Monday, January 4, 2016

review || FOR THE LOVE OF HOCKEY { blog tour } by Taylor Lavati

Self-Published | January 4, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
For the Love, book 2


Lindsay Wilson has spent her entire life protecting her five younger siblings. At eighteen, she knew the man she’d devote her life to, but when he left her, her passion dimmed. Engrossing herself in her small business and jumping from guy to guy could only distract her for so long.

Finn Jacobs chose his dream of playing professional hockey over the girl he loved. Year after year he competed, throwing himself into the game. After an injury that could end his career for good, he begins to question his decision all those years ago.

Six years later, Lindsay and Finn’s paths cross yet again. The reunion is less than ideal, both unhappy and unfulfilled in their personal lives. Lindsay’s barriers begin to crumble as Finn discovers she’s not the same girl he left behind. They try to avoid each other, but sometimes life forces you to face your past mistakes to make them right. Can their love survive a second chance?

In this inspiring tale of true love and loss, Finn and Lindsay discover each other and find their forever.

{ about taylor lavati } .

Taylor Lavati is a twenty-something year old author residing in a small town in Connecticut with her husband and dog. She writes both Young Adult and New Adult romances with ranging genres from fantasy, A Curse Books trilogy, to dark romance, A Reliant Love. When not writing, she enjoys playing video games, hiking, and spending time with family.
Romance with a bit of CHAOS.

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{ interview with taylor } .

1. What are 5 words to best describe you?

That’s tough. Busy (both in life and in my head). Organized (Probably a little OCD, but organized puts it nicer). Family-oriented. Loving. A little crazy.

2. What does your typical writing day look like, and are you a "pantser" or "plotter"?

It truly depends on the story for me. When I write The Last Legacy seasons I am 100% a plotter. For The Love of Hockey is the only book I ever didn’t plot for. Remember when I said I’m organized? Yeah, it applies for my writing too. I like outlining and making character bios and playing with the story long before I even begin to write it.

I wake up early and write from 5:30 am to 7 am usually uninterrupted--this is the meat of my writing during the day. I work a full-time job so I tend to write in the quiet moments I steal at work. After work I take a nap most days, then write until my husband wakes up or gets home. Depending on my mood, I’ll write again after dinner, but sometimes I let it rest until the next day. I refuse to set my alarm on weekends but tend to get up around 8 am anyway. I write until my hubby wakes up and then I take the rest of the day off!

3. What are 5 words to best describe your writing style?

Honest. Deep. Realistic. Flowing. Character-driven.

4. Where’s your favorite place to write?

My favorite place to write is probably at my desk. I have a comfortable chair and plenty of room for my many folders. However, I write there probably 2% of my time. I bring my laptop everywhere so often I write at work, on the couch, in the car, in random places like my in-laws or anywhere that’s quiet. My favorite is my desk, but I’m hardly ever there.

5. If you couldn’t write, what would you be doing (or, what do you do aside from writing)?

I love teaching. I have a degree in early-childhood ed so I would probably take the PRAXIS (which is how you get your teaching license) and find a job in that field.

6. We all have our book boyfriends… Who is your current one? What about him draws you to him?
It’s hard not to love my own characters, but I’ll eliminate my own and pick someone else. I just recently read Seducing Simon by Maya Banks. And, yeah, Simon was a super amazing book boyfriend. Most of the book he was brooding and oblivious to his feelings, however I liked his dark side and when he finally grew a pair, I found him super romantic. Although I change book boyfriends by the day!

7. Of your characters (your ‘babies’), who are you ‘closest’ to?

OHHH. That’s so hard! How can I pick just one? I definitely think I leave a little piece of myself with each character, however, I think I relate to or am closest to Lindsay from For The Love of Hockey. She’s a little lost in life, stuck between following her heart and being smart and treating life like it needs to have a plan. Since I’m twenty-four, I’m definitely in a similar boat. I think due to the age similarity and the way she thinks, I’m closest to her. I just really really love her as a character. We’d be besties. I also will ALWAYS have a special place for Ryder, my first book friend.

8. Was there anything in this book that caused you to pause, that was difficult to get past? Any annoying character flaws you had to push through?

