Book: Linemates by Van Barrett

Genre: MM Romance, explicit

Title: Linemates

Author: Van Barrett

Release Date: April 2016

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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?

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Book: The Year We Hid Away (The Ivy Years #2) by Sarina Bowen

Genre: MF Contemporary Romance, Explicit

Title: The Year We Hid Away

Author: Sarina Bowen

Release Date: 1 June 2015

Previous Book in Series: The Year We Fell Down

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Summary: 

Scarlet Crowley’s life was torn apart the day father was arrested for unspeakable crimes. Now the shock has worn off, but not the horror.

It’s a safe bet that Scarlet is the only first year at Harkness College who had to sneak past TV news trucks parked on her front lawn just to leave town. But college will be Scarlet’s fresh start. Clutching a shiny new student ID — with a newly minted name on it — she leaves it all behind. Even if it means lying to the boy she’s falling for.

Bridger McCaulley is a varsity hockey star known for being a player both on and off the ice. But a sobering family crisis takes that all away. Protecting his sister means a precarious living arrangement and constant deception. The only bright spot in his week is the few stolen hours he spends with Scarlet.

The two form a tentative relationship based on the understanding that some things must always be held back. But when grim developments threaten them both, going it alone just won’t work anymore. And if they can’t learn to trust one another now, the families who let them down will take everything they’ve struggled to keep.

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Book: Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale

Genre: MM Contemporary Romance, Explicit

Title: Empty Net

Author: Avon Gale

Release Date: 2 September 2016

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Summary: 

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

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Book: The Year We Fell Down (The Ivy Years #1) by Sarina Bowen

Genre: MF Contemporary Romance

Title: The Year We Fell Down

Author: Sarina Bowen

Release Date: 20 March 2014

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Summary: 

She expected to start Harkness College as a varsity ice hockey player. But a serious accident means that Corey Callahan will start school in a wheelchair instead.

Across the hall, in the other handicapped-accessible dorm room, lives the too-delicious-to-be real Adam Hartley, another would-be hockey star with his leg broken in two places. He’s way out of Corey’s league.

Also, he’s taken.

Nevertheless, an unlikely alliance blooms between Corey and Hartley in the “gimp ghetto” of McHerrin Hall. Over tequila, perilously balanced dining hall trays, and video games, the two cope with disappointments that nobody else understands.

They’re just friends, of course, until one night when things fall apart. Or fall together. All Corey knows is that she’s falling. Hard.

But will Hartley set aside his trophy girl to love someone as broken as Corey? If he won’t, she will need to find the courage to make a life for herself at Harkness — one which does not revolve around the sport she can no longer play, or the brown-eyed boy who’s afraid to love her back.

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IRL: My Personal Adventures in Hockey

I have not always been a hockey fan.  In fact, I’ve actually been a hokey fan for less than a year!  But, I never do things by halves, so when I became a hockey fan, I became a hockey fan.

My journey to the sport actually started with either romance novels or fanfiction, I can’t remember which.  Luckily, this was just a few weeks before the 2015-16 NHL preseason began, so I had time to learn more about the game.  And by more, I mean everything, because I knew nothing.  Hockey isn’t a big sport in Southern California, though it’s popularity is growing all the time thanks to having two good teams.

Despite living near two hockey teams, I chose to cheer for the Chicago Blackhawks.  I was partially influenced by their popularity (so much info/videos/pictures/fanfiction) and their success (3 cups in 6 years!), but the biggest factor was actually that my boyfriend is from Chicago and is a Blackhawks fan.  I figured that it might be nice to have a sports team in common, since we support different baseball teams (at least our teams aren’t rivals!).

But then, somehow, I fell in love with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  I still love the Blackhawks, but the Penguins quickly became my #1 team, even though they weren’t having a great season (lol).  My boyfriend was awesome enough to take me to both a Blackhawks at Kings game AND a Penguins at Ducks games.  My teams lost both games (because of course they did).  But it was still amazing and so much fun.

For non-hockey fans (who probably aren’t reading this, but whatever), the Penguins fired their coach a few games after the game I went to and hired a new one.  They ended up winning the Stanley cup!  And my mom, who is baffled by my choice of hockey team, thinks that I should probably pick out lottery numbers because I’m obviously lucky (I’m really not).

During this, I started ice skating.  I hadn’t been in years, but I loved watching how easy the players made it look.  It’s not easy.  I have good balance, but skating is actually really, really hard.  I bought a pair of skates and started going to my local rinks at least once a week.  I watched many, many YouTube videos on edges and stopping and skating backwards.  It felt amazing to be doing something physical for once, instead of just sitting around the house.

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Me at the rink!

 

I broke my left wrist  on December 19th.  I was turning from skating forwards to backwards and fell.  I got up, got off the ice, and knew pretty much right away that it was broken.  My visit to the doctor the next day confirmed it.

I was back on the ice 5 days later.

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December 24, 5 days after breaking my wrist.
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December 21, January 11, and January 25

 

 

In April, I went to an adult learn-to-play clinic at a local rink.  It was 3 weeks long, and they gave us loaner equipment and beginning instruction.  And I learned that hockey is a LOT harder than just being able to skate!  I had so much fun that I knew this was something I wanted to keep doing.

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Learn to play clinic

 

So…I got my own gear (some new, some used, so expensive!!!) and signed up for the rink’s rookie league.  My team has played 7 games.  We lost the first 6, but yesterday, August 6th we finally won!!!  It felt so amazing!  And I even registered my first point: an assist on the game winning goal!!!

So, this isn’t the type of thing I normally post, but I just thought that I’d share.  One thing I love about books is that they can introduce you to brand new things that you never knew about or didn’t think you’d be interested in.

Without books and reading, I never would have discovered hockey.  I wouldn’t have experienced going to live NHL games or seeing my team win the Stanly Cup, and I definitely wouldn’t be a hockey player!  Once again, reading has opened up my world in a new way and made my life so much better.

I hope that your passion for reading leads you to find other passions as well!

Here’s a list of all the hockey romances that I’ve reviewed on this blog so far:

Book: Winging It by Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James

Genre: MM Contemporary Romance, Explicit

Title: Winging It

Author: Ashlyn Kane and Morgan James

Release Date: 20 February 2015

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Summary: 

Gabe Martin has a simple life plan: get into the NHL and win the Stanley Cup. It doesn’t include being the first out hockey player or, worse, getting involved with one of his teammates. But things change.

Dante Baltierra is Gabe’s polar opposite—careless, reckless… shameless. But his dedication to the sport is impressive, and Gabe can overlook a lot of young-and-stupid in the name of great hockey. And Dante has a superlative ass in a sport filled with superlative asses.

Before Gabe can figure out how to deal, a tabloid throws him out of his comfortable closet into a brand-new world. Amid the emotional turmoil of invasive questions, nasty speculation, and on- and off-ice homophobia, his game suffers.

Surprisingly, it’s Dante who drags him out of it—and then drags him into something else. Nothing good can come of secretly sleeping with a teammate, especially one Gabe has feelings for. But with their captain out with an injury, a rookie in perpetual need of a hug, and the race to make the playoffs for the first time since 1995, Gabe has a lot on his plate.

He can’t be blamed for forgetting that nothing stays secret forever.

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Book: Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

 

Genre: MM Contemporary Romance

Title: Us

Author: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Release Date: 8 March 2016

Previous Book in Series: Him

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Summary: 

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

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