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This is the third book in the CU series. It features Cohen and Seth, whom we met in the first book. This wasn’t my favorite book in the series. Honestly, this was probably my least favorite, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it or appreciate the value it brought to the CU Hockey universe. I don’t know why, but it just wasn’t resonating with me. At the beginning, I was super invested, and then somewhere in the middle, it just fell off a little bit for me, but the ending was nice.
I really liked that they met online first before meeting face-to-face because, in my opinion, it added a more intimate feel to the book. Cohen’s obliviousness was innocently endearing, and Seth’s neediness was kinda cute in its own way. I do understand why Seth needed constant reassurance because his past relationships told him he was too clingy and needy. Personally, I don't think there's anything wrong with needing a little reassurance from a partner from time to time, so I felt bad for him in the sense that his past partners used his constant need for clarity to end their relationships. Don't get me wrong, Seth could be overbearing at times, but Cohen had no issue with it, and as long as Cohen didn't mind it, that's all that mattered. Overall, their story was pleasant.
Since meeting Seth in the first book in this series I was so excited for him to get a story of his own! Goal Lines & First Times was a cute and easy read.
Richie Cohen is holding on to his last year of college hockey and trying to figure out a way to keep hockey in his life even though going pro isn’t an option. After seeing Beck and Jacobs get together and talking with his childhood best friend about their past, he’s questioning his sexuality in a way he’s never done before, chatting with guys online to figure it out. He may not be the smartest guy on the CU hockey team, but I really didn’t like that he was constantly calling himself dumb - he may be a little naive and it takes him a little longer to put things together, but that’s no reason that he should be putting himself down.
Seth Grant has spent years feeling like he’s living in his twin brother Foster’s shadow and considering himself broken after a string of failed relationships. He suspects he’s not totally straight like he’s been trying to convince himself for years so he starts chatting with guys online to form a connection before ever meeting in person. After being overshadowed by Foster’s success in a lot of ways, Seth is trying to figure out who he is, but he knows who he is has nothing to do with hockey.
Richie and Seth have met in real life before through Foster and continue to bump into each other on campus but they also have been unknowingly chatting online for months, developing a relationship but staying anonymous. Once they put the pieces together, things heat up between them and they realize things are serious. I loved the moment they realize who they are and how sweet things were the first night. After that, they keep things quiet, not ready to go public or to see how Foster will react. I think their relationship was easy and understated but I loved how they supported each other throughout their discovery periods and when they’re figuring out their next steps in life.
I loved the glimpses of Asher in this book and can’t wait to see where this story goes - I always enjoy a good grumpy, broken boy finding love.
Seth is confused on his sexuality, he always thought that he was straight until is point out to him that maybe he is not, so he uses an app to see if he can have a relationship with a man. Cohen is just confused he thought it was normal to practice kissing your male best friend, its not, so he joins an app to see if maybe hes not so straight. The two spark a friendship not knowing they actually already know each other in real life. Through texts they grow closer until random events lead them to sharing a hotel room and realize who the other is. Great book of humor and two men figuring out who they really are and what really makes them happy.
In the last book we saw hockey player Richard Cohen realize that his teenage make-out sessions with his male best friend weren't exactly “typical” for straight guys. So Cohen decides to use a dating app to try flirting with men anonymously to figure out his sexuality. Also trying to figure himself out is Seth Grant who has struggled with sexual attraction his whole life and is beginning to suspect he might be demisexual. A dating apps seems like a great way to form an emotional connection with someone without the pressure of sex. As these two begin chatting online they find someone they can really connect with but neither one has any idea who the other is or that their real lives are more connected than they thought.
GOAL LINES & FIRST TIMES was an absolute delight and I’m so in love with the CU HOCKEY series which has been all 5 star reads for me. I’ve really loved these characters and watching them find not only someone to love but also find their place in the world. Writing collaborations can be hit or miss for me but Eden Finley and Saxon James clearly have it figured out because their writing “voice” is so enjoyable to read.
I loved both Seth and Cohen but there was something truly sweet and endearing about Cohen. He’s what I guess you’d call a “himbo” and he readily admits that he’s not that smart and often misses clues because he’s oblivious. But Cohen is also just the sweetest guy who takes care of others and always seems to know the right thing to say to make Seth feel better. In turn, Seth finds someone who understands his need to be close and spend lots of time with a partner. Seth has struggled in the shadow of his hockey star twin brother (Foster Grant from book 1) and that’s caused some issues in his relationship with his family. It was nice to see Seth work through some of that and rebuild relationships. Together Cohen and Seth were a lot of fun to read about and I loved their online banter and conversations.
A large part of GOAL LINES & FIRST TIMES takes place online before they ever meet (or least know they’ve met) but I liked that we saw them truly build a friendship and connection. I also enjoyed the way they helped each other figure out their interests and sexuality and both were so open to learning about their individual needs. When these two do finally meet they were so sweet and sexy together and they might be one of my favorite couples. I can’t wait to see where this series goes next!
As usual, Finley’s and James’ collaborations are bloody delightful to read. Goal Lines & First Times was no exception. It’s low-angst, feel-good, MM-love of the young-and-slightly-stupid-in-a-fun-way variety. The jock edition.
I thought I knew what demi meant. Sort of. That in order to feel sexual attraction, they need an emotional bond first. But from the descriptions in this book, it seems that my understanding of the term wasn’t completely accurate. And it’s always great to learn something new. However, I’m still not sure I completely get it since some parts didn’t quite made sense to me. On the one hand, forming emotional bonds to fictional characters is apparently easier to do for someone who’s demi, so the Witcher thing was… a thing. But then Seth thought Cohen was hot in a way that was set apart from the whole Witcher costume. And he got off on thinking about Cohen, without knowing Cohen was the guy he was texting? Nope. Still can’t make sense of that.
Well, anyway. This was an easy, cute and unobtrusive read. And either I’ve gotten desensitized to steam, or this book was less explicit than the previous two. Whichever it is, it’s a shame. I would have loved me some more raunchiness. The way Finley and James previously have been able to combine humour and coming out with sexy shenanigans pretty much makes the perfect story. Goal Lines & First Times didn’t quite live up to that. It felt a bit more bland than what I’ve come to expect from these two.
But no matter. I love this series. And getting to revisit the other guys from book #1 and #2 was awesome. Seth and Cohen can’t compete with either Foster & Zack or with Jacobs & Beck, but this is still a solid 4-star read.
Side note. And a miniscule detail that bugged me a whole lot. The cover pic. I know Finley and James like to use photos of guys with their faces completely visible. Granted, they’re always bare-chested (good choice that), but I have such a hard time ignoring those faces. The whole point of reading instead of watching a movie is that you get to use your own imagination. Sure, the basic descriptions of the characters are there, but when it comes down to it you’re free to decide how the MCs look. And for this whole read, I just couldn’t get the photo of Cohen’s face out of my head. Maybe that’s the reason I didn’t appreciate the nakey-scenes in this book? I just wish all authors would stop putting full-on face photos of their sexy/hot/beautiful MC on the covers of their books. Beauty is subjective. And yes. The cover of Goal Lines & First Times was a complete mood killer for me.
Yes I said it. I really disliked the cover of this book. So much.
I adore the love in this book. I love the buildup and the execution of their relationship. Again, another great representation of healthy communication and conflict resolution. I love the fact that this book showed more than just gay/bi/pan as valid and important. I adore the story and the pacing was perfect. I can’t wait to keep digging into the rest of the series! Enjoying every moment with these guys!
The friendship these two built while finding their way on the spectrum is amazing. It’s the basis for their relationship. Seth didn’t understand why people thought he was gay, Richie never thought beyond his teenage kisses with his best friend. Getting to know each other first was a must for Seth, he needed the emotional connection. Richie wanted to research his feelings but not sure where he should start. Once together, it’s hot. I love how smart Richie is about being with Seth when all we had known was he didn’t think he was smart at all. And of course, smart Seth didn’t always have the answers and couldn’t make sense of cues. These two perfectly complement each other.
Well this was an adorable read! Seth is the sweetest guy ever. Confused with his sexuality and why he can’t find sexual attraction easily. Cohen is clueless most of the time but that just makes you love him more. They know one another both in real life and secretly online. Will they feel the same when they realise who they’ve been talking to. A MM hockey romance. Friend’s brother. One bed. The spice was a 3/5.
“Thank you.” “For?” “Needing me.” “Always.” He kisses my ear. “Only you, Einstein.”
Cohen and Seth are individually trying to figure out where they are on the sexual identity scale. Both are given advice to maybe explore online dating to see if that helps them. They begin talking to each other but not truly knowing who the other is. This whole thing is adorable and fun and I looooved it. There's something about that texting/mystery online dating thing that I love so much. They really get to know one another and it's funny and cute. Then when they finally figure it out it's awkward and again so cute. Cohen and Seth have a really great dynamic. Also Beck figuring it out and all his "diversions" were hilarious. I love him.
Honestly this book was gonna be a 4 star for me because I really enjoyed the building of their friendship and relationship and even them together. But at one point it started to feel a too long. Also not helped by the fact that while I get the whole "couldn't keep their hands off each other," even when other things were happening, it felt very much that's all that was happening. Plus, Seth's jealousy didn't feel right and actually sat really wrong with me especially towards the end. I've said it before that jealousy is my jam in books but it felt out of character and really jerkish on Seth's part. Also also, I think Zach & Foster were let off the hook. They should have apologised in my opinion. Look, Seth messed up where Cohen was concerned. That was not the thing to do. His anxiety and panic led to his decision but that doesn't make it ok. But where Zach and Foster were concerned, I feel like he was wary but still encouraging. Especially where Zach is concerned... He was being told he was too much and then they abandoned him and made him constantly doubt himself. And the whole "Cohen is soooo stupid" and no one actually cutting off or stopping that narrative was kind of horrible.
Asher is definitely intriguing but also I'm not sure. He seems so angry which is understandable but I can't get a read on him. Interesting to see where his story goes!