Why I’m Obsessed With Sports Romances: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen & The Hot Shot by Kristen Callihan

Why I’m Obsessed With Sports Romances: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen & The Hot Shot by Kristen CallihanPipe Dreams (Brooklyn Bruisers, #3)
by Sarina Bowen
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Published by Berkley Books
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult
Format: eARC
Pages: 336
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Source: ARC received for review purposes

A goalie has to trust his instincts, even when taking a shot to the heart…

Mike Beacon is a champion at defending the net, but off the ice, he’s not so lucky. A widower and a single father, he’s never forgotten Lauren Williams, the ex who gave him the best year of his life. When Lauren reappears in the Bruisers office during the playoffs, Beacon sees his chance to make things right.

Lauren hates that she’s forced to travel with the team she used to work for and the man who broke her heart. There’s still undeniable sexual tension running between her and Mike, but she won’t go down that road again. She’s focused on her plans for the future—she doesn’t need a man to make her dreams of motherhood come true.
Lauren plays her best defensive game, but she’s no match for the dark-eyed goalie. When the field of play moves to Florida, things heat up on the beach.

One of Mike’s biggest fans doesn’t approve—his teenage daughter. But a true competitor knows not to waste the perfect shot at love.

ARC received for review purposes in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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I have to say, I originally wasn’t very happy going into Pipe Dreams despite having loved the Sarina Bowen books that I have read simply because the couple wasn’t who I was expecting it to be. But fret not! Bowen was able to once again win me over with her swoony boys and her even swoonier romances. As always, reading a book by her just brings me pure joy.

Most of the books that I’ve read from Sarina Bowen have been second chance romances, and Pipe Dreams was one of those too. I’m not complaining though because she does the trope justice, and manages to make her stories fresh regardless. Lauren and Mike’s relationship started shortly after he catches his wife cheating on him. Now, some of you may not entirely approve of how their relationship develops : View Spoiler », but I was fine with it, because it was done tactfully, in my opinion. I loved the flashback scenes we got to read about these two. There was something sweet and genuine about their relationship, and I absolutely loved the comfort level that they shared as well. Unfortunately, tragic news separate the two of them and leave them both heartbroken. I have to say I was quite frustrated at Mike for how he decided to handle the news, and I was hoping for a lot of groveling. Thankfully, we get that. I really really wanted to be mad at Mike for breaking Lauren’s heart, but he was such a sweetheart, and so ridiculously charming. It was hard not to fall for the guy.

Lauren was a little more guarded, understandably so, and upon their reunion, she was quite cold towards him, but I completely understood where she was coming from. I really did love that she hadn’t let the heartbreak infiltrate every aspect of her life, and that she was quite successful in her career. Honestly, she was badass and I found her to be very admirable. I loved that she didn’t easily give in to Mike’s wooing, but that she made him work for it. And oh my! Mike sure knew how to woo a girl and melt her hurt. The second part of their romance was relatively quiet, slow, but very swoony. They both had to talk out their past, and their emotional connection was undeniable. I love that Sarina Bowen doesn’t have to rely on overly dramatic tropes to make her story flow and shine. There were no stupid misunderstanding between Mike and Lauren the second time around, and I loved that. I was initially a bit worried that Mike’s teenage daughter would cause some trouble, but though she initially wasn’t a fan of Lauren, she wasn’t too much of a detriment to the progression of Mike and Lauren’s relationship.

Pipe Dreams was a great romance, that perfectly balanced out the sweet, the angst and the sexy. The backdrop of hockey and  the camaraderie between the teammates only enhanced the story. I’m still very much desperate for Nate and Becca’s book because holy chemistry, and I hope Sarina will write it! In the mean time, I’ll be thinking about how lovely this series has been so far, and exploring more of her backlist.

Why I’m Obsessed With Sports Romances: Pipe Dreams by Sarina Bowen & The Hot Shot by Kristen CallihanThe Hot Shot (Game On, #4)
by Kristen Callihan
Release Date: April 18th 2017
Genres: Romance, Contemporary, Adult
Format: eBook
Pages: 337
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Source: Purchased

First we were friends. Then we were roommates. Now I want more…

What can I say about Chess Copper? The woman is capable of bringing me to my knees. I know this about five minutes after getting naked for her.No one is more surprised than me. The prickly photographer my team hired to shoot our annual charity calendar isn’t my usual type. She’s defense to my offense, a challenge at every turn. But when I’m with her, all the regrets and darkness goes away. She makes life fun.

I want to know Chess, be close to her. Which is a bad idea.

