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Out on the Ice #1

Out on the Ice

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Don’t miss this tender and funny contemporary romance from debut author Kelly Farmer.

Caro Cassidy used to be a legend.

During her career, Caro was one of the best defense players in women’s hockey. These days, she keeps to herself. Her all-girls hockey camp is her life, and she hopes it’ll be her legacy. Sure, her new summer hire is charming and magnetic, but Caro keeps her work and personal life strictly separate.

Amy Schwarzbach lives life out loud.

Amy’s as bright and cheerful as her lavender hair, and she uses her high-profile position in women’s hockey to advocate for the things she believes in. Ten weeks in Chicago coaching a girls’ training camp is the perfect opportunity to mentor the next generation before she goes back to Boston.

Letting love in means putting yourself out there.

When the reticent head coach offers to help Amy get in shape for next season, her starstruck crush on Caro quickly blossoms into real chemistry. As summer comes to an end, neither of them can quite let go of this fling—but Amy can’t afford a distraction, and Caro can’t risk her relationship becoming public and jeopardizing the one thing that’s really hers.

303 pages, Kindle Edition

First published August 24, 2020

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About the author

Kelly Farmer

5 books28 followers
Kelly Farmer (she/her) has been writing romance novels since junior high. In those days, they featured high school quarterbacks named Brad who drove Corvettes and gals with names like Desireé because her own name is rather plain. Her stories since then have ranged from historical and contemporary male/female romances to light women’s fiction to LGBTQ+ romance. One theme remains the same: everyone deserves to have a happy ending.

When not writing, she enjoys being outside in nature, quoting from Eighties movies, listening to all kinds of music, and petting every dog she comes in contact with. All of these show up in her books. She also watches a lot of documentaries to satisfy her hunger for random bits of trivia. Kelly lives in the Chicago area, where she swears every winter is her last one there.

To connect with Kelly, talk about current TV binges, and subscribe to her newsletter for access to FREE bonus stories in the Out on the Ice Series, please head over to:

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 89 reviews
Profile Image for Lex Kent.
1,682 reviews8,699 followers
August 27, 2020
3.50 Stars. This had a few bumps but it was a pretty good WLW debut for Farmer. This is an interesting book because while it is actually lower in angst (there is some but not a ton) this book does deal with some more serious topics like depression, homophobia, and biphobia. For me having these more serious topics helped the book along. This book was especially good when it came to discussing bi-erasure. However, I did find that the first half of the book dragged on a bit. Once the second half hit the book picked up steam the pace became so much better. The second half had the little bits of angst and some of the more serious moments that drove the story.

This is a sports-romance but it is much more romance and a bit of family drama, than the sports part. There were times when the author would skip ahead of something that happened on the ice so that was a bit of a disappointment me not getting to read about it. I’m guessing maybe Farmer didn’t want to alienate non-sports fans since you don’t have to be a sports fan to enjoy this.

I was up and down with the characters. I really liked Caro instantly and found her easy to connect with. Amy on the other hand was a very hyper people person. She is written as the kind of person that would totally clash with me IRL. While my mind can go a mile a minute when I’m dealing with anxiety, I’m a calm and laid back person on the outside. Amy buzzing around a mile a minute would easily exhaust me. It was nice to see that Caro had a calming effect on Amy, which allowed me to connect with Amy more. Again, you could see the effects of this in the second half which was the stronger part of the book.

When it came to the romance, again I had some mixed feelings. I thought it was more sexual attraction at first, which is fine, and I did enjoy some of the sexual chemistry that was happening. There is a pretty hot make-out scene that you could feel the sparks while reading. Unfortunately, there were no sex scenes. I’m not sure if this was because this is Farmer’s first WLW book or what? I’m not one that has to have sex scenes in all my romance reads but I think it was missing in this book. To see those sparks building but then nothing happened, was a bit of a letdown. I also think the sex scenes could have been used to show an emotional connection between the mains since that is what a good sex scene can do. However, once the book progressed, again in the second half, I finally started to believe that they had an emotional connection and not just sexual. After that happened the romance was much better for me and I became invested in them as a couple hoping for a HEA.

As you can tell this was a tale of two books for me. While I did like some things that happened in the first half, the book just took a while to gain its momentum. One it hit its stride in the second half I was a much bigger fan. I would recommend this to people who like their romances to deal with some more serious topics but in a way that doesn’t get to heavy and without a lot of angst. I would read Farmer again, I just hope that if she writes another WLW romance that she tries to write in some steamy sex scenes.

