Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) – Avon Gale

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“You just… I don’t know, Ethan. Something about you makes me take chances that I don’t ever take.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I am falling in love with this series more and more with every book. This is the second book in the Scoring Chances series and takes place not long after the first book, Breakaway. Breakaway was about Lane Courtnall and Jared Shore falling in love and moving along in their hockey careers. In this book it’s Lane’s friend (and former goalie) Riley Hunter’s turn. Calm and quiet Riley and loud and boisterous Ethan Kennedy seem like an odd pairing, but they end up as roommates for the new hockey season and are quick to become friendly with each other. Then, even though neither of them have really shown any significant interest in men before, their friendship soon turns sexual, and then turns into romance. I was actually surprised at how quickly Riley and Ethan got together, though it wasn’t necessarily romantic at first, I suppose, so there was still a lot more development to be had. Like the other books in the series, this book focuses more on the main couple’s relationship development than it does about hockey (though hockey is still a very big and important part of the characters’ lives). I really enjoyed Riley and Ethan’s dynamic, and the writing was very funny and very emotional in turns. There were also appearances from characters we first met in the first book (like Lane, Jared, Zoe, and Ryan) and we got to see how they were doing and developing, which was awesome. And the new characters that were introduced were quickly endearing and entertaining (I love Ethan’s family). This was a quick, enjoyable read and I’m very excited to start the next book.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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For A Good Time, Call… (Bluewater Bay #17) – Anne Tenino & E. J. Russell

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“Yeah, and this is exactly why I never go out anymore. Everyone assumes that because I’m single, I must be panting to get laid.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I really enjoyed this one, and not only because of the friendship and romance between leads Nate Albano and Seth Larson, though I did like that part a lot. This book actually had a lot of appearances from some of the guys from other books. Nate is friends with Levi Pritchard, so we saw a lot of him and other people from his circle (Carter, Ginsberg, Derrick, Anna, and so on). Reading about these guys again was a lot of fun, and it was good to see the couples still happy together. That was one major part of what I found so enjoyable about this book. The other enjoyable part was, of course, Seth and Nate and their awkward courting. Nate is grey-asexual and has only had two previous relationships, and Seth has never had a committed relationship before, so they’re both a little unsure of what they’re doing and it takes a bit of trial and error before they can come together properly as a couple that can meet each others’ needs. As the two of them are getting to know each other (and mostly accidentally falling in love – so much romantic tension) they are also trying to solve a decades-old mystery surrounding the murder of Seth’s great-great-grandfather, though that doesn’t entirely resolve itself so I do hope we get a more concrete resolution to that in a future book. Also I can’t just not mention Nate’s adorable dog Tarkus, who I love forever and pretty much stole most of the scenes he was in.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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What Father Christmas Left – Felicitas Ivey

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“’You don’t have to make up your mind right now,’ I told her. ‘Just… I just wanted to give you options. Although you have parents, they don’t seem to have you.’”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This is a fairly short Christmas fluff story about a reunion between a pair of siblings. It’s a story that’s both sweet and sad in parts, along with some parts that will make you angry. Although two of the three main characters are romantically involved, this is not a romance story. It’s strictly a story about two siblings, Jacob and Pru, reuniting after about 10 years and beginning to build an actual relationship with each other. It’s a simple story, though it isn’t really long enough to have everything fleshed out as much as I’d like, and the ending seems to just happen abruptly, it’s still a good read.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, All Romance E-Books, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Last Mechanic Standing (Wrench Wars #1) – L. A. Witt

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“He cupped Mark’s face and kissed him softly. “But I’ll happily stay in the closet and on this stupid show if it means protecting you.””

