Friday 28 August 2020

Pucked, Lead Me Back & Butterface

I've got a mixed bag of contemporary romances to review today...

Pucked by Helena Hunting

With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn't interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet's misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match. Suffering from a complete lapse in judgment, Violet discovers just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants.

Violet believes her night of orgasmic magic with Alex is just that: one night. But Alex starts to call. And text. And email and send extravagant - and quirky - gifts. Suddenly he's too difficult to ignore and nearly impossible not to like. The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn't want to be part of the game.

Make no mistake about it, this book is complete and utter trash. Seriously, it's awful. The storyline is weak and the characters have very little depth and the vocabulary and phrasing used throughout the novel made something inside me shrivel up and die... But I had so much fun reading it!
It made me laugh. It made me cringe. It was utterly nonsensical when I needed nonsense.
It was sex with little substance interspersed with giggles and the occasional touch of sweet to balance the over the top media-induced relationship drama.
Plus, there's hockey. I love hockey romances. They're my favourite kind of sports romance.

Ultimately, I think this is a book that people will love or hate.
My advice would be don't take it too seriously, don't expect too much and just appreciate it for what it is - an over the top romantic comedy with a hockey backdrop.
Oh! And bonus enjoyment if you can appreciate the crudeness and immaturity.

💬 "My cooter has been in an epic battle with a cock monster." 💬 (A very mild example.)

Lead Me Back by CD Reiss

A twist of fate proves wildly explosive in New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss’s smart and sexy Hollywood romance about the cost of running from your past to get to your dreams.

Cutting all ties, Kayla Montgomery drives cross-country to Los Angeles. New start. New life. And an unexpected new job: assistant to Justin Beckett.
The Justin Beckett.
The boy band rebel with the cocky attitude and dreamy bed head who casts a spell over his fans and tests the patience of his handlers.
Now at the peak of Mount Adulthood, he has to build a clean-cut, movie star image. It’s in his contract. No partying. No attitude. No groupies.
To tie it together, he needs a normal girl.
Suddenly, Kayla’s swept up in Justin’s glamorous world, and his arms. But the most dizzying thing is Justin himself. Sweet, generous, reliable, and as eager to shed his past as Kayla is hers.
About that…
Those ties she thought she’d cut? They’ve followed her across the country with her secrets in tow, and they’re about to test Kayla’s courage, Justin’s loyalty, and a love that wasn’t part of the deal.

I almost DNF'd this book at about 20% but sheer bloody-mindedness kept me reading... It was an ARC and I don't like to bail on those but it look will-power, I tell ya!

I just didn't like the characters. I didn't like Justin Beckett and I didn't like Kayla Montgomery but I did like the supporting characters... There just wasn't a lot of page time with them.
The book was 100% the Kayla and Justin show and that is fine - great even - if you like the main characters but I've already said that I didn't so it caused problems.

Kayla is a prickly bitch and it takes a long time to get to the bottom of what her issue is. Her issue - the reason she ran across the country - is a serious one and it explained a lot but, the thing is, the reveal doesn't actually explain why she has such a shit attitude towards men in general. It's just her... And I'd say Daddy issues (even though I liked her dad).

Justin. Well. He's just the authors wanna be Justin Bieber thrown into a boy band. He is surrounded by drama and is a bit of a tool. I hated the descriptions of how he dressed, I hated his behaviours and attitude and couldn't understand why anyone would find him attractive. That said, his relationship with his grandma made me laugh (the grandma is a great character) and he could occasionally do sweet things so... I dunno.

The back and forth between Justin and Kayla almost gave me whiplash and they'd contradict their behaviour and thoughts from one paragraph to the next. As this is my first CD Reiss book, I don't know if that's supposed to be a character thing (aka they don't know what the hell they're thinking) or if it's a quirk of the writers but it drove me bonkers.

Now, I know I'm giving the book a bit of a roasting and I'm sorry for it because the ending was actually quite satisfying. If the entire book had lived up to the final quarter, it would have been a really good read - but it didn't. I have a feeling that this book will really work for some people but it just was not for me.

Butterface by Avery Flynn

It’s true. I’m not what most people would call “pretty” and, well, high school was rough. Fast forward ten years and life is good…
Until a bunch of jerks think it’s hilarious to put the “butterface” (AKA me) on a wedding Kiss Cam with the hottest guy ever—and that old humiliation hits hard.

I recognize him immediately. The sexiest cop in Waterbury and totally out of my league.
But then he kisses me. And we totally forget the room, the crowd, everything.
Then he tells everyone we’ve been dating for months.

Soon everything starts to feel too real, from adorable fights over “necessary” tools to fix my broken porch to surviving a free-for-all dinner with his six siblings to picking up where our last kiss left off.

But there’s something he’s not telling me about why he’s really hanging around, and I’m pretty sure it has to do with my mob-connected brothers.

Because this is not a make-over story, and Cinderella is only a fairy tale…

I'm not going to lie - I expected far more from this story than it delivered.
The writing was good, the story was good, the characters were likeable but Gina got annoying very quickly with her complete lack of self-esteem and I got super tired of the negative physical descriptions... There's only so many times you can read about big noses and bulging eyes before you start picturing a creature from the lagoon instead of a normal looking woman with a big nose, you know? And it got in the way of sinking into the story and enjoying the romance.
And don't even start me on the behaviour of the guys in the police department relating to Gina... They're grown ass men acting worse than children! All over a person's appearance! 😑

However, it's a fun story. It's sweet, it's sexy and the Hartigan family were a hoot who I'd like to read more about so I'll definitely continue with the series even though this one was a bit of a mixed bag for me.



  1. I love your review for Pucked so much because it's all true. I also thought it was fun and found Alex quite sweet. I didn't finish the series. I have to be in the right mood for like crude humor, but I remember the first book fondly

  2. I felt the same with regards to Butterface, but the second Hartigan Book, Muffin Top, was better.

  3. I was just looking up Butterface, but I think I'll pass. It's hard to believe in a romance when the heroine is described as looking so awful, but even more than that I can't stand reading the self-esteem issues over and over again, because you start to think "what does the hero even see in her?"

    I might give Pucked a try.

  4. KC reviewed Pucked on BOMH; she's the big hockey fan. I understand how you can enjoy a book even when it's totally unrealistic. I read Butterface and am going on with the series - very slowly - I liked it.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  5. Pucked sounds like fun. :) Sometimes - even when you recognize crap story lines and crap characters - it's fun to just take a story at face value and enjoy it.

    Butterface has been on my radar for a while but reading your thoughts on it makes me think it isn't for me. Reading a character's negative self-talk over and over is just annoying to me.


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