A copy was given to me for a honest review.
Profile Image for Jude in the Stars.
847 reviews463 followers
August 14, 2020
When I started reading, I was worried Amy was going to exhaust me. She’s very sweet and fun but she’s also an hyperactive extrovert. As I kept reading, I realised the author had done a wonderful job creating the characters’ voices. If I worry about Amy exhausting me, it means she’s plausible.

Amy Schwarzbach, an out and proud bisexual pro hockey player, is hired as a coach for the summer by Caro Cassidy, a former Olympics medalist (and more). Professionally, the two women hit it off immediately. They also do on a more personal level, and that’s where things get tricky. First, Caro is Amy’s boss. Second, Caro isn’t exactly closeted but she’s not really out either. She keeps her private life private and, above all, as far away as possible from the rink and the safe place she’s created in Chicago for young girls who dream of playing hockey. Moreover, with Amy’s appaling track record with relationships, her best friends are worried she might be more interested in the idea of Caro Cassidy than in Caro Cassidy herself. And Caro is struggling with abandonment issues: her parents got divorced, her mother shunned her after she was outed and her girlfriend left her when she decided to retire after an injury. Now she’s content with her job, her dog Doug and her therapy sessions.

The odds are not in favour of a real love affair, and when you add to all of this the fact that Amy has to go back to Boston at the end of the summer, anything serious between them seems doomed.

While I was quietly enjoying watching the relationship unfold, something interesting happened: I never really noticed how or when, but I suddenly found myself much more emotionally invested in Caro and Amy’s well-being. I read distractedly at first then got really focused once they got together and the real work began.

Ignore the Megan Rapinoe lookalike on the cover, I didn’t picture either woman as they are in this image. It does reflect the spirit of the book, however. Out on the Ice is a debut novel, and it’s really promising. You don’t have to care about sports to enjoy it. I really liked how Kelly Farmer dealt with Caro’s homophobic family and Amy’s attempts to fight bisexual erasure. It never felt didactic and was very coherent with the character. Another interesting aspect was how mental health plays into it all. How both women are more broken and vulnerable than they seem, the way they open up to each other, the strength the relationship brings them.

If you’re looking for a quick sweet yet not shallow read, give this one a try.

I received a copy from the publisher and I am voluntarily leaving a review.
Profile Image for Heather K (dentist in my spare time).
3,857 reviews5,630 followers
August 21, 2020
A solid debut f/f romance from Kelly Farmer, though the book suffers from being too draggy at times.

I'm getting more into lesfic romance, and because I'm obsessed with hockey players, I figured Out on the Ice would be a perfect fit for me. In many ways, I was right. I liked the sports/hockey aspects of the book, even if they could have been highlighted a bit more, and I think the story had a ton of potential.

I really liked having a half-Jewish MC (shout out to my fellow Jewish ladies!), and I loved the strong bi-rep in the book. There was a lot of bi-education, but it worked for me and didn't feel like too much. I also loved the discussions about mental health and anxiety and depression. It made the book feel very real. Neither characters are close to perfect, and I liked seeing them as whole people with flaws.

I read a lot of books without any sex content at all, and that usually works fine for me, but I wish this book had had sex on page. There was SO MUCH sexual buildup to this story that the fade-to-black scene just about killed me. Also, just know that the image on the cover of the two MCs doesn't really reflect what they look like. You'll need to rearrange that in your mind.

My main issue with the story was how slow it was. I can take a very character-focused book without much plot, but the author really has to write a snappy book. This one dragggggged. I read it over two weeks, which is a long time for me, and I had to push to finish it.

I also think that the characters didn't seem exactly suited for one another. At times, they felt too different and wanting different things, so I wasn't all in for them. I really liked them as individuals, but I wasn't sure about them together.

A good hockey romance with some well-developed characters, I think Out on the Ice will appeal to readers who don't mind a slow-paced story. I think Kelly Farmer has great things up her sleeve, and I look forward to reading more from her.

*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

Profile Image for Hsinju Chen.
Author 2 books199 followers
May 16, 2023
Caro Cassidy has competed in three Olympics before a hip surgery pushed her into retirement. Now she runs Girls & Goals for girls who play hockey and is very private about her personal life. When pro player and social media celebrity Amy Schwarzbach comes to coach Caro's summer camp, the pair eventually acted on their mutual attraction and begins to date. But Amy plays in Boston while Caro lives in Chicago, and that means long-distance as hockey season begins. Can the two very different athletes fight for their relationship even when everything is on ice?

TW: homophobia, depression, brief discussions of suicide.

