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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.

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen, narrated by Teddy Hamilton & Dake Bliss

extreme close up of a picture of two shirtless guys laying down (should that be lying down?) about to kiss. The picture is off-centre so one face is in the top left and the other (what is visible at least) is in the lower rightWhy I read it:  I bought the book when it was re-released last year but hadn’t found time to read it. The audiobook is part of the #AudibleRomance package so I listened to it instead.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  The trajectory of the romance between Josh and Caleb in Goodbye Paradise is unusual for the genre. For one thing, they’ve known each other all their lives. There’s no meet cute. But the main difference is that they always love each other. We don’t see the development of those feelings, there is no courtship as such. Rather, the story is about how the two men reveal their existing love for one another and how they eventually come out into the open, showing that love to everyone by doing so.

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