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Rookie Mistake

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Rookie forward Isaac Rivera is still finding his footing in the big leagues where he’s no longer the best player on the roster. It’s a whole new world, especially now that several of his hockey idols have become teammates. Friends, even. There’s one who’s more than a hockey idol, though… and he might end up being more than a friend. Julien Landry is a powerhouse on the ice. Rookie forward Isaac Rivera is still finding his footing in the big leagues where he’s no longer the best player on the roster. It’s a whole new world, especially now that several of his hockey idols have become teammates. Friends, even. There’s one who’s more than a hockey idol, though… and he might end up being more than a friend. Julien Landry is a powerhouse on the ice. In eight years, he’s become one of the league’s top defensemen and the heartthrob everyone wants to bed. But fallout from a painful mistake as a rookie, followed by years of rough-and-tumble hookups, have him itching for something more. When a connection sparks between him and Isaac, he discovers what he’s been missing: someone he can trust with his body and his heart. As long as Isaac and Julien keep the heat between them off the ice, what could go wrong? But Julien’s past is never far behind him, and when it comes crashing in, he might lose everything—his career, his friends, and the first person he’s ever really loved. CW: discussions of past abuse and sexual assault


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Rookie forward Isaac Rivera is still finding his footing in the big leagues where he’s no longer the best player on the roster. It’s a whole new world, especially now that several of his hockey idols have become teammates. Friends, even. There’s one who’s more than a hockey idol, though… and he might end up being more than a friend. Julien Landry is a powerhouse on the ice. Rookie forward Isaac Rivera is still finding his footing in the big leagues where he’s no longer the best player on the roster. It’s a whole new world, especially now that several of his hockey idols have become teammates. Friends, even. There’s one who’s more than a hockey idol, though… and he might end up being more than a friend. Julien Landry is a powerhouse on the ice. In eight years, he’s become one of the league’s top defensemen and the heartthrob everyone wants to bed. But fallout from a painful mistake as a rookie, followed by years of rough-and-tumble hookups, have him itching for something more. When a connection sparks between him and Isaac, he discovers what he’s been missing: someone he can trust with his body and his heart. As long as Isaac and Julien keep the heat between them off the ice, what could go wrong? But Julien’s past is never far behind him, and when it comes crashing in, he might lose everything—his career, his friends, and the first person he’s ever really loved. CW: discussions of past abuse and sexual assault

30 review for Rookie Mistake

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mila ♡ (Semi-hiatus)

    ***3.5 rating*** "Bonne fête, Isaac. Mon coéquipier. Mon ami. Mon amour." Brief Summary: Rookie Mistake is an MM sports romance story centering around two hockey players, one a veteran (Julien Landry-27), and the other a rookie, named Isaac Rivera (22). The story has a lot of Canadian context, with Julien being from Quebec (yay Canadian representation) and speaking French from time to time but the team itself is American, (Pittsburgh Griffins). Isaac Rivera has always had a crush on the ***3.5 rating*** "Bonne fête, Isaac. Mon coéquipier. Mon ami. Mon amour." Brief Summary: Rookie Mistake is an MM sports romance story centering around two hockey players, one a veteran (Julien Landry-27), and the other a rookie, named Isaac Rivera (22). The story has a lot of Canadian context, with Julien being from Quebec (yay Canadian representation) and speaking French from time to time but the team itself is American, (Pittsburgh Griffins). Isaac Rivera has always had a crush on the veteran player and things seem to be in his favor when Julien returns his feelings. Throughout their relationship, the couple navigates some serious issues such as SA, being a couple in a hockey team, and forge a friendship with people who you know have your back, especially when things get tough. The story itself is not complete without a villain of course, but I shall not spoil that for those who have yet to read this story. In this book the reader will find romance, friendship, and some characters that will turn to surprise you. Worth the read? I shall discuss that next. Verdict : This was a buddy read with my gal, Gloria thanks for reading this long ass book with me lol.❤️ My overall view on this book is that it was an alright read. Nothing spectacular, predictable just like every other MM sports romance that has been released this year. However, not all hope is lost. I will explain. While, the book is overwhelmingly long (526 pages on kindle), the story itself had potential, the main characters, Isaac and Julien are very likeable and you do end up rooting for them but the way the story dragged on and on, made this a less enjoyable experience for me. This could have been easily wrapped up in 250 pages, there was no need for it to be this long. Readers lose interest when the interest has not been piqued early on and the story was quite boring in the beginning. It did not get interesting until 46% in. The romance was also very fast-paced, 10% in they get each other and have a "connection". Hell, 11% in things get spicy. I didn't mind it but the connection was poorly executed, there was no built up or tension, just how hot each MC thought the other was. Again, a better execution of their relationship, and a shorter length would have made this easily a 4.0 rating. They also had way too many sex scenes, I love a good sex scene especially if its BDSM, which was the case in this book but it became too repetitive and felt like a filler. I did enjoy Julien's vulnerability with Isaac, he did surprise me at times. A very loveable character overall, same with Isaac. The teammates were a nice touch too, especially Nikolai "Nikki" Sidorov and Elias Karlsson. The authors did a good job at establishing their unsaid tension and feelings, definitely piqued my interest for the second book, I will be reading that. Now having said all of that, do I recommend this? Kind of? I mean if you are okay with reading 500 pages and enjoy a fast paced romance then by all means go ahead. I did think it was an alright read, had much potential (not including the writing errors), but certainly could have been better. A missed opportunity for the authors. Do with that what you will, I am still gonna read the second book and for some reason even though this was a 3 star read I couldn't stop reading it lol🤡.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Iz