I should first say that the cover photo is slightly misleading for me. Since I cannot associate the two wonderful women as Caro and Amy, the cover prevented me from getting into the story until about halfway through. Then everything clicked into place and I have my own version of the couple in my head. But maybe it is just me.

Neither Caro nor Amy is flawless or completely likeable, and that makes them very real and relatable. Caro feels safer with privacy, and given her ties with her homophobic family, the thought of being out and proud at work makes her uncomfortable. Amy is proudly bisexual and has a strong social media presence. With both Caro and Amy being high profile hockey players, keeping their relationship off the limelight is not easy. But Caro is not ready to have her work associated with her personal life, and Amy tries to respect that. Now that is trouble bubbling up.

“If you accept yourself, you’re living an authentic life. No one can take that from you unless you let them.” – Dr. Sharon

Note that there are many hurtful homophobic comments throughout the book, and at one point, I found my vision blurring from anger. If homophobia is triggering to you, maybe reading this book is not a great idea. Also, since Caro has depression and Amy has anxiety, a fair portion of the book deals with mental health. I think the topic was done well, and we can definitely see how Caro and Amy's relationship impacted their mental states. Both characters have insecurities, Caro's stronger than Amy's, and their character growths of overcoming uncertainties are great to read.

To be honest, Caro and Amy's relationship did not fully work for me. Maybe because I didn't get to see a lot of the initial bonding, I was almost convinced their attraction was completely physical. Until about two-thirds into the story and rifts showed up in their relationship. The mending and reconnecting parts had me believe their love was real though.

Out on the Ice is a wonderful debut novel that is not a light read. For anyone who loves women in professional sports with honest discussions of mental health, this book is for you. I really enjoyed reading it.

I received an e-ARC from Carina Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Natasha.
475 reviews378 followers
June 28, 2020
I received an arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

I don't really know how to describe my feelings for this book. I didn't dislike it my any means but I didn't find it all that engaging. At times, Caro and Amy were hard to distinguish and I was bored a lot of the time.

I think the book was overall cute, I just didn't love it. I think this book works for people who are fans of slice of life romances. If you're into more intense romances I wouldn't recommend it. It was cute and I liked the romance but it wasn't anything spectacular. Although if you prefer low heat romances, this is perfect.

There is homophobia in this. but I will be honest, I found it kind of...cartoonish? It was religion based but it felt a little over the top in my opinion. It felt like caricatures of the kind of people who genuinely believe those things.

In the end, not a bad book but it didn't leave any kind of impression.
Profile Image for S.
201 reviews15 followers
August 25, 2020
Like many I was attracted to this book by the cover and I'm glad I decided to chance it. Farmer as a first time author does a good job of bringing something enjoyable to the genre. Caro is a retired professional ice hockey player, now running a hockey centre for girls in Chicago. She brings Amy, a current pro player, to coach at the centre for the summer.

Sports crossed with lesbian romance is one of my favourite genres so I was really looking forward to this book. It’s a bit different to many of these types I’ve books I’ve read recently, in that no real sporting action actually happens. Any time spent on the ice is minor with a focus on the coaching when it does happen. When Amy is with her professional team the on ice action is alluded to but not ‘seen’. In that respect this book is about relationships, and not just the romantic kind, so even if you’re not a hockey fan, or even a sports fan you can appreciate the narrative.

I found one of the most significant parts of the narrative to be the character growth of both MCs. The development of the relationship between Amy and Caro was strong and I liked the development of Caro throughout the book. I also appreciated the discussions about bisexual erasure and internalised homophobia.

The beginning started off a bit samey for me. I felt like I was going through many similar filler type scenes and I was wondering when it was really going to get started. However once it does it moves along at a nice pace. The secondary characters are for the most part are interesting and worthwhile in the storyline - and there's even one that would make a great character for a sequel should Farmer feel inclined.

I would recommend to anyone who is a fan of wlw romances or sports romances in general.

I received an e-ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jo reece.
514 reviews46 followers
August 31, 2020
3.6 stars.

I enjoyed 'Out on the ice' but I did find it a little bit slow at the beginning of the book. It's about Amy and Caro, who both have some obstacles in life that they need to over come. Caro more then Amy.

Amy is out and very proud bisexual, where as Caro had a bad experience at a early age and was outed to her family which left an emotional strain on her life. So she tends to keep her personal life to herself. The pair start to build on a budding relationship over the summer when Caro employ's Amy as a couch at her hockey training center but Caro's past and trust issues cause problems for the pair from the on set. Because of the trepidation in the story, I felt the book needed more romance to weigh things out a tad. I felt the lack of 'feels' between the pair at the start. I just felt i needed more from them.. As the story progressed I did find myself cheering them on, hoping they get their HEA.

