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Off the Ice by Julie Cross

Off the Ice

by Julie Cross

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**I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. This is a voluntary review; all opinions are my own and not influenced by my source.**

Having read Julie Cross' other YA sports romance title, I knew what to expect with this book. I knew I would be getting a slow burn romance that would take a bit of a backseat to the character development...and I couldn't wait to dive in!

One thing I loved about this story was the small town setting. Everyone knows everyone and their business, but there are always these underlying secrets and feelings that always come to the surface. There are also certain expectations and almost stereotypes that people feel like they have to be boxed into. It provides a great stage for character growth to blossom on. And not just from our leads. I truly became invested in all the side characters as well and their stories.

Both Tate and Claire have very interesting character stories. They both have very complex situations to deal with and I liked that they each had their own things to work on. They are also such genuine characters that you really start to get behind them.

This story is more so a coming of age story than straight romance. It was rather refreshing for me to read a romance novel where it isn't always about the passion between two leads or them fighting obstacles to being together. Instead, it's about these two finding that confidence in themselves, figuring out what they want in life and how they can break out of the molds the small town has put them in for all their lives.

My only complaint is that this book felt a little long in the middle. While I enjoyed all the moments between Tate (he was positively adorable) and Claire (I loved her spirit), I felt like we reiterated the same things again and again building up to the big climax. The ending isn't rushed by any means but I think I would have taken away some of that exposition to have them tease out the various issues a little more.

Check out more spoiler-free book and series reviews on my blog SERIESousBookReviews.com as well as read book series recaps!

Full Review: https://wp.me/p7hLUw-2lB
Actual Rating: 4/5 ( )
  seriesousbooks | Feb 7, 2018 |
I love hockey so the fact this was about a hockey player was what drew me to the book in the first place! This book started out slowly for me but soon I found myself flying through it, eager to see what would happen to Tate and Claire. Tate is thrust into the starting role as goalie after the star goalie left the team in the middle of the game. Claire is back home after some time at school due to her father having a brain tumor removed. The pair connect on an emotional level though it takes them both a while to notice how the other feels. The slow progression of their relation felt realistic, for the most part, as both of them are dealing with a variety of challenges in their personal life. One is Tate and his "star" father. What book about high school kids and sports doesn't have at least one overbearing father? Part of me hoped for a huge public display between Tate and his dad. There were a few smaller incidents that happened within earshot of Tate's teammates and while they sense something is up, they don't say anything to Tate (or to anyone else for that matter which I'm sure Tate appreciates). Thankfully, when Tate needs an ear, he has his step father, his friends, and Claire.

There is a "sex scene" but it was very minor and very vague in its description. It is at the heart of it a romance novel but the addition of the sports element is entertaining and well written. I don't know how much into hockey the author is but if she isn't, it was very well researched. I actually went to a hockey game the day I finished this (season tickets, AHL). I think the team in the book could've played better than my team did that day.

Off the Ice is the first in a series and I am excited to read the rest. Please do one on Leo (one of the teammates) as I think that would be an extremely interesting person and relationship to follow! Thank you to the publishers for the chance to read this book for free through netgalley. ( )
  jnoble82 | Mar 20, 2017 |
When I was offered the chance to read the ARC of this by Entangled Publishing, I jumped at it! I'm all about any book that features hockey at any level of the game. And it is a book that yanked me in from the very first page.

There is a lot to love about the story in Off the Ice. The characters are well-developed and feel like real people. Tate is a goalie on his high school team, thrust into the limelight when the star goalie is suddenly ostracized by most of the town. He loves the game, but it comes with baggage for him and he just isn't sure where he fits anymore. Claire is a year older than Tate, taking a break from college to put her family first during a crisis. She has baggage of her own and there are days when she just doesn't know which end is up.

These are characters that are thrust into adulthood too soon, dealing with issues that they shouldn't have to. And while my heart bleeds for their characters, I can't help but appreciate that they are characters that act with maturity and strength. Their stories aren't all light and happy, but they are real, with all of the emotions that go along with real life. They were both characters that I understood and related to. And most of all, I loved that their romance wasn't the stuff of fairy tales. It had more than its fair share of angst and issues. In other words, it was real

Overall: I didn't want this book to end. I loved it. I loved the story. I loved the romance. I loved the issues and conflicts and that they had the undeniable ring of truth. This was my first book by author Julie Cross, but it won't be my last ( )
  Kiki870 | Feb 28, 2017 |
Julie Cross is victorious with OFF THE ICE, the first book in the Juniper Falls series. Claire O’Connor comes home to help run the family business while her father is recovering. The last thing she needs to do is get involved with her best friend’s younger brother, hockey goalie, Tate Tanley. This contemporary sports romance is suitable for new adult audiences. It takes pace in Juniper Falls, Minnesota.

Claire is a noble heroine. She worked hard to go away to college, but comes home when her father becomes ill to help the family business. She witnessed a dark secret about Tate that she keeps private. I enjoyed her reaction to Tate maturing. I like Tate. He has had a crush on Claire for a long time. They were good friends always hanging out with one another. He does not have a pleasurable relationship with his father. He has secrets and a lot of stress in his life. Tate and Claire make a cute couple with great chemistry.

I enjoyed the lot. Julie Cross does a nice job depicting life in a small town and the different pressures it has, especially for its athletes. I enjoyed the hockey scenes. It was engaging hearing Tate’s perspective on going from a backup to starting goalie. There were many engaging twists and drama. The story held me captivated from start to finish. This is the first book that I have read by Julie Cross. I will continue to follow this series. I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book. ( )
  dlynch | Feb 28, 2017 |
Off the Ice is a sweet young adult, sports romance about Claire, who has always been associated with the weird drama kids because she wants to sing, and Tate, who is the hockey playing brother of Claire’s best friend.

When Claire’s father is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor that they choose to operate on, she leaves university to help out with her family and an almost all-consuming guilt makes her decide to stay to help with the tavern while her father convalesces.

read more: https://saschadarlington.me/2017/02/25/review-of-off-the-ice/ ( )
  SaschaD | Feb 25, 2017 |
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Claire O{u2019}Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn{u2019}t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that{u2019}s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business{u2015}a hockey bar beside the ice rink{u2015}afloat. After that, she{u2019}s getting the hell out. Again. Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team{u2019}s star goalie, suddenly he{u2019}s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire{u2019}s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good. It{u2019}s the absolute worst time to fall in love. For Tate and Claire, hockey isn{u2019}t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.… (more)

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