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The Bayard College hockey team isn’t where I thought I’d be a season ago. I 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 I’m out of options, except for playing well, studying hard, and staying away from girls. I shouldn’t be flirting with the hottest, sweetest chick I’ve ever met. But maybe she can actually help me out…
I know Jacob is out of my league. I’m just trying to go with the flow, which isn’t easy when six feet and four inches of total hockey hotness is making a play for me one moment, then giving me the cold shoulder the next. Then he suggests a ridiculous plan that could help both of us. My head tells me this rugged athlete isn’t worth my time, but my body says something altogether different. Risking my heart for Jacob may be the craziest thing I’ve ever done . . . but I won’t let him shut me out.
Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐
Somewhere, I saw this book labeled as new adult romance, but to me, it felt more like a coming-of-age romance, especially given the characters' ages. That said, they've both had to grow up and face reality. Jacob and Skylar are on opposite ends of an issue, and I liked how the author handled things between them. There are some serious topics touched on here: rape, consent, shaming, and even false accusations. These topics take up a good deal of the book, as well they should, and they are as prevalent today as they were when this book released in its original version. Serious subject matter isn't the whole book - this is Kelly Jamieson, so we get plenty of chemistry and steamy goodness between Skylar and Jacob. We also get some hockey, and I'll just tell you, I knew next to nothing about hockey when I started reading Kelly Jamieson, but it's become a sport I enjoy watching. I love that Kelly includes a bit of gameplay in her sports romances, so the romance isn't just about a character who happens to play hockey. It's about a hockey player who puts his heart into the game. So, Shut Out is made up of several topics and tropes, and they all come together very well.
I have three goals this semester: get off academic probation, fix my relationship with my BFF Skylar, and take some responsibility for my life. All of which are hard enough without hot, snobby hockey player Ben Buckingham around to distract me. I can’t stand Ben, and I know the feeling is mutual. But he’s best friends with Skylar’s boyfriend, so he’s always around—taunting and tempting me in ways that really rile me up.
As the star forward of the Bayard College hockey team, I have goals too, like playing well enough to land a spot on an NHL roster. I’m perfectly in control on the ice, so why can’t I keep my cool around Ella? Her wild behavior rubs me in all the wrong ways—and a few of the right ones. But as we skate around each other, I learn there’s more to Ella than her bad reputation. And when the line between love and hate starts to blur, I can’t resist crossing over and sweeping her off her feet.
Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cross Check is book 2 in Kelly Jamieson's Bayard Hockey series. It faces some of the same topics as the first book, and they're handled with just as much care and respect. Ella and Ben are the focus of the romance, and these two are just totally perfect for each other. I'm sure you can figure out from the blurb as well as my few comments, this one definitely has its serious moments. It also has its tender moments between Ben and Ella. Of course, this is a Kelly Jamieson novel, so it's gonna have some steamy goodness as well. This pair has terrific chemistry, and I really liked the way their romance progressed. This is a standalone in the Bayard Hockey series, but I would suggest reading both books in order because there is some crossover. I always enjoy more time with past characters from a series, so seeing them again in this second book was perfect. As always with Kelly Jamieson, the book is well-written, the characters are likable and interesting, and the hockey is tense and exciting.
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