Review: "ICEBREAKER", by Deirdre Martin

Filed in Deirdre Martin , Review , The Danger Lover Posted on March 8, 2011 @ 12:00 pm 15 comments

Format Read: Mass Market Paperback purchased by reviewer.
Length: 304 Pages
Series: New York Blades Book #10
Release Date: February 1, 2011
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Formats Available: Mass Market Paperback, Kindle, Nook
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Book Depository,, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Powell’s, IndieBound, Chapters, Nook, Kindle

Book Blurb:

Good thing high-powered attorney Sinead O’Brien has a rule about never dating clients. Because Adam Perry, the newest star of the New York Blades—and her newest client—has her headed for the penalty box. If only she could prove he’s just another jock…

Adam’s been charged with assault after a borderline hit on another star player, but off the ice he’s a private, no-nonsense guy who knows the Blades are his last shot at Stanley Cup glory. Assembling her case, Sinead tries not to get distracted by Adam’s dazzling good looks or strong work ethic, but she quickly discovers that there’s a wounded man under that jersey, and she’s starting to fall for him—hard.

Now Adam’s having trouble focusing on the goal with Sinead in his sights. And Sinead is tempted to break her “no dating clients” rule. Can they play on their newfound feelings without penalties?

My Thoughts:

They say ice hockey is the Canadian pastime and as a living breathing Canuck whose earliest memories are Saturday nights parked in front of the tube with “The Game” tuned in and a Chinese Food dinner in front of her I would say “they” are probably right. I helped my dad run a pool for a group of friends and family who would estimate the winning goal spread. Closest guess won all. Then came the years shivering in cold arenas while our eldest son played rep hockey, and man I’m not going to detail that experience. My dad is long gone but my kids, particularly our eldest, continue to be rabid fans. I’m relating all this because I’ve not read a romance involving a hockey player before mainly because as you can tell I’ve pretty much had my fill of hockey over the years. And, to be perfectly honest, I find the violence that seems to permeate and has escalated in “The Game”, and become synonymous with what was at one time a great sport appalling.

So, when I picked up ICEBREAKER and saw the hero Adam Perry is a tough defenseman on the New York Blades hockey team, there was some eye rolling that ensued. However, thankfully I was pleasantly surprised.

Adam is a well respected veteran hockey defenseman who is known for his strong physical presence on the ice. He has been brought to the New York Blades as their new captain with hopes that he will inspire the team to improve following a lackluster showing in the previous season. Adam is known as a defensive defenseman, his specialty (considered a dying art) is the open-ice body check. He delivers this hit with such force and ferocity that more than one player has suffered a concussion. The play is perfectly legal within the rules of the game. Adam has one goal, to take the Blades to the playoffs and win the Stanley Cup. He is 35 years old and knows his years as a player are numbered. Adam is described as “taciturn”, and he certainly is that. He is a man of few words and doesn’t openly socialize with team mates until he gets to know them better. He is careful about choosing those he confides in, is a thoughtful man, driven and focused with respect to his career, he is however inwardly vulnerable for a very good reason.

Adam delivers a legal body check on an opposing team member which results in a concussion during an early season game. He is penalized, but as well wakes up to find he has been charged with assault causing bodily harm. There is some political wrangling at the heart of this charge which you will learn about if you read ICEBREAKER. Adam needs a good lawyer hopefully keep the case from going to trail, but more importantly to build a solid defense if he does end up in front of a jury. His team, the general manager, and coach are behind him and the team owners hire Sinead O’Brien, a lawyer who has earned her way to become one of the top female litigators in the city. Sinead is known for her ruthlessness.

“Sinead nodded thoughtfully. Six pairs of eyes were assessing her reaction to the information, especially Adam Perry’s. She looked at him. His expression betrayed nothing, which was curious. Usually defendants exhibited some level of anxiety. But there he sat, as unreadable as the sphinx. Sinead found it slightly unnerving.

“There’s footage of the hit?” she asked.

Welsh nodded. “Of course.”

Sinead put her pen down and looked around the table. “I would be happy to defend Adam,” she said, her eyes again drawn to him. No reaction to her statement, just that intense, inscrutable gaze. What was he feeling? Was he upset about the charges? In shock? Pissed? Brainless? She couldn’t tell.”

Icebreaker © Deirdre Martin

I thought Ms. Martin crafted a fascinating heroine in Sinead, on one hand she is a hardworking (workaholic), driven professional, who thrives on the challenge of building and winning the tough cases she is assigned. She has had to work twice as hard to prove herself and survive in the man’s arena of law and is, in fact, the only female lawyer at her firm. On the other hand her personal life is a train wreck, she has survived a miserable divorce, has probably one friend in the world, suffers insomnia and a has a litany of personal insecurities that cause her anxiety. I felt for Sinead, she is actually quite vulnerable and lonely. She does however, come from a tight knit Irish family whose warmth and generosity radiate from the pages.

