End Game by Toni Aleo is AVAILABLE NOW!
“Oh man. This. Book. Toni has hit it out of the rink again with this one!”
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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.
The meaning of ‘end game’ varies based on its context. If someone asked a high school senior what his/her end game is, I’m sure they would respond with the college they plan to attend and the degree they plan to achieve. But in the sports’ world, a place where possibilities seem endless, the ultimate end game for any athlete is to reach the professional level…to get paid for a sport s/he loves and to reap the benefits of everything that s/he gave up and endured in order to reach that pinnacle of success.
The end game for Ryan Justice who’s a senior in college and Sofia Castilleja who’s a freshman in college, while slightly different due to their collegiate level, center on the sport that they’ve dedicated their lives to, making the ultimate goal for Ryan – the NHL – and for Sofia, a solid four years as a gymnast for the Bellevue Bullies and a chance to take her gymnastic skills to the highest level.
Due to Ryan and Sofia’s goal driven game plan along with their determination and ambition to succeed, neither one wanted any form of distraction to invade their life, but sometimes, the best kind of complication is the one that no one sees coming, and while it makes that person question what s/he wants out of life and if his/her dreams are worth sacrificing, ultimately, what matters most is what that person can’t live without, and for Ryan and Sofia, even though it takes them a bit to realize what their heart was telling them from their very first encounter, their end game changes and expands to include more than just the sport they love, which offers more opportunities to live, to love, and to be happy.
I really enjoyed how Toni Aleo set up Ryan and Sofia’s story line. Aleo does a great job of illustrating who these two dynamic athletes are, but she also allows readers to see who they are as human beings as well. Their attraction to one another was instantaneous, but they both fought it, which I think adds realism to the story; Ryan and Sofia have been focused on their sports 100%, so a distraction of someone who intrigues them…someone who they seem to connect with…someone who they have chemistry with could take their eyes off of their end game, and at the beginning, they don’t know much about each other, but once they get to know each other, all bets are off and things between them start to heat up, forcing them to take a hard look at their goals…at their desires…at the idea that maybe there’s more to life than a sport and the need to be the best at it.
I’m a sports romance fanatic and each and every time I read one of Toni Aleo’s hockey romances, I’m reminded of just why I love this troupe. Ryan and Sofia’s story is a great read that explores people’s goals and dreams and what they’re willing to do when they’re end game becomes about so much more than they ever thought it would.
4.5 Poison Apples
About the Author
I am a wife, mother of two and a bulldog, and also a hopeless romantic.
I am the biggest Shea Weber fan ever, and can be found during hockey season with my nose pressed against the Bridgestone Arena’s glass, watching my Nashville Predators play!
When my nose isn’t pressed against the glass, I enjoy going to my husband and son’s hockey games, my daughter’s dance competition, hanging with my best friends, taking pictures, scrapbooking, and reading the latest romance novel.
I have a slight Disney and Harry Potter obsession, I love things that sparkle, I love the color pink, I might have been a Disney Princess in a past life… probably Belle.
… and did I mention I love hockey?
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