Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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Member Reviews

Rachel Reid’s Gamechangers series is top tier. I’m in awe of how each one manages to be just as compelling while also telling such a different and authentic story without seeming to rely on a checklist of tropes that the series has yet to feature.

Eric is definitely an underrated character and I loved seeing him go through a journey of discovering himself after ending a long term relationship and without vilifying his ex. It was also fun to see Kyle make a reappearance and get his own book.

Thanks to Carina Press and NetGalley for the chance to review.
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Another wonderful addition to the series. Here, we have veteran NHL goalie, Eric (Benny) Bennett who is reaching the end of his career and facing retirement. He is also facing life after divorce and wanting to explore his bisexuality with no idea where to start. Thankfully, he meets fun and flirty bartender, Kyle. They hit it off and Kyle ends up being the first person Eric confides in. Their friendship grows and Kyle agrees to lead Eric on his journey into the gay sex world, no strings attached. So, as you can predict, things don’t work out exactly as planned.

What ensues is a fabulous fun and sexy relationship with these two with Kyle bound and determined to show Eric all of the wonderful things involving gay sex. It is pretty predictable that feelings are going to grow with these two, so no surprise there. Eric, however, has no intention of getting past the age gap issue, although he has no trouble with it in the bedroom.

I loved these guys. Kyle is wonderful, flirty and fun with a wonderful attitude. Thankfully, he doesn’t let Eric’s insecurities get to him too much before pressing forward. And Eric is fabulous as well. Poor guy is dealing with the loss/ending of his career and teammates, coupled with his feelings for Kyle and not only coming out but doing so with a much younger guy. Eric’s friends aren’t going anywhere though, and things all work out in the end.

That said, this doesn’t have quite the heat and excitement as my favorite book in this series – Heated Rivalry. But it is not too far behind and definitely recommended as a significant part of this series. There are snippets of our guys from that book here, and the promise of more from them in a future book. Until we get to that, we have some delicious stories about some of the other players involved, and I can’t wait to see what’s up next.
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Common Goal is a nice and sexy hockey romance. Rachel Reid does them well, and certainly did so here. Eric and Kyle have distinct characterisation and are, in some sense, complete opposites. Kyle's flirty bartender who's confident in himself and his sexuality, and Eric is shyer goal tender, who enjoys quiet time and who's just starting to explore his bisexuality. That combination and all the pining in the story are great ingredients for an entertaining story. It certainly is entertaining romance, even if Eric and Kyle should have communicated more to avoid miscommunication. But then again, I love pining!

Only thing that feels off in the book, is how the age gap is handled - particularly how Eric speaks and thinks about his age. There is constant complaining about how old he is, how he is too old to play hockey and too old for Kyle. Eric is forty-one, that is not old! I understand that certain sport circles are really negative towards older people, but it could have been toned town here. The amount of complaining here had me rolling my eyes so many times.

Common Goal is a lovely and sweet romance with enough steam and pining. Also, all scenes where Ilya Rozanov is, well, he stole them. There can never be enough Ilya Rozanov in my opinion.
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Rachel Reid’s Game Changers series is one of my favorites. Common Goal is the fourth installment and follows Eric Bennett, a former goaltender, and Kyle Swift, a graduate student. The two hit it off and begin a friends-with-benefits arrangement that soon leads to them wondering what it would be like to truly be together. Despite the sparks flying between them, both Kyle and Eric are hesitant to admit their growing feelings for each other.

I always love the community Reid creates around hockey and glimpses of characters from other books (my love for Ilya knows no bounds). It’s also great to see how things are changing for the teams as more characters find love and are able to give each other the support that Scott and Kip didn’t have. But I did find that the romance dragged a bit for me here. With the combo of a slow burn and characters deeply concerned about their age differences (41/25), it took a little longer for things to get started.

That said, I think that’s personal preference around tropes and readers who enjoy slow burn and age gap romances should check this one out!
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I really enjoyed this title and the investment that Reid has made in telling love stories centred on sporty men. I think it was nuanced and thoughtful....and delightfully smokin'. I liked this exploration of a man coming into his own and finding what he wants and needs in a partner. Cameos from the romantic leads of the broader series were very welcome.
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Hockey goalie Eric Bennett has been single now for over a year. He now feels ready to explore his bisexuality, but he doesn't know where to start.

Enter Kyle Swift, who takes it upon himself to show Eric the ropes. Kyle brings Eric out to find someone who interests him. But when Eric's shyness and inexperience gets in the way, Kyle suggests they practice on each other ;). The plan is a friends with benefits type of deal.

Of course, the two develop real feelings for each other. It was inevitable from the banter they have whenever they're together, and not to mention all the steamy sessions.

The main conflict is that Eric is 41 and Kyle is 25. And while Kyle is into older guys, Eric feels guilty about the age-gap. This is where my rating for this book fell a bit. It felt like the same thing kept happening: They'd get together and then one of them would feel guilty for a valid reason, but they wouldn't communicate so it kept happening.

I really loved Eric and Kyle together so the miscommunication did get a little frustrating, but it didn't take away too much from my enjoyment of the book!

Also, I love that people from previous books show up a lot here!
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Really a 3.5 but I round up.

Two books in a row for me with bisexual hockey players exploring relationships with men for the first time. Nice. Bi/pan peeps need more love. What sets this book apart from the other book I read with a vaguely similar premise is the age gap and the uncertainty relationship.

The conflict for this book revolves around a 15 year age gap between the main characters. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with this, but what has me rating this slightly lower is how often the difference is brought up vs the development of the conflict. Eric is constantly worried about being an old creeper at 40 with a pretty young thing as a boy toy. He is aware of Kyle's history and fears being a repeat. This is all well and good. However, it kinda goes nowhere.

The following is getting into spoiler territory so if you don't want to be spoiled, please stop here.

Kyle and Eric are only broken up for 6 pages. 6. I know there was a time skip where Eric comes to the realization that he was wrong and he wants to be with Kyle, but that change, that motivation all happens off-page. One minute they are great. The next they are broken up. And, the next next they are back together. Wham bam thank you, ma'am. Not to mention, I figured with how much of a reveal Kyle's backstory was, it would be addressed or resolved conclusively, but it does not.

Still, this book was entertaining if not entirely satisfying as if Ried was edging the audience. If nothing else, it thematically makes sense.
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I did my typical thing of requesting this on NetGalley, promising self that I would read this soon after I was approved as I have read the third book in the series (and my first) in the first UK COVID-19 Lockdown, Tough Guy, and I wanted to keep details straight in my head. A year later and I actually got myself in the right headspace to read this! *headdesk*

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett is thinking about life after hockey. He's ready to retire from the game and with his divorce happening, he wants to find his feet with his sexuality of being bisexual. When he becomes friends with the much younger Kyle, the two have an almost instant connection. But Kyle have been hurt by having a romance with an older man before and has no intention to get emotionally involved again. But helping Eric out by having a friends-with-benefits arrangement is a good idea, right...? 

This reads like a lovely, fun and fluffy romance. And I did have a good time with it (expect I kept getting names muddled and it took me a while to get characters and their names straight in my head). I think I do enjoy MM romance that have little to no angst (hence my enjoyment over Caulky and the Four Bear Construction series in general) and while the angst was low for a good chunk of the read, the issue of the main characters's ages and the age gap is the thing some readers might have issue with (Kyle is 25 and, if I am remember right, Eric is 40 or 41. There is a 15 year age gap). To me, this wasn't as big issue but knowing this would be the thing that would cause the conflict, I did feel a "meh" over the typical romance novel break-up and then the resolution being so quick (view spoiler). 

I do feel like I have entered this series at the wrong place. I should backtrack and either read the first in the series, Game Changer, or the second (and fan favourite), Heated Rivalry (I do believe the author is planning to write another book about the leads of this, The Long Game). But this is a nice, fun, beachy MM romance series and I do want to try with the next instalment, Role Model, as I think this romance might work better for me. I think I've been spoilt with romance novels lately as I want more (more what, I'm not sure) but I am ready to read more from this series.
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I absolutely LOVE the hockey world that Rachel Reid has created, and although Ilya and Shane will forever and always be my favorite couple, I love reading about everyone else too! (Although I'm desperately waiting for the direct sequel to Heated Rivalry that she has promised us!)

I love age gap and bisexuality discovery - seriously those are two of my top favorite things in mm romance these days, so I really enjoyed this! This one was a bit slower pace, still fun, and with some great cameos too. Another great entry into the series. 