Definitely. With any second chance romances, there’s going to be a tug and pull in the relationship. Should I try again or should I move on? Should I go fast or slow? At times I worried that the story was moving at a too slow pace and I didn’t want readers to get bored. But I thought that it was important to have a real relationship with characters that really might go through this. So I went with my gut. It was hard to write Lindsay as being opposed to dating Finn again because Finn is such an amazing guy. As readers, we see the Finn who tries to open her up, who wishes for a chance with the one girl he loved. But Lindsay doesn’t see that. It’s hard to remember that these are TWO people who TWO separate point of views. I love how dynamic it makes the book.

9. Lastly… you get to take a breather from writing – what do you do?

A breather? Yeah, right! I try to take weekends off from writing a lot of the time so I make sure I spend time with my friends and family. We play a ton of games. I’m a huge computer gamer, so whenever I have a free night or don’t feel like writing, I hop on and play League of Legends or Fallout. My hubby does, too, so it’s bonding time. I also take the dog for walks and so many of my book ideas have come from our quiet walks in the woods. Multi-tasking!

10. Last 5-star book you read?

Eighteen by JA Huss. The ending irked me a little, but the rest of the story was so amazing it stays a 5 star for me. I also recently read Uncivilized by Sawyer Bennett and that one was another 5 star. Both unique and interesting, which I LOVE!

{ playlist } .

Back to December- Taylor Swift
Dear God- Avenged Sevenfold
Goodbye- Secondhand Serenade
Iris- Goo Goo Dolls
Vanilla Twilight- Owl City
Fix You- Coldplay
Hate That I Love You- Rihanna and Neyo
I Think About You Everyday- A Rocket To The Moon
Save Tonight- Eagle-Eye Cherry
I Won’t Give Up- Jason Mraz
Second Chance- Shinedown
Wonderwall- Oasis
Hey There Delilah- Plain White Tees
Need You Now- Lady Antebellum

{ interview with finn & lindsay } .

Before For The Love of Hockey

1. What is your greatest achievement?

Lindsay: I would definitely say the biggest thing I’ve ever done was open up my boutique store, The Wilson Wardrobe. I did an internship in New York City after college, and learned so much from my mentor. When I came back to take care of my siblings I decided that I didn’t want to work for anyone. I started searching for clothes I liked and stockpiled them in my tiny apartment and when I had enough inventory, I opened with my best friend, Janell.

Finn: Competing in the last winter Olympics. I was the youngest player on the team, and I was on the second line, but I scored a goal against Canada and I swear, there is no feeling like scoring in a high pressure game. And the Olympics is the top of the competition. There’s no where up from there.

2. Who is the greatest love of your life?

Lindsay: Well, that’s a little personal. I’m single, and I have been for six years. I don’t believe in true love. I love my siblings a lot, more than any guy. That’s it. Just my siblings and I.

Finn: Lindsay Wilson. She was my high school sweetheart, and I had to let her go. Well, I didn’t have to, but at the time I thought it was the right thing to do. She needed to stay with her siblings and I needed to become a hockey star. But I still love her, and I probably always will.

3. What is your greatest fear?

Lindsay: Being alone or not needed.

Finn: Being alone. Not being enough for someone.

4. Who is the one person you most despise?

Lindsay: Finnley Jacobs. *Shrugs* Sorry, is that mean?

Finn: I don’t despise anyone. Life’s too short to have hate in your heart.

5. What is your biggest regret?

Lindsay: Trusting someone who didn’t deserve it. I learned my lesson, and ever since, I protect myself. My brain comes first and feelings come second. Ever since, my business has been booming and my life is back on track. I had a lapse once when I thought I could take life by the pants and run around, following someone I thought I loved. But now I understand how stupid I was.

Finn: Letting her go six years ago. I did it for the both of us, but now I think I should’ve been selfish and kept her to myself.

6. What’s a quality you look for most in a woman/man?

Lindsay: Communication. I don’t like being blindsided.

Finn: Trust.

7. Which living person do you most admire?

Lindsay: I don’t have a lot of admirable people around me. If I had to pick someone, I’d say my youngest sister Lilly. We didn’t have an easy life, but I swear to god, she’s going to be President some day. She’s inspiring to anyone.

Finn: My dad. He inspired me, pushed me, and supported me my whole life.

8. If you could change one trait about yourself, what would it be?

Lindsay: Too-trusting. I’ve been trying to change that about myself, but it’s a long process.

Finn: Goal-driven. It’s worked in my advantage my entire life, but lately it just seems like I need to stop and breathe and think. I missed a lot of time because I was so focused on hockey.

