Coaches Challenge by Avon Gale ~ Audio Review

Avon Gale - Coach’s Challenge Audio Cover 85oe9qTitle: Coach’s Challenge

Series: Scoring Chances 05

Author: Avon Gale

Narrator: Scott R Smith

Genre: Contemporary, Sports

Length: 6 hrs, 50 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Heat Level: Moderate

Heart Rating: 💖💖💖💖💖 4.5 Hearts

Reviewer: Prime

Blurb: It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportuni-ty to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds that the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression. And it only gets worse when Shane’s rough good looks give Troy inappro-priate thoughts about a member of his team, even if Shane’s set to retire at the end of the sea-son.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon and with a team that doesn’t trust him, the coach, or each other. Despite his determination to not get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

Purchase Link: Audible US | Audible UK | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Review: Coach’s Challenge is the fifth book in Avon Gale’s Scoring Chances series. Not to be mixed up with, which is what I did, with VL Locey’s book of the same name from one of her excellent hockey romance series.

For me it’s been a couple years since I’ve read the Scoring Chances series, but I remember absolutely loving it and had been more than happy devouring them all at the time. This is a series that I recommend reading in order, even for those that just need to refresh what happened in the previous books of the series. This book is something that irons out a lot of the hurts of the previous books, as the team that had caused so much heartache undergo a change and become more tolerant and open under the support of a new coach. This is the story of the Raven’s redemption and you also really need to understand the hate and heartache directed at other teams that made the Asheville Raven’s the ECHL’s most hated team.

The MCs of this story are Troy Callahan and Shane North.

Troy Callahan is the coach. He didn’t have an easy time in his professional playing career (I won’t spoil anything!) but over the years has proved himself to be a damn good coach. Now, after replacing the unethical and all around horrible coach of the Asheville Ravens, it is his job to build the team up. (Think the Mighty Ducks if they had been made up of mostly brutish, homophobic a-holes). He has a plan for the team and the last thing the team needs is a player known for being aggressive.

Shane North has something to prove. He’s coming towards the end of his playing and feels like he needs to prove himself as a hockey player after a lackluster career in the majors. Shane is a lot different to what people assume of him, especially when they see him on the hockey rink. It’s really pleasing to see him open himself up to Troy.

Fans of the books will not be disappointed I think. It gives the Ravens a new lease on life after being totally vilified for four books. Sports romance fans will love this series too.

The narration by Scott R Smith is really quite wonderful. I would assume that it is difficult to capture the romance in between all the testosterone filled hockey plays, as well as dealing with the fall out as the Ravens seek their redemption. Smith gives the characters distinct voices and conveys their emotions, both on the rink and off. Listening to the audio has definitely enhanced my enjoyment of this book.

A Forced Silence by Cate Ashwood ~ Audiobook

Cate Ashwood - A Forced Silence Cover audioTitle: A Forced Silence

Series:  Zero Hour 01

Author: Cate Ashwood

Narrator: Scott R Smith

Genre: Contemporary

Length: 5 hr, 47 mins

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (3rd June 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: For paramedic Adam Carson, his world is lights and sirens and saving lives. Pressures at work keep him firmly in the closet, and life is too busy to contend with the complications that come with dating and relationships. When a familiar face from his past turns up where he least expects it, Adam starts to question whether or not there is room in his life for those complications.

The last person forensic pathologist Sam McKenna expects to see at pub night is Adam, the guy who made his life hell in high school. The attraction is instant, but Adam isn’t gay and Sam has no interest in pursuing him. Still, the leftover animosity from their teenage years isn’t enough to extinguish the lust growing between them. After both are called to the scene of a horrific murder, Adam admits he’s not as straight as he led Sam to believe and they seek comfort and distraction in each other’s arms. One night becomes many as the murder investigation intensifies, but when Adam is faced with losing Sam, he is forced to make a choice: to break his silence, or to give up everything for the job he loves.

Product Link: Audible AU | Audible UK | Audible US

Reviewer: Prime

Review: For me, A Forced Silence is a simple pleasure (in a totally good way) because it is basically everything that I am a sucker for in a romance. The narration by Scott R Smith was also great too and made me not want to stop listening. More than anything, I can’t wait to get more into this series (book 2 released by Dreamspinner 29 August 2016) – either reading or audio, I think I could easily enjoy this book either way.

The story follows Adam, a paramedic, and Sam, a forensic pathologist, who cross paths again after a number of years. They knew each other in high school, when Adam became friend with Sam’s then best friend, Mason. It is a complicated relationship which I wish that there was more explanation – or some type of resolution concerning the only ever mentioned and homophobic Mason. For this reason Sam is reticent when it comes to Adam. Not only did he make his life hell but Adam also insists on using the nickname “Dex” when Sam really and truly hates that Dexter is his real name.

The plot line is straight forward, and if you’ve read the blurb there is really no surprise. The mystery and murder investigation itself wasn’t overly suspenseful, it was more background noise and the romance between Sam and Adam was at the forefront of the entire story. Still, it mystery aspect did work well woven in with the romance. The only thing that we don’t really get a feel for in the blurb is fall out in the end. Of course, something needs to be a surprise, I suppose.

The ending is a HEA and just makes me smile, because If you like your paramedics, etc. and are a complete sucker for enemies to lovers this will be a book you will easily enjoy. It’s a real easy listen if you just need something in the background as you work or if you’re commuting.

I really would love to hear the story for Sam’s best friend, Ford, who is there constantly for Sam throughout the book.