June 5, 2015

REVIEW: One More Shot (Hometown Players #1)

One More Shot (Hometown Players #1), by Victoria Denault
Publish Date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Forever Yours
Format: ARC, obtained from the publisher
Genre: new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating: 3.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) They say you only get one shot at making your dreams come true.

Jordan is determined to take two.

Drafted by the NHL at eighteen, Jordan Garrison was headed for fame, and there was only one person he wanted to share it with—Jessie Caplan. He was crazy in love with her, and had finally told her so. They shared an amazing night . . . and then everything fell apart.

Jessie tries not to think about the night she gave herself to Jordan—or how he broke her heart. She tries not to think about it, but she does. Especially now, when she's staring into his sky-blue eyes for the first time in six years. After so much time and torment, she can't tell if she loves him or hates him. But Jordan has learned enough to know a connection like theirs is rare. He was lucky to find Jessie once. No way will he lose her again.

I wanted to love this one more. I really, really did. I love sports books, and let's face it - that cover alone could get a person like me to read this book. But, I am a character-driven reader. the plot could be weak, the writing sub-par, but if I love the characters, that stuff doesn't matter much. I need characters I can believe in and rally around in order to enjoy the book. I loved Jordy. He was awesome. But, Jessie, I pretty much hated. 

Jordy and Jessie were best friends who, one night, because more than friends. Until a misunderstanding separated them for six years. Now, they've been thrown back together again, and Jordy is determined to not lose this second chance at the one girl he has loved forever. But Jessie won't even give him the time of day. How is he supposed to rebuild his relationship with her if she won't even give him the time of day?

Of all the many romance tropes out there, one of my favorites is the second-chance romance. One of my other favorites is friends-to-lovers. And, One More Shot includes both of these. It should've been a slam dunk. But, here's the problem. There never should've been a second-chance. Jessie saw Jordy do something that looked compromising on television, and instead of allowing him the chance to say anything, much less explain, she left the state for college early. 

Jessie spent the number six years hating Jordy for this supposed infraction. They both were miserable since they had also been best friends before getting together. Jordy filled his days with hockey and his nights with woman, and none of it meant anything without her. When they both come back to their hometown for Jessie's grandmother's funeral, Jordy starts trying to rebuild what they had before. Jessie makes it nearly impossible for him, though. She treats him like crap every step of the way. She can't even be civil to him. And she constantly is blasting him for all the women he has slept with over the years. 

Okay. First of all, can we say SLUT SHAMING? So what if it's a guy? He wasn't her boyfriend. He didn't owe her any explanation or deserve to feel guilty about any of it. And yet, he was constantly explaining. Constantly feeling bad about it, because that's what Jessie wanted. And, that's just not fair. 

But what kills me the most is that all of it could've been prevented if she would've just talked to him as soon as she thought he screwed up. Not to mention the fact that she should've trusted him implicitly. They might've only been together a few days, but they had been BFFs for more than 10 years. That should've counted for something. Instead, she automatically thought the worst of him and then ran away. 

Jordy was sweet and sexy and I loved his relationship with his brothers. His gestures to win Jessie back were endearing, and I loved that he loved the game of hockey so much. His brothers were interesting, and Jessie's sister Rose was cool too. Her other sister Callie, however, was just as horrid as Jessie was. She was constantly passing judgement on things she knew nothing about, and she purposely thwarted Jordy's attempts to reconcile with Jessie. 

One other thing I did love about this book was that there was so much hockey in it! So many times in sports books, the sport is pushed aside to make room for the romance. Not so here. I'm not a hockey fan, but this book made me wish I was.

Despite my problems with Jessie, I thought the writing was good and the plot moved along. It was told in dual POV, which I love. And, I was enough in love with the peripheral characters that I do think I'll read the next book in this series. It's about Jordy's BFF Luc and Jessie's sister Rose. You could tell there was something there between them, but you didn't know what, exactly. I'm anxious to find out. And, since I loved both these characters in One More Shot, I'm willing to give this series... one more shot.

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