Cover Image: Out on the Ice

Out on the Ice

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Member Reviews

First things first, I would advise going into this book for the romance with an appreciation for hockey, but not expecting much in the way of actual gameplay. I'm not sure if that's because Kelly Farmer didn't want to have some readers zoning out with too much of the sports talk or if hockey was just the means for this pair to meet. Whatever the reason, this one could've done with a bit more of the excitement gameplay could've given it. As it stands, the story was slow to start. It did start to pick up momentum about halfway through and from there the pacing was pretty good. Both Amy and Caro were likable and relatable. They felt like people we would run into at the grocery store or pass on the street, which went a long way toward getting behind this romance. Getting invested in these characters made it easy to root for them as a couple. The romance is pretty clean and relatively low angst, but there were some serious topics touched on throughout the book. For me, Out On the Ice ended up being a middle of the road read with things I liked and things I didn't care as much for. I do think Kelly Farmer shows talent and promise, and I'll be interested to see what she does next.
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I’m actually like this with most sports but when I saw this Rapinoe-esque model on the cover I had to read more. 


Hyperactive, rainbow-haired, pro-hockey player Amy Schwarzbach is spending the summer coaching with her idol and secret crush–retired Olympic hockey player Caro Cassidy.  It’s an opposites-attract tale as Amy, the out-and-proud social media addict learns to control her overactive mind and focus on the instant chemistry she has with her reserved down-to-earth boss who doesn’t want her personal life on display.


Amy is a study in millennial culture from her rainbow hair, reliance on ice coffee, cult Twitter following, and the way she has to explain to the youths that thirty isn’t that old. She feels very modern and I liked getting into the head of a bubbly extroverted heroine. The internal conflict in this book is focused on the women’s different personalities and approaches to privacy, in addition to Caro learning to cope with her anxiety and depression. These sort of internal conflict heavy books don’t generally work for me so it was a bit for me to get through.


This book really made me think about how under-appreciated female athletes are. I  honestly knew nothing about the Olympic Women’s Hockey Teams or that there was a National Women’s Hockey League. I don’t generally read sports romance because the fame and money parts don’t appeal to me,  but I appreciate books like this because the players are more down to earth.
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Sports and sapphics! Best combination!
Really liked how this book developed the romance, rather than doing love at first sight. They took their time understanding each other and falling in love slowly. Loved it for the way it talked about biphobia and bi erasure, as well as how helpful therapy can be. Also, obviously loved the conversation about found family and how sometimes it becomes more important, supportive and kind than your "real family".
It's a really beautiful and simple story. One that I feel I will be rereading in times when I am in need of comfort.
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I cannot believe that this is Kelly Farmer’s debut novel because it is fabulous. I love Out On The Ice. Caro and Amy sizzle together. Amy is just such a multi-faceted character, never mind I love her flair and style. She is just so likeable an I am talking about “Just Amy”. I think her connection with Caro emphasized to herself who she is, but those of us on the outside can see it just fine.

Farmer tackles an intriguing topic that is debated heatedly in my area: how far out of the closet do you want to live? I find this such an interesting subject to handle and Farmer showcases both sides wonderfully. There are no easy answers and Farmer does not give any.

Am I giving the impression that this is a soapbox book? It is NOT!!! This is a romance and Farmer also brings the heat. Sometimes it is so hot the ice does kind of melt a little bit. 

Out On The Ice is a great read and an even better happily ever after.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.
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This was a really good read! I will let everyone know ahead of times that the following themes/ideas are brought up and/or touched up in the book: homophobia, internalized homophobia, depression, suicidal thoughts.

I went into this book looking for a nice, cute romance book about lesbians and this is exactly what I got! There was a full-blown story, with side characters who had actual lives outside of just appearing for the plot, and a lot of emphasis was put on the developing relationship between the two characters. This developing relationship was great because I feel like I got a full story out of this book, not just 100 pages of build-up and then sex on every surface. Speaking of sex, there are mentions to it but there are no graphic or descriptive sex scenes in this book. It's more of a 'camera fades to black, the sex is implied, you see them the morning after' kind of romance book.
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Despite being Canadian, I’ve never gotten into hockey. (Don’t tell my government. I don’t want my citizenship revoked.) And yet, I’m excited every time I see a new f/f hockey romance announced. I enjoyed the first 60% or so of this one, but unfortunately it didn’t hold up after that point, leaving me disappointed.

