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Breaking Out

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KJ Stennes has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things. But breaking in a new partner—even one who shows as much promise as Adrienne—just isn’t part of her plan. Adrienne Pierce hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their live KJ Stennes has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things. But breaking in a new partner—even one who shows as much promise as Adrienne—just isn’t part of her plan. Adrienne Pierce hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their lives. That the town has a women’s recreational hockey team is definitely a bonus. Despite a rocky start with KJ, the team’s star player, Adrienne can’t deny the attraction building between them. But how can she get involved with someone when she hasn’t yet found the stability her family needs? And soon KJ’s budding attraction to Adrienne reminds her that there’s more to life than hockey… Maybe it’s time for KJ to get a new plan after all. Genre: Romance Editor: Medora MacDougall Cover Designer: Kayla Mancuso


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KJ Stennes has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things. But breaking in a new partner—even one who shows as much promise as Adrienne—just isn’t part of her plan. Adrienne Pierce hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their live KJ Stennes has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things. But breaking in a new partner—even one who shows as much promise as Adrienne—just isn’t part of her plan. Adrienne Pierce hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their lives. That the town has a women’s recreational hockey team is definitely a bonus. Despite a rocky start with KJ, the team’s star player, Adrienne can’t deny the attraction building between them. But how can she get involved with someone when she hasn’t yet found the stability her family needs? And soon KJ’s budding attraction to Adrienne reminds her that there’s more to life than hockey… Maybe it’s time for KJ to get a new plan after all. Genre: Romance Editor: Medora MacDougall Cover Designer: Kayla Mancuso

30 review for Breaking Out

  1. 5 out of 5

    Lex Kent

    3.75 Stars. This was a fun sports romance. While I do prefer MacTague’s spec-fic books, I appreciated that she stepped out of her comfort zone to write a contemporary romance. MacTague has a phenomenal imagination so I prefer her to be thinking up paranormal, steampunk, and sci-fi worlds, but she knows how to write romance in those books too so I’m not surprised that she was able to transition so easily. MacTague has always been good about capturing a reader’s attention and keeping it. That’s no 3.75 Stars. This was a fun sports romance. While I do prefer MacTague’s spec-fic books, I appreciated that she stepped out of her comfort zone to write a contemporary romance. MacTague has a phenomenal imagination so I prefer her to be thinking up paranormal, steampunk, and sci-fi worlds, but she knows how to write romance in those books too so I’m not surprised that she was able to transition so easily. MacTague has always been good about capturing a reader’s attention and keeping it. That’s not always easy to do in a slower paced romance, but that didn’t seem to matter for MacTague. I was hooked into this book instantly and only stopped reading when I was too dog tiered to continue. I had a really busy week last week, so I’m trying to get back in the reading flow and this book was good at keeping me flipping the pages. I’m a huge sports fan, which most of you that read my reviews will already know. With this book I did find myself wishing for more sport moments. However, I was happy that towards the end of the book, when the pace seemed to slow down a bit, MacTague picked it back up with more hockey which was nice. In the end I think I would call this 70% romance and 30% hockey, give or take a little. And because this book was more romance and family relationship focused, I think people who are not big sports fan would still enjoy this. This is a romance first; the hockey just adds a little needed excitement. I found the main characters easy to like and I liked the potential of them as a couple. I did find the chemistry to be lacking some. It felt like they seemed more friends than anything else. However, once their relationship progressed, the chemistry that was missing finally came into being. It was like a switch turned on and that spark that was missing for me, was suddenly there. This book definitely featured the sexiest game of Jenga ever. Plus, I have to give MacTague props for including the game Ticket to Ride. This book ended up being very low angst which is nice since I like to mix it up and not read the same conflict all the time. There is still conflict that the characters have to overcome, but it’s not angsty. The book has a lot of sweet moments and is more of a feel good romance than I expected. In the end I would easily recommend this to romance fans who want something sweet with low angst. You don’t have to be a sport fans to enjoy this, but sports fans should like the few hockey scenes. I do hope MacTague will come back to the land of spec-fic for her next book. She can absolutely write traditional romance, but we need all the fantasy and sci-fi WLW writers that we can get. An ARC was given to me for a honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jude in the Stars

    4.5⭐️ – I was reading the author’s bio before getting started on this novel and thinking, why have I never read her before? The third sentence of the bio is: “Previous to this, she has written space opera, steampunk, and paranormal urban fantasy”. Seriously? How did that happen? “Space opera, steampunk, and paranormal urban fantasy.” Sometimes I don’t get me. Anyway. KJ is trying to get her life back on track, or maybe keep it on track, after years of taking care of her father, without much help 4.5⭐️ – I was reading the author’s bio before getting started on this novel and thinking, why have I never read her before? The third sentence of the bio is: “Previous to this, she has written space opera, steampunk, and paranormal urban fantasy”. Seriously? How did that happen? “Space opera, steampunk, and paranormal urban fantasy.” Sometimes I don’t get me. Anyway. KJ is trying to get her life back on track, or maybe keep it on track, after years of taking care of her father, without much help from her brother. Hockey is what kept her going for all these years so when her best friend and defence partner leaves the team, KJ feels the loss hard. She’s not ready to welcome another partner. Adrienne hasn’t played in ten years but after a divorce, starting a new job in a new town and trying to do what’s best for her son, she needs something that makes her feel good, something just for her. Her first interaction with KJ could have gone a lot better, yet after they clear the air, they find themselves getting close a lot faster than either expected. I fell in love with Adrienne from the beginning. I love that she won’t let anyone mess with her. I hate that she’s had to prove herself over and over, especially in the sport she loves, because she’s a Black woman, and a curvy one at that, in a mostly white sport. I love her dedication to her son. KJ took a little longer to love because when we first meet her, her first actions and reactions appear rather selfish. There’s a lot more to that under the surface though, and I loved watching Adrienne peel off the layers and seeing KJ show her true self as an earnest and caring woman. The romance in this novel is on the slow-burn side. After the initial hiccup, KJ and Adrienne become good friends and great partners on the ice. The “something more” comes slowly, organically, as they grow more and more comfortable with having each other in their life. It’s all about hands brushings, friendly teasing, innocent flirting, until it’s not so innocent anymore. The chemistry is all the more fantastic as it takes the characters by surprise. Author KD Williamson acted as a sensitivity reader on this book and I can’t thank Lise MacTague enough for not assuming she knew how to write a Black character. As a white reader myself, I have no firsthand knowledge as to how it feels to be a Black woman and the casual and not-so-casual racism Adrienne is confronted with in her daily life, and it felt great not to have to wonder whether her reactions rang true or not. Which means, too, that I could learn from Adrienne. KJ does too over the course of the story and I love how she never questions anything Adrienne says or asks as a Black woman and, also, as a mother, two situations that are brand new to her. As I’ve written before, I don’t know much about hockey. Most of what I know comes from a YA book I translated ages ago and more recently K.R. Collins’ Sophie Fournier series. Collins’ way of writing hockey is so captivating, even for someone like me who doesn’t care about hockey, that I was worried I wouldn’t enjoy the hockey scenes in this novel as much. Good news is, they’re really good too, in a very different way. Collins’ books are about a young woman playing in a professional league where most of the other players are men. In Breaking Out, the women play hockey for fun. They’re competitive and everything but it’s not their whole life. Except for KJ at the beginning of the story, but only because it’s the only thing that makes sense in her life at that moment in time. The stakes are not the same. The motivations are not the same. They’re all valid, however, and it was a nice change of pace. Lawrence, Adrienne’s nine-year-old son, is also a pretty interesting, albeit secondary, character. Writing kids isn’t easy but this one is plausibly adorable. And his relationship with Chester, KJ’s dog, is very sweet. This review is getting way too long already, so I’ll stop here. This book is good, read it. I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.

