It might be a bit of a surprise when I say Game Changer is about hockey players. Is there anyone here who doesn’t love hockey players? It’s ok, I won’t hold it against you, but you should probably leave now.
Game Changer by Rachel Reid
Publication Date: Oct. 22, 2018
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Length: 334 pages
Story Rating: 4/5
New York Admirals captain Scott Hunter takes his pregame rituals very seriously. In this case, it’s not just a lucky smoothie he’s craving—it’s the man who made it.
Pro hockey star Scott Hunter knows a good thing when he sees it. So, when a smoothie made by juice bar barista Kip Grady precedes Scott breaking his on-ice slump, he’s desperate to recreate the magic…and to get to know the sexy, funny guy behind the counter.
Kip knew there was more to Scott’s frequent visits than blended fruit, but he never let himself imagine being invited back to Scott’s penthouse. Or kissed with reckless abandon, never mind touched everywhere all at once. When it happens it’s red-hot, incredible and frequent, but also only on Scott’s terms and always behind his closed apartment doors.
Scott needs Kip in his life, but with playoff season approaching, the spotlight on him is suddenly brighter than ever. He can’t afford to do anything that might derail his career…like introducing the world to his boyfriend. Kip is ready to go all-in with Scott—but how much longer will he have to remain a secret?
Have I mentioned how much I love hockey players? In my world, summer is for cowboys and winter is for hockey players. See, I have a system. Yay me! I feel so organized
Now, let’s talk about Kip and Scott. Firstly, they were an adorable couple. I enjoyed watching them figure their relationship out and accept their feelings for each other. It was a bit of a rocky journey and I am so happy they found their way.
Kip has a degree in history that hasn’t proven very fruitful. We’ve all heard the jokes about liberal arts degrees. He lives at home while working at a smoothie shop. His self-esteem is low because of those things. Scott, on the other hand, is a local hero, the captain of an NHL team and still living way in the closet.
As I read Scott’s reasons for staying in the closet, I found myself thinking about how difficult it must be a hockey player or any other athlete to be gay. As much as this was a love story, it had the added benefit of opening my eyes to a struggle I’m almost embarrassed to admit I didn’t even realize people faced.
This story was steamy. Things got hot early one and stayed that way for the rest of the book. I don’t know if I should admit this, but I skimmed and skipped a lot of the steamy bits. *gasp* I know, right? Things just got repetitive, I bored and wanting the scene to end already.
One of my favorite parts of this book was getting to witness Kip’s excitement and enthusiasm surrounding his relationship with Scott. He was giddy, an emotion that is so rarely expressed in MM romances. It was so darn cute. I was totally swooning all over this book.
But the absolute best part, Rachel Reid doesn’t have a problem letting her characters experience tension. So often in romance novels, there’s a big fight and it’s dealt with and forgotten in three pages (sometimes the three pages encapsulate several months, but it’s still only a few pages).
The tension in this book was realistic considering the circumstances, it was relatable. The conflict was foreshadowed and prominent throughout the book; it felt organic and realistic (I should invest in a thesaurus), not like something that was thrown onto the pages as an afterthought. As much as I hated seeing my book-boyfriends fight (yes, I book dated both of them – stop judging me); I understood where they were coming from.
Overall, Game Changer was an awesome read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to cuddle up with a hockey player for the weekend.