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Man Down

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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 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 mechanisms. Another is texting his dead wife about his days without her. Therapeutic? Doubtful. Crazy? Definitely. But those messages into the ether are virtually the only thing stopping him from spiraling to even darker places. Until someone texts back … Sadie Yates is losing it. Suddenly guardian to a little sister she doesn’t know and a misbehaving hound she’d rather not know at all, she’s had to upend her (sort of) glamorous life in LA and move back to Chicago. The nanny has quit, the money’s running out, and her job is on the line. The last thing she needs is her sister’s hockey camp counselor, a judgmental Viking type, telling her she sucks at this parenting lark. Thank the goddess for her sweet, sensitive, and—fingers crossed—sexy text buddy who always knows the right thing to say. In the same city at last, they can finally see if their online chemistry is mirrored in real life. She just needs to set up a meeting … A ruined man who claims to have used up all his love is surely a bad bet, but Sadie’s never been afraid of a challenge … even one that might shatter her heart into a million pieces.


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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 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 mechanisms. Another is texting his dead wife about his days without her. Therapeutic? Doubtful. Crazy? Definitely. But those messages into the ether are virtually the only thing stopping him from spiraling to even darker places. Until someone texts back … Sadie Yates is losing it. Suddenly guardian to a little sister she doesn’t know and a misbehaving hound she’d rather not know at all, she’s had to upend her (sort of) glamorous life in LA and move back to Chicago. The nanny has quit, the money’s running out, and her job is on the line. The last thing she needs is her sister’s hockey camp counselor, a judgmental Viking type, telling her she sucks at this parenting lark. Thank the goddess for her sweet, sensitive, and—fingers crossed—sexy text buddy who always knows the right thing to say. In the same city at last, they can finally see if their online chemistry is mirrored in real life. She just needs to set up a meeting … A ruined man who claims to have used up all his love is surely a bad bet, but Sadie’s never been afraid of a challenge … even one that might shatter her heart into a million pieces.

30 review for Man Down

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kate Meader

    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 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 person like that, so that's the premise here. And then I thought: what if your supposed soulmate turned out to be kind of a jerk (at least, initially)? This books explores the ways we connect and how preconceptions and expectations can set people up to go one direction, but the reality is completely different. I can't wait for you to read about Gunnar and Sadie's rocky journey to happiness!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth

    TITLE: MAN DOWN AUTHOR: Kate Meader SERIES: Rookie Rebels #3 RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2020 GENRE: Sports Romance THEMES & TROPES: Grief, Loss RATING: 5 Stars CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG 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 TITLE: MAN DOWN AUTHOR: Kate Meader SERIES: Rookie Rebels #3 RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2020 GENRE: Sports Romance THEMES & TROPES: Grief, Loss RATING: 5 Stars CLIFFHANGER: No READ MY REVIEW ON THE BLOG 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 a widower who lost his wife and children in a car accident must be really depressing. I will say this: the flashbacks were sad and the foreboding of the tragic end caused my windpipe to close up at times. The story itself is emotional but Kate Meader loosens up the hard parts by the on-point banter between Gunnar and Sadie. I adored their story from being accidental text buddies to (unbeknownst to both) enemies and then friends with benefits. Gunnar's inability to admit that he'd already lost his heart to Sadie made for some well-placed delicious angst. I loved him so much. He was a family man through and through and his grief was tangible. "We started talking and I started looking forward instead of back. Forward to your bad jokes and check-ins. Forward to waking up instead of longing for the night to come. Forward." Sadie could have easily come across as a doormat but I never thought her weak so kudos to the author for making me see that things are never clean-cut. Yes, her little sister was a little annoying with her rudeness and passive aggression but Lauren was a teenager who'd not only lost her mother Zoe to cancer but her dad went to prison and she had to live with a sister she hadn't talked to her whole life. Sadie hat kindness in troves about her, and although she was fluid in sassy speak she was also a gentle soul. It must be so hard to write a book about a widower. The challenge is to make the reader believe that the new woman in this man's life is worthy and never second best. The connection must be so that in the end we know that the hero's love is as strong and true. Kate Meader succeeded with flying colors. Gunnar was stuck in the past until he met Sadie. She managed what no one else could - she took his hand and guided him out of the darkness, little by little.  "I wasn’t expecting this—you—and it took me by surprise.” This can definitely be read as a standalone but I think you'd get a kick out of all the cameos of previous favorite characters. Especially Dante and Theo's appearance were highlights for me. Their wisdom and friendship, their support gave me life. MAN DOWN is gut-wrenching emotions paired with this author's wit and so beautifully romantic that I flew through this story. Definitely a must-read! I won’t lean on you for everything but if I could rely on you a little …” He squeezed her tight to him. “Maybe you can keep my heart safe.”

