Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Breakout – by Aven Ellis + Extract

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My own copy
Original Cover

The blurb:

While Texas is known for loving football, Lexi Stewart has always been drawn to the ice. Hockey is her passion, and she wants nothing more than to pursue a career in video editing for the home network of the Dallas Demons hockey team.

Lexi has an editing job for a corporate account, but it’s not fulfilling. Nor is her dating life, despite having the so-called help of The One Online Dating Service. Lexi knows there has to be more for her—on both fronts. She’s ready to take the next step, but it doesn't seem like it’s going to happen anytime soon.

Until a flying puck changes everything.

Niko Xenakis is the new Dallas Demons TV producer, and he’s looking to make his mark in his new role and hopefully work his way back to his hometown of Baltimore. But once he meets Lexi, he might just change his mind on what he wants for his future . . .

But the road to love is never easy, complicated by the fact that they both carry emotional baggage from the past in their hearts. Can these two “breakout”of the past to find love in the present?

My Opinion:

*Book provided by the author in exchange for an honest review*

By now you guys probably know that I get really excited whenever I see an Aven Ellis book, you’re not wrong ;) I had the pleasure of beta reading this beauty and I loved being part of this journey, the characters are amazing.

The story follows Lexi and the ones of you who have read The Definition of Icing already know her, she is Kenley’s best friend, so we also get to read about Kenley and Nate again in this book, which is great.

So, let me introduce you to the main characters in this book. Lexi Stewart is young, creative and really passionate. She loves hockey and editing, her dream is to work at TATS, the sports station, and wants to edit hockey related things. Every Saturday she goes to the Dallas Demons practise and films the players, to edit small things, that’s where she meets Niko in a rather funny way. It’s actually one of my faves and Aven’s writing captured that beautifully.

Well, Niko Xenakis is the other main character. He just moved to Dallas from Seattle taking over the producer job for the Demons games. He is Greek and from Baltimore, his parents are tradional and own a bakery. Niko is all a woman can ask for: sexy, passionate, sweet, thoughtful, gorgeous, romantic, caring, just AMAZING!!! Aven just proves once again that she really is the QUEEN OF BOOK BOYFRIENDS.

Back to Lexi, I loved her as a main character, full of energy and heart. I wish I would have a best friend like her. She likes hockey and she is so much fun. Lexi gets the opportunity to finally work at TATS and edit some Demons stuff. She is very grateful for the opportunity and it just shows her that she really wants to do this. Things are not easy of course, with others getting the opportunity as well or a puck slut kind of reporter getting in her way. She starts to fight for what she wants though, which was great to see.
I might have to add here that Lexi is adopted, because that becomes part of the story in several ways.

So, I said the way Lexi and Niko meet is funny, it really is. The two of them get along from the start. Their chemistry is really unique, not that obvious, but small gestures and moments show that they have something real. Both of them are really hesitant at first though, but they are still willing to get to know each other. I loved that journey and everything they shared. Aven’s writing made it seem so authentic and I felt like being there with the characters.

Thanksgiving is an important day in their relationship and it also involves Cici (Kenley’s mum). Another one of these events is the Casino Night, just awesome!!!

The first kiss scene in this book is the BEST, my absolute fave. It is full of passion, heart and love. It’s written in a vivid and passionate way and it’s perfect for Lexi and Niko.

Niko is so thoughtful and always there for her, even if he is away. He is a rock for Lexi, especially when something she has long forgotten comes up again.

Lexi and Niko come from two different worlds and that will become an issue in this story. I will not tell you more here, but it will all really affect and touch you as a reader. The drama and misunderstandings in this story are part of a wonderful and flowing storyline.

This book has it all. Aven has found a great mixture of humour, love, passion, work, friendship, family and much more. Her writing is engaging and makes you never want to leave that world again. Feelings and emotions come across really well in Aven’s writing, she is touching my heart and also manages to put a huge smile on my face every single time.

The Christmas atmosphere comes across beautifully in this story, Niko has some great surprises for Lexi, one of them involving a hockey Christmas tree ;). Worth every sweet little moment. 