Chess is looking for a relationship. I’ve never given a woman more than one night. But when fate leaves Chess without a home, I step up and offer her mine. We’re roommates now. Friends without benefits. But it’s getting harder to keep our hands off each other. And the longer we live together the more I realize she’s becoming my everything.

Trick is… Now that I’ve made her believe I’m a bad bet, how do I convince her to give this player a true shot at forever?

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I have been loving the Game On series, so when The Hot Shot released, I was very quick to grab myself a copy. All the books in this series have been consistently addicting, but I have to say, The Hot Shot just might be my favorite. I basically sped through this book even though I had a whole bunch of assignments piling up on me, and I don’t have one single regret.

I honestly can’t say I remembered much of Finn from the previous books, mainly because I mix up the characters in all the sports romances I read. I kinda want to hit myself for it though because Finn was so amazing, and the whole time I was reading about him or through his POV, I had hearts in my eyes. He was flirty, arrogant, and a complete sweet-talker, but not in any way that I found frustrating. Instead, I found him to be completely irresistible because despite all the fame, those good looks of his, Finn was a genuinely sweet guy. He also managed to make me laugh multiple times throughout this story, and honestly, I couldn’t get enough of him. He epitomized everything that I look for in a romance hero.

The heroine, Chess, was pretty great herself. In many ways, she was Finn’s opposite, more reserved and very much no-nonsense in attitude. She goes through kind of a hellish phase in The Hot Shot when her home and studio burns down, but I really respected her determination to get back on her feet. I also liked that she wasn’t unwilling to accept help when it’s looking down her face. It constantly annoys me when heroines refuse help from their love interest out of a sense of pride, so it was refreshing to find a heroine who wasn’t ashamed to accept help.

Together Chess and Finn were super swoony. I thought that they balanced each other out very well. Chess was initially immune to all of Finn’s charisma and charms, but she doesn’t last very long and honestly, I don’t blame her one bit. He was persistent, but not in a creepy or obnoxious way, and I loved how he got her to be friends with him first. Their romance was very much of a slow-burn one, and the fiery chemistry between the two was undeniable. And oh the banter! Besides the fun sexy times, they had plenty of quieter moments when they grew a sweet companionship. I swoon thinking of these two. I’ve become so accustomed to expecting a big dramatic breakup/misunderstanding scene in romance novels, and you get that here too, but it wasn’t over the top. All in all, a pretty fantastic romance!

So yes, I loved The Hot Shot, and I adore this series, overall. I highly recommend these books if you enjoy your steamy sports romances!

What are some of your favorite sports romances?
Let me know in the comments below!

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  • Corina

    I can only agree with you. Love sports romances and you picked two of the very best authors in that genre!! Love Sarina Bowen’s books and the Game On series has been a stable in my life for the last few years.

    • I love them too! I’m excited to see what else they have in store for readers. 🙂

  • Angel @Angel Reads

    okay you know how much I love my sport romances! And now there are more books to my list. I can’t do this okay. Too much haha. thanks for the reviews!

    • Hahaha! But they are good books! 😛

  • kindlemom1

    I went through a phase a while ago were I read a ton of these type of reads and loved them. I really should grab a few more of them. These sound fun. 😉

    • You can never have too many sports romances! 😉

  • I love sports romances, too! Which is honestly kind of crazy because I hate sports in real-life. I mean, I don’t find anything wrong with them, but I spend NO time on watching sports. I couldn’t care less. But I love an athlete in a romance.

    I keep hearing how wonderful these books are. I have so many on my TBR, but haven’t gotten around to them. Some of my favorite sports romances are the Chicago Stars series by Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Especially Match Me If You Can!) and the Cold Fury Hockey stories by Sawyer Bennett.

    • Haha I’m the same, Quinn. I have no patience for sports or watching sports. But in books? LOVE IT!
      I’ve heard good things about SEP’s books!

  • I am a sucker for the second chance romances! I love a good cover too 🙂

    • I love them too! I love all that pain and the emotions when they reunite! 🙂

  • I need to start both of these series!! i love sports romances and love second chance romances too. I actually still haven’t read Kristen Callihan so I know I need to change that. Great reviews!!

    • You’d love these!

  • I’m with you on Pipe Dreams, I want Becca and Nate’s story already! I am still pretty excited to read, though. I occasionally like being surprised by the couple and this couple sounds like they’ll be interesting. This book could go either way because Mike broke Lauren’s heart! That’s not cool. That being said, Bowen is a pretty skilled author so I’ll probably like how she writes it.

    Kristen Callihan’s sports romance books have been on my radar for a while. I seriously need to start reading. It sounds like this was a pretty good read. You know I love me some steamy sports romance, I’m off to go spend all my money.

