Saturday, February 4, 2017

Audiobook ARC Review: Empty Net by Avon Gale

Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4)From the blurb:

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude. 
Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).

Heather's rating:

Avon Gale is on FIRE with this series, and each book wins me over more and more! If you are craving a hurt/comfort, angsty story with a hockey players and a virgin MC, look no further!

Empty Net was waaaaaaaay darker than I was anticipating, but that's okay. I was sort of expecting an enemies-to-lovers story about a closeted, jerky MC, but what I got was much... more. Warning: This book contains references to physical and emotional abuse, eating disorders, and a whole lot of pain and suffering.

Yeah, I know, this stuff is mentioned in the blurb, but I tend not to read those things. I saw AVON GALE and HOCKEY, and I knew I had to have it. I'm not usually a huge fan of lots of angst, but in this case, the angst was very well balanced. Isaac Drake was a lighter foil for Saint, and their chemistry and banter lightened the dark edges of the story.

What is important to note is though this book deals with issues far deeper than I was expecting, this book doesn't rely on plot devices like silly misunderstandings or endless pits of pain. The two MCs have their own form of effective communication, and I didn't want to bang my head even once over some silly scene or piece of dialogue.

And, you know I have to mention it, but we get a VIRGIN folks! Not just a virgin, but a never-been-kissed virgin! Score!! Yes, I have a thing for first-timers, and I LOVED the way Avon Gale handled this one! Plus, she made him demisexual, which I liked and I'm seeing more and more in M/M. One little niggle: The author makes it seem like demisexual is a complete sexuality, where, through extensive reading, I've been under the impression that you can be demi-heterosexual, demi-bi/pansexual, and demi-homosexual ( Thoughts?

In terms of the audiobook narration, I think Scott R. Smith did a great job, yet again. He had a unique manner of speaking, with pauses sometimes in awkward locations, but he does a fantastic job with the different voices (LOVE), and gives the narration his all. I'd listen to him any day of the week, and I've come to adore his voice for this series.

To all hockey fans, to all fans of hard-fought love stories, to all fans of hurt/comfort, I'd 100% recommend this story. I hope Avon Gale never stops writing about her hockey players because I want to never stop reading about them!

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Catch ya later!

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