    Well, HELLO, worst book hangover of the year. It's nice to meet you. This book, oh god. It was gorgeous, angsty and romantic and heartfelt and tough and UGH, just 100% my jam and I'm pretty much in mourning now because I don't want to leave Isaac and Julien and their team and friends behind, EVER. I'm pretty sure this is going to end up in my top ten reads of the year, even though it's still April, and I'm also pretty sure that this book has stolen the top position for favourite sports romance I'v Well, HELLO, worst book hangover of the year. It's nice to meet you. This book, oh god. It was gorgeous, angsty and romantic and heartfelt and tough and UGH, just 100% my jam and I'm pretty much in mourning now because I don't want to leave Isaac and Julien and their team and friends behind, EVER. I'm pretty sure this is going to end up in my top ten reads of the year, even though it's still April, and I'm also pretty sure that this book has stolen the top position for favourite sports romance I've ever read. Yes, it was that good. Rookie Mistake was the perfect balance between light-hearted and "oh my god, my soul hurts". It literally has every single thing I love in a romance, and then some: banter and humour, a found-family that will leave you in tears (of joy), angst with a dash of hurt/comfort and another dash of "I have been unexpectedly whacked over the head with a shovel of feels", hockey (but not in an overwhelming-I-don't-know-the-rules-what-is-happening-way) and well-earned victories, and also, kink and heat and a romance that literally stole my breath away. Julien and Isaac were fantastic protagonists. I absolutely adored them, flaws and all. Isaac was endearing and protective and careful and also reeeally hot, the perfect gentlemen. He's got flaws and insecurities and he gets lost in his head a lot (100% relatable), but he still puts in the time to be better, to overcome his fears and to ask for help, and I admired him so damn much, start to finish. And Julien? God, where do I start. Julien's tough and snarky and equally protective of Isaac as Isaac is of him, but he's also messy and damaged and gritty and anxious, so insecure and vulnerable you'll find yourself wishing somebody would just whisk him away from everything. God, I was so proud of him. Their relationship was perfectly built, and it felt pretty damn realistic. There's drama for sure, and there's miscommunication and insecurities and self-sabotaging, like any other relationship, but what I really adored was the fact that both Isaac and Julien put in the time to be better, to act better, to know better. They talk, to each other and to others (well, Isaac more than Julien), and they research and they try to do better, and every single one of their missteps and misunderstandings are eventually talked about and that was such a refreshing thing to see in a romance. Sure, theirs isn't a perfect relationship, but it's 100% honest. And also, the kink and light D/s undertones? GOD, I adored their dynamic, inside and outside the bedroom. This is the second book I've read in a row where there's some kind of dynamic reversal with the MCs in the bedroom, where the opposite of what I was expecting happens, and I might just go looking for more. The side characters were as fantastic as the MCs. Darian and Julien and Isaac's family and team were fabulous, but I loved (I LOVED) Nisha and Elias. So damn much. I'd literally die for them. Even though they're not main characters (YET? One can hope, and possibly make a sacrifice to a moon goddess in the meantime), they're both so alive. So well-rounded and complex and they have such an interesting dynamic, with each other and with Julien and eventually with Isaac too. (view spoiler)[ Also, I'd sell my soul for a book about them: all the pining and bff-to-lovers slow-burn deliciousness, all the (not-so) secret sexual tension and THE CHEMISTRY? Gah, inject it in my veins, please and thank you. (hide spoiler)] The writing was seamless, the prose utterly gorgeous and it made me feel a ton of feels. This isn't my first L.A. Witt book, but I think I might need to go and find myself more Anna Zabo: I know they write a lot of kinky romances, so I'm pretty sure my bank account won't thank me when I'm done with their backlist *cackles with glee* Anyway, this book comes out in June. I was lucky (and, I'd say, blessed) to read an ARC of this wondrous book two months in advance, but now I can't wait for June, to have more people read it, so they can scream about it with me. And I'm also in desperate need of more. Worst book hangover ever. Ugh. Anyway, I totally recommend this. I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest review. __________________________ Re-read: GOD, I LOVE THIS BOOK, so so so much. Also, THE BLURB FOR ELIAS AND NISHA'S BOOK *preemptive sobbing* my absolute faves. I cannot wait for them to utterly destroy my sanity.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    DNF ~17% Don't listen to me, I'm cranky. I was super enjoying this until we got to the first sex scene, and then it just fell off a cliff. I'm all for subverting stereotypical expectations, but I like it a lot less when it feels like a bait & switch. I honestly felt like I was reading entirely different characters--their entire dynamic/interplay/banter etc. totally changed, and it felt really off-putting and bizarre. I am, once again, in the minority here, and maybe it's just this one first sex sc DNF ~17% Don't listen to me, I'm cranky. I was super enjoying this until we got to the first sex scene, and then it just fell off a cliff. I'm all for subverting stereotypical expectations, but I like it a lot less when it feels like a bait & switch. I honestly felt like I was reading entirely different characters--their entire dynamic/interplay/banter etc. totally changed, and it felt really off-putting and bizarre. I am, once again, in the minority here, and maybe it's just this one first sex scene that's very weird, but I didn't find it particularly hot, and I'm pretty sure this is just not the book I wanted to be reading. But like I said, I'm in a mood and everybody else who's read this so far seems to think it's the best thing since sliced bread, so YMMV.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Simona

