by Helena Hunting
Series: Pucked #1
Published by Audible Studios on February 23, 2016
Sub-Genre/Theme: Contemporary, New Adult, Sports
Buy: Amazon, B&N
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With a famous NHL player for a stepbrother, Violet Hall is well acquainted with the playboy reputation of many a hockey star. So of course she isn't interested in legendary team captain Alex Waters or his pretty, beat-up face and rock-hard six-pack abs. But when Alex inadvertently obliterates Violet's misapprehension regarding the inferior intellect of hockey players, he becomes much more than just a hot body with the face to match. Suffering from a complete lapse in judgment, Violet discovers just how good Alex is with the hockey stick in his pants.
Violet believes her night of orgasmic magic with Alex is just that: one night. But Alex starts to call. And text. And email and send extravagant - and quirky - gifts. Suddenly he's too difficult to ignore and nearly impossible not to like. The problem is, the media portrays Alex as a total player, and Violet doesn't want to be part of the game.
I had heard so many good things about this book and I really expected that I would like it, too. However, the writing combined with some plot and characterization issues prevented me from enjoying Pucked.
Violet works in accounting for her step-dad, who’s a sports scout. Violet’s step-brother, Buck, is an NHL player. Violet and Buck pretend to hate each other, but in reality they love each other like siblings. Buck’s known for being a manwhore, a fact that Violet continually throws in his face. Buck is also somewhat new on his team, having been traded recently. His new team captain is Alex, who also has a notorious reputation for being a manwhore.
When Violet and Alex meet for the first time, their attraction is pretty instant and intense. Even though Violet doesn’t plan on having sex with Alex that first night, it happens anyway. Soon, she learns that his reputation is a farce and he’s actually an intelligent, very sweet guy. But because of Alex’s position on the team with Buck, Violet and Alex decide to keep their relationship a secret.
First, the things that I liked. The sex scenes are probably the best thing about the book. Even though they’re over-the-top, they aren’t exactly boring. At first, I found the writing style really funny, before the characters started repeating themselves incessantly (see below for more on that). Violet as a character is kind of a mess, but she seems somewhat aware of it, at least. I also loved the fact that Alex was an English major and isn’t a stereotypical dumb jock.
I read the audio version of the book, and the dual narrators do a great job (despite the fact that the male narrator seems to be Irish and I wouldn’t expect Alex to have an Irish accent, so that confused me). I’d say I really liked the first 25% of the book or so.
Now for the things I didn’t like.
The writing is so repetitive. I wanted to bash myself in the head every time Violet or Alex jokingly used the word beaver. Seriously, I NEVER want to read or hear the word beaver ever again, unless it’s in reference to the animal. NEVER EVER. I get it, Alex is from Canada, this is supposed to be charming or cute for you two, but it’s just not. It’s overkill. Stop calling your sex organs your damn beaver. I’m no prude and vulgar language does not phase me at all. I just don’t want to read the word beaver 800 times. Please find a new euphemism. Other terms I never want to read or hear again: cooter, puck bunny, and hockey whore.
Something else I had a huge amount of trouble with is the repeated humiliation of Violet, often in public. One of my pet peeves in books is when the heroine is continually put in mortifying circumstances in the name of comedy or advancing the plot. It bugs the crap out of me and it happens a few times in Pucked. Granted, Violet is partially to blame for putting herself in these situations–but Alex is there with her and should share some of the blame. Yet, Violet is the one who seems to get the brunt of other people’s judgment. These cringe-inducing scenes were tough to get through.
This was my first time reading anything by this author, so I’m hesitant to read anything else by her in the future. I came close to chalking up this book as a DNF, but managed to finish. I wish it had been edited more closely because I really wanted to like it, but unfortunately this is one of those cases where the book just didn’t work for me.
Rating: 2 stars