by Charlene Groome
Series: The Warriors #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Categories: Sports Romance, Hockey
Expected Publication: September 1st, 2014
Publisher: Kensington Books
Length: approx. 96K
Heat Level: 1
Source: ARC via NetGalley
Charlene Groome begins a spirited new series with this riveting introduction to the Warriors, a hockey team whose star player has game both on and off the ice—until their new skating coach changes everything…
Ty Caldwell is one of the Warriors’ most valuable players—and one of Vancouver’s most eligible bachelors. His moves are part of his charm, so he’s surprised by how strongly he’s drawn to the team’s new skating coach—and even more surprised when she cross-checks his advances. But Ty loves a challenge, and the same persistence he flaunts in the rink may help him off the ice…
Eileen Francis is a world-class skater with a gold medal to prove it. But professional hockey is still a man’s world—so when she lands the job as the interim coach for The Warriors, her curves are way bigger news than her turns. To take control of this bunch of alpha males, Eileen is going to have to play cold as ice and twice as hard. But she’ll have to break her own rules to get the team’s MVP to play up to his fullest potential…
When I read the blurb and saw “Eileen Francis is a world-class skater with a gold medal to prove it”, my first thought was that she was a figure skater, which is one of my favorite winter sports (to watch). The heroine of this story was actually a part of the women’s national hockey team. For those of you who want to see more female ice hockey heroines, this should be quite welcome.
The beginning did a good job of establishing her character quickly. She was passionate about hockey and teaching, and she had a lot of hopes built on becoming the skating coach for an NHL team. The prestige that would come with that position would bolster her reputation. Her personal life wasn’t as rosy. The death of her parents in a car accident, and a very embarrassing and hurtful break up with her hockey-playing boyfriend of a year had left their marks. It was very apparent that she was definitely more comfortable on the ice, in her element, rather than getting into romantic entanglements.
My impression of the hero may have been a little skewered because the majority of his personality description came from the way Ellie interpreted him. On the surface he was pushy, cocky, but also a softie. Perhaps too soft to the point he was a little laughable as a hero. I didn’t find anything sexy or alluring about him.
As a couple, I didn’t feel the chemistry at all. Ellie was a basket-case of emotions, and she rarely ever knew what she wanted (except as a coach she was really good).
“No wonder you don’t want a relationship.”
Her head shoots up from the plate. “I never said that I don’t.”
“Yes, you did.”
“No, I didn’t. I said I don’t want to mix business with pleasure.”
(Kindle Locations 2860-2863)
She wishes she could stop him, but she can’t because this is all her fault. She didn’t want a relationship in the first place, and now that Ty was breaking it off she wasn’t ready to accept it. (Kindle Locations 2882-2883)
but for now she wonders if she will ever get the chance to mend a relationship with him. (Kindle Locations 2885-2886)
From the first moment they met, Ty was excessively obnoxious in trying to get her to go out with him. The story went downhill from there. By 40% I was extremely bored with them. From beginning to end, all they did was argue over how to define what they were or were not doing. The words date and dating appeared for a total of 117 times.
“Come on. What’s one date?” he begs. (Kindle Locations 914-915)
“We can meet, but it’s not a date,” she finally says. (Kindle Locations 919-920)
“I’m glad you agreed to a date,” Ty says, … (Kindle Locations 1019-1020)
“This is hardly a date —it’s more like a meeting,” Eileen reminds him, … (Kindle Locations 1020-1021)
“When’s our next date?”
“Date? There is no date.”
“Come on now, we’re on a date.”
“This is a meeting,” she reminds him, … (Kindle Locations 1104-1106)
I think all the characters in this story either loved being loud or over-dramatic. I lost count of how many unnecessary exclamation points peppered the pages.
“Oh, and I’ve got some great news,” Brooke says with excitement. “I sold a purse! Actually, I sold more than one!”
“Oh, wow! That’s great!” Kelly says, and Eileen chimes in, “Congrats!”
How many people would see this article? Let alone read it? She was sure the team would, or worse, Joe! Steve! Of course he’ll read the article— he’s quoted in it! Ugh! Rick, and Ted would see it too! (Kindle Locations 2260-2261)
Sadly there was no character development to speak of. Ellie remained the same person all the way through. If she wasn’t changing her mind a hundred times about whether or not to be seen with Ty, then she was fishing for answers about why he was with her. The love scenes were all fade to black, not that that bothered me. The little bit of suspense with a creep calling in threats and leaving threatening notes on her car served no purpose at all in this story. The revelation of the creep stalker was a magic wand resolution, meaning they figured out who it was, but that person didn’t get into any trouble.
The Bottom Line
The plot was good, but the execution was poor. Instead of an engaging story, it was boring bordering on tedious. Yes, this was an ARC and therefore likely still in the editing stages. Even if the number of ! and the words date/dating were reduced, this overall story wouldn't improve. The third person present tense narration certainly didn’t help. The characters had potential, but it was lost in juvenile dialogue, contradictions and repetitive conversations. I will not be following up on this series.
Disclaimer: Complimentary copy provided by Kensington Books via NetGalley for an honest review. The views and opinions expressed in this review are my own, and in no way represent the views or opinions of the publisher/distributor.