    Felt like the other similar sport books, the reading appears totally heavy because of the lenght, despite the easy writing flow it did not capture me so much

  5. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I liked this one, but it was FAR longer than it needed to be. There were a lot of sections that had the characters treading over the same old ground in a marginally new way that could have all been cut for pacing.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kati ☆.* readsRomance

    dnf @50% started being annoyed with it, put it down in favor of another book, lost interest and was never motivated to pick it up again.

  7. 4 out of 5

    💥Nicole 💥

    DNF .. This was just bad..

  8. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Co-written with LA Witt. Out on June 28th. 150,000-words. m/m. Rep: pansexual, gay. Nonbinary minor character. Content notes under the spoiler tag. (view spoiler)[ Descriptions and discussions of past sexual assault and abuse, plus mental abuse and threats. This is the big content advisory for this book. Other notes: on page sex, light kink, hair-pulling/rough sex, alcohol use, on page hockey violence (fights), mentions of blood (from hockey fights & highsticking), mentions of vomiting, fear of fly Co-written with LA Witt. Out on June 28th. 150,000-words. m/m. Rep: pansexual, gay. Nonbinary minor character. Content notes under the spoiler tag. (view spoiler)[ Descriptions and discussions of past sexual assault and abuse, plus mental abuse and threats. This is the big content advisory for this book. Other notes: on page sex, light kink, hair-pulling/rough sex, alcohol use, on page hockey violence (fights), mentions of blood (from hockey fights & highsticking), mentions of vomiting, fear of flying, threats of being outed, gambling (playing slots for a little bit) (hide spoiler)]

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen in Oslo

    2.5 stars I gotta say, this one bummed me out. I've only read one Anna Zabo before -- the first in their Takeover series -- but I really enjoyed it. And as is evident by my GR shelves, I have an extraordinarily high tolerance for hockey romance. So my expectations for this were in the medium-to-high range. And, well. You win some, you lose some. The main problem was that this was a 500-page book that should have been a 200-page book. There was no subtext. Everything was text. So. Much. Text. Here' 2.5 stars I gotta say, this one bummed me out. I've only read one Anna Zabo before -- the first in their Takeover series -- but I really enjoyed it. And as is evident by my GR shelves, I have an extraordinarily high tolerance for hockey romance. So my expectations for this were in the medium-to-high range. And, well. You win some, you lose some. The main problem was that this was a 500-page book that should have been a 200-page book. There was no subtext. Everything was text. So. Much. Text. Here's how it went (over and over again): MC 1 interior monologues about something he wants to say or do. Usually at some length. MC 1 says or does the thing he wants to say or do. We get the dialogue or action. MC 1 interior monologues AGAIN about the thing he just said or did, often with a platitude along the lines of "communication is hard but I'm glad we talked" or an entirely unfounded worry along the lines of "that thing worked out but I'm still not convinced I deserve him because he's so wonderful and I'm not", etc etc. New chapter, switch POV, and WE GET THE WHOLE PROCESS AGAIN FROM MC 2. Too much!! Way too much!! And while the MCs in Takeover made some dumb-ass decisions, they felt like adults. I read them as adults. They were grown people. These two read much more NA-y, which age-wise is correct for Isaac (who's only 22), but which Julien, who's been playing professionally for 8 years, really should have aged out of. They just have this young, dumb, insecure feel about them that I couldn't really connect to. And the way they acted in the relationship and interacted with each other had that same young, dumb, insecure tone about it ("does he really like me? Little old me? With my hot bod and extreme wealth and professional competence? What is there to like about meeeeeeee?"). I mean, yes, hot, wealthy, competent people can be insecure, whatevs, but it's a bit zzzzzzzzz for the rest of us. The thing is, I enjoyed the fact that this is a hockey story where homophobia is actively ostracized by players, coaches, and fans, and where coming out to the team is more about workplace romance than being gay (Isaac) and pansexual (Julien). I enjoyed the very close relationship between Nikki, Elias, Julien, and Isaac. I enjoyed the way Julien's Tragic Backstory eventually played out, with the Legitimately Very Gross and Bad Guy (props for a convincing villain) getting his much deserved comeuppance. What I didn't enjoy was Julien interior monologuing about how he never wants to think about his Tragic Backstory, it's behind him, live in the now! -- over and over and over again, like yes, we get it Julien. Because it's not just unnecessary; it makes me feel patronized to. I mean, we've all read books before? We need one, max two references to a Tragic Backstory in order to know that it's an undetonated bomb that's gonna go off at some point to cause maximum damage to the current relationship? Harping on it repeatedly without taking any action (like going to therapy or, call me bananas, talking about it to your new partner or close friends) is just super-repetitive and irritating and *grumble*. Because I don't think our reaction to the aforementioned bomb going off is supposed to be, FINALLY, MY GOD, COULD YOU PLEASE DEAL WITH THIS LIKE AN ADULT NOW??? Which, uh. Was mine. The hockey stuff was good, though.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    My damn this book is awesome! Very well written book with all the feels! It’s got all the emotions! All. Of. Them. Hurt, comfort, sensual, angst, joy, sadness, anxiety, trepidation, hope, all of them…. The dynamic is not what you would initially expect but it works so well. The men definitely have layers underneath their personas. Broody and broken and Strong. Don’t underestimate either MC!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Joyfully Jay

    A Joyfully Jay review. 4.5 stars Rookie Mistake is a fun, sweet, steamy, and heartfelt story that gives a nice balance between the couple’s relationships and the sport they’ve dedicated their lives to. Despite Isaac and Julien being teammates who decide to keep the relationship a secret, there isn’t a lot of drama around the decision. The story is character focused and mostly follows the natural progression of their relationship, Dom/sub dynamics, and season. At a whopper 500+ words, I was impres A Joyfully Jay review. 4.5 stars Rookie Mistake is a fun, sweet, steamy, and heartfelt story that gives a nice balance between the couple’s relationships and the sport they’ve dedicated their lives to. Despite Isaac and Julien being teammates who decide to keep the relationship a secret, there isn’t a lot of drama around the decision. The story is character focused and mostly follows the natural progression of their relationship, Dom/sub dynamics, and season. At a whopper 500+ words, I was impressed that it doesn’t feel that long; the pacing is good overall and aided by how natural the writing style and dialogue feel. I’m also always pretty stoked when a story is big on communication for its characters and derived oodles of warm feelings from this element as well. Neither man has relationship experience and also incorporating BDSM into their sex life means communication is vital to making it work as lovers and teammates. Read Jovan’s review in its entirety here.

  12. 4 out of 5

    NikNak

    DNF @ 46% This book is long, far too long. I liked some of it , it definitely had some good potential but it felt like these MCs were quickly drawn together into quite a serious relationship and then just pages and pages of no real substance. Sadly I had to DNF because I was bored.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Kaje Harper

    I enjoy hockey romances to begin with, and when the characters are interesting and complex, that's even better. Isaac is a talented but not stellar rookie forward in his first season in the pros. He's working hard, trying to prove he belongs on an NHL team, trying to celebrate victories and agonizing over his mistakes. He's a worrier, certain that putting a foot wrong may end up in him being sent back down, and while his teammates- men he idolized not very long ago- reassure him that everyone ma I enjoy hockey romances to begin with, and when the characters are interesting and complex, that's even better. Isaac is a talented but not stellar rookie forward in his first season in the pros. He's working hard, trying to prove he belongs on an NHL team, trying to celebrate victories and agonizing over his mistakes. He's a worrier, certain that putting a foot wrong may end up in him being sent back down, and while his teammates- men he idolized not very long ago- reassure him that everyone makes mistakes, he can't relax. The last thing he needs is an inappropriate crush on star defenseman Julian Landry. He doesn't even know if Julian is gay or bi. The league is more open to gay players than it was, but the closet is still a comfortable place to be. But when he and Julian strike sparks off each other, neither one backs down. Their relationship begins about sex, and well-hidden, but there are things about Julian that puzzle Isaac. Julian likes to be submissive in bed, something that sends relatively-inexperienced Isaac scrambling for information and guidance. And yet, Julian's reactions suggest that all is not well, between them or in his past. Isaac wants to be everything Julian needs, but that's not as simple as treating him right in bed. I appreciated that Julian had a past he's escaped but not overcome. That he sometimes self-sabotaged and that he didn't feel able to explain to Isaac where he was coming from. The long shadow cast by emotional abuse felt realistic, and tangled up with Julian's submissive tendencies. The sex between the characters added to their relationship dynamics, although there were more sex scenes than the story perhaps needed. It's a long book, but I appreciated the length, giving time for these two men to work out who they were to each other, and how. (And they talked to each other - I do love communication.) The best friend teammates were great, and beg for a story of their own. Julian's family was a cute note. (And yes, "mononcle" one word is how Quebecois kids refer to their uncles, sometimes abbreviated to "mononc'" - the smattering of Julian's French through here was a fun touch.) Isaac was a bit perfect and a few of the details of how things played out with Julian's abuser were occasionally more satisfying than realistic, but there is a feel-good ending, and by then I was cheering hard for these two characters, and glad to see them reach their HEA.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tess

    Paused at 25%. Not what I was expecting. No slow burn and lots of BDSM sex.

