Monday, March 25, 2013

Off Her Game by Suzan Butler

Title:  Off Her Game
Author: Suzan Butler
My Rating: B-

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series:  Texas Highlanders Ice Hockey #1
Main Characters: Valerie and Darren
Release Date: March 2013 

Links to Purchase:
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Penalty Number One: Men

Making time for men and relationships doesn’t fit into Valerie Chase’s game plan. This crisis-counselor-turned-cocktail-waitress knows the score—Men are a distraction. But when a certain hockey player tempts her wild side, part of her wants to indulge in a little harmless fun.

Penalty Number Two: Desire

As the star center for the Texas Highlanders, Darren Moran's good looks and deadly determination make him a fan favorite. But after the previous season’s disaster, the last thing he needs is to let some woman crawl under his skin. But… Valerie is different. She brings out the best in him—both on and off the ice—and he’s not about to lose her.

Penalty Number Three: Passion

When the game moves to the next level, Darren and Val have got to call timeout. An unplanned romance is a game-thrower, a sinful temptation that neither of them can afford. After all, there’s no way to have order in matters of the heart when the penalties tally up to an ejection from the game.

My Review:
This is a difficult review to write. There were moments when I loved this book, but then there were things that happened in the story that took me completely out of the book. 

I loved, loved, loved Darren. The book starts with him at the courthouse and you immediately feel for him as he's dealing with the mental anguish of his divorce. I liked the fact that he's a hockey player and where he's at in his career, having spent 10 years playing for the Highlanders in the NHL. I liked him with his friends (the scene with him at the doctor's office with Cody was hilarious...) I like that he's loyal and devoted to his team and his group of friends. 

I had a harder time with Valerie. There were times where I loved her just as much as Darren, but other times, I just didn't understand her actions. Her character was (at times) extremely wishy-washy and didn't seem true (at times) to her career and her knowledge of the way people work that she would need as a counselor. There were times when I just felt like she was stringing Darren along, especially toward the end of the book. I liked her career story line and the way that it played into the team job. I wish that we'd gotten to see more of that aspect of it and her interacting with the team.

I received an ARC of this book, but there were serious continuity issues within the story (of the copy I received). I *hope* that these were fixed before the actual book because they were really distracting within the version of the book I read. I kept going back and re-reading sections to make sure I'd read it right the first time and that those circumstances changed 2-3 pages later.

While this book may not have been my favorite, I still enjoyed it enough that I definitely want to continue to read the series. I loved all the support characters that Suzan has set up and am excited to read their stories. Plus, it's hockey...really hot hockey players? You know, I'm in.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

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