  3. 5 out of 5

    MZ

    I’m a big fan of MacTague’s books and have read them all, so obviously, I was looking forward to this new book. MacTague’s previous books are sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, and/or paranormal romances and the imagination in these books is out of this world. This is the first contemporary romance mixed up with a sports theme, so I was rather curious as to how it would work out. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this foray into contemporary romance very well. The characters are believable, likeable and I’m a big fan of MacTague’s books and have read them all, so obviously, I was looking forward to this new book. MacTague’s previous books are sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, and/or paranormal romances and the imagination in these books is out of this world. This is the first contemporary romance mixed up with a sports theme, so I was rather curious as to how it would work out. I’m happy to say that I enjoyed this foray into contemporary romance very well. The characters are believable, likeable and flawed, and the chemistry is excellent. This book also delivers on the sports front, as there is quite a lot of time on the ice. Those that know me, know that I’m not a huge sports fan and I know absolutely nothing about ice hockey. At the beginning of the book there are quite some ice hockey techniques and tactics and I was afraid for a moment that I would not be able to follow, but soon afterwards the focus shifts from ice hockey to KJ and Adrienne and their lives. I found that even with my limited knowledge of ice hockey I had no problems reading and enjoying the sport scenes in this book. The story is written in the third person with POVs of KJ and Adrienne. When KJ’s defense partner announces that she is pregnant, Adrienne is introduced as her replacement and this does not fit into KJ’s plans. An unknown factor in the middle of the season is something KJ is not looking forward to. Both KJ and Adrienne are at a difficult point in life, Adrienne is just divorced and is building a new life with her son Lawrence in a new town. KJ thinks she has everything figured out and her only goal is to win the ice hockey championship, but she is forced to re-evaluate herself and her goals, as she’s slowly figuring out what is important in life and what she really wants. I liked that Adrienne is a black woman with a bi-racial kid and seeing things from her perspective, what it is to live in a small town dominated by white people. Lawrence is adorable, and he plays an important role in the relationship between KJ and Adrienne. As said before, the chemistry between KJ and Adrienne was really good, but some things moved quite fast. The ‘I love yous’ come rather early, although they are very aware of that and joke about their stereotypical queer behavior. Even though some things moved rather fast I didn’t get the insta-love feeling that can really annoy me, as they are thoughtful about what they are doing and how to proceed, so in the end it worked for me. In summary, a good sports romance, there is sports excitement and the romance is sweet and low on angst. I really enjoyed this contemporary romance, but as a huge fan of the sci-fi, fantasy genre I do hope we can still expect these genres from MacTague in the future as well ;) I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Pin

    Another compelling story by Lise MacTague. This time a romance from the world of sports, more specifically amateur ice hockey, set in the imaginary small town in Pennsylvania, USA. Both protagonists are well-defined and likable and their romance is developed at a nice comfortable pace. The writing is very good with nice dialogue and pacing. The child character is also well done with a significant share in the narrative. Sports practice and games also have a significant share here, but without be Another compelling story by Lise MacTague. This time a romance from the world of sports, more specifically amateur ice hockey, set in the imaginary small town in Pennsylvania, USA. Both protagonists are well-defined and likable and their romance is developed at a nice comfortable pace. The writing is very good with nice dialogue and pacing. The child character is also well done with a significant share in the narrative. Sports practice and games also have a significant share here, but without being too much even for a person who is not hockey fan. Overall I was quite happy with this nice low angst romance, enjoyed reading it and would recommend it. 3.5 stars February 16, 2021 *A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.*

  5. 5 out of 5

    Skip

    4.5 stars. This was my first time reading MacTague and I have to say I really loved this book. It was the perfect mix of sport and romance for my tastes, and with the intricacies of both main characters it just made for the perfect read. KJ loves hockey. It’s her sanity. She considers herself lucky that her hometown has a rink and a women’s team. She’s the best player on the team and loves joining up with her defensive line-mate in pursuit of winning her team a championship. There’s only one prob 4.5 stars. This was my first time reading MacTague and I have to say I really loved this book. It was the perfect mix of sport and romance for my tastes, and with the intricacies of both main characters it just made for the perfect read. KJ loves hockey. It’s her sanity. She considers herself lucky that her hometown has a rink and a women’s team. She’s the best player on the team and loves joining up with her defensive line-mate in pursuit of winning her team a championship. There’s only one problem - her line-mate is pregnant. Adrienne has moved into town to work as the school counsellor. She’s recently divorced and just looking for stability for herself and her son, Lawrence. She agrees to join the team reluctantly, especially when she and KJ don’t exactly hit it off. This isn’t a full blown enemies to lovers, but it’s definitely reluctant acquaintances to lovers. It’s also a great slow burn as they get to know each other first on the ice, then as friends before admitting their attraction to each other. I particularly enjoyed the slow burn of the romance and the way both characters grew through the narrative, both together and as individuals. KJ coming to terms with her family situation is particularly well done. Lawrence is a great character. I love the way his relationship develops with KJ, first as a friend and then as his Mom’s girlfriend. As to be expected, that’s a hard transition for him, but I thought MacTague did a great job of illustrating this and the disappointment all parties feel, and then the joy. I also love his relationship with KJ’s dog Chester. The other secondary characters play their parts. The rest of the hockey team are fun, KJ’s family are difficult but redeemed and Adrienne’s family are pretty great. If you like sports in your sapphic books, you’ll love this, but even if you aren’t a sports fan and like a good romance you should enjoy this one as it has so much going for it. There is some on ice action, but it doesn’t take up too much of the book and it’s more used to discuss their relationship and feelings, than for the actual action itself. I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mildred Digby

