Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars
‘. . . there are team superstitions. The traditional shoulder check line or locker room song.‘ He pauses, and I force myself to look up at him, his blue eyes piercing me in a way that makes me squirm in my seat. ‘You, Macey, are a team superstition.’”– Ella Market, “Hat Trick Heart”
What It’s About:
The official synopsis:
When your agent calls and tells you that your publisher wants “something new,” you do the only thing you can do:
Draw from real life experience.
Successful romance writer Macey Veronica’s life has revolved around hockey for as long as she can remember. When a blast from the past is forced in to her life again, six year old secrets are uncovered, and Macey V finds herself wondering how to fit feelings for three alpha hockey players into her one heart.
Max, Rafe, and Andy were the closest that three people could be without sharing blood while playing hockey together in college. Macey was their center, their grounding point, and they would have given her the world if asked. One fateful graduation party forced a rift between two that irrevocably changed everything…. Until years later when they find themselves all playing for the Tampa Thunder.
Macey loves them all, and always has. But is that enough to get them through this next chapter? Or will their pride prove to be too much to overcome?
Hat Trick Heart is a standalone reverse harem romance where the main character gets a guaranteed HEA with multiple love interests. It is intended for audiences 18+ for explicit language and sexual content, including MM, MMF, and MMFM scenes.
Okay, here is me trying to get caught up on book reviews that are LONG overdue….whoops! what ‘cha gonna do? Sometimes they just fall through the cracks when you get into a certain reading groove, BUT here I am trying to make up for it!
So I actually read this book back in November–again, whoops–but better late than never!
Do you like Hockey?
Do you like Hockey PLAYERS?
Do you like Hockey Players who are up for sharing the main character?
Do you like reverse harems/why choose romances?
Do you like Philipino representation?
Do you like second chance, found family, and/or friends-to-lovers tropes?
…If you said YES to all of these, or even most of them, then I definitely say you need to give this debut novel a shot! Pun slightly intended there….you know, shooting a puck? a shot at goal? okay…….
It was a lighter toned, equally fun and sexy romance novel that anyone who’s a fan of multiple love interests or Hockey in general can easily get into! It’s also an easy read to pick up and get into whenever and wherever without getting lost; whether you’re reading at the beach, or in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, on your lunch break, or literally just whenever you can squeeze in some quick reading time!
The story revolves around Macey Veronica, a romance author on the cusp of writing her next big hit, and it just so happens to be somewhat replicating her very REAL life romance that’s developing between her and her three best friends: Max, Rafe, and Andy.
The three of them just so happen to ALL be professional hockey players, and Rafe was actually out of the picture for a few years and there’s a mystery as to why exactly. There’s definitely some history that gets rehashed and comes to a boil with three alpha personalities.
There was also a nice balance of history with Max and Macey, who’ve been best friends since they were 8 years old, who then met Rafe and Andy in college, and I’m personally glad there wasn’t a whole lot of time wasted with them all being awkward and second guessing the whole “can we be more than friends? Will this ruin our relationship? Do I view them as someone other than a friend?” I mean, those thoughts all make sense and are entirely valid, but when the book is advertised as an RH romance that’s defs going to have some spice, we ain’t looking for that uncertainty, we want to see things freakin HAPPEN! I’d say the author did just the right amount of time of them being just friends and them making the jump to take things horizontally and even further.
The book is told in four perspectives and is also told in just the right amount of balance between the four of them too in my opinion. Each character besides Andy has their own little subplot that they’re dealing with while the romantic relationship between them all develops, but honestly that’s okay in my opinion. He’s the more easy going of them all, and I don’t think he needed to add more drama to the story, there was plenty already going on. He felt like the bridge and/or mediator between them all, and I think maybe why so many others who’ve read this book consider him their favorite! I’m totally speculating on how friends and some strangers read this book, but you know…I could see it!
Besides these four, there’s also a few side characters who catch some of the spotlight–and reader’s hearts–like Macey’s gal pals and the hot young head coach, so it definitely gives you the idea that the story here isn’t entirely done and there’s more to be explored besides just Macey’s little line of men that have her heart! If the author herself says the coach looks like model Chase Mattson, I’m all for getting a closer look into his love life!!
What I Liked:
- Reverse Harem, ‘nuf said! Reverse Harems, or “why choose” romances, are becoming more and more popular in the bookish community. Why pick just one love interest when you could have several? Now whether sharing is going on or they’re competing against each other for time and affection depends on the book/group dynamic, but in this book it’s all amongst a group of friends who turn to lovers, but with two side relationships too. It’s certainly an interesting set-up to say the least, and I gotta say Macey is the luckiest girl in the world to have it this good with three pro hockey players!
- An Actual Hockey Fan Wrote This! A good hockey romance also NEEDS actual hockey playing content in my opinion…otherwise it’s not really a sports/hockey romance specifically, it’s just a regular romance and the guy (or gal) just happens to be a hockey player. Sports romance stories need actual sports being played within the pages to count as an actual sports romance, and it’s good to know that this author not only provides actual sports content in this book, but that she actually has a vast knowledge of it and is a huge fan of it in her personal life too! It helps the reader feel the story is more authentic when the author actually knows what they’re writing about in this case.
- Low Angst, Low Thoughts! What I mean by this is just that it’s nice to have a book like this that’s just easy, breezy, and doesn’t require a whole lot of thought and concentration. The beach reads that you can take just about anywhere and pick up and not get lost. The low angst is because most of the story is about the four main characters and how they come to terms with their poly relationship and explore it, thus adding to some spicy scenes to enjoy for the readers who enjoy that kind of extra seasoning in their books *wink*wink.*
What I Didn’t Like:
- Max Needed to Be More Open to Trying New Things…This isn’t really a critique, more like a personal preference…and also SPOILERS AHEAD……………….okay, so Max is cool with the whole “sharing” Macey part, but most likely mainly because he gets to be seen with her in public like they’re a regular couple. He’s even cool with being in bed with the other guys, and even maybe MAYBE get s a little curious….but then that’s it! NO MAX, explore that curiosity!!! Go with that feeling, and take it further! He admitted watching Rafe and Andy was kind of hot at one point, and here I’m like “yes, but there could be something even hotter…” Basically I wanted to see more bisexual curiosity/exploration from Max with the other guys…like let one of them suck your dick or top one of them! Respectfully and consensually, of course!
- The Mom And What’s Her Deal?…I will admit the whole issue with the mom of that super fan and the whole conflict that came because of it felt a little out of left field and should’ve been explored further in this book. It could’ve made more sense if she wasn’t in like only one scene in the whole dang book! Like maybe she’s a rival author/publisher to Macey and the company she works for or something! I don’t know, even just having her in more scenes would make this aspect of the story stronger in my opinion!
Overall, this was a fun, easy, and defs sexy reverse harem/why choose Hockey romance that I think anyone could get into if they love sports romance and RH’s in general! It’s mainly a lighter, sweet tone of a book too, so I’d say it’s even a good one for someone who’s never gone down the RH rabbit-hole and is curious to give it a try.
I’d say it’s an impressive debut novel, and Ella Market is for sure an author to keep an eye on because things can only go up from here, and there’s also an X-mas novella with all these characters if you can’t get enough of them in this fabulous book that’s called Hat Trick Holiday, PLUS the sequel coming out later this year: Power Play Pieces!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell