Title: Suckerpunch (Hockey Gods and Monsters #1)
Author: Elyse Springer
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Genre(s): Paranormal; Sports Romance
Page Count: 240
Reviewed by: Kristin F.
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A rookie goalie with a secret and a handsome yet hotheaded defenseman clash in the locker room and on the ice—but their shared desire to make the playoffs might help them move from enemies to lovers.
When the goalie for the Seattle Cascades hockey team is injured while drunk driving and Alex Fanning is recruited to take his place, Alex thinks his dream has come true. But to hold on to his hopes, he must keep his vampire heritage secret as the sport moves to ban Paranormals. The sexy but infuriating defenseman Sasha Petrov won’t make that easy. The injured goalie was his best friend, and he resents Alex’s presence—maybe even enough to use his bloodline against him.
Tensions mount, but the realization that there’s more to their feelings than animosity hits both men like a punch to the gut. Alex and Sasha’s newfound friendship promises passion, but a shocking betrayal could cost them all the ground they’ve gained
I found this to be an engaging and refreshing read – a rather unique blend of hockey and paranormals, which is what attracted my attention when the ARC was announced. I felt Elyse did a splendid job of bringing hockey to life on the page via locker room time, practice, and traveling for games. The sweat, the gear, the banter. It felt alive and vivid. This is HOCKEY, baby! #GoWild! #GoCascades!
The paranormal aspect was adroitly interwoven into the sports theme and mostly from Alex’s point of view: half human, half vampire, 100% dedicated goalie. Paranormals are part of society, but not always accepted. I welcomed the glimpses of the Russian and Swedish viewpoints on paras, which really rounded out the hockey and prejudice settings very nicely. Elyse didn’t get into the details of why there are now paranormals in society, which I appreciated. I could just accept this is the status quo, and enjoy the HOCKEY!
Alex’s relationship with Sasha was an interesting give and take, push and pull. I greatly appreciated this wasn’t a “Mate!” type book, and that our paranormals don’t always know instinctually what is going on. Combined with the well integrated sub-plots, there was just the right amount of apprehension, angst, and romance by all characters. I was even okay with the misunderstanding (and not a Big Misunderstanding, whew!). The supporting cast of friends were just that, supporting, and didn’t fall into my dreaded “Tell All Bestie” scenario. I actually would have liked to have seen more from Heather and Mikhail, and hopefully in coming books we will!
My one small issue with the book was it ended far too soon. YES! I NEEDED an epilogue! I needed MORE Sasha! MORE Alex! MORE Cascades! Seriously though, I really could have used one more chapter to pull everything together.
Which to me is a good sign. I was left wanting more and the author elicited an emotional response out of me (in a good way). I am looking forward to more in the Hockey Gods and Monster’s series.