Tuesday, June 12, 2018

End Game (Bellevue Bullies #4) By: Toni Aleo

I need to send a huge thank you to not only Toni, but also the amazing people over at L. Woods PR for getting the ARC of this pretty sent out for review.
Y'all treat us bloggers so well. And I can't thank you enough for all the hard work you put in to help us get be able to get these books read and reviewed.

I've gotten to meet Toni a couple times now over the years.The last being this October at Shameless Book con in Orlando (Pictured above... I sadly don't have a pic from the first time I met her though)
I do have a funny-ish story about it though.
The first time I met Toni was back in like 2013 at Bookbash in Orlando. And for those of you that don't know what that is... It's one of those big multi-author signings.
But anyways. I had just started blogging (Like first month or two I started actually haha) And was just really starting to understand self-publishing and this whole other side to the book world. So there were A LOT of authors I was really unfamiliar with. But also I was barely 20 I think? And while I read romance and such before that point. I was really getting into things like Sports Romances, and things a little more smutty? (I had been a lot more into the paranormal and fantasy stuff back then)

So someone like Toni I had never even heard of sadly.
But I can vividly remember meeting her the first time. (Her and Helena Hunting for some reason haha)
I'm always big on talking to as many authors as I can at those things, so I can find new books and stuff... And I seriously can picture the whole interaction going down to this day.
I had no clue who Toni was. I'm this slightly innocent little 20 year old. And here I go to go make small talk, maybe grab some swag, and have this unknown to me author sign my little notebook I was carrying around like it was character time at Disney.
And shes loud, and excited, and super friendly, and I totally get pulled towards her books. And the funniest part (remember my innocent comment mkay?)
And I can't remember which of these Assassins boys it was for, but she talks to me, signs my little notebook and then BOOM!!! Puts this sticker on the page next to her name that says PUSSY KILLER or something like it on it. And I mean I'm sure my face was like ten shades of red at this point. Like no one in my life even uttered the word pussy at that time. And I was just starting to see it in the books I was reading. And I totally was like, "I am never ever picking up one of these crazy lady's books. EVER!"
But I mean, I look back now and I'm two series plus some in the hole... And how well I remember that happening back then. And it totally makes me giggle, but it stuck and now I'm just one of the crazy fandom hehe. (We won't mention it took me almost two years after that point before I finally read Shea's book for the first time haha)

This is going to be Ryan Justice’s year. It’s his last year of college and his last year as a hockey player for the Bellevue Bullies. He’s making all the plays in preparation for achieving his dream of being drafted into the NHL. 

This is Sofia Castilleja’s beginning. She is starting her college career as a star member of Bellevue’s brand-new gymnastics team. She’s going to tumble her way to success, first in school and then by realizing her dream of opening her own gym. 

Ryan and Sofia didn’t see each other coming, but once they meet, they can’t look away. Their dreams are destined to take them in opposite directions. But it doesn’t take them long to realize that waking up to reality together may be better than dreaming alone.

Oh my goodness this book. I can't even begin with where to start. I loved everything about it so much.

I'm a die hard Toni Aleo fan, and even bigger hockey fan. So between the two I knew this sports romance would be right up my ally. And the wonderful thing about Toni's books is that they can all be read in order of the series, or as standalones. I highly suggest you read the others first just because they're awesome books. But if you wanted to. You could jump right into END GAME with no worries. (Also be aware that the Bellevue Bullies series runs very closely to Toni's Assassins series, and many characters cross over between them as well)

But let's really get into this book

Sofia and Ryan were just too fluffing adorable. They are both so driven and compassionate about their sport and the others in their lives. I've never seen two characters that are so similar but yet have these tiny differences that allow them to still grow and change slightly for the better. They're both so strong and so kind. And I loved to see them just build off each other. 

And just let me tell you. I loved how different this story was in general.

It wasn't your average predictable sports romance. There wasn't that big bad conflict really. There was drama and there were choices that had to made or decided on. And it did put strain on the characters. But there wasn't that defining moment that lost sports romances have between its characters.

And I found that such a refreshing thing.

Plus these characters are just so adorable. There's build up like any good book needs. But Toni gives us such a pure and adorable romance. And I found myself loving the dynamic between everyone.

Also I like how Toni changed up the story some this time.

I wont say much on that so you can see for yourself what I'm talking about. but this one breaks the mold in some ways. And I loved it.

Plus we get so many familiar faces in this book. I'm such a nut when it comes to seeing some of my original Assassins favorites. Although let me tell you. When I first started this one, I was kinda overwhelmed. There were so many faces that I had to stop and just take a breath. They're all from the same family but after lord knows how many Bullies and Assassins books I had to really go back and remember where everyone was at this point in time haha.
I joked with another blogger friend about needing a family tree drawn out so I could keep everyone and their ages straight haha (So if anyone that has better drawing skills than me wants to give it a shot, I'll totally take it hehe)

Something else I want to say that is always a big sticking point for me, and something that I love about all the books Toni gives us. There are actually SPORTS happening in this SPORTS romance!! 
We get a good amount of hockey and so much gymnastics. And it is something I appreciate so much from her. So many books now brand themselves as sports romances because their main character plays one. But then they rarely give us any of the actual sports. But Toni makes it a huge plot point in her stories and that carried through really well in END GAME as well. 

And I guess the last point I want to make in this review, is just that I loved how sweet and pure the romance in general was. Don't get me wrong. There were some steamy steamy parts. But just the overall vibe going was so caring and sweet. I mean I'm not an emotional person in the least. And even I was all sunshine and rainbows during and after reading it haha 😎🌈

Toni just gives us such a good and happy story. And I honestly loved the lightness of it all for a summer read.

is definitely a

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐5 STAR READ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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