Friday YA: Off the Ice (Juniper Falls #1) by Julie Cross

Claire O’Connor’s back in Juniper Falls because of an all hands on deck family emergency. Helping get her family’s restaurant and sports bar back on solid footing after her father’s stroke is more important than being at school. Tate Tanley was her best friend’s little brother and when she catches sight of him she wonders where that little boy that she shared a secret with the night before she went to school went. Now he’s the goalie of their high school hockey team and all grown up and that secret brings them back together.

I recently read the third book in this series, On Thin Ice, when I got an ARC through NetGalley and was rewarded by reading a really good story! I immediately went to my local library to take a look at the other books in the series. Off the Ice is the first and it also didn’t disappoint. These characters are dealing with so much more than a high school romance. The stories are packed with emotional plots and Off the Ice’s is another doozy.

There were so many things I liked about Clair and Tate. Even though Claire always dreamed of a life outside of her small town of Juniper Falls, her family was the most important thing in her life and she dropped following her dreams to come home and help out when her father grew ill. I did struggle a little bit with her waffling over whether she should give Tate a chance but then we’d have lost a little bit of the tension that kept the story moving forward. Tate was a fabulous character. He was dealing with a dud of a father, pressure as the new goalie on the team, and a recent break up with his long time girlfriend. He was singleminded in his pursuit of both Claire and his game that you couldn’t help but admire how he was dealing with all of this pressure. I really liked how he helped Claire see her future both at school but also with him. They were well matched.

I love contemporary novels with a hint of romance that revolve around sports. Especially if they are actually playing the game! This novel had quite a bit of hockey being played which made it even more enjoyable to me. If that’s not your thing, I think you’ll really appreciate how these characters grow and become each others anchor through some of the crappy things that are happening in their lives. Either way, it’s a book to enjoy and I’ll be reaching for the second in the series next. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Off the Ice (Juniper Falls)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

Friday YA: On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls #3) by Julie Cross

In the city of Juniper Falls hockey reigns supreme. When Brooke Parker’s father goes to jail, she and her mother return to her mom’s home town to live with her grandmother. With her mother’s downward spiral into depression Brooke turns to hockey to take her mind of her troubles and joins the brand new girls hockey team. Jake Hammond, captain of the Varsity boys hockey team, finds himself on the wrong side of the law when a 100 year old hockey tradition goes wrong. As punishment he has to be the assistant coach to the girls hockey team and finds himself drawn to Brooke, a girl who has obviously never played hockey but has some serious talent.

On Thin Ice explores a lot of tough subjects; bullying, depression, and suicide but the novel does a great job of putting a spotlight on these problems and allowing it’s characters to work their way to a solution in a very real, unforced way. Brooke’s family has gone through some really tough times and her life has been turned upside down, including moving to a small town. When she meets Jake after witnessing his teams traditional pre-season hazing she fights an attraction to him and who wouldn’t? Jake is also immediately curious about the “new” girl and when he finds himself her coach they take the time to explore a new friendship but also to help each other work their way through a land mine of adult responsibilities and feelings. Julie Cross did a great job of portraying these scenarios and as an adult myself I forgot I was reading a teen romance. The emotional impact was that good.

If you like sports novels/romances, this is a great one! There’s a good bit of hockey being played and those sports scenes were very well written. I could picture the action and feel the tension in those on the ice moments. Sports action scenes are not easy to portray and it really felt like Julie Cross had either played the game or was a huge fan. It was that good!

I highly recommend this novel if you are looking for a YA contemporary romance. It has some serious subject matter but an uplifting ending. Even though this is the third book in the series, you don’t need to read the first two. I didn’t, but I’m definitely going back to read them now. I’ve found a new author to love, yeah! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Cross ties all the pieces (the romance, the hazing, parent issues) together to make a story that was both sizzly and heartfelt and left me hoping that this is not the last time that we get to visit Juniper Falls.” Bickering Book Reviews

“Overall, I just really loved On Thin Ice. I enjoyed the characters, the friendships, the romance, and the addictive writing. I really never wanted to put this one down. I recommend this one to fans of YA Contemporaries.” Stephanie’s Book Reviews

Click this link to purchase!* On Thin Ice (Juniper Falls)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate