Monthly Archives: July 2015

Review: Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Him by Kennedy and Bowen

Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Him is the story of two hockey players, both on the verge of graduating from college and entering the adult work force for the first time in their lives. They both believe they are destined for hockey greatness, but as they reconnect, dreams and destinies start to change a bit.

Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley were best friends all throughout their summers at hockey camp. They did everything together, including numerous hijinks and practical jokes. They also did EVERYTHING in the bedroom, or at least, started to. And that is what ends their friendship, though Jamie does not understand it at all. He just knows that his best friend stopped talking to him cold turkey, with no real reason that he can tell. When they meet again at the hockey national championships in college, they reconcile, a bit anyway. Ryan (aka “Wes”) wants one more chance to reconnect with Jamie before he is off to Canada and his first chance as a NHL player. Back to camp he goes and soon, sexual feelings are growing again between these two.

The feeling of leaving a book completely satisfied and happy for the characters is increasingly rare for me. But Him does it completely. This is the best kind of m/m romance. MUCH hot sex but strong character development too. I loved the dual point of view, hearing from both Jamie and Wes about the complications in their relationships, and the feelings they inspire in each other.

I also really, really liked the setting. Lake Placid and their hockey camp was just a lot of fun to read about. It was very inspiring seeing these two talented men inspire and work with teen boys to build their skills. The hockey knowledge of the authors is impressive and truly built a detailed setting in my head as I was reading. I’d love to visit the Lake Placid area some day now. The local tourist bureau should hire Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy to do some promo for them because I’d visit if I could see hot hockey players!

Wes and Jamie are the stars of this book and it shows as their characters develop throughout the story. Jamie is incredibly confused about his sexuality because to say he likes being with Wes is an understatement. Jamie also acknowledges that breasts still work for him though. There are numerous reviews of this book on Goodreads gushing about the characters and I honestly agree. Jamie and Wes are just great. They both still have their fuck-up moments but I truly feel like they grew with each other during their time at camp. Wes in particular is sometimes a cocky guy about his talents but around Jamie, the image that Wes was forced to project could be wiped away and he could just be himself, safe with his best friend and lover. It was really comfortable for them together.

Him proved to be everything I craved and needed in a m/m romance with a hockey backdrop. Vulnerability, joy, strength, intense sex, and blazing emotions. Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy got it exactly right in this book. This is a collaboration that works on every level and the reader is the true winner here because we get to enjoy an outstanding story.

Him is available tomorrow, July 28, at all e-retailers. I’ve got my finished copy pre-ordered and can’t wait to read it again.

ARC provided by authors for review.

Other reviews of Him:

The Bookpushers review Him

Will Read for Feels reviews Him

Three Girls & A Book Obsession reviews Him

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Review: The Taming of the Billionaire by Jessica Clare

The Taming of the Billionaire by Jessica ClareAh Jessica Clare, I continue to worship at the feet of your books. I will admit, I forgot The Taming of the Billionaire was on my Kindle but then I was randomly trying to find a new book to read and boom, there it was! And I am so glad I picked it up. The story begins, as many a great romance do, with Edie, a cat behaviorist, getting angry after overhearing a conversation between a group of groomsmen talking about the bride’s “cat lady” friends. The worst offender in her opinion is Magnus. And of course, she has to sit next to him at dinner.

Magnus isn’t happy to have to be around Edie either. She lives up to the imagined stereotype of man-hating, cat lady in his mind. Unfortunately, his younger brother, Levi, is madly “in love” with Edie’s sister, Bianca. Levi wrangles Magnus into helping him with his courtship by keeping Edie occupied. Now, this starts a dangerous path for me as a reader because I don’t like stories where relationships begin on a lie. BUT I kept reading and I am glad I did.

Edie does not believe Magnus truly is attracted to her, at least not at first. But after a few dates with him, she is convinced otherwise and well, she likes him right back. While the lie that started their relationship continues for a bit longer than I prefer in my romances, I did genuinely like Magnus and Edie together. Edie is just fabulous. She has bad knee pain but does not let it control her life and does her best to not be seen as an invalid. She also happens to be an amazing cat behaviorist (I learned a few good things about cats while reading this book), she owns her own business, she is an independent and bold woman. Those qualities that Magnus initially disliked in Edie when he did not know her, were the same qualities that made him fall in love with her. He is impressed with her knowledge of cats (it greatly helps his experiences with his own two cats, Lady Cujo and Lady Daredevil), he likes that she is opinionated and knows what she wants with her life. Yes, she is a bit uncomfortable with the differences in their income (Magnus is a billionaire video game inventor and producer) but she is impressed with what he has accomplished.