  15. 4 out of 5

    L.A. Witt

    Available June 28.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Simply Love Book Reviews

    Sigh. I’m in love with this new series. I just finished this book earlier in the day, and I already miss having all of those hockey boys in my life. I adored this story, the feelings, the whole hockey aura. But most of all, I loved the characters. LA Witt is a new-to-me author, but I’ve read everything Ana Zabo has written, and this book with their combined efforts was wonderful. My favorite thing about Ana Zabo’s books is their ability to make the characters so real. This development is almost ar Sigh. I’m in love with this new series. I just finished this book earlier in the day, and I already miss having all of those hockey boys in my life. I adored this story, the feelings, the whole hockey aura. But most of all, I loved the characters. LA Witt is a new-to-me author, but I’ve read everything Ana Zabo has written, and this book with their combined efforts was wonderful. My favorite thing about Ana Zabo’s books is their ability to make the characters so real. This development is almost artful in the way they are able to take these creations that only exist in their mind and make them just as much flesh and blood as anyone I know. Knowing that I’ve just finished this book and these guys are not waiting for me to pick them up again in a few minutes makes me feel like I’ve lost friends I’ve gotten to know so intimately, and they’re going on with their lives, without me! Julien and Isaac made me just want to melt into a puddle of goo at how perfectly they fit one another. The rookie player who met his idol in real life and found the man underneath the famous player to be one truly worth worshiping. And the seasoned pro that met the man who was able to see beneath the mask he wore and see the vulnerability that lay beneath. Their relationship gutted me in its sincerity, and I can’t wait to see them again to know what has been happening to them. It wasn’t only the relationship of the main characters that hooked me, but Elias and Nikki as well. The depth of the friendship and caring between these four people had me wanting my own Russian/Swedish cheering squad. Rookie Mistake was touching and sad and sexy and sweet. It was filled with clear, open lines of communication, friends that went above and beyond to care for those they loved, and big, puppy-like hockey hunks that made me want to fling myself onto the ice. I expected no less when I saw who had written this story, and now I have another author whose works I need to delve into as well. Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten

    Julien’s damaged. Isaac’s learning love and kink. Thoughtful, hot romance.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Edga

    Great story, it's dark in parts, with mention of both physchological and emotional abuse, but that's exactly what makes it so compelling. Julian is so broken by his past, and that shows clearly in his behaviour. He comes across as confident and cocky, when he is extremely emotionally scarred and vulnerable. The authors describe convincingly the conflict and the difficulty in getting away from the people and situations that have hurt you. The secondary characters in the story were so well written Great story, it's dark in parts, with mention of both physchological and emotional abuse, but that's exactly what makes it so compelling. Julian is so broken by his past, and that shows clearly in his behaviour. He comes across as confident and cocky, when he is extremely emotionally scarred and vulnerable. The authors describe convincingly the conflict and the difficulty in getting away from the people and situations that have hurt you. The secondary characters in the story were so well written, one thing Julian has going for him is the support he receives from his friends and team mates. Isaac, his love interest, is perfect for his lost soul, giving Julian the strength and support he needs. A good read, about facing life's baggage, with heavy moments but in between there are moments of laughter and steamy sex making the whole thing more enjoyable.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    The world we want to live in What a journey. This is a long read, particularly for a sports romance; there's so much for Julien to work through though, and the pacing is mostly managed really well so there were only a couple of moments where I found the pace dragged a little. The chemistry and emotional connection between Julien and Isaac is palpable, with a lot of high heat interactions. I adored the way Isaac gives Julien space, never putting pressure on him to open up before he's ready; I also The world we want to live in What a journey. This is a long read, particularly for a sports romance; there's so much for Julien to work through though, and the pacing is mostly managed really well so there were only a couple of moments where I found the pace dragged a little. The chemistry and emotional connection between Julien and Isaac is palpable, with a lot of high heat interactions. I adored the way Isaac gives Julien space, never putting pressure on him to open up before he's ready; I also love the little moments where you see how much Isaac appreciates Julien's support in return. As I said, Julien has a lot to work through and it's really tough to read at times, but this just makes the ending so much more enjoyable. There's a lot of "world we wished me lived in" positivity here; it's a world where no one bats an eye about queer teammates, there's little to no homophobia and the bad guys get what's coming to them. I'm really excited to read the next book in the series as all the side characters were so full of life.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rhode

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It’s a long soft story, with everyone being kind and super emotionally mature. (In fact, the 22 year old hero feels more like 32 or even 42.) Our heroes hook up quickly, then settle into adoring each other without a hitch. The only challenge comes quite late in the story and it is an external one - one of the heroes has an abusive past lover, who he’s still getting over. However, now that IRL womens’ metoo complaints have often had relatively little impact on many male abusers’ careers, and we’ve It’s a long soft story, with everyone being kind and super emotionally mature. (In fact, the 22 year old hero feels more like 32 or even 42.) Our heroes hook up quickly, then settle into adoring each other without a hitch. The only challenge comes quite late in the story and it is an external one - one of the heroes has an abusive past lover, who he’s still getting over. However, now that IRL womens’ metoo complaints have often had relatively little impact on many male abusers’ careers, and we’ve all just witnessed the devastation of the Depp/Heard court case, I am having a hard time enjoying a story about a wealthy, handsome, white male athlete who gets his own former abuser cancelled. Women are failing in our own fight against male abuse. The story of a man winning the same fight doesn’t make me feel better. It just makes me reflect on the unfairness of it all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Crisana

    This one is tricky to review. I don't really write many reviews and when I do they are for me to remember what I liked (or disliked) in the book and nothing else. But this book gave me all the feels which I am having a hard time to process. I don't really like BDSM or power play but in here it was very light and I did not mind it. I really liked the characters and their growth, even if they developed the opposite of what I predicted. The sports bit is nothing new and even though I devour these, This one is tricky to review. I don't really write many reviews and when I do they are for me to remember what I liked (or disliked) in the book and nothing else. But this book gave me all the feels which I am having a hard time to process. I don't really like BDSM or power play but in here it was very light and I did not mind it. I really liked the characters and their growth, even if they developed the opposite of what I predicted. The sports bit is nothing new and even though I devour these, I still don't know much about the sports itself, so even if something is not accurate, it never pulls me out of the story. It was quite a long book and I did find myself needing breathing space from it at around 70-ish%. Also, the evil character was nothing new, even if it developed slightly different to the usual as well. I think overall I was meant to just like this book and move on to the next but ended up loving it and I just can't put my finger on the reasons why. But at the end of the day a book that brings all these feelings, needs to be a 5* for me. Definitely can't wait for the next book as I absolutely loved Nisha & Elias.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tina K

    I didn’t want this to end. Loved freeking everything about it and can’t wait for the next book in the series. Got this as a Kindle Unlimited but went back and purchased it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

    Advanced Reader Copy Review An absolute roller coaster of a story, with well-developed main *and* side characters and steamy sex scenes and emotional upheavals and pure romance! There were several moments that made me cackle out loud, even more that made my heart absolutely feel like it'd swollen to twice its normal size, and even MORE that made my blood pressure reach way unhealthy levels. I absolutely already can't wait for Book 2 (and others if there are any more coming). There's definitely at Advanced Reader Copy Review An absolute roller coaster of a story, with well-developed main *and* side characters and steamy sex scenes and emotional upheavals and pure romance! There were several moments that made me cackle out loud, even more that made my heart absolutely feel like it'd swollen to twice its normal size, and even MORE that made my blood pressure reach way unhealthy levels. I absolutely already can't wait for Book 2 (and others if there are any more coming). There's definitely at least one relationship that would make an excellent follow-up!

  24. 4 out of 5

    S.K.

