Tag Archives: Hockey Players

The Book Barista Reviews: On The Brink by Kate Willoughby

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Title:  On the Brink

Series:  In the Zone, #0

Author:  Kate Willoughby

Release Date:  June 28, 2016

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On the Brink

ISHO Summary

Due to popular demand, Kate Willoughby brings you Hart Griffin and Jeremy Fenton’s origin story. Find out how these two met and fell in love…

Holtzer University junior Hart Griffin won’t let anything interfere with his future as a professional hockey player. No way, no how. He’s the star forward of his college team and a first round NHL draft pick.

One hot night with a male super fan calls into question everything Hart thought he knew about his sexuality and launches him on a soul-searching journey in which nothing is as it seems and his entire world is turned upside down.



This is a prequel novella about Hart and Jeremy, two characters that were introduced in Kate Willoughby’s In The Zone Series.  As they were already a couple in the series, this is a look into how they got together.  I will admit that I don’t usually read novellas because they just aren’t long enough.  That said, I absolutely had to read this for a couple of reasons: 1)  I loved the glimpses I got into Hart and Jeremy and wanted to know more and 2) this is Kate Willoughby!  I love her writing!

I totally understand how it would be difficult for Hart to admit to himself that he was gay. He’s on the verge of beginning his professional hockey career and he’s afraid of what being gay might mean for his future career. On the opposite side of the spectrum is Jeremy.  He’s out and proud.  He’s totally attracted to Hart and I will say that he’s incredibly patient with Hart.  One hot night turns into a great friendship which then turns into more.

I absolutely loved this book (even though I did wish it was longer).  I loved Jeremy and Hart and am so glad that Kate Willoughby wrote this.  I think she did a great job on her first m/m venture.  I think she kept it realistic and stayed true to the characters.  I look forward to more in this series.  I gave On the Brink five refreshing and delicious mocha cookie crumble frappuccinos.

Five Mocha cookie crumble frappuccino


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Note: I received this ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Book Barista Reviews: Shut Out by Kellly Jamieson

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Title:  Shut Out

Series:  Bayard Hockey, #1

Author:  Kelly Jamieson

Release Date:  June 7, 2016

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Shut Out

ISHO Summary

From the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series comes the first novel of a new hockey romance series featuring a college team whose players are heating things up both on and off the ice.
The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where Jacob Flass thought he’d be a season ago. He was a rising star in the Canadian major junior league, cruising toward a spot on an NHL roster—until a single disastrous night on the town brought it all crashing down. Now he’s out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. He’s not supposed to be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick he’s ever met. But how could he possibly stay away?
Skylar Lynwood knows that Jacob is out of her league. She’s just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hunkiness is making a play for her one moment, then giving her the cold shoulder the next. Skylar’s head tells her that this rugged athlete isn’t worth her time, but her body says something altogether different. Risking her heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing she’s ever done . . . but she won’t let him shut her out.


I decided to read this one for two reasons. 1) It’s a hockey romance and you all know how much I love a good hockey romance. And 2) It’s written by Kelly Jamieson.  I’ve read her Aces Hockey series and loved it.  At this point I think I need to read ALL her books!  Reading this one was a no brainer for me.

I absolutely loved Jacob and Skylar.  They both seemed very real to me.  Both have suffered through what I consider traumatic experiences.  Which ties in with the underlying message in this book.

This book is well written and got me hooked right away.  I couldn’t put it down.  It’s a great introduction to a new series.  I easily gave Shut Out five of my favourite Tim Horton’s coffees – I just have to go the Canadian route on this since Jacob is a Canadian hockey player.



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Note: I received this ARC from The Publisher/NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

The Book Barista Reviews: Icing by Kelly Jamieson

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Title:  Icing

Series:  Aces Hockey, #2

Author:  Kelly Jamieson

Release Date:  April 19, 2015

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Hailed by Jami Davenport as her “go-to author for hockey romance,” the bestselling author of the Heller Brothers Hockey series sets the ice ablaze with another sexy novel featuring the gorgeous men of the Chicago Aces.

