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Hard Knocks

(Practice Perfect #2)

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  195 ratings  ·  52 reviews
Neurologist Helen Chang Frobisher is on a mission to ban hockey from Portland to prevent the kind of concussive brain injury that plagues her father. Oregon Wolves player Adam Magnus is desperately trying to secure his career and his retirement despite the team’s dismal record.

But while the two spar in public over the future of a sports franchise on the brink, in private,
ebook, 236 pages
Published January 11th 2016 by Crimson Romance
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Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  195 ratings  ·  52 reviews

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2020 Ripped Bodice Summer Bingo: ‪Healthcare Professional‬

It was super interesting to read about a not-so-successful athlete in an unpopular/losing team, particularly focusing on retirement options. The heroine’s dad storyline was devastating. Lang knows how to write romantic melancholy well.
Mandi Schreiner
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
I read Acute Reactions by Ruby Lang last year and really enjoyed it. She was a new to me author and I found her voice very fresh and smart. I was excited to see another book in this series of three girlfriends who meet in medical school and now share office space. In this book we have Helen, a neurologist and Adam, a NHL (professional hockey) player.

Adam plays for a new professional hockey team in Portland. Only on their second year, his team is not good. With a very bad record and a billionaire
Sam (AMNReader)
A sports romance between a mediocre, aging out hockey player and the neurologist who treated his best friend for a concussion.

Adam and Helen had great and convincing chemistry. They attempted the "oh we're so wrong for each other but let's hit it and quit it" then found themselves hurt and orbiting around one another in a subtle, convincing manner.

He ignored her. “To sum up, I’m a sophisticated gentleman with urbane and practical tastes and you’re a Pop-Tart.”Helen sat back and marveled. “You kn
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Very much liked the characters in this and their public sparring.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
The female protagonist in this sweet contemporary romance is as bad at feelings as I am, and I love her for it! This was a cute, funny, and surprisingly emotional book. I'll be back for more from this author. (I can't believe I read a hockey romance?!)
I like how female anger and violence in sports were handled. The couple was well matched and their attraction gives way to a slow burn romance. No silly miscommunication here, just characters complicated enough to need to work things out before HEA is reached.
Xan West
On a romance and story level, this book works really well. Characterization is deep, it made me care about each of the MCs and want them to find a way to be together. Each character had a solid arc, and it was a pleasure to watch them grow. There were lovely moments of humor. I loved the bits on the phone in particular, how revealing and swoony and connected they felt. It really got across what kind of intimacy its possible to build over the phone.

I especially appreciated how much it was about a
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I did not like this. I didn't believe these people were good for each other or had any shot at a long-term relationship, and since the book tried to convince me of both those points, I felt it was a failure.
Gin Jenny (Reading the End)
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: romance
Ruby Lang is a new-to-me author I discovered through the wonderful Romance Novels for Feminists (which has never yet steered me wrong), and I received Hard Knocks for review consideration from the publisher. Hard Knocks is about a hockey player nearing the end of his career (Adam) and a neurologist (Helen) who thinks he’s cute when he brings his friend in for a concussion check-up but does not think much of all the brain damage sports can wreak upon their players.

Oh how I love discovering a new
(Disclaimer: the author is a friend.) This book was such a great read - I loved all the characters and wanted more when it ended! I love when both characters need to grow and change to get to the happily-ever-after, and it's not about one person being entirely right or totally wrong. This had that and it was so satisfying to watch these two great characters work their way toward each other. Love love love.
Dec 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great writing; excellent competence porn.
Nov 01, 2019 rated it liked it
I understand Helen, because having a parent with a terminal illness affecting their brain really affects your mental health and produces a lot of anger. But I did not like her very much and it seemed like she was a pain in Adam's ass more than anything. I liked the writing, I'll try more by Ruby Lang, though it's a little more angst than I usually need in my life.
Romance Novels in Color
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it

After reading Ruby Lang’s second installment in her Private Practice series, Hard Knocks, I’m looking forward to downloading her first offering in this series, Acute Reactions, and any of her future books. On its own, Hard Knocks is a smartly-written romance about two characters who find each other and discover themselves at odds at pivotal moments in their respective lives.

Adam Magnus (love the name) is a long-in-the-tooth hockey enforcer with the hard-luck Oregon Wolves, who can’t seem to buy
Elisabeth Lane
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love finding funny, smart, new-to-me romance writers and Ruby Lang definitely fits the bill. The second book in the Practice Perfect series, Hard Knocks is about a neurologist coping with parental illness and an aging hockey player working though a vocational crisis. It doesn’t appear to matter whether these are read out of order. I just bought the first in the series, so likely a few questions that cropped up while reading this one will be answered there, but it wasn’t anything critical to fo ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
After enjoying Acute Reactions so much, I quickly moved on to Hard Knocks. I enjoyed Hard Knocks so much I am now 1/3 of the way through Clean Breaks. I forced myself to stop reading and write this review.

