Audio Book Review by Kristie: Empty Net, by Avon Gale

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Empty Net, by Avon Gale
Series: Scoring Chances #4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Book Release Date: September 2, 2016

Narrated By: Scott R. Smith
Audio Release Date: January 10, 2017

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars


Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain Isaac Drake ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him – no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse, constantly treated like a disappointment on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist, and Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold Laurent—or their relationship—together.

Please be advised: This book does contain some non-graphic references to past childhood physical/emotional abuse as well as issues relating to ED (bulimia and restricted eating, disordered thoughts about eating).


M/M Pairing
Gay Character
Demisexual Character
Sports Romance (Hockey)
Enemies to Lovers

Additional Warnings: See the summary for the Author’s Warnings!


Story wise, I liked this quite a bit. The characters are interesting, have really good depth, and I very much enjoy a good sports book. There is just something about the narration that threw me off a lot of the time. So, just to narrow it down, here are my three issues:

  1. Learning the Voices: When starting an audio book, I feel like I’m at a disadvantage. So the narration needs to get me going right away. Not having the words in front of me, I need to be able to identify characters immediately, get a feel for their different “voices”. Initially, I had a hard time identifying who was speaking and who’s head I was in.
  2. Pauses and Scene Breaks: While listening, I need to have a good understanding of pauses and scene breaks or shifts within chapters. If I can’t get a handle on these right away, I end up having to go back and listen to the first couple of chapters again.
  3.  The Character Portrayal: While listening to Empty Net, the characters sounded really immature. So much so that I had a hard time liking them, especially at the beginning. During that initial ramp up of starting the book, while learning their voice, I need to learn them as characters as well. This was difficult for me because of the way their voices sounded. I wondered on more than one occasion if Isaac and Laurent read as immature as they sounded.

Eventually, I was able to get a handle on all of these things, and even start to get used to the way the narrator voiced each character. I wish it happened faster than it did because I think I’d have enjoyed the story even more than I did. And don’t get me wrong… it’s not a bad narration, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I have other audio books.

Because the game play was fun, the story itself well thought out and executed, I think that I liked this enough that I’m going to go back and read the book now.


Avon Gale was once the mayor on Foursquare of Jazzercise and Lollicup, which should tell you all you need to know about her as a person. She likes road trips, rock concerts, drinking Kentucky bourbon and yelling at hockey. She’s a displaced southerner living in a liberal midwestern college town, and she never gets tired of people and their stories — either real or the ones she makes up in her head.

To find out more about Gale and her books head over to her website (click here!).

You can purchase Empty Net from:

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I received a copy of this audio book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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