Story Rating: 3.25 stars
Audio Rating: 2.5 stars
Narrator: Scott R. Smith
Length: 6 hours, 22 minutes
Riley Hunter is ready for a new season of hockey. He’s the goalie on an affiliate team and his team just missed winning the championship last season. Riley is focused on being the best goalie and pretty much keeps to himself. If he lets anyone in too far, he’ll have to let them know about his wealthy family. Riley has never known if people want to be friends with him because of his money, so he is keeping that completely quiet around his teammates and that includes Ethan Kennedy.
Ethan is anything but quiet. He’s a proud New Yorker and his position as the team’s enforcer fits his personality. He’s proud of who is and where he came from, but often gets himself into situations without thinking things through. Which is how he wound up back in Jacksonville without a place to live. As Riley and Ethan become roommates and friends, there is an attraction that sparks that is new to both of them. But with Riley not being honest about who he is and trying to help with Ethan’s financial struggles, their relationship might crash and burn if they can’t open up to each other.
Save of the Game is the second addition to Gale’s Scoring Chances series. For the most part, it can be read as standalone, although previous characters do make appearances here. I like sports-related books and I was expecting to like this one, and this series for that matter, better than I have. With this book specifically, the hockey action, which mostly came toward the latter part of the book, was the draw as both main characters were quite bland for me.
First, we have Riley. His parents are billionaires and the most contact he has with them are the checks they send him. He keeps his finances private as he never knows what anybody truly wants from him. He hasn’t had many relationships and, although he hasn’t had a relationship with a guy before, he’s attracted to them as well.
Ethan grew up with a single mom and two sisters and money was always tight. His family is supportive of him and everything he does and he makes decisions quickly and only thinks about the consequences later. He never thought at all about being with a man, but when he encounters Riley’s online porn folder things change. There is almost no angst or drama here either with the guys accepting where their relationship is heading and there is no backlash from family or teammates as their relationship becomes public.
My issue here is that both Riley and Ethan came off as clueless to me and it was too much for me to have both of them this way. Ethan came off as clueless about everything and Riley was so closed off he became bland and I had a really hard time becoming invested in either of them. When they get together they are both inexperienced and fumbling along and while that can work at times, it didn’t for me here as there was no balance.
A lot of this may very well have had to do with the narration as performed by Scott R. Smith. I listened to the first book of this series read by him and decided to give him another chance. I’ll say that he’s not the narrator for me. Ethan was described as sounding like a 1920s gangster and his New York accent was an exaggerated stereotype. Also, his accent would slip at times where he sounded like he was from Massachusetts mixed in with another accent that may well have been the narrator’s own dialect. Ethan’s mother’s voice was unpleasant to listen to and Zoe, a side character from the first book, is back with her grating southern style accent that was difficult to listen to. When Ethan was speaking with Zoe, some of her accent then got mixed into his voice. Riley’s name was at times pronounced as expected, while other times it changed to sounding like “Rah-lee,” and there was no consistency. Jared, from the first book, makes a guest appearance and he sounded like Riley and not like he did in that first book. The narrator had many different accents, but none of them appealed to me and sadly his performance may prohibit me from continuing on with this series in the audio format.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.