Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
This was a really fun and entertaining read. It was a lighter installment than the last two books in the series and it was nice to get back to the easy flow of the first books. Troy and Shane are a bit older and their relationship is different in that it’s a coach/player dynamic. Fortunately the way it was done didn’t leave any creepy power imbalance vibes. Shane was older and close to retiring so he seemed like an equal to Troy. They were both also snarky and funny and I think I laughed out loud more in this book than any of the others. I enjoyed the humor and the easy way they came together. It’s nice to find romance books without all the angst and drama sometimes. My only complaint though was that these two were so snarky and teasing with each other that I didn’t feel a strong connection. I know that was their personalities but I wanted to see some sweet or loving or romantic declarations during their intimate times but we didn’t really get that. I new really felt a love match between them. A great friendship and some smexy times yes, but I wasn’t feeling the love even by the end.This can be read as a standalone. There are some cameos by Isaac/Laurent and Misha/Max (which is always a treat) but this storyline works just fine on it’s own. We get to know a few other team mates a bit better and hopefully we’ll be seeing some of them getting their own books down the road.
The audiobook was narrated by Scott R. Smith and I thought he did a nice job. This series has used the same narrator throughout and I have to say I’m not a fan of that unless it’s the same characters. When it’s different characters it makes me think “Oh that’s such as such from the previous book”. So, the narrator’s voice and narration was fine but I would have enjoyed it more if it would have been someone else since these were two totally new (for the most part) characters.
If you’re a fan of the series I think you will enjoy this. If you are knew to this series, this one wasn’t my favorite, but it was still really enjoyable and I would recommend it.
The cover was done by Aaron Anderson and I love it. I think the books for this series are some of the best in the genre. They’re striking and they capture hockey perfectly.
6 hrs 50 mins
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published December 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press (first published June 26th 2017)
Original TitleCoach’s Challenge
SeriesScoring Chances #5
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.
After spending years guilt ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.
Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.
When I read this the first time I enjoyed it but it was my least favorite book in the series. I had a hard time connecting with Misha. Since then I’ve read the next book in the series, Empty Net, and Misha played an important role in it. I loved him in that book and I think it had a positive influence on me and made this re-read a good thing. That combined with the fact that I was listening to it on audio made everything stand out more and I was completely invested in Max and Misha’s love story this time around.
I think this author does hockey stories better than any other author I’ve read in the hockey romance genre. She knows her game and her love for it comes through. If you’re not a fan the details aren’t overwhelming but if you are a fan there are all kinds of comments about teams/players etc that will make you smile. You know you’re reading something by a true fan. I loved the part of the story about the team and their journey from underdogs to a winning team. Those scenes were great. I especially love the game scenes on audio and I say this in every review, but it’s like listening to a hockey game on the radio. I love them and I find myself totally rooting for our guy’s teams.
This was narrated by Scott R. Smith (as is the rest of the series). He has an odd cadence to the way he speaks but once I get used to it each book I end up enjoying it. He does well on different voices and you never get confused as to which character is speaking. I enjoyed the narration a lot and I think it enhances the story.
Cover by Aaron Anderson: I really like the cover. It’s simple but striking at the suited figure is appropriate since this book focuses on the coaches not the players.
Listening Length: 6 hours and 22 minutes
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published October 11th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press LLC (first published May 9th 2016)
Original TitlePower Play
SeriesScoring Chances #3 settingSouth Carolina (United States)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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 new 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. While trying to financially help Ethan, Riley must hide his family’s wealth so as not to hurt Ethan’s immense pride. 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.
I loved this book just as much the second time around. I read this book when it first came out and then jumped at this chance to review the audio version. I’m glad to say it stood the test of time. This remains my favorite in this series for a couple of reasons. First off, there is very little angst in this book. Neither of the two guys has ever been with another guy before but there is no drama surrounding this. They discuss it like adults, determine they care about each other and want to see where it goes, and then they just get on with it. No internal or external angsting. I also enjoy the way the other characters in the book respond to them. Their friends accept their status with few questions and one of my favorite scenes in the entire book is when Ethan takes Riley home to meet his mother and to come out to her. It was a bit funny and a lot beautiful. In a genre that is filled with stereotypical evil mothers, it was a refreshing change to see a wonderful, accepting mom who just loves her son.
There are some other issues both of the guys are working on but again, it’s done through communication. Ethan’s storyline in particular was interesting too me. Usually in sports books the MC’s are completely obsessed with their sport and this was different. Ethan was able to say he really wasn’t as devoted as he needed to be and maybe he needed to look at some other options.
As usual with this author’s book you can tell through the writing that she is a hockey fan and her love of the game comes through in the writing. If you’re not a hockey fan though you will not be bogged down with facts and details and you’ll be able to enjoy the book without any problems.
This audiobook is narrated by Scott R. Smith and I felt like he did a really good job. He did both of the MC’s, including Ethan’s New Yorker accent, really well. He also did a good job on the side characters, including the females (which not all male narrators can do). Something about listening to these on audio makes the game scenes stand out more to me. It’s almost like listening to games on the radio (well, actually on my phone app). Listening to well done audios also make the romantic scenes seem even sweeter and the smexy scenes even hotter (& this book has both).
Overall this was a great read. I loved the plot and loved the narration and I highly recommend checking this out. This is the second book in a series but can be read as a standalone.
Cover by Aaron Anderson: I love this cover. It was one of my favorite covers of the year. It’s a great representation of both the game of hockey as well as the story. I also find it very visually appealing.
6 hrs 22 mins
Audible Audio, 7 pages
Published September 12th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press, LLC (first published January 29th 2016)
Original TitleSave of the Game
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesScoring Chances #2 settingJacksonville, Florida (United States)
New York (United States)
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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.
This was a re-read for me and I have to say I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. The story follows socially awkward Lane as he starts his professional hockey career and experiences life away from home for the first time. Lane and Jared meet on the ice and then have what they think is going to be a one night stand. As it turns out they really like each other and the relationship ends up turning into something more. The story is partially about them falling in love but it is also about Lane learning to accept who he is and find his way as an adult. It’s also about Jared learning not only about falling in love with a person again, but also falling in love with the game again.
There are a lot of things I love about this book. Firstly it’s written really well. It has engaging characters with well done dialogue. There are some funny scenes and some smexy ones. All are done equally well. I also enjoy that there is no real angst or drama. It’s two adults who fall for each other, communicate in a mature manner and slowly build a relationship. My biggest joy in this book is this author actually knows hockey and her love of the game jumps out of every scene where they’re on the ice or in the locker room. Her writing is such that if you do not know or like hockey it will still all make sense and you won’t be over burdened with facts. But if you are a hockey fan you will catch a bunch of inside jokes and you’ll really appreciate the passion that goes into the game scenes. I really enjoyed the romance between these two but the part that brought tears to my eyes was certain events that happen to Jared as he plays.
The audiobook was narrated by Scott R. Smith and he did a good job with the story. Each of the voices was unique and I never had a problem telling who was talking. I really enjoyed the game scenes on audio. It was like listening to the games on the radio when I was a kid and on my phone app now. I’d find myself all caught up as if it was a real game going one. I enjoyed the audio as much as I did reading it when it first came out.
Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.I love the cover. I think it’s gorgeous and it is a perfect representation of the story. One of my favorite covers of the year last year.
Audible Audio, 8 pages, 7 hrs 33 mins
Published August 9th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press (first published November 27th 2015)
Edition LanguageEnglishSeriesScoring Chances #1 settingFlorida (United States)