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Light the Lamp (Portland Storm) (Volume 4) Paperback – July 10, 2015
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From the Author
The books of the Portland Storm series are hockey romances, but they go much deeper than the sport of hockey. These books touch on real-world issues such as rape, cancer, miscarriage, bullying, PTSD, grief, addiction, and many other similar subjects. If you have triggers, be aware that these books may very well contain material which could trigger you. That said, I endeavor to tackle these issues with sensitivity and compassion.
Additionally, many readers have requested that I put a TISSUE WARNING on the books in this series. I've received notes from readers about every single book in the series, in which readers tell me how the characters and the story brought them to tears. You may not need tissues for each book--the story line that resonates most for you may not be the one that others responded to in that way--but don't say I didn't warn you.
On that note, I have another warning for you: my hockey players curse like...well...hockey players. And there is a fair amount of sex in these books. If cursing and sex aren't your cup of tea, these books probably won't be, either.
The PORTLAND STORM series reading order
ON THE FLY
TAKING A SHOT
LIGHT THE LAMP
DELAY OF GAME
IN THE ZONE
HOLIDAY HAT TRICK
LOSING AN EDGE
FREE AGENT (releasing February 8, 2018)
JOURNEYMAN (releasing August 9, 2018)
SLEIGH BELLS & SLAP SHOTS (releasing December 13, 2018)
The Portland Storm series is also being made available in boxed sets.
PORTLAND STORM: THE FIRST PERIOD contains Breakaway, On the Fly, Taking a Shot, and Light the Lamp
PORTLAND STORM: THE SECOND PERIOD contains Delay of Game, Double Major, In the Zone, Holiday Hat Trick, and Comeback
PORTLAND STORM: THE THIRD PERIOD contains Dropping Gloves, Home Ice, Mistletoe Misconduct, Losing an Edge, and Game Breaker
PORTLAND STORM: OVERTIME (releasing June 21, 2018) will contain Defensive Zone, Power Play, and Neutral Zone.
One more boxed set will follow.
Also look for Catherine Gayle's TULSA THUNDERBIRDS hockey romance series. The Thunderbirds series is a spin-off from the Storm, featuring some familiar characters, lots of hockey action, and the same emotional backdrop, put together in a sexier, edgier package. You do not need to read the Thunderbirds series to enjoy the Storm series, although there are likely to be a few storylines that overlap to a small degree.
BURY THE HATCHET
RITES OF PASSAGE
DREAM CATCHER (releasing May 10, 2018)
ON THE WARPATH (releasing March 14, 2019)
TULSA THUNDERBIRDS: SQUARE ONE, a boxed set containing Bury the Hatchet, Smoke Signals, and Ghost Dance
TULSA THUNDERBIRDS: SQUARE PEGS, a boxed set containing Rites of Passage, Rain Dance, and Dream Catcher, will release on September 27, 2018.
Another boxed set will follow.
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Problem # 1 - any book where the H is pining for his dead wife for most of the book is a real killer for me. I cannot pretend to understand that kind of grief but I read romance to get away from reality for a bit.
Problem # 2 - the h running away from the H killed the book for me. He had bent over backwards for her and she knew his reasons. They'd only known each other for a week and she expected him to be fully in love with her and over his wife in such a short period. I am not contradicting myself btw, because one needs to be reasonable about the H dealing with his feelings and one week isn't enough. That said I didn't want to read about his pining for the majority of the book.
Other than that the h was flighty and a bit silly and I didn't really take to her much. I don't know where this author is going with her female leads but I wish she'd make them a bit more likeable.
To save you from reading my original review (I sound like a super bubbly OMG! high schooler, but I will keep it here after the update to prove to myself I've "grown up") I will write a simpler, more mature review, now that I am well into this series by Catherine Gayle as well as the spinoff series The Tulsa Thunderbirds.
Light the Lamp is still my favorite Portland Storm Book. As the title of this review suggests, Noelle, the heroine, is my "fictional" soul sista, a kindred spirit to me. I completely related to her. To her general philosophies of living life, her need to provide for her brothers without letting them know of her struggles, her experiences dating and being social leading to people thinking she was "weird" or an "outsider," and her intense empathy with other people to the point of needing to purge. I have seen from other reviews here and discussions in her reading group that other people didn't really get Noelle. But I do. I absolutely do.
Since I understand Noelle, I really understand the way her relationship progressed with Liam, the hero. I can also empathize with Liam as a widow - if I went through what he went through with my husband, you better believe that it wouldn't matter if one year passed or three or ten, the next relationship would feel like a betrayal, self-serving. Anyone going through that will have to forgive oneself and truly grieve for everything he/she lost with the deceased in order to move on, and he/she needs to do it at his/her own pace, no matter how compelling the new love interest is.
