Cover Image: Common Goal

Common Goal

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Member Reviews

I have Rachel Reid to thank for my love of mm hockey romance so I will never not be happy to read one of her books. That being said, this was probably my least favorite book of her’s so far. Though I think that has a lot to do with my own personal preferences when it comes to romance. *Beware, spoilers ahead!

While I have some issues with the structure of their relationship, I did love both of the characters. Especially Kyle. I was super happy that he finally got his HEA, as he has been pining after Kip for so long! Also, the Kip and Scott cameos were great, it was great to revisit their relationship and see them making everyone sick with their happiness. I liked Bennett as well though I wish he could have made up his mind quicker about what he wanted in his life.

Overall my biggest issue with the story was that we never got to really see these two in a happy relationship! Even when they were enjoying being together there was still this undercurrent of uncertainty about their relationship and as a reader I was constantly waiting for things to go wrong. I wish they could have figured out things sooner in the book and we could have enjoyed them being together (like we did for the couples in book 1 and 2). After while it just gets kind of boring to have characters constantly stressing about their relationship, especially when a couple conversations could just solve everything.

Rachel is a great writer and even though I wasn’t in love with their story, I still enjoyed reading this book. I was rooting for the characters even as they drove me crazy and I wanted them to get their HEA. And bonus points for the awesome Shane and Ilya cameos - I loved Ilya being the dispenser of wisdom to Bennett! Ilya will forever be my favorite Rachel character and I really hope we see his and Shane’s wedding next when they blow up the entire NHL by announcing their relationship.
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Partial review: 

Dear Rachel Reid,

I've been meaning to try your books for a while now, having heard good things about them and I am a fan of hockey romance (notwithstanding that I've never watched a game and know very little about the sport, but you know... details), so I snapped up Common Goal when I saw it at NetGalley a little while back. While it is book four in your Game Changers series, it stands alone well. I didn't feel lost at all. I suppose there are some mild spoilers for book one but that's not the sort of thing which bothers me much.

Eric Bennett is the veteran goalie for the New York Admirals and is just about to turn 41. He hasn't told anybody yet but he's planning to retire at the end of the season before age catches up with him or injury forces him out of the game he loves. He's not sure yet what will be next for him and it's a scary time. He's also about a year post-divorce from his wife of 20 years, Holly. Their marriage was not contentious and neither was their divorce. Things kind of fizzled due to mutual lack of interest over the years. Eric feels lonely and a little lost but he is also interested in exploring his attraction to men - something that has been present since attraction to anyone was a thing for him but which he has never before acted upon. If I have the right of it, Eric and Holly were high school sweethearts and he did not really date anyone before her. They were married for a long time and he's not a cheater so there was never an opportunity for him to explore his bisexuality. I did appreciate that Eric always knew he was bi and that this was not an "out for you" story.

Eric's best friend is Scott Hunter, one of the leads in the first book, Game Changer. Scott is now happily engaged to Kip Grady. Kip works in a gay bar, the Kingfisher, along with Kyle Swift, a 25-year-old grad student and bartender with an interest in mixology. Because of their friendship group, Eric and Kyle are thrown into each other's orbit and the attraction is mutual and deep. However at first, because Eric has yet to remove his wedding ring, Kyle is under the impression that Eric is a married man who may only be interested in a walk on the wild side and Kyle will not go there after a bad experience in his teens.

Kyle is gay and out and proud and, once the initial married/divorced mixup is ironed out, he finds himself being the first person to whom Eric confides his bisexuality. I really liked the way the book validated Eric's sexuality, notwithstanding his lack of hands-on experience (so to speak).

Full review to be posted closer to release date:
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the thing abt this book is that there's enough romance to try to trick you into believing that the relationship isn't fetishized - but then the relationship is built on attraction and a solid 30% of the story was fetishy sex scenes 

by far, not the MOST fetishized relationship, but i still couldn't stand to read a lot of the sex scenes and some of the romance without physically cringing 

thank you to the publisher and netgalley for providing my review copy
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I haven't read the rest of the series but this book prepared me for some goodies!!
Loved the relationship and the couple dynamic!
I can't wait for more!
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I liked this a lot, but I think it suffered from me comparing it to my favorite in the series, and one of my favorites period: Heated Rivalry. I just can’t get over Shane and Ilya. 

Eric and Kyle were fun and sexy together so I wish there’d been more of that. I love a good age-gap and bisexual awakening so it worked for me really well there. 

However, I found Eric making decisions for Kyle to be <I>very</I> annoying; which made the entire end bit a downer for me. Luckily it doesn’t last very long, and their reunion is quite sweet! 

