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review 2017-04-03 07:38
*sigh* I wanted to like this.
Fair Catch - Leigh Carman
1.5 HEARTS--Told in dual first person POV, Fair Catch is a new adult romance (I use that term in the loosest of terms) between 22 year old yoga instructor, parkour enthusiast, genius techie and millionaire 5' 6" Tobias "Toby" Bennett and 25 year old Superbowl winning, best NFL wide receiver in the league, 6' 6" alpha male Sullivan "Van" Archer.

That's a lot of hats these main characters wear. Usually when I read a story that give their MC holds many titles, it's used as the depth and characteristics that story lacks.

So is the case with Fair Catch. It was the equivalent of reading about paper thin types play acting a romance. I'm not a fan of those.

Also this story doesn't have trigger warnings, so let me get those out the way: domestic abuse, gay bashing, attempted rape and domestic violence.

The story starts out roughly, Toby (the smaller, beautiful owner of crystalline eyes) is herded into an office but a club owner (best friend of Van) for closeted Van Archer's pick of ass for the night. Toby was celibate and allegedly wary of others since his last relationship, one with a controlling abusive older, larger lawyer. So what does young Toby do when grabbed and told to go into the room? Why he drops to his knees and hooks up with the intimidating stranger's friend. Makes sense.

This monumental hookup is mentioned in the blurb, however, there is no description of this life changing scene, just exaltation of why the MC is so beautiful and smaller, there's a foot difference in height, don't you know?
The story jumps around to Van winning the Superbowl but getting an owwie. Then we jump to a yoga class with Toby as the teach. And it continues to jump all around to make for a bumpy transitions, declarations of not doing an action and then doing it either before or a few paragraphs down the line. The disjointed brand of story telling continues throughout. And the thing is, though weeks and months pass, the main characters basically spend a handful of days together, with no meaningful events written and shown to the reader.

Oh, there is sex. Repetitive sex that I could write the script for you: big hulking guy manhandles the little guy, calls him "beautiful" two finger probe into the "little hole", condom, lube, insert dick, thrust, "mine", cums and falls on top. Rinse and repeat.

Fair Catch was swimming around the 2.5 mark until the repeated attempted rapes plot line. Actually it's right around when the unnecessary villain/ex-boyfriend with the extremely weak blackmail twist was thrown in. After that, the story went onto an over the top tangent with a lot of bruises, tears, possessive behavior and and stereotypes.

The best things about the novel is the concept and the readability. It's very simple to read and you can quickly zip through.

The negatives outweigh the positives however.

The writing style - Too telling, contradictory and relies on stereotypical characters to make the story "interesting" and for added drama. The telling is so heavy, an example is that a character would need to look in the mirror to tell the reader they were horny and describe to you, instead of just writing it and letting the reader figure it out on their own. To say the book needed a through edit, content wise, is not wrong. There are too many examples of this writing style where it fails to showcase the character. More descriptive and time were spent on the superficial things rather than letting the character have a hint of depth. And key scenes that could have actually used a thorough description were ignored.

All of the character could instantly know what the other characters were thinking, been through, etc. Maybe clairvoyant is an unofficial hat to add to the list of jobs they all have.

The stereotypes - I really was not a fan of the way Leo, Toby's best friend was written. He was nothing more that a loud color wearing, cock hound who went into hysterics at a drop of a hat.

The abuse/domestic violence - I am always on the side of an abuse victim. However they react is their right. This book minimizes abuse (also again the characters can just tell what happened to each other):

"My last boyfriend. He was... not nice."
"What do you mean?" Then Leo gasps, gripping his shirt over his chest. "Oh My God, Toby. Did he hit you?"
"Not exactly. Well, sort of. I don't know, Leo. It was abusive, I know, but it all built up over such a long period of time, I didn't realize what was going on until it was too late."

Toby can't tell if he was abused? It was just last year when he described being raped and beaten. Or the fact Toby stated he felt worse for his friend being called homophobic slurs than suffering through actual physical abuse and being raped. Both are horrible, let me be clear, but they are not equal.

And in case the past rape wasn't used enough, the attempted rape plot device was added... TWICE!

To create dramatic effect? The last one made no sense, nor did it add to anything other than it gave the alpha hero a shot to flex his muscles and allegedly save the day. The thing is Van wasn't there the first time the attempted rape card was brought to the table and he didn't seem as cut about it afterwards.

Van - I know he's supposed to read like a good guy. But the way he was written was not as effective, He realized his true self as being a gay man by not wearing sweats and sneakers but rather tailored, designer clothes. Seriously? Or how about the fact he knows about Toby's abused past but didn't care when he got mad at his lover and started to go apeshit on him? Or manhandling Toby in the heat of sexy times so soon after Toby gets beaten again.

If an abuse victim closes himself off from others, why would Van be the one to break their celibacy on? Nothing was shown to support that. The reader is told they're horny for one another, told they're soul mates, told they love each other...but nothing is shown.

This book has the potential to appeal to certain readers, if you rather not learn main characters' life stories, just want a beginning and middle and end with some sex thrown in and a lot of drama, then Fair Catch might be the book for you.

