Review: Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo


Title: Falling for the Backup

Author: Toni Aleo


May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:


After serving as a dutiful bridesmaid in the wedding from hell, Aynslee Shaw just wants to slink home to Nashville and forget the whole trip. That is, until the hottest guy she’s ever seen is seated next to her on the flight and dazzles her with his easy laugh and killer smile. But just when she thinks things are getting good, he vanishes, leaving Aynslee wondering, was that guy the one? And did she just let him slip through her fingers?
Former superstar goalie Jordan Ryan is back on the ice—finally. After a crippling knee injury that had him wondering if he’d ever play pro hockey again, he’s got his full attention on rebuilding his career. So a pretty—okay, beautiful—girl on a plane shouldn’t be a distraction. But Jordan is very, very distracted. And when Aynslee crosses his path again, he’s not sure any job in the world is worth missing his second chance with a woman like her.
Includes a special message from the editor, as well as an excerpt from the Loveswept title Empty Net.


This novella did not work for me, and judging from the ratings on GoodReads, I am definitely in the minority in regards to this title.  I wanted to read Falling for the Backup because it’s a sport romance with hockey, and I love hockey.  How can I not? I’m from Detroit, and hockey is in our blood.  What else is there to look forward to in the middle of the long, dreary winters?  Why, the battle for the Stanley Cup is about all that keeps us from falling into a bleak, seasonal depression.

Jordan Ryan is a goalie for the Assassins, but after an injury that almost ended his career, he’s gone from superstar to backup.  Frustrated with his life, he’s watched his career go down the toilet, his fiancée left him when he was at his most vulnerable, and now he’s warming the bench for a hotshot youngster who’s taken his position, as well as the all of the glory that goes with it.  Desperate to play again, he’s shopping himself around the league with his father’s help.  His father is his agent, and he’s adamant that Jordan stay on the straight and narrow and that he doesn’t do anything to jeopardize a contract offer from another team.  Easy enough.  Jordan’s only interest in life is getting back on the ice full-time.

Until he meets Aynslee on a flight home to Nashville.  After he accidentally dumps a cup of coffee on her dress, Aynslee can’t keep her eyes, or her mind, off of Jordan.  She thinks they have a connection, but after disembarking, he takes off with a curt good-bye.  No phone numbers are exchanged, and Aynslee is confused.  And disappointed.  How could the most breathtaking guy she’d ever seen take off without even getting her number.  Ugh!

When they continue to bump into each other, Jordan finally gives in and allows Aynslee to sweep him off his feet.  The timing stinks because he’ll be leaving town once he signs with a new team, but he lets her know up front that they aren’t, and can’t be, a long term thing.  Aynslee goes along, willing to put her worries about their breakup in the back of her mind.  She’s sure that Jordan will change his mind and that they will figure out a way to stay together.

Why didn’t this work for me?  Because Jordan and Aynslee are obviously meant to be together, but Jordan is too caught up in himself to even think of asking Aynslee to go with him to his new team.  He’s convinced himself, without asking her, that she’s got a perfect life, with perfect friends, in Nashville, and that she would never consider moving.  This just frustrated me, because after dismissing a long distance relationship because they never work out, he is resigned instead to breaking up with the love of his life and moving off to reestablish his glory on the ice.  Aynslee isn’t much better, because she can’t seem to discuss their impending breakup, either.  She’s just content with the way things are, and she has faith that things will work out, without any effort on her part.

The other aspect of the novella that bothered me was that both characters acted too young for their ages.  Jordan is in his early thirties, but his behavior was closer to a guy in his early twenties.  Sure, his confidence has taken a few knocks after losing his starting position and after getting dumped by his girlfriend, but it was like he reverted to a much younger version of himself, and I just couldn’t buy into that. 

This is a quick, steamy read, and you can get beyond the contrived conflict, it will make a great beach read.

Grade:  C-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Geri Krotow, Author of Navy Orders

Please give Geri Krotow a warm welcome! She’s visiting the virtual offices to chat about her latest release Navy Orders.  This is a Harlequin published under their Super Romance imprint.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Geri Krotow ] I’m a romance novelist who loves to intertwine historical and contemporary plots whenever I can, and throw in a dead body as needed.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Navy Orders?

[Geri Krotow ] Ro and Miles met in the first Whidbey Island book, Navy Rules. Ro is a naval intelligence officer who’s had her heart broken and focuses entirely on her career to keep her self-confidence. Miles is a wounded vet (a leg amputee) but you’d never know it by his hard-charging enthusiasm for life. Miles has tried to date Ro with no success until the suspicious death of a sailor brings them together in an investigation that proves dangerous for both of them.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?

[Geri Krotow ] My editor suggested I come up with a Navy series, given my background as both an active-duty officer and Navy wife. Navy Rules was the first book, where Miles and Ro initially showed up in my writing. As I continued to write that first novel, Ro and Miles stayed with me, and I knew they needed their own story. I like to write about military heroes and heroines who go on to do great things no matter their war-time injuries.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Ro?

[Geri Krotow ] Dynamic, intelligent, sexy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Miles had a theme song, what would it be?

[Geri Krotow ] A/C D/C Back in Black

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name one thing Ro is never without.

[Geri Krotow ] Her running shoes–she loves to work out, tied with her knitting needles–she knits chemo caps for charity (and that’s why there’s a free knitting pattern in the end of the book, donated by Delaware Head Huggers).

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Mile’s bedroom?

[Geri Krotow ] A television, computer or flowers. He’s all the entertainment you need!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Ro’s greatest regret?

[Geri Krotow ] Not breaking up with her ex sooner.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Geri Krotow ] Great stories told by good writers–on the page or screen, inspiring art (I miss living in Europe for this reason, art is everywhere there), other artists that I am blessed to know. I have to add music in here–whether it’s the Goo Goo Dolls or Tchaikovsky, music takes my imagination to places like no other medium.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Geri Krotow ] 1. Solitude, be it in my office, on my patio, or in a coffee shop where no one knows me. 2. A clear mind–doing morning pages as recommended by Julia Cameron takes care of this. 3. Belief in my story. 4. Cappuccino is nice, too.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Geri Krotow ] A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Geri Krotow ] Dr. Seuss’s The Cat in the Hat (1st grade)

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Geri Krotow ] Read, knit, work in my garden (kind of), walk, hang with my dog, avoid getting bit by my parrot.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Geri Krotow ] I have a website



Twitter @gerikrotow

Pinterest  Geri Krotow

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

Purchase link:

About the book:

Falling in love is not an order

After a romantic betrayal, naval lieutenant commander Roanna Brandywine doesn’t trust anyone the way she used to. When a chance encounter brings chief warrant officer Miles Mikowski into her life, she’s intrigued. But Ro has spent so long focusing on her career, she resists the attraction.

Miles has had his own share of trauma, but it’s taught him that life is short and he has to go after what’s important to him. Then, unexpectedly, they’re ordered to investigate a sailor’s suicide. They must rely on each other as they discover that his death is not as straightforward as it seems. During their investigation, they acknowledge the chemistry between them, but the real question is whether there’s trust…and maybe even love.

About the author:

Geri Krotow is a U.S. Naval Academy Graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer. She’s travelled and lived all over the globe, from Whidbey Island, Washington State, to Moscow, Russia. She has even seen the North Pole while on a mission she can’t talk about. An award-winning author, Geri is the author of the Whidbey Island Series for Harlequin Romance, highlighting the loves and lives of military families who live on an island in Puget Sound. Her July 2013 release, NAVY ORDERS, includes a free knitting pattern for a chemo or traumatic brain injury hat, donated by Delaware Head Huggers. Geri is thrilled to finally be settled in Central Pennsylvania, USA, after 13 moves in 26 years.