Overall it’s a fun addition to the series, and if you’ve liked the rest then you’ll probably enjoy this as well.
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For some reason, my investment in these characters went in and out throughout the book, mostly through my connection with Kyle. I think a large part of that was their mutual determination to hold a piece of themselves back from their interactions so they wouldn't get hurt from this casual arrangement. It worked just a little too well and rubbed off on me as I was reading it. (Insert Kip sex joke here :)

This was mostly a problem when we were experiencing Kyle through Eric's POV. There were some sex scenes that should have been really hot, but I could really feel that Kyle was shutting his emotions off, and that's supposed to be the best part!!! Don't intentionally skimp me on the FEELS.

This is an issue I've noticed affects me more than most people, though. In this type of trope, the more successful the characters are at holding themselves back from each other, the less I'm able to connect with them as well. I'm just very sensitive to the characters having walls up around their hearts, and that was the default for both of these guys for the majority of the book.

I still found it easy to read and breezed through it almost without stopping, but it wasn't the fun, sexy romp I was expecting from that blurb. 

I love a slow burn, but I don't usually read them back-to-back. I tend to alternate slow burns with the casual-sex-becomes-more category of tropes, which is what I was counting on this one for. But nothing happens until the halfway point! And they're both really angsty about it before that!! Not a bad thing on its own, but it just wasn't what I was expecting, and I'm not sure how much that affected my experience.

Rachel Reid's trademark humor is still very evident, and her style really does work for me. It's the least successful of the series so far for me (still haven't read the first one), but it's still better than average. I'm sure I'll read as many of these as she wants to write.
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This book checked so many boxes it’s insane. Inexperienced older man: check. Delicious flirting and seduction: check. Lots of hockey: check. The intimate scenes were incredibly hot, the various friendships displayed adorable.

Its only weakness is one very frequent in MM romance series: it seemed like everybody was gay. I’d have liked if there was some healthy heterosexual relationship depicted. The only one we really read about is Eric’s previous marriage, and the author insists that it was nothing like what Eric experiences with Kyle–suggesting that he never really loved his wife. While Eric could have very well had a deep relationship with his wife, that faded because shit happens, and that’s just different, not less than, his relationship with Kyle.

Aside from that, I absolutely loved the book. I enjoyed seeing Eric and Kyle’s relationship develop, through not so innocent flirting and fleeting touches, and meaningful conversations. A beautiful love story.


-    Series: Game changers #4 (can be read as a standalone)
-    Hashtags: #MM romance #hockey romance #age gap #bisexual #first time #no strings attached
-    Triggers: some homophobia
-    Main couple: Eric Bennett & Kyle Swift
-    Hotness: 5/5
-    Romance: 5/5
-    + the flirting was delicious
-    – there was no need for disparaging Eric’s previous relationship
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I enjoyed reading this age gap hockey romance involving a middle aged goalie exploring his sexuality for the first time after divorce and a grad student/bartender with a past who discover they have more in common than just attraction. It was sweet and comforting even if it didn't quite stand out and I enjoyed seeing some of the characters from earlier books in the Game Changers series, especially Ilya Rozanov.
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I really love this series. Rachel Reid can do no wrong.  I am interviewing Rachel for the What to Read Next Podcast. The episode will go live on publication week.
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3.5 Stars

ARC provided by netgalley in exchange for an honest review

This is an age-gap MM romance between an older hockey player and a younger bartender. This has a wonderful, sexy trope of sexual discovery and "educational sex" which is one of my favorites.

Now, Eric Bennett is our older hockey player (Goalie), who is Bisexual. Loved the rep. He isn't that old tbh. He's 40. He was such a sweet, cute character who was really into art and collected paintings.. <3 He has also never been with a man coz he had married young. Now, after a year of his divorce, he is ready to explore. And then he meets the sexy, young bartender, Kyle.

If you've read the first book in the series, you've met Kyle. He is one of the main MC's good friend who had shown interest in him in that book. And the thing that bugged me the most about this book was how Kyle was still holding a candle for Kip. I'm like NOOOOOO.... We hate that. I absolutely hate it when one of the characters in the book thinks that he is in love with someone else with no evidence. The author did sort of justify it, but it still bothered me. It's not my favorite trope.

I really loved their chemistry. All the stars are for the sex scenes. I will put it there blatantly. This book had the BEST sex scenes of the entire series. Yes, I found them hotter than Shane and Ilya. Shane and Ilya's book is still my favorite, but the sex scenes here...Holy Hotness.. The switch in the power dynamics, the exploration, the edging..... I love edging scenes. A secret: I checked out porn for edging after the first edging scene and found a video of a guy handcuffed. And that scene turned out to be eerily similar to another edging scene in the book.....Did I stumble upon Rachel Reid's research material or what.....!!!

Another thing that I wasn't a huge fan of was the main age gap conflict. It gets old. It took up more time that could have been given to romance.

