I absolutely adore the Hockey Ever After series! This third book is independent of the previous ones (there are some cameo appearances but no real plot crossover) but I’d still recommend you to read all of the books in the series, simply because they’re absolutely worth it! They are all such wonderful and sweet mm hockey rivals to lovers romances, with the perfect amount of steam and lovable characters with an absolutely sizzling chemistry!
In this third book, we get to meet the two hockey players Grady and Max, who are longtime rivals from different teams. Even though Grady is normally the quiet, sensible one, Max has a way of getting under his skin to make him see red and they have been in uncountable fights over the years. But when they hook up by accident, they have a surprisingly good time together. Soon they keep meeting up for more, with the fighting on the ice as foreplay…
I truly rooted for both Grady and Max, and I really appreciated the slow burn from loathing each other to slowly beginning to open up and getting to know each other with all their vulnerability and insecurities, and from there on letting the attraction take them even further. The enemies-to-lovers trope is my absolute favorite one, but lately I’ve read a lot of books where the enemies-part has been over way too fast and I’ve felt a bit deluded from the blurbs, but not here! Here, the trope was perfectly executed! I loved the witty banter, the burning attraction and the love/hate relationship. I read most of this book with a smile on my face, Grady and Max were just so adorable and fun together.
I also rooted for many of the secondary characters, with the supportive (but teasing) team mates and family members, and it was so wholesome to see glimpses of the characters from the first two books again.
All in all, this was such a heartwarming slowburn romance and a truly sweet and addictive reading experience!
Thank you to Gay Book Promotions for the free review copy and blog tour invitation! All opinions are my own and I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
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This was such an adorable, cute and heartwarming read dealing with first love, chronic depression and the perks and drawbacks of superpowers, all wrapped up in an amazingly realistic (yes, despite the superpower thing), honest and relatable way. I read it all with a smile and with so much happiness, sympathy and hope for the two main characters and their love story.
The story is set in high school and told in different POVs from the two main characters; the football star Caleb, who struggles with more than anyone could ever guess, and the supersmart misfit Adam, who is suffering from chronic depression and loneliness.
Caleb is generally quiet and kind, not the stereotype jock, but lately he’s been overwhelmed by anxiety and rage and somehow ended up in fights. When he’s forced to go to therapy, he finds out that there’s more to the world than he’d ever known and that not only are there people with superpowers (atypicals) but he’s one of them, being an empath who can feel everyone else’s feelings. The only person that makes him calm, whose feelings fits his own, is the quiet nerdy boy Adam.
Adam on his side is struggling with his high school situation. He’s chronically depressed, not good at social interactions and gets bullied a lot. He’s also secretly crushing on Caleb, but would never dare to hope that he would even notice him, even less that his feelings could be reciprocated.
This might sound like a sad story, but I promise that it wasn’t! It was a story that made me happy, that gave me hope and all the fluffy warm feelings. I loved Caleb and Adam’s love story and how relatable it was with all the cringy parts, the doubts and miscommunications, and how Adam wasn’t magically cured from depression just by falling in love. Lauren Shippen really dealt with the depression aspect amazingly, never diminishing it but always describing it in a hopeful and real way, showing how Caleb couldn’t save Adam from the depression itself but easing it and joining him in the ocean of feelings and letting himself drown in Adam’s blue feelings until he was finding his way out of the water again. The connection between Caleb and Adam was simply beautiful and heartwarming!
It’s quite and intense and different book, but I adored it so much and all the feelings it gave me. I truly took the two main characters to my heart and rooted for their struggles and their romance. I haven’t listened to The Bright Sessions podcast, but I never felt like I missed anything from that to understand the story of the characters. But I definitely need to start listen to the podcast to get more of Caleb and Adam! They are amazing, supportive, kind and have such great humor, I loved their banter and sarcasm.
A minor thing was that the ending felt a bit rushed and open. I would have preferred to give more closure, but that’s just my personal preference.
All in all, this was a beautiful, heartwarming and wonderful read that I recommend for anyone who enjoys a story that makes you smile that is spiced with superpower, queer romance and flirting through playlists.
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Ciara Smyth Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez