Review: Delayed Penalty by Shey Stahl

Saturday, November 22, 2014

I already wrote this review before I learned that Shey Stahl got involved in a plagiarism issue and all. She made a statement though that it wasn't true and the whole debacle but I didn't read it all. I just prefaced my review with this because I didn't know she faced plagiarism allegations. If I knew, I don't think I would have read the book if it was found to be true. Anyway, still, here's my review!

Delayed Penalty (Crossing the Line, #1)
Title: Delayed Penalty (Crossing the Line #1)
Author: Shey Stahl
Date of Publication: June 5, 2013

A minor penalty that is not called until the offending team gains control of the puck. As long as the non-offending team maintains possession, the referee allows play to continue and signals a delayed penalty by raising his arm.

I’m Evan Mason, an NHL hockey player for the Chicago Blackhawks. I spend my nights roughing up two hundred pound defensemen and, at times, spend more time in the penalty box than I do on the ice.

That’s my job.

One night changed everything I thought I once knew about my life on, and off, the ice.

A girl.

A brutally beaten girl left to die in an alley.
I don’t know why or how but something made me stay that night after taking her to the hospital. I didn’t know her, nor did I have an obligation to stay but something inside of me rooted me there telling me I should stay. Saving a life is worth something. At least I thought so. And I wouldn’t have been me if I just simply left her there.

Any man who put his heart and soul into a game of hockey couldn’t just walk away when someone needed them. She had no one else right now. The same guy who saw determination where there was desire, now saw hope where there was once despair.

I couldn’t leave. That wouldn’t be me. No, not a man that put all he had into something some called just a game. I couldn’t walk away from her holding onto life, weak and powerless to something she had no control over.

So I stayed. In a room full of family members praying for their loved ones to pull through, I prayed for a girl I didn’t know and had never met before, to have a beating heart. While others’ sorrows turned to grieving pain, I sat waiting on the words of the unknown.

No bond is stronger than the ones you’ll bleed for.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N


My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

This is the kind of book I would have loved if I read it a year ago. Alas, I've read a lot of new adult novels by now and I now know what makes me love a novel and not. And I am actually sad that I didn't love this novel as much as I thought I would.

I remember reading the first chapter of this more than a year ago in Shey's blog and I was squealing in the wee hours of the morning. I remember tweeting Shey again and again about it and that I want it to be released already. There was just something about that first chapter back then that made me so passionate about reading the whole book. (In recent times, this also happened with Amber Hart's Before You and I also ended up not loving it so maybe I should stop reading excerpts.) Then the book came out and I immediately bought it and started reading it. The animal that I am, I suck at delayed gratification so I was skimming to get all my giddy and fluttery feelings on. I remember stopping midway and said that this isn't right. That I should read the whole book and get into the world of hockey rather than just focusing on the romance. So I stopped. And I never got to reading it again until recently.

Sadly to say, I didn't change. I admit to only skim-reading this. I wouldn't actually call it skim-reading but I skip non-dialogue parts and I just gloss over most. I feel bad for doing it but it didn't start out that way. I was reading the book properly and then I started to notice how the writing wasn't winning me. The sports part was amazing, each chapter starting with a definition of a hockey term that was used or at least mentioned or is related to that chapter. It was also told in dual perspectives, which was always a plus for me. However, the words felt too simply worded for me. This and that. This happened. I felt this. I mean, the characters were ripe with emotions and all but the writing felt stunted and unfeeling. It took me away from immersing myself in the book because I couldn't pinpoint what exactly I didn't like with the writing but I just didn't like it. It didn't feel organic and it didn't feel like actual people were talking. That's just my opinion though.

Additionally, having read tons of new adult novels and quite a few of them having sexually harassed/abused characters, I knew all the plot arcs coming my way. Plus, the book relied heavily on coincidences and things like having the same birthday to make the reader feel that Evan and Amy were meant to be. Fine, maybe it's just me again and my cynical self but I found it too cheesy for my liking. Moreover, it wasn't only cheesy but it sounded preachy as well and that is not something cool for me.

Let's get into the characters. Thankfully, I love the characters. Evan has so much heart and he really is perfect for Amy. Amy's lightness was a breath of fresh air though. You'd thought that after the harrowing night she went through (which she can't remember), she'd be a timid and broken girl. I don't mean to make light of what happened to her and maybe it's because she doesn't remember that night, which made things probably quite easier on her. I was actually shocked at how forward she was and how it was Evan who was holding back and who kept on trying to slow down their relationship for them. Which made Evan all the more endearing because he has nothing on his mind but Amy. However, yes, this was a case of instalove and sometimes I question if Evan only has a messiah complex.

But all that thinking won't do you any good! Just focus on how Evan and Amy are just for each other. It didn't hurt too that this book was steamy and hot even if they're only making out. I mean, come on! How did you do it, Shey?

While I didn't love Delayed Penalty, I'd still recommend it to fans of contemporary romance, especially to those who love sports-infused one. I didn't have any clue about hockey before this but I wasn't lost at all and I appreciated how dedicated Shey Stahl was with keeping the sports part of the book.

About Shey Stahl

Shey Stahl is the author of the Racing on the Edge series. A USA Today Best Selling author, she's a native of the shady Northwest where she makes her home with her family. 

She's an avid World of Outlaws fan and on the weekends she can be found anywhere there's a dirt track.



  1. I have not read this yet. I've read her Racing on the Edge series last year and loved it! Awesome sport romance, I would have to agree with the writing though. Most authors struggle with the "showing" versus "telling"

    1. But if you've loved her other series, then maybe you don't have a problem with her writing. So still, try this one out! Thanks for stopping by!


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