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dali

    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. ➵ Plot: 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 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. ➵ Plot: 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 longest time it was his lifeline until someone answered back. Sadie Yates’ life was turned upside down when she had to move to Chicago to take care of the tween half-sister she hardly knew. The only saving grace is that she’s now in the same city as the man she’s been texting with and now has the chance to meet him. On paper, Sadie and Gunnar have too much baggage for a relationship to thrive, but life and AT&T (inside joke) found a way for them to cross paths. Can they overcome the guilt and insecurities that plague them in order to find happiness together? ➵ Heroine: Sadie Yates has a huge heart and unflappable spirit. She took life by the horns and faced each challenge with bravery and care. How could I not love a heroine like that? ➵ Hero: Gunnar was so broken I couldn’t fathom how he’d be able to find happiness of any kind, much less of the romantic kind. But Ms. Meader handles the seriousness of the situation with care, respect and skill. ➵ Feels:.Man Down is brimming with a full range of emotion. From LOL moments with Theo (from Instacrush), to tear jerking ones when reading about Gunnar’s sadness and guilt, to sweet and tender and sexy ones between Sadie and Gunnar. ➵ Facts: Man Down is book #3 of the Rookie Rebels series by Kate Meader. It is told from both points of view with a happy ending. ➵ Overall rating: 5 Amazon -> https://amzn.to/2WO6bLR * I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author. The excerpts are from that copy. I am voluntarily reviewing this title. * Stalk me on FaceBook * Instagram * More reviews

  4. 4 out of 5

    Bookgasms Book Blog

    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? Nope. 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 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? Nope. 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 veritable rollercoaster ride of emotions that left it feeling raw and aching only to have it all swept away by the sweet beauty of the ending and the overwhelming rightness of Gunnar and Sadie. I absolutely adored these two. Sadie's heart as big as the world, and her unsinkable spirit won me over immediately. How many punches can a heroine take and still get up and do the right thing by the people she loves? This woman was extraordinary. And broken, wounded Gunnar. The unsinkable alpha male whose heart and body and mind fought each other throughout most of this entire story. Watching him heal and come back to life was just a beautiful thing. It was impossible not to love them - from the unorthodox way they met, to the tenuous friendship they formed, to the moment they realized that resistance was futile because there was never anything more right than the way they loved and cared for each other. Don't get me wrong, it's not all smooth sailing. In fact, there's hardly any smooth sailing. Ms. Meader handled the gravity of the storyline very respectfully and with a loveliness that sometimes took my breath away. There is a brutal beauty to a man reconciling that his life will never be what he expected it to be, and the woman who helps him realize that it's not over. I can't emphasize enough just how beautifully this was written. I also loved the secondary storylines. I enjoyed the honesty of Sadie and Lauren's relationship. I might even have liked a little bit more resolution to their story - but that's not a complaint because I really was satisfied with what I got and happy with their healing relationship. I also loved getting more time with that scene-stealing devil, Theo Kershaw and the rest of the Rebels family. Books like this one are the reason sports romance is one of my all-time favorite tropes. There's a team/family love story threaded into every romance and I will never get enough of it. It was so good. So compulsively readable and so wonderfully rewarding. It was tragic and redemptive and I loved every punch delivered, and reveled in every balm it placed upon my heart. Buckle up - this one's going to hurt a little. But it's worth every minute. ~ Shelly, 5 Stars

  5. 4 out of 5

    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!

  6. 5 out of 5

    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 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 honest in my reviews. I loved the way Gunner and Sadie “met” even though that was kind of painful. The twists and turns in this book were phenomenal and Ms. Meader did a great job keeping the characters and the readers on their toes, there’s no doubt about that at all. Gunner’s back story is tragic and heavy and I felt so much for him and the guilt he lived with and how much he loved his wife and children. I adored the way he jumped in to be a champion for Lauren from the start and the bond they shared. I honestly think she helped him heal his heart just by being someone who needed a friend. Sadie drove me a bit crazy with her incessant need to please everyone. There was no doubt she had some baggage stemming from her childhood and beyond and I did ache for her as she tried to bond with Lauren and make peace with her father. I liked Gunner and Sadie together, they found each other at the right time (both times), but I really needed to see them both having more carefree happy times; this book was heavy and a downer. Writing and superior plot made this book, but for me it was depressing and a bit of a miss. Review copy provided for a voluntary review.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Aly is so frigging bored