    So many good things in this book, where to start? It’s a sweet, slow-burn romance with hockey! It has lots of diversity, bi-rep, fun family antics (and not so fun family stuff too), depth, heart, and a lovely storyline that weaves through the everyday lives of everyday people with their flaws and strengths. The sports aspect doesn’t overpower the main romance, but is a vital part of the story and provides action and excitement. I loved the two mains, first I fell for KJ, with her prickly outside So many good things in this book, where to start? It’s a sweet, slow-burn romance with hockey! It has lots of diversity, bi-rep, fun family antics (and not so fun family stuff too), depth, heart, and a lovely storyline that weaves through the everyday lives of everyday people with their flaws and strengths. The sports aspect doesn’t overpower the main romance, but is a vital part of the story and provides action and excitement. I loved the two mains, first I fell for KJ, with her prickly outside and heart of gold inside, but Adrienne really shone throughout the story. She has an empathic, forgiving soul but also takes no bullshit from KJ or anyone else. I love how she shows that her son is extremely important to her without losing her self-identity. They start out with some tension between them, but that changes into respect and friendship and finally something more than friendship. Adrienne and KJ don’t have a super hot sparks-and-panties-flying romance, their love evolves slowly and naturally. They both have history and issues to deal with, and the storyline addresses them in a sensitive and thoughtful manner. They get together soon enough in the story that we see them together as a couple for a while, with tons of wonderful vignettes of family life. None of the characters are perfect, and even the supporting cast is interesting and well-fleshed out. A wonderful read that ends on a sweet, happy note and left me smiling. My rating: five smiley stars I received this from the publisher via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    Breaking Out (3.5) was a lovely, feel-good romance with minimal angst and lots of sweet moments of sapphic love and family! With an enemies to defence partners to friends to lovers evolution of the main characters' relationship, it was fun to see how Adrienne and KJ's relationship grew without the overly-angsty moments that sapphic romance novels can be filled with. Black bisexual divorcee, Adrienne, who is a mother of a 10-year-old boy named Lawrence, is adjusting to her new life in a small tow Breaking Out (3.5) was a lovely, feel-good romance with minimal angst and lots of sweet moments of sapphic love and family! With an enemies to defence partners to friends to lovers evolution of the main characters' relationship, it was fun to see how Adrienne and KJ's relationship grew without the overly-angsty moments that sapphic romance novels can be filled with. Black bisexual divorcee, Adrienne, who is a mother of a 10-year-old boy named Lawrence, is adjusting to her new life in a small town in PA. White butch lesbian, KJ, is grieving the death of her father while grappling with losing her university years to moving back home and taking care of him while his dementia progressed. The two meet with Adrienne replacing Jaime, her pregnant coworker and KJ's defence partner, on the town's recreational hockey team. It was great that the source of conflict- after KJ's initial bout of bitterness- between the two was not Adrienne's ex-husband Kaz, unaccepting parents or homophobia, nor the overdone "misunderstanding" trope of romance. If it can even be classified as a conflict, it was one that was realistic and completely understandable. What I also loved about this book is that lesfic is overwhelmingly white, and when there are characters of colour they're only side characters and usually one-dimensional. It was refreshing to read a happy story with a Black main character; however, since the author is not Black nor am I, I am not the right person to comment on the quality of this representation. Topics of anti-Black racism in a small town setting weren't brushed over while also not being the focus of the story; but Black folks' opinions on this are of the utmost importance and they are the only people who can decide the quality of this rep. There are also a few moments within the book that show it is obvious the author is NB. I also really liked how there was a side character who casually uses they/them pronouns. However there was a moment where this character was misgendered from Adrienne's POV; I assume this was meant to be because Adrienne didn't know the person was nonbinary, but it was never addressed and could have been left out. There were also moments where KJ displayed casual biphobia, as she assumed Adrienne had to be straight since she had a child and ex-husband despite a character pointing out how she could be bi. I've never read any sports-related romances, or novels in general, before; but as someone who played hockey for 10 years, this was a really enjoyable read. Hockey wasn't the sole plot point of the book, but it still had its fair share of hockey-focused scenes which I sometimes glossed over (I don't love hockey like I used to) but are detailed which can help folks who aren't familiar with the game. It's also re-solidified my desire to join a women's rec league once COVID is over with, and maybe meet a sapphic lover there? I can dream! The more I write about this book, the more I realize it was a great read! I strongly recommend it to those who love hockey, and those who know nothing about it. But I would love to hear a Black sapphic's opinion on the representation within it. CW: death of a parent, parental estrangement, dementia, sibling conflict, anti-Black racism, some biphobia and homophobia, mentions of divorce, instance of misgendering, sex