It is a very good story line and all the sensitive issues such as family abandonment, depression and homophobia is fantastically written and dealt with in a positive way.

I think this is Kelly Farmers debut novel. I will differently be on the look out for more books by this author.

I was given a ARC for a honest review.
Profile Image for Tara.
776 reviews314 followers
September 27, 2020
Despite being Canadian, I’ve never gotten into hockey. (Don’t tell my government. I don’t want my citizenship revoked.) And yet, I’m excited every time I see a new f/f hockey romance announced. I enjoyed the first 60% or so of this one, but unfortunately it didn’t hold up after that point, leaving me disappointed.

Full review: https://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/r...

Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,823 reviews506 followers
September 16, 2020
Out on the Ice is an adorable romance!

I really enjoyed picking up a sports romance following two women in the lead. It's a nice change in pace for me to pick up a great romance that's both two women and sports. I did find this book had way less sports involved than I had hoped, but you can't get everything you want. This book would had been a little better for me if the pace was consistent, but again, not every book can be perfect.

I found this book was a little slow in the beginning, but it picked up about halfway through. I liked that this book wasn't super steamy either. It fit the idea of a contemporary romance for me. The characters also had relatable personalities and made me feel like I know these people in real life. The two girls especially - they were opposites but not opposites, like many couples I know.

Overall, bisexual hockey player? Excellent idea and I love it.

Three out of five stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, Harlequin and Carina Press for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange of an honest review.

Profile Image for Pam Holzner.
662 reviews41 followers
October 11, 2021
3.9 & rounded up

- well written
- obstacles due their own baggage
- likeable leads
- good pacing
- characters more well defined than in some books
- characters less stereotypic I think

- unsupportive homophobic family (but they are important to the baggage)

Profile Image for Kexx.
1,667 reviews56 followers
November 16, 2020
A really odd one, this - not quite sure how to rate it. It moved from a jaunty romance to a quite dark novel, then sort of bounced back into the jaunty romance. No clunking of gears but rather I was surprised how the two meshed. Rather wondered if I was being lectured at times... As I said, confusing.
Profile Image for lauraღ.
1,474 reviews60 followers
July 28, 2020
In this moment, Amy was all about the joy on Caro's face.

This was one of those books that just made me really happy somehow, despite the flaws it had here and there. It dealt with serious and heavy issues in a way that I appreciated (mostly) but was also just light and realistic in the portrayal of its characters and I liked it so much. Perhaps it's just the kind of book that I needed right now. I just really appreciated how the author really showed us the characters becoming closer, through mundane conversations, their great dialogue and banter, the little back-and-forths, all the teething parts of a new relationship. Liked it said, it felt so real somehow, and so many parts of this made me smile. Especially Doug, who is such a great dog, and every single nickname Amy had for him was so good lol. In a lot of ways it was a simple story, and I can't say the writing or the style impressed me, but the fact that the characters felt like real people went a long way towards making me like it.

Caro's depression and Amy's ADHD were worked well into their stories and personalities. It's always great seeing therapy treated as natural and normal. I loved that biphobia was so thoroughly addressed, especially how it happens within the queer community. I didn't care much for the sports bits, but hey, I rarely do. There were some difficult conversations to be had near them end, handled with varying degrees of deftness. I rarely enjoy how coming out is written about, and sadly this didn't really change my mind on that (though to be clear: I've read MUCH worse, and it's subjective, anyway). Some aspects of the final conflict really frustrated me in how it was written and how the characters reacted and how it was a bit too easily resolved. But I still think kudos is deserved just for the way some of those conversations were handled, and how they kept the lines of communication open.

Content warning for a fair amount of on-page verbal homophobia, and past suicide ideation.

A note on the cover: I like it, but it really doesn't suit the characters now that I've read the book! I know it's not the easiest thing getting good f/f covers, but it would have been great if, idk, the facial expressions had been switched. That smile on the blonde is definitely an Amy smile, rather than a Caro smile.

This was really enjoyable. It had its bumps, but honestly, I just keep coming back to how much this book made me smile. 3.5 stars.

☆ Review copy provided via NetGalley.
Profile Image for Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms.
2,724 reviews331 followers
July 22, 2020
*I received a free copy of Out on the Ice. This has in no way influenced my review which is honest and unbiased.*

4.5 stars

Out on the Ice is a well-written romance with solid characters who I became very attached to. Both Caro and Amy had to deal with how other people saw them - and especially Caro was very prudent because of this. Her family more or less disowned her when her brother outed her as lesbian, and she didn't want anyone who wasn't part of her inner circle to know.