    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 of a pushover with people. Both of them hav 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 of a pushover with people. Both of them have been dealt shitty cards and they make things work! Gunnar is struggling with the loss of his family and he doesn't know how to adapt to a life without them. He's really resistent to change, but at the same time he doesn't know how not to care about Sadie or the people in his life. I loved seeing them heal and fall in love. After finishing this wonderful book and revisiting favorite characters I want to reread both series :)) I recommend this to anyone who loves good writing and amazing stories.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dísir

    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, 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, his dilemma between wanting to stay where he is out of misplaced loyalty and being able to move forward with someone else), and puts him alongside with a compassionate heroine who has so many things on her plate. Gunnar’s and Sadie’s meeting has the written-in-the-stars sort of vibe: there’s accidental texting, initial faceless communication and later, a huge coincidence finally bring them face to face though it isn’t as swoony as you’d expect. There’re pockets of friction and sparks and a whole hockey team that surrounds the pairing as a support system—and the inevitable dishing of angst given the topic at hand. Both Gunnar and Sadie as a pairing are generally easy to get behind; their motivations are explained and dealt with in ways that I may not always agree with but could understand. I did wish that Sadie had a harder streak in her at times however as she she copped one too many on the chin when I thought she could have easily pushed back—all well within her rights to do so. ‘Man Down’ definitely feels like it has a more heartfelt, more sensitive emotional core that I don’t always observe in Meader’s books. It’s one that reads differently anyhow—more stripped down, more chipping away in order to expose the bare bones of the human psyche than I’d expected but it’s always welcome in my opinion. The result is a more engaging, more satisfying read that shows love in its shades of grey for people both dead and alive and that it’s way more malleable than what we always like to make of it.

  9. 5 out of 5

    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 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 rescue him and put him back on the path of life and healing love. It will take time and determination though to get him fully on the road of recovery. Yeah, it seems to be all about baby steps for this giant, alpha protective, teddy bear hearted, knucklehead, mountain man of professional hockey player muscle. Sadie’s had more than her fair share of hard luck past, as well. She takes a lot on the chin and soldiers through, even when it’s emotionally painful. Tough, resilient, with a marshmallow heart, she was a light in Gunnar’s darkness. I did, however, find her character somewhat of a doormat at times. Take the smex without strings situation. It had me lowering my head and shaking it in shame for the sisterhood, folks. She wanted and deserved better in this avid romantic at heart's opinion. Honestly, I was geared up for a completely different response from this sassy lady. Sure, it aided and abetted the set up of scorching, steamy lust to falling in love progress between these two, but I wanted Gunnar to have to get down on his knees and really work more for it and for her. Instead, she usually made things pretty easy for him. Make no mistake, I really enjoyed this riveting, relationship angst story line. Ms. Meader seems to always make a way to interject lots of great back and forth banter, sizzling hot chemistry, and perfect for each other main couple connections and drama. So listen up! Hands down..I think if you want to score an entertaining romantic read, you should consider letting Kate Meader make your day. Whether it be in the kitchen, on the hockey rink, fire station, or court room, she always has great romances going on. You owe it to yourself to check out all her series: Hot in the Kitchen, Chicago Rebels, Hot in Chicago, and Laws of Attraction. She seems to nail it perfectly each and every time. You’ll see that description often in my reviews of her books, because, well, I find it worth repeating, my fellow romance book loving friends. Romance Safety Gang: (view spoiler)[ Not romance safe for some due to the hero still being in love with his dead wife, which is brought up a lot. The epilogue ends with a love letter to her..which ends with...”I’ll always love you, Kel.” … He’s been celibate since her death three years ago. It’s been awhile for the heroine, too. In fact, it comes across she hasn’t had much luck with the guys she’s dated. No OM/OW drama (except for strong feelings still for dead wife). (hide spoiler)] Title: Man Down, Series: Rookie Rebels (Book 3), Author: Kate Meader: Pages: 354, stand-alone but part of a series, prof hockey player hero, relationship angst, still loves deceased wife, tragic loss hero, sweet, sympathetic, sassy, likable but doormat at times heroine, a couple graphic very smexy scenes late in book, baggage of her own heroine, may not be romance safe for some due to strong feelings for deceased wife, tragic loss of children, couldn’t put it down, hot/sexy bookcover! Rating: 4.5 stars Book 1 - Good Guy (Levi & Jordan), 7/30/19 Book 2 - Instacrush (Theo & Elle), 12/10/19 Book 3 - Man Down (Gunnar & Sadie), 7/28/20 Book 4 - Foreplayer (details not yet available) (I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I was not given any payment or compensation for this review. There is no affiliation or relationship between this reviewer and the author, publisher, or PR firm.)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Birch

