Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Closeted Contemporary Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey m/m Men In Uniform Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Sports Standalone Virgin

Men In Uniform: Playing With Fate (Admirals Hockey #1) by Ava Thorpe

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Playing-Fate-Admirals-Hockey-Book-ebook/dp/B06XVJTXKP/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1495596173&sr=1-1&keywords=admiral%27s+hockey

free on Kindle Unlimted!

Blurb
“My future’s been planned for me for as long as I can remember, but I’ve never felt this alive until I met you.”

“I shouldn’t want Carter, but I can’t get him out of my mind.”

Luke Bailey doesn’t have time for a boyfriend. Between dog-walking, law school applications, and trying to get his music career off the ground, love doesn’t stand a chance. Besides, his new customer’s straight as they come, right? So why can’t he stop thinking about Carter?

“I’ve never been with a guy. Why do I want Luke so bad?”

Carter Welling just needs a dog-walker. Big league hockey takes him away from home, and he can’t take Puck everywhere he goes. What he doesn’t need is a hot dog-walker who makes him think weird things about guys that he’s never felt before.

“Fate brought us together. Can I afford to take the risk?”

Something just keeps pulling them back together, though, and it’s not just the cuteness of Carter’s dog. When Luke’s dreams and Carter’s hockey career seem to be splitting them apart, can they admit that what they want—no, need—is each other?

Playing With Fate is a standalone gay romance novel with no cheating, no cliffhangers, and a HEA.

Review

This is a new author for me, which is always exciting! I love hockey and books about hockey players so… I think all in all this was a great intro for me to the author, though I wasn’t blown away.

We start with a guy who’s never had (or acknowledged to himself) an attraction to men who works as a professional hockey player. Suddenly he finds himself attracted to his dog walker and inexplicably they begin a friendship that deepens.

Over time our two MCs struggle with “Defining their relationship” and deciding whether or not to be “out”. There was a lot of time with our guys separated as Carter’s team was on the road, this was also a hurdle to their budding relationship. However, there is a LOT of really cute dog/cute guy interaction and that totally aided these guys in coming together.

On the one hand I felt like Carter’s introspection about “am I gay” was both not deep enough and at the same time it felt drawn out. He was quick to dive in and explore and didn’t seem as bewildered by this new attraction as I’d imagine someone would be. However, once involved he waffled – a lot – about what to do now that he was involved with a man. That seemed backward to me.

The smexy times were fairly low steam, and the focus on the MCs time together was definitely centered on developing their relationship. That felt very authentic to me, especially considering Carter’s newness to the whole situation.

Luke has some drama in his life and it gets some attention, but this was definitely more Carter’s story and I wish we’d spent more time with Luke and his music.

Overall this was an easy read, with a lot of great potential that met most of my expectations and will appeal to fans of dogs, hockey, GFY and low-steam romances.

3 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Closeted Contemporary Cop/Crime Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Insta Love m/m Mid level angst Morgan Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Sports Standalone

Men In Uniform Month! Unsportsmanlike Conduct Audiobook by Angela S. Stone Narrated by Jack Raleigh

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Unsportsmanlike-Conduct-Audiobook/B071D6MCF6/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1494448591&sr=1-1

Blurb

Hockey defines Owen Carter’s existence. He lives and breathes the sport. A man’s man, no one – not even his parents – knows the truth about his sexuality. When his teammates set him up, he resigns himself to the idea of a blonde bimbo.
The last thing the Owen expected to find was devastatingly sexy and intensely male cop Addison Krause. Addison’s everything Owen imagined in the perfect guy, but can he take his shot or will he let the best thing that ever happened to him walk away?

Review

I was attracted to this because I love hockey and it seemed cute and had some potential. I’d not heard the narrator before, but the sample seemed good enough and it wasn’t very long so…

Short stories are hard because you have to jump right in and give a background, current action and potentially an epilogue in only a few words. They need to be tight, focused and really geared toward portraying one (or a few) certain feelings/points/etc.

Since this is a short story about a closeted hockey player, as expected the main focus is his personal journey and decision to come out. It’s also about falling in love and it’s also about being true to yourself. That’s just too many things for THIS story to accomplish.

I didn’t get a good feeling of connection between our MCs and their weekend relationship moved from zero to Forever way too fast without giving me something to believe in. There are some hot smexy times and some “deep” discussions and then we’re transported to several months later.

I think the author would have benefited from focusing on only one of these major points and delivering on it than painting so wide a canvas.

Unfortunately the narrator, Jack Raleigh made this a very distracted listen because he kept switching his accent for Addison around and I couldn’t tell if he was German, French, Russian or a Vampire.

All in all I was glad this was short, thought it was an okay story with too much to tell in too little time and the narration was interesting if not actually good.

(2.75 rounded to) 3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Book coming of age Contemporary Established Couple Heat Index Hockey Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Teacher

Lost in Loveland (Welcome to Loveland #2) by K-lee Klein

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Lost-Loveland-Welcome-Book-ebook/dp/B01M0GBLLS/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1488991837&sr=8-1

Blurb

Loveland, Colorado is a special place, a community of creativity and art, with scenic views and majestic mountains. The city brought Lucky and Jack together, but staying that way will take more than cold-air kisses and sweet valentines.~

Jack Canon should be over-the-top happy. He has a job that makes him proud, students who make him laugh, a studio that brings out his creativity, and a man who treats him like he walks on water. But shadows from his past keep coming between him and the joy that should fill his heart. Jack needs to reconcile some bitter loose ends, before he can move forward.

Lucky Roberts is in love—hook, line, and kitchen sink. He wants to shout his feelings to the rooftops and scatter little handmade valentines all over the world. He thinks he’s okay with not being perfect, and knows Jack isn’t perfect either. But when his own past rears its ugly head, Lucky discovers that old habits die hard. Maybe opening his heart to Jack won’t be enough— maybe he just isn’t enough.

Jack and Lucky risk getting caught in limbo between the past and present if they don’t have the strength to share the skeletons in their closets. To move forward together, they have to find the courage to look back…together.

Review

In book one our two MCs had a very solid HFN. They still hadn’t really committed to one another, and had really only scratched the surface of their desires for one another, but things were looking good.

Now, Jack and Lucky are exploring what it means to be a couple and that means learning some stuff about each other that isn’t necessarily “pretty”.

K-Lee Klein does a good job of delving deeper into these guys as characters – fleshing them out and giving this sequel a bit more “teeth”.

While I don’t like it when our MCs relationship ends up in turmoil in a sequel, I can understand that since book one was pretty “light” there needed to be some angst to give any real weight to this story.

Some of the drama seemed a bit OTT – Jack’s sisters were totally obnoxious – but I appreciated the fact that Jack owned his own role in their behavior.

Lucky still stands out as being an amazingly adorable guy and if anything I wish Jack would have shown more appreciation and love to him – he’s just so damned cute!

If you enjoyed book one you’ll want to read this, I don’t think it makes a good standalone.

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless Hockey Homophobia Humor Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Sports Sports Virgin

Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) Audiobook by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/empty-net-by-avon-gale-8162-b

Blurb

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and 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, 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, and 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 Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

Review

(Book Reviewed Here Previously)
There’s a little teaser story that Avon Published called : Overtime you can get for free off her site (https://www.avongalewrites.com/) that is sort of a prequel to this story. You don’t need to read it, but it gives a little bit of foreshadowing to this story.

Technically you don’t have to have read any of the other books but… well… you’d miss SO MUCH and… those books are awesome so… just go read them and then come back to this 😉

Of course, after book three, we all want to see Drake find his HEA. And, he does. But with Laurent? Here’s an anti-hero if you ever saw one. He’s a total d-bag to Drake and his team, he never talks, doesn’t seem to care about anything and he’s a big jerk. Until one day Drake sees him in a different light and then it’s like a switch is flipped and suddenly it all makes sense.

Without giving away too much – from the blurb we can tell that Laurent has some “issues” and they’re pretty big. Only someone as relatively self-assured as Drake has a chance at cracking this guy open.

It was lovely to see more of Max and Misha. GAH! I love those two so much! Misha as the father figure seriously tugs at every one of my heartstrings.

