Rookie Move by Sarina Bowen

Blurb:
27190530.jpgThe first novel in a sexy new series featuring the hockey players of the Brooklyn Bruisers and the women who win their hearts—from the USA Today bestselling author of the Ivy Years series.

In high school they were the perfect couple—until the day Georgia left Leo in the cold…

Hockey player Leo Trevi has spent the last six years trying to do two things: get over the girl who broke his heart, and succeed in the NHL. But on the first day he’s called up to the newly franchised Brooklyn Bruisers, Leo gets checked on both sides, first by the team’s coach—who has a long simmering grudge, and then by the Bruisers’ sexy, icy publicist—his former girlfriend Georgia Worthington.

Saying goodbye to Leo was one of the hardest things Georgia ever had to do—and saying hello again isn’t much easier. Georgia is determined to keep their relationship strictly professional, but when a press conference microphone catches Leo declaring his feelings for her, things get really personal, really fast….

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My Review:
3.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

So I ended this one at about a 4 star, but of course, yet again, with things bothering me.  But they were pretty mild in the grand scheme of things.  All in all it was a pretty solid second chance romance with great sexy hockey heroes.  Definitely can’t wait for more in the series.

Going to address the things that AREN’T spoilery first, and then go on to spoilery stuff so people can avoid that and still get something out of this review.  I’m not a HUGE second chance romance reader, because I absolutely ADORE the falling in love aspect of romance.  So that was a small downside to this story…but at the same time I absolutely loved that there wasn’t some “when will they fall in love” part to it — because they were STILL in love with one another.  It was just that you get to watch them sort of fight to be together now.  Particularly you get to watch sweet Leo fight for Georgia, like he couldn’t in the past.

And Leo was a huge source of love for me in this book.  He was so sweet, and just GOOD you know?  He was such a good man, always trying to do the right thing, and really working hard at everything in his life…from his relationships, to his hockey career.  Georgia had some good points, but it wasn’t a full on girl crush for me.  She made some choices that I didn’t agree with, that are kind of common in romance novels.  So it made me sigh in disappointment, but didn’t surprise me necessarily.  I loved how much Leo enjoyed being beaten by her…I loved her competitive streak and what it brought to their relationship.  I just would have liked a bit more depth to her somehow…or maybe it was more just that she wasn’t necessarily *my* kind of girl, so I was never going to fall super in love with her.

LOVED so many of the secondary characters.  I’m super excited to see the sneak peak at the next book, but was a bit dismayed it wasn’t Becca and Nate.  I’m already shipping them so hard.  I hope I’m not wrong about that.  I’m already really in love with Silas and hope he gets a book someday as well.

LOVED all the hockey stuff, really made it a true sports romance.  And the steamy bits were on point, really felt the chemistry between the characters.

I felt like there were a few little threads that were dropped as the story went on…bits that were mentioned but then didn’t come into play.  Like the hot mic incident, and what Leo said…I was surprised that she didn’t want to know if it was true.  And she mentioned seeing him with another girl shortly after they broke up.  I was surprised we never learned more about it since it obviously solidified her position.  And one other thing I’ll address further down…

From here on out things will be a bit spoilery, particularly if you haven’t read The Fifteenth Minute from Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years series…it’s kind of unavoidable if I want to talk about what bugged me, so you have been warned.  As we know from that previous book, Georgia was raped when she was a teenager, and it began the demise of her and Leo’s relationship at that time.  What was strange to me was how much the rape didn’t play as much of a factor in Georgia’s development as I would expect.  I mean, we’re told that she’s changed a lot since she was a teenager, and being faced with Leo again, she realizes how much she’s isolated herself and particularly stepped away from romantic relationships.  But apparently she’s gone to a lot of counseling and taken Tae Kwon Do, and really all of that happens in the past, and we don’t see a lot of effects from the rape in our storyline.  I just find it odd to place something in the past that doesn’t really have an effect on the story…but then again it did, but just not for Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing.  Some rape victims *do* in fact cope with it and move on.  Everyone is different and handles things differently.  I just found it odd from a story choice perspective if that makes sense.  Even though she hadn’t been intimate since the incident, she had no flashbacks or struggles whatsoever becoming intimate with Leo.

And here’s where it was weird to me.  It DID play a factor for Leo.  And I actually really LOVED that.  I loved seeing *his* struggles, because we often forget how a crime like that will affect all those around the victim as well.  So that part was done SUPER well, and I LOVED it.  BUT.  I found it weird that the story only dealt with the hero’s fall out, not really much at all with the heroines.  It was just odd to me.

I also did NOT enjoy the father/coach aspect.  It was dragged out too long, and was just a miscommunication.  The fact that he was allowed to behave to badly for so long before anyone said anything was not believable to me.

And the final thread that was dropped is that a big part of why she dumped him was that he thwarted her advances after the rape.  They NEVER end up talking about that and clearing the air about that.  I was disappointed, because it was what led to her decision, and I wanted them to work that out.

So yeah.  As you can see, mixed bag.  Things that bugged me, but if I took it on a straight romance aspect I really enjoyed it.  So I’ll still round up, b/c I go with my gut.  I think I just like watching myself talk it all out.

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