    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 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 style of the texts, allowing for so much intimacy and emotional growth while also not making the story or relationship feel rushed or superficial. And his interactions with Lauren were so sweet. My favorite things about a Kate Meader book are the extremely witty dialogue, humor, and steamy sex but also that she’s not afraid to delve deep with the dynamics of relationships and emotions, but even that didn’t prepare me for the emotional wallop Man Down delivered. Snappy banter, laugh out loud Theo moments, panty stealing scenes (literally), and so much loss and love are packed into this one story. I adore this series and just more as fast as possible. I received a complimentary review copy of this book but all opinions are my own.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Auntee

    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 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 the story. 4 stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    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 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, someone texts back. Sadie gets a new phone number and it is the one that used to belong to Gunnar's wife. She lets him know it is her number now, but she is sympathetic and they start texting back and forth. They can tell each other their thoughts without consequence or judgement and develop a sort of anonymous friendship. But after many months of texting and a few missed chances to meet up, they finally come face to face in a surprising way. When sparks fly between them and feelings get involved, will Gunnar be ready to move on and find new love with Sadie? This was a good story and I enjoyed the way the couple met. But this trope is very tricky for me. It has to be written very carefully in a way to make me not feel like the new love is lesser than the old love. I just didn't quite feel that way with this one. I held out hope that Gunnar would come to love Sadie as strongly as his dead wife, but I never really felt like he moved on completely. I felt bad for Sadie. But she let him and others walk all over her. She was too patient and understanding. I wanted at least an epilogue that focused just on Sadie and Gunnar and them looking to the future together, but we don't even get that. I wanted Sadie to have someone that loved her as more than just a consolation prize. I liked Gunnar as person, but I never felt like he more than liked Sadie and felt like he was settling for her and taking advantage of her love for him. Sadie's self-esteem issues made it even worse. She deserved someone who worked for her love, but she made it way too easy on Gunnar. The story had potential though. It would have been a good meet cute for a man who was really ready to move on to a new love. But Gunnar was a mess and it took the entire book for him to even be ready to take the first step to moving on. I just didn't feel like he truly loved and appreciated Sadie the way that she did him and the way that she deserved. Overall, I did enjoy parts of the book. It just never quite got where I wanted it to by the end. Still, I did enjoy the writing and the story, as well as catching up with other characters from the series. I still enjoy this series and look forward to more from Ms. Meader in the future. *arc provided in exchange for an honest review*

  13. 5 out of 5

    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 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 the tone of their story in the most perfect way. Sadie and Gunnar’s romance is a slow-burn, sort-of mistaken-identity, friends with benefits romance that blends some pretty heavy topics with just enough humor that you’re not too weighed down with emotion. Between Sadie’s angsty teen sister, her hateful father, and the memories that haunt Gunnar, preventing him from wanting to move on, this story could have easily turned into an angst fest. However, there were plenty of light-hearted and sweet moments to break up the sad ones. Plus, Theo Kershaw played a huge role in this story and you just can’t NOT laugh when he is involved. I will admit that a part of me struggled with worry that the connection that Sadie and Gunnar formed through his late-wife’s phone number might not be a solid way for them to start off, so I appreciate that they formed a different connection without the tie-in of the memory of his wife. I needed that to accept that Sadie was more than just the rebound from his grief. All in all, I highly recommend this book! Kate Meader never fails to deliver a great story. Each new book becomes my new favorite and as soon as I finish I’m already looking forward to what comes next!! I can’t wait for Mia’s book! *I received an ARC from the author for voluntary review

  14. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    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 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 of his messages disappearing into the ether, they make their way to a woman in the midst of her own problems. Sadie is stuck in her own personal limbo. A thankless job as a personal assistant to an online influencer has her dreams of being a designer stalled. Her estranged father has been caught stealing from his clients, and Sadie suddenly finds herself back in her hometown of Chicago, attempting to reunite with her teenage sister who has now been left in her care. When she answered Gunner’s texts months ago, neither of them realized that they would begin a relationship, but over time they have come to rely on one another, lost “LonelyHeart” and his “Angel.” While they continue to play out their relationship in text, the two are brought together in real life and their first meeting is less than perfect. Slowly the two warm to one another, and eventually Sadie figures out that Gunner and “LonelyHeart” are one and the same. They agree to embark on a fling, but it’s obvious that both are harboring much deeper feelings for each other. Kate Meader manages to make the rather fantastical story seem possible. She handles Gunner’s grief with a deft hand, and while he is a wounded hero she imbues the character with hope. What could be a very weighty and somber storyline is buoyed by the crackling tension between the two main characters. Sadie comes off as a bit of a doormat to the people in her life, but is saved by her spunk and confrontational attitude toward Gunner. As she slowly finds her way in her new reality as a guardian to her antagonist sister, Gunner is still attempting to bury his grief. Their story was engrossing and heartbreaking, their banter witty, their struggles endearing. Ultimately, a story that could have been far too heavy was lifted by Kate Meader’s deft writing and those dark moments never overtook the joy of Gunner and Sadie’s journey. And of course, this being part of a series, we also get glimpses of characters from past installments, as well as mention of characters from other series by Kate Meader. The book can be read as a stand-alone, but those brief moments with the characters is a fun way to catch up with them. I highly recommend this book, as well as all the other books in this series.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Michele