Me? Well I just love how Magnus fully embraces EVERYTHING about Edie. Jessica Clare does a great job of making cat-lady stereotypes into good things. Except for at the very beginning of the book, it is clear that Magnus respects everything about Edie. And so does the author. The stereotypes of cat ladies that I cannot stand (being a cat lady myself) were not over emphasized in this book, rather, they were turned upside down to show all the awesome things about Edie.

AND THE SEX. Oh yes, this is a Jessica Clare book. It is STEAMY and fabulous. Yes, the sex is hot, but the emotions I felt coming from Magnus and Edie were sincere. (Especially when compared to their siblings, Levi and Bianca, respectively, who were incredibly fake). If there is one small thing I could have wished for this book, is that Edie had been named Bianca. It just seems like Edie is the easy name choice for a cat lady. That small qualm aside, I loved this book so much. The ending in particular is near perfection for this couple. Perhaps a bit too sappy for some readers, but it worked for me.

Jessica Clare’s books are always entertaining and The Taming of the Billionaire is no different. This book is high on romance, laughs and character appeal.

The Taming of the Billionaire is available today! Get your copy now. Really worth it if you’ve enjoyed Jessica Clare’s previous Billionaire books.

ARC provided by publisher for review.

Other reviews:

Fiction Vixen reviews The Taming of the Billionaire

My Book Shame reviews The Taming of the Billionaire

Book Gannet reviews The Taming of the Billionaire

Review: Simmering Ice by Veronica Forand and Susan Scott Shelley

Simmering Ice by Forand and Scott ShelleySimmering Ice is the second book in the Atlantic City Hustlers series which features, of course, a hockey team! (As you can tell I definitely love hockey romances. Have I made that clear?). I’ve never read anything by this author duo and while I liked this book somewhat, I’m not sure if I will continue with the series.

Alec and Annie have a strong attraction to each other, but they are not sure if they are ready to try a relationship. Alec has not been ready for a new relationship since the death of his wife. He has had short affairs and been happy enough with that. Somehow though, Annie gets under his skin. He loves her competitive nature, her athleticism and the easy rapport between them. Unfortunately, Annie has fairly low self-esteem. Her mother makes her feel awful about herself time and time again (and that was frustrating to see happen). Annie never stands up to her, even when Alec professes his feelings to her.

There were some great things about this book. I really enjoyed the basketball scenes between Alec and Annie. It’s one thing to say a character is athletic but another thing to show it entirely, especially a female character in a romance. Annie really was athletic and her joy in playing basketball and taking care of her body was a really positive element to this story. It’s no wonder Alec admired this quality about her, I did too! On the other side of Annie’s character, I became frustrated with how often she looked down on herself and believed her mother’s cruel words. I know she has had several bad experiences with men but given how well she connected with Alec, I was hoping that would prove to be a way to stand up to her mother.

Alec was fairly generic in terms of a hockey hero. He was great on the ice. He really liked Annie. He does own a cat which I found charming. But overall, he didn’t quite stand out for me as much as Annie and her struggles did.

Overall, I found this story a slow starter and then, a very quick wrap-up. I wanted to see more of Annie and Alec’s courtship and see how some of her fears (not just her mother’s ideas, but that Annie noticed the income disparity between herself and Alec) better addressed. I liked elements of this story but it didn’t quite come together for me as a fully realized love story. However, since it is currently only $0.99 on Amazon for Kindle, I would recommend giving it a try and seeing for yourself. It has a very authentic feel when it comes to the hockey scenes which adds nicely to Alec’s character. This is a book that hockey romance reader may just want to dive into headfirst. You can find out more about Simmering Ice on the Entangled website.

ARC received from publisher for review.

Other reviews of Simmering Ice:

Bookaholics Not-So-Anonymous reviews Simmering Ice

Cocktails and Books reviews Simmering Ice

The Sassy Bookster reviews Simmering Ice

Cover Reveal: HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

It’s here, it’s here! Yell it from the windows, the cover for Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s New Adult m/m hockey romance is here! Check it out:

Him by Kennedy and Bowen

Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

Him releases July 28, so it’s coming up! Here is the oh so tantalizing blurb:

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

I am a big fan of these writers and I cannot wait to see what they do when they work together. Something tells me it will be fabulous. And hey, maybe you should add it to Goodreads, just to show how excited you are to read it!

You can learn more about these authors at any of their various social media sites. I have to say, I don’t sign up for a lot of newsletters or “like” too many authors on FB anymore but both of these writers have been worth it because I just love learning what projects they have coming up.

Sarina Bowen

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Elle Kennedy

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I will leave you with two small teasers. Until July 28!

Him2

HIM1