There’s a lot of hockey in this book, maybe a bit less sex… not sure, but it didn’t stand out as it had in the others as much. Probably because of all the feels surrounding Laurent and his pain.

Avon is just one of those authors that hits all my buttons. Her dry sense of humor tickles my funny bone and when I read her books my husband has to tell me “no giggling” as I read in bed! (He’s kidding ☺ ) Despite the common theme of hockey and being gay in a very masculine sport she manages to come up with something new in each story and a way to make her characters even more interesting/funny/sweet/inspiring…

I really think that the relationship between Drake and Misha was almost as touching as the one Drake finds with Laurent and I was – of course – so satisfied by the way Laurent dealt with his own father.

This is another winner and highly recommended to fans of the series, the author, the sport, mm romance and laughter.

5 of 5 stars

Audio

(The teaser is a free audio you can find here: https://www.avongalewrites.com/freebie/) It’s narrated by Scott Smith, too.

What makes the teaser fun, is part of what makes this audio so much fun- Misha! They are probably two of my all time favorite MCs – Max and Misha. Though I love Lane and Jared a ton, too… hard to choose!

In any case, we’ve met Drake before and he’s got a fairly decent Southern accent. I’m not sure what I was expecting for Laurent, maybe someone with more of a French accent – but as he tells everyone repeatedly, he’s American, so he has a flat American accent.

Laurent’s father has a vague French accent and it’s pretty good.

I guess Scott is growing on me. I love this series so much that I’ve listened to the entire thing over and over despite the fact that I’m not really enthralled with the narrator. He tries hard with the accents, but he places weird emphasis on words sometimes that makes it seems like he doesn’t understand what he’s saying. But… he is otherwise easy to listen to and for that I’m grateful.

I have come to ADORE his version of Misha and we get a lot of Misha in this story. (When Misha and Drake argue with one another and Misha gets all riled up – MAN did I love that!) Max is also wonderful and he’s there a bunch, too.

I think this is a great way to experience this, the continuity is nice – having the same narrator for the entire series – and it’s a fantastic story. Highly Recommended!
4.5 of 5 stars for the Audio

Overall 4.75 (rounded to 5 ) of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars Angst Level Audiobook Book College/University Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hockey Holiday Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased second chance at love Thanksgiving

Rivals Audiobook by Jeff Adams Narrated by Derrick McClain

audiobookreview

51udnmfuzul-_sl300_Blurb

Mitchell Turner and Alex Goodman squared off over a face-off dot throughout high school. Their schools were cross-country rivals. Those face-offs were tough on Mitchell because he harbored a huge crush on Alex. High school, and college, are behind the guys and they meet unexpectedly on Thanksgiving Day, once again on the ice. Mitchell is home for the holidays and is thrilled to see his crush all grown up.

Alex asks Mitchell out for coffee to catch up. Could this be the start of something magical for the holidays…and beyond?

“Rivals” was originally released in 2009. This edition has two new scenes.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

This is a sweet short story – more of a fantasy really – there’s almost no angst or any real hurdles for our couple to overcome.

It’s merely the story of two old high school rivals meeting again later in life and falling in love.

It’s very sweet and a nice, fun read.
(FWIW the author tells us this was his first published story and it’s very good for being his first!)

Audio

Derrick McClain does another really nice job with this lovely short story! There are no accents or anything to make the two MCs unique, but it’s always easy to tell who is speaking. He’s good with the smexy times and the bit of emotion that we see here. A great way to enjoy this lovely little story!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Audible link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Rivals-Audiobook/B01MYPM1RU/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1481779799&sr=1-1

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Sports

Checking It Twice (The Carlisles #3) by Meg Harding

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/checking-it-twice-by-meg-harding-7813-b

32798036Blurb

Closeted professional hockey player Eric Belanger is falling hard for an out-and-proud male model. He’s unable to resist Dorian’s charm and pushing personal boundaries he never thought he’d cross. But Dorian is the kind of guy who deserves someone who isn’t afraid to be himself. Eric’s fears about what coming out will do to his career clash with the future he hopes to build with Dorian. He knows he’ll eventually have to make a choice.