    There was a lot I liked about this book. The characters were solid and distinct, the wordplay between the characters was brilliant and the sex was off the charts hot. In the first half of the story, it flowed very well with the relationship between the two leads growing organically with palpable chemistry – Julian and Isaac were hot enough to melt the ice. I wasn’t expecting the BDSM aspect of things and thought the research that went into it on-page was awesome – in this day and age, where else There was a lot I liked about this book. The characters were solid and distinct, the wordplay between the characters was brilliant and the sex was off the charts hot. In the first half of the story, it flowed very well with the relationship between the two leads growing organically with palpable chemistry – Julian and Isaac were hot enough to melt the ice. I wasn’t expecting the BDSM aspect of things and thought the research that went into it on-page was awesome – in this day and age, where else are you really going to get your information in the first instance? The Landry family reminded me very much of my family when I was younger – absolute chaos, noise and love. It was really lovely to see that on the page and it was extremely well done. And yes, there were times that finding a place to hide and just breathe was essential! Nikki and Elias were amazing and it’s no surprise to me that they form the basis of book 2 because it was more than obvious that there was something between the two of them. So much so that a couple of times, my mouth dropped open with something Nikki did as it felt out of left field – like, how dare he! I imagine we’ll hear all about that behaviour in the next book. I didn’t like Julian’s lack of communication over the darker issues. It was understandable initially – he had no way of knowing how deep his connection to Isaac was going to be. But the further into the story we got, it made little sense to me that he wouldn’t explain even just a little more about the situation in his past when it was so obviously messing up his present and potentially his future. The subject matter was handled competently and in a satisfying fashion, with good consideration to the current climate. I was disappointed that the supporting characters didn’t push for Julian to get some therapy after the situation in his past – they were so supportive of him that it seemed strange that they wouldn’t encourage him to do that. That felt very much like it belonged in a book from years ago – therapy and counselling wasn’t so much the norm then. It was a little hockey heavy, although it feels weird complaining that a hockey romance has too much hockey in it. I enjoyed it but got a little lost – possibly because it feels like ice hockey isn’t as big a deal over here in the UK? And the book was far too long. I understand the need to build tension, establish the relationship and show the effect of the past on the present, but it went on for too long and got repetitive in the end. It lost me a few times because I felt like it was going round and round in circles and I almost wanted to shout at the characters. I’m really torn on the rating because of that – the story was good, the sex was brilliant, the characters were engaging and well written but it felt like it was dragged on unnecessarily. I’ve not read any Anna Zabo before and am going to try some more of their books this weekend. I would recommend reading it because it was enjoyable as long as you heed the trigger warnings and take into account how long the book is.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    DNF 36% and not sure if i'm willing to consider picking it back up (if you know me, I hate leaving a book unfinished no matter how much I hate it) It's far too long. Don't get me wrong, I often wish books were longer but this is not the case for this book. I just kept wishing it would get to the point. Considering how loved this book is by other reviewers, I have hopes that it improves the further along you get. Not currently in the mood to find out though. Cons - very long and repeatedly returns to DNF 36% and not sure if i'm willing to consider picking it back up (if you know me, I hate leaving a book unfinished no matter how much I hate it) It's far too long. Don't get me wrong, I often wish books were longer but this is not the case for this book. I just kept wishing it would get to the point. Considering how loved this book is by other reviewers, I have hopes that it improves the further along you get. Not currently in the mood to find out though. Cons - very long and repeatedly returns to the same points and concerns without adding anything new. Such as one mc constantly monologuing about how unsure and inexperienced they are. I could have justified it and stuck it out IF the book had been 200 pages. This book is double that. Gets very boring very quickly. - not really a con but a complaint. the emphasis on 'communication is good'. i get that is a point the author is trying to make and plays into the bdsm stuff. very important, yes. but it was so frustrating to have it brought up so many times in similar situations. - the relationship starts almost straight away which i found odd considering the hints towards a previously abusive relationship for Julian and the parallels between the two relationships with the rookie&veteran angle. - that first sex scene was unexpected. i didn't realise the book would have bdsm before i bought it which is my fault so it certainly took me by surprise. I also felt like Julian's personality was a bit inconsistent with what i was reading - this might just be me, but i kept getting confused between who's pov i was reading because i couldn't always find distinctive differences between Issac and Julian - not a con but kind of funny - Julian being nicknamed king. i must confess that anytime Julian was called king i kept imaging king julian saying his dialogue (yes, that king julian)

  26. 4 out of 5

    HMS

    Rookie Mistake by L.A. Witt and Anna Zabo. I went into this book as a big fan of L.A. Witt's books, so I know from the start I'd like it. Steamy romance, hockey - what's not to like? Isaac and Julien are two young NHL hockey players. Julien has already been playing for several years and Isaac is a rookie - a rookie who's always admired and had a huge crush on Julien. As the story goes on, Isaac is concerned about his playing during his rookie year and worries about being sent down to the minors. Rookie Mistake by L.A. Witt and Anna Zabo. I went into this book as a big fan of L.A. Witt's books, so I know from the start I'd like it. Steamy romance, hockey - what's not to like? Isaac and Julien are two young NHL hockey players. Julien has already been playing for several years and Isaac is a rookie - a rookie who's always admired and had a huge crush on Julien. As the story goes on, Isaac is concerned about his playing during his rookie year and worries about being sent down to the minors. Julien, a solid player, deals with the worries he feels about becoming just like the man who messed him up and treated him poorly during his rookie year. He doesn't want to hurt someone he cares about the same way he was hurt. Fortunately, they both have a fantastic support system with friends and family. I love Elias and Nikki and hope they get their own books. Several other characters I'd like to see again as well. That kind of support network is the only thing that collectively got them through each other - that and the neverending feels from Isaac. Throughout the book, the relationship builds between Isaac and Julien, making me fall in love with them both. The writing pulled me into the story as if I were there at the locker room with them both or behind the glass at every game. The characters are so warm and complex and the story so heartfelt, I want them to be real life people I can get to know. As for the steam... (pausing to fan myself) damn those two men are hot! If I didn't already love it, I'd be an absolute hockey fan by the end of this book. It's #1, so I can only assume there will be more. (Thank goodness!) In the meantime, I'm off to watch my CBJ! If this is not your first ever L.A. Witt/Anna Zabo novel, you're probably already rubbing your hands together in eager anticipation. If this is your first book by these talented authors, you're in for a real treat! I received an ARC from the authors in exchange for an honest review.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sari

