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Once again in Hockey Land courtesy of author G. K. Brady, and what a pleasure it is as always. Besting the Blueliner is the 8th entry in The Playmakers series and just as full of excitement and conflict and fun and romance as the others. And I have an advance listening copy – an audiobook! – and these stories are at their best when performed by another pair of excellent narrators. Tor Thom’s voice always takes me by surprise. It’s so deep and gravelly that it’s easy to picture a big, burly hockey player, but then I realize that he can oh so convincingly be tender, sweet, scared, sexy, sexy, sexy with that voice, too. He makes Cam a tough guy with a soft, gooey center. And contrary to an opinion he voiced in an interview, he does the female voices just fine. Amanda Stribling gives you all aspects of Terra’s personality and emotions. She can sound small, meek, confused, hurt – and then roar back and be a strong, confident woman not afraid to fight for herself. I loved listening to every minute.

Cam Blue hasn’t been a Colorado Blizzard defenseman for long, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be one long-term. That’s just how hockey goes. Their cup-winning season has just ended and Cam’s gone to his cabin in the mountains to let his body recover and to find what he craves most: solitude. The company of his sweet dog Grace (named after Grace Kelly) is all he needs. And maybe that strip of land he tried to buy from his jerk neighbor. He’s not quite a mountain man yet, but he’s learning.

Terra is an interesting contrast: a grown woman treated by her father as if she is a teenager, treated by both her father and brother as if she is the housekeeper, and “thinks” she has a boyfriend although he doesn’t stay in touch often and has never done more than kiss her. On the other hand, she runs the family business very competently and she is an authentic mountain woman, capable and confident in the woods. Except when she topples her father’s new ATV and can’t free herself. She was looking forward to a week alone at the cabin but this accident could become serious in these lonely woods.

Grace hears Terra’s cries for help and Cam and Grace follow the sound. He is able to free Terra but she’s skittish, sarcastic, not too friendly. By his own admission Cam is a surly SOB so their first meeting doesn’t exactly make them BFFs. But there is something there . . . .

There is so much going on in Besting the Blueliner; it’s a joy to follow all these twists and turns and learn surprise after surprise – and watch two people who are determined they can’t, shouldn’t, won’t be together keep winding up together. Keep wanting to wind up together. Cam is recovering at a snail’s pace from a failed marriage, a horrible divorce and an ex-wife who still wants money all the time; Terra insists that yes, Roger is so her boyfriend, and maybe his lack of interest or any sparks is fault of her self-described unsexy self, and maybe Cam could teach her a thing or two? Interesting idea. That strip of land Cam wants to buy plays a key part, as do Terra’s overbearing, overprotective father and her underachieving, undermotivated brother. Terra is terrified of dogs; Cam couldn’t live without Grace. Even with his innate grumpiness Cam feels an overpowering urge to protect Terra. She feels safe with him and opens up more than she ever has to anyone else. And there is a protective streak for him in her, too. They seem to be opposites but the more they are together the more it seems they should – must – be together. But family, and relationships and hockey management may make that impossible.

Thanks to Home Cooked Books and author G. K. Brady for providing an Advance Listening Copy of Besting the Blueliner. I really, really cared about this couple and wanted to knock all the obstacles down myself to ensure they could be together. The narration was the icing on the cake to an already perfect novel. It was also heart-warming as usual to catch up with players and other characters from previous books in the series; everyone is connected to everyone somehow and it’s fun to read. I recommend this book, this series, and the rest of what G. K. Brady writes without hesitation. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.
… (més)
 
Marcat
GrandmaCootie | Jun 25, 2024 |
I could read author G. K. Brady’s books forever. Once I’ve read them all I will just read them again. Actually, I’ve already done that with more than one of them. There is just something that draws you in and keeps you interested. These stories are like potato chips – you can’t stop with one. Yes, they’re “just” hockey players, living the big life with their fame and money and puck bunnies, but there is so much more to them. They feel like real people who work hard, care about others, and have pasts and fears that make things hard.

Each book has action, tension, conflict and difficult situations. Lots and lots of heat. And humor. Subtle or laugh-out-loud ridiculous, it’s always there and maybe that’s what makes these stories so unforgettable. The Winning Score, Book 4 in The Playmakers series, has an abundance of humor and you will love every snicker, giggle and guffaw it brings out of you. Quinn and Sarah are both talented, clever and capable, but some of the things they say and do will have you bursting into laughter and wiping your eyes.

