Pro Athlete

Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers, #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey Review

Review:

Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers Hockey Book 1) - RJ Scott, V.L. Locey

The Rowe Brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

 

Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years younger and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows his heart could get him into trouble again.

 

Review

 

This is a bit of an odd read. Jared and Tennant are great characters. The hockey world building is well done and the cast is great.

The romance is sweet, hot, and steadfast. They deal with the age difference and the brother’s friends troupe well. However, we miss a lot of the moments in the love story as they happen off stage and it keeps this book from really being a great romance.

I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

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Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances Book 5) by Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

   Coach’s Challenge (Scoring Chances Book 5)  by Avon Gale  4.5 Stars!

It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappropriate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

Review

This is a charming romance where likes attract and the likes are sarcastic, competitive, gruff, grumpy, witty, loving, argumentative, stubborn hockey heroes with explosive chemistry.

We have two grown up men who fall in love and lust with each other and a great sports story about turning around an awful team and taking homophobia and sexism on.

There is never a lack of communication or trust as Shane and Troy move from lust to love.

They are wonderful for each other and all kinds of little details make this romance a charmer and light hearted.

This is one of the best consistently great series I have read in a long time.

The wider circle of people we are already know gets just enough screen time and we get some wonderful new cast members.

I love River and Ben and I have been hunting around to see if they already have their own romance because I need to read it now! Matty is due a love story and Alani better get her some. I suggest a female hockey player that joins one of the teams, please.

So good!

 

 

Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Save of the Game (Scoring Chances, #2) by Avon Gale 4 Star Review

Review:

Save of the Game - Avon Gale

After last season’s heartbreaking loss to his hockey team’s archrival, Jacksonville Sea Storm goalie Riley Hunter is ready to let go of the past and focus on a winning season. His roommate, Ethan Kennedy, is a loud New Yorker with a passion for social justice that matches his role as the team’s enforcer. The quieter Riley is attracted to Ethan and has no idea what to do about it.

 

Ethan has no hesitations. As fearless as his position demands, he rushes into things without much thought for the consequences. Though they eventually warm to their passionate new bond, it doesn’t come without complications. For their relationship to work, Ethan will need to learn when to keep the gloves on and let someone help him—and Riley will have to learn it’s okay to let someone past his defenses.

 

Review

 

What a wonderful friends to lovers romance with two bisexual heroes!

 

I love all the little details of this book. I don’t want to give them away. Its sweet and sexy.

Riley is great. I would have loved more details with his family but we get enough. Ethan’s family is wonderful.

 

All the hockey is great. I need to go get some Gulls tickets (my local hockey team which I love)

 

Roommate romances are wonderful and and here we get low angst and lots of couple time. The relationship here is well developed, engaging and everything I want.

 

I really liked how Ethan finds his best self (this is outside of Riley).

 

Sigh. So good!

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Breakaway (Scoring Chances, #1) by Avon Gale 4 Star Review

Review:

Breakaway - Avon Gale

A Scoring Chances Novel

Drafted to play for the Jacksonville Sea Storm, an NHL affiliate, twenty-year-old Lane Courtnall’s future looks bright, apart from the awkwardness he feels as a gay man playing on a minor league hockey team. He’s put his foot in his mouth a few times and alienated his teammates. Then, during a rivalry game, Lane throws off his gloves against Jared Shore, enforcer for the Savannah Renegades. It’s a strange way to begin a relationship.

 

Jared’s been playing minor league hockey for most of his career. He’s bisexual and doesn’t care if anyone knows. But he’s determined to avoid another love affair after the last one left him devastated. Out of nowhere a one-nighter with rookie Lane Courtnall gives him second thoughts. Lane reminds Jared why he loves the game and why love might be worth the risk. In turn, Jared hopes to show Lane how to be comfortable with himself on and off the ice. But they’re at different points in their careers, and both men will have to decide what they value most.

 

Review

 

I can tell Avon Gale will be taking all my money. This is a great sports romance set in minor league hockey in the South. 

Both heroes are wonderful, socially awkward young Lane and assertive Jared. I love the circle of friends and adoration of hockey, 

Lane and Jared are at very different points in their lives. Addressing this factor makes the age difference trope really work. How this conflict is resolved is lovely. No false angsts.

A wonderful romance I will read again and again. I went out and bought and read the whole series.

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Misconduct (Birmingham Rebels, #4) by Samantha Kane Review

    Misconduct: Birmingham Rebels by Samantha Kane 3.5 Stars!

Rookie running back Tom Kelly loves the perks of football stardom. Men, women—there’s no shortage of companionship for a pro athlete who’s hot, young, and willing, and Tom is definitely willing. But deep down he wants a committed three-way relationship, especially if the female in the middle is Carmina de la Cruz. The undeniably sexy Army veteran may not say much, but her body speaks loud and clear.

After a traumatic tour in Afghanistan, Carmina is struggling to regain her speech and rebuild her life. More than anything, she wants to feel like a woman again. Tom may be a wholesome All-American, but he knows just how she needs to be touched—and he’s not the only Rebel who arouses her interest. With his scorching intensity, Tom’s best friend leaves her wondering if two players might be better than one.

Danny Smith is no stranger to his team’s kinky reputation. He gave in to temptation once, but he’s not going down that road again. Sure, Carmina’s curves promise pleasure, but her eyes guarantee it comes with baggage—and Danny has enough of his own. Still, giving up control can feel so good. And when it comes to everything Danny craves, Carmina and Tom make the perfect team.

Review

Contemporary Polygamous Romance are hard for me. I have a lot of trouble suspending my disbelief. A whole series with poly relationships on a Southern Pro Football team just crashes it all to the ground.

And that is okay. While I perfer my Poly Romance to be built in a world where I believe in a happily ever after for the lead, I am happy to try to sink into this contemporary built work that pushes the boundaries of socially recognized romantic unions and root for the happy ending.

It is hard for a writer to develop fully three romantic leads but Kane does a good job. We get Carmina the injured vet the most clearly, followed by the sweet but in charge Tom and then his best friend Daniel gets the most plot but the least deep character development.

I like all of them. I like the plot and journey of each of them. Through there is a lot of drama that I would have liked to seen poured in relationship time instead. It would have made a better book for me without the references to past books and room for more love story and less drama from the past.

I haven’t read the other books in this series but I will.

This is an erotic romance and it burns up the pages. The sex scenes are character based so they are super hot and advance the plot and growth of the character. Again, more relationship time after they committed would have led to a richer book and less of a feeling checking off menage (MMF Style) sex boxes but there is some really compelling sexy times here.

So, yeah. Crazy sauce not believable but a sweet don’t read in public hot romance with dark touches.

I was given this book for my honest review. So. there you have it!

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall #1) by Tara Lain Review

   Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain 2 Stars

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

Review

I have liked several books set in this world but not this one.

It was too short for the kind of work it was trying to do: setting up a poly relationship, coming out, dealing with an abusive ex, internalized and then externalize homophobia, friends to lovers, loved forever.

Every move was just too fast.

Out of Bounds by Lauren Blakely Review

Review:

Out of Bounds - Lauren Blakely

My career is finally looking up, and I’m leading a new pro team down the field every Sunday. No way will I mess with that. But when I meet the most stunning and captivating woman I’ve ever seen, I tell myself one night will have to be enough.

But it’s not. And now I can’t get her out of my mind. Even when I’m playing. Even when I need to focus. Even when I’m on the hottest streak of my life.

And it turns out, she’s not just some random woman I met. She works for the team. My team.

***

I only have one goal this season–do my part as the team’s lawyer to keep them out of trouble. Help rebuild their reputation on and off the field. There’s no room for error and certainly no room for a secret tryst with a player . . . even if he’s the quarterback.

Right?

 

Review

 

Lauren Blakely is a good writer and this book is well written.

However, its really pretty dull to me. The hero and heroine are just so pretty. In all always.

It isn’t a funny book so it doesn’t become charming and happy to me. I like that the heroine is so self fulfilled and confident. I like that there are details of her life revealed as the book moves on.

The conflict is not great and doesn’t really demand a change in the characters.

So, its not a bad book but doesn’t thrill on an emotionial level.

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Tigers and Devils (Tigers and Devils #1) by Sean Kennedy Review

Review:

Tigers and Devils - Sean Kennedy

The most important things in Simon Murray’s life are football, friends, and film—in that order. His friends despair of him ever meeting someone, but despite his loneliness, Simon is cautious about looking for more. Then his best friends drag him to a party, where he barges into a football conversation and ends up defending the honour of star forward Declan Tyler—unaware that the athlete is present. In that first awkward meeting, neither man has any idea they will change each other’s lives forever.

Like his entire family, Simon revels in living in Melbourne, the home of Australian Rules football and mecca for serious fans. There, players are treated like gods—until they do something to fall out of public favour. This year, the public is taking Declan to task for suffering injuries outside his control, so Simon’s support is a bright spot.

But as Simon and Declan fumble toward a relationship, keeping Declan’s homosexuality a secret from well-meaning friends and an increasingly suspicious media becomes difficult. Nothing can stay hidden forever. Soon Declan will have to choose between the career he loves and the man he wants, and Simon has never been known to make things easy—for himself or for others.

 

Review

 

I love sports romances and being a rugby fan makes me very interested in learning about Aussie football.

This is a good opposites attract love story written with humor and angst. The setting was great and I liked Simon and Declan and the circle of friends.

For me the plot dragged a bit which made it less engaging and I don’t love the way Declan not being able to be public with who is lover is was handled. I can’t put my finger on exactly why but it impacted the storytelling.

I can see why so many people love this book but it was just an okay read for me.

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Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne Review

Review:

Counterbalance - Aidan Wayne

John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.

When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side — talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.

John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao — maybe a little too much, honestly — but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.

 

Review

 

I love Bao. He is one of those amazing sunny, kind heroes with a lot of talent. John is nice but I adore Bao.

This is a slow burn and as such need to be more than a novella so that we could really see this relationship flourish.

I also would have preferred alternating points of view. Being stuck in John’s head with Bao’s limited English makes less of Bao and thus racially colors in a negative way this sweet love story.

Bao is so awesome. Aidan Wayne, please write longer books!

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