Full review available on Smart Bitches Trashy Books: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/out-on-the-ice-by-kelly-farmer/
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Thanks to net galley.com and Carina Press for the advance ARC copy for my honest review. 

Was stoked to get to read author Kelly Farmer debut, her style keeps you reading, turning pages both main characters are likable, easy to relate to and puts you in the pages. Once they become a couple, you realize how good of an author she really is, with tying in the current social media craze, then you have mental health issues blended into the story with a character, she does an excellent job on it and the LBGT subject also nicely done. 

What made me read this one, is the National Women Hockey League tie in, as an avid NHL fan, a diehard Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins fan, totally enjoyed this and it's one of my favorite 2020 reads. 

The story is set in Chicago, it's summer, Amy comes home to help with her mom take care of her dad, after his knee surgery and takes a coaching job with Caro's hockey school. 

What makes this so good is the two main characters Amy Schwarzbach, Carolina Cassidy and Dougster, she just brings them to life, then you have teammates Kris and Gina, Kris's wife Bree, then her G & G employees Mel, Heather and J.P. and mix in the Schwarzbach's you have something that reads like a TV show and be cool to see her makes this a series. 

I think the other huge deal with the book is how Amy's parents reacted to her being bisexual and Caro's family to how she's lesbian, it's an element that makes this book a must read and the author does an excellent job making it so realistic, believable and in away unfinished. Since I so want to see her bring Amy home to her family, see the fireworks when she puts Caro's brother Glenn in his place. Also I can't be the only reader who has a feeling that at some point her nephew Taylor would be living with them. 

This is a must read, think this clean enough for a high schooler to read, it's one of those books that I'm sure will help anyone that's in the LBGT community and definitely will keep reading Kelly Farmer's future books.
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Out on the Ice is an adorable romance!

I really enjoyed picking up a sports romance following two women in the lead. It's a nice change in pace for me to pick up a great romance that's both two women and sports. I did find this book had way less sports involved than I had hoped, but you can't get everything you want. This book would had been a little better for me if the pace was consistent, but again, not every book can be perfect.

I found this book was a little slow in the beginning, but it picked up about halfway through. I liked that this book wasn't super steamy either. It fit the idea of a contemporary romance for me. The characters also had relatable personalities and made me feel like I know these people in real life. The two girls especially - they were opposites but not opposites, like many couples I know.

Overall, bisexual hockey player? Excellent idea and I love it.

Three out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin and Carina Press for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.
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Can two women burned on love find love off the ice?

Caro and Amy on the outside are two different women although they share the same passion for hockey. When Caro hires Amy to help her run the Girls Hockey Camp, both find themselves fending off the growing attraction. Amy is vibrant and full of life and not at all what Caro expects in her life.

I struggled to stay engaged with the story, which had more to do with me than the writing. The writing was great, the pacing was off for me and I kept picking up other books. Despite that, I do believe this book would fit many reader's style and would suggest it for libraries, especially those building their LGBTQ+ selections.
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I wanted to like this story. F/F romances are so rare even in lgbt lit, and this one has hockey! But my overall impression was...meh. Bland writing and no overarching conflict beyond the two leads dancing around their mutual attraction. 

Amy’s chatterbox nature is a overplayed, adding to the “meh” prose and not actually adding to the storyline when she babbles.

I do like Caro’s overall character and especially her challenges connecting with people and relaxing a bit in her professional life. But that wasn’t enough to make her, a freaking Olympic champion, actually interesting.
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3.6 stars.

I enjoyed 'Out on the ice' but I did find it a little bit slow at the beginning of the book. It's about Amy and Caro, who both have some obstacles in life that they need to over come. Caro more then Amy.

Amy is out and very proud bisexual, where as Caro had a bad experience at a early age and was outed to her family which  left an emotional strain on her life. So she tends to keep her personal life to herself. The pair start to build on a budding relationship over the summer when Caro employ's Amy as a couch at her hockey training center but Caro's past and trust issues cause problems for the pair from the on set. Because of the trepidation in the story, I felt the book needed more romance  to weigh things out a tad. I felt the lack of 'feels' between  the pair at the start. I just felt i needed more from them.. As the story progressed I did find myself cheering them on, hoping they get their HEA. 

It is a very good story line and all the sensitive issues such as  family abandonment,  depression and homophobia is fantastically written  and dealt with in a positive way.

I think this is Kelly Farmers debut novel. I will differently be on the look out for more books by this author.

I was given a ARC for a honest review.
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My goodness, this book is perfect !!!!
I had never read anything like this with lesbian protagonists, only with straight protagonism and that was very important for me! The characters are incredible, the question of sports that is very well portrayed in the story, all the subliminal messages, AMAZING! I already want more books by this author and let him come to my country too!
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3.50 Stars. This had a few bumps but it was a pretty good WLW debut for Farmer. This is an interesting book because while it is actually lower in angst (there is some but not a ton) this book does deal with some more serious topics like depression, homophobia, and biphobia. For me having these more serious topics helped the book along. This book was especially good when it came to discussing bi-erasure. However, I did find that the first half of the book dragged on a bit. Once the second half hit the book picked up steam the pace became so much better. The second half had the little bits of angst and some of the more serious moments that drove the story.

This is a sports-romance but it is much more romance and a bit of family drama, than the sports part. There were times when the author would skip ahead of something that happened on the ice so that was a bit of a disappointment me not getting to read about it. I’m guessing maybe Farmer didn’t want to alienate non-sports fans since you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy this.

I was up and down with the characters. I really liked Caro instantly and found her easy to connect with. Amy on the other hand was a very hyper people person. She is written as the kind of person that would totally clash with me IRL. While my mind can go a mile a minute when I’m dealing with anxiety, I’m a calm and laid back person on the outside. Amy buzzing around a mile a minute would easily exhaust me. It was nice to see that Caro had a calming effect on Amy, which allowed me to connect with Amy more. Again, you could see the effects of this in the second half which was the stronger part of the book.

When it came to the romance, again I had some mixed feelings. I thought it was more sexual attraction at first, which is fine, and I did enjoy some of the sexual chemistry that was happening. There is a pretty hot make-out scene that you could feel the sparks while reading. Unfortunately, there were no sex scenes. I’m not sure if this was because this is Farmer’s first WLW book or what? I’m not one that has to have sex scenes in all my romance reads but I think it was missing in this book. To see those sparks building but then nothing happened, was a bit of a letdown. I also think the sex scenes could have been used to show an emotional connection between the mains since that is what a good sex scene can do. However, once the book progressed, again in the second half, I finally started to believe that they had an emotional connection and not just sexual. After that happened the romance was much better for me and I became invested in them as a couple hoping for a HEA.

As you can tell this was a tale of two books for me. While I did like some things that happened in the first half, the book just took a while to gain its momentum. One it hit its stride in the second half I was a much bigger fan. I would recommend this to people who like their romances to deal with some more serious topics but in a way that doesn’t get to heavy and without a lot of angst. I would read Farmer again, I just hope that if she writes another WLW romance that she tries to write in some steamy sex scenes.
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This book was such a pleasant surprise! I’m not usually one to scroll through Netgalley looking for new books to review, but I realized recently that most if not all of the queer books I’ve been reviewing are m/m or m/f, and I wanted to change that. So I was explicitly looking for f/f romance, and when I saw this hockey romance, I knew I had to read it! And I’m so glad I did!

There are so many things I love about this book. It’s a little slower paced and really focuses on both Caro and Amy’s personal growth as well as their relationship, and it does it so well. I felt like I really got to know Caro and Amy throughout the book and was cheering so hard for them to be happy! I loved seeing Caro going to therapy (the second book I read in a row with therapy on the page!) and really push herself outside of her comfort zone in order to build a life and a family for herself. And it was great seeing Amy be such a positive, outspoken ambassador for LGBTQ+ rights and watching her become the best version of herself as well. And Doug! Doug is Caro’s black lab rescue dog, and he’s the sweetest. I love all of Amy’s fun nicknames for him!

I think the only thing that was really missing for me was a conversation about how Caro is Amy’s boss, since the story is set around Amy working as a summer coach at Caro’s all-girls hockey facility. I personally didn’t feel like the power dynamic was problematic because coaching was just something fun for Amy to do for one summer and not her main source of income, but I do wish they had talked about it. Also, I wish it hadn’t been a closed door romance, but that’s my personal preference. Overall, I thought this was a thoughtful, delightful slow-burn romance, and I really enjoyed reading it!

I’m not usually one for content warnings, but I do want to mention a few. Caro was forcibly outed to her family when she was younger and recounts it on the page, and her relationship with them and their religion-based homophobia is an ongoing topic throughout the book. There’s also conversations about biphobia and suicide.
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Like many I was attracted to this book by the cover and I'm glad I decided to chance it. Farmer as a first time author does a good job of bringing something enjoyable to the genre. Caro is a retired professional ice hockey player, now running a hockey centre for girls in Chicago. She brings Amy, a current pro player, to coach at the centre for the summer.

Sports crossed with lesbian romance is one of my favourite genres so I was really looking forward to this book. It’s a bit different to many of these types I’ve books I’ve read recently, in that no real sporting action actually happens. Any time spent on the ice is minor with a focus on the coaching when it does happen. When Amy is with her professional team the on ice action is alluded to but not ‘seen’. In that respect this book is about relationships, and not just the romantic kind, so even if you’re not a hockey fan, or even a sports fan you can appreciate the narrative. 

I found one of the most significant parts of the narrative to be the character growth of both MCs. The development of the relationship between Amy and Caro was strong and I liked the development of Caro throughout the book. I also appreciated the discussions about bisexual erasure and internalised homophobia. 

The beginning started off a bit samey for me. I felt like I was going through many similar filler type scenes and I was wondering when it was really going to get started. However once it does it moves along at a nice pace. The secondary characters are for the most part are interesting and worthwhile in the storyline - and there's even one that would make a great character for a sequel should Farmer feel inclined.

I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of wlw romances or sports romances in general.
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Oh my goodness, I loved this book. Amy and Caro are both realistically imperfect and relatable, I was completely invested in their relationship. They're both so different from each other - Caro is very low key and private while Amy is outgoing and all over social media. Caro's depression and Amy's anxiety were portrayed very well, it added a nice depth to the story. It was great to see how the characters grew and were open to working on themselves and finding what makes them happy.

Amy is proudly bisexual and I absolutely love how open she was and how accepting her friends and family were. One of my favourite things is her fight against bi-erasure and -phobia. I'm always looking for good bi rep and I loved Amy. I could see different parts of myself in both of them which helped me connect with them. 

It was a quick read but wasn't lacking depth. You don't have to know, or like, hockey to enjoy the story. I highly recommend it if you want a sweet romance.
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this is totally the f/f sports romance i've been jonesing for. out on the ice features two ice hockey players who are so in sync with each other it's just fantastic. like they have a dark moment, and miscommunicate a little bit, but at the same time they never actually stop communicating. 

they both have baggage, and stuff to work on. but like they never stop working on themselves. it's so utterly refreshing. these two grown-up ladies having an adult romantic relationship and working through their stuff. it's low-angst but there are real emotional stakes and you can't help rooting for these two ultra likeable characters. 

this was the perfect comfort read. it was sweet, it was fizzy, it was just all-around good. 