    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 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 a bit much for some sensitive readers. Because even knowing he would likely relive the tragic loss of his wife and twins, I was absolutely gutted emotionally in those flashback scenes/dreams. *sob* Read More

  16. 5 out of 5

    Irene

    4.5 heartfelt stars ❤️

  17. 5 out of 5

    Julie (Jewlsbookblog)

    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. Romantically 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. Romantically speaking, I felt Sadie and Gunnar were forming strong bonds of friendship that could potentially develop in to a deeper, affectionate relationship. I felt their relationship was a rebound for Gunnar to dip his toes back into the dating pool rather than a potentially serious relationship, which was okay considering Gunnar’s total devastation. However, that left things at a HFN rather than a total HEA (what can I say?! I love my HEA’s and Sadie and Gunnar both really deserve one!) so fingers crossed I’ll see more of these two in the future. I received an advance reader copy from the author and this is my honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    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 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, and suffer in peace, in a rustic cabin in New Hampshire. After a few months of not coping well at all, he started texting his dead wife's phone number, telling her all the things he wished he could still say in person. Then, after almost 2 years, someone texted back. Though he initially was angry at the interruption of this ongoing, one-sided convo with his wife, and thought of blocking the number, he didn't. Turns out it was easy to talk to this stranger, whose name and story he didn't know, and who didn't know him. He started to come out of his drunken, depressed fog, with her daily jokes, and his slow release of some truths to another, living person. When the Chicago Rebels came calling, he felt he could still play, so he went back to work, and slowly started to make his way back to life. But his Angel in LA was still a mystery to him. Until she wasn't. Sadie Yates is having a hard time. She left home at 18, with her mother long dead- and her father uncaring, having moved on with a new wife a baby daughter- and never really looked back. She moved to LA with dreams of being a designer, but she's been working menial jobs ever since. Now she's the personal assistant for a crazy Instagram influencer, who hocks ridiculous products related to a woman's "intimate" health. But, Sadie's father has just been on trial for defrauding his hedge funds clients out of millions, only months after his wife passed away, and now he's been convicted, and sent to prison. So, Sadie must return to Chicago to care for her teenage half sister, Lauren, who doesn't know her, but still hates her guts. Her only bright spot is the texts with the mysterious man she's nicknamed LonelyHeart, but when they decide to meet in person, everything gets crazy, because they've recently met before. Gunnar is Lauren's hockey camp coach, and he and Sadie got WAY off on the wrong foot at their first meeting. How can someone she's come to care for so much over text, be this grumpy, jerk of a Viking, who doesn't seem to like her at all?? Sadie and Gunnar had mega chemistry from the beginning, which was super inconvenient for them both, since they made each other crazy too, and not in a fun way. But Lauren really loved her hockey camp, and Gunnar was so good with her, that Sadie couldn't help but continue interacting with him. Then, she got even more involved when she met the group of Rebels players, and WAGS, and other friends of the team who all showed up at the camp throughout the weeks. When she finally set a meet up with LonelyHeart, and figured out he and Gunnar were one and the same, she didn't know what to do. Once she came clean to him, they both had to figure out how to feel about their prior knowledge of each other, and how it affected their attraction to each other even more. Meanwhile Gunnar is still heavily grieving for his family, and he's never really done anything about it. He's never gotten any kind of professional help, and until he does, he won't be able to move on in any real way. The problem is, though he knows it's not "healthy", he doesn't WANT to move on. His pain keeps him feeling close to them, and he's not ready to let that go. In addition to the pain, is the GUILT, not only for surviving, but for feeling responsible for the accident that killed them. He can't let it go. When he offers a no strings arrangement to Sadie, he hopes to burn off his attraction to her in a way where neither one of them can get hurt, and where he doesn't have to actually change anything about his life. Sadie's family situation was a hot mess. Lauren was a total pill, but as a hormonal teenager, who recently lost both parents, one to death and one to prison, it was understandable, and mostly forgivable. However, Sadie's dad was a nightmare, and so callous and cold to her, especially considering all she was giving up to take care of Lauren, when she had no one else. This was made even more galling since her dad is the one to blame for Lauren being alone in the first place, because of his crimes. Sadie just took everything her crazy boss, and her sister, and her dad, dished out to her without a word. Not to mention anything anyone else wanted to yell at her about her dad too, as if any of that was her fault. She had become something of a people pleasing doormat, and she didn't know how to fix it. Then, she took whatever crumbs Gunnar was willing to give her, because she was falling for him, and knew he could never feel the same about her, and she only had so much time with him. I was sad for her turning her power over to everyone else, until she finally figured out how to get it back, and fight for herself again. This book was really heartbreaking in so many ways, but there was a lot of heart-mending along the way too. The side characters here were awesome as they always are in this series full of awesome people. I enjoyed the ways that Gunnar and Sadie cared for each other, even when they didn't realize it, and how that affected their connection when they tried to figure out if, and how, to move forward. I really believed in them, in the end, though the journey they had to take was so painful. Ultimately this was a hopeful story, about moving on from tragedy and making the best of your life. I really cared about these characters, and I'll always be thrilled to keep reading more in this series. ARC provided by Author in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Megan from Alpha Book Club

