Monday, October 7, 2019

Suckerpunch by Elyse Springer

A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.

When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.

Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Spoiler-Free Review

Suckerpunch is the first installment in the Hockey Gods and Monsters series. Elyse Springer is a new-to-me author.

I need to be honest, I struggled at the start of the novel, simply because the writing style wasn't to my reading tastes, as well as the sheer amount of characters dropped in such a short amount of time. But I just rolled with it because the novel has so many of my favorite tropes, and I'm sure glad I did.

Alex is moving up to the NHL, so there's tons of angst and insecurity, worrying whether or not he's good enough to play with the professionals, fearing he'll hurt the team's win record. But that isn't the only thing Alex is afraid to have revealed... not only is he gay in a macho male-dominated sport, where he fears being outed, but he's also Para (half vampire) in a league that is contemplating genetic testing.

Sasha is a Russian. Why do I bring that up? Because no matter what, I read his narration in a Russian accent. No joke, I couldn't stop myself. First it was distracting, then it was annoying, then I just found it amusing, all of this directed at myself for continuously reading in a cheesy Russian accent, making Sasha sound like Vlad the Impaler (extra irony, Sasha is human).

Enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn, fated mates (without the insta-love but a heavy dose of lust that is ignored). Sasha 'hates' Alex for taking his BFF/Mentor's position on the team, while Ed is healing from a car accident. The biggest problem, Ed is pushing Sasha to lie, to say it wasn't a DUI, his second DUI, and that he doesn't have an addiction problem.

Sasha and Alex butt heads, with a whole lot of tasty angst. Sasha is afraid to upset Ed by enjoying Alex's company. Alex is afraid to come out in all ways, because his lifelong dream was finally realized. Not only fearful, but how sneaky he has to be in order to 'eat.' Then eating becomes a real issue, and boy does the angst flow then.

Awesome story, even with the difficult start and my incessant need to create Russian accents in my head. The only other issue I had was the ending. It just ended. I actually turned forward and back twice to see if I was missing pages. It just ended, without a sense of an ending. Not a cliffhanger per se.

I look forward to more in this series, and highly recommend to those who enjoy the tropes I listed above, combined with sports elements.

ELYSE SPRINGER is an author and world traveler whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQIA+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. Her asexual F/F romance Thaw was an Amazon #1 Bestseller. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, Elyse spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.

Connect with Elyse

Facebook  ~  Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods and Monsters #1) by Elyse Springer to read and review.

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