Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Love and Other Games Blog Tour and Review

Thank you, Aria Kane, for sending me this ebook copy of Love and Other Games for an honest review.
I loved how these individual stories flowed together with characters from one story being mentioned in another and how each story shared similar settings, locations and the Lucky Torch. They don’t need to be read in order as printed in the book but that’s how I read them anyway.

4 STARS! 


My Reviews... 


SPOILERS!!!!!!!!!!


Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier is the first novella in the anthology. 

Nadia Hoffman is a straight-laced, career-orientated Swiss woman who dreams of making her father and family proud by landing a prestigious job at the official Olympics Committee Headquarters. She meets US Snowboarder Ty ‘Trouble’ Madsen after his teammates chain him up outside in zero degree weather as an initiation prank. They are instantly attracted to each other but she refused to have anything to do with a man known for causing trouble. Soon after, Nadia is upset that her friends called her ‘no fun’ and decides to prove them wrong. So, instead of following her head, she followed her heart and jumped into a free-spirited, spontaneous relationship with Ty. What started as a winter fling soon turned into something much deeper than either Nadia or Ty expected. Even though the couple never said the words ‘I love you’, they clearly felt it.

The author wrote these characters with so much feeling that I easily identified with both Ty and Nadia. I understand his need to have childish fun but he was also professional businessman. I also understood why Nadia was so straight-laced—pride means everything to her—and Ty was the perfect guy to help her cut loose.

The only issue I had with the novella, which is a very little issue, is that they fell head over heels for each other way too fast. Then again, love at first sight does happen in the real world, and Nadia and Ty were so perfect and great together that it made sense.
I really enjoyed this short story.


Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller is the second novella.

Brenna Jessup despised the Olympics and the athletes more than anything else. She believed that the athletes are spoiled and that they only care for themselves. When the business she works for lands a high-stakes deal, Brenna becomes the official photographer for the US Hockey team against her wishes.

Colton Campbell, the newest starting center on the team, is everything she despises. Cole is used to getting what he wants, including women, but Brenna doesn’t fall under his lustful spell. He’s determined to win her over using any means necessary. What he doesn’t expect is that Miss. Prim and Proper fights back. After minor pranks on each other escalates into Brenna accidently injuring Cole during practice on the rink, Brenna finally lets down her icy guard and Cole acts human, instead of an egotistical horn dog.

The author wrote completely believable characters and the spark between them was flaming hot! I laughed so much as Brenna found out what Cole did with her camera—God, I wish I had those pics!—and I especially loved the scene when Cole and Brenna were stuck in a closet for almost an hour.

The love that blossomed between them happened gradually over the course of about a week. They got to know each other on a level that most people didn’t see. Once she finally opened up about why hated Olympic athletes, he finally realized Brenna was the woman for him. Even though she was emotionally distant and unavailable, he taught her that not all men are untrustworthy, that some men, like himself, can change for the better. By doing so, she ended up taming the playboy and his wild ways.

My only problem was an editing problem. I don’t understand why semi-colons were often used when commas would have worked better. Then again, I read an ARC, so hopefully those little issues were fixed in the final product.

Anyway, this was a great book.


The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane is the third novella.

Evangelia Milonas is an excellent skier but she’s so shy that she doesn’t have many fans and people think she’s a snob. At first, so did I. She acted haughty and superior but you soon learn that it’s all a fa├žade. She’s a private yet very emotional person with a caring family and a sense of honor. She’s the kind of person you’d want for a best friend.

Brandon James had it rough as a kid and now, as an adult, he’s determined to be the best at what he does. As a journalist, top in his field, he’s not afraid to stomp toes and hurt feelings to get what he wants—and he wants Lia’s story, with or without her approval.

He tricks Lia into trusting him—which I admit was pretty clever and funny at first—but he started feeling guilty about it too late in the story in my opinion. It really irked me that it took him so long to realize what he was doing was very wrong and to finally admit the truth, which he did only after she found out from other sources. Yet, even though he started out as selfish, he really came through in the end. He was her hero—just as he vowed to be. Without his help, Lia and her family would have lost everything—their farm and pride—and without him apologizing in the amazing way that he did, he would have lost her forever.

I connected very deeply with Lia. I loved the family dynamic and how much they supported her. She was so mature and dedicated to her sport. I got the feeling that she couldn’t enjoy skiing and being at the Olympics as much as she should have because of the stress she felt to land a sponsor and to save the family farm. She went through a lot of that worry on her own. Even though Brandon irritated me, I understood his reasons and motivations for his lies. If I had been in his shoes, I would have done the same thing. He was desperate for a great story to save his career. The author did a wonderful job describing each character so well that the reader just can’t help but understand and fall in love with both Lia and Brandon.

The ending with this story differs than with the other three. Lia and Brandon agree to spend the next year together to work on a new project—their strong feelings for each other will obviously bloom into love—but there was no guarantee of anything permanent after a year. Of course, a HEA isn’t needed to make a great ending for a great story. The book is perfect just the way it is.


Worth More than Gold by Ana Blaze is the fourth and last novella in this great anthology.

Amy Peirce met a charming, drop-dead gorgeous foreigner at a party and the sparks flew. The next morning, however, she woke up in his bed and he’s gone. Mortified by what happened, she ran out as quickly as possible. It took sexy Norwegian ski jumper Erik Andersen two days to find the shy redhead. Once he explained why he ‘ditched her’, as she claimed, and they make up, they slow down their hot and steamy relationship to get to know one another.

Amy is overly protective of her little sister, who is a 17 year old Olympic figure skater; Erik doesn’t expect to win a medal because of an accident at the last Olympics, yet he is completely fine with that. He’s at the games to support his team and to watch over his younger teammates. They both have dreams in life but they let other people or things hold them back. Together, however, Amy learned to have fun and Erik gained more confidence and improved his game.

Erik is adorable!!! I love tall, blond men with a sexy accent. Amy and her best friend call him the Viking and that description fits—other than Vikings having tempers. He’s so calm and peaceful. He’s also very blunt, which makes him seem so innocent. He doesn’t speak English fluently so his conversations with Amy were at times either funny or problematic. He doesn’t explain himself well sometimes and she overacts, leaving him completely confused. The language barrier was the greatest threat to their budding relationship. Other than that, there wasn’t anything else standing in the way of their happiness.

The author did a great job matching these two people together. They both are business-oriented—meaning she has a business degree and he plans to open a ski school—so their future together is destined. They just really clicked, even beyond great sex, and made each other happy outside the bedroom.
I really loved this book.


Thank you, Aria Kane, Kara Leigh Miller, Ana Blaze and Melinda Dozier for these wonderful stories.

 

Love and Other Games is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller. It releases October 1st from Swoon Romance in all major electronic formats.

Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze

Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running.

Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium. With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.


Ana Blaze's: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Trouble With Gold by Melinda Dozier


US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.


Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she's not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult.


Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?


Melinda Dozer's: Website | Twitter | Facebook


The Girl Behind the Gold by Aria Kane

Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans' hearts.

“Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia.

The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want - but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.

Aria Kane's: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller


Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player. Despite Brenna Jessup's abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she's hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team. When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn't want apologies -- he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it -- and her -- in the process.


Kara Leigh Miller's: Website | Twitter | Facebook


Find the book at: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

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