    This was my first Anna Zabo, but I don’t imagine it will be my last. A lovely hockey fairytale, 3.75⭐️I think. I did spend a fairly large part of the book a bit anxious about what would happen. WHO gives us MCs that get together and are loved up and communicating from about 10% onwards?? Surely that way lies mega conflict city! And of course there was conflict, more internal and with others out there in the world than between the main couple though. Beware of the CWs for sexual and emotional abu This was my first Anna Zabo, but I don’t imagine it will be my last. A lovely hockey fairytale, 3.75⭐️I think. I did spend a fairly large part of the book a bit anxious about what would happen. WHO gives us MCs that get together and are loved up and communicating from about 10% onwards?? Surely that way lies mega conflict city! And of course there was conflict, more internal and with others out there in the world than between the main couple though. Beware of the CWs for sexual and emotional abuse, coercive control and gaslighting. Mainly historical but present and reverberating in the present. However, i felt this storyline was sensitively and respectfully handled and balanced our by the wholesome happiness elsewhere. Satisfying resolution too. I didn’t know this was the first in a series but felt all the way the story was also heading towards Nikki and Elias and their friendship/likely relationship. Really enjoyed this setting where the conflict was not about sexual orientation or being the first out gay athlete. This was a relationally oriented sports romance. Maybe don’t come here for huge amounts of hockey content though the game is of course present as a framing device.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Stein

    Great book with wonderful characters. I loved both Julien and Issac, as well as all their friends, family, and teammates. (Fingers crossed for a certain pair as book 2!) Julian had a ton of trauma (please be aware of CW for past sexual and emotional abuse), and it was heartbreaking to see him wrestle with the consequences. But at the same time, Issac was so there for him, and so kind and caring. It worked perfectly with their sub/dom relationship, where there was never the slightest doubt that J Great book with wonderful characters. I loved both Julien and Issac, as well as all their friends, family, and teammates. (Fingers crossed for a certain pair as book 2!) Julian had a ton of trauma (please be aware of CW for past sexual and emotional abuse), and it was heartbreaking to see him wrestle with the consequences. But at the same time, Issac was so there for him, and so kind and caring. It worked perfectly with their sub/dom relationship, where there was never the slightest doubt that Julien was safe and Issac would see to his needs. This book is really long, with tons of sex, and a plot heavily based on the very real problem of sexual assault in athletics, so it might not be for everyone. But I loved it and recommend it for those who like high heat sports romance. And as a hockey fan/player/coach, I really enjoyed how well-done the hockey aspects of the book were. And the fake NHL team mascots amused me greatly. (Seriously, is Griffins from the Grand Rapids Griffins? Asking for a Detroit fan.) I did read this in audiobook, and want to add that the narrator did a great job with the voices and accents. They truly sounded like real hockey players. I'd recommend listening if you can.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Super sweet romance between a pan Quebecois hockey star and a gay 22 year old rookie set in Pennsylvania. I love how Anna Zabo cares for their characters, they are always super gentle with them in a way that feels really safe and caring. My only complaint is that I think this book could have been really snappy and tight and suspenseful, but it dragged quite a bit especially in the last third. I loved how the authors led up to the next book, I'm dying to know what happens with those characters. C Super sweet romance between a pan Quebecois hockey star and a gay 22 year old rookie set in Pennsylvania. I love how Anna Zabo cares for their characters, they are always super gentle with them in a way that feels really safe and caring. My only complaint is that I think this book could have been really snappy and tight and suspenseful, but it dragged quite a bit especially in the last third. I loved how the authors led up to the next book, I'm dying to know what happens with those characters. CW: sexual assault, abusive relationship, see spoiler for specifics. (view spoiler)[Julien was in a toxic/abusive relationship with an older hockey player when he was a rookie. That player, Travis, was 30 to Julien's 19 and continues to send him abusive messages and intimidate him in person on the ice. Julien describes how Travis got him drunk and assaulted him then controlled him through verbal/psychological abuse. (hide spoiler)]

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julia

    Giving it 3 stars because I'm in a generous mood and at some points I actually really enjoyed this book. But man oh man was it long. Unnecessarily, cumbersomely long. If you axed one of the five million sex scenes and one of the thirty million interior monologues about nothing at all this would be a satisfying 250 pager. Overall, and despite the dragging length, this was fine. I enjoyed Isaac, who really was too sweet and perfect, and Julien, who was also sweet and perfect but a bit more messed Giving it 3 stars because I'm in a generous mood and at some points I actually really enjoyed this book. But man oh man was it long. Unnecessarily, cumbersomely long. If you axed one of the five million sex scenes and one of the thirty million interior monologues about nothing at all this would be a satisfying 250 pager. Overall, and despite the dragging length, this was fine. I enjoyed Isaac, who really was too sweet and perfect, and Julien, who was also sweet and perfect but a bit more messed up. I enjoyed their teammates and families, even if everything being so sweet so happy so accepting all the time made me roll my eyes. The villain was comically one dimensional, like a serial killer antagonist in a screamer movie. Most conflicts resolved incredibly easily which made the story feel even longer for the lack of tension.

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