**out on the ice will publish on august 24, 2020. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press (adores) in exchange for my honest review.
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5/5 stars go to how Doug, the precious 11-year-old black lab, was written. He was perfect and adorable and as someone who has a 10-year-old chocolate lab, his description was incredibly accurate.

As for the actual main characters and storyline, I thought it was all okay. I really enjoyed the first real bonding scene that we got between Caro and Amy when they were training and meditating, and I just really wish we got a lot more of that kind of content. Their relationship kind of jumped from one stage to another and most of what we did see was the two ladies at work, or they were separated. The conflict and angst were hard for me to get through since it lasted a decent amount of the book and I felt like it started pretty late in the story. Caro's internal conflict and issues were understandable for the most part, but that mixed in with the homophobia of her family just seemed so stereotypical for a book with this theme? I also wasn't a fan of the fade-to-black romance scenes, but that's really just a personal preference. And I have a hard time seeing the two women on the cover and picturing them as the Caro and Amy that are described in the book, which also threw me off.

There were definitely moments in this book that had me in my feels and made me really care about Caro and Amy. I loved reading about two female hockey players as a female hockey player myself (especially when I can't really think of any other books with a female hockey player POV), and I really loved the 3 Amigas and their friendship dynamic. I would especially love for there to be more romance books with female hockey players, whether they're f/f or m/f, and selfishly I would like them to be set during the characters early 20s or even high school, but I can also appreciate that this book had older characters since that isn't a common case. But for the most part, there was just too much angst with not enough romance scenes for me.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Caro Cassidy owns a girls-only hockey training center in Chicago and hires Amy Schwarzbach to be a coach at her summer camp. Amy is out and proud, while Caro is out and not. The two bond during the summer, and fall for each other. But with Amy returning to Boston for her season in the NWHL, will their relationship last?

Honestly, I didn't love this book but I didn't hate it. I liked that the main characters were in their thirties. That's not something you see all the time in romance, and I appreciated that they weren't all 21. However, I would have liked seeing more of the early steps of their relationship outside of the rink. It felt like the book jumped over those parts and I find that those are often my favourite parts of romances. 

I also found that the homophobia Caro gets from her family was a lot. I get that they're her family, but I don't understand why she stayed in such close contact with them when they are so horrible towards her. The religion-based homophobia could be painful for some people, so be cautious going into this. 

*Review copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
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Out on the Ice by Kelly Farmer 

Caro Cassidy helped Team USA win Olympic medals when she was younger, but now she’s content to manage a hockey training center outside of Chicago for girls’ hockey. 

Amy Schwarzbach never made it to the Olympics, but she’s a hotshot player for a professional women’s hockey team. She’s very excited about the opportunity to work at Caro’s facility because Caro has always been one of her idols. 

At first, Caro doesn’t know what to do with Amy’s exuberant personality because it’s such a stark contrast to her more reserved nature, but opposites attract.  

I absolutely adore Rachel Reid’s queer hockey romances, as well as Avon Gale/Piper Vaughn’s too, so I was excited to read a queer hockey romance featuring two women. There weren’t as many game scenes as some of the other hockey romances, but the milieu was enough for me—I love hockey! 

There’s a bit of an age gap between Caro and Amy, but that wasn’t the biggest obstacle they faced. Amy is proudly bisexual and very much out. Caro, on the other hand, prefers to keep her personal life private. This stems from her family’s intolerance of her sexuality, an issue that reappears over the course of the narrative. This plotline was a bit heavier than I was expecting, but it served as an interesting contrast to the lighter material. 

That said, this book is so cute. Amy is an absolute sweetheart and her charm is practically contagious. Doug the dog stole the show at every possible opportunity, despite being a lazy old man who prefers to loll around. Caro spent so much of her life on hockey—first as an athlete and then as a business owner, and so finding love was never a priority for her.  

I would recommend Out on the Ice.  I loved the slow burn aspect of the romance and the difference in personalities, but the best part of this book was Caro becoming more comfortable with herself over the course of the book. On that note, I loved how therapy is normalized. This was a lovely book, and I’m looking forward to reading more from Farmer in the future.
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