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mari

    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 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 knew how. To keep his wife's memory alive he keep texting her only to receive a reply from someone else. He didn't know it but it was his cry for help that someone answered and listened. I have to feel for him you really saw his anguish over what happened. Fast forward to meeting her but they clashed. That time they talked honestly was a reprieve from both of them. But it started that relationship. While there was a mistaken identity when they did first meet and confusion after. I think it made their communication better. Sadie was kickass but at a stalemate with her job. Her family life in Chicago wasn't easy to face but she did. Gunnar needed help with his grief but didn't want therapy. Teaching kids hockey camp helped him though somehow. Getting close to other kids. It's interesting how texting and seeing each other in real life changed how they acted when they found out. They had the chemistry and even not seeing the other, now in person they couldn't pass on it. Now in person they can't hide behind the screen it brought out things they have to open to and deal with. Sadie and her half sister, her dad and her career. Gunnar's difficulty in moving forward and opening up. When they explored their that attraction it became more complicated. It might have start out as the as no strings and they denied it. It took a while for them to figure it out and it wasn't all about the physical and communication separate. It's nice to see them tackle that bit and dig into it. Gunnar finally realizing he needed help, they both helped the other when needed. So much growth between them. I really liked the parts with other Rebels, they made this story fun. Theo is always a blast. More than hockey it's a story of heartbreak, getting back up and healing. Having a a support system helped. Good sports romance right here.

  20. 4 out of 5

    maggieandteddy

    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 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 someone. Sadie starts to respond back with supportive messages and listens (reads his texts). Sadie and Gunnar don't know the other's real name. Hockey is what brings them together. Sadie mentions that she lives in Los Angeles and Gunnar says he lives in the Chicago area. Sadie has to go to Chicago to take care of her sister that she hasn't seen in several years. The chance meeting of Sadie and Gunnar should not be spoiled. It did have shades of "You've Got Mail" Ramona Master is the narrator. She does all the voices. Here voice for Sadie is very cheerful and upbeat most of the time. The voice for Gunnar is sullen and a little monotone. The voice used for Sadie's sister Lauren is so natural. Lauren is missing her dad and resents Sadie taking care of her. This story had a lot of heart strings pulled. I really felt for Gunnar. He was so stuck in his grief and guilt over losing his family. Sadie understands that Gunnar is in no place for a new relationship. They do get closing. It's gradual and seems like a natural progression. Sadie is trying to do right by her young sister that really needed her but didn't want her. There were some funny, dry humor moments. There's some supporting characters from the previous Rookie Rebels & the the Chicago Rebel's series. The middle was a little slow, but picked up the last 25% or so. 4.5 stars. I know that some might not want a hero that was hung up on his late wife. I really wanted him to have a better live than just barely hanging on. Sadie really was a good match for him. I hope that I catch up on their story in the next book....

  21. 5 out of 5

    Aly

    4.5 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 4.5 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 find herself becoming her half-sister's guardian. And let's not talk about her crazy boss, a "Gwyneth" wannabe kind of influencer. Gunnar and Sadie just met in real life. Not a good first impression for both of them, thanks to a few misunderstanding. So how will they learn that they're each other's text messages pal and what will be their reaction to the news? Read the third books in the Rookie Rebels series to know😛. Kate Meader always deliver on the sweet and sizzling romance but this book was particularly touching and my favorite of the series so far! I just wished more pages with Gunnar and Sadie at the end because we didn't see enough of their "finally get together for good" moments. I also really appreciated that the author didn't made a big deal of the heroine being curvy or plus-sized. It normalize it, just like it should be.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maida

    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 maidamalby.com

  23. 5 out of 5

    Christi Snow

    A rating. I loved this book!

