Power Plays Straight As (CU Hockey, #1) By Eden Finley


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FOSTER:

Look out for Zach and don't hit on him.

My brother's request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.
Easy.

Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I've always thought was cute, I don't have the time to think with my ... stick. There's only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that's my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract. The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.

Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.


ZACH:

People confuse me. And no one more than Foster Grant.

I've barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I've known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he's impossible to shake. I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we're together, my next move is a total mystery as well.

I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I've never been bothered about before. I'm still carrying my V-card. And I think it's time to turn it in. Power Plays Straight As (CU Hockey, #1)

“will it make you think of me?”
his eyes soften. “you’re assuming i don’t already.”


2 stars...

✦ contemporary sports romance (hockey).
✦ jock/nerd romance.
✦ introvert/extrovert.
✦ college setting.
✦ slow-burn romance.
✦ brother’s best friend romance.
✦ virgin mc/experienced mc.
✦ humorous banter.
✦ no dumb, unnecessary plot twists.

this was cute & fluffy i guess, but i was honestly bored out of my mind most of the time.

this book was just very mehhhh to me and it lacked overall depth. i also sadly didn’t particularly like either of the mcs.

i am moving on to book 2 now, because it’s enemies-to-lovers and i’m hoping i’ll like it more than this one. if i don’t like it - i am calling my lawyers. Romance, Gay and Lesbian
This new collaboration story was a lot of fun, combining both the jock and awkward nerd trope with the tried and true falling for the best friend's (twin) brother.



When Foster met his brother's best friend and roommate three years ago, Seth made Foster promise to keep his distance from Zach, which wasn't a huge problem, even though Foster did think that Zach was cute.

But when Zach transferred to Foster's school, and Seth asked Foster to keep an eye on him, that's when things started getting more complicated.

As expected, because hello, this is a romance, both Foster and Zach found that they enjoyed spending time together, so their initial attractions only got stronger.

But where Seth thought that Zach needed a protector, Foster's time with Zach was more hands-off in that department.

I’m finding it hard to convince myself that he’s doing this for Seth whenever I hear his warm laugh or when he gives me a look that sets butterflies loose in my stomach.

He never asks if I’m okay or if I need anything. He’s just … there. Which is possibly the best thing he could do.
Then once things had the potential to heat up, Zach's main concern was his extremely intact V-Card, which he intended to rectify ASAP, as soon as he gained some online knowledge, which was pretty funny.
I cringe and quickly click across to the next video. Nope, too hairy. Room too dirty. The next guy has glasses like mine which are definitely not sexy, Foster took mine off last night for a reason, and in the next … could he really not take the time to wash his feet first?
Then when Foster found out what Zach had been up to, that had me laughing, too.
“Whoa. Please tell me you’re not getting sex tips from porn. It’s hot, but it’s unrealistic compared to the real thing.”

“Oh, now someone tells me. I swear every time the pizza delivery guy comes over, I think he’s going to have sex with me and then he doesn’t. I wondered if he was broken.”
Several parts of the book from that point forward were pretty steamy, but not to the extreme.



This new book did have both humor and snark; however, I occasionally found myself wishing for a wee bit more, like I was accustomed to in Eden's Fake Boyfriends series, which was a master class in banter, IMHO.

And speaking of Eden's previous series, I did get a small Damon fix here, but it was very fleeting, and I missed not getting a cameo by either Ollie or Soren, as they were both NHL hockey players, like Foster was striving to become.



For fans of Eden's earlier work, I'd say the overall feeling here was sort of a Fake Boyfriends lite, ish, and rate it at around 4 stars.

Bottom line is that if you're a fan of Eden Finley, you're highly likely to enjoy this story, too, but I haven't read any of Saxon James' books yet, so I can't really speak on that front.

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My ARC copy of the book was provided by the authors in exchange for a fair, unbiased review

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Romance, Gay and Lesbian
“Will it make you think of me?”
His eyes soften. “You’re assuming I don’t already.”


Man, this was cheesy and fluffy. It was exactly what I needed.

In Power Plays & Straight A's, Zach is off-limits for Foster. Or at least, that's what Foster's brother, Seth, tells him when he asks him to keep an eye out for him. Zach is transferring to CU's campus to get his Master's degree, and since he's new to the campus, Seth asks his brother to try and help him make friends. Although he doesn't want to, Foster accepts, but trying to help Zach is like asking an introvert to go to a party with him (which actually happens). Zach isn't asking for Foster's help, but when he ends up being the TA in one of Foster's courses, he realizes he needs more help than he's come to accept. It then hits both of them that the two enjoy each other's company more than they thought they would. Zach may be Foster's TA, and Foster is trying to get signed to join the NHL, but neither of those two things will stop the two from being together.

Hockey used to be the only thing in my life that mattered. Now it’s a juggling act between the ice and my man, but I’m willing to do it. Because I’ve never met anyone like Zach.


This book put a smile on my face on many occasions. I’m a firm believer in stating this book won’t be enjoyed by everyone. Some will find it too cheesy and maybe even weird. Some may not feel the chemistry because of the two main characters. That’s okay, but I’ve been reading serious romance books, so I needed this cheesiness. And it being gay made it much better and humorous. I was smiling so much, I laughed throughout almost the entire book, and I rooted for both main characters throughout the entire novel. It was sweet, funny, bizarre in some ways, and overall, joyful.

I originally didn't plan to write a full review. I opened the notes app on my phone and started typing my thoughts, but then I ended up writing all my thoughts and opinions, and not just some.

First, I loved both characters, Zach and Foster, so much. I also really admired Foster's passion for Hockey. I generally love to read about characters who have passion for something specific and love reading about how hard they work to achieve that dream. I also appreciated how he didn’t make his entire personality based on it. He tried his best to spend time with Zach, and I was so glad Zach didn’t make it easy at first to get to him. I also admired his leadership in the sport and how optimistic he was with himself and the team. He had a goal for himself, but he also placed a big part of his heart in the team. It was important to him, and even though he didn’t want to lose, losing was not something he would drown in. I liked his resilience.

I loved Zach’s nerdy personality and was able to sympathize with his social anxiety (which, although it isn’t exactly stated, I’m sure he had some, coming from personal experience). He’s isolated, lonely, and a full-on introvert. Really, he has no friends, especially after transferring to a new school. He’s become the TA of a sports psychology course, and the fact that Foster is in that class doesn’t make it easier for him. He tries his best to step out of his comfort zone, and I think I found so much comfort in him because he reminded me so much of me, especially since I'm also a college student.

Being new on a big campus with so many different students is such a scary experience, and luckily for Zach and me, we at least knew someone on our first day. Nonetheless, it's still an anxious feeling going out and approaching people, so I really couldn't blame Zach for preferring to stay a little isolated and away from people, reading or being at the library, and not bothering to pay attention to parties, people, and overall everything else about the college experience.

There are more people around campus than I’m used to, though that’s probably because I hid away in the library whenever there were largely anticipated sporting events going on.


With that aside, I loved how flirtatious yet serious he was with Foster. I found him to be entertaining but also super adorable and cute. I laughed and smiled so wide whenever he got shy around Foster, and I found his confidence to grow around him the more time he spent with him admirable and overall precious. I also enjoyed his virgin humor, even though I can picture him trying not to be funny. Maybe it’s because I’m also a virgin and in the asexual spectrum, but I found it funny. I was also just overall thankful he was a virgin character. I’m honestly tired of romance authors writing about horny and very experienced characters. Zach was very inexperienced, but he became needy with Foster as his sexual drive and desire for him grew. I found it hilarious how he tried going out of his way to learn how gay sex works, as well as being honest about it all. I don’t know, I just really needed something like this, so I found his character super lovable. I also found his blushes towards Foster and stutters to be sincere but also amusing.

In general, I found their entire banter to be witty. I liked how Zach was not super easy to get to with Foster. Foster clearly chased him more, and while both were attracted to each other, they weren’t aware of it. Foster was first assigned to help Zach, show him around, and take care of him, but he started getting attached and enjoyed spending time with him. I guess part of it is because Zach was a little anti-social, and again, while it isn’t exactly stated, he did say he preferred the library or being somewhere alone instead of making conversation with people.

“Oh, so you’re being rude on purpose? Isn’t it polite to invite a person in when they come over?”
“Isn’t it polite to give someone a heads up before you show up unannounced?”
“Touché.” I take out my phone and send off a text.
His phone beeps in the room behind him.
“You better get that. It sounds important.”


I mentioned above how I was really happy about how Zach tried to step out of his comfort zone, but some of it was thanks to Foster. I connected with their friendship, mostly because I'm also an introvert, and I had an extrovert friend in college who would pull me out of the dorm to hang out with her and her friends. Foster was a good friend, and I appreciated how he didn't force Zach for anything. I liked his protectiveness of Zach as it slowly grew, especially after finding out some of his past with Morris.

