- File Size: 2277 KB
- Print Length: 309 pages
- Publisher: Carina Press (March 25, 2019)
- Publication Date: March 25, 2019
- Sold by: Harlequin Digital Sales Corp.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07H5K8SFW
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,882 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Heated Rivalry: A Gay Sports Romance (Game Changers) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 309 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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|Book 2 of 4 in Game Changers|
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Reid follows up Game Changer with a heated, hidden romance full of emotional and physical exploration. –Library Journal
“Sexy, hot, funny and sweet, Heated Rivalry is a game changer in sexy sports romance.”
—All About Romance
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I have to start by saying that Reid's writing is wonderful. The book flows well and is easy to read. Her writing is descriptive without being excessively so, it's humorous at times, and it's VERY well edited. I don't think I noticed a single typo in either of her two books and the only editing "flaw" I noticed was in the preview for Heated Rivalry (at the end of Game Changer), the date is Oct. 2017 but when the same scene takes place in the prologue of this book, the date is Oct. 2016.
As to the book itself, per the description you can see it's an MM romance novel taking place in the world of professional hockey. You don't have to know anything about hockey to enjoy the book, you just have to love two gorgeous, competitive guys, with muscles for days, falling in love. The story follows the journey of two on-ice rivals, beginning with junior hockey championships through several years - and Stanley Cup championships - into their pro careers. Russian Ilya Rozanov (briefly introduced in Game Changer) is cocky and loves pushing Shane's buttons, but he's still a sweetheart. Canadian Shane Hollander is really adorable and that stereotypical "nice" Canadian, but he's still driven to beat Ilya on the ice. Both characters were well-balanced and their vulnerabilities felt authentic and fit with their back stories.
A few other things I enjoyed: there is some racial diversity in the book - Shane is biracial (Japanese/white) and there are a few other secondary characters who were POC. I enjoyed the process of self-discovery around Shane's sexuality and past sexual experiences; I thought this aspect was really well done. And the sex scenes...sizzling hot. I also liked that the book is told from a dual POV.
One final thing to note for those who care - because the characters technically aren't in a "relationship" until late in the book and the book spans 9 years, there is mention of them sleeping with other people. IMO, this isn't cheating - and it's not an issue for either character - but for those who may not like this, be forewarned.
A general note about my reviews in case you're looking for similar books. I work in the mental health field IRL and reading is a way to decompress, so (generally) I will purposely choose books that deal with "lighter" subject matter. I favor books that deal with characters growing and resolving their personal/relationship difficulties and getting their HEA.
**What I look for in a book: first and foremost, strong writing and editing (I hate typos!); racially diverse characters and/or secondary characters; stories about self-discovery, overcoming difficult childhoods or other obstacles but not crushing angst; stories and characters that are "realistic enough" (i.e. I doubt half the players on a hockey team are gay IRL, but for the sake of a well-written series, I can roll with it); well-written sex scenes; dual POV in the storytelling.
**Themes I generally don't care for: "daddy" relationships (unless done really well); sub/dom stories; insta-love; sci-fi/fantasy; mpreg; shifters; lots of kink; GFY (again, unless done really well); kidnapping or bodyguard stories; crazy/violent/stalker exes; MCs with severe mental health issues, severe trauma, or substance abuse/addiction
Shane Hollander and Ilya Rozanov meet in December 2008, when they are both 17, at the world junior hockey tournament. They’re both the best players on their respective teams, sure to be drafted by the NHL that spring, and destined to be rivals. Shane and Ilya have nothing in common, other than being really great at hockey. Shane is a half-Japanese Canadian, polite, handsome, wholesome, with a loving family. Ilya is Russian, cocky, brash, with a cruel family. Their rivalry starts almost immediately, driven by how different they are, compounded by the long-standing rivalry between their teams (Boston and Montreal), and fed by the media and fans.
But Shane and Ilya have a secret: they’ve been hooking up since they were 19 years old. Hard enough to come out as an NHL player, never mind a superstar NHL player. But coming out as two superstar rival NHL players who have been having a secret affair for years? Impossible.
The book follows Shane and Ilya from that first meeting in December 2008 until the epilogue in January 2019. This shouldn’t work as well as it does, but Rachel Reid is very good at showing this slow evolution in the characters’ feelings and thoughts. The seeds are planted early, but they take a while to sprout and develop strong roots. And the reasons that they can’t be together, the very real career considerations to coming out, aren’t glossed over. The characters reach a “happy ever after” that is happy for them, that works for them. I highly, highly recommend this.
Almost a decade following Shane and Ilya face off against each other. Two incredibly talented and competitive athletes, two men who shouldn't come together - because of the careers they have, different personalities, the rivalry built up around them - and yet they come together like puzzle pieces.
The one thing that really stays with me is that for all the conflict they have within themselves about what they're doing, they never take it out on each other. They don't ever purposely crush the other. It's refreshing to see, a lot of books use this device and sometimes it's unnecessary, just piling on drama when it's not needed. The tension, drama, angst of this book is there without either Shane or Ilya driving the proverbial knife into the other.
Quadruple points for Ilya's banter and sass. That had me laughing throughout.
Things two men will probably stay with me for awhile, it's a long journey, and the way they progress is very real and authentic.
Top international reviews
So what was so good? It tells the story of Shane & Ilya whose relationship starts off purely as hidden lust, but which moves into so much more over a period of 10 years or so. They're great characters: Shane who is far more open and honest than Ilya, the all-American/Canadian kid, but Ilya, with his wicked sense of humour and also great honesty and kindness who hides so much. They're a fantastic & unexpected combination.
This had all the good stuff: humour and angst combined in a well-written tale. If you like hockey & this kind of book, this is a top read and I so want more from the pair of them!
Um, now this is gonna be weird because you might think I didn't like it because of what I want to cover here but I swear, I really like it. I definitely had some issues but I think that also shows how much this book won me over because at the end of the day, I found myself having really enjoyed this.
The things that niggled at me:
> It felt like I was in their respective heads a lot, I wish there were more interactions between them outside of the bedroom. I did get it eventually but I wanted more, it just left me a little wanting.
> Be warned, there were OM/OW. Small consolation, more surface than on scene.
> The timeline was quite spread out. You might get impatient, but please don't.
Which brings me to why I do like this tons at the end of the day:
> It's a true enemies-to-lovers, which gave it a lot of bite. Two words, real yummy! 😉😉
> As much as the timeline tested my patience, I thought it really highlighted how the relationship developed. It felt real. And even with the ending, I appreciated how it worked out. If others may want some more, I also get that.
> As they started to have more interactions outside the bedroom, even if they're just texts at first, I found myself chuckling and putting a silly grin to my face. If their interactions in the bedroom had a delicious bite to themselves, the ones outside the bed showcased their individual personalities some more, I thought. They're quite funny dudes.
> The serious emotions caught me off guard but in a good way
> No excess angst, which I totally appreciate
> it was HHHHOT!!! (guess I kinda' said that already... teehee)
This is the 2nd book in the series, it's a true standalone. Now I want to know about Scott Hunter from the 1st book. I def wouldn't mind reading more Rachel books. And that's a def YAY in my books!
Two rivals meet whilst being scouted for the draft for NHL and commence a hate/love relationship that continues for years.
The two leads, Ilya and Shane are so different but are both wonderful in their own way. The whole story is a believable tale of men trying to conceal their sexuality in a macho profession and being terrified of being found out - especially as the world believes they are enemies.
I liked following their story from the time they met instead of a brief backward glance to set up the current timeline.
Very enjoyable. Thanks Rachel.