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Man Down

(Rookie Rebels #3)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,288 ratings  ·  232 reviews
I’ve been texting the wife I lost, the woman I loved beyond measure ... Now someone else has answered back.

Gunnar Bond is broken.

Three years ago, he lived through the car crash that took his wife and twins away from him—though “lived” barely describes his current state. Giving up professional hockey, going off grid, and drinking himself into oblivion are his coping me
Kindle Edition, 358 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Kate Meader LLC
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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Kate Meader
May 27, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: i-wrote-this
Are you ready for Gunnar, my most heartbroken (and heartbreaking) hero yet? This was a tough one to write and I actually cried while reading the last chapters and epilogue--which I never do! After 25 books (!) I should be a total automaton so it's nice to know I can still surprise myself.

What's it all about? Well, you've probably read those news stories about people texting their deceased loved ones and the phone number getting recycled. I loved the idea of a stranger comforting a grieving pers
Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc

AUTHOR: Kate Meader
SERIES: Rookie Rebels #3
RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2020
GENRE: Sports Romance
THEMES & TROPES: Grief, Loss
RATING: 5 Stars


I have read quite a number of books by Kate Meader and I liked them all. But you know what's thrilling? When you find your favorite book by an author you are familiar with. MAN DOWN is hands-down her best story yet and I felt so much joy reading about Gunnar and Sadie.

You would think that a story about
There are books that are nice to read and then there are stories that you must. I LOVED this story. It pulls at the heartstrings with its raw vulnerability while mending wounds with patience, understanding without judgement and sexy tenderness.

Gunnar Bond has been existing ever since a car accident took the lives of his wife and children three years ago. He left his NHL career to live alone in the woods. Self-managing his grief by sending text messages to his dead wife. For the lo
Bookgasms Book Blog
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: shelly
Y'all I was just not prepared for this emotional ride.

I mean, I read the blurb. And I've read the entire series so far. So I should have known, right?


Kate Meader completely outdid herself with this heartbreaking - no - heartwrenching tale of love, loss, and the resurrection of Gunnar Bond.

It was lovely. Literally my thought as I turned the last page -- just...lovely. Never mind that I had just spent the majority of the book having my heart bruised, battered, teased, and titillated - a verit
Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
4.75 Stars

This is the story of Sadie and Gunnar and the coincidence of a recycled cell number and a temporary move to Chicago to take care of a sister who plays at a hockey camp.

The way that Ms Meader sewed this story together with coincidences tied together with faith had me staying up to get just one more chapter in.

This was filled with angst, heartbreak, and so much more that I had my fill of feels and gained a story that will stay with me for a long time!
Grief and bereavement aren’t the easiest things to write about, particularly when it comes the (in)ability of the protagonist to move on and fully commit to the love interest, especially if his/her previous relationship was established and near impossible to let go of.

‘Man Down’ however, is one that’s written compellingly about bereavement and the complicated emotional and mental journey of the grieving character. Kate Meader explores Gunnar Bond’s guilt, his pain and rawness (and by extension,
Guilty Pleasures Book Reviews
Man Down by Kate Meader is an incredibly well written and emotional story, but for me it was much too depressing during this crazy, awful time. I don’t fault Kate at all, it’s a good story but, I had a hard time finishing it. I can look at this book objectively and know that the author wrote a fantastic story, I didn’t enjoy it very much although I’m sure many people will. I’ve read this author for many years and it pains me to write this type of review, but it’s how I feel and I’m always very h ...more
Aly is so frigging bored
2nd read: December 2020

1st read: July 2020
I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book from Ms Meader's facebook group. I read it all in a day and I'm not even sorry :D

I was curious about Gunnar since the last book and he didn't disappoint. He's such a good guy and also an introvert, that doesn't happen as much in sports romance(not at least the ones I read :D). He has a tragic backstory and the author treats his grief with respect and compassion and so does Sadie. She's really nice and a bit o
A Klue
Rating: 4.5 stars

Man Down couldn’t be a more appropriate title here. Gunnar, the hero’s life was shot down three years ago, so he has good reason to still feel like a broken hearted man. I certainly felt emotionally gutted and grieved right alongside him after learning his sad story. He may appear to be living and breathing from the outside now, but inside he’s definitely still bleeding out in total despair and deep, dark sadness. It takes Sadie, the sweet, sassy, sympathetic leading lady, to re
Kristina Birch
Jul 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Romance Reader Down!

