Tuesday, May 7, 2019

New Release-Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: THE NATURE OF THE GAME by Amy Aislin (Stick Side #2)-Includes Author Mini-Interview!

The Nature of the Game
by Amy Aislin

Series: Stick Side #2
**Please note: book 1 in the Stick Side series, ON THE ICE, is on mega sale at only 99 cents from May 6 - 13**
Publisher: self-published
Release Date (Print & Ebook): May 7, 2019
Length (Print & Ebook): 87,000 words/330 pages
Subgenre: M/M contemporary romance
Tropes: second chances

Book Links


Six years ago, an ultimatum forced Dan Greyson to make a choice that cost him everything he loved most. One of those things? His boyfriend, hockey player Ashton Yager. Now that they’ve crossed paths again, Dan isn’t about to let the opportunity slip away. Ash’s reappearance in his life is just the catalyst Dan needs to escape the rut he’s fallen into…and win back Ash’s trust and love.

Ashton Yager, once burned and now a little bit shy, didn’t mean to publicly come out as bisexual. But now that he has, he’s got to deal with the consequences, including the fact that it might’ve cost him his NHL contract. With his job on the line, he needs to keep his head down, work hard, and play the best hockey of his life. Rekindling things with Dan? That’s not exactly keeping a low profile. It’s also never going to happen, not after Dan walked away once without an explanation.

When a hurricane forces Ash to seek shelter out-of-state, he and Dan find themselves in the same B&B, where old feelings resurface. But with everything Ash has on the line, does he dare play with fire again?


Ash’s phone beeped in his pocket and he pulled it out, eyebrows winging up when he saw who it was.

Speak of the damn devil.

I heard about the hurricane coming your way. Are you okay? Did you get out?

Then a second text: Oh, BTW, this is Dan.

How had Dan gotten his phone number? It was different than the one he’d had while living in Syracuse.

I’m fine, Ash sent back. Flying out this afternoon. And because he didn’t want to seem like a jerk who didn’t appreciate the concern—which, honestly, he wasn’t sure whether he did appreciate it or not—he added, Thanks for thinking of me.

I’m always thinking of you.

Ash’s mouth dropped open and something suspiciously like butterflies erupted in his belly.

Carra's Review

I loved the first book in this series, so of course I was ready to dive right in once I got my hands on book two.  This time around the focus is on Dan and Ash, which means that yes you will get to see Mitch and Alex from book one popping up in this story as supporting characters.  The Nature of the Game is both a second chance and a hockey romance, so right there it was ticking off some boxes for me.  The story alternates between its present day and six years prior (Dan and Ash’s first time around) as all the aspects of the guys’ relationship are revealed.  I’m usually not a fan of the back and forth on the timeline, but in this case I think it worked fine.

This book’s synopsis doesn’t clue you in on what happened the first time around with Dan and Ash—but if you’re like me, the circumstances will probably tick you off, and the way Dan handled things will likely frustrate you as well.  Dan is sweet and selfless, but is definitely not living his dream…and that’s primarily thanks to what happened six years ago (which I’m not going to spoil, no matter how much it’s killing me not to say anything), and the selfless aspect of his personality.  I definitely felt for his character, and wanted so much for him to do what HE wanted.  

I liked Ash a lot, though he did irk me a bit with his continual refusal to let Dan explain what happened that first time around.  I understood his point regarding not wanting to listen, it just still resulted in some minor frustration for me.

The flashbacks to six years ago painted a great picture of the initial evolution of Dan and Ash’s relationship.  The way it was told, broken out and interspersed with present day scenes, helped make things feel gradual between them.  And there is a scene with them working through their first let’s-go-all-the-way encounter that is just classic (neither had been with a man before).  Them doing “the thing” cracked me up.  

One other note?  There was one character in this story that I absolutely despised.  Petty, vindictive, and uncaring…and if you’ve read the first book, you may already know who I’m talking about.  The complete opposite of Dan…and they play a critical role in what goes on.  All I can say is, Dan’s either a better person than I am or he’s just too forgiving—take your pick once you’ve read this.  Maybe it’s character growth, and I’m just more intolerant than Dan.

The Nature of the Game was a solid 4-star read for me, and as with book one it has me hooked for more in the series.  Possibly Cody or Kinsey next?  No matter who it is, I’ll be picking that one up too.  This story is meant for readers 18+ for adult language and sexual content.

Mini-interview with Amy Aislin

How do you handle writer’s block?
I’m a panster, not a plotter, so I always start out writing a novel not knowing where it’s going to go, but also not fully knowing my characters either. I’ve found that when the writer’s block hits, it’s because I’m not yet fully acquainted with my characters. I don’t know them well enough. What do they really want, both internally and externally, and what’s preventing them from getting it? Once I have that nailed down, the story starts to develop much more smoothly.

How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
The Nature of the Game is my eighth published novel, which is how many books I’ve written. I’d say my favourite is On the Ice. Not only was it the easiest book for me to write—I was very intimately acquainted with the characters before I started writing—but it’s the book of my heart. It’s a slow-burn, friends to lovers story with a flirty college hockey player who meets his match in a demisexual NHL player. There’s a small part of me in most of my books, however certain facets of who I am are strongly reflected in both Mitch and Alex (the main characters in On the Ice), so it’s also a very personal book for me.

Do you have a favorite cover from one of your books?
My favourite cover from my books is the cover for As Big as the Sky, which was released in August 2017. My cover designer, Melody Pond, took my instructions and gave me back something that was a hundred times better than I’d imagined. The pink cover, flowers in the foreground, and house in the background perfectly set the mood of this low-angst, feel-good novella.

Secondary Characters: Why they are important to the story?
Secondary characters in my stories can be sources of conflict or sounding boards. In The Nature of the Game, my secondary characters take on both of these attributes. For example, one of the secondary characters in Dan’s life is a source of pain for him. By contrast, the secondary characters in Ash’s life are supportive, and help him talk through things he’s dealing with.

What's your favorite scene from this book?
Well… [insert giggles]. My two lead characters are both bisexual men, however neither one has ever had sex with another man. My favourite scene in The Nature of the Game is one where they discover the joys (and trepidations) of anal sex. It’s quite a funny scene, if I do say so myself.

About the Author

Amy started writing on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class was forced to stay inside for recess. Tales of adventures with her classmates quickly morphed into tales of adventures with the characters in her head. Based in the suburbs of Toronto, Amy is a marketer/fundraiser at a large environmental non-profit in Toronto by day, and a writer by night. Book enthusiast, animal lover and (very) amateur photographer, her interests are many and varied, including travelling, astronomy, ecology, and baking. She binge watches too much anime, and loves musical theater, Julie Andrews, the Backstreet Boys, and her hometown of Oakville, Ontario.  


Release blitz/blog tour giveaway: Win a Stick Side prize pack, including signed paperbacks of books 1 and 2 in the series, as well as some Stick Side swag! Contest open internationally. Enter via Rafflecopter. Contest ends at 12:00am May 12.

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