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    Ice hockey is not a sport I am very familiar with, in fact I think if never even watched a match. But I really enjoy wlw sports books and the ones that have a hockey storyline usually work well for me. This is no exception. KJ has one goal, a singular focus, finally winning the championship. After missing the championship match because she had to take care of her dying father she can’t focus on anything else. When her defence partner and best friend shares her happy news, KJ is all but happy. She Ice hockey is not a sport I am very familiar with, in fact I think if never even watched a match. But I really enjoy wlw sports books and the ones that have a hockey storyline usually work well for me. This is no exception. KJ has one goal, a singular focus, finally winning the championship. After missing the championship match because she had to take care of her dying father she can’t focus on anything else. When her defence partner and best friend shares her happy news, KJ is all but happy. She meets Adrienne that day, she isn’t in her best mood and makes a horrible impression. Recreational hockey is just what Adrienne needs, but not with annoying team mates, certainly not someone she needs to be close to to play. When KJ’s best friend sets KJ straight things make a turn for the better and while their friendship blooms, something more might grow as well. KJ discovers there is so much more to life than recreational hockey and Adrienne finds a partner who is right for her AND for her son. I wouldn’t call this enemies to lovers because the animosity is very short lived, I think it’s more friends to lovers with a medium slow burn. I like how the author builds the relationship from annoyance, to team mates to friends and more. It’s skilfully done. Adrienne is a black character, something you don’t come across all to often in these books and especially not when it’s about hockey. I think the author did a good job portraying her struggles, her worries for her biracial kid and the issues KJ and Adrienne might face as a couple. Also important in this book is Adrienne’s relation with her kid, it seems like a very natural way this is handled. The thing I would say that is a bit of a negative for me is how quickly the I love yous come in the relationship and the moving in together. Typical u-haul storyline, at least they joke about it as well. And the hockey is done well, it’s a major part of the story but it never annoyed me, never got too technical/ detailed. Very enjoyable light romance for the stormy winter days I’m having. 3.5 stars. *ARC received in exchange for a voluntary and honest review*

  9. 5 out of 5

    Della

    Reading other reviews I know mine will be contrary to most of them. To begin with I am a huge fan of Lise MacTague. All her previous novels have intrigued and entertained me no matter which genre. She is an intelligent writer whose novels are very different from each other. Her writing style really flows as you gobble up the pages of her books. I love sport/romance novels and had been counting the days until the release of Breaking Out. Hockey ✅(being Canadian I was raised with a hockey stick i Reading other reviews I know mine will be contrary to most of them. To begin with I am a huge fan of Lise MacTague. All her previous novels have intrigued and entertained me no matter which genre. She is an intelligent writer whose novels are very different from each other. Her writing style really flows as you gobble up the pages of her books. I love sport/romance novels and had been counting the days until the release of Breaking Out. Hockey ✅(being Canadian I was raised with a hockey stick in my hands). Romance, ✅ Unfortunately I came up disappointed with the novel. I felt there was an imbalance of the romance to the hockey story. As well the story did not have the flow of writing which I expect from the author. The premise of the story is unique and kudos to Lise for this. To me I see this as one not so great game in a championship winning season. One book does not define this author and I encourage you to check out her other books. You too will become a fan. 3⭐️