Amy was very open about being bi, even if some people told her it's not even possible to be bi in the first place. Why do humans so often want a little box to put other humans in? Why is there this need to put a label on people when it has nothing to do with us?

Of course, one of the reasons I loved Out on the Ice is that there's a lot of hockey in the story - it's forever my go-to sport. And it's clear that the author has a good knowledge of the sport as well. And of course, as with any kind of sport, there is a certain level of limelight on the players. Amy was fine with the limelight, she even sought it out. Caro was the opposite, wanting to keep her private life private.

I loved how the relationship between Caro and Amy was a very slow burn - they were both dealing with a bit of self doubt, and they were also very much impressed with each other. Amy had a lot of good friends, and she was very open-minded. Caro was more closed in, and while she did have some good friends, she had been burned pretty hard in the past, and didn't trust easily.

The writing flows very well, and the romance is beautiful. If you're looking for a well-written FF romance, look no more, pick up Out on the Ice and sit back and enjoy.
Profile Image for Ameliah Faith.
862 reviews38 followers
June 26, 2020
Not for me
Caro was one of the best on the rink in her pro hockey days. Now she lives a quiet life with her own rink and project teaching girls hockey. Amy is an out and proud bisexual woman who has crushed on Caro for years. Now she finally has a chance to spend time with her idol when she signs up to be a coach for the summer. When a relationship blooms between the two women, can there be a half way point or will they be unable to make it work?

This is a good debut book. Its very well written and engaging. The romance is sweet and I liked the story. I have real mixed feelings about the tale too though. The bisexual aspect of the book was pretty in your face. There are parts where it was talked about in detail, what it means to be bisexual, how Amy feels and deals with it etc. While Caro isn’t really in the closet, she’s not exactly out wither and I feel like Amy forced her out but at the same time if they had talked about it, maybe things would have gone smoother. I don’t know, it was necessary for Caro to come out but I didn’t really like the way it was done or the way Amy was so in your face about doing some of the things she did. I wasn’t happy that Caro couldn’t see things a bit more Amy’s way either so…. Im glad I read this book but it really didn’t do a whole lot for me. Hopefully you feel differently.
571 reviews14 followers
July 7, 2020
Caro Cassidy is a former professional hockey player who now owns her own ice skating training facility in the suburbs of Chicago. She has some issues with the way her family treats her, being out and doesn't date much because she was hurt in the past. She hires professional Amy Schwarzbach to be a coach during her summer training camp for girls. Amy is on the other end of the spectrum. She is an out and proud bi-sexual. She has a loving family and a set of wonderful friends. Amy also has had a huge crush on Caro for years.

So overall I enjoyed reading this one. I thought the issues with the mains were valid issues that many people in the lbgt community have. So it was realistic. The mains also took time to get to know each other before jumping into bed. Here is where I had the biggest issue. The sex scene came and I got nothing. Talk about a huge let down. I know some people don't care about sex scenes in a romance, but I do. I was pretty disappointed. I tend to not read romances that don't have sex scenes. So I think those that don't care will find this romance fairly good. For those who love a good sex scene....just know it doesn't exist in this one. I probably would rate it higher but I can only rate 3.75 stars.

This arc was provided by Netgalley and the publisher for an honest review.
Profile Image for Sam.
739 reviews75 followers
June 25, 2020
For a debuting author this a pretty good book.

Former hockey star Caro runs an all girls ice hockey club and she has just hired a new coach for her summer camp. Amy is a hockey pro and nutritionist and the newest coach at Girls & Goals (lame name). Caro is an extremely private person, one might even say totally closed off. Amy in the other hand is the exact opposite; bubbly and an over-sharer. Caro’s psychiatrist urges her to step out of her comfort zone and do something besides work. Amy is the perfect person to drag her out of her shell, Amy is happy to do it since she has had a crush on Caro since forever. Caro struggles with depression and poor self esteem, I think Amy struggles with some self esteem issues at well, but hides it better. They are drawn together and bring out the best in each other. The reluctance of Caro to make their relationship public or say something in support of the LGBTQIA+ rubs Amy in the wrong way, but she try understand where Caro is coming from.
Somehow they overcome there differences and a happy ending is just around the corner..