Fans of hockey romance, I recommend this ENTIRE series - and I really, really, really wish Carina would put these out in paperback or print on demand so we can have some physical copies!
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Cute mm romance. I really liked the premise and the beginning. There were just some things that didn't click for me.
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This was a very interesting book. I enjoyed the ups and downs moments of the road to a beautiful story and great characters. 
I’ll definitely recommend it and will be on the lookout for other books by the author.
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I love an age gap romance, and when that romance includes a silver fox like Eric, I'm all in. This one is also a friends with benefits relationship, or it starts out that way, and I really like that Eric is the more inexperienced of the two. Kyle is about 15 years younger and is a complete sweetheart with sass, lots of sass. Both of these guys have their own reasons for caution when it comes to a relationship, but I have to say that they frustrated the daylights out of me with their back and forth when one completely open conversation would've made a world of difference. There would still have been some things for both to work through, but it felt like they were just skirting the important conversation every time they spoke. Nevertheless, I loved the chemistry and both of these guys are just too sweet for words. We also get to catch up a bit with some past characters in the series, and many of the events in this book coincide with events in those past books. I've liked each book in this series, some more than others, but I have to say that Eric and Kyle are my favorite pair so far. I will be anxious to see how the next couples in the series measure up.
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There is nothing hotter than a Rachel Reid book. I have been blown away by these books, they have been so good and refreshing. I loved the dynamics between Eric and Kyle. I am obsessed with this series
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I really like Rachel Reid's hockey series but this book fell a little flat for me. I wasn't invested in the characters the way I normally am with her writing. It was still a solid m/m sports romance and one I think her fans will enjoy but it missed the mark for me.
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I love Rachel Reid's hockey series, and this book was as enjoyable as the rest of the series. It's impressive how vividly she writes characters and how strong their romances are as a result.
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This is the fourth book in the Game Changers series. They can all be read as stand-alones, but they do feature characters from previous books. Common Goal is about hockey goalie, Eric Bennett. He’s not sure how much longer he’ll be playing hockey, but it’s hard to look into the future and think about leaving the team (and sport) he loves.

Eric meets Kyle through mutual friends, and while the two start a friends-with-benefits situation, Kyle tries not to get too attached. Obviously we know that’s not going to last long! I really loved this one. First off, ice hockey is one of my favorite sports, so it’s always fun to read about. Second, I just really liked the dynamic between Kyle and Eric. There’s an age gap – and Kyle has more experience with guys than Eric – but they work well together. I really loved their mutual appreciation of art – it was just one way they connected on a deeper level!
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I really enjoyed Tough Guy, which was my first book by Reid and reignited by enjoyment of hockey romances. I liked Common Goal a little less. I really enjoyed the aspect of the aging hockey player. It felt like Eric handled his aging and impending retirement really well and what I assume to be authentically. The trope of let's just fool around a little never works and they always fall in love and I love it. I like that Eric wasn't overly angsty or dramatic about his sexuality. Reid writes very accepting and diverse characters and I really enjoy them
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Well look at that, Scotty has a friend who could use some advice...

I don't want to spend this entire review fangirling over hockey players who have already gotten to share their stories but...I freaking loved seeing all my guys even if only for a moment. Little visits , away games, and the All Star game make it possible to catch up with friends, young and old.

Eric Bennett is the oldest guy on team, not counting the coaching staff. He is ancient in hockey years. Playing for longer than most, he realizes his penalty clock is winding down but he may not get back on the ice. With his professional life in upheaval and his personal life at rock bottom since his divorce, Eric is at a new low. Or is it the down low? Too many trips to Kingfisher to pretend the sexy young bartender doesn't intrigue him. Too many nights spent watching him. Too many thoughts crowding him too ever do something- or not.

Romantically challenged and long overdue. Eric will sweep you along on his journey to truly live/love. All with the help of the friendly neighborhood bartender and some amazing Os.
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4 1/2 STARS

Age gap + sex lessons? And it is the younger hero who is giving the lessons and generally more toppy/dominant?? Oh, yes, please, this hits my catnip craving just right.

I'm kicking myself for not reading this series before now. I see a binge in my near future though. Reid really knows how to write great chemistry and hot as hell sex scenes. The romance was also a nice, charming slow burn. I'm definitely curious to read some of the other characters' stories now.
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Ahhhh, I FLOVED this book.

Racheal Reid has fast become one of my favourite authors, and has made hockey romances one of my favourite type of romances to read -- even if I still don't quite grasp the actual hockey part, heh.

Eric and Kyle were very sweet and adorable together, But mixed into the sweetness, is their intelligence, kindness, snark (I always enjoy some good snark), and an appropriate amount of intrigued woven in to add some more depth to the story. There's an age-gap, and I have a soft spot of age-gap romances, and the way these men love each other is lovely and super hot! phew.

For fans of this series, this is another wonderful addition -- more Ilya sightings, yay! And if this is your first round with Racheal, you're in for a treat.
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