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Review – Love and Other Games Anthology

Love and Other GamesPublisher: Swoon Romance
Publish Date: Out Now
How I got this book: eARC from authors

LOVE AND OTHER GAMES is a collection of four sexy new adult stories centered around athletes competing in the Winter Games by Ana Blaze, Melinda Dozier, Aria Kane, and Kara Leigh Miller.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

Let me first start by saying that I love and adore all things sports romance. And getting the chance to see some other sports that aren’t typically represented in the genre was such fun. However, when reading a novella, I find that I have a very, VERY, hard time believing in couples that say “I love you” after only a few days. Each and every one of these stories had that, and even more so, they all had a destined-mate feel to the story. That ruined the fun reading experience for me, and by the end of the 2nd or 3rd story, really negatively impacted my reading mojo.

Worth More Than Gold by Ana Blaze

Amy Pierce, the klutzy sister and manager of America’s Skating Sweetheart, is used to being invisible. But when a friend drags her to a party near the Olympic Village, Amy catches the eye of a sexy Norwegian ski jumper. It’s a magical night, but an awkward next morning has her running.

Everyone knows Erik Andresen’s best shot at an individual medal was back in 2010, before an injury pulled him from the competition. He’s there for his team, but a hot night and a remarkable final training session have him wondering if a gorgeous good-luck charm could give him another chance at the podium.

With a little bit of luck, these two might have a shot at something worth more than gold.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

While all the other stories in this anthology focus a lot on the mystical torch that is said to bring good luck to all the competitors, this story didn’t. I liked that it was more about Amy being Erik’s good-luck charm, and I liked how that worked out for their relationship. It was fun to read about a heroine who had some strong athletic talent, but gave it up because she knew her Olympic chances were slim to none.

I really liked that Amy was able to develop a deeper relationship with her younger sister, and those moments between them were some of my favorites. However, for me the romance started off with a bang (literally), and then somewhat fizzled out. Don’t get me wrong, the sexy times between these two were off the charts, but I never really understood what it was that pulled Amy and Erik to each other. Their chemistry was obvious to each other, but as a reader, I never really understood it. Also, given the fact that Amy was willing to pick up her life and move to another state because of a man she had known for just a few days was a little too out there for me.

All in all I thought this was a super cute story, and had some really beautiful parts to it. However, this was the last story in the anthology itself, so I was extremely put off by the insta-love and quick development of the relationship.
I give Worth More Than Gold a C

Trouble with Gold by Melinda Dozier

US snowboarder and notorious prankster, Ty (Trouble) Madsen is only getting a taste of his own medicine when his Olympic teammates shackle him to a fence wearing nothing but his boxers.

Reception and protocol volunteer, Nadia Hoffman, gets up close and personal with the sexy snowboarder to rescue him, but she’s not the kind of girl who lets her hormones get in her way. A professional performance could help her land her dream job at Olympics Committee Headquarters, but her new assignment supervising the rambunctious US Snowboarding Team is making that difficult. Can she see behind the snowman in the community center bathroom and into the warm heart of the man everyone calls Trouble?
*Blurb from Goodreads*

This was the first story in the anthology, and was a strong start to the anthology. I liked that Nadia was a volunteer for the Olympics, I thought it gave the story a different feel than most sports romance books I’ve read. I liked Ty, especially since he was so fun and carefree. Yet when it came to courting Nadia, he also went above and beyond to try and prove his devotion to her it. It was sweet, but again, the insta-love was a hard pill to swallow.

I also liked the fact that Nadia had to deal with some negative fallout from her family regarding her sudden relationship with Ty. I thought it was a great sub-plot to add in, and I wish that it would have been explored further within the story.
I give Trouble with Gold a B-

The Girl behind the Gold by Aria Kane

Greek aerial skier Lia Milonas’s parents are about to lose the family farm. Saving it means medaling and landing a huge sponsor. While her no-nonsense attitude has her well on her way to a medal, it hasn’t won her a place in fans’ hearts.

“Come back with a story that will make readers cry, or don’t come back.” This is what Brandon James’ boss told him before he left New York to cover the Winter Games for Moment Magazine. With a wink and a smile, he can charm his way into any invite-only party, but that career-making story is nowhere to be found – until he meets Lia.

The two strike a deal that should get them both what they want – but neither would have guessed they’d also find what they need.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I really liked the blurb of this story, and while some aspects of it were perfect, there were some that drove me crazy. I loved that Lia was so stern and serious, and that she was a little hurt by the fact that her public persona came across as bitchy instead of shy and professional about her sport. I could feel her desire to do anything and everything to get some sponsorships in order to secure her family’s future.

I liked Brandon as well, except for his little secret keeping from Lia. However, I thought he also put forth a pretty grand gesture in showing her just how sorry he was, and how much he wanted to patch things up between them. I really felt for them and their relationship, and was glad to see that there was no declaration of love, just a promise to try and work it out. That alone made this story my favorite of the anthology.
I give The Girl Behind the Gold a B

Ice Gold by Kara Leigh Miller

Colton Campbell thrives on the fast paced, adrenaline rushed lifestyle of being an Olympic hockey player.

Despite Brenna Jessup’s abhorrence for the games and the athletes, she’s hand-picked as the official photographer for the U.S. Olympic Hockey Team.

When a faux pas by Brenna almost costs Colton his career, she owes him. Too bad for her, Colton doesn’t want apologies — he wants retribution! And he knows just how to get it — and her — in the process.
*Blurb from Goodreads*

I loved the premise of this story, however the execution was a little weak. I thought Brenna’s reasons for hating athletes could have been developed more, and came across as a flimsy excuse. However, it was nice to see the “golden boy” be put in his place time and time again because Brenna refused to take his crap.

That being said, it also seemed like Brenna was quick to change her mind about athletes and Cole and jumped into bed with him quicker than should be normal. On top of that, these two seemed to fall in love the quickest out of all the couples, and I had a really hard time believing in it.
I give Ice Gold a C

 

All in all this anthology has some great parts (mainly getting to see more about the different winter sports) and some bad ones (hello insta-love gone overboard). While I thought all the stories had really strong and fun summaries, I also think there wasn’t enough execution for the stories to really work for me. Add in a few timeline errors between all four short stories, and this anthology didn’t live up to the expectation I had for it.
I give Love and Other Games a C-

By MinnChica

MinnChica can usually be found with her nose in a book (or nook), and can ALWAYS find a few minutes to read: stuck at a red light, sitting in the doctors office, on her lunch break. She's so addicted to reading that her family frequently threatens to host an intervention. Currently MinnChica is devouring every romance book she can get her hands on, especially ones that feature 'friends to lovers' stories. Some of her favorite authors currently are Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Meljean Brook, Nalini Singh and Susan Mallery.

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