In accepting Adam’s case, Sinead gradually learns that the man who she initially asessed as some meathead jock, is actually an intelligent multi-layered individual. She has to work to get to know him basically peeling away the layers to reveal the man beneath. When his lawyer begins to inquire about his personal background and history Adam is less then cooperative. Gradually they reach a common ground as Sinead, who is as private as Adam, starts to share tidbits of personal information with him. The sexual attraction and tension escalates over the course of the novel until they become lovers, which presents a whole new list of concerns for Sinead. The love scenes in this story are tastefully written and light with respect to eroticism. I will say, Adam is a passionate man and Sinead responds in kind. 😉

Ms. Martin developed strong secondary characters who all play integral roles in the story. Certainly, a stand out is Oliver Casey, Sinead’s colleague and best friend. Oliver, is a brilliant litigator, a WEAPON with a sharp sarcastic wit, a charming womanizer, who does have his own set of issues. If Ms. Martin writes Oliver’s story I would love to read it.

I enjoyed Ms. Martin’s intelligent, crisp prose, which is laced with witty dialogue. My only niggle was that I would like to have read more scenes showing Sinead in action as a litigator. There is one scene near the end of the novel where she shines through in this role and I enjoyed it very much. This story isn’t overburdened with hockey jargon or on ice plays, I found it to be very character driven. I also liked the conclusion of ICEBREAKER, Sinead and Adam’s HEA, while not conventional, is a very happy one.

If you enjoy an intelligent contemporary romance about two career driven people who meet under very unusual circumstances and find love and happiness you may like to give ICEBREAKER a try. This is the first Deirdre Martin novel I’ve read, and I had no problem following along even though it is the 10th story in her New York Blades series.

Deirdre Martin will be here at BLI tomorrow talking about her writing process & ICEBREAKER & there will be a giveaway so please stop by if you would like to. 🙂

I give “ICEBREAKER” 4 out of 5 bookies.


***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

About Lea

Lea is an animal loving, tree hugging vegetarian who lives in Toronto, Canada with her family, which includes three dogs. She is a prolific reader and has been blogging and reviewing since 2008. Lea is a contributor at the USA Today HEA Blog and an active member at Goodreads.

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Join the Discussion
  • Sabrina March 8, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    I really enjoyed the book and will definitely come back tomorrow to read more of Deirdre Martin.
    Her sports romances belong to my favourites because her characters are always so special.

  • Blodeuedd March 8, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    I enjoyed it too 🙂 Must read more of her books

  • Estella March 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I love sports stories!

  • Chris March 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    It is sort of over-the-top violent, but damn, those hockey players are sexy…

  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Hi Sabrina:

    I agree, Ms. Martin did develop some special characters for this story. I've actually talked to a couple of readers now who tell me she is a fav author.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hi B!

    I'll have to go over and read your review of this one. Sorry I've not been around much at all. Trying to keep my head above water.. lol

    Glad you enjoyed this one too.


  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    Hi Estella:

    If you like interesting well developed characters you will likely enjoy this one. 🙂


  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    *waving at Chris*

    I'm a very bad blogger these days. Sorry I've not been by the Casa to chat at all, I hope all is well with you!!

    Hockey players sexy? Well Adam certainly is, very sexy. ;0)

    In actuality, I don't know, it's that whole toothless thing that is kind of a turn off for me. LOLOL

    Thanks Chris, so much..

  • Chelsea B. March 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    I've been thinking about reading this one…. have heard mixed things…. I'll give it a try! As long as there is an HEA 🙂

  • Chris March 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Well, no, the toothless thing isn't sexy!! 😀

  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    Hi Chelsea:

    I really enjoyed it, I hope if you do read it you will too. Come by tomorrow, if you live in the USA or Canada, Ms. Martin is giving away a copy to one lucky commenter. 🙂

  • Lea March 8, 2011 at 6:13 pm

    LOL Chris!

    Yeah, there are very few of those guys that have any front teeth left by the time they are finished playing in the NHL. 😀

  • Mary G March 8, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Enjoyed your review Lea. I'm so glad you liked the book. Lucky you – there's a huge backlist of hers you get to read still. I like that Deirdre's books are all about the characters. Hockey is just the background and anyone can enjoy her books.

  • marybelle March 9, 2011 at 2:37 am

    I know nothing about hockey but I am willing to learn.

  • LSUReader March 9, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    I enjoy a good sports hero story. Although hockey isn't typically at the top of my list, I'm willing to try it. Thanks for the review.

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