There is a lot I like about Ruby Lang. She turns a mean phrase. Her romances are both realistic and romantic. She doesn’t invent bizarre stratagems to keep her MCs apart, she uses completely relatable fears and insecurities to keep them apart and then brings them back together without (so far)
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the best hockey romances I've ever read. It's unusually intelligent, thoughtful, funny, romantic, with the best damn hero gmail address imaginable. Really, I'd date him for that alone.

The cover totally gets Adam wrong. He's supposed to be this enormous guy with white blonde hair. I'd love to see him, but sadly nope. And we never see them on ice together, although there is a superlative softball game.

As with the prior book in this series, the characters' professional lives are complex an
Audra North
Dec 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
First off, I loved the humor in this book. Hands down, probably as much as the love story itself, the humor was so perfectly subtle and intelligent and wry...I think good humor is so seldom appreciated that I wanted to call it out as its own thing here. Like, one hockey player talking to the hero (also a hockey player) who is worried about his career options: "You're large. You can work the farm. Or as a bouncer."

The other thing I loved was Helen, because she is a crabby, crabby, crabapple heroi
3.5 stars

This took me a little bit to get into, but I ended up liking it. Helen is prickly, not without cause, and Adam is cautious for reasons of his own. I really liked the way they negotiated past each other's boundaries, and just the novelty of the story. More of books like this, please.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Yet another great romance from Ruby Lang! This book has fully-realized characters and it's funny, sharp, and sexy as hell. I can't wait for the next one.
Erin Nigh
I fell in love with this one and the way the characters navigated change and risk. I thought they had great chemistry and I liked that they were still respectful and tried to understand each other through their public sparring, although I kind of would have liked more of it. I laughed when the NHL had to be explained to an ignorant talk show host (I know what NFL stands for even though I’ve never seen a football game), but overall I thought the hockey aspect was done well.

For awhile I wished th
I liked reading a story with an athlete MC that doesn't overly glamorize professional sports, that shows the downside of dating someone with a difficult, stressful, injurious job. I liked that they met each other at a time of transition and uncertainty for both of them. Romance is not always about hearts and flowers and fireworks - sometimes it's about meeting someone at what feels like the worst time, and it's compromise and hard work to build something.

I liked Helen a lot, her bluntness and ca
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wonderfully realized main characters, lovely pacing, and charming writing! I hesitate to read romance novels about hockey players because they tend to be the same alpha male playboy stereotype. I'm happy to say that Adam wasn't like that at all and instead was intelligent, funny, and warm. Helen was prickly for sure, and she had reason to be! Her family's backstory broke my heart, so I could definitely understand her reservations. I loved the scenes with Adam and Helen as they navigated what the ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars, rounded up.
I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick this up again (I paused half way through and then didn’t read it again for over a year... whoops), but while the beginning of this book is a little hazy to me now, I really enjoyed the second half. I loved how prickly Helen is and how she and Adam don’t fit together on paper, but how they still manage to be there for each other and what the other needs when it matters. Looking forward to reading more by the this author
Aug 16, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: meh
This was good.

I didn't care that much about any of the characters, but I appreciated that Lang managed to tell a story about a half-Chinese doctor, and a not-a-star hockey player. Usually contemporary books such as this one only focus on characters who are super talented at what they do, but it's good to read about someone who's career is struggling once in a while.

Joy Zee
Nov 24, 2018 rated it liked it
Another cute entry in this trilogy. 3.5 stars.
Third person narration that delves into the inner thoughts of the characters feels a bit awkward to me. Just go for alternating first person narration chapters and that’s it.
Sep 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-2020
Found myself struggling to get into this story. Then, when I finally do really start enjoying things, the ending seems rushed. And that ending?! It literally feels like it they got cut off in the middle of a sentence. Not my favourite by this author.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
For some reason this didn't grab me as much as the first book in the series, but it was still enjoyable.
Jul 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: romance
Helen and Adam were complex individuals in Hard Knocks. I enjoyed their relationship and how they opened up to each other regarding their fears and dreams.
Therese Beharrie
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Hard Knocks is a lovely contemporary romance with characters who stay with you long after you've finished and emotion you'll feel deeply. Highly recommended!
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Ruby Lang is pint-sized, prim, and bespectacled. Her alter ego, essayist Mindy Hung, has written for The New York Times, The Toast, and Salon, among others. She enjoys running (slowly), reading (quickly), and ice cream (at any speed). She lives in New York with a small child and a medium-sized husband.

Other books in the series

Practice Perfect (4 books)
  • Acute Reactions (Practice Perfect, #1)
  • Clean Breaks (Practice Perfect, #3)
  • Practice Perfect: The Complete Series

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