ARC Review: ICED by Jacob Chance

Posted November 3, 2019 by Kate

ARC Review: ICED by Jacob ChanceCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance
Series: Boston Terriors Hockey #2
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Oliver Ice, one of Boston University’s notorious hockey players, has been on my radar since I slammed into his rock-hard body during my first week of college, three years ago. He helped me to my feet, muttered an apology, and ran off after his girlfriend, dashing my hopes of a happily ever after.
Now, he’s the bartender where I work, and this time, very much single. Night after night I watch the tall, broad, and sexy right winger mixing drinks and being Mr. Personality, while I remind myself how horribly my last relationship ended.
But when Oliver overhears a private conversation, he offers to be the one thing I need more than anything--my pretend boyfriend at a dreaded family reunion.
One weekend was all it was meant to be.
How do I protect my fragile heart when the lines between fantasy and reality blur with our first kiss?
ICED can be read as a standalone.

DisclaimerI received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it does not influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way.

The book opens up with our main character, Ava, remembering the first time she met our hero, Oliver Ice, when he ran into her in the hallway her freshman year and got pizza all over her white shirt. Sure, he stopped and apologized, but then ran off after his asshole and now ex-girlfriend, Stacey. Ava’s had a distant crush on him ever since, even though she figured he was an ass, since he dated one for about four years. 

It picks back up with Ava’s first night dancing at a club (not stripping, actual dancing in an upscale club as entertainment), and Oliver watching this girl, enraptured. He later overhears her asking a friend of hers to pose as her date to a family reunion, where her sister is now dating Ava’s ex-boyfriend after Ava caught them cheating. So basically, her sister is a bitch and Oliver and Ava pose as a couple for her family reunion, and then later for an event of his where Stacey will be present. 

This book… was interesting. I love hockey romances!! Not only because they’re usually the best New Adult has to offer (and that’s not a joke, the genre needs to step it up and have some more content, people!), but also because of the sheer excitement and angst of it. Its college, and relationships, and they are college athletes, which brings a whole new layer into it, and for some reason, hockey has the best books behind it. Probably because the people who write about them typically really care about hockey, otherwise they’d have picked the oft-focused on football star instead. So I’ll admit to going in with high expectations, and it actually fell a bit short, I’m afraid.  

I have to be clear, it was not a bad book. It was just very… simple. Guy meets girl, they decide to go into a fake relationship, they get tummy flutters and decide to date, they almost have a knock-down fight but don’t because Ava is a practical girl, and then the book is over. It didn’t have any overtly interesting characters that really dazzled for me. There were so many opportunities for Mr. Chance to develop some really great side characters, which he kind of started to do with friend Perri, but the book was very Hero&Heroine centered, so we didn’t get to see them in class or at practice and it was a bit of a let-down on that part. I always like to be let into the life of my characters. 

“You and me, we’re forever, tiny dancer. Wherever you go, I’ll follow.” 
“No.” She shakes her head. “Wherever we go,  we go together.”

I hate to be this person because men can write strong romances, I know it. But also, it made a lot of sense when I double-checked and saw that a woman did not write Ava’s perspective. She was prone to looking at herself in the mirror, admiring her long tresses and stylish clothing, running a brush through her hair and eyeing her flushed cheeks from exertion and saying “Oh well, this is as good as it’s going to get.” Yeah okay. Bring it down a notch, princess. Plus, Ava was special because she was “not like other girls” and “low maintenance” and “didn’t make him wait while she got ready.” Huh. Okay. Another thing, Oliver, during their sexy scenes, would unzip her dress zipper, slowly revealing her “unblemished skin.” Uh-huh. Suuuree. 

Knowing I was getting a male writer, and this admittedly being one of the few male writers I’ve read in this genre, I was excited to see hockey from his eyes! Yes! The hockey scenes are often my favorite parts of the books, even if I don’t really know the rules. But… we got none of those. Not to mention, she lives in a single-bedroom apartment in Boston. No undergrad college student can afford that. 

But this did have two of my favorite tropes present: friends-to-lovers, and fake relationships. It was nice in the beginning because we got the slow angst, unrequited feelings, and the bit of a simmering burn that is expected of these books, which was nicely done. But it needed stronger side characters and more background and peripheral activity going on in the story. It was like anything that didn’t directly move the relationship along was edited out. 

Overall, this book was entertaining, and certainly was a nice distraction while I was unwinding before bed, but just fell a little short of my expectations going in on this one. It is available on Kindle Unlimited, which is super sweet, so if you have a subscription and want to test this story out without paying extra, yes, please! I promise you, you’ll be distracted and entertained by a sweet romance, but it won’t sweep you away like I was hoping. 

Thank you, Jacob Chance, for the title, of course, and to Enticing Journey Book Promotions all your work ?

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Have you read many sports romances? What are some of your favorite hockey romances? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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