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The Penalty Box (New York Blades) Mass Market Paperback – March 7, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
In this fun, fast rinkside contemporary romance from Martin (Total Rush), down-on-his-luck hockey jock Paul van Dorn and formerly overweight overachiever Katie Fisher answer the age-old question: can you ever live down high school? Reintroduced at their 10-year reunion, Paul is stunned to find the girl he dubbed "Bubble Butt" grown into a sexy sociology professor. Recently forced to retire from the NHL, Paul has returned to their hometown, tiny Didsbury, Conn., where he stews in post-pro blues at his bar, the Penalty Box. Katie, on a yearlong book sabbatical, has moved home with her mother and nephew Tuck, whose own mom is stuck in rehab. Despite Paul's past cruelty, Katie falls for him after he gives a revealing interview for her project on sports and male identity. What begins as an undercover affair blossoms into a life-changing relationship as the pair discover that living in the present beats living in the past. Martin scores with this witty blend of romance and family dynamics. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Katie's mother has done the unthinkable: she's responded yes to Katie's high-school-reunion invitation. Thin, beautiful, and a successful academic, Katie is only back in her hometown to complete her new book and help her mother take care of her nephew while Katie's sister is in rehab. Back in school she was teased mercilessly about her weight, and she is surprised at the reunion when most of her former tormentors apologize for their former transgressions. But one nasty encounter induces her to flee, and she runs straight into the subject of many adolescent fantasies: Paul Van Dorn, a professional hockey player for the New York Blades until too many concussions brought an end to his promising career. Katie and Paul secretly become a couple, but they have issues. She believes he is living in the past--a place she does not want to be. Following Body Check (2003) and Total Rush (2005), Martin scores another goal with another witty, emotionally true-to-life, and charming hockey romance. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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When I started this book, I wanted to like it. I wanted to believe that it would turn the series around for me. I won't say that I hated it, because I didn't. There were parts that I did like. But overall I thought that the characters were very one dimensional and unbelievable. I am all for the once unpopular girl coming back and showing them all how much better off she was now, but the way events unfolded were too far fetched for my liking. For Katie to be so welcoming to the attention that Paul gave her, without any mention of the torment he had given her... come on. If it were me, I would have made him work for it a little, you know?
And as for Paul, he really did not get the development that he deserved as the lead male. The reader never really gets a full comprehension of who Paul is. I know that part of that is because he doesn't know himself, but at some point we should be given something more. He is so different from the Paul we were introduced to in the second book of the series, Fair Play, and we weren't really given much of a look into why and how he changed so much.
After this book, I am not sure I will continue with the series. After four books and no real pay off so far, I might be looking for a different hockey romance series to binge on.
if it weren't for the sex scenes (yawn-worthy!) this would be a high school novel, nothing more.
Hometown hero Paul van Dorn, former hockey star and current owner of The Penalty Box, uses his sports bar to relive his glory days. A series of concussions ended his major league hockey career. Coaching youth hockey is his only chance to get back onto the ice. Attending his ten year high-school reunion is an event he is looking forward to; a chance to see old friends and remember the good times.
When Paul and Katie meet at the reunion, sparks fly. Dating turns into quite the adventure! Maybe returning home is the best thing that ever happened to these two. But with Paul stuck in the past and Katie refusing to look back, do they have a future?
Although both Paul and Katie made me want to knock heads a few times, I thoroughly enjoyed The Penalty Box. While both Katie and Paul have their hang-ups that work against their relationship, I so wanted them to find happiness together. I identified completely with Katie's battle with her weight. And I could empathize with Paul's depression over the end of his career. Their battle to find happiness together despite the odds had me urging them to deal with their pasts!
Ms. Martin had me alternating between laughing and hissing. The dating mishaps had me laughing while cringing at the same time. The wicked past nemesis had me hissing not just at her, but at Paul as well. I love it when a book grabs my emotions that way. An engrossing read, The Penalty Box left me cheering at the end!
Reveiwed for Joyfully Reviewed