A part of the “San Francisco Thunder” series by Victoria Denault, I admit I picked this one up because the title made me chuckle. I’m not usually one to read novels in this kind of romance genre (even though I’m a total romantic sap, so it’s surprising that I haven’t delved into this much before!) so the problem with my doing a review is that I don’t per say have a baseline for what to expect or what is good and/or different in the genre. That said, how very Canadian of me that a hockey-themed romance draws me in… and there’s a whole series of them from Denault? Hmm, I do like me a hockey player or two…
In any case, Slammed is about a young woman named Dixie, who is working her way up through the PR ranks of a professional hockey team called the San Francisco Thunder; her brother is a player on the team, and she wants to keep this a secret so that her coworkers don’t think her name or family ties led to her getting a job, rather than her actual ability. Dixie’s idol is the owner of the team, a successful woman who also had to break through quite a glass ceiling to be where she is. But to throw a wrench into the mix is Elijah (Eli), a brother of one of the players on the Thunder, with whom Dixie has a little meet-cute and initial chemistry with. Only she then finds out that he is being called up to the Thunder as a goalie, and romances between the PR staff and players is strict no-go area. And so… forbidden romance?? Maybe. Dixie is not only a career-driven girl, but also has some family drama happening with her ill father, and Eli himself is having trouble adjusting to playing on the team again after a life-threatening accident that he understandably is dealing with PTSD from.
There are a number of things going on in this novel subject-wise, and while these personal issues of the characters brought a certain depth to them, some of it also seemed to be established as a point of potential drama, only to not even really become a huge piece of it. Also, there is a lot of flip-flopping of characters and their motivations and wants, I found, that definitely could have been developed more so it didn’t feel so out of left-field when suddenly Dixie isn’t sure about her career anymore after having that be her defining trait the whole time, or how she suddenly acts like a knowledgeable psychologist on Eli’s issues after not showing this level of understanding before, etc. I did, however, like where the novel was going with the issue of double standards for women and men in their industry, but again, this was almost undermined by the actions of some of the other females in the end as well. That said, the attempt to bring more into this story than what is on the perceived surface was a good idea, and made the whole thing more interesting than it would have been otherwise.
But what about the romance as advertised in the novel’s description? Well… I can see why some people would be into it, and Dixie and Eli do have quite a bit of fun banter, but I guess I’d chalk it up to this kind of dynamic not being for me. You see, I’ve been watching a lot of rom coms lately, and in many of the ones with Matthew McConaughey (you know how he was in so many for a while, seemingly being the archetype for female desire during that period?), I find that his character is so greasy and unlikeable: way too smooth and focused on chatting women up in a blunt and over-sexualized way that I roll my eyes and ask why so many women in these movies are falling all over him. In this, Eli has a similar way to being with Dixie, and while it can be funny at times, it just seems so non-genuine to have a guy come straight out and do nothing but use corny pickup lines and sext you. But like I said, some people like that, and some women do just want that, it’s just that I am not one of them. I do understand how their relationship develops from being mostly about sex in the beginning to becoming more once they start to hang out and talk more, but there is still a lack of real depth shown on the pages. Also their communication about what their position and feelings really are in regards to work and their relationship, etc needs serious work and is the cause of most of the flip-flopping feeling I mentioned earlier on: hot then cold then hot then cold.
Yet despite all these complaints I have, Slammed and its characters are a fun at times, and it’s not like this was a taxing or completely unenjoyable read. I just wasn’t super drawn in because these kinds of interactions and relationships aren’t for me, though they may be for some others. What can I say, I’m a cutesy kind of gal ¯\_(ツ)_/¯