The books starts with a warning about sensitive content, suicide to be precise, so I was kind of expecting some real drama. There was such a brief mention of suicidal thoughts that it almost didn’t register with me. Throughout the book I was actually kind of waiting for it, for the angst to become to much, but it was only a mentioned about the past. In my opinion the warning is a bit much. There is a good amount of talk about metal health, which is good, especially in these times. I get where both characters are coming from but I do find that Amy is giving up too much of herself in the beginning of the book, it gets better towards the end.. the story is also a bit slow and sort of repetitive at some points. The sense of timing in the book is a bit off as well, some days are pages long and some months are just skipped without mention. Overall it’s a pretty decent read, mostly because of the writing style and the openness around mental health.

*ARC received in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for amanda.
525 reviews30 followers
August 24, 2020
5/5 stars go to how Doug, the precious 11-year-old black lab, was written. He was perfect and adorable and as someone who has a 10-year-old chocolate lab, his description was incredibly accurate.

As for the actual main characters and storyline, I thought it was all okay. I really enjoyed the first real bonding scene that we got between Caro and Amy when they were training and meditating, and I just really wish we got a lot more of that kind of content. Their relationship kind of jumped from one stage to another and most of what we did see was the two ladies at work, or they were separated. The conflict and angst were hard for me to get through since it lasted a decent amount of the book and I felt like it started pretty late in the story. Caro's internal conflict and issues were understandable for the most part, but that mixed in with the homophobia of her family just seemed so stereotypical for a book with this theme? I also wasn't a fan of the fade-to-black romance scenes, but that's really just a personal preference. And I have a hard time seeing the two women on the cover and picturing them as the Caro and Amy that are described in the book, which also threw me off.

There were definitely moments in this book that had me in my feels and made me really care about Caro and Amy. I loved reading about two female hockey players as a female hockey player myself (especially when I can't really think of any other books with a female hockey player POV), and I really loved the 3 Amigas and their friendship dynamic. I would especially love for there to be more romance books with female hockey players, whether they're f/f or m/f, and selfishly I would like them to be set during the characters early 20s or even high school, but I can also appreciate that this book had older characters since that isn't a common case. But for the most part, there was just too much angst with not enough romance scenes for me.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
Profile Image for Jess.
2,859 reviews5 followers
September 7, 2020
I've been sitting on this for a few days because I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to write. I guess, to start, I really did like this book. The hockey felt real and I liked the characters and even the conflict itself felt very real to me.

My biggest problem was the ending fight where it felt like Caro felt like she was the character having to do all the emotional work to make herself a person worthy of being with Amy. And...no. First of all, Amy was annoying as fuck a lot of the time and there was no real grappling with that. Second, being private isn't a character flaw. Sure, there were places where it made sense that she was dealing with past trauma she needed to overcome. But Caro WASN'T wrong about believing that firm lines between work and private life would be good and the risks to her business if they weren't strictly enforced. I was also sort of uncomfortable with the amount of speculation that both characters did about their friends and families respective sexualities? Is that a thing a lot of people do, because wow, I hate that. I hate that a lot.

But I did like the book. More female sports romances with queer characters, please.
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,187 reviews724 followers
August 10, 2021
I’ve never watched a hockey game in my life and don’t actually care about the sport at all, but somehow over the years I’ve developed a deep and abiding love for hockey romances. The heart wants what it wants I guess. Know what else I love? Affirming stories of the queer community. I adored Caro and Amy and all the character growth they navigated as they worked in their relationship ~ also, Doug the dog. I also love affirming stories of mental health issues and this totally nailed that as well. If you love sports romance and/or perfectly complex f/f romance, this is for you!

CW: homophobia, biphobia, bi-erasure, being outed without consent, depression, mention of possible suicide attempt
Profile Image for Paige.
858 reviews82 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 7, 2021
DNF @ 30%

A tad slow, but overall a charming and entertaining read. It just hit some odd and specific triggers of mine, and I couldn’t keep going.

I went to an online event co-hosted by the author though and really liked her, so I’ll try to keep an eye out for her next book.
Profile Image for Lily Mordaunt.
Author 1 book10 followers
February 4, 2023
Liked but didn’t love

I liked this book, but didn’t love it. I think there were well-written and well-placed discussions around biphobia, homophobia, mental health and women in sports. I enjoyed both Caro and Amy’s characters but didn’t always feel their romantic connection, at least not initially. Once a few conflicts arose though, that’s when it was clear to see the bond that had been building.
I wish there had been more hockey scenes and sometimes felt that Caro’s character felt… fuller, even as I found myself resonating with Amy’s anxiety and happy exterior more. I also wish there had been a few sex scenes. Without them, the tention building between the two women fell a little flat.
All in all, it was a solid read.
Profile Image for •°• gabs •°•.
248 reviews199 followers
August 20, 2020
3.5 stars

tws: homophobic and biphobic language (all addressed and challenged), discussion of past suicidal ideation (there are tw's in the beginning of the book too)

i won't write a summary because the description of the book is pretty on-point. so:

what i liked:
- communication. i feel like a broken record every time i mention this in my reviews but healthy communication is so important to me and it made me happy to see amy and caro actually talk to each other and avoid so much annoying drama that i used to see in books (i've been pleased with all my recent reads in this respect recently so. a win.)