Quinn Hadley is a player, and not just on the ice. In fact so much so that he has a secret phone to store the numbers of the women he visits all across the country. Gage Nelson is Quinn’s teammate – and Sarah’s brother. While Gage thought hot nights were just fine for him and Lily in Gauging the Player, he knows how smooth guys like Quinn operate and his sister is strictly off limits. Funny thing, though. The thrill for Gage is starting to dim. The women suddenly seem like they are all alike. (Well, duh.) Is he maturing? Just getting bored? Could it have anything to do with the fact that his ailing mother Liz has come to live with him and he suddenly has more responsibilities and memories to deal with? He grew up feeling he was the disappointing, never good enough son, and the adjustment to his mother in his life like this is hard for him. As for Sarah, Gage has nothing to worry about. Sarah is the opposite of his type in every way. The couple of times Quinn and Sarah were together sparks did fly – but not the good kind.

Sarah has come to Colorado to stay with Gage, Lily and Daisy, but it’s not a vacation or break from a demanding job she would like everyone to believe. No, it’s an escape. An escape from a horrible experience with someone she trusted with her career and her heart, both of which are now smashed. Sarah and Gage were raised by a bitter mother who thought Gage was perfect, and the only worthwhile man on the planet. So Sarah has Quinn’s number and is disdainful. She’s had enough of insincere men. She just wants to lick her wounds, feel safe and figure out how to get her life back on track.

Author Brady inserts an interesting twist into this story: the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lockdowns, social distancing, sports schedules cancelled. As Liz’s caregiver who suddenly can’t go home, Sarah and her big, beautiful, brilliant, service-dog school drop-out Archer are stuck with Liz and Quinn in Quinn’s big, rented house. How’s that going to work? A lot of grating on each other’s nerves, that’s how. Until they start to discover things about each other: they’re both engineering brainiacs, they love exercise and puzzles . . . and then they discover other things, like I didn’t know he smelled like that, or he was surprisingly sweet just then, or why didn’t I notice she walked like that, or she’s so good with my mom. So the sparks that began as prelude to battle start to become prelude to something else. Turn your a/c up high and keep listening.

The Winning Score is silly and sexy and sweet and addresses serious topics like health and family and insecurity and false bravado, like lies and betrayal, and like being open to second chances and love. It’s a wonderful audiobook experience, brought to life by narrators Marcio Catalano and Samantha Brentmoor through their expert tone, pacing, emotion and ability to draw you fully into the story. Thanks to the author for providing an audio copy of The Winning Score. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it and this entire series without hesitation. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.
… (més)
 
Marcat
GrandmaCootie | Jun 24, 2024 |
“I promise to do my best to wear out the words I love you.” Aaah, it’s another Playmakers novel by G. K. Brady. I know right away I’m in for sighing, swooning, sweet satisfaction and lots of smiling. And after that quote? Who can even breathe? These hockey guys are so romantic, no matter how much they try to hide it. it’s so much fun to watch them be the ones that often fall first and fall hard.

Gage is a good man, a nice guy. When he was traded to the Blizzard and left San Jose for Denver along with T. J. Sandstrom, he was TJ’s only teammate who didn’t shun him, who listened to his side of the story, who stood by him. Gage is actually Mr. Perfect, according to his mother and sister, but he feels far from perfect. That’s a lot to live up to. He just wants to take care of his family as best he can and make his team proud. His mother is The Master of Catastrophe, and is bitter about her own life, believing that not only is Gage Mr. Perfect but that he’s the only man on the planet worth bothering with. And she has her heart set on matching Gage with his old classmate. Between his mother’s attitude, a couple of not-so-great encounters with Puck Bunnies (yes, that’s a thing), - as well as his desire to keep his nose to the grindstone of hockey, neither relationships nor hookups are on his horizon, and he likes it that way.

Until TJ & Natalie’s wedding. And that singer. Not an exaggeration to say he’s lost. Against his better judgement he spends the night with her. He’s smitten, mesmerized, can’t even believe it himself. And can’t even believe it either when she’s gone in the morning. Can’t get her out of his mind, but maybe it’s for the best. What kind of woman would run off like that? What did he do wrong?

