A Very Merry Hockey Holiday Review
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In Association with Amazon.com
Unabridged Digital Audiobook
Runtime: 3 hours, 16 minutes
Read by Lucy Malone

The holidays can be hectic for any of us—but it can get even more hectic when a member of the family is a professional athlete. Players don’t get a Christmas vacation. And in the audio edition of A Very Merry Hockey Holiday, author Toni Aleo follows a team full of hockey players through a holiday season filled with hockey and romance.

The story catches up with the players on the Nashville Assassins and their families during a busy holiday season. As the players travel back and forth to road games, their families, friends, and loved ones prepare for the coming holiday festivities. Some anxiously await the arrival of new children—and, as another new year approaches, others find themselves making important decisions about their futures, their families, their careers, and their relationships.

Told in eight stories focusing on eight different characters or couples, A Very Merry Hockey Holiday is more of a collection of snippets of stories than a full, cohesive novel with a central plot. The characters may all be connected, but when each story ends, those characters then move into the background, their part of the book complete.

At the same time, it’s all too obvious that this is just one installment in the middle of a series. The characters get little or no development here—and no real closure in the end, either. Really, it feels more like the middle of a novel than a standalone book. And, as a result, newcomers to the series will most likely feel hopelessly lost.

Once readers do get to know a little bit about the characters, though, they might not care enough to get more involved. None of them seem real—or memorable. After a while, they all blend together: women who talk about little more than babies and hormone-fueled couples whose constant romantic escapades (despite being grown-ups with responsibilities and jobs and, in many cases, large families to care for) are almost laughable. And, in the end, there’s not much here to hold listeners’ attention—not much development, not much personality, and not much hockey, either.

For fans of Aleo’s Assassins series, A Very Merry Hockey Holiday will continue the stories of this group of familiar characters. But unless you already know the characters and their stories, you’ll feel lost in this installment. And if you’re looking for something with the energy and excitement of a hockey game, you’ll be disappointed.

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