- the discussions about mental health felt so natural and real, both regarding caro's depression and amy's ADHD, now i really want to go see a therapist damn.

- the dog and amy's nicknames for him *insert pleading eyes emoji*

- bi rights!! amy is bi and proud and it felt really nice to see her and her parents be so adamant about why bi erasure is harming, and also the "it shouldn't be my job to educate people on these issues" scene was one of my favorites.

- the found family trope

what didn't really work for me:
- it took me quite a while to get invested in the story and connect with the characters, and i'm not sure if it's just me of if the book is also at fault.

- the homophobic, lesbophobic and biphobic situations and stereotypes, even though they were challenged, completely brought me out of the story multiple times. from caro's family, to random people's comments, to both our main characters and the side characters bringing up harmful stereotypes, i was really so tired. maybe in the past i wouldn't have removed 1 whole star because of it, but it just felt like too much and some of them were really upsetting. again, they were addressed and challenged every time, yes, but it was still jarring (at least for me).

- the whole privacy vs that lgbtqia+ safe space certification situation/plot point could have been handled way better.

so all in all i did enjoy this, but kind of just the second half, because it took a while for me to actually care about anything, and i loved certain things while others... eh. so yeah, if all that homophobia is not that upsetting for you, you might really enjoy this book a lot.
Profile Image for Ruthie Taylor.
3,533 reviews37 followers
August 16, 2020
~~I received a free copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads ~~

I am a big ice hockey romance fan - but there aren't many about the women's game, so I was really excited to get to see a different side to the story. I had imagined how it might be, and this book certainly reinforced some of my expectations, and reminds us again how female athletes get a raw deal in professional sports which have been so dominated by men. The work that Caro does in trying to give upcoming players the chance to grow in a safe space is a lovely part of this really enjoyable romance. I might add there is really very little if any speechifying of these issues in the book, they are just my observations - in fact the book shows the life, and let's you come to those conclusions for yourself!

I really enjoyed watching Caro allow herself to be open to Amy's clear attraction, and also the journey which she took to get herself to that point. Her attitude was so rigid, so work focussed, that it had to be someone who really cared about her, and showed her the genuineness of those feelings that could break through. Always a difficult situation when romance hits at work, but even more so when the employment is temporary and then there will be an issue of distance. Caro is the logical, to Amy's romantic, but as we see their joint skills are what makes the difference - at work and in their relationship.

Very enjoyable read, thank you Kelly Farmer.

Wicked Reads Review Team
Profile Image for Sarah.
1,457 reviews29 followers
August 16, 2020
I was given a copy of this book to read and review for Wicked Reads.

This is the story of two famous hockey players who find each other while working together at a hockey camp for young girls. Caro, the owner of the camp, is an Olympic legend who is determined to keep her personal life private. Amy is the Megan Rapinoe of hockey - she’s loud, proud and full of life. The sparks between them are instant but a relationship is a little more complicated.

This is a fun read. I really enjoyed the hockey action and I love the way Caro and her coaches interact with their students. Amy is fabulous. I love her energy, her colour and the intensity of her relationship with her two best friends. It took me longer to warm to Caro but once I understood her history, it was easier to understand her coldness and her caution. There are moments where Caro is great but her hang ups are a little overwhelming at times. While I loved Amy from the start, I came to like Caro by the end. It is easy to see how the two women balance each other.

The pacing of this story is a little erratic. I really enjoyed the action at the start but things became almost painfully slow as Caro and Amy worked through the many barriers to their relationship. It’s a low heat read - something that makes sense for Caro but not for Amy. I really love the characters that surround Caro and Amy and I would love to see a couple of them in their own books.
Profile Image for Evie Drae.
Author 4 books138 followers
August 10, 2020
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an advanced copy of this book. I am providing a voluntary review. All thoughts and views are my own.

Out on the Ice is author Kelly Farmer’s debut novel, and it was a delightful one indeed! Amy and Caro were an adorable match that caught my heart early on. This is a slllooooooowww burn romance, but the relationship between them is so dang cute and real that the story never sags because of the slower paced romance aspect.

I read this book immediately following a MM romance about hockey and can officially say I know more about hockey after these two books than I’ve picked up throughout my entire adult life just, ya know, adulting. (Which isn’t saying much, because I am anything but a sports person.) That being said, while this book is heavy on the hockey—so might theoretically not be the best fit for non-sports lovers such as myself—I believe Farmer does a good job of toning it down just enough to make it something us non-athletic types can still wrap our noggins around. I might have preferred a bit less on a purely personal basis, but I think what’s in there is important to the story and therefore I wouldn’t actually recommend it be removed. Plus, I’m all about learning new things, and what better environment to do so than within the pages of an engaging romance between two beautiful women??

The writing in this book was tight and easy to read. Farmer built a stable world and likable characters, including several side characters that served their purpose but didn’t get in the way. Amy was a ray of sunshine that kept a smile on my face, while Caro was a doll who understandably had some reservations about making her and Amy’s relationship public.

Overall, the story works very well. It’s a light, fluffy romance but with a punch of heart. I’d definitely recommend it to all lovers of lesfic, but most especially those who can get down with some detailed hockey and fun-loving gals!
Profile Image for Laura.
1,728 reviews46 followers
Shelved as 'did-not-finish'
August 14, 2020
I received an advance copy from Carina Press via Netgalley for review purposes. This in no way influences my review; all words, thoughts, and opinions are my own.

Content notes (to 21%):

DNF @ 21%

I love sports romances, especially hockey romances (even though I’ve never watched a game in my life), but this book was a struggle for me. I think it has a lot of potential and I’m sure others will love it, but for most of what I read I was bored and wishing more was happening - either with characters or with outside factors.

But I was willing to push past the boredom and give this a solid chance. The reason for my DNF is discomfort with something that feels potentially like antisemitism. I am Jewish, but I didn’t grow up in Jewish spaces and have limited knowledge on certain nuances, but when Amy calls her mom a shiksa when telling Caro about her background, it kinda jerked me out because I was under the impression that word is considered derogatory and Jewish folks more knowledgeable than me have talked about not wanting it to be used. I could be overreacting and blowing the throwaway line out of proportion, but it did make me uncomfortable enough that I don’t wish to finish this book.

Profile Image for HornFan2 .
689 reviews35 followers
September 23, 2020
Thanks to net galley.com and Carina Press for the advance ARC copy for my honest review.

Was stoked to get to read author Kelly Farmer debut, her style keeps you reading, turning pages both main characters are likable, easy to relate to and puts you in the pages. Once they become a couple, you realize how good of an author she really is, with tying in the current social media craze, then you have mental health issues blended into the story with a character, she does an excellent job on it and the LBGT subject also nicely done.

What made me read this one, is the National Women Hockey League tie in, as an avid NHL fan, a diehard Chicago Blackhawks and Boston Bruins fan, totally enjoyed this and it's one of my favorite 2020 reads.

The story is set in Chicago, it's summer, Amy comes home to help with her mom take care of her dad, after his knee surgery and takes a coaching job with Caro's hockey school.

What makes this so good is the two main characters Amy Schwarzbach, Carolina Cassidy and Dougster, she just brings them to life, then you have teammates Kris and Gina, Kris's wife Bree, then her G & G employees Mel, Heather and J.P. and mix in the Schwarzbach's you have something that reads like a TV show and be cool to see her makes this a series.

I think the other huge deal with the book is how Amy's parents reacted to her being bisexual and Caro's family to how she's lesbian, it's an element that makes this book a must read and the author does an excellent job making it so realistic, believable and in away unfinished. Since I so want to see her bring Amy home to her family, see the fireworks when she puts Caro's brother Glenn in his place. Also I can't be the only reader who has a feeling that at some point her nephew Taylor would be living with them.

This is a must read, think this clean enough for a high schooler to read, it's one of those books that I'm sure will help anyone that's in the LBGT community and definitely will keep reading Kelly Farmer's future books.
Profile Image for Lauren.
131 reviews
July 23, 2020
Honestly, my favorite part of this book was the honest discussion of bi-erasure. The characters are so cute and they had realistic issues and worked together to solve them.
Profile Image for Michelle  Schuler.
573 reviews4 followers
September 15, 2022
Out on the Ice

This was a fun read by Kelly Farmer. I enjoyed the chemistry. It was well written and look forward to the rest of the series.
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