    • It’s coming, Becky! There’s a listing up on GR for it. 🙂 Yeah I was skeptical about the whole thing, but Bowen makes it work.
      Yeah you should check out Callihan too. She has some fun titles!

  • I love both these series. Seriously though if we don’t get Becca and Nate’s story, I might go to Vermont that steal it from Sarina Bowen!
    Both of these authors are automatic 1 click authors for me. I always love their stuff!

    • Haha I just heard that the Becca & Nate book is happening!! So you won’t need to go to Vermont. 😉

  • I do not why, but I so like them too! And I am SO not a sports fan but it’s fun to read about

  • Ari

    I’m lowkey wondering if Sarina is getting tired of us asking for Nate and Becca’s story. Another blogger tweeted her asking if she had any plans on giving them a book and she never responded. 😂😂 I totally need to read the Game On series soon. I passed on the first book because I didn’t like the cover, but everyone raves about this series so I need to read it (luckily the covers have been revamped!). Lovely reviews, Nick.

    • Oh man, Ari! YES! You NEED to read the Game On books. And LMAO. I was the same with the covers! They were terrible!

  • Oh, my heart. I don’t know how you were able to handle reading Pipe Dreams without throwing your Kindle out of the window, but man, I don’t know if I could.

    Something tells me that Game On series by Kristen Callihan will be more my forte so I’ll have to add that to my never-ending TBR list. 🙂

    • Haha! It’s rough but I kinda like the pain too?
      Yes, I can see you enjoying the Game On series!

  • I have the Hot Shot on my wishlist Nick 🙂

    • Hope you get it soon, Kim!

  • I haven’t read a Bowen book yet, so I belong in Loserville. However, I have read the 1st book in the Game On series, so that somewhat redeems me, right? lol

    • Yo how?? You would love these books!!

  • Sports romances are amazing. I remember binge reading Jaci Burton’s Play by Play series when I first discovered her. I still need to continue reading these though! I’ve been putting them off because I don’t want them to end, lol. The Hook Up will still be my favourite from the Game On series. Wonderful reviews, Nick!

    Blessie @ Mischievous Reads

    • I need to read Jaci Burton’s books. I feel you about not wanting series to end. I hope you’ll give these a try, Blessie!

  • Immediately adds both books to my tbr list. Sarina Bowen has already secured her place as a favourite author and I’ve been meaning to start this series for a while. I’ve not read a Kristin Callahan book but this series sounds like my cup of tea.

    • Yes! These are definitely books I see you enjoying! 🙂

  • I don’t mind a sports romance when it comes to YA usually but I haven’t read many NA titles actually. I always thought that they were super alpha and bossy pricks and I don’t really mix well but The Hot Shot in particular sounds like something I’d really enjoy too. I’m here for the slow burn Nick. Brilliant reviews Nick, really enjoyed them <3 <3

    • I’m sure there are some NA books with those bossy annoying alphas, but these two books have sweet boys, who can be alpha where it matters! 😉

  • Ah yes, the eternal question: if I hate sports, why do I love sports romance? For me, the answer is I love protagonists with a competitive spirit…and being super ripped doesn’t hurt either! I’ve read the first two books in the Game On series and enjoyed them – I’ve got to catch up on those. And now I’m interested in Pipe Dreams for the lack of stupid misunderstandings alone!

    • Haha same! I hate sports IRL, but totally down for sports romances. Haha I do love your honesty! 😉 The misunderstanding comes in the before part so it would have been an overkill had their been another one.

  • The second chance romance trope is one of my favorites, actually! Also, the only sports romance I read was the YA series by Elle Kennedy, which I really enjoyed. I might have to look up Sarina Bowen and read her books! 🙂

    • If you like Elle’s books, you would definitely enjoy Sarina’s as well.

  • I really liked Pipe Dreams (though I, too, was hoping for Becca & nate’s book – which is coming next, I think?!), Bowen is the queen of hockey romances. I didn’t mind that Mike wasn’t fully divorced from his wife (hey she cheated), what bothered me is that he went dark on Lauren like that. I’d hold a grudge, too! But it was all tastefully done, I think.

    I’ll have to read The Hot Shot soon, it sounds like my type of romance – though I know next to nothing about American football (as opposed to hockey, where I actually understand the rules).

  • I ended up loving Pipe Dreams and almost didn’t request it. I didn’t love the last book and I was afraid of the drama with Mike’s teenage daughter, but Sarina Bowen didn’t make it frustrating at all. I need proper amounts of groveling from the offending party and I agree, Mike really came through. Absolutely loved him! This story made my heart soar and it was my favorite in the series so far.

    I haven’t picked up a Kristen Callahan book yet but I’ll keep this series in mind. Lovely reviews, Nick! 🙂