But just for the sex, I highly recommend the book.
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The bar was set so high.  I absolutely loved the second book in this series- Heated Rivalry.  It hit on all the points.  Unfortunately, the others in this series are just not as good in comparison.

It’s about hockey, and the author – a Habs fan- so there’s that- does a great job of bringing the game to the story, and for that reason I will always want to read her books 

I liked these guys but didn’t love them.  I feel like this is a lot about personal preference, but I just didn’t get the chemical attraction between these two like I did in other books in the series.  I thought each character was great, well fleshed out and interesting on their own.  However, I didn’t like them together much and I was seriously skimming by the middle of the book wishing they’d just friggin’ get together already!

I know some folks love them some UST but I was over it.

So for me, this was a bit of a miss but still not bad.  (I was picturing Lundquist as Benny the entire story - hubba hubba!)

3.5 stars
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Common Goal was a sweet, friends to lovers, MM romance. Just like other books in this series, it was beautifully written and I entirely enjoyed reading it.

With his retirement coming close and his divorce behind him Eric Bennett, a New York Admirals goalie, decided that it was finally a time for him to start dating again.  Kyle Swift is a graduate student who works as a bartender alongside Kip from Game Changer (first book in the Game Changers series). Even though they already met through mutual friends, once Eric and Kyle start talking they discover that they have a lot of things in common and there was no denying the chemistry between them. 
Eric is shy and private. He is a vegetarian, doesn’t drink, collects art and sometimes talks to goal posts... I adored him!
Kyle was playful, kind, outgoing, funny and so charming. 
I loved their friendship, connection they shared, and how perfect for each other they were. They were both amazing characters and I loved them! 

I love that we got to see characters from previous books, Scott and Kip, and reading more about Ilya Rozanov made my day( Ilovehimsofreakingmuch!)
I really liked this book but towards the end, I felt like something was missing and things seemed a little bit rushed to me, but still, I enjoyed reading it. 
If you love MM romance you need to read this book and this series. I cannot recommend them enough!

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ✨
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This is book #4, in The Game Changers series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader enjoyment and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

Eric is a goalie who is on his last season. He has never had to deal with this before, and he is all out of sorts. Now he can be who he needs to be, love who he wants to love.

Kyle tells himself he will find someone his own age and be happy. Then he meets again the man that makes his heart pound, and all his plans fade away. Can he stick to his guns on this one? Or will a certain hockey player blow his plans out of the way?

This was a definite sexy book with a slow burn twist. I loved how the characters seemed obvious to be together. I also loved the humor, the sparks, and the sexy thrum of heat throughout the entire story. Such amazing characters, with definite qualities that show they are both individuals and meant to be a couple.

***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publishers.
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This was a hot and heavy mm romance that was fairly enjoyable, even though some aspects of the story lacked depth and resolution. The ending did feel rushed, and I would've liked to see more development of the actual relationship.
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Definitely more of a solid 3.5.

I have to start by saying that this is my most favorite ongoing hockey romance series, so it’s always exciting when a new installment in it comes out. And I love that I always get to read them in advance. So I was very happy to get to this one and had quite a bit of fun reading it. 

This is the fourth book in the series and it’s very noticeable that the author’s writing has changed a lot for the better over the course of time. From the very sugary sweetness of Game Changer, we now come to a much more believable romance, though the absent homophobia among most of the players in the hockey league in the series feels more like wishful thinking than closer to the real world - but we can always hope. This one was a typical age gap romance with some standard tropes which made it predictable, but also quite nice to read. I only took one break in between because it was too late in the night, or else I was pretty much ready to finish it in a single sitting. My only gripe is that the author uses the “almost no communication” trope and it just frustrated me. 

Both the characters Eric and Kyle are lovely. I especially loved Eric, for being an amazing teammate who is well loved and respected, finally trying to figure out what more he wants from life after hockey. I adored that he is an amateur photographer and an art collector, which makes his character feel like a well rounded person with interests other than hockey. Kyle on the other hand is doing his masters in art history and works as a bartender, and while we got to see some very vulnerable moments from him especially regarding his backstory, I didn’t think we got to know him well enough. Their relationship starts as friends with benefits and it’s obvious how they feel for each other, but as I mentioned above, there are a lot of internal monologues about how they aren’t good for the other person but never actual conversations between the two about what they feel. I really wish we could have gotten more of that. 

But as always, the side characters and the previous protagonists show up to liven up the proceedings and I really enjoyed seeing them all again. Scott and Kip are happy and adorable, and their sweetness quotient only seems to have doubled. Maria is a very supportive friend to Kyle and I loved getting to see her also maybe get her own romance. Carter brings lots of laughs, Matti is just there being his hot self, and Dallas Kent is a douche I never wanna see again. But I knew who I was looking for when I started reading this book, and I can’t describe my delight when he shows up quite early on - Ilya Rozanov is a delight and this series wouldn’t be the same without him. It’s hilarious to see glimpses of what the other players think of him and his “new found friendship” with Shane, and I as usual wish they had more presence because I can’t get enough of them. 

To conclude, this was a fun addition to a beloved series. If you enjoy sports romances or May/December ones with very nice protagonists, a fun group of side characters and the usual tropes, you should definitely read this one. But it definitely works better if you start at the beginning because now all the books feel very connected, and don’t work well as standalones. 

You might be thinking I’m recommending this series so much but I’ve given three of the four books in it less than four stars, so I have to clarify that I unfortunately can’t help but compare everything to the second one, Heated Rivalry which is an absolute favorite and none of the others make me feel that way. And I probably won’t be satisfied until the sequel to that comes out which is however a ways away. Till then, I can only hope that the next one Role Model will be wonderful because it takes place in Ottawa... which means more Ilya 🤩🤩
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Common Goal is Rachel Reid's fourth entry in her Game Changers series. I can not get enough! I have loved each one and Common Goal is yet anorther solid book for the series!

Eric is a professional hockey goalie looking at the end of his storied career. He looks back on his life and ponders if he just settled on things outside of his #1 passion, hockey. He is at a crossroads. He's struggling to figure out what to do after hockey and what he really wants.  Then he meets Kyle. That awakens feelings he long ago tramped down. What if he is gay? Or bisexual? Could he handle that?

Kyle is an openly gay bartender in college. He has always been interested in older, "silver fox" gentlemen. When he meets Eric, he is smitten! Eric is just too good to pass up, so he offers to help Eric find his way with men.

I really enjoyed this journey! You know which way this will go, but I loved the path they took to get there! Eric's awakening was enlightening! He discovered this other side of himself that was just begging to be heard. He never let himself wander outside the goalposts of heterosexuality to explore this different side. Once he let go, the puzzle piece clicked into place, and he was forever changed.

If you haven't read the Game Changers series, you must give it a whirl! Set in a sport that is just beginning to embrace their own LGBTQ players, Rachel Reid does a great job of breaking down those barriers and letting the characters see they can truly have what they desire the most!
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I loved this one!  Lots of tropes that blend perfetly together.  Fun May /December with hot hockey players and first time MM experience.  Kyle is adorable and sexy Eric is sweet and figuring things out.  It is definitely hot with some nice twists in who is dominant in the relationship.  There are lots of engaging secondary characters whose books I'm now going back to read.  The plot has momentum and the characters are well developed.  The relationship pacing works and the internal conflicts each faces provide depth to their story.
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I loved this book!! Any book with hockey and MM romance is pretty much an auto read for me!!! I’ve enjoyed all the other books in this series and Common Goal did not disappoint!!! Even though Kyle and Eric show up  in previous books, this one holds up very well as a stand-alone. I like that this was a pretty light hearted book. Highly recommend!!!!
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I’m only giving this 3 stars but that’s probably because this book has so many tropes I usually hate (age gap, sports hero, friends with benefits, self righteous vegetarianism?), yet I liked it anyway. Just not as much as Heated Rivalry. I still love this series though, these are the only sports-themed books I look forward to reading. 

The main character, Eric, is all about clean eating and yoga. The man eats a jar of cold quinoa for breakfast everyday (shudder). So thank goodness his love interest, Kyle brings pancakes and orgasms into his life. I loved that casual way they handled the fact that  Kyle is a bartender and Eric doesn’t drink.

I appreciated the descriptions of aging in a physical job, and the cameos of characters from precious books. The main conflict is the age gap of 16 years though, and while the power dynamics was handled well, I didn’t find that a particularly compelling obstacle.
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This was okay for me, but again, I didn't love it as much as I wanted to.

What I liked:
~ Eric -- he was an intriguing and complex character (for the most part), and I enjoyed being in his head.
~ the repeat characters -- it was nice to catch glimpses of the main characters from past books.
~ the situation -- I liked how Reid handled the idea of someone close to retirement who's working to figure out the next step.

What wasn't as strong:
~ the romance -- the chemistry between Eric and Kyle was good, but it bothered me <spoiler> that they both minimized it so much. Both of them were afraid -- which is fine -- but that fear wasn't ever truly resolved on page. Instead, Eric just suddenly decides he'll go for it, and Kyle jumps in beside him. It was a lazy resolution, and it didn't work for me.</spoiler>
~ the setup -- it almost felt like Eric was just floating through life before the book begins. I never really got a strong sense that he'd spent any time truly living, and perhaps because we never meet his ex, it didn't seem real or realistic. I felt like I didn't have any insight into why their relationship didn't work or why they even got together in the first place. 

Overall, I continue to enjoy this series, but this was definitely the weakest of the group for me, even though I really liked Eric.
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