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Ratings and Book Reviews (15 33 star ratings
15 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.5 out of 5
33
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Great characters, good story, but light on hockey

    Tough Guy is the third book in the Game Changers series but works perfectly well as a standalone. I love when each book in a series is a unique experience and that is certainly true with this collection. In many ways, Tough Guy is even angstier and heavier than Heated Rivalry as it addresses some difficult but relevant subjects including severe anxiety, self-esteem problems, sexual performance issues, suicide, addiction, and the toll professional sports can take on athletes. I devoured this book, really liked the couple, and was eager for their happily-ever-after, and yet I couldn’t help but feel as though something was missing. Rarely do we get such different sorts of characters as in the Game Changers series and that was especially true with the main characters in Tough Guy. I loved that Ryan wasn’t your typical professional hockey player, not to mention who you would expect as an enforcer. His soft, vulnerable side was utterly charming, and I really liked that the author wrote about a main character who struggles with anxiety in a very real, palpable way. I also loved that he was paired with a femme, confident man who embraced all sides of himself and encouraged Ryan to try the same. Beyond that, it was awesome to have sexual anxieties and issues addressed in a romance without it losing any of the steam. Instead, this honest portrayal of Ryan and Fabian in the bedroom made the scenes that much more impactful. In so many ways, Tough Guy broke the mold on sports romances, and I absolutely loved that. What I didn’t get was Fabian’s hatred for hockey that spilled over into him being unsupportive when Ryan needed it most, to the point that he refused to try and understand or listen to Ryan’s struggles. I get not loving every aspect of your partner’s life, I get not liking sports, but Fabian’s lack of investment in anything hockey when it came to Ryan rankled. Additionally, Tough Guy was really light on hockey. While that may be a positive for some readers, as a sports romance fan and a fan of hockey in general, I missed it. Overall, I really liked Tough Guy and that it set itself apart from most sports romances in so many wonderful ways, but when I pick up this trope, I want the sports elements. That said, this author will undoubtedly remain on my must-read list and I’d certainly recommend the title and series. *Reviewed for Alpha Book Club*
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Score!!

    I adored these characters!! This slow-burn, semi-second chance romance ticked so many boxes for me! UST-check Teddy bear of a tough guy-check Sassy artist with guy liner-check Taking it slow-check Real people with real issues-check Sweeter than candy smiles-check Sex toys-check (this one was funny!) Manties-check, yes! Sexy hockey players-check! The sweetness, sexiness and delight with which the relationship between Fabian and Ryan developed was a pure page-turning addiction! Ryan, enforcer, suffers from severe anxiety, low self-esteem, and a severe lack of love for hockey. Recently traded to Toronto, he runs into Fabian—his crush from 13 years ago. Fabian is a working musician moonlighting at a drugstore when he sees his 13 year old crush walk into his store. Fabian is confident, driven, and wears whatever the hell he wants, including make-up. Oh, and he hates hockey and hockey players. What do these two opposite men share in common but an old crush? Through the book we see how a shy, insecure enforcer comes to find his true self and how a devil-may-care artist finds love in the unlikeliest of places. For those who have read Heated Rivalry, Ilya and Shane make a memorable cameo! This is a solid addition to this hockey series and I cannot wait for the next one! My rec? Yessssssss!
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Good Read

    While I loved Ryan a lot more than his love interest, Fabian could be a bit self absorbed and diva at times, I still enjoyed this addition to the series. I really felt for Ryan with his various issues and enjoyed reading about his growth as a person as he found the man he was supposed to be.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Wonderful MM Hockey Romance!

    This is the third book in the Game Changers series. It is a MM contemporary hockey romance. In the story the development of the characters wonderful. The characters are funny, neurotic and lovable and as the reader I was routing for them to succeed. The pace was outstanding, I had a hard time putting the book down. Though this is the third in the series, I feel it can be read as a stand-alone.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Complex, compelling and my favourite so far

    I love how each book has been different in narrative, tone and in the romance it tells and this one could be my favourite of the lot because I just adored Ryan Price and everything about him. Fabian was also an interesting character, but I took longer to warm up to him because, while he was wonderful mostly in the way he intuitively understood Ryan's fears and anxieties, he also had a serious chip on his shoulder which I didn't think really was earned to the degree he exercised it. That's a minor quibble though in a book which is otherwise a really beautiful slow burn romance, one in which two men who are as different as light and dark can find common ground in their appreciation of what makes the other unique. Fabian was unashamedly queer, Ryan quietly so, but he also wasn't closeted and didn't hide his attraction to Fabian. Ryan's clinical anxieties were handled with consideration by the author, I never felt like they were overplayed or that they were brushed aside with the properties of magical dick. It was different to have a main character who wasn't always able to engage fully in sexual activity because of his inner fears and anxieties and I really want to commend Rachel Reid for taking this approach. I never once felt that Fabian or Ryan were missing out on anything because of their lack of penetrative sex, although there is one incredibly beautiful and seriously hot scene in which they do. The emotional connection between them, and Ryan's joy in just finding his anxieties put aside long enough to enjoy Fabian's sexual release was a very powerful narrative. There's a lovely guest appearance from our favourite mouthy Russian and his all-American secret ice hockey superstar boyfriend and I loved how their book was brought into this one with a subtle nod and hint. All round another great addition to what's been, for me, a brilliant series of sports romances.
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