Cover Image: Face Off

Face Off

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Member Reviews

Face Off was a DNF for me. The storyline and the characters just didn't work for me. I was disappointed as I love sports romances.
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5 Stars
This is a sports romance centered around the sport of ice hockey. Although the author has not indicated that this is part of a series, some of the supporting characters from her previous book, On the Fly, are in this story.

Savannah Wells is a veterinarian who is also plays on a professional ice hockey team.  She works as a vet during the off season and works part time during the hockey season.  She is one of the stars on the team and has quite the fan club.  She and her friend Kelly love clubbing, dancing and women.  Because Savannah was hurt years earlier, she does not want to get into a relationship.  Savannah’s mother, on the other hand, wants her daughter to find a good woman, settle down and have a family.

One day Kelly and Savannah are sitting on Savannah’s front porch drinking beer and enjoying the sites.  What caught their attention is the new neighbor moving into the house next door.  The new neighbor is Madison Scott, a professional photographer, who recently broken up with her long-time.  One of Madison’s new jobs is to photograph the hockey team during their season.  However, she does not know anything about hockey, and Savannah is more than willing to teach her the ins and outs of the game.  The main storyline is the scheme that Savannah and Madison cook up.  To stop Savannah’s mother from setting her up on dates, they pretend to be in a relationship. 

The first quarter of the book is a little slow, and it took me a while to warm up to the characters and the story.  Once Madison and Savannah begin their relationship, I found the story to be light and amusing.  Ms. Trebelhorn has done a nice job on character development.  Readers will find that the story has a good pace once the “fake relationship” begins.

I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars.  This story has the potential to become a series.

I received this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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This was just an okay book, it could have been way better. But I liked the main characters, that was a start ;)
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This is the first book I've read by Trebelhorn.  While her writing was extremely good, the story was just unbelievable.  Too unbelievable.  Was this written for teenagers?  "Hi, I'm your neighbor, can I use your shower and oh hey, can you pretend to be my girlfriend so my family will leave me alone?"  Ugh.  The only joy I could find was Madison. Very likable, cute, sweet and kind... too good for Savannah.  I would like to see Madison's character again, but in a more realistic storyline.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books for the ARC.
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I find it hilarious how many fake relationship books there are. Do people do this frequently in real life?? Oh well, it's a good plot point to make two people spend time together I guess. I just don't know why they didn't just date to begin with. Yes, they both are hurt by past relationships, but I didn't find them too damaged. 

This book in general was a decent read. The characters were fully formed and I enjoyed their interactions, but also theirs with family and friends. And, I learned a bit about hockey! 

I thought Mary was going to be a bigger deal, but she kind of turned into a dud. I like a little more villain in my...villains. 

Overall, ok read but I wouldn't read it again.
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3.5 stars - I freaking love hockey. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, I don't know, but I get invested like you wouldn't believe. Reading the summary for 'Face Off' by P.J. Trebelhorn, I got really excited. It combined two of my favourite things: hockey and fake-dating trope.

I enjoyed this book. I really like Savannah as a character, and even though I had to suspend my disbelief when she first meets Madison, I think they had a lot of chemistry. I was a little bummed out that there weren't that many hockey/on ice scenes, but overall it was a good read.

I have a few of Trebelhorn's backlist books on my TBR and I'm looking forward to reading them.

Thanks to Bold Strokes Books for providing me with a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review
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I was really excited to read this book because of the little summary. I love next-door neighbor and fake relationship stories. However, this was not the book for me.

I really tried to get into it and give the characters a chance so I could clock with either of them but I couldn't. The whole attraction between them happened, what I felt was, too fast and I felt like it was a bit superficial and forced. I really don't know if it go better by the end because I could not finish the book.

Nevertheless, I am sure this is the perfect book for someone.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a lovely quick read with a fast pace, perfect for when your life is just too busy. Savannah, hockey player and vet finds her new neighbour very attractive. Turns out that Madison is the wedding photographer for one of Savannahs friends as well the photographer on contract for the ice hockey team. Savannah is very wary of relationships and Madison thinks she has finally escaped her ex.

With a fake relationship trope mixed in and a little bit of tug of war, this is quite engaging. I thought it was a little short with not enough character development and it didn’t help that there were a couple of occasions where the characters’ names were mixed up (which I’m sure will be fixed in the final edition).

I enjoy Trebelhorn’s writing and while this isn’t my favourite, it’s still fun.

Book received from Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review.
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A fun romance that starts witht a meddlesome mom which leads to fake dating ones hot neighbour who is also a famous hockey player. 

Savannah and Madison have instant chemistry but it takes a while for the two of them to give in to it. Meanwhile they decide to fake date to please one of Savannah mothers, A fun read for the evening.
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The Queer’s Review

The excitement about a wlw Ice Hockey romance didn’t last long.

And I was so very excited, because Ice Hockey, fake relationship turning real, and a female pairing – I mean, what’s not to love? Apparently a lot.

Fake relationships turning real is one of my favourite tropes and I know how sometimes the reasons for fake dating are a little bit far fetched. Other times they are totally believeable or just plain adorable. But in Face Off? I didn’t get the reason. At all. I mean, it was there, but… that is not a reason.

So this book and I, we didn’t have the best of starts. It went downhill from there. I couldn’t get into the love relationship and was just like “yeah of course” because while it is not Insta love it is a very close case.

Also… everything is just so unrealistic. Showering at your neighbour’s who you have never met at all so that you can drive to your sister’s? Why not, oh I don’t know…. maybe shower at a beloved family member’s home, especially since you’re going there anyway?

The friendships are on paper but I didn’t feel them. Also the main character’s best friend is not able to not flirt with a woman if she knows she is in a fake relationship?

I didn’t have any positive feelings for any character, every relationship annoyed me, and then came the biphobia and that overall energy of being a lesbian is better than other sexualities. Hint: A woman who tries to date you for a year and then later ends up with a man is only wanting to experience the “dyke experience”. And there was just that one lonely dyke on the whole planet so she had no other chance than to pursue her in oder to cross off “dyke experience” of her list.

I was so fucking bored and annoyed by Face Off – I’m honestly wondering why I didn’t dnf.

Bookish Thoughts

I could’ve spent my time with a more enjoyable book for sure, but in a way I still had hopes it would get better. And I stubbornly wanted to find at least something good about a wlw fake relationship turning real Hockey romance.
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4 stars. Savannah Wells cannot get away from her family setting her up on blind dates. She meets her next door neighbor, Madison Scott. Maddie and Savannah instantly connect and all Savannah wants to do is spend more time with her. Maddie instantly likes Savannah and seems to keep running into her and realizing they have similar interests. When Savannah suggests they should start a fake relationship to trick her moms, Maddie is completely on board. Maddie and Savannah both start to spend more time together and cannot help but both start to like each other more and more. When Maddie is also the photographer for Savannah's hockey team it really seems like life is throwing them together.

I enjoyed this one. I liked the chemistry between Savanna and Maddie and how their relationship evolves. They have enough interactions that evolve through time and it seems more legit. I really enjoyed their fake relationship at first and how it evolved from there. I thought it evolved a little too quickly, but I like the slow burn. I still thought this book was very good and would recommend it to anyone.
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First I have to let you know that even though I’m a proud Canadian I know very little about hockey. Yes I know that’s rather rare but there you have it. Even though this book revolves around hockey it also circles around a very nice romance. 
    Madison Scott has just moved from Chicago for two reasons, first she’ll be closer to her sister’s family and more importantly she’ll be escaping the abusive relationship she finds herself in. Mary, her ex was not only abusive but she made a habit of sleeping around. Maddie works as a professional photographer so she can work anywhere she chooses. She just happens to move into a house, along with her dog right next door to Savannah Wells.
    Savannah Wells is a veterinarian but when hockey season begins Savannah spends her time playing hockey with the local semi-pro women’s team. Savannah has no plans to become involved with anyone but her mother’s are on her back to do just that. They want her to have someone who’ll make her happy. Problem is that while Savannah was in university she fell in love with a girl that did make her happy, planning to spend her life with but her girlfriend falls in love with another and breaks Savannah’s heart. She’s not willing to risk her heart again just to be left behind again.
    When Savannah and Maddie meet the attraction is immediate and their lives become even more complicated when not only is Maddie hired to be the team photographer and she’s already been hired to take the wedding  pictures for one of Savannah’s best friends. Now the two women decide to pretend date just to get everyone to leave them alone. No nothing can go wrong, right? 
    Ms Trebelhorn knows how to tell  a great story. Fast paced with some realistic dialogue make this a very enjoyable read.  
ARC via NetGalley/Bold Stroke Books
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I’ve enjoyed this author’s previous books but unfortunately this one didn’t work for me at all. The first meeting of the two leads was really far fetched, the fake relationship angle was completely unnecessary and strange, Savannah being unable to commit because of a fairly run-of-the-mill first experience she had a decade ago didn’t feel believable. I didn’t particularly like Savannah, found her parents and their meddling incredibly off putting, and although I liked Maddie I didn’t feel invested in the story or the characters because there was just too much that  didn’t feel believable. Having said that the book was well written.
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This made me want to check out ice hockey games. What a great romance. I Loved all the characters including duke. Hope for many more from this author.
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An honest review thanks to NetGalley.  I like fake romance stories that turn real as time went on but for some reason from the beginning it did not feel right.  These characters had great chemistry from the get go but it seemed like the fake romance that began was just filler.  These two characters didn't seem to fit the description that usually draws people into a fake romance story.  I felt like a lot was lacking but as I said before, the redeeming quality was that both characters had amazing chemistry.
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I read the ARC provided by the publishers through NetGalley.

A fast, enjoyable read.

Why the 3 (2.5 rounded up to 3) stars: 

The "fake dating" trope: Although it's always fun to read, in this case it didn't make much sense, as the characters were already attracted to each other and had more or less shown their mutual attraction to each other. Meanwhile, the reasons for not wanting to pursue an actual relationship, even though clearly stated, weren't really supported by the characters' actions and thoughts. So it ended up seeming a little childish, the kind of childish that I felt didn't have place in an adult book.

Savannah's player to partner transition: I realized Savannah led a "player" lifestyle because someone said it in the book, not because I experienced it through her actions or feelings. She had some inhibitions for some time, but that was it. So that transition never really happened, there was no struggle for her, everything was smooth, which wasn't that believable. Usually, someone who leads that kind of life does so because they have deep commitment issues that don't just disappear without a fight when they meet "the one". A missed opportunity for some good ol' angst there.

The drama stirring characters: That is Savannah's homophobic team mate and Maddie's ex. Although they could create some real conflict, the writer didn't explore their stories enough to give the reader the opportunity to really feel power of their meddling and how that affected the MCs. They might as well not exist in the story.

So overall, this story didn't allow me to become invested in the characters, but it still was a fun and light read.
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The fake relationship plot line is a rather popular theme and Face Off has made it fun and sexy. This is a light read with youthful exuberance from our MCs, but lacking in insipid drama that sometimes plagues this genre. An enjoyable read for a lazy afternoon or rainy day.
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this one of my most enjoyable reads this year. Yes there are some consistency errors and the character development isn’t as elaborate as it could be, but I really enjoyed it despite its flaws.

Maddie moves in next to Savannah, they meet for the first time when one of them has the weirdest request in history. They end up becoming friends, start a fauxmance and of course end up with more than that. The characters from P.J. Trebelhorn’s previous book On The Fly also make a pretty solid appearance in this book. But you can read this a stand alone novel.

I liked the writing style, the characters and the story. Very enjoyable read for the holiday season.
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I wasn't a huge fan of Face Off. I didn't hate it and aspects of it were enjoyable. The book just didn't work for me, and I think it has a lot to do with the main characters.

Savannah and Maddie had chemistry from the start. But they decided to fake date. While the motivation was explained, it just didn't make sense to me. And while things progressed at a reasonable rate for the "relationship", it felt quick overall and like the characters never fully developed.

I did enjoy the supporting characters in the story. I wish there had been a little more hockey in the book, especially since both Maddie and Savannah were involved with the team. But I can forgive that as it did not play a big part in the overall plot.

This novel is a standalone. I only found out about the other book set in the same universe, On the Fly, after completing this one.

Disclaimer: I received an ARC ebook from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books in exchange for an honest review.
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What an amazing sapphic fake dating love story! Madison and Savannah were such fully fleshed out characters, their love story was so perfectly spaced and swoony.
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