And that locker room scene? Nothing but delight.

He’s the one who closes the gap this time. His mouth crashes into mine, maybe a little overeager.
His lithe body pushes closer, pressing against my hockey pads. My hand wraps around his back, and I curse my hockey gear right now.
I want to be closer. I want to feel him against me.


One of the things I found to be a huge plus in the book was how there was no unnecessary drama. Zach and Foster get their HEA, but there was no conflict in their relationship. There was no drama anywhere, nothing from Foster’s friends and family to Zach’s family. Their family was supportive of their sexual orientation, which I was delighted for because I’m honestly tired of LGBTQ+ characters always being some of the ones who suffer the most, such as experiencing homophobia constantly, getting killed off, or not being a lead role. Yes, homophobia was present in the book, but it was never directly stated. There were moments where Zach’s bisexuality was ignored and taken for gayness, and he’d usually shrug it off or make a joke about it. Zach and Foster got stares and looks from people when they were out and together (because people can’t mind their own business), but it didn’t add conflict. They didn't get bullied, called out, or overall, hated on.

If there were drama in this, I’d say it was how Foster was not fully out, but I also didn't consider it drama because that’s something so many LGBTQ+ individuals struggle with. Foster struggled to figure out his sexuality, from claiming he was gay to realizing he was bi and then hiding it for so many years from his parents, which shows the reality of many people. Some don’t come out, ever, so reading about a supportive family on both sides, supportive friends, and no direct hate against the two characters made me feel at ease.

On the ice, the only important things in my life are my team and getting the W. That doesn’t mean when I’m off the ice I can’t glance around at the stands looking for a certain dark-haired, green-eyed nerd whose sex noises are ingrained in my mind.


I haven’t really read m/m romance, so I also think that’s another reason I really liked this. I’d say it’s a good place to start for someone new in the genre like me, simply because it’s not heavy on plot, it’s very quick to breeze through, the characters can be enjoyable enough, there’s no drama, and it has enough cute dialogue. There was also sex, and I enjoyed reading it, although I was laughing at it most of the time (in a good way). It felt real and realistic, and I really do think they had chemistry. I rooted for their relationship from the beginning, and I adored the patience, and easiness Foster had on Zach. Since he was experienced, he was worried about either taking things too quickly or hurting him, but Foster, who became needy and clingy, made sure not to let him worry. Honestly, it was a joy to read about their sexual relationship. I definitely thought it would have been juicier, but I'm also not complaining.

I’m telling you, though. When they say “it’s always the quiet ones,” they truly mean it.

“Think about it.” I lean in and whisper, “Just know I’ll make it good for you.”


One of the things that I noticed after reading was something I softly commented on in my head as I was reading was the protectiveness of Seth. Seth is obviously not straight, and I say this because book 3 (Goal Lines & First Times) of this series is about him. By instinct, I would say it was because he had a crush on Zach himself but was afraid to tell him, maybe because they’re best friends and he didn’t want to ruin the friendship, or maybe because he was still unsure of his sexuality? I don’t know. I can’t say and tell because there wasn’t enough information and dialogue to make that statement true. He’d confirm he was straight, would get grossed out when his brother and best friend were making out (I would too if I were him), and he mentioned how he’d brought girls over to the house. He also mentioned he was seeing a girl, which I know doesn’t prove or show evidence that he’s straight, but it’s all mentioned to “assume” he was straight. Overall, I first liked how he cared a lot about Zach. He asked his brother to keep an eye out on him because he knew he was new and didn’t have friends, but it got to the point where he was very protective of him as if Zach was a child and couldn’t take care of himself. I understood how Zach was trying to help and look out for him, but it was a little too much after a certain point.

“Do you know how nice it’s been to feel wanted? He doesn’t treat me with kid gloves or try to tone things down for me. And if he hurts me … I want that. I want to know what it’s like to have experienced that high even if it’s followed by a crushing low. Leaving you was the hardest choice I’ve ever made, but it was the right one.”


Overall, this was definitely a cute, sweet, and quick story. I’ve already decided to start the next book because it’s about Jacobs, who I had suspected was in the closet. Both he and Foster mentioned he was straight, but there were moments where small hints were thrown, implying another scenario. I also really enjoyed his character in this book, and I’ve heard from others that the second book is the best in the series, so I’m really looking forward to it.

