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Monday, May 16, 2016

Tasty Book Tour: Bodychecking by Jami Davenport (Review, Excerpt + Giveaway)

Good Monday morning everyone! Thank you so much for stopping by today! Has anyone read Jami Davenport’s books? This was my very first one and I had a fun time with it so guess what? The TBR pile grew a bit. Again.

About Jami:
USA Today Bestselling Author Jami Davenport writes sexy contemporary and sports romances, including her two new indie endeavors: the Game On in Seattle Series and the Madrona Island Series.

Jami's new releases consistently rank in the top fifty on the sports romance and sports genre lists on Amazon, and she has hit the Amazon top hundred authors list in both contemporary romance and genre fiction multiple times.

Jami ranked Number Seven on Kobo's Top Ten Most Completed Authors, an honor bestowed on the year's "most engaging" authors based on an average page completion rate by their readers.
Find Author:
Website l Facebook l Twitter l GoodReads

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Cedona Enterprises
Release Date: April 30, 2016

As the wild child of the family, Bellani Maxwell isn’t interested in settling down. Between a fledgling party crashing business, teaching self-defense at a martial arts studio, and hitting the bar every night, she has her hands full. She doesn’t need the added responsibility or commitment of a relationship.

Hockey star Cedric Pederson has all the puck bunnies he could ever want, but a chance encounter eighteen months ago leaves him with eyes only for the gorgeous, free-spirited Bella. Too bad she isn’t interested in what Cedric has to offer beyond frequent hookups, and he’s grown tired of their on-again, off-again non-relationship. He wants to be all-in or all-out.

When a brutal attack leaves Bella in need of comfort, protection, and healing, the only person she wants is Cedric. But once she’s living in his condo, Bella is confronted with a decision she’s been avoiding—can she finally commit to Cedric, or will she let him go one last time?

CONTENT WARNING: Contains graphic and potentially disturbing descriptions of an assault.

Bellani Maxwell isn’t interested in long term commitments. She prefers the convenience of random hookups but when she hooks up with hockey player Cedric Pederson, a one and done isn’t enough for both of them, so it becomes a friends with benefits thing but then Cedric starts wanting more than a fling and Bella wants no part of a relationship with anyone. When Bella is brutally attacked, she immediately goes to Cedric for help. By her side Cedric offers comfort and a place to stay while she heals. Spending so much time around him forces Bella to make a decision about whether she wants to continue her life as it was or if she wants to try to make a commitment to Cedric.

Cedric really did have to work to convince Bella he was worth the risk throughout the whole book and for awhile it seemed like he wasn’t getting anywhere and while I felt bad for the guy it wasn’t until after Bella was attacked that Cedric showed a just how much he loved Bella. The way he looked after her, worried about her when he wasn’t around, the patience and compassion he had for Bella really made him something special in my eyes. It was those scenes where Cedric was caring for Bella physically, emotionally and mentally that I felt the romance aspect was the strongest. The physical chemistry was great but these quiet moments were more revealing and more heartfelt than any physical encounter in the book.

There’s a lot more to Bella than originally meets the eye. I loved her snark, sass, and brassy way of handling things but it became obvious after awhile because it was clear she was using those tactics to hide who she really was and what was really bothering her. I liked her as the bold woman she was in the beginning but I really loved the broken, wounded, vulnerable woman who clawed her way through the pain, fear, and anger to become someone stronger and wiser.

My favorite thing about Cedric and Bella was that while their physical chemistry burned hot, their emotional chemistry took a while to develop and it needed a lot of nurturing to grow into something stronger than just sex.

Upfront I can say the story dragged for the first I’d say quarter. Something was missing and I can’t quite put my finger on what it was but I can say that I didn’t really connect with Cedric or Bella until maybe the halfway point which for me was just a bit too slow. However, once that connection between me and these two characters was made, it was quite the ride. What happens to Bella in the beginning chapters of the Bodychecking was so well written that it could potentially be a trigger for some readers as it pertains to a rather graphic assault scene. Yet Jami Davenport handled everything from the assault to the lingering effects it had on Bella beautifully. It wasn’t a pretty thing she went through and it changed her drastically. This book was as much about Bella healing as it was about her and Cedric finding love. The time the author took to completely shatter Bella and then rebuild her in a stronger way was moving but also in a way empowering because Bella represented a part of the real life victims of assault and I was touched by that part of the story.

Final Verdict: This was my first Jami Davenport book and it delivered a great deal of emotion on both characters’ parts. This was one of those romances where its strengths were in the moments of reflection and tenderness between Cedric and Bella. Bodychecking is part of a series but can be read as a standalone.

Birthdays sucked.

As a child, her parents combined her Christmas and birthday gifts, if and when they remembered to buy gifts at all. She’d learned to keep her expectations low to curb her disappointment after too many childhood hopes and dreams were shot down by a pair of disengaged, free-spirit parents, who Bella had subconsciously emulated—at least, the partying part.

This year’s birthday hit her harder than usual.

Twenty-fucking-six years old.

She’d rather curl up in bed with a box of chocolates and an ugly cry movie than be subjected to a birthday party tonight, especially one orchestrated by her judgmental oldest sister. Every one of her sisters had their act together, was settled down with a wonderful man, and was looking to the future.

Bella, instead, found herself focusing on the past and how little she’d achieved. She was closer to thirty than twenty, and therein lay the crux of the problem and the reason for her current crappy mood.

Bella bounced from interest to interest, never settling on one thing. She had no direction, but that hadn’t been a big deal in her early twenties. Now it was.

She faked a smile and cocked her head, pretending to be captivated by whatever bullshit was being spouted by the young Seattle Sockeyes hockey players who gathered around her, vying for her attention. Normally, she’d be flattered and completely enjoying their efforts.
Not tonight.

She sought out Cedric in the crowd, still a little peeved at his disappearing act with the blonde last Saturday night. In fact, as soon as he’d slipped into the VIP room, she’d left alone.

He met her gaze, winked, and headed toward her. Her heart skittered with excitement and her lady parts tingled with anticipation. She fought their insane chemistry with every fiber of her being, as futile as it was. Cedric had always been different—the way he touched her, the way he looked at her as if she were special, the way he made her feel as if she were the only woman who mattered. Maybe he made every woman feel like that, maybe it was part of his allure, his charm, and maybe she was delusional for thinking she meant anything more than a fantastic lay. Cedric had the power to ruin her, crush her heart in his skillful hands, and blast away at her carefully constructed, and completely fabricated, air of confidence.

He was oh, so wrong for her.

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