Monday, October 23, 2023

Time to Shine by Rachel Reid

Can their bromance become a full-fledged romance when Landon’s time in Calgary is limited?

From the USA Today bestselling author of the Game Changers series comes a merry and bright hockey romance about finding your place, finding your people, and finding your way back to the one you love the most.

For Landon Stackhouse, being called up from the Calgary farm team is exciting and terrifying, even if, as the backup goalie, he rarely leaves the bench. A quiet loner by nature, Landon knows he gives off strong “don’t talk to me” vibes. The only player who doesn’t seem to notice is Calgary’s superstar young winger, Casey Hicks.

Casey treats Landon like an old friend, even though they’ve only interacted briefly in the past. He’s endlessly charming and completely laid-back in a way that Landon absolutely can’t relate to. They couldn’t have less in common, but Landon needs a place to live that’s not a hotel room and Casey has just bought a massive house—and hates being alone.

As roommates, Casey refuses to be defeated by Landon’s one-word answers. As friends, Landon comes to notice a few things about Casey, like his wide, easy smile and sparkling green-blue eyes. Spending the holidays together only intensifies their bromance-turned-romance. But as the new year approaches, the countdown to the end of Landon’s time in Calgary is on.


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Time to Shine by Rachel Reid

Buy Links

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




Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

We meet hockey goalie Landon when he is called up from the AHL to the NHL after an injury to a player in the senior team. Landon is a serious guy who wants to keep to himself. He is dealing with grief over the death of his beloved sister and estrangement from his parents. Then we meet Casey and he is gregarious, friendly with everyone and always looking for a good time, and a successful member of the NHL team.

The very first time we met Casey, I thought he was a bit much to deal. Then I saw a few team members making fun of him for being stupid, it had my heart going out to him. It didn’t sit right with me, and I wanted to protect him. And it wasn’t long before it became obvious that Casey is pretty lonely. So I wasn’t surprised when Casey invited Landon to live in one of his spare rooms while he is playing in the NHL.

Landon and Casey are such different men and I was captivated by their growing friendship and romance. I wasn’t sure how two such different men were going to manage but they complement each other and are good for each other. I was so emotionally invested in their lives I broke down in uncontrollable tears at least three times. Coping with a new relationship while the future of Landon’s career is unknown adds a bit of stress to their lives and my heart felt every bit of joy and difficulty the men experienced.

I’m a big fan of m/m Ice Hockey romances and Time to Shine is one of my new favourites. I particularly enjoyed seeing the struggles of a player trying to establish himself in the NHL team. I really loved Casey and Landon and I didn’t want their story to end. I know that Time to Shine is a book that I’m going to read again and again.

This is a really lovely read, with a great mix of hockey and a romance which is delicious in its slow burn.

Casey is such a loving, friendly guy, so when Landon is called up to his NHL team, Casey is more than happy to be welcoming. As we soon learn, he also hates living alone, so as he admits to his attraction to Landon, he also offers him the guest room until he gets settled.

Landon has some deep scars about why he plays hockey, and his lack of self confidence in his ability to stay in the NHL and his natural introversion is in stark contrast to Casey's joviality. But Casey definitely affects him and makes him feel new emotions, unexpected, confusing, and ill timed, but impossible to ignore. I love how his awakening feelings are written – it is subtle, loving, and intense, and Casey is incredibly patient and caring. Really lovely to read and get really invested in the future of these two very likeable guys.

There are lots of important subplots too, which I found brought much to our understanding of their sport, their families, and their teammates – I recommend this to you!

3.5 stars

As a fan of slow-burn romance, I did not find the pacing for this novel to hold my interests, which is one of the most important factors in a slow-burn romance. I read this book over almost two weeks, a chapter here or there, as after the initial half of the novel, I was no longer hooked as it dragged onward. Keep in mind, I am a Rachel Reid fan, rereading novels dozens of times, one or two novels in a day.

Landon is a lovely character, sweet, kind, and compassionate, while holding onto survivor's guilt. He and his parents love one another but there seems to be an unbridgeable gap between them. The goalie is brought up from the farm league to the NHL when the backup goalie is injured. Awestruck and starstruck, Landon is now playing with hockey titans. The fact that he feels as if there is a time limit to his being in the NHL has Landon keeping a firm boundary between himself and his new teammates.

Casey is gregarious, infectious, outgoing, and a bit exhausting to read. Casey is sweet, kind, and funny, but I just kept picturing him as a puppy or toddler, and it just exhausted me. While friendly with everyone, he truly has no close friends. He's lonely and gets scared when left alone in his large home. Happy to have Landon on the team and eager to gain a new roommate. Casey is exactly what Landon needed to come out of his shell.

Landon resonated with me because he was introverted, reserved, and a demisexual (that was my take on his sexuality, anyway). I thought Reid did an excellent job with Landon's portrayal early on the in the book, but then he had a character trait lobotomy and started acting differently in the last third. Slightly cruel and selfish, which didn't fit with who he was for the rest of the novel.

Whereas I thought Casey did come off as infantilized, juvenile, to the point that I could not picture him in my mind as a masculine hockey player because he came off as a small child of indeterminate gender. I get where the author was going with Casey, but it didn't mesh with a hockey player. Best way to put it, the characterization didn't fit the character. The fact that he was a player, having nonstop hookups and not considering his hook-ups' feelings just didn't fit any of the other character traits. It was off-putting and out of left-field, and actually unnecessary.

While I love slow-burn romance, and am thrilled when a book isn't a smexy fest, by the time I hit the halfway mark, I felt the book should have been concluded. My eyes kept flicking down to check the percentage read. The pacing dragged since nothing was happening on the pages, and I include character development as important. It was just random, inane things where it wouldn't have made a difference if the reader skipped entire chapters. No drama, no angst, no character development. A laundry list of daily activities. I needed a bit of excitement to escape my list of daily activities.

When there was a bit of drama in the last third, it didn't fit the characters, with Landon acting differently. It was like the character development backslid for both characters, and I do not mean that in a good way.

I struggled to finish. I felt zero chemistry between the characters. No intensity. It felt as if they were adolescents in a young adult romance, and I don't mention this due to a lack of nonstop smexy action. The mindset was super clean, warm and fuzzy, saccharine, sugar sweet, and it comes off as fake with no real connection. As if they were acting or playing a role.

There just needed to be more plot to support the page-length, to push the pacing, and to keep readers' interests. I enjoyed the characters individually but found the journey rather lackluster.



Author Bio

RACHEL REID has always lived in Nova Scotia, Canada, and will likely continue to do so. She has two boring degrees and two interesting sons. She has been a hockey fan since childhood, but sadly never made it to the NHL herself. She enjoys books about hot men doing hot things, and cool ladies being awesome.

Connect with Rachel Reid

Twitter  ~  Instagram  ~  Website  ~  Goodreads


ARC provided by

Carina Press.

Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided with a free copy of Time to Shine by Rachel Reid to read and review.

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