The Puck Drop (Central State) – book review

The Puck Drop
By Jaqueline Snowe
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Book #1 in the Central State series
Number of pages: 230
Contemporary Romance/Sports
Ages 15 and up
Michael Reiner has the new start he’s been craving, where no one knows about his past and he can finally figure out what he wants out of life. Because one thing’s for certain—he can’t play hockey anymore, and life without hockey seems daunting. But when he gets the chance to intern under the Central State Hockey coach, he couldn’t be happier. Until he finds out the mysterious hottie he met at the bar is the Coach’s daughter.

Naomi Fletcher-Simpson has always been the weird twin. She prefers spreadsheets and trivia nights while her popular sister is everyone’s favorite. Things have been tense in her family, so when she gets a chance to pair up with the hockey team for a huge stats project, she takes it. She can repair her relationship with her dad and hopefully score her dream internship in the process.

Neither Michael nor Naomi expected to like each other. Complete opposites in every way, they slowly form a deep friendship that makes their chemistry sizzle, and friends with benefits is the only option to deal with their growing attraction. Michael can’t afford to lose the internship, and Naomi can’t afford to lose her heart to a hockey guy.

For the guy who’s suffered enough loss, and the girl who’s always left behind, they can’t risk falling in love—not when they both know all things come to an end, right?

This is a new-to-me author, and this book has been sitting on my Kindle since I got it as a freebie almost a year ago. I started seeing a lot of hype for the fourth book in this series and realized I had this one I could start with. I love a hockey romance. This is a college hockey romance with neither character being an active player, but they are both very much involved with their college team.

The way this story starts, I thought it would be a rival to lovers book. Turns out that Michael is oblivious to any rivalry and is a super nice guy, so instead we get a friends-to-lovers story. Naomi cannot help but like Michael and Michael, while a former hockey player who wants to do his all to impress the coach, is not blind to how the coach treats Naomi, his daughter. Michael lost his parents and moved across the country from his sister, so it bothers him when others take their family for granted. He wants to soften those rough edges for Naomi and make sure she sees her self-worth.

There is a ton of growth for both characters in this story. While Michael and Naomi have a lot of chemistry, it’s nice to see them make sure their friendship comes first. They both realize they have a lot on the line and, whether they realize this part or not, a lot of growing to do. Not growing up, they are both mature and responsible adults. But they’re both holding onto past hurts and letting them affect their current lives.

It’s beautiful to see Naomi find her family again. Things aren’t perfect, but they are on their way to being so much better. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and will definitely be seeking out the next book in the series.

4 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to The Puck Drop (Central State) – book review

  1. It was fun to read your review! It reminded me why I enjoyed this one so much.

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