Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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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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DNF - I really tried but I couldn't get into this one. I did not like Kyle & he read way to immature for me.  I think Eric could have done better
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Complementary copy given for honest review and opinion. 

Read out of curiosity. Not really my thing. Lots of romance in this one.
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Eric Bennett has been an NHL goaltender for nearly two decades, and at age 41 he's rapidly approaching the end of his career.  He's starting to realize that he hasn't really felt strongly about anything or anyone for a VERY long time. Even his divorce, while disappointing, wasn't exactly heartbreaking.    He's got a great house, good friends, an amazing job, and even a hobby.  But he feels empty.  None of the trappings of success are keeping him company at night.  He has also started to fully acknowledge the fact that he's bisexual.  It's something he hasn't really had to examine much, since he was married to Holly for so long.  But being single is making him realize that his attraction to men is something he wants to explore.

Enter Kyle.  A gorgeous, young, bartender, a friend of a friend.  Kyle is a free spirit - almost the exact opposite of straight-laced Eric.  He's fun-loving, but he also speaks several languages and is studying for his graduate degree in art history.  Since Eric is an art collector, they have a lot in common.   

Kyle isn't afraid of pursuing what he wants when it comes to sex, and he's got lots of experience. Kyle offers to be Eric's "teacher" in the ways of hooking up with men.  Kyle shows Eric a world of sexual pleasure that he had never even imagined, let alone experienced.  But the sex isn't even the best part of their relationship.  They genuinely like each other, like spending time together.  Eric begins to realize that he's getting in over his head with his "friends-with-benefits" arrangement.  The fact that he's 15 years older than Kyle is a huge road block for him, especially since Kyle has had several bad experiences with older men.  He convinces himself that a relationship with Kyle wouldn't be fair to him.  Kyle is so young, gorgeous and fun, he should be with someone his own age. So he tries to pull away.   But Eric fails to realize that while Kyle may be young, he's able to make his own decisions about his life.

Common Goal is a sweet story about trust, and about the fact that it's never too late to pursue what makes you happy.  It takes Eric a while to realize it, but Kyle is one of the best things to ever happen to him, and being together is what makes them BOTH happy and fulfilled.  "Age ain't nothin' but a number". I devoured Common Goal.  Eric and Kyle's story is sweet and steamy and fun and I couldn't put it down.
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A professional NHL player, Eric  who is almost at the end of his career. He is getting divorce and now has come out as BI. Eric has a lot going on for someone who is getting older.

I have to be honest, this one didn't hold my interest. I got bored and skimmed.
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Common Goal is the fourth book in the Game Changers series by Rachel Reid. While returning readers will love the roles the stars of the previous books play in this one, and be able to see a bigger picture that even the main characters here, it is not necessary to have read the previous books to fully enjoy this installment. 
Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time. Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away. Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings. Everything they both want is within reach, they just have to be brave enough to grab it.

Common Goal is a contemporary romance with an age gap, and two people that are unsure of what they really want, what the other wants, and if it is really the best thing for all involved. Like so many romances, a good sit down discussion or two would have solved most of the issues right away, but then I would not have had this lovely book to read. Eric is trying to figure out what is next. He has been divorced for a year, is contemplating retirement, and has never pursued his attraction to men. Kyle has a thing for older men, but has been burned in the past for it. The attraction is undeniable, but so are the doubts and complications that they cause. It was enjoyable to read about these to getting to know each other as friends and more. The growth of their relationship was sweet, a little spicy, and felt authentic every step of the way. I liked and connected with the main characters and the secondary characters, and was left hoping to find out what happens with this circle of friends, rivals, and so forth in future books by Reid.

Common Goal is exactly what I was hoping for as this series continues. Fans of the series will want to pick it up, and newcomers can enjoy it as well.
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Rating: 4.5 stars

This is a super steamy age-gap romance with LOTS of mutual pining. So much pining... There were so many times I was clutching at my heart and sobbing at this book "Just TALK to each other, you big dummies!" At the same time this book is so fun and sexy, and flirty in this bumbling sort of way (oh, Eric...). As a woman married to a man who came into my own bisexuality rather later in life, I love that Eric is taking the chance to explore his identity and embrace his bisexuality as more than "in theory." There were a few moments in this book where Kyle reassures Eric that his identity as bi is valid even if he never hooks up with another man that really got to me. It's so comfortable and accepting and also sweaty and exciting and adventurous, I just loved this dang book and just really didn't want to put it down.

This is the fourth book in the Game Changers series. It can be read as a stand-alone, though a lot of the characters from the previous books in the series show up or have a mention and you'll get the most from those little interactions if you've read the previous books. Spoilers for the first book in the series, Game Changer, and Scott and Kip (the leads of book 1) play a big role as the best friends of both leads for this book. I haven't read Game Changer (yet - clearly I NEED TO) and was able to pick up on anything missed through the background given in this book, so it's not require reading to enjoy this one.
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