Tuesday, June 14, 2016

3 stars--Heat It Up by Stina Lindenblatt

A Summer in Finland! Who in their right mind would turn down that offer? For Kyle and Sofia it was a no-brainer. Especially seeing as they'd each found themselves at a turning point in their lives--trying to move on from tragedy and heartbreak and just needing to kick off something fresh and new.  And so they each found themselves in Finland--Kyle coaching at a hockey camp for kids and Sofia on a work study program and visiting her grandmother. A chance encounter and a proposition--she needs a fake boyfriend for just a few minutes--and, well, the summer is about to heat up something fierce!

Heat It Up was a fun, easy read that kept me entertained and turning the pages. I did have some struggles, though, that kept this from being a knock out read...

The Things I Enjoyed!

-- The setting! I don't recall reading a romance that was set in Finland before. It was pretty neat. Seeing them do a little exploring of the city they were in, dealing with the language barriers that could pop up, etc. It was a neat change of pace setting-wise.

-- I loved Kyle! He's crazy hot and athletic and rocks the spirit of a physics nerd complete with geeky shirts. He's struggling with a heap of loss--hiss career and his wife--and dealing with an injury and kind of floundering in drink and women but has come to the point he has to pull himself out of it all. I enjoyed him. He's a good guy and despite his struggles he's solid, caring, and pretty dang sexy.

-- I liked Kyle and Sofia together. Their similar battles, the fun they had exploring the city and their banter. Their chemistry is nice and the sex scenes steamy to boot.

-- Even though I had some heroine issues--see below--I did actually like her. She's trying her best to move on and change her life, get to know her grandmother despite language being an issue, and keeps plugging along.

The Things That Bothered Me.

-- There's a love triangle of sorts and it was really unnecessary. It didn't make all that much sense and just caused unneeded drama.

-- The heroine was very naive about said love triangle. It was pretty obvious guy2was causing trouble and wanting her and she's all oh no. He's just my friend. He's not trying to get in my panties. But he was! Ahh!

--The heroine was also over reactive. She jumped to conclusions or would get all upset instead of just talking to the hero. So she'd run or cry or ignore him until he'd eventually track her down and explain whatever it was and then everything was fine until the next time she over reacted. It got old. As did the fact she never apologized for her behavior (he would apologize even though he'd done nothing wrong.

-- There were some fairly cliche been-there-done-that storyline plots that while not terrible also weren't very inspiring or exciting to read.

So. I was pretty mixed with my feelings on Heat It Up. While there were numerous issues for me there were also parts I enjoyed and regardless of issues I was drawn into the story and never considered putting it down so it gets some big points for that. I'd be willing to try another from Lindenblatt.

Sofia Phillips feels cursed. Her father cheated on her mother, her boyfriend cheated on her—she’s done with dating. A summer work-exchange program in Finland is the perfect escape. But instead of gaining experience as an athletic trainer, she’s cleaning toilets. Awesome. The trip is a disaster, and even better, she meets Kyle Bennett. In the sauna. Naked.

Sexy hockey player Kyle was the star right wing for an NHL team. But after an accident killed his wife and left him injured, Kyle has appreciated the “therapeutic” benefits of booze and puck bunnies. Now in Finland for the summer, he’s coaching in an elite hockey-training camp for teens. When Sofia's grandmother decides to set her up with a nice Finnish man, Sofia recruits Kyle as her make-believe boyfriend. Neither expects their first kiss to sizzle. And neither expects, while stranded on an island during a storm, to have a scorching night of passion.

But as their charade, and then their attraction, develops into something deeper, the past comes back, threatening to destroy them. They must decide if their feelings for each other are strong enough to survive—or it will be game over.

Challenges: Pick Your Genre (contemporary) | New to You (author) | Goodreads

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