Dorian Carlisle knows better than to date a man who wants to keep him a secret, but there’s something about Eric he can’t ignore. So he’ll take the risk, and it’ll be all right, because this isn’t a forever romance. He’s happy to live in the moment. But somehow, at some point, feelings sneak up on him and he’s not okay anymore. At a breaking point, Dorian must also make a decision. Their time together will either be the start of something wonderful or nothing more than a happy memory.

Review

Eric is a an adorkable hockey player who meets Dorian doing promo work for an advertiser. He’s in the closet and barely had any sexual experience but knows he wants to try something with Dorian. He figures that Dorian, more than many others he might run into, has very little motivation to try to “ruin him” or out him for being gay and is therefore not only hot, but maybe safe, too?

Dorian knows it’s a bad idea to hook up with someone as closeted as Eric but he can’t help but be attracted. Once they start seeing each other, he finds he’s as attracted to what’s inside of Eric as what’s on the outside.

**

I really liked the way Dorian handles Eric’s sexual inexperience (and Eric, too for that matter). It felt both respectful and bossy and realistic, too. (Not everybody is perfect in bed together the first time they touch!)

I was glad to see Dorian stand up for himself and not let Eric’s unwillingness to be out pull him back into the closet.   I’m not sure how Eric thought hanging out with Dorian “as a friend” wouldn’t look suspicious, but I was glad Dorian stood up for himself with Eric’s friends and hockey mates.  That, too, felt authentic. The push-pull of wanting Eric but hating it at the same time.

I still find the present tense style of writing to be really bulky and awkward and it’s definitely not my favorite as it pulls me out of the story time and again stumbling over phrases that just don’t sound right.

This was a lot better than book two, but I still like book one the most in this series.

I’m excited about Denver’s story but not sure if I’ll pick it up to read, mostly because I just don’t like that writing style – so much!

Fans of the series will be pleased with this (though it absolutely works as a stand-alone) as will fans of Hockey player romances.

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book Christmas coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Humor Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Rent Boy Scorching/high heat second chance at love Sports Thanksgiving

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) Audioboook by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreampsinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/power-play-by-avon-gale-7791-b

o-power-playBlurb

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 guilt-ridden years 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 to forget, but also a sleazy GM determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets the team, Misha revisits his darkest days, which might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

 

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

In the same universe as Jared, Lane, Ethan, Riley and Zoe we have two coaches this time, Max and Misha.

Max was injured years ago by Misha in the Stanley Cup playoffs in such a way that he can never play pro-Hockey again. Misha, as a result of his part in the injury, retires as well after that fateful game.

Now, a conniving team owner puts the two of them together as coaches, hoping to stir a media controversy to bring in fans to watch his struggling hockey team.

At first the two are leery of one another, but never fighting. Slowly, as the season moves on they begin to rely on the other as friends and then, bravely, Max hits on Misha and then all bets are off!

**

I cannot say enough good things about Avon Gale’s writing. She uses humor, fast-paced dialog, solid hockey knowledge and great timing to grab you right from the beginning and immerse you in her stories.

In this case we have Max who is so easy going it’s almost unbelievable. But that’s the perfect foil for Misha who worries over every little thing. I liken Avon’s writing to Max in that both are warm and inviting, clever and funny but straight forward, no B.S.

Misha, with his secrets and his past in Russia (Yeah, Max, the real Russia!) is the dark to Max’s light and the deep to Max’s sometimes superficial. Max is easy to love and great for morale. Misha has deep thinking and strategies and passion that binds people to him.

I really appreciated the fact that she gave us a new team (which means she had to develop an entire new set of characters- hard!) rather than continuing to add bi-sexual men to the team we knew – thus making it a bit more fantastical and incestuous. This way we get a whole new bunch of guys to learn about and love. The work was totally worth it!

I highlighted like a fiend in this book – Avon’s dialog is like that – so damn funny you want to remember it all!

I love how clueless Max is about geography and anything “adult”.

“Russians were sneaky. No wonder they won the Cold War. Wait… did they?”