There are so many wonderful scenes and moments in this book, of course I also really liked the hockey aspect of it all. Some Dallas Demons players get their mention as well, be prepared to meet them sooner or later ;) Just saying…

A masterpiece with two amazing main characters, a lot of other awesome characters. Everything put together into a unique, magical, romantic and gripping read!!!


My possible cast:

Lexi: Bonnie Wright

Niko: Kostas Martakis

Aven on Twitter: @AvenEllis

About Aven:
Aven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.
But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.
Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

Surviving The Rachel - The Definition of Icing - The Aubrey Rules - Breakout

Chapter One
The One Online Dating Service Profile Question: Which season is your favorite? Spring, summer, winter, or fall?
My write-in answer: Hockey Season.

This feels like home.
I can’t explain why, but there’s something magical about being at an ice rink. The cold, bracing air. The crisp scent of a fresh sheet of ice. The sound of skates cutting against the surface.
I draw the air in deep and slowly exhale.
I’m truly in my happy place now.
I move down the steps, already knowing where I’m going to sit. I adjust the strap on my tote bag to keep it up on my shoulder and zero in on my favorite seats in the Dallas Demons practice facility.
Center ice.
I take a seat, close to last row at the top, and set my gingerbread latte down next to me. I open my tote and retrieve my iPhone, a pen, and my notebook, placing them in my lap.
And as soon as the Demons take to the ice to practice this Saturday morning, I’ll start shooting.
I tug down on the long sleeves of my black-and-white-striped T-shirt, the one I’ve layered under a white cropped chunky sweater this morning on this chilly November day. I have loved hockey since I was a little girl, when my dad took me to my first Demons game. My goal is to work in sports TV someday. And in my dream, I’m working as an editor on hockey productions.
But two years after graduating from TCU, I’m still stuck taking freelance jobs doing graphics and design work for corporate accounts. I’m lucky to get the experience, I know that. But the work is mind-numbing. I’m not excited about what I do, and I ache to edit again.
I smile to myself as I think about it. I love editing. I enjoy the challenge of laying down video, set to the right music, with the perfect graphics to provide a punch to a viewer within seconds. I love working on opensthe opening sequence to get the viewer set for the showand who would think that it can take days to get that forty-five-second piece done just right?
My phone vibrates in my lap. I glance down and see it’s my roommate and best friend, Kenley.
“Hello?” I say into my cell while reaching for my coffee and taking a sip.
“Hi, Lexi,” Kenley says in a rush. “I know you are at practice shooting, so I’ll be quick.”
I smile. My best friend knows I come to every Demons Saturday practice when they are in town, because it’s a great chance to record some videos for me to practice my edits on and save to my YouTube channel. I might be doing bank websites now, but I’m determined to fight my way into the doors of the Dallas office of Total Access Total Sports.
“No worries, what’s up?” I say, picking up on the excited tone in her voice.
“I just landed a huge event for Confection Consultations,” Kenley explains, referring to her chocolate and dessert consulting business. “I’ve been asked by the Demons for Dallas Foundation to coordinate all the dessert tables for Casino Night with the Dallas Demons!”
“Kenley, that’s huge,” I cry, excited for her. “Does Nate know yet?” I ask, referring to her boyfriend, Nate Johansson, who happens to be one of the superstars of the Dallas Demons.
I smile at the irony. I’ve been a fan my entire life. Kenley barely watched hockey for more than five minutes prior to meeting Nate. But not only does she end up meeting a Dallas Demon but falling madly in love with one.
In the meantime, I’m in the stands shooting them.
But there’s no doubt Nate and Kenley were meant to be, and I’m so happy for them.
I bite my lip. And maybe, just maybe, I can find my own Nate someday.
“No, he doesn’t,” Kenley says, interrupting my thoughts. “I texted him to call me when he’s done with practice. I’m so excited about this. I want to make Nate proud, you know?”
I grin. “He’s already proud of you. Now you get to show everyone in the Demons organization how crazy talented you are.”
“You’re coming to this event with me,” Kenley says. “And then you can drool all over Harrison Flynn all you want.”