Duncan Armstrong may be an NHL star, but he’s a country boy at heart. His ultimate fantasy is going home with the Stanley Cup, not a gold-digging airhead who aspires to be a trophy wife and nothing more. Newly single and hoping to enjoy a night out with his teammates, he ends up hitting it off with a down-to-earth waitress who’s a complete breath of fresh air—until Duncan learns that she’s a part-time model. He tries to forget about her, but their sizzling chemistry has him coming back for more.

Amber is working hard to put herself through school, and has zero interest in dating a professional athlete. She’s seen firsthand how fame and fortune can mess with their heads—her father’s brilliant football career ended in a firestorm of addiction and infidelity. So Duncan’s attentions immediately have her on the defensive. Still, there’s something different about him. And once she stops trying to freeze him out, irresistible temptation turns into all-consuming passion.


This is my second book by Kelly Jamieson and I really was looking forward to it.  Duncan was an important character in the first book in this series, Major Misconduct, so I was definitely wanting to know his story.

I loved that Duncan was basically a small town boy from Wisconsin that excelled at the game of Hockey.  He still liked the simple things in life, such as spending time at his cabin and working with kids. Coming off a relationship with a model who clearly enjoyed his money, I totally understood his weariness and/or reluctance to date another model.

When he met Amber he liked her a lot but he was totally surprised when at a fundraising function he found out that she wasn’t only a waitress, she was also a model.

Both Duncan and Amber had preconceived ideas of what a model is like and what a professional athlete is like.  Their personal experiences have tainted their views, understandably so.  Throughout the book they both struggle with these preconceptions, although I will say that Duncan is a bit more open minded than Amber.  They had phenomenal chemistry and when they weren’t worried about all that crap in their past they were really good together.

I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend this book and series. I gave Icing four creamy and delicious Iced Caps.  I definitely hope there will be more in this series as I love Kelly Jamieson’s writing and who doesn’t love a great hockey player book boyfriend?

four iced caps

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Note:  I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.

Blog Tour and Release Day Blast: The Book Barista Reviews Hawke by Sawyer Bennett

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Title:  Hawke

Series:  Cold Fury Hockey, #5

Author:  Sawyer Bennett

Release Date:  March 15, 2016

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ISHO Summary

The New York Times bestselling hockey series featuring the Carolina Cold Fury continues as the team’s most notorious party animal gets blindsided by the one that got away.

Off the ice, elite defenseman Hawke Therrien enjoys his fair share of booze and good times. And why shouldn’t he? He’s worked his way up from the minor leagues and made himself a star. The only thing Hawke misses from that life is the pierced, tattooed free spirit who broke his heart without so much as an explanation. She’s almost unrecognizable when she walks back into his life seven years later—except for the look in her eyes that feels like a punch to the gut.

Vale Campbell isn’t the same girl she was at twenty. As crazy as she was about Hawke, her reckless behavior and out-of-control drinking were starting to scare her. She had to clean up her act, and that would never happen with Hawke around. Cutting him loose was the hardest thing Vale ever had to do—until now. Because she’s still crazy about Hawke. And if he could ever learn to forgive her, they just might have a future together.



I’m a big fan of sports romance and this series is one of my favourites. Although this is the fifth book in the series it can definitely be read as a standalone.

Hawke has done well in the NHL.  When he gets transferred to the Cold Fury imagine his surprise when the girl he loved, the girl who broke his heart seven years ago walks in as a new assistant athletic trainer.  She was the love of his life and she just ended it without ever explaining why.  Now, he’s looking for some answers while trying to figure out what he still feels for her.

Vale was the party girl who was head over heels in love with Hawke.  After not feeling well at a party she decides to break up with him without ever telling him why and she’s lived with that decision.  Now that she’s forced to be in his company again she’s trying to sort out her thoughts and feelings. Obviously, it’s not as simple as just forgiving and forgetting.