“F**cking Polish prick!” “We don’t bully because people are from other—countries?” Max looked briefly at Misha, who nodded imperceptibly. He found Max’s complete lack of understanding about world geography both exasperating and endearing.”

This story had an underlying tone of seriousness to it – probably Misha’s doing – that I really appreciated. It made Isaac’s story and Misha’s so much more riveting and the story was richer for it.

I highly recommend this book and the entire series!

6 of 5 stars

Audio

Max is from Minnesota. I’m not sure what accent the narrator was going for but it does not sound good. Misha sounds – ok, pretty good in fact. My main problem with this narrator is that he has no differentiation in his speech pattern. Every sentence ends on an up swing. Everything is like “Hey, did you know they have PRESENTS in there?” Like it’s a positive, question. He doesn’t do romantic or high emotion well at all because it’s all the same intonation and pacing.

I love these books SO much, so I grit my teeth and bear it, but really, I don’t like this narrator and I wish there’d been someone else available for this series.

2 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars for the Audio

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hockey Humor Length m/m Mild level angst Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports

Save of the Game (Scoring Chances #2) Audiobook by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7362

51l0banwil-_sl300_Blurb

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.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

We met Riley and Kennedy in book one – Riley is sort of ambiguous when it comes to his sexuality and Kennedy identifies as straight. They end up rooming together when Kennedy has trouble finding a place to land and Riley likes having a roommate.

They end up becoming really good friends but Riley isn’t sure there might not be some underlying other… to their relationship.

One night things get … interesting… and Kennedy isn’t willing to let it lie. He confronts Riley about what’s between them and this starts their mutual exploration into a relationship beyond friendship.

**

Avon Gale recently told us on FaceBook that she’s gonna devote even more time to writing – THANK GOD! I think she’s amazingly gifted. Humor is – hands down- the hardest thing to communicate in writing and she EXCELS at it.

“Riley gave him the keys, and Ethan came back with some beer,
a piping hot pizza, laundry detergent, and fabric softener—something
Riley didn’t know about until he moved into his first apartment, because
he’d had to look up how to do laundry on the Internet.
They ate pizza, did their laundry, played Grand Theft Auto, and
watched hockey. Sometimes Riley looked over and caught Ethan
watching him, and vice versa. They both pretended not to notice. It was
clear, unspoken guy language that meant “If we don’t talk about it, it
didn’t happen.”

“Yeah. I mean, come on. This is a sport played by a bunch of guys
who hang around each other and compete all the time. You tell me you
don’t think sex gets mixed up with that, and I’ll make you talk to Lane
about feelings again.”

“How’s being gay going?” Lane asked him at one point, and Zoe
immediately lectured him about ignoring the existence of bisexuals.
Lane listened like a hockey player getting a lecture from his coach and
then turned back to Riley and said, “So?”
Zoe sighed. “This is when I don’t miss you.”

What I loved was that these boys were up front and honest right from the start – no hand wringing and wondering. It felt so authentic. They talked like men/boys and acted like men/boys and as a result the story just felt so natural and plausible. Even though it’s essentially a double GFY which – in theory – is like the storybook unicorn.

There are a lot of feels in this book too – and super hot smexy times – it pretty much has it all!

Of course we get to see more of Lane – who is my personal favorite character – maybe of all time (there are a couple others who rival with him but he’s up there) and we get to see all that sweaty hockey action, as well.

Another proof of a gifted writer (and storyteller) is that someone like me – a non sports person – READS the hockey stuff! And I understood it! Woot!

It can be hard to follow up a great book – sequels get a bad rap – but this absolutely does it’s job and keeps the awesomeness flowing! This is a great follow up to Breakaway – and since that was my all time favorite book of 2015 you know that means something!

I highly recommend this to fans of hockey, sweaty jocks, people with a sense of humor and anyone with more than two brain cells to rub together!

6 of 5 stars

Audio

Scott Smith is the narrator from book one and so if you’ve enjoyed book one, you have a fair idea of how his narration is for book two.  I enjoyed the fact that he attempted some sort of “New York” accent for Ethan and his family, though I’m not sure exactly which part of New York he’s supposed to be from.  His Riley is fairly robotic, which I believe is intentional based on the character.  These, by themselves, would be imperfections, but fine if it weren’t for the rest of his narration.  He tends to end every sentence on an upswing lilt like every sentence ends with an exclamation mark.  He doesn’t modulate his pacing for deep emotion and the humorous parts are done with the same inflection as the touching parts.

