This is the second of a number of e-authors I want to highlight; wonderful authors I never would have found if I hadn’t drastically changed my reading habits. Way back when I first thought of getting an ereader, one of the main reasons was to try books by authors that were strictly epublished. I still planned on reading mostly print books but that obviously has changed over the years.
The author of today is Brenda Rothert. I have read all the books of her series Fire on Ice (currently on for a real good price at Amazon for 5 very good books) and one other book. I have a couple more of this series to read and she has a few other books I plan on picking up. I have more than the normal number of reviews, but since it’s the complete series, I hope I don’t bore anyone reading them.
***~~~***Bound by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
For the first time like in forever it seems, I have some time to ‘stray’ from my normal duties; either that or my normal duties are just so boring I need a break from doing them so I’m doing this here review.
This is one of those books that made me resent work. I would have much rather stayed home so I could read more and while I was at work, reluctantly, I clock watched to see how soon I could go on break/lunch to read more. It’s even a real mystery how I came across this one. I was trail following – you know – ‘readers who bought this one also bought this one’ kind of thing. When I saw the title and the cover, it was even more of a mystery as I figured it would be a BD/SM kind of story – something I’m not into AT ALL – not that there’s anything wrong with it – just not my cuppa.
But instead Bound deals with death of loved ones and the grief it can cause and the journey recovering from that grief, something I am too familiar with. Another issue that might have prevented me from getting into it is it’s told from first person POV, something else I’m no normally a fan of unless done well. But right from the beginning I was completely hooked. It starts out with Kate’s story. She is a young 22 year old unwed expectant mother who’s boyfriend dumped her when he found out he was going to be a father. Kate is less than thrilled herself, until she loses the unborn child and she realizes how deeply she loved this baby and how grief stricken she is.
The story then switches to Jason Ryker – or Ryke, a young pro hockey player/part time underwear model and overall serious hottie. His life is turned upside down when his wife is killed by a drunk driver while he was playing a hockey game out of town. We don’t hear more from his point of view until a little while down the road when his loss isn’t quite so fresh. Although the timing jumps back and forth a bit, it does appear to be seamless. Also, the first little bit is a chapter from Kelsie then a chapter from Ryke but then it can be a jump in the same chapter, but again I found this very seamless and could tell almost immediately whose POV we were reading. Although written by the same author, I found Ryke’s more “guy speak”
Ryke and Kate are at different stages in their grief process. They meet at a support group. I know from experience how quick and how close you can feel to someone who has experience death in their family. I also fully get how out of nowhere the sense of loss can hit at the most unexpected moments.
These two are delightful characters, simply and completely delightful. Ryke in particular is just the bees’ knees of heroes. He’s kind, considerate, tall, dark, handsome, an athlete, plays what I consider the manliest man sports – hockey. He is really drawn to Kate but understanding that she’s not where he is in the healing process. She is equally drawn to Ryke but is still to wounded to get involved in a more intimate way through much of the story. I love that she knew she wasn’t the same person after her baby died. She had changed fundamentally. That is what I discovered after my husband died too. The very basis of who I was changed.
This book just hit all cylinders with me. An incredible hero, a wonderful heroine, situations that I could personally relate to, a sport I love – it has it all. Too top if off – the price is AMAZING. Bound gets two amazing thumbs up!
There is another book with Ryke and Kate – Captive which I already have and am looking eagerly forward to reading!
Captive by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
After finishing Bound, the emotional first book by Brenda Rothert which told the story Ryke and Katie, it was a no brainer that I would read this one as soon as I could. Ryke and Katie had met in a grief support group and fallen deeply in love in the first book.
If the first book was about overcoming grief, this one is about overcoming fear, at least on Katie's side. The book takes place a couple of years after the first book and Katie and Ryke are still passionately in love. But the pain of loss hasn't finished with them yet. I don't want to tell too much of the story at the risk of spoilers so I'll focus more on the characters.
I fell even deeper in love with Ryke in this book. He is truly a wonderful hero. Like the first book, this is told in first person with it alternating between Ryke and Katie. In the professional area of his life, his hockey career, things couldn't be better, but his marriage isn't doing quite as well. This isn't a marriage in trouble story, far from it. He is still completely gone for Katie.
I had more issues with Katie. I was impatient with her at times during the story and wanted to smack her, not a good thing to want to do. I thought she made decisions too soon and they were the wrong ones. And here she has this incredible guy willing to die for her and I think she lost sight of that a few times over the course of the book.
This kept me from giving it five stars like I did, Bound, but it is still a very good story and still gets thumbs up, maybe just quite as enthusiastically as the first book.
Edge by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 4.75 out of 5 stars
I just finished reading the final two books in this Fire on Ice series, Drive and Release and realized I hadn’t recorded this book on GoodReads. Well, of course that called for a reread as I didn’t want to do it from memory because as with all the previous books in this series, I loved it.
Luke Hudson is in the big leagues and one of the premier players on the team when he is ‘kneed’ by an opposing player.
From Sporting Charts.com: Knee-on-knee collisions are very dangerous and often times result in significant knee injuries. A player who executes a knee-on-knee collision is more susceptible of a major or match penalty than a player who uses his knee only to stop an opponent. Intentional knee-on-knee hits often result in a suspension. Knee-on-knee hitting is considered to be a cheap shot and a dirty play by NHL players, and players who clearly hit using the knee can expect retaliation from opponents”
As anyone who knows hockey, this is a dirty play meant to injure and injure Luke it does. He is out of the game for months and before he can play at the major level, he has to do a stint of rehab in the minors. The trainer of the minor league team he is sent to is Adella, or better known as Della Price. Hockey is in her blood as her father is one of the best coaches in the league. I simply LOVED her. As a female in a predominantly male sport, she manages to strike just the right balance. She can trash talk with the best of them and most of the players kind of look at her as a little sister who fixes their booboos. She’d made a mistake a few years ago and gotten involved with a hockey player and now a single mother, doesn’t want to make that mistake again. So when Luke starts making the moves on her, she shuts him down right away. But Luke is persistent and she feels something for him she’s never felt before. But they still can’t do anything about their attraction as she is in a sense his employee as she helps him with his training to get back to the big leagues.
But when he’s called back up, well, that takes care of that issue and they act on their growing temptation.
Luke, and I really enjoyed him too, has really fallen hard for Dell. For the first time, hockey isn’t his number one focus.
So this book is how they overcome the obstacles in front of them and there are a few, to be together. I love both characters and a couple of secondary characters become the stars of their own book.
Everything connected with me in this book; Luke and Della, Ryker her son, her job, his hockey – just everything. This is a second read and it was just as good if not better than the first time I read it.
As I said in a previous review, Ms. Rothert has really done her research on hockey and it shows. This whole series has been such a great find and I look forward to reading more of her delicious books by this author.
(Tired of them yet - only 2 more to go)
Drive by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I'm not quite sure what happened. I read the first 3 books of this series as well as another book by this author and loved them all. But then I think I forgot to buy more or something as the author kind of fell off my radar. Big mistake that one. Thankfully I stopped the fall and brought her back on board. I loved this book!
Nico Vereshkova and Sadie Alexander first meet in a hotel. She is there as she's the maid of honor for her best friend Dell, the heroine in the third book of this series. She sees Nico who is drop dead gorgeous and a Russian who can barely speak English. She's immediately attracted and he asks to see her again in very broken English. But. Things are not as they seem when he is SO busted when it turns out he's a groomsman at the same wedding. The groom is a hockey player and was the hero of the previous book. I'm going to have to reread the book as I read it a while ago and didn't do a review. And I really want to do one as I love this series. Sadie sees Nico speaking English just fine with only a hint of an accent and realized she's been played and she's less than impressed with him, hot Russian or not.
Fast forward a few months and Nico has been promoted to the big leagues, something he's been hoping for desperately. He grew up poor and wants to support his parents and the rest of his family who sacrificed so much for he and his career. Dell is a trainer on the team and Luke, her now husband, one of the players. Because Sadie, our heroine, and Dell are such good friends, she and Nico end up in the same orbit. And while there is still wild attraction between the two of them, there are major hurdles. He's a real player, never dating the same girl twice and she knows this so isn't about to give into the attraction. And Nico has been warned away by Luke who is very fond of his wife's best friend and knows that Nico is a 'love 'em and leave 'em' kind of guy and doesn't want to see him hurt Sadie. But as Sadie and Nico slowly get to know each other, true feelings develop.
It's kind of funny. I recently read another hockey romance where the hero was a real man whore and I didn't like it at all, but this one I really liked. I think it's because even though nico was also a man whore, he respected Sadie more than the hero of the other one. Also, nico really does try and honor Luke's request that he not put the moves on Sadie. Instead they become friends first and mutual respect. I didn't feel that with the other one.
I really wish they had half stars here as this deserves more than a four. But I'm trying to be a bit stricter on fives.
I do give this book a happy an d well deserved recommendation.
Release by Brenda Rothert
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
This is the final book in the Fire on Ice series by Brenda Rothert and like all the other books I enjoyed it immensely. It’s now off season and Orion Caldwell has gone home for the summer. He’s staying at his family home and is there to help out with his niece and nephew, his sisters children, after their father takes off on the family. He is a little leery as he had a bad break-up not long ago and his ex is still living in his home town. He meets Samara Cross, our heroine, who is working as a check out/cake designer at the local supermarket. To say she is skittish is putting it mildly. Orion vaguely remembers her from high school and her stand offish attitude intrigues him. Being a professional hockey player, he’s not used to being turned down. Now that he’s a player or anything, unlike some of his team mates. He’s loyal and genuine and just a real good guy. He finally convinces Samara to give him a chance and they slowly fall in love. Samara has had some bad stuff happen in her past and she has good reason to be leery of getting into a relationship but Orion is so gentle and so patient, she learns to trust him.
This is the least hectic of the series, maybe because it takes place on the off season. I only had one quibble. We first meet Orion in the previous book and when asked, he said he was from Canada. Yet in this book he only lives an hour or so away from Chicago, where the big league team plays. The author never really specifies where his hometown is – but I have my doubts it’s in Canada otherwise I’m sure she would have mentioned it. But that’s minor.
Another thing I would like to say – the author mentions that until she started writing this series she didn’t know much at all about hockey. I’m impressed at how well she seemed to “get” it. She has a new series about a minor league team and Orion will be playing a role I think, in the next series after a major sacrifice he made towards the end of this book.
I have been very pleased with this whole series and for anyone interested, the boxed set is available on Kindle for $4.89 at Amazon.co, $6.25 at Amazon.ca. It burns my butt the difference in price but still $6.25 is still a good price for 5 very good books. I bought them one at a time so it cost me more.
And I just want to make things clear in case anyone is wondering. I have had NO contact with this author. I haven't taken any free books - I don't like accepting free books. It gives me a sense of obligation that a) I have to read them and b) I have to like them. That's my own personal opinion - I have an overinflated sense of it *grin*.
(though I am going to contact her and let her know about this so hopefully it might cheer her day - but that is the FIRST contact)
Nope - this is just an author I discovered because the first book was free. I read it, I loved it and I wanted to read more by this author. The lowest grade of all of them was a 4 out of 5.
The books are all written in the same way - first person with alternating chapters in alternating points of view. By the time I was even part way through the first book, I loved this style of writing and will never shy away from first person books again.
These are all books I will read again. Already I'm feeling the tug of Ryke and Kate.