  24. 5 out of 5

    LianaReads blog

    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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Bette Hansen

    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.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Rice

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Kate Meader's Rookie Rebels series just keeps getting better and better. I've been waiting for Gunnar Bond's story for a while. What happened to him and his family - referred to in previous books - is absolutely heartbreaking and I wondered what kind of woman would be able to, if not cure his broken heart - because who could do that after such devastation - but at least blast him out of the deep well of grief and guilt and bring him back to the world of the living. Enter Sadie Yates, put upon bi Kate Meader's Rookie Rebels series just keeps getting better and better. I've been waiting for Gunnar Bond's story for a while. What happened to him and his family - referred to in previous books - is absolutely heartbreaking and I wondered what kind of woman would be able to, if not cure his broken heart - because who could do that after such devastation - but at least blast him out of the deep well of grief and guilt and bring him back to the world of the living. Enter Sadie Yates, put upon big sister of a promising kid hockey player who has signed up for summer training camp, which Gunnar has reluctantly agreed to coach. Sadie is an absolute joy of a heroine, snarky, witty, hurt but brave who has a ton of issues of her own - an inferiority complex thanks to her asshat of a dad, a completely dysfunctional relationship with her younger half-sister (the promising hockey kid) who she is now the sole guardian of, a boss who makes Ivanka Trump look low maintenance, even a dog with serious pooping problems (the moment when it gets locked in her car is laugh out loud funny!) the list goes on and on... So when Gunnar gets all up in her face about her parenting skills - thanks to some deliberate stirring by her sister - the heat is on... And then ON! But what neither of them know in a delicious You've Got Mail style twist, is that they are actually text pals, thanks to the fact that Gunnar had been texting his dead wife's number and the number had been given to someone else three years after her death thanks to 'fucking AT&T' and so Sadie answered... Sadie figures out the truth first, but then what should she do, because she was falling in love with her text guy Lonelyheart... And she can't stand this arrogant hockey pro? This book was an absolute joy to read, funny, emotional, heart-breaking and heart-warming and so hot it burned. Everything a Kate Meader book should be really, so no surprise there. What I particularly liked though, was that it dealt so honestly and openly with Gunnar's grief. Losing his wife and twin toddlers in a car accident - for which he ofc blames himself - is so traumatic that it is not going to be cured by either a great shag or a good woman - even though Sadie is absolutely wonderful. And Meader doesn't shy away from that. The moment when Gunnar finally talks about what happened in that car is so touching and devastating, it's hard to read, but it should be and I salute Meader for her courage here... And the courage of her two characters. I read this book in a couple of days, I seriously could not put it down... And now I'm already waiting for the next instalment, although how the heck Meader will top this story I don't know - but I already have Foreplayer on pre-order so I expect to find out. Highly recommended.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Christie

    3.5 stars Ehh I don’t know how I feel about this one. Part of me wants to give this 5 stars because I LOVE the texting trope coupled with the damaged hero thing, but I wasn’t thrilled with how the romance actually played out. So I liked how Gunnar and Sadie met and how the author tried to tackle the topic of a man finding love again after losing his wife and children in a tragic accident. The banter and dislike to love element between them when they met in person was fun too. I also really enjoyed 3.5 stars Ehh I don’t know how I feel about this one. Part of me wants to give this 5 stars because I LOVE the texting trope coupled with the damaged hero thing, but I wasn’t thrilled with how the romance actually played out. So I liked how Gunnar and Sadie met and how the author tried to tackle the topic of a man finding love again after losing his wife and children in a tragic accident. The banter and dislike to love element between them when they met in person was fun too. I also really enjoyed the plot focused on Sadie taking guardianship of her tween sister. I love books that focus on family dynamics, especially difficult ones like in this case. The main problem I had with this book was that I wasn’t convinced that Gunnar loved Sadie more than his dead wife. The part of the book where Gunnar and Sadie enter into a relationship of sorts didn’t really feel enough because it felt overshadowed by a LOT of scenes with various side characters. That was reinforced when the epilogue is in the form of a message Gunnar writes to his deceased wife which literally ends with “I’ll love you forever.” That made me so mad because while of course I get he will always love her, leaving the book in that way just reinforced that she will always be more important to him than Sadie, and I really don’t want to be reminded of that in what is supposed to be a romance between Gunnar and Sadie. The overabundance of side characters is another issue I had with this book - I kept losing track of who was who - but I’ll put that down to not having read the prior books in this series. Not really the authors fault, though I think it could have been toned down a little. I was originally going to rate this 4 stars but writing this review has made me realise how annoyed I was by that epilogue, so I’m settling on 3.5 stars. Not an entirely successful read for me, unfortunately, but overall I did enjoy it, just not a new favourite.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pj Ausdenmore

