Saturday, June 1, 2013


Title: Offside (The Barker Triplets, Book One)
Author: Juliana Stone
Release Date: September 28, 2013

Reviewer purchased own copy of ebook for review

When hockey phenom Billie-Jo Barker returns home and decides to play in the local Friday night hockey league, all hell breaks loose. Not because Billie's talent is in question, but because Billie is a woman. And though these are modern times, some of the local guys still have a problem letting a girl into their 'men's club.'

Soon, Billie is at the center of a small town battle of the sexes, with everyone choosing sides. Her sisters. The townsfolk. Her friends. And yet, the only person whose opinion she cares about doesn't seem to care much at all. Logan Forest, the man who broke her heart when she was eighteen and the man she now shares the bench with every Friday night.

She's got a lot to prove and though Billie Jo Barker scores on the ice, will this girl ever score with the man of her dreams?

Book Review

I am so damn happy that I have recently discovered Juliana Stone. She is a solid writer of great stories and characters that I can easily grow attached to and enjoy reading from the first page.

Her romances are sweet with just a hint of spicy and her characters are unique, quirky, and the kind of people you'd want to hang out with if they existed beyond the page. 

The Barker triplets are Billie Jo, Bobbi Jo, and Betty Jo. UGH. I would have a long talk with Juliana Stone about the monikers she stuck these women with, for starters. But that's neither here nor there. 

Billie Jo has just returned from Sweden, after being relieved from her position on the hockey team after a serious concussion. Her career is in the toilet. She has no job prospects in her future. And she returns to her hometown to lick her wounds. 

But her interest in piqued when she finds out about the beer league 
hockey team that play on Fridays. This no-contact league gives her the time on the ice to participate in the sport she loves. 

Except the men in this small Michigan town don't want a woman on the team. How can they burp, fart, and scratch themselves silly with  a woman in their midst? 

Logan Forest is okay with having Billie Jo on their team, but he wants no part of any of the Barker women in his personal life. Once was enough. Almost a decade ago, he slept with Betty Jo, only to be dissed like last week's moldy casserole in the fridge. Betty Jo acted like their one night never happened. 

And it didn't. 

Billie Jo, the pony-tailed, athletic Barker twin (I'll explain that later) had always been ignored in favor of her other more outgoing sister, Betty Jo. Even Bobbie Jo got more action than she did with bad boy Shane Galligher. Until she finally acted on the crush she had for one Logan Forest. 

Logan, a bit drunk, and a LOT horny, approached Billie Jo during a party and slept with the wrong Barker. And Billie never told him. 

Now years later, when Billie Jo returns home, all those feelings come back in a rush when she sees Logan. And in all honesty, they never really faded. She had never met another man that made her feel the way Logan had oh, so long ago. But she knows she needs to come clean about that night if they have any chance of a future. 

Logan's attempts to stay away from Billie are hampered at every turn and he falls for the feisty tomboy Barker. Only he needs to tell her that he once slept with her sister before making any commitment.

Awkward much? 

I loved this family: Grandpa, Dad, and the Barker Twins.  They have some serious issues to work out between them as they all struggle to deal with the dad's progressive Alzheimer's. Guilt and anger plague the siblings as they come to terms with their father's health. Grandpa, despite their differences, loves them all dearly. He has called the girls his twins and been there for all of them. It was great to see a not-so-perfect family and their dynamics as they work toward trying to remain close without killing each other. 

Offside is a sweet romance with appealing small-town characters and family-related issues that touch the heart. I cannot wait to see where Stone takes this series next. 

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