 

In a word: Read the thing. I really liked this one, and I can’t wait to get to the rest of the series. The writing was great, as I’ve come to expect from L. A. Witt, and I was instantly sucked into the romance between the two leads. Also there was pining, and I’m always here for that. Chandler and Mark both broke my heart because they were both stuck in this completely shit situation, through no fault of their own, and really only had each other to rely on. Like Mark’s situation with his family was bad enough, but the whole thing with the TV show just made everything even worse. This story was both romantic and angsty, and I loved it. Even better is that it’s told from the point of view of both men, so we get both their takes on the events and their feelings. I really came to feel for Mark and Chandler and I couldn’t help rooting for them and their relationship. The TV people and the other mechanics in the garage made for good villains, especially the ones that got names. Despicable people. I really hope that we get to see more of Mark and Chandler in the future because, as much as I enjoyed the ending, I’d really like to see more of them as a happy couple, finally free to be together.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, All Romance E-Books, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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Starstruck (Bluewater Bay #1) – L. A. Witt

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“They just barely knew each other, and Levi couldn’t justify gambling a career opportunity like this for the minuscule chance that Carter was even attracted to him, never mind interested in dating.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. This one is a slow burn and doesn’t have much of a plot beyond the romance, so if you aren’t into that you probably won’t be into this. For me personally, I can get into it if I can get attached to the characters. Levi and Carter and their situation were very easy to get invested in. They’re both celebrities and knew of, and were attracted to, each other before they met. The two of them are very much interested in being together, but they are forced to put the brakes on that because of the situation they’re in. That doesn’t, however, stop them from becoming very good friends. One thing I really enjoyed reading about was how Levi and Carter became friends and how they fell in love with each other as people. But even though the two of them are determined to stay friends, they both know that they’re standing right at the edge of something vast, and it could take only one small move to tip them over. Like I said, this book isn’t really big on plot, it’s mostly character driven, but it has good characters and a lot of emotion (also UST like whoa). And cats, it also has cats.

 

[available for purchase at Riptide Publishing, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and Book Depository]

 

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Born This Way – Poppy Dennison

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“No one else had ever affected Hart like Dayton.”

 

In a word: Maybe read the thing. So it’s not that I didn’t like this book or anything, but it didn’t really do anything for me. I’m mostly ‘meh’ about it, to be honest. The direction it looked like it was headed in in the beginning made me think that I was gonna hate it, but then it turned itself around and went in a different direction, thankfully, but the story after that still didn’t hold my interest as much as I thought it would. I liked the premise, but the execution was a little lacking, most likely because of the short length. The characters weren’t really fleshed out, the world wasn’t really fleshed out, and the main couple didn’t have much chemistry together. The main relationship didn’t really sit well with me anyway, as I don’t feel it was very believable. Also the way Dayton ended up deciding to be with Hart was just too convenient and probably a bit premature considering the circumstances. It’s a quick read, and it’s entertaining enough to want to read all the way through, but in the end it’s probably not something I’d read twice.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Chapters, and All Romance E-Books]

 

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Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) – Avon Gale

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I like you. Laurent didn’t say it, but he didn’t need to. It was probably written all over his face.”

 

In a word: Read the thing. I didn’t really know much about this book going in. All I knew was that it was about hockey players and that one of the leads was asexual. I really liked this book. Like, a lot. I’m not really a big hockey fan, but I didn’t really need to be since the story was more about the characters and less about the game, so that worked for me. This is book four in the Scoring Chances series so a lot of the characters that I read about for the first time were actually already introduced in previous books. This didn’t turn out to be too much of a problem because the book gave me enough information about past major events so that I wasn’t too out of the loop, but I feel like I did miss a lot of character development in some places (this isn’t the book’s fault). Regardless, it didn’t take me long to get attached to the characters. There’s our two leads, of course, Isaac and Laurent, but there’s also their friends and coaches and a wacky landlady I enjoyed reading about as well. Although this story is definitely a romance, it’s also kind of Laurent’s journey to find himself and become the man he was truly meant to be outside of his father’s shadow. Also sometimes hockey happens. This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming in parts, and also surprisingly funny. I don’t know if this series is still ongoing, but if it is I hope we get to see more of Isaac and Laurent (and their teammates) in the future.

 

[available for purchase at Dreamspinner Press, Amazon.ca, Book Depository, Chapters, All Romance E-books, and Barnes & Noble]

 

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