Ryker (Jia’s review)

Title: Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1)
Author: R.J. Scott & V.L. Locey
Publisher: Love Lane Books
Release Date: September 22nd 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 194
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5


Ryker is hockey royalty, Jacob is a poor country boy. Can two vastly different people find common ground and become the men they want to be?

Ryker comes from a long line of championship-winning hockey players. Playing college hockey to develop his game is his only focus, and nothing will stand in the way of him working to become the best player. He has no room for relationships, people that point out his flaws, or anyone who calls him on his dreams. He certainly has no place for love, and meeting Jacob is nothing but a useful distraction on the side. After all trying to get his Owatonna Eagles teammate into bed is less work and more play. When tragedy rocks his family, his charmed life crumbles, and the only person he can turn to is the same one who claims to hate him.

Jacob Benson has only known hard work and stifling conservative values his whole life. Born and raised in the small rural community of Eden Crossing, Minnesota, he’s the only son of a hard-working but struggling dairy farming family. Jacob is using his skills in hockey to finance his way to an agricultural science degree. These four years at Owatonna U. will probably be the only time he has to enjoy life, gain acceptance about his sexuality, and live openly before his inevitable return to the farm. Running into a pretty rich boy like Ryker Madsen is putting a damper on his enjoyment of life away from home. Ryker’s flip, conceited, carefree attitude grates on Jacob’s every nerve. So why, if Ryker is everything he dislikes, does he want nothing more than to explore the sinful dreams that his annoying teammate stars in every night?

Owatonna U Hockey series is a part of the Harrisburg Railers series’ universe and contains spoilers if you haven’t read Harrisburg Railers #6 Goal Line.

I love how we actually get to follow the characters out on the ice in this hockey romance. That for me, is what makes it a hockey romance. These two guys have such different futures planned out for themselves that I don’t see either of them giving theirs up and be satisfied with it, yet. As it is, they are young and this book ends on a happy for now note, with a, most likely, continuation coming at a later date.

I love the way we get ice-time as readers and that something which is a big part of their life isn’t skipped in favor of the romance. To me it adds a lot to the story. Ryker’s living a blessed life not wanting for anything while Jacob’s the opposite. I like the difference between their lives and how Ryker isn’t that stuck up, arrogant, spoiled brat he could be given his family. Or at least he doesn’t feel like that to me a bit naive maybe. Jacob’s animosity is hard to forgive even though I can understand it, and I do like flawed characters.

I have a little trouble buying the fact that Ryker could fall for a person who seemed to be nothing but rude, prejudiced and envious toward him. Even though Ryker found him sexy and handsome, Jacob just didn’t treat Ryker well at all first.

These two take their turns back and forth and Jacob isn’t very consequent in his behavior and logic but at the same time I understand how it can change, I just would have wanted to be able to follow his reasoning other than now it’s not okay and then suddenly it is okay. Since his situation still hadn’t changed it left me little wary.

I have noticed in the Harrisburg Railers series that there are parts skipped in the books which I would have liked to read, instead we hear about those parts afterward barely mentioned or not mentioned at all. Unfortunately the same happens in Ryker. The way the blurb brings Ryker’s tragedy up I expected more and certainly more from Ryker’s point of view. It was his life that turned upside down after all, not Jacob’s. Instead we get Jacob’s point of view, Jacob who’s not even there when it happens. The very same incident is already covered in one of the books in the Harrisburg Railers series, which had very little of Ryker in it though, but that shouldn’t matter in this book since the couple is new and it’s a new series.

This book is the first in a new series but I still think you should be familiar with the Harrisburg Railers series to get the full experience and background information of the characters, all though it strictly isn’t necessary it will definitely help. When I started reading Ryker it didn’t feel like the first book in a new series.

So, even though I enjoyed Ryker, this book left out things which made the story feel a little lacking and rushed at places which is a shame because the writing is really good and the story’s interesting with good characters but could be more intriguing if parts of it wasn’t left out.

It’s definitely a good start to a new series though and leave you wanting to know more.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Ryker (Owatonna U Hockey #1) provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


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