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  • Writer's pictureThe Word Nerd Reviews

Face Offs and Cheap Shots (CU Hockey #2) ~ Eden Finley & Saxon James

Face Offs and Cheap Shots is book two of the CU Hockey series by Eden Finley and Saxon James. This series has become an instant buy in both book form and audio. The quality of the writing, the humour, and the characterisations are consistent throughout the entire series.

Face Offs and Cheap Shots starts immediately following the events of Power Plays and Straight A's. From the first book, there were a few hints that Jacobs (Topher) wasn't quite as straight as he portrayed. Although it's easily dismissed as hero worship, it still left you with a niggle. This book confirms that it’s more than just a niggle! With Foster now off to the NHL, the position of team captain has opened up. Enter Jacobs and Beck, who are pitted against each other for the top spot. Many increasingly daring and funny challenges culminate in a game of 'gay chicken', and the rest they say is history…

Even from my glimpses of Beck in book one, I thought he was a great character, and he was. Once Jacobs got his head straight, Beck was his perfect counterpoint and vice versa. With their own personal challenges, these two personalities just blended together - once they both started working with each other! Jacobs, a little surly and a lot snarky, reveals a passionate side with Beck, who begins to remind him that he has a sense of humour. Beck, the wise-ass who doesn't take anyone or anything seriously (except Jacobs), learns that the future, and Jacobs, are worth fighting for.

The audio is also available narrated by the impressive Alexander Cendese (Beck) and Iggy Toma (Jacobs). They do a marvellous job of bringing the boys and the rest of the cast to life. Both Alexander and Iggy have great comedic timing. They work so well together so that even when they are voicing each other's characters, they're similar enough; copying the little personal quirks that they give their characters. You know instantly who's POV you are hearing, even if their name is not expressly stated.

Having read quite a few books by both Eden Finley and Saxon James, I can state with full authority that they are both instant buys for me. Individually, they are fantastic writers who produce characters you just can't help falling in love with. Together… well, it's just a perfect blend of both of their skills. Their style is seamless; even when you know who is writing which scene, it's almost impossible to see the difference. The end result is a book that is beautifully addictive, hilariously funny, and sigh-worthily romantic.

Face Offs and Cheap Shots could be read as a standalone. Honestly though, to get the most out of it, you should read Power Plays and Straight A's first, as this book has all the background information you need for this book and books that come up later. Plus, the whole series is such a good read, don't do yourself the disservice and miss out!

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