So I was introduced to Catherine Gayle through the Seduced by the Game Anthology and I was really excited to find that there was a tour which gave me the oppurtunity to review all three of the Portland Storm Series! So here we go! Oh but first!
WARNING: These books contain sexual content and are not appropriate for younger readers
Releasing June 12, 2014
New Adult/Adult Contemporary Romance/Sports Romance
Life’s been rough lately for Noelle Payne, but she’s not one to let negativity rule. So, she lost her job? She’ll find another one. The bank foreclosed on the house? Well, she can live out of her car for a while. There’s always an upside to be found…but now Noelle needs to find something to give her life meaning. She owes it to the universe to figure it out, too, because a stranger just saved her life.
When Liam Kallen’s wife died, his goal-scoring ability died with her. After a trade from the only pro hockey team he’s ever played for, he’s now playing for the NHL’s Portland Storm. Everyone said he needed a change of scenery, but nothing changes until he rescues Noelle. All of a sudden, the world once again looks bright and he’s lighting the lamp like he used to.
Noelle’s cheerful disposition is just the bit of sunlight Liam needs in his life. He wants to give her everything she needs because she’s everything he wants. The problem? She doesn’t believe she needs anything…at least nothing material. The one thing they both know she truly needs—a real purpose—also happens to be the one thing he doesn’t know how to give her. If he can’t help her find that, she might walk away and take all her sunshine with her.
"I smiled, determined to look for the positive, and I gave him a confident nod."-Catherine Gayle, Light the Lamp
The third book in the Portland Storm series continues dealing with emotional issues. But this time the emotional issues are far different. Both characters have baggage from their past and must learn to move on as anyone does. But Liam is definitely drowning in his baggage.
When we find out Liam's background(which happens fairly quickly) we also get to see the deep grief that he still feels. Catherine Gayle portrays these emotions without going overboard. There are a lot of What If's tormenting Liam and it's obvious to see this without going over each and every one. I empathized him but didn't have as deep a connection with Liam as I had with previous characters. Maybe because he's new to the series, or I just couldn't find something in him that I felt made a connection.
The descriptions that Catherine Gayle has used throughout her series is amazing and it's no exception when she describes Noelle. I definitely wish that I could be more like Noelle and found myself having this instant connection with her. I felt really close almost like a best friend throughout the entire book. Noelle constantly has this positive outlook on life and after knowing what she went through and is still going through, you fell really close to her.
The readers are also given glimpses of previous characters lives and it's amazing to see these glimpses. It made me feel as if their story was still continuing and I loved that feeling.
Light the Lamp is an amazing addition to the Portland Storm series, and I'm really excited to see more of this series from Catherine Gayle! Especially Babs story whenever that may be!
She’s reaching for a breakaway pass.
Dana Campbell has spent the past seven years in self-imposed isolation for a crime she didn’t commit. The danger is well in the past, but her panic attacks make it impossible to have a normal, healthy relationship with a man. Even her counselor has given up on her. She has to find someone she trusts to help her fight through the panic, or her seven-year ordeal will become a lifetime sentence. There’s only one man she feels safe enough to ask.
He got caught with his head down.
As the captain of the NHL’s once elite but now fading Portland Storm, Eric Zellinger knows a thing or two about keeping his focus on the job. Questions are flying about his ability to lead the team back to the playoffs. If they don’t make it, he might be shipped out of town. It’s the worst time possible for his best friend’s kid sister to divide his focus. How can he give her what she needs without jeopardizing both the Storm’s playoff hopes and his future with the team?
It’s her only chance, but it’s his last shot.
“Panic attacks are crazy beasts. They don’t care what you think you’re ready for. They don’t care what you want. They just take control, and then you suffer.” -Catherine Gayle, Breakaway
Okay, so first of all, my introduction to this series came through the Seduced by the Game anthology so I apologize if I mention Babs and Katie more than I probably should. They were the first characters I was introduced to in this world and so I hold them in a special place. Plus.....Babs......if you've read any of the Portland Storm books than you'll know what I'm talking about. Now, on to the actual review!
Catherine Gayle easily introduces her characters and some of their pasts while keeping other things for later. The past and present are easily distinguishable but not in a jarring way. It almost seems as if a friend of a friend is explaining something to you so that you'll understand what is going on. Or at least some of what is going on.
Throughout the book I felt the emotions of the characters and I especially felt myself reacting with Dana many times. If she blushed I would blush just because it sounds like an embarrassing incident or something like that. Catherine Gayle has created characters that readers can easily connect with and even in some parts of these books, take their places. At least in the reader's mind.
Then there's also the fact that Catherine Gayle isn't afraid of the more sensitive topics. She doesn't hide from them and yet she's not making the topic too uncomfortable for her readers or treating it in such a way as to be disrespectful.
It's also the way that you get involved in the lives of the characters. I sometimes felt myself wishing that I could slap the two at points in the book because of some idiotic decisions they made. We also had humorous situations that made you laugh.
I also enjoyed the fact that Eric is the first to admit his feelings, at least to himself. It's different to have a guy in a novel admit right out that he's in love with a girl mentally than fight the connection until it finally clicks. It made Breakaway stand out in my mind and I enjoyed it immensely.
Then there's the fact that it includes hockey, and not just a scene or two at the rink but several, most that take place during an actual game. I enjoyed the hockey(especially because the Canadiens were out of the playoffs by the time I started reading these books.)
Breakaway is a great book, and Catherine Gayle has created marvelous characters that help to draw the reader in. If you haven't already, and you love hockey and romance than you should definitely give her books a chance!
Released February 2104
Injury after injury has put Brenden Campbell’s NHL career on hold for years. Now he’s playing for the Portland Storm and determined to make it stick. Few things in life drive him more than being told he can’t have something he wants, and what he wants most is to prove he belongs. Brenden also wants Rachel Shaw, the cute, little redhead who just got hired as the general manager’s new assistant. But then she went and made herself off-limits, telling him: “I don’t date.” Those three words pretty much guarantee that he’ll do everything he can to change her mind.
Rachel is changing things up on the fly for her family, moving them somewhere she can be the kind of mom her kids deserve. Allowing anyone else to be in their lives is out of the question, at least until her instincts get back on track. How else can she be sure who to steer the kids clear of? Right now she trusts no one, including herself, and especially not a man like Brenden Campbell. He’s way too handsome and a little bit cocky. Falling for a guy like him is a mistake she can’t afford to make twice.
"I just needed someone—anyone—to look past my lack of experience and education, to give me a chance."- Catherine Gayle, On the Fly
Breakaway introduced us to the world of the Portland Storm hockey team but it also introduced us to several characters that also play a part in On the Fly, most importantly Brenden 'Soupy' Campbell(because apparently that's just going to happen if someone has the last name Campbell). It was a new story but at the same time familiar because we were able to view characters from the previous book(Dana, and Babs, for example.) While Brenden and Rachel are the main characters this does not mean that we don't get some information on other characters. I enjoyed this method. It allows readers to see periphery characters as actual people and just not characters that are there for some reason.
On the Fly is a completely different situation from the previous book. While not completely but pretty much different. Catherine Gayle is still dealing with sensitive issues with care but not avoiding them. But this time it isn't the main character that is the one dealing with this issue, or at least not the one that was the victim of this issue. Instead she is the mother. And On the Fly gives us a whole new perspective on the difficult issue of rape.
We also feel for both Brenden and Rachel. With each chapter that the readers read from their perspectives, we gain valuable insight into why Brenden is so frustrated and desperate. We also see why Rachel is so cynical and mistrustful. This first person perspective allows readers to get into their heads and understand where they are coming from. It really helps to form a connection with both Rachel and Brenden.
Not to mention the rest of the characters. We get more of Babs, and I found myself looking forward to seeing Rachel's children, Tuck and Maddie grow more comfortable, happy and hilarious throughout the book. They seemed to add comic relief to On the Fly, relieving the tension that can come from dealing with difficult issues.
You won't be disappointed if you pick up On the Fly as well as read the rest of the Portland Storm Series.
About the Author
Catherine Gayle is a bestselling author of Regency-set historical romance and contemporary hockey romance with a New Adult feel. She’s a transplanted Texan living in North Carolina with two extremely spoiled felines. In her spare time, she watches way too much hockey and reality TV, plans fun things to do for the Nephew Monster’s next visit, and performs experiments in the kitchen which are rarely toxic.
Please use the code below if you would like to share the author’s tour giveaway.
- 3 ebook copies of both Breakaway and On the Fly (as a set)
Code: a Rafflecopter giveaway
OR you can find the giveaway here: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/f6237f442/
Direct buy links to the titles:
On the Fly:
Light the Lamp: