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July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

picture of the bare upper back (kind of a side view) of a young woman with long dark hairThe Risk by Elle Kennedy, narrated by Teddy Hamilton & Virginia Rose – B+ I bought this on a Whispersync special a while ago. Teddy  Hamilton is one of my favourite male narrators and I’ve had some good experience with Virginia Rose before as well and $2.19 was a bargain I could not resist. Book 2 in Elle Kennedy’s Briar U series, which is in itself a spin-off of the Off Campus series set around the same college hockey team, The Risk tells the story of Brenna Jensen, the coach’s daughter and her secret relationship with star Harvard forward Jake Connelly. Jake and Brenna have smoking hot chemistry but it takes a while before they do more than smolder at each other – Briar and Harvard are deadly rivals on the ice and Brenna taking up with him is tantamount to treason. However, their chemistry cannot be denied, particularly when Jake may be able to help Brenna in her quest for an internship at Hockeynet, a cable TV channel devoted to all things hockey. Brenna is studying journalism (she wants to focus on sports) and is up against all sorts of misogyny in getting a chance. Jake agrees to help her out – one fake date in exchange for a real one and off we go.

The romance is great, very satisfying and very hot. I liked both Jake and Brenna. I especially loved how sex-positive they were with each other.

Stay by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

dark-haired, shirtless and very muscular man with tanned skin holding a black pit bull in his lap. The dog looks pretty content!Why I read it:  I’ve enjoyed the previous books in the series.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never even met?

Hailey Taylor Emery has a hunch that her favorite client at Fetch–an anonymous virtual assistant service–is actually hockey star Matt Eriksson.

Although it’s against the rules for her to check his file, she’s 95% sure she spends at least part of each day texting with her lifelong crush and catering to his every need. Still nursing a wounded heart thanks to her recent breakup, Hailey is perfectly content with some harmless online flirting…until she has to meet her client. Face to face. Cue: utter panic.

Matt Eriksson is no stranger to heartbreak. He’s still not over the destruction of his marriage, and it sucks to be the only guy on the team who knows the truth–that hockey and long-term relationships are a toxic mix. He barely sees his kids, and dealing with his ex makes him feel insane. The only person in his life who seems to understand is someone who won’t show her pretty face.

But it’s nothing that a pair of fourth row hockey seats can’t fix. Hailey can’t resist the offer. Matt can’t resist Hailey. Good thing he doesn’t have to. Fire up the kiss cam!

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I enjoy both of these author’s books separately and together. Him, Us and Good Boy have all been very successful reads for me. Stay didn’t quite hit the the heights of the previous books but I still ripped through it in only two nights and and liked it very much.

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

HimWhy I read it:  I was provided with a review copy via the authors.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  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.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Ryan “Wes” Wesley and Jamie Canning meet up again for the first time in four years at the NCAA Frozen Four Championship in Boston. They met at “Elites” a spiffy hockey training summer camp they both went to as kids.  Every year, Wes and Jamie hung out together at the camp in Lake Placid and their bond of friendship was strong. 

Wes is gay and out at college but preparing to head back into the closet, at least for a while, when he starts playing for a Toronto NHL team after graduation. He figures he will need to prove himself to the team before he can risk his sexuality becoming known.  His plan is to be celibate for a good long while. Not something he’s looking forward to.  At college, Wes didn’t hide his sexual orientation but he also didn’t flaunt it. It was kind of an open secret and apart from with one of his (straight) buddies on the team, it wasn’t discussed.

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