“Can I kiss you again?”
“Whenever you want.”
Romance, Gay and Lesbian dnf @ 61%

I don't think this is my type of a light read. It seemed promising in the beginning, but I don't see any depth in either the characters or the storyline. It's pretty basic and I can't connect to that. Romance, Gay and Lesbian

A new series by Eden Finley, sign me up... The fact that she is writing with Saxon James and that the first book in this series is about a jock and a geek falling in love is the delicious cherry on top of an already scrumptious cake ;)



We also get the brother's best friend trope, though I have to be honest and admit that this is not one of my favorite tropes. I know it's probably weird, but I always feel like the brother is losing his best friend... It always makes me a tad bit sad, I just can't help it. I'm a weirdo ... sorry :P



Seth and Foster are twin brothers, but they are like night and day. They also go to different schools. When Seth's best friend Zach transfers to Foster's college, Seth asks Foster to look out for his geeky introverted best friend... but ... no funny business.

Seth has known Foster is bi-sexual for some time now and since his best friend Zach is gay, he has warned Foster off right from the start.

Foster has always been attracted to sexy geek Zach, but you don't just go against your twin brother's wishes... Now, he feels like all bets are off though because while he is looking out for Zach, he is also getting to know him better and there is no way he will be able to keep his distance for long.



I liked both characters a lot, but I have to say that I also really like Foster's twin Seth. I do hope he will find a lovely girl to fall in love with soon.

This story was all kinds of cute and hot and I am so curious to see what's next. Foster's best friend sounds really intriguing ;)


An ARC was provided to

in exchange for an honest review

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Romance, Gay and Lesbian

Power

“I should be scared by the way you’re looking at me, but I’m not.”
“How am I looking at you?”
“Like I’m about to lose my virginity in a shower.”


I went into this book knowing it was gonna be the perfect read for me because first of all, it's Eden Finley and second of all, this had so many tropes that I loved - sports, brother's best friend, opposites attract and the list goes on. It did not disappoint at all.
This was my first Saxon James' book but I'll definitely be checking out more of her works.

I loved reading Zach's inner thoughts. I could honestly relate to him so much and I think that's partially why I like this book so much. That and some of the laugh out loud moments I had while reading this book.
Foster and Zach fit into each other's life so perfectly and I had no doubts about their relationship.
I was also enjoying reading Foster's protective side. He didn't treat Zach like he was breakable. He just helped Zach in his own way.

This was a great light-hearted new adult book with fantastic characters. It was a perfect distraction.
Also, I just about screamed when that small cameo of one of my favourite characters happened. I was really not expecting that and I loved it.
I'm really hoping the next book in the series is Jacobs' and that it releases soon. *fingers crossed* Romance, Gay and Lesbian When I say I love a good nerd + jock romance, I’m talking about books like this one. It’s easy to find a story with a nerd main character, but he/she is usually called that only for having good grades. Not Zach. He is also bad at talking with people, tends to live in his head, it’s oblivious and awkward in the cutest way possible and forgets about mortal things like eating because he’s too busy learning things.


“Zach.”
“Which would mean each person functions best at an individualized state of stress and arousal, but if that’s the case, how do you get those separate entities to work cohesively?”
“Zach.”
“What do you think your optimal state of stress and arousal is?”
Foster’s eyes are wide, and he looks torn between laughing and… well, something that’s not laughing but seems equally offensive. “I think I might have just found it.”
“Excuse me?”
“Never mind.”



That is what I call a nerd, thank you so much! Still, Zach is also confident with himself, knows what he wants and it’s not afraid to ask for it… specially if the person is none other than Foster Grant, the sexiest jock in college and his best friend’s brother.

I loved so many things about this book -I’ve even reread it. Not only Zach was a wonderful character, Foster Grant was as good and sets apart from the ‘typical’ jock character. He is openly bisexual, fun, easy-going, hates miscommunication, is great at reading people and everyone loves him because how can you not? I’ve read some books by Saxon James, one of the co-authors, and he always manages to make unique characters that felt like a breath of fresh air in a genre as crowded as sports-romance.


“You are the coolest person I know.”
“Well, that’s a grossly inaccurate statement.”
“See?” Foster leans closer. “No one speaks like that. You’re your own person, Zach, and I think that’s very cool.”
I swallow roughly. “You are mocking me.”
“Never.”
“You always mock me.”
“No, I tease you. () Mocking is cruel. Teasing makes you flustered, and you’re ridiculously cute when you’re flustered.”



Overall, I highly recommend trying this book if you are looking for a light romance between a nerd and a jock, with a great cast of characters and awesome dialogues that will make you have a lot of fun.