I feel my cheeks burn hot. Harrison Flynn is the captain of the Dallas Demons, and he’s smoking hot. Kenley knows he’s my celebrity crush, and what makes this whole thing even weirder is that Kenley is now friends with Harrison’s wife, Kylie. And I actually got to meet Harrison and Kylie in a social setting last week, at a party at Nate’s house, and all I could think of was how surreal the whole scene was.
My life really is like that stupid Kevin Bacon separation game, I muse wryly. But all roads lead back to the Dallas Demons instead of Kevin Bacon.
“Shut up,” I say, grinning.
Kenley laughs. “Okay, I’ve got to go. I need to start planning this menu. And you are coming, Lexi Nicole Stewart. So don’t even try to fight me on it.”
Ha, I know you’re serious when you use my full name.”
We hang up, and I swipe open the video recorder on my phone. The players take to the ice, and I spot Nate and Harrison right away. Nate sees me and waves, and I wave back.
Harrison waves at me, too.
I give an embarrassed smile back, thinking of all the pictures of him I have stashed on my iPhone.
Thank God he doesn’t have the ability to read minds, I think wryly.
But it’s still so insane to think I know him on a social level. And Nate. Dallas Demons. I hang out with them now, not simply shoot them, and I can’t wrap my head around it yet.
Just like I can’t wrap my head around the fact that Kenley’s sister, Amanda, is married to Ryan, a producer at Total Access Total sports.
The place I dream of working someday.
And while Ryan has kept his eyes open for me at Total Access Total Sports, nothing has come up that I would be a fit for.
Damn it.
So all roads around me lead to the Dallas Demons, except for the one I’m driving on apparently.
I reach inside my tote and fumble around for my hairband. I retrieve it, then take a quick glance around the rink as I wind my long auburn hair into a messy knot at the nape of my neck. I recognize a lot of the people: the ones who always come to take pictures with their professional gear, the hardcore fans, girls chasing players, and of course, me, the nerd doing video edits.
I’m about to start shooting when my phone beeps with a message. I check and roll my eyes. It’s another prompt question from The One Online Dating Service. And for the 107th time since I signed up, I question my sanity. I’ve met nothing but freaks and liars through their service, and the questions they prompt are supposed to help match me with The One. I put in my cancellation notice last week, but for some wacky reason I keep getting these questions. So now I answer them in my head purely for my own entertainment.
Like what guy, outside of the ones here, would love my answer of Hockey Season as the best season of all? In Texas? Yeah, right. This is football country. So not many. And while I love the idea of the right guy coming along, as I want what Kenley has with Nate and Amanda has with Ryan, the odds of The One suddenly falling into my lap are about . . . zero.
I delete the stupid question and go back to shooting.
I start focusing on different players, video the coaches instructing the drills, and record some fun shots of Nate and Harrison goofing around in a hockey stick battle like two little boys. I make a note to show Kenley that when I see her at home later today. She’ll love it.
Then I capture some beautiful slapshots by Matt Rhinelander. The young forward is crazy talented, but from what I’ve gleaned from social media, he’s a bit wild. But hell, he’s twenty-one and has barely turned that. I’m only twenty-four, but I’ve always been older than my years. And I never had to grow up with all social media focused on me, either.
I think of a great song to match with his wicked slapshot and reach for my notebook to jot it down. I rest my phone on my lap and flip the page over. This song would be per—
“Puck!” a baritone voice from behind me yells.
Right as I jerk my head up, a guy is over the top of me, shoving me down into the metal bleacher. I lose my balance and fall backward, with the guy landing on top of me. I bang my head, my phone goes sailing, and so does my coffee as I feel it splatter against my hand.
I hear the puck ricochet off the bleacher behind me, creating a loud bang as the frozen puck bounces off the metal.
And that puck would have hit me in the head if this guy hadn’t pushed me down.
“I’m so sorry,” the guy murmurs as he pushes himself up. “I didn’t want you to get hit, and I reacted. Are you okay? Did I hurt you?”
Oh my God.
I can’t think.
My head is smarting but that’s irrelevant.
Because right in front of me is the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.
And his incredible blue eyes—ones the color of the deep Mediterranean Sea—are 
waiting for me to answer.

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