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kaye

    Low angst, sports romance. KJ played hockey in college until she had to leave school and take care of her dad for five years while he struggled with alzheimer's. Two years after his death she is still trying to get her life on track. The one thing that still drives her is hockey, even if it is only playing on a recreational team. She wants to win a championship. Her defense partner needs to take the season off and invites Adrienne to take her place. Adrienne is black, new in town and has a birac Low angst, sports romance. KJ played hockey in college until she had to leave school and take care of her dad for five years while he struggled with alzheimer's. Two years after his death she is still trying to get her life on track. The one thing that still drives her is hockey, even if it is only playing on a recreational team. She wants to win a championship. Her defense partner needs to take the season off and invites Adrienne to take her place. Adrienne is black, new in town and has a biracial nine year old son named Lawrence. They learn to trust each other on the ice and in turn trust each other as friends. Adrienne who is bi is more hesitant to start a relationship because her son needs to come first. I like both main characters although KJ seems a little immature. She has been drifting without focus and carries a lot of anger about her circumstances. But she is kind, and sweet, particularly to Lawrence. Adrienne is more put together of the two. She has a good education and job but is struggling to make ends meet as a divorce, single mom. I like how they communicate with each other and particularly like that Adrienne addresses being in a biracial relationship. (I've seen that conversation ignored in other books.) Christmas with Adrienne's family is particularly fun. Hockey is important to the story but can be skimmed if you aren't a fan. It is less the focus as the book progresses. Thank you to NetGalley and Bella Books for an ARC ebook in exchange for an honest review.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aleana Harris

    KJ has only one thing in mind to win the league championship and nothing going to distract her from that. KJ loves hockey she had a chance to win the championship but had step aside to take care of father. Adrienne and her son Lawrence moves to into town where she hopes they can start fresh. She happy to learn the town has a hockey league and joins it. She clashes with KJ over misunderstanding but as the ice thaw between them a friendship starts. KJ learns that there’ more to life then hockey wh KJ has only one thing in mind to win the league championship and nothing going to distract her from that. KJ loves hockey she had a chance to win the championship but had step aside to take care of father. Adrienne and her son Lawrence moves to into town where she hopes they can start fresh. She happy to learn the town has a hockey league and joins it. She clashes with KJ over misunderstanding but as the ice thaw between them a friendship starts. KJ learns that there’ more to life then hockey when Adrienne shows her and Adrienne finally starts to believe she found love and stability for her son and herself. I received an ARC copy of this book from the Publisher via Netgalley and voluntarily leaving my review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laure

    🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤‍👩📚⚢🏒👩‍❤‍💋‍👩📖👭🏳️‍🌈 That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of "Breaking Out" by Lise MacTague from Bella Books (via NetGalley). So, here it is !!! My rating : 3 ⭐️ I hear praises about Lise Mac Tague’s work since years now but that the very first time I’m actually able to read one of her books ✅ … The principle of the story is unique and even if some things didn’t totally worked for me, I still liked some other in what I discovered. The story sets in Sussburg — an imagi 🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤‍👩📚⚢🏒👩‍❤‍💋‍👩📖👭🏳️‍🌈 That’s in exchange of an honest review that I received an ARC of "Breaking Out" by Lise MacTague from Bella Books (via NetGalley). So, here it is !!! My rating : 3 ⭐️ I hear praises about Lise Mac Tague’s work since years now but that the very first time I’m actually able to read one of her books ✅ … The principle of the story is unique and even if some things didn’t totally worked for me, I still liked some other in what I discovered. The story sets in Sussburg — an imaginary small town in the imaginary Windsor County in Central Pennsylvania — and focuses on KJ Stennes and Adrienne Pierce. KJ’s the local women’s recreational ice hockey team’s star player, and she has only one thing on her mind: winning the league championship. She certainly doesn’t have time for her defense partner to get pregnant, of all things… Adrienne hopes moving to a new town with her son, Lawrence, will bring some stability to their lives. KJ & Adrienne met when Jamie, KJ’s usual defense partner and her BFF, introduce Adrienne as a suitable replecement for her in the team. Despite a very rocky start both women can’t deny the attraction building between them and soon realise that they'll have to revise their life plans … OK … I really liked the following things : Adrienne being a WOC (since diversity in Life is what I prefer); the biracial couple with a biracial kid; both MCs having an everyday job & the pretty good writing style BUT … ° maybe I’m wrong but I have the feeling that some parts containing the necessary drama (from my POV) have been cut … that’s a shame because it removed all the real interest the book could have had … There are no real struggles … It’s implied, yes, but we don’t read about them so it doesn’t help connecting to the MCs and, so, their story … ° That was quite heavy on the hockey parts. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not bad, at first I thought it was interesting, I even learnt a lot since Ice hockey is not a sport I am familiar with, (it is not an institution in my country so I never even watched a match), but, after a while, it became annoying because, as important as it was for MC KJ since years and, then, for the Lovebirds, it took too much place compared to the romantic aspect of the story. This domination by hockey didn’t leave a lot of space to develop properly the building relationship and anything in the "drama" area. Yeah, some important things have been mentioned (change of life to take care of a dying parent; grief after the loss of this same parent; the difficulty of mourning a beloved person and a life we were supposed to have; daily racism; racism seemingly very present in Ice Hockey, perception of bisexuality, etc...) but that was just that, a mention whereas it should have been developed due to the impact of all those things in real life … In there, all is quite "flat", there’s no real angst. Like I said previously, I apreciated Adrienne being a WOC but her constant worrying about things which not even happened in the novel was quite tiresome. And where KJ is concerned, it could have been interesting to see her actually fight to overcome her grief, come to terms with years of self-ignorance and finally re-born. Facing all those problems could have allowed the MCs to become very close and it could have been the cement of their relationship ... ° the time frame is a tad light, in the sense it’s too quick, to make the MCs’ budding attraction & change of heart toward one another believable … In the "In betweens" category, I’d put the following things : ° the presentation of the characters with the pronouns of their choice to use is quite original and inclusive but it complicates everything (even for the author it seems) => In Chapter 5, Vaughn, clearly said …“I’m Vaughn. I use they/them pronouns.” => But sometimes, old habits dying hard, the pronoun about THEM is the wrong one … for example : in chapter six when it’s said "Vaughn bit, dropping to her knees" … instead of "Vaughn bit, dropping to THEIR knees" 😉 ° slight inconsistencies in the time line. ° I know that’s a lesfic book about a team sports but the overuse of "girlfriend" & "partner" (used at 51 times each) and in, a lighter way (but still), "If you say so" (used at least 15 times), "strain" (used at least 11 times) appears to be more like fillers or, even worst, like speach mannerisms than anything else. The use of synonyms would have been appreciated … If I had to make a very short and quite different version of my review, it’d be something like this : - Did I enjoy this book? => Sadly, not as much as I wished - Did I find the characters believable? => Sadly, not as much as they could have been - Is this book now included in my "must be re-read"-list? => Maybe - Will I purchase the paperback? => Maybe - Would I read another book by this author? => That’d be definitely a YES … because I’m sure that one "average" book does not define this author’s entire work … - Would I recommend this book => I’ll let people use their free will to read the novel, or not … 🏳️‍🌈👩‍❤‍👩📚⚢🏒👩‍❤‍💋‍👩📖👭🏳️‍🌈

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    Low angst hockey romance! Super sweet read with a dash of hockey. Wish there had been more character development? But they were very much fully formed adults which is always fun too. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.  Stars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Steam: 🔥.5 Tropes: hockey, small town, single parent Subgenre: Contemporary Romance/ Queer Romance CW/ TW: minor homophobia mentioned

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joyce

    I recommend this book Very enjoyable and fun read. The characters are very likable and well written. The love story was sweet . I did learn some things about hockey over all very good read. Thanks for a very fun read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amina

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melanie

  17. 5 out of 5

    ❦ Sapphic Books ❦

  18. 4 out of 5

    Charles

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlotte M McClellan

  20. 4 out of 5

    AntiCharles2point0

  21. 5 out of 5

    Liz

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ratana

  23. 5 out of 5

    Koni

  24. 4 out of 5

    Weed

  25. 4 out of 5

    Werefools

  26. 4 out of 5

    Theanticharles007

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kleo Z.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Annika

  29. 5 out of 5

    isa Simonet

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jelly Bee

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