While I was absolutely able to listen to this in it’s entirety, it was definitely disappointing, especially since I love this series so very much.

All in all, if you enjoyed the narrator in book one, you will again, and if you didn’t care for him, you probably won’t here either.

3 of 5 stars

Overall

4 of 5 stars

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4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Book coming of age Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Hockey Homophobia Hurt/comfort Insta Love Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Rent Boy second chance at love Sports

Changing on the Fly: A m/m hockey romance charity anthology

release day review

 

31343238Blurb

 

Changing on the Fly is a celebration of romance, featuring six M/M stories about hockey players falling in love on – and off – the ice. All proceeds from the anthology will be donated to a charity that supports inclusiveness in athletics.

The anthology will be available starting in October, 2016, for a limited time only.

It includes the following stories:

Even Strength by Cherylanne Corneille
Next Season by Avon Gale
Going Home by Heather Lire
On Broadway by V.L. Locey
The Brother and the Retired Player by Mary Smith
Take a Shot by Samantha Wayland

 

 

Review

First, if you like hockey and m/m romance, you’ll want this. Second, it helps a great cause, so buy it!

Each story is rated for steam with a 1, 2 or 3 flaming pucks. One = fade to black 3 = erotic

Even Strength by Cherylanne Corneille

1 flaming puck

This is a “sweet” story about an established couple who is struggling in their relationship. Nate is in his first year as a professional hockey player and Tristan, his boyfriend from college, is in his first year of grad school. They’re disappointed to find they have to struggle to make time for one another and this puts stress on their relationship.

**

Most of this was about Nate’s experiences as a rookie and his “reality breaks” meeting his “fantasy of the future” thoughts.

I found the relationship stuff to be tedious as I didn’t know them as a couple before and to jump in with them “fighting” just felt awkward and uncomfortable. Since most of the time these two were apart, when they got together I’d expect a lot of talking and or sexy times, but since this is a “1 puck” there is no on page sex and the two really didn’t even talk much.

This just wasn’t my cup of tea.

2 of 5 stars
Next Season by Avon Gale

3 flaming pucks

 Nick is a hockey player who gets traded with a star player to a struggling team in Canada from New York. Nick’s excited because he’s signed on to the NHL from the “farm league” so this is a step up. Sparrow is confused and frustrated because he was a star and he considers this a step down.

The two are roomies and neither knows the other is gay.

**

While Sparrow came off as kind of jerk for most of this, Nick is super sweet and a really kind, generous soul. This wasn’t nearly as funny or engaging as Avon’s more lengthy stories, but it was really sweet, the smexy times were excellent and the character development was first rate.

Highly enjoyable!

4 of 5 stars

Going Home by Heather Lire

 1 flaming puck

This ended up being the beginning to a longer story that will be published at some point in the future, according to the author.

It’s an interesting story about coming home and re-connecting with your first love. There’s no steam and I can’t really rate this as it’s not even a complete story.


On Broadway by V.L. Locey

 3 flaming pucks

This story just didn’t work very well for me. Riley is a start hockey player in NYC who runs into a homeless guy who has mad hockey skills. Keiffer (the homeless guy) ends up selling himself to Riley for the night then later living with Riley for months after he gets beat up by someone at a shelter.

I never saw a connection beyond the physical between Riley and Keiffer and I found the entire living arrangement/rent boy thing to be a bit bizarre and totally unbelievable. I also really wondered how this was going to play out in the long run, what with Riley being in the public eye so predominately.

All in all I just wasn’t convinced to put aside my disbeliefs enough to enjoy this.

2 of 5 stars

Take a Shot by Samantha Wayland

Tim and Chris are best friends and professional hockey player teammates. Tim 100% identifies as straight and Chris has been pining for Tim for a long time.

If you’re a fan of the author, Mike and Alexi are on their team and have suspected that Chris and Tim are perfect for each other, so they help the relationship along.

