Heat it Up by Stina Lindenblatt
Series: Off the Ice #1
Published by Diversion Books on June 14th, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Some games are hotter off the ice…
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.
This book may be unsuitable for people under 18 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Heat It Up by Stina Lindenblatt is a book about healing and second chances. Sofia Phillips flies to Finland for a summer work-exchange program and a chance to escape from her past. She believes she’s cursed and feels disillusioned in love. Her father cheated on her mother, and her boyfriend cheated on her.
Instead of finding herself in a job related to her career choice, she ends up cleaning toilets. And on her first day, she meets Kyle Bennett in the sauna as naked as the day he was born.
Sofia flies to Finland to avoid love and anything related to it, but her grandmother, like most grandmothers, wishes to see her settled. So she and another Finnish grandmother set up Sofia with Joni. Without knowing how to turn down Joni and shake off her matchmaking grandmother, Sofia asks Kyle to pretend to be her boyfriend.
Kyle agrees in exchange for a tour of Finland with Sofia. The two are obviously attracted to each other, and they instantly connect.
Let’s talk about the things I loved and the things that didn’t sit well with me. I’ll start with the things I loved.
Finland. It was so lovely to read about Finland and the places there. The marketplace seemed like a lovely place, and it made me want to go there to explore the place myself.
Kyle. I like how human he is. People cope with loss differently; some people don’t. Before meeting Sofia, Kyle coped through liquor and women. Not exactly the best way, but I can’t really judge him for it. Thankfully, he realized how bad it was (with the help of his baby brother and Sofia).
Maija and Toivo. Sofia works with Maija and found a good friend in her. Toivo, Maija’s boyfriend, got along well with Kyle. These two became the mediators when it comes to Kyle and Sofia. Thank goodness they had them.
Now to the parts I didn’t love.
Sofia. I’m sorry. I don’t like her. She’s like an oblivious and self-aware woman at the same time. She doesn’t know she’s beautiful, but there are things said in her point of view that’s just so self-aware, it took every ounce of strength for me not to drop this book.
Most of the time, she’s oblivious. I think anyone with eyes would know that Joni wants to get in her pants, but she’s like “no, he just sees me as a friend”. She hangs out with him, goes to the movies with him, even attends a wedding with him. The attention he gives her is so marked, I started questioning her intelligence because of it.
The writing style. This is the first book from the author that I’ve read. I don’t know if it’s the same for her other work, but it has a bit of a monotonous tone to it. Example below:
“Water splashes in the sink behind me. It stops and Kyle moves slightly back. His eyes focus on my cheek and he dabs the cut. The cold, wet gauze soothes the stinging. Next, he opens the steri-strips and applies them to my cut, sealing the edges together…”
I wish the author showed more instead of telling it in such a bland and technical way. Those parts made me feel like reading an instruction manual.
Kyle’s POV. When I was reading it, I didn’t feel like I was reading a point of view of a man. I like Kyle in general as a character, I just didn’t like his point of view. I think I would have enjoyed the book better if it was told solely in Sofia’s POV.
Joni. ugh. I hate Joni. He’s like a conniving man that’s so sneaky and I don’t like him at all.
Latter part of the book. Sorry, but it felt too dramatic for me. Call the circumstance fate, but I don’t know. It didn’t feel believable. Sofia mentioned her boyfriend cheating on her and that he died, but I really thought she just considered him dead because he cheated on her. I didn’t expect him to be actually dead, which he was.
I can see the appeal this new adult book has. A wounded man meets the woman who can help him move on.
It just wasn’t for me.
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