Netgalley seems to understand my love for hockey novels, so it’s hard to resist when they suggest ones they think I’ll like. This one by Kelly Jamieson is the first in the Aces Hockey series. I spent most of the book being conflicted between the things I loved and the things I didn’t care for, and it’s rare for a book to do that to me.
I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
A young woman moves in with her hockey player brother and his teammate and starts a fling with the teammate, despite her brother’s warnings. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.
The Good Stuff
Overall, I liked this book. I thought the writing itself flowed well, and there were parts about the characters that I really adored. I thought at the beginning that I was going to hate Lovey, but she ended up being fairly charming, though some of her decisions were questionable. Sex in her brother’s bathroom? Has the girl never read a book or seen a romantic comedy?
The fact that the fling between Lovey and Marc is supposed to be a secret actually gave me, as the reader, a great sense of tension and danger every time they were hooking up because of the chance that her brother was going to come home early and catch them. It was way more fun than I expected.
I really like that Lovey is the commitment-phobe who wants a fling and maintains that through most of the book. I was also a fan of her character’s bitchy moments that didn’t just end with her feeling bad about treating someone else poorly. There’s a scene where she’s in a bad mood and snaps at her brother (who deserves it), and even though he chastises her, she doesn’t back down. It’s rare to find a heroine have a complete unapologetic bitch moment.
Things That Made Me Go Hmmm
One of the things I didn’t care for was the minor details that didn’t add anything for me. There’s extraneous information about the clients she’s trying to get for her business and way too much about the groceries she buys. These things slowed the story down for me. However, this is a reader preference, as I know other readers who love that level of detail.
I also thought the ending stretched a bit too long. There were parts of this story that were really boring for me, but then there were other parts that I was really invested in.
Another thing I question in general is the use of popular music and references in a novel. Even though it’s a contemporary novel, pop culture doesn’t always stay pop culture, and I’m not sure how long music references last before they’re no longer relevant to the reader. As opposed to my feelings on the first issue, I really enjoy the popular references. It gives me a better background for the scenes I picture in my mind.
The Romance Factor
I definitely enjoyed the fling-to-relationship aspect of this book and how the relationship developed without any insta-love. It was solid and believable, and the angst was almost perfect. 4/5.
The Steam Factor
That whole not wanting to get caught factor really added something to the sexy times, which were already pretty steamy. Because it was so fun, I’m giving the SF a 5/5.
The things I disliked were all reader preference items. I thought the writing was good and the story and characters felt realistic. Also…hockey. I definitely plan on reading more books in this series.