Book Review: The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller

Posted January 22, 2024 by meezcarrie in Book Review, Carolyn Miller, Christian, contemporary, romance / 3 Comments

The Love Penalty book review

The Love Penalty by Carolyn MillerTHE LOVE PENALTY by Carolyn Miller
Northwest Ice Division #2

GENRE: Contemporary Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Independently Published
RELEASE DATE: January 25, 2024
PAGES: 364

Sometimes there’s a hefty price to pay when two opposites attract…

With her fondness for tattoos and spider jewelry Sylvie Miles is used to being pre-judged and misunderstood. She has friends and connections but she still feels alone, and works several jobs while daydreaming about finding a guy who sees further than skin deep and won’t shy away from her battered heart. So when a hot pro hockey player with a smile as vast as his skills takes a shine to her what’s a poor girl to do but fall in love?

Ryan Guillemette sure wasn’t looking for romance in a bookstore in his hometown but quickly becomes intrigued by the sassy Goth-like assistant with a snarky way with words. When an accidental kiss proves dangerously addictive she soon becomes embedded in his heart. But even as the romance heats up he’s torn as she’s not following God. Can these two opposites make a match or should he call a permanent time out?

These two are about to learn that those who play with fire get burned, and there’s a hefty price to pay for forbidden attraction. The Love Penalty is the second book in the Northwest Ice Christian hockey romance series, and can be read as a standalone, and is perfect for fans of Becky Wade, Courtney Walsh, and Susan May Warren.


Other Books In This Series

Hot hockey player hero? Check.

Unique heroine? Check.

Swoonilicous kisses? Check.

Beautiful redemption? Check.

Time spent with fave characters? Check.

In short, The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller checked all the boxes for me when it comes to contemporary romance!

We’ve met Sylvie a couple of times already in the Original Six Hockey universe, and each time she’s drawn my curiosity. She’s a great friend to Bree and really good with kids, but also she seemed broken, as though she were hiding deep pain behind the edgy wardrobe and tattoos. As we truly dig down into all her layers in this book, I found that she’s clearly softer and more tenderhearted – and more vulnerable – than her exterior conveys. She IS hiding emotional pain as well as a desire for the kind of unconditional love she was never shown or modeled growing up. I loved how multidimensional Miller has made this heroine, and I really enjoyed getting to know Sylvie better on these pages. My heart ached for her to know the truest Love – not the kind you can find in another person but the kind only God offers. Miller writes this aspect of Sylvie’s story so tenderly, using characters who show her the love & grace of Jesus in action.

Ryan is the kind of hero who is easy to fall in love with, so it’s no wonder that Sylvie falls so hard for him so quickly. He’s an ‘All-American’ guy (even though he’s Canadian lol), has a family who loves each other & Jesus, and he’s a godly young man who surrounds himself with other godly hockey players who hold him accountable … even when he wishes they wouldn’t. He isn’t planning to fall in love… and certainly not with someone who challenges his Christian convictions. But that accidental kiss and the passionate kisses that followed make it easy to save important conversations like faith and values for later. Until it becomes clear that they aren’t on the same page and something needs to change. To be honest, I wanted to purse whomp Ryan a couple of times, though the story itself does that better than I could. But he also was one of the few who looked beyond Sylvie’s carefully crafted walls to see her heart, and I loved him for it. The journey that Miller takes Ryan on in this book caused me to reflect on the times I’ve jumped ahead of God instead of seeking His wisdom and direction, and I ended up seeing a lot of myself in Ryan after all… even the parts I wanted to purse whomp him for haha.

Bottom Line: The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller is more than just a wonderful contemporary romance – though it’s certainly that. It’s also a beautiful story of redemption, of introducing a broken heart to the Heart Healer. I loved Sylvie and Ryan together and as individually layered characters, and I absolutely adored Ryan’s parents. The storyline quickly drew me in and kept me turning the pages, delighting in visits with familiar characters and enjoying the plot revolving around the current protagonists. I appreciated the clear presentation of the gospel and that Ryan wasn’t a ‘perfect’ Christian in contrast to Sylvie’s lostness. The flaws/sins in both characters spoke to me, and I am always a fan when grace takes the spotlight! A sweet love story that points to the true Source of love.

(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)

My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!

KissingBook Level: 4 / keep those fans and fainting couches handy

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Carolyn Miller

Carolyn Miller is a bestselling Australian author of historical and contemporary romance. A longtime lover of romance, especially that of Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer’s Regency era, Carolyn holds a BA in English Literature, and loves drawing readers into fictional worlds that show the truth of God’s grace in our lives. Her Regency novels include the nine books of the Regency Brides series and the Regency Wallflowers series. Her contemporary novels include those in the Independence Islands series and the Original Six hockey romance series.

Her stories have been described by Publishers Weekly as “a winsome exploration of life, love and faith” and witty “with snappy repartee that rockets off the page” (Library Journal). Readers enjoy these books that are humorous yet also deal with real issues, such as dealing with forgiveness, the nature of really loving versus ‘true love’, and other challenges. Her novels can be considered ‘inspirational’, and may appeal to readers of Christian fiction, who want stories of hope and redemption – with a twist of Aussie humour.

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What about you? What makes you want to read The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller?

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3 responses to “Book Review: The Love Penalty by Carolyn Miller

  1. DeAnna Dodson

    Ooooh! I love hockey, I love Christian romance, and I love Carolyn Miller’s books. Must read!

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