Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Review: Off the Ice - Julie Cross

Off the Ice 
Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Sports Romance
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenges: #ContRom2017

Claire decided to take a semester off from college and return home to help with the family business during her father's illness. Her world was put in a state of flux, as she struggled with the bills, her father's health issues, and her prolonged absence from university. Right when she thought she was hitting rock bottom, her best friend's little brother, Tate, came back into her life, and unexpectedly gave her a lifeline and more.
"When and how did you become..." I wave a hand dramatically in front of him. "This?"
"What?" He glances down and tugs not he front of his hunter-green thermal beneath his unzipped jacket. "Someone who wears earth tones?"
"No! Th-that," I sputter, blowing hair off my face, "tall and ...not skinny..And the voice.."

I am always up for a good sports romance, and I liked this small town setting, as small towns bring a certain element to the story on their own. As expected, Juniper Falls gave me what I expected from the setting: the gossip, the backlash, the familiarity, the neighborliness, the history, and family ties to the town. I especially liked the hockey family dynasty aspects and how far back the characters went with each other.
These guys don't have the right to suddenly take notice of Claire when I've seen her, admired her for years.
Both Claire and Tate were dealing with a lot of personal issues. Claire had the responsibility of her family's entire existence and her uncertain future weighing her down, while Tate was grappling with his new position as starting goalie and the damaging secrets he was trying to keep hidden. These two sort of broken people were able to lift each other up. They supported each other, they gave of themselves to each other, and I was pretty sold on this romance. This was a healthy romance. These two were honest with each other, they had open conversations, they knew when to push and when to back off, and they never asked the other one to sacrifice something they loved for the sake of the other. And the history! I love when there is history between characters, and these went a loooooong ways back.
What is this thing that Claire and I are doing? It's painful and messy but also exhilarating, like seeing colors for the first time.
But do you know what I loved even more than Tate and Clair together? Tate, Jamie, and Leo together. The relationship between them was pretty brotastic, and I really enjoyed seeing male characters sharing their feelings. There are definitely more stories to tell in this town, and I care enough about these auxiliary characters to want them.
This bridge between Tate and me somehow emerged in the midst of everything falling apart.
Overall: a heartwarming sports romance, which has left me wanting more Juniper Falls stories.

**I would like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for the advanced copy of this book

Do you like hockey or have a favorite sport?
Let us know in the comments!

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