    Kate Meader infuses her books with steamy romance, complicated relationships, sharp banter, perfectly-timed humor, and a whole lot of heart. She brings her characters to life and is not the least bit hesitant to delve deeply into their emotions, and my own. Man Down is the newest story in her Rookie Rebels hockey world (but can be enjoyed as a standalone) and, for me, one of the best she's written. Grief is a difficult subject to write about without allowing its darkness to overwhelm the story, w Kate Meader infuses her books with steamy romance, complicated relationships, sharp banter, perfectly-timed humor, and a whole lot of heart. She brings her characters to life and is not the least bit hesitant to delve deeply into their emotions, and my own. Man Down is the newest story in her Rookie Rebels hockey world (but can be enjoyed as a standalone) and, for me, one of the best she's written. Grief is a difficult subject to write about without allowing its darkness to overwhelm the story, while still giving it its due. Meader walks that line with sensitivity and finesse. She doesn't soft pedal Gunnar's unimaginable grief in this book, especially in his texts, as well as the series of flashbacks leading up to the accident three years ago that claimed his family's lives (keep the tissues handy), but while parts of the book are very sad, she expertly tempers that sadness with humor, hope, and a whole lot of sizzle. Sadie's presence in his life slowly brings Gunnar back into the light with an unexpected opportunity to love again. Though that path is not an easy one to travel. Sadie's journey is no less emotional, her evolution no less profound. I was in her corner, cheering her on as she navigated the twists and turns of her complicated family and professional life while at the same time trying to figure out exactly where Gunnar fit into that life. If he did at all. I laughed. I cried. I loved these two so much and I highly recommend their story.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Beautiful and poignant Kate Meader's Man Down is a story of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel. Haunted by his past and yearning for a future Gunnar Bond was broken but not irreparable. Kate Meader in her winding logic managed to find a way to join together a group of people with missing pieces making them whole again. Sadie was kind, witty and tried her hardest even at her lowest points. Gunnar and Sadie were fixers and despite their scars these two big-hearted characters reached beyond thei Beautiful and poignant Kate Meader's Man Down is a story of hope at the end of a very dark tunnel. Haunted by his past and yearning for a future Gunnar Bond was broken but not irreparable. Kate Meader in her winding logic managed to find a way to join together a group of people with missing pieces making them whole again. Sadie was kind, witty and tried her hardest even at her lowest points. Gunnar and Sadie were fixers and despite their scars these two big-hearted characters reached beyond their sorrow to help others, which in itself was an admirable trait but was extremely likable as well. Out of their individual tragedies these two were able to bring each other out of their protective shells and their journey toward each other and happiness made for a wonderful romance. A great secondary cast rounded out this story. Kate Meader's writing is sensitive and mindful without being overprotective of her portrayals. Bad things may happen but this author guides her work with kindness and humor for stories that are unmistakably her own and never superficial. With a nice twist on the frenemies trope Ms. Meader kept this story interesting and her readers invested. In Man Down Kate Meader adds another couple to her Rookie Rebel's roster that readers will find it impossible not to fall in love with! *I was given an advanced copy. All opinions expressed are my own.* *While part of a series this book can be read as a stand alone.*

  30. 4 out of 5

    Leah

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I really wanted to love this book but I found that 99% of the book was them avoiding their feelings, her dad,boss and little sister being total jerks to her, and Sadie just accepting it all. I had a really hard time connecting with Sadie at all. Then suddenly they all got their HEA. Sadie was a real doormat, and I can understand some acceptance but everyone was rubbish to her right until the end. I think I expected her to be more empowered. The writing is still brilliant, and up until this book I really wanted to love this book but I found that 99% of the book was them avoiding their feelings, her dad,boss and little sister being total jerks to her, and Sadie just accepting it all. I had a really hard time connecting with Sadie at all. Then suddenly they all got their HEA. Sadie was a real doormat, and I can understand some acceptance but everyone was rubbish to her right until the end. I think I expected her to be more empowered. The writing is still brilliant, and up until this book I have have really loved this series, but I really struggled to like the lead character.

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