Rating: 4 stars
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The Snow and Ice Games are what Rowan Andrews has been working toward. Training is just about all she knows and while luge has never been the most popular sport, the media is turning out to see her. That could also have to do with her being seen with Zane Rivera, lead singer for the popular boy band, License to Game.
Zane has a lot riding on his shoulders. He’s talented and the face of the band, but at 26, he’s also ready to move on to other projects. But, he has his band mates to think about as well as his contract. A media meet and greet has Zane surprising Rowan not only with his very presence, but with an impromptu kiss on the cheek as a photo is being snapped. The photo goes viral and both camps see the advantages of capitalizing on a fake relationship between the two of them.
However, right from the start things don’t feel fake and while they are seen in public for the cameras, the couple can’t wait to be together in private. But Rowan certainly doesn’t have time to start a relationship in the middle of the games and when her focus wavers, she needs to take a step back. But when Rowan is injured, it’s up to Zane to prove to Rowan that his feelings are anything but fake.
The Snow and Ice Games series is a new collection from Tamsen Parker about world class athletes at the winter games. The series will include five books that will release December-March to coincide with the Winter Olympics. The series will also be made up of mixed pairings and while this first book is M/F, there will also be an M/M book, as well as an F/F story to complete the series.
The book is told in alternating first person point of view, which helps round out the story. Rowan has been training for the luge for many years. Her father is her manager and their relationship is close, if not a little controlling on her father’s part, but he mostly means well. There aren’t many, if any, books with luge as the focus and it was interesting to have a strong female lead in a sport that isn’t as widely read about. Rowan is a young 20-year old and for my tastes, she was a little too young for me, but she had a fun and cute personality when faced with Zane. But while I might not have been the direct target audience for Rowan based solely on personal preferences, it was refreshing to see a female character go after what she wants.
Rowan has had a boy band style crush on Zane and it’s his music that gets her through training. Having any kind of relationship with him never entered her mind at all. The two of them agree to be seen in public to stir up additional press, but they like each other from the start. Zane is a good guy. He’s respectful to his band mates and to Rowan. He doesn’t overwhelm her and is a gentleman, but perhaps he was a little too nice and came off a bit bland for the lead of one of the most popular bands. There wasn’t a lot of tension here driving the book as the two of them date and get out in public for the cameras. Zane is also a little shocked when Rowan goes after what she wants in bed and that aspect was well done to see female lead going after and taking what she wants on her own terms.
The book takes place in a short amount of time, just for the duration of the competition. It’s enough time for the two of them to fall in love, young love style. There is added tension toward the end when Rowan is injured and the controlling parent aspect became a familiar thread of a storyline for me.
Parker is a strong writer, which made this book a quick read, if a little less impactful for me. It would be a good choice if you are into athletes, boy bands, secret crushes, and impossible dreams coming true.