Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Power Play by Sophia Henry

In Sophia Henry’s blistering follow-up to Delayed Penalty, hailed as “sexy, fun, and full of angst” by L. P. Dover, a good girl and a hockey hunk face off against expectations—and this match is guaranteed to see plenty of action.

Beneath her innocent facade, Gabriella Bertucci has her reasons to be standoffish with guys. Especially guys like Landon Taylor, a star defenseman on the minor-league Detroit Pilots and the object of a serious crush since he first walked into her family’s market. But when Landon comes through for her in a moment of crisis, Gaby starts to wonder if there might be more to Landon than hard muscles and fast skates.

Landon isn’t afraid of telling Gaby that he’s got it for her bad. The problem is, she seems unwilling to believe it. And though Landon enjoys his reputation as a cool-headed athlete, he hates losing—both on the rink and off. It’s his competitiveness that makes him so damn good at what he does...but it also makes him just a little bit complicated.

One minute Gaby’s tempted to give in; the next, she’s getting cold feet. How can she trust a guy who’s destined for bigger and better things to stick around? Then again, when Landon pulls her close with those powerful arms, the only thing that matters is right now.

Add to Goodreads

Book 2
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This was an okay read I just really wanted to see more Hockey…for a “sports” read it had very little “sports.”

Gaby’s family owns a market that she’s been working in since she was a young child. Every week Landon Taylor and his family came by and Gaby looked forward to these times because of the crush she’s had on him for years. Gaby is very standoffish and unwilling to get in a relationship thinking that Landon is nothing more than a dumb jock. When tragedy strikes Gaby’s family, Landon is the one there to help and quickly admits his feelings for Gaby. When Gaby’s father leaves her brother in charge of the store instead of her after the family tragedy, Gaby sets out to prove that she’s the one to be trusted with the store. Landon and Gaby put their heads together and start developing a plan…as well as feelings for one another.

The characters were a bit difficult to connect with at times, and I really wanted more from the Hockey side of things. I did like being able to read this book as a standalone and I think it definitely has potential. I read another review saying that it would be better in dual points of view and I’d definitely have to second that!

So let me set the review scene for you before I begin. I initially had Power Play on my review list and had to remove it because I overbooked myself and we had three other ladies set to review the book. When one of my co-reviewers couldn’t finish it and another was so frustrated with the story that she couldn’t figure out what she wanted to say, I squished things around and turned on my Kindle’s text-to-speech function so I could listen to the book as I set up the week’s blog posts. Now I didn’t ask why the ladies had an issue with the book because I didn’t want it to color my impressions of the book. However, within only a few chapters I had a sneaking suspicion of what the problem was – or at least part of it. Power Play has a HUGE, I’m talking a MEGA misogynistic theme to it. Additionally, there are sensitive subjects in the story that can serve as triggers for potential readers that were not disclosed anywhere that I saw – sexual assault and suicide being the major ones. Despite these issues, I did ultimately enjoy the book, but I can easily see where my co-reviewers took issue with it, especially after having enjoyed book one so much.

Gaby is the youngest child and only daughter in an Italian family. We learn later in the book that she was sexually assaulted as a teen by someone believed to be a family friend – someone who her grandfather’s business choices continued to put her in direct contact with as both she and her attacker worked at their family’s respective businesses. How much of Gaby’s father’s treatment of her was due to antiquated gender roles and how much of it was out a desire to protect her as much as he could is unclear through most of the story, but his comments and actions are where much of the misogyny occurs and it is because of how he interacts with her that her older brother believes it’s okay to belittle her and ignore her when she’s merely trying to help him do the job that should be hers. I spend a LOT of time while reading, lamenting how unfair Gaby was treated by her father, her brother, and even her mother when it came to her role in the family businesses. I believe that my experience in growing up in a small town that perpetuated such misogyny, knowing men like Gaby’s father, yet being raised by a grandfather who always encouraged me to pursue whatever career made me happy and never made me feel as though being female made me less than is the only reason I was able to persevere through and finish the book. And, that I read my review for book one and was reminded of how little the sport is actually featured in the story, yet I enjoyed the resolution Henry delivered in Delayed Penalty.

So I did my best to keep my focus on the romance between Gaby and Landon and tried to treat the constant misogyny as annoying background noise. The romance itself it quite sweet because Gaby has no idea that the boy she’s been infatuated with since meeting him feels the same way. With him being a minor league hockey player who has a buffet of puck bunnies at his disposal, she’s even less inclined to take his advances seriously. But now that Landon has found his chance to show Gaby how he feels about her, he pulls out all the stops – even some that blow up in his face and leave the reader to wonder if this young couple can overcome Landon’s increasing fame and Gaby’s insecurities. I thoroughly enjoyed watching Landon coax Gaby out of her shell and show her that she was all he wanted. I was beyond relieved when Gaby and her father finally talked about his decisions and his treatment of her, even if it didn’t occur until the end of the book. It didn’t make that icky feeling I had from reading pages upon pages of Gaby’s belittling go away, but I had a better understanding of why her father behaved the way he did and while the reason behind it wasn’t as deliberate as it had appeared, I did get the feeling that her dad was truly sorry for making her feel that way. While I ultimately enjoyed Power Play, I do caution readers that there are potentially problematic topics within the story – misogyny and references to past sexual assault and suicide – and that if these are sensitive topics for you, then proceed carefully. And if you’re looking for a sports-heavy sports romance, you won’t find it here. But I found Power Play to be an enjoyable addition to the Pilots Hockey series (even if my tongue hurts from biting it) and I look forward to the next book’s release.

Also Available in the Pilots Hockey Series

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
B&N  ~  iTunes  ~  Kobo

For reviews & more info, check out our stop on the Delayed Penalty Blog Tour.

Sophia Henry, a proud Detroit native, fell in love with reading, writing, and hockey all before she became a teenager. She did not, however, fall in love with snow. So after graduating with an English degree from Central Michigan University, she moved to North Carolina, where she spends her time writing books featuring hockey-playing heroes, chasing her two high-energy sons, watching her beloved Detroit Red Wings, and rocking out at concerts with her husband.

Connect with Sophia

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Power Play (Pilots Hockey #2) by Sophia Henry to read and review for this tour.

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