(Note from Ali: Melanie Ting has sweetly sent me a few “guest reviews” in the subject of her own books, HOCKEY! In view of her benevolence and predilictions… I have named her reviews “SIN BIN”–to those of you lost to the world of hockey it’s where you go when you’ve been naughty and are on time-out. This is a play on words… Mel’s not in trouble, she’s actually superstar! Thanks, Mel for being a peach. Baskets of kittens and buckets of kisses. <3)
Okay, it’s the return of the Substitute Reviewer. (It’s me, Melanie Ting, have you already forgotten the good times we shared? Damn it, I thought we really connected. No wonder you never called.) While Ali lies on the sofa, surrounded by nurse cats, I am reviewing books for her. However, I am a writer, not a reviewer. In fact, I don’t know how reviewers do their job. If I enjoy a book, I get so involved in the story I forget everything else. Afterwards, all I can say is: “I loved it!” And I loved Kate Willoughby’s On The Surface.
On The Surface from Carina Press is her first hockey romance, and it’s a playoff winner. Here’s the blurb:
NHL player Tim Hollander lost his temper one time and threw a water bottle at an abusive fan. After “Bottlegate,” he’s traded to the San Diego Barracudas, where he’ll need to keep the bad publicity to a minimum while proving he can still compete with the younger guys on the ice.
Erin Collier is a pediatric nurse who’s never seen a hockey game, but gets in line for Tim’s autograph at a PR event in hopes of impressing the doctor she has a crush on. When an obnoxious fan gets pushy toward Erin, Tim rushes to defend the pretty stranger, throwing a punch in the process.
Grateful for the rescue, Erin agrees to stand by Tim during the resulting press conference and host him at a hospital charity event. Their chemistry is palpable, and soon their lives are intertwined. But Erin doubts a hockey player is capable of anything resembling a real relationship. And if Tim can’t get her to see beyond what’s on the surface, they’ll never last longer than a single season…
Well, you already know I loved this book, so I’ll tell you why so you can decide whether we have similar tastes. Do you like cats? Well then, we do have similar tastes!
But seriously, I like a little realism in my romances. Who can read when your eyes keep rolling to the back of your head? Erin and Tim’s romance is a fun ride, but On the Surface keeps it real. There is instant attraction, but not insta-love. You can actually see why they like each other and how their relationship develops. Best of all, they actually discuss their problems rather than storming off in a cloud of drama. And although it may matter only to me, the hockey part is very accurate.
Most importantly, it’s funny. I’ve never met Kate in person, but I suspect she’s a giggler. Because her book certainly made me giggle. The first chapter alone is hilarious as three hockey players discuss how choosing their jersey number is connected to important sexual events in their lives. She portrays those all-guy locker room discussions in a way I imagine is very accurate. (But I am willing to hang out in locker rooms to make sure she’s correct, especially ones with attractive hockey players.)
Kate’s writing style is witty and sassy. I hate romances that take themselves so seriously that they get bogged down in the drama. On The Surface is as bright and sunshiny as a California beach. Oh, but hot too. As hot as lying under a duvet on a summer night with two cats on top of you. Because that has happened to me, and it’s hot. Kate’s hero, Tim, is the right combination of tender, protective, and tough. He’s been through enough trouble in his life to make him sweetly vulnerable despite his athletic fame. I think Ali would definitely choose him for a book boyfriend.
So, if you’d enjoy a sports romance that leaves you smiling. I recommend On The Surface. It’s under $4.00! Bargoon!
Kate’s book just came out a month ago and is getting raves from reviewers far more experienced than me. She’s writing a series about the San Diego Barracudas, so if you get hooked, your next fix will be up in August.
Stay tuned for my next installment, when I’ll talk to an indie author of hockey romances. Meantime, if you’re promising to call again, here’s my number. No, wait—why are you leaving without the cocktail napkin with my digits?
Purchase On The Surface:
Kate Willoughby Web Tracks:
Kate Willoughby on All The Things Inbetween:
Meet Your Reviewer: Melanie Ting
“I’m Mel, and I don’t want you to read my book. Hmmm, maybe I should rephrase that a little: I don’t want you to read my book unless you are sure it’s exactly the kind of book you would like.”
Errrm… Yes well, that is the introduction Mel originally sent me and why I became her fairy godmother; her PR sucks. Mel doesn’t know that while being sick all I do is click through books like they are channels on book TV and I’ve started Fresh Air. It’s really pretty damn great. She’s a great storyteller and from the reviews and interviews she’s contributed to All The Things Inbetween she’s once more underestimating her own talents.
Hailing from the Great White North, where people are nice, say ‘aboot’ and ‘eh’, have the fabulous luxury of Timmy Ho’s–Mel receives free healthcare and returns the favors afforded to her by writing about the national sport of Canada: Hockey. She blends humor and sports with a good amount of practical romance to give her readers the romance you might have with an athlete rather than that you would see in Hollywood (Toe Pick! Will anyone get that reference?).
Mel, this is how you sell yourself.
Melanie Ting’s Web Tracks:
If you are interested in becoming a book reviewer or helping me with All The Things Inbetween contact me at Ali is Amazekittens and I will have my cats talk to your people. There are wicked, wondrous benefits to such arrangements as the ones we would have. I am awesome at not replying to mail timely, not getting to my to-do-list, and forgetting to eat. I pay in pics of kittens.
All The Things Ali Web Tracks: Google+ | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Shelfari | Goodreads | Last.fm | Stumbleupon | LinkedIn | Camp NaNoWriMo 2014 …And I am always looking for new friends on Bingo Blitz, everyone but kittens need apply.