ARC Review: Power Play by Avon Gale

Blurb:

29361143A freak accident during the Stanley Cup Playoffs put an end to Max Ashford’s hockey career. Despite everything, Max gets back into the game he loves—only this time, behind the bench as an assistant coach of the Spartanburg Spitfires, the worst team in the entire league. But nothing prepares him for the shock when he learns the new head coach is Misha Samarin, the man who caused Max’s accident.

After spending years guilt ridden for his part in Max’s accident, Russian native Misha Samarin has no idea what to do when he’s confronted with Max’s presence. Max’s optimism plays havoc with Misha’s equilibrium—as does the fierce attraction that springs up between them.

Not only must they navigate Misha’s remorse and a past he’s spent a lifetime trying to forget, but also a sleazy GM who is determined to use their history as a marketing hook. But when an unwelcome visitor targets a player, Misha revisits his darkest days, and that might cost him and Max the beginning they’ve worked so hard to build.

Add it on Goodreads.
Pre-order it on Dreamspinner Press.
You can find my review for Breakaway here and my review of Save of the Game is here.

My Review:

*A COPY OF THIS BOOK WAS PROVIDED BY THE AUTHOR IN RETURN OF AN HONEST REVIEW*

I loved, loved, LOVED this book!
Power Play is the third book in the Scoring Chances series. And these books just keep getting better and better. I loved Breakaway and Save of the Game, but this one is definitely my favourite of this series (so far). I don’t know how to write this review eloquently and without fangirling because it was just so, so good! And whatever I write for it won’t do it justice. But I’ll try. 😉

Power Play is different from the first two books because this time it’s not about two players but about two coaches, Misha Samarin and Max Ashford. And I loved the switch of point of view. While I really enjoyed reading the previous books out of the players perspective I found it fantastic to get a glimpse “behind the scenes”. Max and Misha are wonderful characters I loved spending time with as the got closer.

They never thought they’d see each other again, and yet on their first day on the job as coaches for the Spartanburg Spitfires they come face-to-face again.
It’s been five years since Misha was involved in an accident that ultimately ended Max’s career as professional hockey player. Something for which he still blames himself, although Max never thought he was responsible. It was an accident after all.
But because of their shared past the owner of the team, Jack Belsey, hires them both to increase ticket sales. Either by the team improving their game of by the drama around the way Max’s and in the end also Mishas career ended. He doesn’t really care as long as he makes money.

Working together is not easy at first because they’re both too damn stubborn and they won’t talk about what happened to try to get past it. It takes them a while but in the end they pull themselves together. They have a job to do after all. And the team really needs coaches that care because so far the Spartanburg Spitfires had no luck when it came to their coach.

“Was he, like Misha, pondering the strangeness of the universe that had brought them together as though it were determined to give them a story with a shared beginning instead of just a shared end?”

I loved everything about this book! I loved both Misha and Max but also the side characters like Isaac and Shawn; they really brought the story to life.
Although in the end Misha was my favourite. He’s kind of dark, broody, doesn’t like to talk much about his past and still blames himself for being responsible for how Max’s career ended. He doesn’t understand how Max is not angry with him or how he could even forgive him. He’s the polar opposite of Max and yet they’re absolutely perfect for each other.
Max is the kind of guy that never gives up and always tries to find another way. His hockey career ended abruptly and he could have given up, instead he started coaching.  He’s quirky and cute and so awesome, although he doesn’t see that himself. They balance each other out perfectly and I loved to see them both grow during the story.
Their chemistry is hot! Like really off the charts HOT! And although I don’t understand a word of russian (except for maybe “da” and a few not so nice words *g*) I definitely understand why Max loved it so much when Misha talked russian with him. *fans self*

As with the first two books, Power Play is really bi-positive and I loved how Avon Gale included a short conversation between Max and his brother about bi-erasure without it feeling like a lecture or out-of-place.

There’s a scene, and I won’t tell which one exactly, that made the Spartanburg Spitfires a team. Before they were guys playing ice hockey together, but at that point they became an actual team and I absolutely loved it. Avon Gales knows this sport and her knowledge and passion for it is noticeable in every word; in every, even the smallest of detail. And it’s also contagious. While reading this book and afterwards I found myself on youtube watching countless videos of angry goalies, happy goalies, pranks and bloopers.. I’ve lost so much time to it and don’t regret a second!

Power Play can be read as standalone, but I recommend you to read the first two books before you read this one because characters that featured in the previous books are mentioned or appear in this one. So it makes sense to know their story beforehand.

Highly, highly recommend it! I adore Avon and this series is one of my absolute favourites and I CAN’T WAIT for the next book!

Genre: Contemporary Orientation: Gay Pairing: M/M Publisher: Dreamspinner Press Review Tag: Part of a series Tag: Sports

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