Chris gets injured on the ice and Tim realizes that he has more than “friend” feelings for his bestie.

**

This was a really fun and super sexy read. I love Mike and Alexi so it was great seeing them again. Since it’s short, Tim’s movement from “straight to gay” was a bit fast, but… it worked.

Highly enjoyable!

4.5 of 5 stars

 

Overall very enjoyable and highly recommended!  4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hockey Homophobia Little to no angst m/m May/December May/December Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports Virgin

Breakaway (Scoring Chances Book 1) Audiobook by Avon Gale Narrated by Scott R Smith

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/breakaway-by-avon-gale-7527-b

51i4Ij4KT3L._SL300_Blurb

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

How do you review something you just love so dang much?!

This is one of my all time favorite books. Not just for this year but for all time. It hits all the right notes for me and I can’t say enough good about it.

First, the humor. Avon Gale just tickles my funny bone and I laugh out loud over and over with this story. Lane is ADORKABLE and he says all the (right)wrong things. Humor is tough and it takes someone with good timing as well as a good sense of the absurd to make humor work in writing. Avon has it in spades. Her writing is witty and sparkling and Lane is the perfect example of this.

Zoe, is Lane’s BFF and she’s MAGNIFICENT. God I loved this character. She’s sweet, and funny, and bi-sexual, and tatted up and tender… she helps Lane navigate all those “feelings” that people keep having and it’s both really sweet and super funny.

As someone who knows next to nothing about hockey, I can tell you that Avon managed to engage me enough with the sport that I felt like a “fan” for a minute but I never felt lost or overwhelmed.

There’s some great stuff in here: Good hockey, some Canada humor, a bit of parental angst and some hot, hot, HOT virgin sex with an absolute boatload of feels mixed in with tons of laughter.

But – and this is the most important aspect – the romance is soooo sweet. Jared and Lane together are exactly what romances are made of. They’re guys, but they’re sweet and sexy and sometimes they wrestle – so – you know – awesome!

I literally either bookmarked or highlighted something on nearly every dang page. It’s ridiculous how good this book is!

Some examples:

“…The thing is…. Lane, it’s hard to explain this, but it’s not easy being bisexual. I imagine Jared would get it, maybe? He seems not to be too concerned about that kind of thing, which is maybe because he lives in your world of macho boys with amazing abs and endless references to sucking cock.”
“It’s a nice world, when you put it that way,” Lane said dreamily. “No wonder I wanted to be a hockey player.”

**
“Does anybody have a problem with [Lane] here sucking dick? Like, a real problem? No one’s stupid enough to think he’s gonna make you gay or something. Right? Homophobic people piss me the fuck off, but I can’t fucking play hockey and not say cocksucker. You might as well ask people in NASA not to talk about space.”

**

So… I’m recommending this book to fans of gay virgins, geeks, hockey, Canadians, humor, May/December romances and sweet love stories.

I’d seriously give this a 7 of 5 stars if I could… it was really, really amazing.

Audio

So the problem with being in love with a book and having read it several, several times is that you have the MCs sort of already voiced out in your head. To me Lane has a distinct voice as does Zoe. The others not nearly as much, except for maybe Riley… When I saw this was in audio format I FLIPPED OUT because now I can listen to one of my favs over and over and over right? Welllllllll – it seriously pains me to say this, but I am disappointed. The narrator simply did not get Lane the same way that I interpreted him. He didn’t get his blabbering or his cluelessness or his ability to put his foot in his mouth over and over… and it shows in how he’s voiced. He did a great job with Jared and I LOVED Ryan. They were just right. But Lane … he’s my guy and I had high hopes for him. Then there’s Zoe. To me the narrator absolutely missed the mark with Zoe. He made her a Southern Belle while I think of her more as a Southern Red Neck with an Education and Attitude. It’s hard to explain, but her accent sounded off to me as well.

Now – don’t get me wrong – I listened to and really enjoyed this for the most part and if you’re new to the story, it’ll probably be great – but I was hoping for something a little different. It’s still a wonderful story and well worth listening to.

4 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars because the book is so dang good.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review