Title: Hat Trick
Author: Kristen Hope Mazzola
Series: Shots on Goal #1
Release Date: October 17, 2016
One accident – a freaking car crash.
That’s all it took to send my brother’s and my life into a tailspin with no end in sight. I was going to be something. I was going to be the best. I had the Olympics in my sights. And it all went to shit in one flash. Brayden wasn’t ready to raise a younger sister when I was thrown into his lap. He had his life and everything going for him. Thankfully, he was still drafted to his dream hockey team. The same one dad played for when we were growing up.
It took time, but I started to get better, started to open up, started skating and even dating again. I even thought I found the perfect guy for me.
Isn’t it funny how guys hit on you when they know you’re not available, but when you’re single they won’t give you the freaking time of day? I guess the game is more fun that way. And for the captain of my brother’s team, that’s exactly what I was. A hat trick is three goals in hockey. Some say three is a crowd and they might be right.
I was Gavin Hayes’ unobtainable goal.
Hat Trick is a quick, sweet, insta-love hockey romance with a bit of a forbidden twist. Uncomplicated and fairly angst-free, this is the kind of story you can pick up when you need something light to make you smile. Told from the point of view of Myla, her brother, and his teammate Gavin, Kristen Hope Mazzola packs plenty of sassy moments and tension-laden encounters to entertain readers with this one. There were moments where this book really shined, where I could see the potential of the story and even found myself excited at the prospect of a series featuring the other players. Driven mostly by the relationships between the various characters, these instances of pure camaraderie, honest emotion, and heartfelt storytelling kept me flipping the pages.
“I didn’t get all dressed up to actually Netflix and chill, Gavin.”
Unfortunately, as a whole, Hat Trick was lacking for me. I prefer my storylines to have more depth in terms of emotion and my characters to be more extensively developed. While there was the underlying tragedy that seemed to connect the characters, they never actually explored these connections sufficiently enough for them to take root and hold any meaning to the story as a whole. I also felt like we barely scratched the surface with Gavin, never knowing why exactly his previous relationship ended or what kind of man he really was off the ice. There was also quite a bit of hockey lingo and slang thrown in, which as a lifetime hockey fan, I could appreciate, but would probably disconnect the average reader from the story without any sort of explanation of the terms. The time jumps were abrupt and oftentimes skipped over some serious opportunities for development, not only making the storyline feel disjointed but also pulling me out of the story almost completely. The absence of any major conflict between the couple and the incredibly rapid resolution of the story gave Hat Trick an overall lackluster feeling.
“Rumors get started with a kernel of truth, I guess.”
To be fair, Kristen Hope Mazzola’s writing is great. There is a lot of humor, heart, and just enough delicious heat to make for a well-balanced story. The premise was certainly intriguing and Myla had something special about her that was simply enchanting. Her personal struggles colliding with Gavin’s history could have made for an intensely emotional and incredibly touching journey but I think everything about Hat Trick was just too rushed to fully appreciate the true capacity of this story. I will say, if you like uncomplicated, feel-good romance Hat Trick might just hit the spot for you. Kristen Hope Mazzola delivered a great group of characters and hinted at some fun relationships that gave Hat Trick that exciting team spirit only a sports romance can.
I needed a novel all about hockey to fulfill a challenge read so when I heard that Kristen Hope Mazzola would be writing one, I knew just what I’d be selecting. The premise of Hat Trick where a player’s sister falls for the captain of the team was the perfect equation for a forbidden romance I wouldn’t be able to get enough of. As I dove in and really got into the relationship that formed between Myla and Gavin, I adored the chemistry and youthfulness to these two. Gavin was protective and steadfast in his feelings, while Myla was returning to who she was before her accident. However, there were several things about Hat Trick that I could just not get past, which resulted in the rating. For being such a short novel, there were a lot of plot lines being introduced. I found myself wishing that Mazzola explored some aspects deeper, i.e. some of the events that could have introduced a source of conflict to strengthen the relationships in the novel. Furthermore, there were quite a few time jumps to contend with which made it really difficult to connect to the characters. I needed more of their histories in order to be able to fully see their transformations. Finally, some of the language used really alienated me as a reader. I wanted the hockey aspect of the novel, but as someone who doesn’t follow the sport, some of the terms used went right over my head. With a fun storyline, youthful characters, and fresh writing, Hat Trick goes by in the blink of an eye. Though it wasn’t rated higher for me, I did enjoy the story and have no doubt that others will as well.
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