Lily is appalled at her behavior. What was she thinking? She’s a widow who pledged to love her husband forever. How could she have been so attracted to that stranger? But it doesn’t mean anything, he’s just a hockey player. Player being the operative word. She’ll never see him again and this will just be an oh-so-enjoyable mistake, nothing more. But why does her heart feel funny?

Lily’s deceased husband Jack has become 100% perfect in her eyes. Never speak ill of the dead, glorify them – right? But a closer examination revealed a few bumps, a few flaws. A bit older than Lily, Jack could be a bit controlling, and even a bit condescending, and often had Lily a bit off balance. But now, she refuses to look back on their life together with anything other than rose-colored glasses. Moving on would be a betrayal to his memory, to his declaration that he wanted her to love him forever. How could she break her vows? How could she let another man replace him as father to their daughter Daisy? But is this really what Lily needs, and deserves? Is this how the rest of her life should be? Shutting herself off from any chance of happiness because she thinks she’s already had her chance and doesn’t deserve another?

Her sister disagrees. And Gage disagrees. But that’s a fine line for him to walk, to respect her feelings and not disrespect Jack’s memory, while showing her that he’s what she needs, a man who adores her, thinks of her as a strong, independent woman, not one to be controlled and who will show her and Daisy his love every single day. Not easy, and even less easy when Jack’s brother is always in the picture, babysitting, keeping Jack’s memory and wonderful qualities alive – and maybe hoping if Lily’s focus ever does change it will shift to him.

Gage and Lily meet again by chance. He’s angry that she left without explanation – but still smitten, mesmerized and lost. And he realizes that there is room in his life for a relationship, for this relationship, because he wants Lily as much as he wants hockey. And that’s a lot. And – wait - maybe he wants her even more than hockey. Lily is ashamed and embarrassed and guilt-ridden. But also a bit smitten, mesmerized and lost herself. Remember: Gage is a good man, a nice guy. Can the shrine to Jack move over, fade to the background?

Gauging the Player is another wonderful entry in this wonderful series. Every book can be standalone but if you can read from the start do so. Each subsequent book builds on the previous, introducing new characters, new situations, new struggles, new romances but also looking back at the characters we already love plus providing tantalizing hints about who is up next. This hockey family just keeps growing and growing, with friendships and disagreements like every other family. And I think every woman will eventually work for Paige Beckett!

Gage and Lily’s story will make your heart go pitter-pat. Daisy is adorable. Lily is so conflicted. Gage is so focused and patient. There is just the right amount of humor and silliness, too. And don’t forget that these Playmakers generate some serious heat. Scorching in fact. And trust me, you’ll love that.

Thanks to the author for providing a copy of Gauging the Player. I was lucky enough to receive an audiobook copy and that is the very best way to immerse yourself into these stories, with a digital or hard copy on the side as reference of course. Narrators Ryan Lee Dunlap and Aubrey Vincent are truly perfect and bring the story to life. Just my opinion, but Ryan Lee Dunlap should do every G. K. Brady story. He makes you fall right into the character, and then with the next book he narrates you forget he’s RLD and fall right into that character. And Aubrey Vincent is right here with him. Perfect balance, pace, tone – and that heat! Wow. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.

P.S. – Pay attention. The chapter titles are a treat and tell a story all in themselves.
… (més)
 
Marcat
GrandmaCootie | Jun 10, 2024 |
For half a heartbeat I was really worried that when G. K. Brady ended her fantastic, fabulous, fascinating Playmaker Series about those tantalizing hockey players I would have to go into mourning, but with The Keeper, her first book in the new Fall River Series, she has slid us easily and seamlessly into more total satisfaction reading. Characters with big hearts that you will fall in love with immediately, a smooth, evenly paced plot, well-written turns of phrase, plenty of humor and lots of heat. And it looks like this will be a thrilling series; The Keeper ramps the mystery, suspense and danger up a couple of notches. Something is going on in Fall River and you’re going to want to find out what it is.

And speaking of great characters that you’ll fall in love with right away, meet Noah Hunnicutt. Noah is stunningly handsome (of course), and there’s just something about him that warms you up. But Noah is also the middle of three brothers, and he’s lived up to the common belief that middle children are the ones that repeatedly mess up, so much so that he is the only brother who has blown through his grandparents’ trust fund—all two million of it—in two years.