9. If you died and came back as an animal, what would you be?

Lindsay: Momma lion. I protect those I love fiercelym but you screw with me once, and your ass is dead.

Finn: Penguin. I’m a little fun, love the cold, but can’t fly. Actually, I don’t know why I said penguin, but I just feel like it suits me. There’s something trusting and loving and cute about a penguin. That’s me.

10. What is your most treasured possession?

Lindsay: My store. I don’t really have a lot of objects I love or remind me of past events. My childhood wasn’t exactly ideal. The only thing I have that is truly mine is my store. I love everything about it.

Finn: The hockey stick I used my senior year of highschool. Not only did I have one of the best athletic performances that year, but it reminds me of quieter times, happier times. I didn’t have the stressed I do back then. The stick reminds me of someone, too.

{ excerpt } .

“I thought you were avoiding me because you were scared.”
She scoffed. “Scared of what?”

“Me. You’ve always been scared of me. And I get it. I’m fucking scared of you, too.”

“I’m not scared of you, asshole. I hate you!” She shoved me, her hands pressing against my hard chest. I was heated, my heart pumping way too fast and my veins full of adrenaline. I grabbed her hands and held them against me. She frowned and tried to pull back, but failed.

“You don’t hate me. Just like I don’t hate you.”

“I hate you,” she whispered, seething as her blue eyes became glassy with tears. I didn’t want to make her cry. I just wanted her to understand. She needed to see my side. Her forgiveness meant the world to me. Her friendship was the only thing that could help me move on.

“Then I hate you, too.” I moved closer so our noses nearly touch. The air became charged, my dick rose, and I could taste her breath on my tongue. I could barely breathe the air was so thick.

“I hate you, Finn. Don’t you get it?” she whispered again, but her words didn’t even register in my mind. I just kept my eyes locked on hers as I held her so close, teasing myself. She was the one person, the one thing, I ever loved more than hockey. And one decision ruined the entire course of my life.

{ review } .

When I read FOR THE LOVE OF ASH, I was drawn in to the feels and hurt that radiated between Lindsay and Finn, and I was one of the people who went to the author and begged for more stories of this Wilson clan. These 'L'-named siblings have drawn me in, and while most of the others are still young yet, I love a good series, and I definitely want to see this family as they grow up and grow in love -- I just am not entirely sure how their stories will be told.

As is extremely evident in the above interview with Finn and Lindsay, Lindsay is protective of her family -- and she harbors a major grudge. When the woman is hurt, it takes a lot to fix that. Finn's journey toward forgiveness is certainly not an easy one -- even though the love he has for Lindsay, that he's always had for Lindsay, is all-consuming. He always put Lindsay first -- even when it bit him in the hind end.

I absolutely adored Finn's love for Lindsay -- and for the Wilson family. Having been best friends with Luke for years, and Lindsay's boyfriend when younger, he knows exactly what goes on behind closed doors. That said, there was a point in FOR THE LOVE OF HOCKEY where his fears fell a little flat for me. The turmoil came, sure, but in his "Are you safe?"... I would have liked more there.

Lindsay's character often pulled too hot and cold for me, but that was directly due to the cold, hard armor she wore. She was hard and strong, but whiny in the next moment (which bothered me to no end). I understood her need to put distance between herself and Finn, but on the flip side --

It had been 6 years.

They both grew, they both changed -- even if the root feelings, the love they each held for the other, simply had been dormant until they were both at different places in life. These two were the definition of soul mates. They found one another young and had to grow up in order to fully understand what their destinies held for one another -- their feelings were so strong, the grudges so hard, yet their lives so in-sync, because life wanted them together.

For me, personally, the drama of these two moving past hurt and back into love, was a bit too drawn out, allowing me to lose interest in parts. I also felt that, where the drama of patriarch Wilson in ASH held a bigger part, it fell a little flat here in HOCKEY. And with that, I'm not entirely sure if Ms. Lavati can continue this series, or where exactly she will bring it -- because I'm going to be honest, I'm annoyed with Lauren and Lilly, and it would take a greatly woven story for me to fully understand their ways.

All in all, though, while it took a few left turns too many, the path that Finn and Lindsay take to find their forever was a good one, and I'm glad that Ms. Lavati chose to allow their story to be told.

You're my person, my forever, my other half...--Finn

{ previous reviews in series } .

FOR THE LOVE OF ASH 4.5{ review }

{ giveaway } .

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