Because I understood/empathized with the main characters of this book, I really enjoyed this book. Others could not relate, and therefore they did not enjoy it. The negative reviews reveal more of the lack of experience/empathy of the reviewer for these characters. Catherine Gayle hit it out of the park for me with this novel. Thank you, Catherine Gayle, for this story, for Noelle, my soul sista.
I really loved this book. Noelle is my kindred spirit sister, seriously. While reading, I had multiple moments of exclaming "Oh my gosh, I totally agree with you!" or "that totally happened to me!" or "she is ME. she is ME!" Here are some examples. I am a total introvert, where being around people for an extended amount of time zaps energy from me. When Noelle says, "I like people. I like being around them. But I didn't need to be with them all the time," I completely understood. Another quote, from Noelle: "I'd always had these hunches about people, a sixth sense or whatever you want to call it, where I could feel a lot more from people than most others could. More than what they wanted anyone to know a lot of the time." I related to her thoughts because constantly in high school, just walking through the halls to my next class or going to practice for something, I'd pick up snatches of conversation or look at someones face walking by and just KNOW all the undercurrents in that moment going on, and those moments would stick with me. I'd feel intensely guilty because it's like I'm eavesdropping or had a moment of their lives they'll never get back that they definitely didn't want anyone else to know or see, but I couldn't help that weird "sense." I just dedicated myself to being super tolerant, non-judgemental, and to not spreading gossip EVER, because it's just not right. Finally, I have my own super crush on a Swedish NHL player (#4 Niklas Hjalmarsson from the Chicago Blackhawks, I love you!!!) so I pretty much lived vicariously through Noelle's romance with Kally. Thanks, Catherine Gayle, for creating my "fictional" soul sista!
Liam has never recovered from the death of his wife, especially since she never would have been there if not for him. When he finds Noelle on the side of the road, he insists upon helping her, and it's because of him that she isn't still standing there when another vehicle careens into hers and sends it up in flames. Upon learning her car was doubling as her home, he gives her a place to stay with him and his roommate.
As in the other books, Liam is an NHL player sharing a place with the rotating roommate, Jamie Babcock. He's considerably older, and if he doesn't get his game in shape, his career may not last. But he hasn't been able to find his groove since his wife died. In many ways, he's the typical widower, and Noelle is the sunshine that brings him back. He's such a kind, generous man that it's impossible not to love him, and that's what makes this story so impossible to believe.
Frankly, Noelle is an idiot. She's sweet and funny and always tries to look on the positive side of things, but she's stupid enough to put herself in danger rather than accept the help of a man she's clearly falling for. Liam hasn't made a single demand of her, and he's done everything he could to ensure her safety and comfort, but she's so caught up in some “I can't accept handouts” mind-frame that she instead sleeps on a park bench next to some sketchy homeless dude who gives her a small pocket knife with which to defend herself.
I've read some romances with flighty heroines that were funny and sweet and absolutely believable, even if I couldn't entirely identify with their way of thinking. But I'm convinced that Noelle doesn't have a way of thinking at all; she just has some vague concept of being a freeloader that she can't get past. She wants so badly to do something with meaning, a job that does some good for someone who needs it, which is why she volunteers for an animal shelter and seeks out other such opportunities. And I totally get that part. But instead of using the opportunity that Liam has given her, the safe place to sleep and enough to eat, to go out and find a charity organization where she can work full time — or hell, even part time — for some wages, she bails on him, breaks his heart, and decides living on the streets and in a homeless shelter is the better thing to do. Sure, because giving up a safe, warm, free bed is so much worse than using up one of the limited beds at the shelter that some abused runaway might need. Good job, Noelle. Put another woman in danger because you can't take handouts. Isn't a free bed at the shelter also a handout?
Okay, so I'm more upset about this book, specifically Noelle, than I thought. The thing is, I should be able to identify with her on some level. I've been dead broke to the point that I nearly lost my home and relied on friends for groceries. Taking handouts sucks, but it's also a blessing. More recently, I quit a job and took a huge pay cut to go work for a non-profit, where at the end of the day I can feel like I did something good, even some small good, for someone. But watching Noelle turn down generous help and instead rely on limited social services due to her pride just made me angry. If the food bank I volunteer at runs out of goods for people who truly need help because someone refuses good options from friends and family — like Noelle does — well, I guess you can understand why I'm only giving it one star.