Book Review – Risking the Shot by Amy Aislin

Stick Side #4
Publisher: Indie
Pages: 237
Characters: Tay/Dakota
POV: 3rd
Genre: Hockey Romance, Series

Time for distractions? Hardly.

A chance at making the playoffs? It’s a dream for NHL forward Taylor Cunningham that just might come true. If he can keep his eyes on the ball—ahem, puck. And study for midterms. Dakota Cotton, eleven years his senior, isn’t just a distraction, though—he’s everything Tay’s ever wanted.

Dakota has no interest in introducing someone who might not stick around to his four-year-old son. Been there, done that, with the divorce to prove it. But there’s something about Tay that hits all of the right buttons and has him wanting to take a chance.

As things heat up between them, and the pressure to succeed hits an all-time high, will they risk a shot at happiness or choke?

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I’m a sucker for a good hockey romance, and throw in a single dad, and I’m very happy. This story combined two of my favourite tropes in a wonderful feel good romance. I loved the MCs and the side characters, and although it’s the first I’ve read in this series, that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. I have book 1 on my TBR pile now, and the others on my to-buy list.

I loved Dakota and Tay’s meeting and immediate mutual attraction, and how they fall for each other despite all the reasons they shouldn’t. The scenes with Dakota’s son, Andy, are sweet, and I love how he and Tay hit it off immediately. I liked how different their backgrounds and life experiences are, and not just because of the age difference. I thought the way they both react to given situations felt very real, considering what they’ve been through. Their sibling relationships are very different too, and I loved how that part of the story played out.

I love the team and their family and friendship dynamics. The banter is fun, especially the scenes with Dakota’s brother and his partner, and Dean and Grey. Ditto with Dakota and Calder, and the business they are growing together. The descriptions of their creations are fabulous, and easy to imagine. Wow. I really liked Tay’s mother and how supportive and perceptive she is, yet not afraid to say the truth.

This is a story I’ll be rereading.

The ending was perfect and very sweet, and I enjoyed the bonus story/scene with Calder too.

5 out of 5 stars.

About Anne Barwell

Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with a cat with “tortitude” who is convinced that the house is run to suit her; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date, it appears as though Kaylee may be winning. In 2008, Anne completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth. She also hosts and reviews for other authors, and writes monthly blog posts for Love Bytes. She is the co-founder of the New Zealand Rainbow Romance writers, and a member of RWNZ. Anne’s books have received honorable mentions five times, reached the finals four times—one of which was for best gay book—and been a runner up in the Rainbow Awards. She has also been nominated twice in the Goodreads M/M Romance Reader’s Choice Awards—once for Best Fantasy and once for Best Historical. Anne can be found at
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