Tuesday, August 15, 2017

In The Crease (Assassins, #12) By: Toni Aleo

I want to send a huge thank you to Toni and Ardent Prose PR for getting this awesome ARC sent out for review.
Y'all rock, and I can't thank you enough for getting me Wren and Jensen's story. I absolutely adored this book, and was so excited to finally get their story. And man, Toni, you did not disappoint

Jensen Monroe is a unicorn. As handsome as any model, as polite as can be, a goalie of unmatched skill, and the best friend anyone could ask for. But he longs for a particular special someone to make his life complete. He’s been in love with Wren since he was a teenager, but as his best friend’s sister, she’s always been off-limits.

Wren Lemiere has prided herself on being a love ’em and leave ’em girl her whole life. She’s all about equal opportunity in the battle of the sexes. Why should guys like her brother and his best friends get to be the only ones allowed to play the dating game? One wrong move, however, and she finds herself in violation of her own rules.

In need of a fake husband and baby daddy for her unexpected bundle of joy, Wren finally accepts Jensen is the logical one to ask for help. Except he has a counteroffer…one with so many strings attached, they may just find themselves wrapped up in ties that bind. Forever.

Let me just say... This is one of those books that I was dying to get my grubby little hands on. I totally fell for Jensen and Wren back in Vaughn's book, and was literally bouncing up and down at the idea of finally getting to see what was going to happen between them.

So when the email went out that they were being sent out I was freaking ecstatic. 

I can't even tell you all.This book did not disappoint one bit. It had everything I could have wanted... Amazing characters, a great plot, sexy times galore, and yes, even a few overly frustrating scenes I just wanted to reach in and strangle some characters over.

But the plot was just so adorable, and man were the hockey men a swoony bunch haha.

But it was more than just some hotties out on the ice.
Toni gave us a well developed story that left be feeling so satisfied at the end, and more in love with this group of characters than I already was. The story was fairly fast paced, and had oodles of romance, drama, and silliness.

And let's not forget out star characters.

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect with Wren. She's shown up in several of the books in the series, and she's always been one of those characters I liked enough. Especially as we got a bit of a better glance at her in DELAYED CALL.
So I was really interested in what she was going to give us in this book.
And in true Toni form (I swear this woman must be able to like predict half my life at this point haha) she gave me another female character I related to immediately. There were so many things about Wren that I saw in myself. Her personality, unwillingness to trust or lean on others, her insecurities, her experience with awful douche canoes.... I mean honestly there was a lot. And no they weren't all bad. Wren is totally a dork, and funny too, and hey... I appreciate a girl who can joke about her black black soul, because I do all the time too haha. I swear I don't have a heart sometimes hehe.

Now don't get me wrong though. Wren and her multitude of insecurities did try to annoy me here and there. But only because I think they were a bit overdone at times.
I mean I get it, a girl has things that bother her. But I feel like at times they had too large of a presence in this book. And at times, defined Wren more than some of her other amazing qualities did.
But I also liked how Toni used those things to show Wren's growth through the story. She was one of those complex characters that had a ton of different sides to her, and I think by giving her those real life like qualities that most woman go through... It allowed for Wren to seem more real, not just a character in a book. And that's a testament to just how well Toni knows how to write.
It's funny too. A friend of mine who also blogs and received a copy of the book was talking with me, and had a good point. that I totally agreed with. Wren reminded them and me very much of Elli back in TAKING SHOTS.
They have very similar personalities and even insecurities and fears, and I kinda liked that little nod back to the original book (Even if that wasn't really intentional)

And then... There is Jensen....
I wanted this boys book sooooo bad haha.
He seemed like the biggest sweetie ever back in Vaughn's book. And I wanted to see the full extent of that.
Plus let's face it. Kayla has a soft spot for the goalies haha (Tate still makes me all swoony hehe 😍😍😍)
I blame Ben Bishop for my obsession. But I mean, can you blame a girl? He's so adorable haha

But anyways, back to Jensen.
He's just one of those characters that you automatically fall for.
He really is too sweet for his own good, and just such a caring nice guy. Plus he's funny. But I mean could you expect anyone who grew up around Vaughn and Wren to be any different?
That whole group, Wells included too, cracked me up from the start of getting to meet their characters. And Jensen just has that infectious personality and so many jokes and quick quips that cause you to have to put the book down for a few seconds and just giggle. (Like full on girly girl giggles haha)
But he's also one of the most loving and compassionate characters I've read in a while. He literally lives with his heart on his sleeves, and I adored how open and caring he really was. And man Jensen's been through his own share of crap too. But I loved how Toni wrote that all into his story and still let him grow from that, even if it meant still struggling sometimes with it too.
If I thought Wren was complex, she has nothing on Jensen.
He has so many layers [Insert bad Shrek joke here]
But getting to see all those sides to him and see that it only makes him more sure and confident warmed my heart. I wanted to root for him with Wren. I wanted to see him get everything he wanted.
He's definitely scored a spot in my top 5 guys Toni's given us so far.

And let's not forget all the fun characters that made a comeback in this book. Obviously Vaughn and Brie were back (And thank god because I needed more of that troublemaker in my life haha)
And man were those two cute as heck. And so so funny. Vaughn is back in true Vaughn fashion, and between him, Jensen, and Wells, I was about in tears a few times laughing so hard.
But also we get some fun little glimpses of Elli and Shea. And to my absolute delight even Tate (Even if my heart kinda broke for my original Assassins BookBF)
Plus a ton of other familiar faces here and there.
But that's something I've always loved about these books. Getting those small looks into how everyone's lives are going and progressing. It's so fun, and totally sweet to see how favorite characters and couples are doing.

And one thing I think I always kinda forget to mention in these reviews is, Toni has this way of bringing real life issues and situations into her books. Her character's either seem to face something themselves or know someone who is. And I love the way she sheds light on these things. How she shows her readers that yes, these things do happen in the world. And there is a way to live with them and even make your life better because of them, or learn from them.
I don't want to get onto specifics because I don't want to giveaway any plot points from this or previous books in the series. But if you follow Toni's books, you know what I'm talking about.
But I just want to say thank you Toni. For not being afraid to bring real life situations into your books. And allowing your characters to hopefully give some hope and strength to anyone in your characters shoes.

This book was such a great read. And I can't wait for everyone to get their hands on it. It really was a sweet story.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 STARS⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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