I really loved Hawke and Vale.  I sympathized with both of their stories.  As I read I was really cheering them both on.  I wanted them both to get to that place where they would just open up completely and let bygones be bygones. I loved the journey.  Once of my favourite parts of the story is about a tattoo.  I can’t tell you more about that.  It would be spoilerish.  You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

Of course, it was nice to see characters from the previous books in the series and get little tidbits of information on them.  A little more Ryker would’ve been awesome 🙂

I couldn’t give this book anything less than five hot, sweet and delicious cappuccinos.  I am definitely looking forward to more in this series.  I just know Max’s story (I believe that’s the next one) is going to be great!

five cappuccino

I received the ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.

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New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author, Sawyer Bennett is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. Her husband works for a Fortune 100 company which lets him fly all over the world while she stays at home with their daughter and two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

Sawyer is the author of several contemporary romances including the popular Off Series, the Legal Affairs Series and the Last Call Series.


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The Book Barista Reviews: Pucked Over by Helena Hunting

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Title:  Pucked Over

Series:  Pucked, #3

Author:  Helena Hunting

Release Date:  January 22, 2016

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ISHO Summary

Lily LeBlanc isn’t versed in the art of casual sex, but after seven years in an on-again, off-again relationship, she’s definitely willing to give it a shot. And who better to try it with than her best friend’s boyfriend’s best friend? What could possibly go wrong? Nothing at all.

NHL player, Randy Ballistic, lives up to his last name on the ice and in the bedroom. His best friend and teammate has recently given up the puck bunnies and traded them in for a real girlfriend. And she just happens to have a seriously feisty, extra-hot best friend on the rebound. Randy’s more than happy to be Lily’s spring board back into the dating scene.

Casual sex is only casual until those pesky things called emotions get involved. Once that happens, someone’s bound to get pucked over.



So we’ve determined that Helena Hunting can write angst (see the Clipped Wings series) but boy oh boy can she write humour.  She wins the prize for outrageous and funny.  Add sexy to this mix and you’ve got a MUST READ situation with the Pucked series.  Be warned!  There are “fur burgers” and “vagina prisons” in this book, so if you’re the prudish type don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Randy “Balls” Balistic, yes that’s his last name, was introduced to us in the first book of this series but I did not realize he was this hot.  He’s got the beard and manbun/long hair thing down pat.  He’s Miller’s best friend and as such has managed to get together with Lily, Sunny’s best friend (Miller and Sunny are together).  He’s a hockey player who has a good time with puck bunnies and she’s a girl that has just ended a long term relationship (with a total idiot).  They’ve decided that they’re just having fun and that if it should get more serious then they’ll call it quits.  As you would expect, things do become more serious but you’ll have to read this book to find out who realizes it first.

In the previous book, I didn’t actually like Lily very much but I’m happy to report that I loved her in this book.  As for Randy, what’s not to love?!  All you need to do is use the visual used on the cover (Franggy Yanez).  Need I say more?!

Please note that although this is the third book of the series, like the other two books, it can be read as a standalone.

I loved this book and could not put it down.  I definitely gave it five freaking awesome cups of yummy Tim Horton’s coffee!



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The Book Barista Reviews: Under the Spotlight by Kate Willoughby

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Title:  Under the Spotlight

Series:  In the Zone, #4

Author:  Kate Willoughby

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ISHO Summary

Stage actress Christine Caspary couldn’t care less about hockey, but when she first sees Joe Rutherford playing in a Barracudas game her mind goes to all sorts of dirty places. By happy chance, her work with Grant A Wish gives her an opportunity to meet him in the flesh.

Right winger Joe Rutherford saw Christine perform when the team went to see Chicago and was so taken with her, he secretly saw the show a second time, alone. When the gorgeous actress with spectacular legs contacts him out of the blue asking for a favor, it’s a no-brainer.

Their chemistry is off the charts. Things heat up quickly and they can’t keep their hands off each other. Soon they’re hooking up whenever their busy schedules allow and having hot phone sex every night at midnight when they don’t. But Joe’s time in the hockey spotlight is fading, just as Christine’s star begins to rise. When she gets her big break into a TV career, how will Joe take to being the arm candy for a change?


I’ve REALLY enjoyed this series so I was pretty happy when I received the ARC from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.  Thankfully, Kate Willoughby was gracious enough to give me the ARC without me having to resort to begging.  I would’ve begged.  I really would’ve!

