Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Season's Change by Cait Nary

Acting on attraction is one thing, but turning a season’s fling into forever would mean facing the past—and redefining the future.

A veteran hockey player and a rookie can't get away from each other—or their own desires—in this sexy, heartfelt opposites-attract hockey romance.

Olly Järvinen has a long way to go. He’s got a fresh start playing for a new team, but getting his hockey career back on track is going to take more than a change of scenery. He’s got to shut his past out and focus. On the game, not on his rookie roommate and his annoyingly sunny disposition—and annoyingly distracting good looks.

All Benji Bryzinski ever wanted was to play in the big leagues, and he’s not going to waste one single second of his rookie season. Yoga, kale smoothies and guided meditation help keep his head in the game. But his roommate keeps knocking him off track. Maybe it’s just that Olly is a grumpy bastard. Or maybe it’s something else, something Benji doesn’t have a name for yet.

Olly and Benji spend all their time together—on the ice, in the locker room, in their apartment—and ignoring their unspoken feelings isn’t making them go away. Acting on attraction is one thing, but turning a season’s fling into forever would mean facing the past—and redefining the future.


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Season's Change by Cait Nary

Book 1
Buy Links

Amazon US  ~  Amazon UK  ~  Amazon Au  ~  Amazon Ca
Apple Books  ~  B&N  ~  Google Play  ~  Kobo
Carina Press (HQN)




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Season's Change is the debut in the Trade Season series, as well as appears to be the author's debut novel. Congratulations, Cait Nary.

First things first, I struggled at the beginning for several reasons, which I'll state below. But as you can see by the five-star rating, once I overcame the hurdle, I was effectively hooked until the last word. I started the novel at bedtime, deciding to read a handful of chapters, struggled a bit but was curious, and ended up finishing at almost 5 am. This review is written while I'm dog tired.

Shout out to all the PA locations from this Pennsylvanian. I got a good chuckle from that, especially with Duncannon as one of those places. The funny ribs about DC and Virginia as well.

Olly is struggling, mentally and emotionally suffering, having been traded after a series of murky events the reader isn't privy, (the gist is there but not truly). Olly fears making a home for himself, truly connecting with the team, feeling as if there is a constant anvil over his head where he will be kicked from the team or his teammates will reject him. He's an emotional ball of constant turmoil and angst, hurting and angry.

I need to state that Olly isn't a difficult to relate to character. I applaud Nary for the characterization, as it was flawlessly executed. Realistic. Where the characters are subject to the human condition, their actions and reactions befitting the personalities they were given, versus acting out of character to propel the plot. This is definitely a character-driven novel, and Olly stays true to character during his journey.

Rookie and new roommate, Benji is a strong influence, a calming presence for Olly. Steady and protective. Perpetually in a chill mood, always friendly, always understanding, always attempting to "heal" Olly. Benji has his own demons with his family, but he shows a healthy way of slaying those demons.

The dynamic between Olly and Benji was lovely. The friends/teammates/roommates-to-lovers, hurt-comfort, with a slow-burn journey from reluctant roommates to true friends to lust-fueled lovers. The pacing on the connection (friendship and romance) was just right, which is what kept the pages turning all through the night, which is why I handed out a rare five-star rating, despite the issues I had with the novel itself.

Season's Change was a hockey romance, and I felt both the romance and the hockey were realistic and engaging. There was a snarky, French-speaking side character in particular that I'm positive returning readers are ravenous to read. I do recommend to fans of those genres, but please note the cons below.

The struggle was real. That sensation that you're missing something that happened previously, as if you were dropped smackdab into the middle of book three, where I actually checked to make sure this was the debut in a new series, and discovered it was the author's first book. That settled me down some, but it didn't erase the confusion until I was halfway into the novel.

Most of this confusion centered on Olly, where past events are talked "around" more than explored. I understood the need for Nary not to do a massive info-dump, as well as attempting to create a bit of a mystery surrounding Olly's past, but it only led to disinterest and confusion. The reader has a front row seat via Olly's narration, to where he becomes an unreliable narrator by somehow closing his mind off to events. I battled through it, knowing eventually all the pieces would be unveiled, but there were still much missing from the overall puzzle of what caused Olly's mental and emotional struggles. It didn't need to be a mystery with so much angst and emotional turmoil. Olly needed the reader in his corner, not frustrated with the evasions. I didn't believe this was executed well, even if it was a solid plot point.

Another factor that created the "am I missing a previous book?" sensation was due to name-dropping. I am no hockey expert, so I just rolled with that info, but I wasn't sure who all these random names belonged. If they were actual hockey players, characters from other novels, or whatnot. The names were dropped all over the place, to where I couldn't keep up, no matter the role in the novel, they were named, and I was missing a reference. I finally just catalogued (mentally) who the small grouping of actual side characters were and just glossed over those random names to avoid any confusion.

This is a hockey book, and I appreciate that there was a strong focus on actual hockey. Not a romance novel using hockey as a plot device that got left to the wayside. There was a ton of hockey, hockey references and influences. Did I understand all of it? No. As I said, I'm not a hockey enthusiast, but I appreciated the authenticity.

Season's Change was an average length novel that read long. I can appreciate a long novel when the scenes produce character building and connections between characters, but there seemed to be a ton of redundancy that effected the flow, slowing the pacing down to molasses. If the reader wasn't emotional invested in the lives of the characters, I could see how they could become disinterested, as it did become tedious in parts.



Author Bio

CAIT NARY lives in Virginia with her husband and a very anxious German Shepherd. Neither of them gives her too much grief when her writing alarm goes off at 5:30am.

If Cait isn’t writing, trying a new muffin recipe, or running on a trail somewhere, she is probably shouting at the Philadelphia Flyers.

Connect with Cait

Twitter  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads



Carina Press.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Season's Change (Trade Season #1) by Cait Nary to read and review.

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