Book: Linemates by Van Barrett

Genre: MM Romance, explicit

Title: Linemates

Author: Van Barrett

Release Date: April 2016

30040545

Summary: 

Callan Jones is a bright new hockey star having the time of his life — and the hard-hitting, goal-scoring, trash-talking winger has the whole league riled up in a hissy-fit. Only one thing could ever trip up the invincible youngster: the fact that he likes guys. Good thing he’s managed to keep that secret under wraps …right?

Ever since Tyler Vance lost the Cup by a goal, his team’s been caught in a downward spiral — with him at the helm. The fans gossip that the captain’s heart isn’t in hockey anymore. Who knows? Maybe they’re right.

A shocking trade between two bitter rivals takes the hockey world by storm. Now it’s up to Vance to make sure Jones fits in with his new team. Will the truth about Callan’s trade come out? And will it have the power to change everything?

What I Liked:

The best thing about this book is definitely the length and the slow-burn romance that stretches out over almost a full NHL season.  I’m one of those people who loves loooong, sloooow developing romance, so this was right up my alley.  At 408 pages, this book was the perfect length for me.

I liked both of the lead characters and they had good chemistry.  This book also hits the friends-to-lovers trope that I like.  I also like that the story was a first time gay romance for one of the characters, but it didn’t feel like a typical gay-for-you romance.  Vance has always had  trouble connecting in his relationships with women, and now he finally understands why.  This wasn’t really GFY, it was more of a self-discovery.

The end of this book is a super cheesy HEA, but it’s also kind of perfect.  It made me roll my eyes, shake my head, and smile all at the same time.

What I Didn’t:

There were a few issues that I had with the lack of realism once the hockey players left the ice.  This is supposed to be the NHL (though that’s never specifically stated, the team is in Chicago and is called the Hawks, so…).  In the real NHL, players would never get away with saying some of the stuff to the press that they say in this book.  It would become a huge, negative thing in the hockey world, and their team PR people and agent would probably have them release an apology/retraction statement ASAP.

The alternating first person POV starts out pretty distinct, but the voices of main characters start to sound confusingly alike as the book goes on.

And, the biggest problem of all in this book is that Chicago and Winnipeg play each other in the Stanley Cup Finals.  That’s impossible!  They are both Western Conference teams!  So, that was super annoying to me… Also, I’m not sure about the OHL allowing/drafting players who have dropped out of high school.  I know that it’s happened in the past, but apparently they really discourage that type of thing now…

Overall:

This book was a solid, gay-for-you hockey romance, and I enjoyed reading it.  I loved the length of the book and the slow-burn romances between the two leads.  The author seems to know a good bit about hockey, which made the on-ice action fun to read, even if there are some noticeable mistakes about pro hockey life off the ice and how playoffs and conferences work.  I would definitely recommend fans of hockey romances to give this book a read.

My Rating: 3/5

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