Y’all this book...whoa...

Gunner and Sadie “meet” via text at a turning point in both their lives. Neither expected to feel the connection that they feel to one another; they also didn’t expect to meet in person, not knowing who each other is, and rub each other the wrong way while also feeling very good about it.

On the surface the tough stuff about this book is Gunner’s grief but Sadie’s issues of inadequacy and self doubt are just as heart wrenching. I loved the epistolary
M.E. Carter
This might me my favorite Kate Meador book. Oh the tears!!!
Just a tad slow at times, and that little sister's attitude bugged me a bit, but overall a pretty good read. Lots of heart in this one--some really sad parts that made me tear up too. So glad that Sadie and Gunner found each other--I loved them together and so hoped they'd be able to start fresh in their lives.

One little bonus like: Sadie was a size 16 and not one mention about how she hated her size, and nothing but appreciation from Gunner about her size. So glad that this wasn't an issue in t
Kimberly / Love Notes Book Blog
3 stars. Man Down is the 3rd book in the Rookie Rebels series. I liked this book in parts, but I didn't completely love it. This book is Gunnar and Sadie's story. Gunnar is a pro hockey player on the Chicago Rebels with a tragic past. His wife and two young children were killed in a car accident. He is now a shell of a man, just trying to make his way through the grief. After his losses, he still regularly texted his dead wife's phone number his daily thoughts and how much he missed her. One day ...more
Jaime Fiction Fangirls
First...that cover though! 😍

I knew going into this book that Gunnar’s story was going to be heartbreaking but as much as I thought I was prepared for it, I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR IT!!

Kate Meader just jumps right in from the first page and starts tugging at your heartstrings but you’ll immediately fall in love with Gunnar just as hard as your heart will break for him. But fear not friends, Sadie will step in at just the right moment with just the right joke to lighten the mood and therefore set th
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, Gunner. Dear, sweet, tormented Gunner. The hero in Kate Meader’s latest installment of her Chicago Rebels series is both tragic and endearing. A family man who lost his wife and children in a horrific accident, Gunner is stuck in limbo. He has abandoned his life as a successful hockey player and is hiding out at a cabin playing mountain man. In an attempt to deal with his suffocating grief, he begins texting his late wife. Unbeknownst to him, her cell number has been re-issued, and instead o ...more
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars
See the full review at HarlequinJunkie

Oh, my heart! Kate Meader outdid herself with the newest Rookie Rebels novel, Man Down. It explored the depths of grief, the joy of new connections, the guilt of moving on after loss, family dramatics, and everything in between.

I adore Kate Meader’s writing style. How she can pull so many emotions into each scene seamlessly and truly make you feel the same things the characters are feeling. In Gunnar Bond’s case, it might honestly be
Erin Lewis
May 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 star review Man Down (Rookie Rebels #3) by Kate Meader

Hard to believe but Kate Meader is a new author to me. Narrator Ramona Master is new to me too and she did a good job although I felt her male voices were distracting but that is just my opinion.

This story had me laughing and crying and I felt as though I was on an emotional roller coaster.

Loved the story so much that I went and purchased the rest of the series, now I just need time to listen to them.
Jul 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 heartfelt stars ❤️
Jul 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Man Down packed a wallop of emotion! If I wasn’t laughing over something Theo did or something Sadie said in jest, I was totally teary-eyed over Gunnar’s grieving text messages to his deceased wife, and omg, those messages could break the heart with his sadness and guilt.

Sadie had her own share of drama with her crazy ‘vajajay promoting’ boss, a criminal parent, and her half-sister, Lauren. Kudos to Sadie for keeping her sanity because oy, I’d have lost my cool long before she did.

I really enjoy this author's writing. I listened to the audio, but I think that if you don't do audios, the ebook would be great as well.
This is 3rd person POV Sadie and Gunnar.
Gunnar is beyond grief stricken after his wife and 2 children died in a car crash. He's been texting his wife's cell phone#.. He's been pouring his broken heart out. One day Sadie responds and tells him that it's her phone# now. He's shocked that his private thoughts and messages to his beloved Kelly have been read by s
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Three years ago, the life of Gunnar Bond shattered. He lost his wife and two kids in a car accident and the only way he could try to deal with it was to left his hockey team and go lives in the wood. And send text messages on his wife's phone. But one day, someone answer back...

Sadie Yates's life might not be as tragic, but it still sent her plenty of hardship. She didn't have a very good family situation but it's just getting more peculiar now that her father is in prison and she suddenly fi
Jul 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This author's hockey books have been some of my favorite sports romances I've ever read! I really enjoyed this book, but it was just such a heartwrenching backstory for our hero. A Dead Ex is usually a pass for me, and there have been TWO in this series! But this author keeps me loving her characters, and coming back for more of her words, no matter what.

Gunnar Bond lost his family in a horrific car accident three years ago. Then, he quit hockey and left his whole life behind to go toil away, an
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm in a hockey mood especially since it's playoff time. I've been happy watching and this was a great distraction after that scary read. I've been waiting for Gunnar's story and we know before this it's a doozy. This a rollercoaster of emotions from grieving to some light jabs to sibling stuff.

Last we saw Gunnar still grieving when we saw him but he started his journey by joining the team. This is like a flashback to before then how the texts started. He's been dealing with things the way he k
Christi (christireadsalot)
Man Down is a contemporary romance with a sports/hockey hero who took time off after tragedy in his life, but is getting back in the game. Gunnar and Sadie’s story is filled with so much grief and loss and heartache, but I really enjoyed it. Gunnar is a widower who lost his wife and children almost 3 years ago when the story starts, he was a hockey player but kind of went off the grid after the accident to grieve on his own. He has been texting his wife’s old phone number as part of his grieving ...more
Jun 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hockey, sports
Quite the dramatic story, which dropped of a little bit after the true identities of the former chat partners were revealed. Their arrangement (sex but no relationship) clearly doesn't work like planned from the very beginning, because especially Gunnar behaves very protective und affectionate. Obviously, he DOES care for Sadie and her sister, whatever he claims to feel.

It's still a pretty good read with interesting characters (and many wonderful appearances of former heroes from the "Chicago Re
Aug 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I am so glad I’ve been bingeing on light and fluffy before I read this one because it's deep and heavy. Gunnar’s grief, wow. Shed buckets of tears. And Sadie, while she frustrated me at times, made me sympathize with her situation. The best of this series so far.

Full review is at
Christi Snow
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A rating. I loved this book!
Nov 26, 2020 rated it liked it
It was ok. I'm not a particular fan of a trope featured here so that might have marred my enjoyment but also the way it was written was nothing new. ...more
LianaReads blog
Jul 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars
Rookie Rebels are back with another beautiful heartbreaking love story.
Overcoming grief and your family loss is not easy at all but Gunar found his perfect heroine that supports him and more than anything loved and accept him exactly the way he is.
Love the secondary characters and the Easter eggs, the banter and chemistry along with the heartbreaking moments.
Bette Hansen
Jul 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing, I loved it so much! It is an emotionally charged story of a man struggling to get through life one day at a time and the woman who will eventually bring him back to living. Gunnar and Sadie meet in a most unconventional way and their relationship develops just as unconventionally. It's sad, fun, sexy, and heartwarming. These characters will touch every spot in your heart. Don't miss this one! I highly recommend it. ...more
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Kate writes sexy contemporary romance with strong guys and amazing women and men who match their heroes quip for quip. In her latest series, Rookie Rebels, a new generation of players take to the ice and learn that all’s fair in love and hockey.

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The Rookie Rebels spins off her bestselling Chicago Rebels hockey ro

Other books in the series

Rookie Rebels (5 books)
  • Good Guy (Rookie Rebels, #1)
  • Instacrush (Rookie Rebels, #2)
  • Foreplayer (Rookie Rebels, #4)
  • Dear Roomie (Rookie Rebels, #5)

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