With the opening of his Miners Tavern, he’s trying to prove to his family and the rest of Fall River that he’s changed, that he’s dependable, responsible and can be successful at something. His mother is always in his corner; his father is always waiting for him to fail. His brothers will do whatever he needs, but they’re not sure he hasn’t bitten off more than he can chew. Especially since the owner of the ratty rival bar is already trying to put him out of business, by means fair or foul.

Hailey Bailey (yes, the name is funny but you’ll get used to it) has a job she loves and is very good at. Well, loves may be an exaggeration but she does enjoy it, and she sees a path up the ladder to achieve what she wants most – security, stability, benefits and enough money to open her own bookstore. No mother, an older sister who made her escape as soon as she could and an alcoholic wannabee-surfer-superstar always wildly chasing the dream taught her that self-reliance and a safety net were musts.

The Keeper begins with Noah worrying through the very successful grand opening of the Miners Tavern and Hailey performing an unannounced food inspection at Dell’s and meeting Bruno Keating, a/k/a the ratty rival bar owner. Noah and Hailey don’t meet that night, but keep in mind that Hailey stopped in at Miners Tavern hoping to get a bite to eat and couldn’t keep her eyes off that sexy bartender who became a frequent player in her dreams.

Fast forward a few months and imagine a snowstorm, dog in the middle of the slippery road, out of control car meeting truck – and a night with dog, man and woman huddled in said truck until roads are clear enough for rescue. Imagine all night. Author Brady makes this fateful introduction tense, funny, uncomfortable – and feeling warm and somehow familiar. Very relaxed and cozy at times. Makes them both wonder what is happening here. From this point the story just picks up speed and rolls merrily along. Hailey discovers Dream Bartender is Dream Tavern Owner who hates food inspectors with a passion for all the hoops they made him jump through. Oops. So maybe Hailey will wait for the right time to mention that.

There’s a lot going on in The Keeper and it’s all fascinating. Instead of the promotion she was expecting, Hailey gets assistant turned co-worker turned supervisor Cliff Meissner who gets all the perks her wimpy boss Dan promised her, and by the way is a harassing, misogynistic pig who has some questionable associations and follows no rules. His and Dan’s treatment of her will set your teeth on edge. Her moral compass vs. her security and dream: there’s not going to be an easy solution. Someone is trying to drive Noah out of business, one thing after another after another until Miners Tavern is shut down. He also has ideas that would likely bring much needed tourists to town but someone is preventing him from getting an appointment with the local resort that could make that happen. Factor in some warm, caring townspeople that treat Hailey like family and an assortment of bad guys besides Cliff, Dan and Bruno, like Noah’s ex Ursula, another member of Fall River “royalty” who is dishonest, vengeful, just badbadbad, or like Sandy the Stalker, who doesn’t understand the words “it was casual” and “it’s over” along with sabotage, arson, attempted murder and you’ve got one fascinating, thrilling, page-turning story.

Author Brady writes the best men. Noah is sincere, earnest and oh so sexy, determined to make a go of the bar and prove himself once and for all. As a counterpoint, Hailey Bailey is also sincere, earnest and pretty darn sexy, with an unexpected adventurous wild side. The humor Brady injects into their relationship will make you laugh out loud; the tenderness developing will make you swoon.

The Keeper is a solid, satisfying start to what I have no doubt is going to be another wonderful series by this talented author. A little edgier than the Playmaker series but with the same kind of well-developed people you want to know better. Bonus – we don’t have to go cold turkey from The Playmakers. Noah’s cousin Wyatt plays for the Colorado Blizzard. I’m still hoping to see Coach LeBrun, maybe next time.

Thanks to the author for providing an advance copy of The Keeper as part of her ARC team. I was immediately engaged and engrossed and can’t wait for the next book in the series. I recommend you read it, and then catch up with those Playmakers. I voluntarily leave this review; all opinions are my own.
… (més)
 
Marcat
GrandmaCootie | May 23, 2024 |

Premis

Estadístiques

Obres
16
Membres
26
Popularitat
#495,361
Valoració
½ 4.7
Ressenyes
12
ISBN
2