Friday, May 10, 2024

Faceoff by: Mari Loyal

Faceoff (St. Cloud Hockey #1)
Author: Mari Loyal
Published: April 2024
Publisher: Mari Loyal
Format: ARC e-Book
Pages: 326
Rating: 4/5
He’s the cocky captain of the men’s hockey team, and now we’re stuck together for a class project.


The days in my hockey career are numbered after an accident years ago that left me with chronic pain. Now that I’ve become the captain of the women’s team at my jock-hating ivy league college, the last thing I need is any distractions from school or hockey.

But then something that can only be defined as a meet-disaster with Max Cassiano, the men’s team captain, leads to open hostility between our teams. Fortunately, that whole mess helps me ignore how freaking hot he is.



I might seem like the hottest prospect to everyone in town, but I’m chopped liver to my massive Italian family. My focus has to be on my hockey career if I want to wow them, and I’m sure being named captain of the men’s team is the ticket.

Until a snobby professor pairs me up for an assignment with the one distraction I can’t seem to Luz, the captain of the women’s team. And she’s way cuter than anyone who hates me has a right to be.

Sparks fly when we faceoff off the ice, but can we win this game if our teams hate each other? Faceoff is a dual POV, fade-to-black hockey college romance with mild language, and heat without spice. It’s the first book in the St. Cloud Hockey trilogy and can also be read as a standalone.

First, I'd like to thank Mari Loyal for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I have to say, it's been a hot minute where I read a book that wasn't filled with steam and I still really enjoyed the story! Like if you're a fan of Lynn Painter, you may enjoy this college sports romance as well!

Right from the beginning, you dive into this rivals to lovers story and the angst and tension between the two is so thick, I swear everyone could really see what was going on except them at times! I really loved that Mari was able to blend the hockey aspect perfectly into every day life and school since it is a college book.

For the both of them you really dive into one another's background and see that both of their families let them down. Whether it's because one wants to pursue hockey instead of something more "professional" or the other is getting shadowed by a family member who is gaining more popularity, I really enjoyed reading into those moments more and how both characters kind of show what they're capable of.

Now while there isn't a ton of spice going on (the author does state this before going into the book) I will say I found there to be more emotion pulling at the heartstrings, and seriously how book boyfriend worthy Max is. I can't say much without spoiling, but he is seriously the best with how he takes care and shows Luz how he feels for her. Not to mention all of their friends and teammates around. The connection and hilarious banter they all have made me love them even more!

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Faceoff and I can't wait to read book 2 in the series! This was really entertaining, a page turner, and of course all the fun aspects of a hockey romance! The emotional tugging, laugh out loud moments, and swoon-worthy romance was a great read! I'd definitely recommend grabbing this to read!

That's all for my review, I hope you enjoyed it!

So until the next time, keep reading!
Your Graduated Bookworm!! :)

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