Joint Review – Holiday on Ice (Play by Play #8.5) by Jaci Burton

Holiday on Ice cover image

Publisher: Intermix
Publish Date: November 18th
How we got this book: NetGalley

In this original holiday novella in the Play-By-Play series, New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton gives readers the gift of “plenty of romance, sexy men, hot steamy loving, and humor.” (Smexy Books)

Superstar hockey player Patrick “Trick” Niemeyer and dancer Stella Slovinski have picked up where they left off a year ago, resuming their hot, uncomplicated affair. Stella refuses to call it dating, or a relationship. But lately, Trick is looking for more…

Stella’s been burned before—in a relationship she never talks about—not with her family, not with her friends, and definitely not with Trick. But now it’s the holiday season and Trick is determined to give Stella his heart wrapped up in a bow. He knows Stella is the right woman for him, but he’ll have to melt the ice surrounding her heart to keep her from walking away.

*Blurb from Goodreads*

MinnChica: I love the Play-by-Play series, and getting back to the sport of hockey was what I was hoping for! 🙂 I loved Trick and Stella both, especially the way they both came into the relationship. Knowing they wanted the chance to be together again, but neither looking for a relationship. I absolutely love watching the hero and heroine realize that they are both head over heels for each other!!!

E: I also enjoyed the return to hockey. I thought Burton used an interesting and very enjoyable twist on the second chance at love trope with this particular set-up. Trick and Stella didn’t have the huge misunderstanding or family obligation etc which separated them in the beginning so when they met up again it was without angst but included a knowledge of how well they clicked. Watching the shift from pure physical enjoyment to the fear and joy of wanting more was a lot of fun.

MinnChica: I couldn’t agree more. I absolutely loved the way their relationship developed without a lot of stress or pressure or drama or angst. It was just the kind of romance where two people find each other after loosing touch and realize how perfect they are for one another. It was such a great romance that I found myself not caring about the other aspects of this series that usually have me giddy: the family ties, the sport themselves, and the bond between the guys who play together. For me, this book was 100% about Trick and Stella’s romance, and I thought it was wonderful!

E: I completely agree. Sometimes it can be extremely refreshing and relaxing to just sink into a story that is completely focused on the main characters without feeling like the world is lacking. I thought the lack of angst combined with Trick and Stella’s individual self-growth which brought them to the place of wanting a relationship really rounded out the story. From the moment when each started trying to figure out why they stopped seeing each other originally to realizing they wanted to break all the rules and start back up again I was hooked. Stella and Trick captured so much of my attention I think the usual outside dynamics Burton is known for in this series would have been a distractor. I also think if someone hasn’t tried the Play-by-Play series before, this is a great one to start because it doesn’t build on pre-existing characterization but does paint a great picture of this series.

MinnChica: All in all, I thought this was one of the better books in the series, even given the short length. Like E said, this would be the perfect place for someone who hasn’t read the series to start. I loved Trick and Stella together, and thought their romance was perfect, as was their individual growth as characters. This novella has me jonesing for the next in the series!!
I give Holiday on Ice an A

E: Like MinnChica I thought this was one of the stronger books in this series. I felt as if Burton distilled everything to the journey of two adults finding love together without any artificial barriers holding them back. Each had to make a conscious decision this was what they wanted as they grew. The way the tone of their relationship changed from what they had before to what they experienced in this story was clearly evident and yet didn’t come to the forefront. I really enjoyed this novella and I can’t wait to see what Burton has up her sleeve for the next couple.
I also give Holiday on Ice an A

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