Top of Her Game by M. Ullrich

I am a sports fan. Love all sport in general, but if you really want to make my heart sing, women’s soccer. When I was a kid I looked up to the superstars of the game,  Michelle Akers, Mia Hamm. They were just awesome! As a grown-up, I have followed the careers of the USWNT, Press, Rapinoe, Morgan and the international wonders, like Marta and Amandine Henry. Love the game, and I love the badass ladies that own the pitch. I have become timid when I pick-up a sports-based romance. Mainly for the reason, sometimes the sport can be written so heavy-handedly you spend more time with gameday analysis than the love connection. I don’t like that at all. THIS IS NOT THE CASE! No, M. Ullrich gives us the best of both worlds with Top of Her Game. So good, so fun, and sexy as hell.

Kenzie Shaw is a rookie striker out of Penn State. She just entered the NWSL draft and was picked up by the New Jersey Hurricanes. This happens to be the team that her soccer idol, national teamer, Sutton Flores. You would think this book would go young player falls for an experienced older teammate… Kind of, but M. Ullrich never follows any ordinary trope. Nope! She shakes things up and gives power to both leading ladies. Kenzie holds her own on and off the field. Sutton experienced but cannot help but melt with Shaw looks her direction.  Their dynamic is fun and it’s passionate, did I say sexy, because it was HOT!

The chemistry and romance were done very well. I believed it, I felt it and I was invested until the last page. I thought Ullrich did a fabulous job when it can to the soccer aspect of the game. Without a doubt, she is a student of the game. It made me smile and brought joy into my heart reading this one. As a soccer junkie and a lover of romance, this book spoke to me. Even if you don’t need sports in your life like I do, this is a really, really good book. The romance is more than enough to keep you satisfied.

Side note, (insert Tiff’s soapbox here). We can all love the USWNT and those amazing World Cup games but if you love those ladies and you love what they are fighting for, turn on an NWSL game. Pick a team, pick a player, whatever floats your boat, but turn it on. Those ladies need you watching on the professional stage as much as the international one. Most games you can watch on an app that cost you zero dollars. Let me know what team you pick!

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Pretending in Paradise by M. Ullrich

I love a good fauxmance. Hence the word good! If this troupe is done right, in the end, you have a delightful romance. What I really love about the whole fake girlfriend scenario is you have these tricky moments that both parties have to navigate to “prove” that their love is the real deal. M. Ullrich brings the heat every book she writes but this one took a lot of skill to pull off. Why? She gave us two characters that were not easy sells. What I mean by that is both characters had their flaws, big personality traits, you as the reader don’t automatically pull for them, its actually quite to opposite.

The gist of the story is you have Caroline Beckett, a PR specialist, who comes into a new job with an internet travel company, straight into a problem she needs to fix quickly. Her problem is travel blogger Emma Morgan and her on the side hookups while at destinations she is reviewing. So throw these two together in Miami while Emma reviews an exclusive couples only resort and Caroline keeps an eye on the wily blogger.

This one is a slow burn, you have two characters that resent being put in the position they are in. Therefore they resent being in the same room together. These ladies did not hit it off at all. I am here to tell you in the first few chapters you are going to wonder how this is a romance. It was not looking good my friends. These two have a lot of personalities and they are going to clash, I had to wince a few times. As the story progresses these two find their footing, common ground and begin to look through a new lens. The rocky start morphs into more slowly and you the reader are right there for it all.

This is a great read by M. Ullrich. I always expect so much from this amazing author and she has yet to let me down. A fantastic read that will not disappoint.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Against All Odds by Kris Bryant, M. Ullrich & Maggie Cummings

Against All Odds takes on a journey of finding love in the aftermath of a disaster. A mass shooting takes place at a local bridal boutique and through that carnage, two amazing women find love in its aftermath. Bryant, Ullrich, and Cummings come together to weave a fabulous story or strength, love, and survival.

Peyton Clarke is an off-duty police officer who is finally getting her dress fitted for her sister’s upcoming wedding. A bit hungover after a night out with friends Peyton is struggling with a pounding head. Another customer also in the boutique for a bridesmaid dress fitting takes pity on her and offers her water and some friendly banter. Tory Stevens, a real-estate agent is immediately taken by Peyton. She cannot help but flirt with the gorgeous stranger. Minutes away from asking each other out these two ladies encounter a worst-case scenario.

Bradley Richter is going to steal away his ex-fiancée. She left him, destroyed his life and now is planning to marry another. Bradley is going to steal her back and make everyone pay for ripping them apart. He is a nutcase in every sense of the word. Bradley arrives at the bridal boutique and opens gunfire on everyone, killing eleven and leaving Peyton fighting for her life.

The three authors take the voice of Peyton, Tory, and Bradley and weave a story full of love, survival and well, in Bradley’s case disturbed. Our two leading ladies have an adorable chemistry and a sweet love story. This isn’t as heavy as a story as it could have been. Which I liked. The main focus is on their romance and coming together in the aftermath of a disaster. A lovely story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Against All Odds

Love at Last Call by M. Ullrich

Give me some angst every day of the week, not in real life, hell no, but in a romance, I live for it. Add that into a good old-fashioned romance and you will have me every time. That’s exactly what M. Ullrich does with her latest novel, Love at Last Call.

Lauren Daly’s life is a hot mess. Her relationship is off-again, a nightmare situation, because she is forced to continue to live with, said ex because she and her roommate cannot afford the house they currently rent without that extra income. Lauren’s a paralegal but her salary and rent doesn’t leave a whole lot extra for the serious student loan debt she faces. Add onto that heap that her boss is a tyrant who blames everyone for his ongoing memory failures.

Berit Matthews owns the hottest lesbian bar in New Jersey. Berit has no trouble attracting women, she oozes charisma and has the looks to stop traffic. This good-natured bar owner loves her craft, is a savvy businesswoman and knows when to turn on the charm to keep her patrons coming back for more. Berit has a way with the ladies and isn’t opposed to casual hookup but she definitely has one eye opened looking for that special someone to settle down with.

Lauren meets Berit one evening after an especially brutal day at the office. Her bestie drags her out for drinks and she meets Berit who rubs her the wrong way almost immediately. Berit is not phased at all, more than anything she wants to no more about the sad yet dynamic paralegal. Let the romancing begin!

Lauren and Berit have a dynamite chemistry. Lauren pushes back at every move Berit puts on her. Their romance, the little bit of angst and hesitation keep you on your toes and the pages turning. This is a book I highly recommend to anyone looking for a great romance. Loved it!

5 out of 5 stars

Love at Last Call

Time Will Tell by M. Ullrich

I loved the beginning, shook my head at the middle, and am totally perplexed by the ending. Was it well written? Absolutely! Did I like it? Well, I’m unsure. So, so unsure to be honest. There are parts of this book that are brilliant, parts that made my heart hurt, parts that made me smile and parts that I thought what the bloody hell. This book is a conundrum.

If you give it a read, I would love to hear what someone else thinks.

3 out of 5 stars

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Fake It Till You Make It by M. Ullrich

M. Ullrich is a fantastic writer, one of the best, in my opinion in the f/f romance genre. I think when we pick up a book we are looking for a few key factors. Developed characters, yup Ullrich gives us those in spades. Good dialogue, once again we have that too, thank goodness. A strong balance between showing and telling, again we are good. Lastly the originality element. Is this another recycled plot line, and if it is you better bring it better that the predecessors. This factor Ullrich owns easily, her books have a uniqueness that we don’t always see in this particular genre. Her stories go a bit outside the box and they do it in the best possible way. Fake It Till You Make It is no exception.

Our main protagonist is Genevieve Applegate. Gen is your small town girl, from rural Pennsylvania. She has had the same friends since birth, knows every soul in town. Unlike everyone else, Gen feels this need to get out and do more. She feels as though her wings have been clipped both professionally and personally. So she scours the employment ads for a newspaper or magazine journalist position that will take her anywhere outside of Milan, Pennsylvania.

Harper Davies is the editor/owner of Out Shore Magazine. Harper who has been burned by love once does not see that in her cards anymore. She pours her heart and soul into the magazine and that takes precedence in her live above everything else. Everything changes when she interviews, the adorable girl next door, Genevieve Applegate. For the first time in a very long time, Harper wants to get to know a woman in more than a professional aspect.

There is a big problem, Gen has no clue she just accepted a position at LGBT publication. She also digs herself in a big ol’ self-inflicted hole by allowing everyone to believe she is a lesbian. This is especially a problem since she has a fiancé, a man, named Jeremy who she has been dating for a decade. EEK! You can see the dilemma, the drama from a mile away. You also get the see the amazing chemistry Harper and Gen have. A sweet romance, that is eye-opening for both of our leading ladies.

My only complaint is I wish the book when have been longer. This one is definitely on the shorter side than I usually prefer. Overall this is a really good book, and you can count on this author giving you a fantastic story time and time again. I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.

4.25 out of 5 stars

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Life in Death by M. Ullrich

I’m going to be 100% honest here, I had intended to pass on this book. I adored M. Ullrich’s last book, but when reading the synopsis for Life in Death, I was stuck on the fact that this book would tackle the loss of a child. I cannot imagine the pain that these characters were going to endure, and quite frankly I did not want to even go there. So, I was going to look away, but the enormous amount of positive reviews kept catching my eye, and a few people reached out to me and raved about this book. So I caved, and I read the book, and kept reading, and kept reading some more until it was finished, all in one night.

I will say this book is a gauntlet of emotions. The book begins with a window into a perfect little family, two women who love each other dearly, and their amazing little girl, who rightfully so, it the light of their lives. You know it’s’ coming, like the shark in Jaws, you can feel the foreboding, the shoe is about to drop. Abigail the daughter of Marty and Suzanne has cancer, and she will lose her battle with the awful disease. A life cut way too short, and her parent’s relationship fractured beyond belief.

This book is a roller coaster of emotions, you will feel your heart break right along Marty and Suzanne. The pain at times is palatable, tears streaming down your face as you feverishly read, totally engrossed in the story. Is it good? Oh my goodness yes, this book is very good. Life in Death takes you on a road of telling the past, mixed in with the present. You see how Marty and Suzanne found each other, and why they broke. You cheer for their road back together, knowing all the while these two will never be whole without the other. This one will stay with you long after the last chapter. A fantastic read, I do recommend waterproof mascara and tissues! My only real criticism, the ending was a touch too short.

4 out of 5 stars

I was given this book by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Life in Death
by M. Ullrich
Link: https://amzn.com/1626397732

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