The Epitome of Mixed Feelings: Off the Ice by Julie Cross

The Epitome of Mixed Feelings: Off the Ice by Julie CrossOff the Ice (Juniper Falls, #1)
by Julie Cross
Release Date: February 28th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Format: eARC
Pages: 320
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All is fair in love and hockey…

Claire O’Connor is back in Juniper Falls, but that doesn’t mean she wants to be. One semester off, that’s what she promised herself. Just long enough to take care of her father and keep the family business—a hockey bar beside the ice rink—afloat. After that, she’s getting the hell out. Again.

Enter Tate Tanley. What happened between them the night before she left town resurfaces the second they lay eyes on each other. But the guy she remembers has been replaced by a total hottie. When Tate is unexpectedly called in to take over for the hockey team’s star goalie, suddenly he’s in the spotlight and on his way to becoming just another egotistical varsity hockey player. And Claire’s sworn off Juniper Falls hockey players for good.

It’s the absolute worst time to fall in love.

For Tate and Claire, hockey isn’t just a game. And they both might not survive a body check to the heart.

in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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Julie Cross turned me into a fan of her books with her baseball YA, Whatever Life Throws At You. It was a refreshing and totally made me fall in love with her writing. When I saw the announcement for Off the Ice, I was very excited because it was another sports romance, this time hockey, and I was sure it would be a hit. While I loved the writing, and parts of the romance, I thought there was too much going on in the story, which left me feeling disconnected as a whole.

Claire and Tate were very likeable characters and their honesty and genuineness immediately made me like them. They are both dealing with a lot of personal issues, and it’s sort of heartbreaking to watch two people so young dealing with so much in their lives. I wholeheartedly sympathized with them, but part of me felt like their backstories were too much, like the author tried to cram as much as possible – there’s abuse, sick parents, mounting pressure, asshole teammates and more. Ultimately, that led to the book not being as strong as it could have been. I also sometimes struggled to differentiate between Claire and Tate’s voices. All the chapters have headers, but whenever I’d skip them, I had to go back and check who it was.

The romance between Claire and Tate worked for me for the most part. They had great chemistry, and their maturity levels helped them click well emotionally. I liked that they were a couple that was comfortable talking with each other. There was so much potential between them though and I didn’t feel like we got to see them together as much as I would have liked. One thing is for sure, Julie Cross knows her way around a steamy kissing scene and she is definitely talented at writing solid romances. I also liked some of the relationships that Tate had with his friends and teammates. Hockey was definitely a part of this book, but again, I would have liked more focus on it than on some of the angstier storylines.

Off the Ice wasn’t a bad book, but it wasn’t what I was expecting. I was hoping for more romance and more hockey, and less of the other side stories. I’m still going to read the next book in the series, but now I know what to expect so hopefully it will be more enjoyable.

Have you read any books by Julie Cross? What are some of your favorite sports romances?
Let me know in the comments below!

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