“Do you have someone in there with you?”
“What? No.”
“So you’re being rude on purpose? Isn’t it polite to invite a person in when they come over?”
“Isn’t it polite to give someone a heads up before you show up unannounced?”
“Touché.” I take out my phone and send off a text.
Zach’s phone beeps in the room behind him.
“You better get that. It sounds important.”



Series:
1.Power Plays & Straight A's: 4.25 stars
2. Face Offs & Cheap Shots: 4 stars
3. Goal Lines & First Times: 2.5 stars
4. Line Mates & Study Dates: 3 stars
5. Puck Drills & Quick Thrills: 3.25 stars
Additional novella (See You in Boston): 3 stars

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SO GR doesn't let me upload my review or rate See You in Boston (CU Hockey novella) because the book is not on amazon (it's free on prolific works). So I decided to upload it here because I've already done it :)

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SEE YOU IN BOSTON


“Kiss me like you own me”

See You in Boston is the novella all CU Hockey fans were waiting for: Rossi’s love story. We all know he is less straight than he thinks he is and, on his last day as a college student, he’ll finally decide it is time to push his boundaries and try something new…


Tyson is looking for something, but curious Rossi is enough temptation to make him rearrange his priorities for the night. No complications, just helping out this gorgeous guy in his experiment. After all, it’s not like they are seeing each other again, right?


If I wasn’t so worried about offending him, I’d offer him money to make that dream come true. Instead, I’ll need to try patience, which is something I’ve always been terrible at.


Tyson and Rossi’s romance was cute and fun; it never felt too rushed despite being a novella. Tyson was the quirky, sassy, no-filter guy that matched perfectly with Rossi’s quieter confidence. I don’t have very strong feelings about it, but it was a nice read. In case you haven’t read CU Hockey series, it can also be read as a standalone -and it’s free on prolific works! Romance, Gay and Lesbian || 3.0 stars ||

This book started out very cute and charming, but the story kind of lost me when I was about half-way through. It started to feel slightly repetitive and uneventful. It did sorta pick up again near the end when Zach and Foster's relationship also began to pick up, but I could never truly get into it.

Both Foster and Zach are likable characters, albeit that they're both vastly different: Foster is an easy-going hockey-player, while Zach is an awkward nerd with social-anxiety. They somehow seemed to fit though. There would have been a high possibility of this match-up feeling forced, but I could really see them together. Foster was good for Zach and I thought it was quite swoon-worthy how Foster thought everything about Zach was adorable. However, even though I could see their connection, I didn't particularly feel it. Like I said, I wasn't fully invested in it. Which was quite a shame.

Maybe it could have been a bit better if more had happened. If there had been more opportunity to have some conflict or drama. It's difficult to get an emotional attachment when everything is rather dry: not even their inner-monologues portrayed many loving or even angsty thoughts about the other. Instead, everything was quite straightforward.
So yea, it was just a bit.. okay-ish. Nothing less, but also nothing more.


'CU Hockey' series:
1. Power Plays & Straight A's - 3.0 stars
2. Face Offs & Cheap Shots - 4.5 stars
3. Goal Lines & First Times - 2.5 stars
4. Line Mates & Study Dates - 3.5 stars
5. Puck Drills & Quick Thrills - 3.5 stars

Novellas:
5.1. The Best Wedding Ever - 3.0 stars
5.2. See You In Boston - 3.0 stars

[Read Count: 2] Romance, Gay and Lesbian Solid 4 Stars!

Nice start to a new series.

Jock + nerd = I approve
Sports = I approve
Virgin = I approve
No ridiculous drama = I approve

Looking forward to more! Romance, Gay and Lesbian This was abso-fucking-lutely adorable! Definitely a must read if you're looking for a cute m/m romance

✅ Nerd + jock romance
✅ Cocky hockey player... say no more 😍
🆗 A little cheesy, but I wanted something fluffy anyway
✅ No unnecessary drama
✅ Perfect amount of steam 🌶️🌶️
✅ Zach was so lovably awkward - I just wanted to hug him
✅ Foster always trying to embarrass Zach 🥰😂
✅ Their cute and awkward flirting was everything
✅ A nerd who was actually awkward and nerdy and not just a hot guy with glasses (although that did still apply...)

Overall, I went into this expecting something fun and quick and it delivered exactly that. It wasn't anything groundbreaking but I enjoyed it a lot! Romance, Gay and Lesbian