I couldn’t help but love Joe.  He’s a guy who loves hockey.  As a veteran player he’s facing some tough decisions now that he’s on the tail end of his career.  He’s one of the older and wiser guys on the team and because of it, the coach asks him to mentor one of the rookies [This is one of the back stories that had my full attention].  He truly is one of the good guys.  That’s why when Christine approaches him to do something for a sick little girl, he’s all in.  Of course, it helps that he’s seen Christine before and was very attracted to her.

Christine is immediately attracted to Joe’s rugged good looks and they hit it off instantly.  As a couple, they face some hurdles.  They both travel because of their careers and have to make an effort to connect.  Also, whereas Joe’s career is on the tail end, Christine’s is up and coming and is thriving.

I loved that both Joe and Christine were a bit older and were both mostly mature about what they wanted from their careers and their lives.

Like the other books in this series, you get to meet a whole group of characters with interactions that are comical at times.  To put it simply, just a pleasure to read.

I gave Under the Spotlight five hot, steamy and delicious grande lattes.  I look forward to reading more from Kate Willoughby.



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The Book Barista Reviews: Pucked Up by Helena Hunting

The Book Barista logoTitle:  Pucked Up

Series:  Pucked, #2

Author:  Helena Hunting

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ISHO SummaryMiller “Buck” Butterson has been banging his way through life ever since a puck to the face fixed his messed up front teeth, and he was drafted into the NHL during his first year of college. After five years of deflecting goals on the ice and scoring them with puck bunnies across the Continental US and parts of Canada, Miller is ready for a girlfriend. A real girlfriend of the non-bunny variety. One he takes on dates and doesn’t jump into bed with after five seconds of conversation.

Miller thinks he’s found that woman in his teammate’s sister. Except, unlike Alex Waters, center, team captain and all round nice guy—who happens to be dating his step-sister—Miller’s manwhore reputation is well earned, and not blown out of proportion by the media. Beyond that minor detail, Miller doesn’t know the first thing about having a girlfriend. But he’s determined to make it happen.

What he doesn’t take into account is the amount of time and effort relationships require, or that constantly letting bunnies take selfies with him to post all over social media isn’t going to win him any points in the boyfriend department. Miller learns—not so quickly—that if he wants to make Sunshine “Sunny” Waters fall for him, he’s going to have to do a whole lot more than show her his stick skills in the bedroom.

isho-my-opinion2I was really looking forward to this book.  After reading Helena Hunting’s other books I knew I was going to be in for a treat.  Once again, she came through.  Or shall I say “the Yeti came through!”?

We were introduced to Miller/Buck/Yeti and Sunny in Pucked, the first book in this series but, I’m not gonna lie, everyone in that book was somewhat overshadowed by Alex, Violet and the MC.

Miller was a manwhore until he met Sunny.  Now he wants Sunny to be his girlfriend.  He’s done with all the puck bunnies.  Sadly, social media doesn’t allow anyone, especially Sunny, to believe that’s true.

First off I want to say that Miller (I like that name better than Buck) was not really a Yeti and he was very attentive to his manscaping needs.  Which was a source of comedy.

Secondly, Miller made me feel for him so much. No matter what he did things always turned out badly for him.  Being a reformed manwhore was not going well for him.  It seemed that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, just did not give him the benefit of doubt.  He just couldn’t win for trying.

Sunny always seemed to come around to understanding whatever predicament Miller got himself into but oddly enough he kept getting into messes that made it really hard for Sunny to trust him.  When she wasn’t listening to her best friend, her ex boyfriend and her brother, she and Miller totally understood each other.

One thing that I loved about Miller was how he managed to overcome his difficulties.  Things never seemed to come easy for him, except for hockey, but he worked really hard and he really was rather smart and intelligent….except when it came to letting fans *cough* puck bunnies *cough* sit on his lap.  Above all else, Miller had a huge heart.  A YETI SIZED HEART!!!  I’m not sure that anyone could read this book and not love him to death.

This was a great read. I had no doubt that it would be.  Pucked Up easily got five hot and yummy cups of Tim’s finest, served with cookies. CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES!!!


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