For me:

I'm sure this is my last Leigh Carman I'll read.

A copy provided for an honest review.


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review 2016-12-05 17:28
Review: "Empty Net" (Scoring Chances, #4) by Avon Gale
Empty Net - Avon Gale

"For the first time in his whole life, Laurent played the game out of love instead of hate. But it wasn’t his love of hockey that kept him focused in net.

Every time a puck came toward him and he made a save, he thought, “This is for Isaac.”


This was the best book in this series for me. Mostly because there wasn't a dumbass MC around this time.


And yet, I once again couldn't really connect to either of the MCs. And that's mostly due to the fact that when it comes to the important parts, the writing is more "telling than showing", like Isaac's discovery of Laurent's eating disorder.


Also, this once again felt more like a story about two 17-year-olds rather than two guys in their mid-twenties. I honestly think I would have enjoyed this series WAY more if it would have been set in college, and not in a professional hockey league.


All in all, this was just another "Ok" read for me. I won't hold my breath for the fifth book though.

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review 2016-12-01 18:00
Review: "Overtime" (Scoring Chances, #3.5) by Avon Gale
Overtime - Avon Gale


~ 2 stars ~

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review 2016-11-30 18:28
Review: "Power Play" (Scoring Chances, #3) by Avon Gale
Power Play - Avon Gale

"I am so, SO sorry for what I did to you, Max."

"Nah, don't worry about it, Misha. I forgive you, no biggie. So... wanna fuck?"


Ok, so I lied and this isn't an actual quote from the book, but it pretty much sums up what happens at around the 15% mark. THE 15% MARK, PEOPLE.


Leave it to Avon Gale to take the most promising enemies-to-lovers blurb and turn it into another boring mess. How you can completely remove this "conflict" (I have to force myself to use that term with THIS book) so early in the story and think this is a good idea is beyond me. There was nothing even remotely interesting left about Max and Misha's relationship after that.



In fact, this whole series is so formulaic at this point that I feel like I've just read the same story all over again for the third time: a dumb-ass simpleton (Max and Lane from the first book - and to a certain degree also Ethan from book #2 - are practically the same person) falls for the slightly more matured one and vice versa, they start fucking in the first quarter of the story and what follows is just a big bubble of NOTHING. Plus some hockey.


There never is an actual conflict, no real storyline and no overall story arc at all in these books (I got my hopes up for a second that there would be an interesting side story involving Drake, but that also got resolved in the blink of an eye and half a page).



Even the hockey scenes were boring this time and poorly developed. At the beginning, the Spartanburg Spitfires were "the worst team in the entire league", until they weren't anymore. Why, how or what had happened to make them evolve from being the league's underdog to a force to be reckoned with, I have no idea.


And man, were the sex scenes ever as awkward as always in this series. I mean, who fist bumps when he gets penetrated? FIST. BUMPS. For real, guys. Who the hell does that, I'm asking you? *pours himself another glass of wine*



My rating might seem a little harsh, but I still can't get over the fact that an m/m author who writes a story with a Russian (!) MC repeatedly claims that homosexuality is illegal in Russia. No, Avon, honey, it's NOT! Though the LGBT community is heavily discriminated against in Russia, homosexuality is NOT officially illegal there (yet). Do your fucking homework, authors!



Oh, and one last thing: dear amateur audiobook narrator person, if the MCs have some dialogue during the sex scenes, you might want to adjust your voice a little. Even just slightly so. Because you can't have a character speak in the same voice while, let's say when he's cooking dinner, as when he has two fingers up his ass. SEX VOICES! THEY MATTER!



If these books have taught me one thing, then it's that I should restrain myself from buying a whole series before I've read the first installment. But, alas, I did and unfortunately it's too late to return them for refund. So here we are. On to the next (and thankfully) last book. I'm already excited.


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review 2016-11-27 18:43
Review: "Save of the Game" (Scoring Chances, #2) by Avon Gale
Save of the Game - Avon Gale

"Riley stared at him. "How do you just say that stuff?"

"What do you mean? How do I just say shit without thinking about it? I dunno. I just do. It's not that hard. Just try it sometime."

"Okay," Riley said, and then he said, "I love you."


Ok, this was much, MUCH better than the silly first book in this series. Thank fuck.


But I don't know, even though I really liked Riley and Ethan, their romance left me cold and unsatisfied. This author writes the most boring relationships for me; there never is any real conflict that needs to be resolved or anything. Both of these guys never had sex with a guy before and yet they jumped into bed and into a relationship without so much as batting an eyelash. Sexual openness to the max! I'm not complaining though, but not having any doubts, insecurity or confusion AT ALL makes for a boring read. But still



And as much as I liked the characters, they once again read more like 17-year-olds than guys in their twenties. Or do hockey players in general just behave like immature neanderthals who do nothing but playing hockey and video games, eating pizza and coke and only like sex and fighting?



All in all, this was just an OK read for me that needed a little more "Umph!" to be memorable.

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