In her Loveswept debut, Maggie McGinnis tells the tale of a city girl who’s running on fumes—and the cowboy who shows her all the good things she’s been missing.

After being betrayed by her con man ex-fiancé, Kyla Bennett nurses a broken heart. But Kyla’s friends have other ideas and when they whisk her off to Whisper Creek, a dude ranch staffed by cowboys so hot they dim the Montana sunset, all Kyla wants to do is hide under a quilt. Then in rides Decker Driscoll. He’s hauling about as much emotional baggage as Kyla, but when he stands close by, both of them want to stay close—and begin to succumb to an undeniable attraction.

After experiencing personal tragedy, Decker never thought he’d see Big Sky country again. But now that his family’s Whisper Creek property is in deep with a Vegas gambler, Decker’s back for the summer—and spending all his time running from “cowgirls” who come to the dude ranch to score some dudes. Then he meets Kyla, a kindred spirit who brings on a stampede of protective feelings . . . and a powerful hankering to sear her with a new brand of love.

About the Author

Maggie McGinnis is the author of Driving Without a License, which was a finalist for Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award. A former high school English teacher, an accomplished musician, and a certified black belt, she lives in New England with her family.

ACCIDENTAL COWGIRL on Goodreads

Pre-order Accidental Cowgirl

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |   Other retailers / Random House

Cover Reveal: Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo

Oh-lala!  I have a cover reveal for Toni Aleo’s Falling for the Backup!  This is an Assassins series novella, and it will be available June 24.  What do you think of it?

Falling for the Backup: An Assassins Series Novella by Toni Aleo

Loveswept – Random House |  June 24, 2013  |  $0.99

Toni Aleo’s sexy new eBook original novella featuring the Nashville Assassins will have you believing in the power of love at first sight . . . and second sight . . . and third.

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 charms 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.

Pre-order Falling for the Backup

Amazon  |  Barnes & Noble  |  iBookstore  |  Random House and Other Retailers


Connect with Toni

Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

Cover Reveal: After The Kiss by Lauren Layne

I have a cover reveal to share today!  Loveswept pulled out all the stops for Lauren Layne’s After The Kiss.  I really like this cover!  It’s got a Julie James vibe, and guess what else I like? Everyone’s got their clothes on.  Yup, I get tired of all of the bare man chests.  What do you think about the cover for After The Kiss?

 

After the Kiss: The Stiletto Series

Lauren Layne

Loveswept  |  August 26, 2013

In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love.

Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.

Connect with Loveswept and Lauren:

ReadLoveswept.com  |  Lauren’s Website  |  Lauren on Twitter

Pre-order After the Kiss:

Amazon  |  B&N  |  iBookstore 

Excerpt: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Random House has an excerpt from Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster.  If you enjoy it, click the link below to purchase a copy!

Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox, A Loveswept eOriginal Excerpt by Romance At Random

 

About the book:

In the latest eBook original novel in Ruthie Knox’s scorching-hot Camelot series, a no-strings fling looks an awful lot like falling in love—or flirting with disaster.
Fresh out of a fiasco of a marriage, Katie Clark has retreated to her hometown to start over. The new Katie is sophisticated, cavalier, and hell-bent on kicking butt at her job in her brother’s security firm. But on her first assignment—digging up the truth about the stalker threatening a world-famous singer-songwriter—Katie must endure the silent treatment from a stern but sexy partner who doesn’t want her help . . . or her company.
Sean Owens knows that if he opens his mouth around Katie, she’ll instantly remember him as the geeky kid who sat behind her in high school. Silence is golden, but he can’t keep quiet forever, not with Katie stampeding through their investigation. It’s time for Sean to step up and take control of the case, and his decade-old crush. If he can break through Katie’s newfound independence, they just might find they make a perfect team—on the road, on the job, and in bed.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: How to Misbehave, Along Came Trouble, and About Last Night

 

Buy Link

Interview with Sharon Cullen, Author of The Notorious Lady Anne

 

Please give Sharon Cullen a warm welcome! She’s visiting the virtual offices to chat about her new Loveswept release, The Notorious Lady Anne.  After the interview, enter for your chance to win a digital copy of her book!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Sharon] Taxi driver to 3 busy kids, chef, laundress, mediator, beauty addict (eyeshadow and lip glosses are my vice) & historical romance author.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about The Notorious Lady Anne?

[Sharon] The Notorious Lady Anne is about a strong-willed lady pirate bent on vengeance against the father who left her destitute. Her revenge has been eleven years in the making and nothing will stand in her way. Except for an arrogant, sexy nobleman who is trying to regain his life after a near fatal accident. He doesn’t believe in vengeance. She doesn’t believe in the goodness of people. Together they will prove the other wrong.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Sharon] When I first started writing Lady Anne, there weren’t many stories out there about strong-willed, alpha heroines. I wanted to explore the concept. Except Nicholas refused to be put in the role of the beta hero. He became just as headstrong and obstinate as Anne. That’s when the story really took off and the sparks flew.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Anne?

[Sharon] Headstrong, obstinate, dangerous

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Nicholas had a theme song, what would it be?

[Sharon] Shipping off to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys. While Nicholas didn’t lose his leg, like the sailor in the song, he did almost lose his life in a naval battle.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Anne is never without.

[Sharon] Her dagger

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Nicholas’ pockets?

[Sharon]  This was a tough question. I’ve never really thought about what he would have in his pockets let alone what he wouldn’t have. So I asked my kids the question and this is what they came up with: iPhone, iPod and makeup. I laughed so hard that I thought I’d share with you.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Anne’s greatest regret?

[Sharon] That she was never enough for her mother. After Anne’s father left them, her mother’s health and mental well-being were never the same. Anne always believed that she was never enough to keep her mother alive.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Sharon] Reading is a great influence. My family and my fellow writers are my other influences.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Sharon] Time, time and more time. LOL. Seriously, I can write with pen and paper, chalkboard and chalk, computer, whatever. But what I really need is the time to write.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Sharon] Ken Follett’s Winter of the World. I love, love, love that series–the historical wrapped around the fiction as he follows the lives of a few families–and am sad he can’t write faster so the next book will come out :-)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Sharon] Black Beauty. When I was ten I read the entire series and fell in love with reading. I was unstoppable after that, grabbing anything that had words in it. 

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Sharon] I like spending time with my husband and kids. The kids are getting older now and aren’t home as much so a lot of the time its just my husband and I. It’s like we’re dating all over again.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Sharon] I’m addicted to social networking. You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, my website and my blog

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-Cullen-Author/243329341691

Twitter – http://twitter.com/SharonCullen

Website – http://sharoncullen.net/

Blog – https://sharonwritesromance.wordpress.com/

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

GIVEAWAY TIME!!

Ready to enter for your chance to win a Netgalley preview copy of The Notorious Lady Anne? Just fill out the widget below! Earn extra entries for following.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Didn’t win? You can purchase The Notorious Lady Anne from your favorite bookseller or by clicking the link below.

About the  book:

From rising romance star Sharon Cullen comes a tale of the fiery passion between a noble naval officer and a female pirate that’s as tempestuous and as unpredictable as the sea.

Nicholas Addison, celebrated captain of the Blackwell Shipping Fleet, has agreed to take Mrs. Emmaline Sutherland aboard the Pride and ferry the raven-haired beauty across the Atlantic on what he imagines will be a routine trip. But when the ship is attacked by pirates, the seemingly innocent passenger is revealed to be none other than the infamous marauder Lady Anne, whose name strikes fear in the hearts of sailors everywhere—and whose seductive wiles commandeers Nicholas’s affections.
Lady Anne, a legend of the high seas, has spent the last eleven years plotting revenge against her father, the owner of Blackwell Shipping. She’s targeted the Pride in hopes of plundering its captain’s company secrets. But beneath her fierce courage and bitter determination, Anne has the delicate heart of a woman—a heart that cannot help falling for Nicholas. Now Anne must make a difficult choice: bring down Blackwell or surrender to love.

Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: The Reluctant Countess, Wild Rain, and Silk on the Skin.

About the author:

After earning a degree in journalism from Ohio University, Sharon found the stories inside her head were more interesting than what was going on in the world around her. Yet, it wasn’t until years later that she decided to pursue her secret dream of writing a romance novel. Since then she’s been published in romantic suspense, paranormal romance and contemporary romance and historical romance.

Sharon’s other job descriptions include chauffer, laundress, cook and mediator to her three very busy kids, her husband and two dogs. She lives in southwest Ohio with her brood although her dream is to someday retire to St. Maarten and live on the beach.

If you’d like to find out more about Sharon and her books, you can visit her at her blog or her website. She’s addicted to social networking so you can find her on Facebook and Twitter. Friend her! Like her! Follow her! She’d love to hang out with you and talk about her passion—books.

Cover Shot! Taking Shots by Toni Aleo

Cover Shot! is a regular feature here at the Café. I love discovering new covers, and when I find them, I like to share. More than anything else, I am consumed with the mystery that each new discovery represents. There is an allure to a beautiful cover. Will the story contained under the pages live up to promise of the gorgeous cover art?

This is another YUM! cover!  And since we didn’t get much hockey this season, I may as well read about it.  Taking the Shots by Toni Aleo will be available in May.

In Toni Aleo’s exhilarating Loveswept debut, the first in a series featuring the hockey hunks of the Nashville Assassins, a reformed bad boy helps a charming, willful woman face off against the demons of her past.
No matter how hard she tries, Elleanor Fisher never thinks she’s good enough, from her job to her weight to her love life. After enduring years of abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, Elli has been drifting through life in a daze. Until, that is, she meets Shea Adler on a promotional shoot for the NHL’s Nashville Assassins. Before Elli knows what’s happening, the gorgeous Shea breaks the ice and shatters her world.
A brilliant athlete inside the rink, Shea Adler is tired of the life he’s living outside of it: the women, the money, the drinking. But everything changes when he meets Elli. After laying eyes on this feisty, witty, beautiful woman, he feels like he’s just taken the hardest hit of his life. No matter how skeptical she is, Shea knows they are meant to be together—if only he can convince Elli to put her insecurities aside before she misses out on a shot at love.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as excerpts from these Loveswept titles: Trying to Score, Empty Net, and Along Came Trouble.

Cover Reveal: Flirting with Disaster by Ruthie Knox

Today, we at Manga Maniac Café have a special treat!  Ruthie Knox is sharing the cover reveal for Flirting with Disaster, which hits stores in June.  It’s the final book in her Camelot series.  Check out what Ruthie has to say about the cover:

Hello, everyone!

I’m thrilled to be able to reveal the cover for the final title in my upcoming Camelot series with Loveswept:  Flirting with Disaster. I hope you love it as much as I do! I’ve been really gratified to see each of the covers the Random House design team comes up with for this series — all of them sexy and intimate, but with that spirit of fun that infuses all three of these stories.

The Camelot series consists of a hundred-page novella and two full-length novels set in the Midwestern college town of Camelot, Ohio. It revolves around the three Clark siblings — Amber, Caleb, and Katie — and contains a number of hot security guys, extended-family shenanigans, banter, angst, and of course the occasional steamy scene, just to keep things interesting.

 

The other books in the Camelot series are How to Misbehave:

and Along Came Trouble:

Here’s a handy-dandy info sheet about the series:

To learn more about Ruthie’s Camelot series, please visit the following:

How To MisbehaveDescription and Excerpt on Ruthie’s Website | Preorder from Amazon | Preorder from Barnes & Noble | Preorder from iTunes | Add to Goodreads

Along Came TroubleDescription and Excerpt on Ruthie’s Website | Preorder from Amazon | Preorder from Barnes & Noble | Preorder from iTunes | Add to Goodreads

Flirting with DisasterOn Ruthie’s Website | Preorder from Amazon | Preorder from Barnes & Noble | Add to Goodreads

What do you think about the cover for Flirting with Disaster?  I think it’s super sexy, and I can hardly wait to read it!