Author: Elle Kennedy

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 20, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Us (Him, #2) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #2
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Him (Him #1)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: March 8, 2016
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 322
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

After reading Him, I immediately picked up Us. I proceeded to read it in one day. You guys know me…that rarely happens. Until the end of September I don’t even remember the last time I read a book in a day. The last book I remember reading in a day was Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Which was quite a feat, I have to say.

This book picks up exactly where Us left off. Wes and Jamie are in Toronto, living together as “roommates” although they’re really shacking up. fans myself These two are it. They are love. However it’s different this time around. See, Wes has to go back into the closet during his rookie season with his hockey team. He knows that coming out as gay could mess up his future. While he’s never been ashamed of who he is nor ashamed of Jamie, he will not risk his hockey career for anything.

Jamie has started coaching younger kids, which he loves. He did like playing hockey, but coaching is his niche. He loves the challenge of it and seeing the results. He would be completely happy with his life if he and Wes didn’t have to hide. The only sanctuary they have is their apartment. It’s only there that they can truly be themselves, be together, just be. Then one of Wes’ hockey teammates moves in upstairs. If Wes and Jamie didn’t think things could get worse, they were wrong.

This book is really about two people trying to be themselves and be together, but having to make a sacrifice for something that is important to them both. Wes hates being in the closet. He’s never been in the closet and he’s proud of who he is. He thought Jamie would be more afraid of coming out with him, but even he gets tired on the charade. They barely see each other due to Wes’ hockey schedule and the precious time they used to have at home continually gets interrupted by Blake, Wes’ teammate.

Then Jamie gets sick and all bets are off. Wes no longer cares if he’s dropped by the team because of the negative publicity. He will not leave Jamie alone in the hospital. It all comes out from there and both Wes and Jamie are relieved though they certainly wouldn’t have come out like that.

Jamie has a hard recovery. This was written incredibly well. Even men have a hard time. Even men can fall into a depression. The thing is that men think they should always be strong. Jamie can’t accept the fact that he’s physically weaker because of his illness. He doesn’t count on the depression either. What he does know is that he has to get away from Wes and he doesn’t even know why.

This part of the book was heartbreaking. They both were just wrecked. I just loved this book from beginning to end. I’m really excited to read Good Boy, which is Blake and Jess’ story. I found Blake incredibly annoying at the beginning, but I adored him by the end. He stuck with Wes and Jamie through everything, proving himself as one of their best friends. He was fantastic.

I highly recommend this series. It is amazing. Don’t pass it up because it’s m/m. If you’ve ever wanted to give m/m a try, this is the series to get started with. Seriously, get started.

Wes + Jamie = FOREVA.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Him

four-half-stars


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Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted November 19, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
Him (Him #1) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #1
Also in this series: Us (Him, #2), Us (Him, #2)
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: July 28, 2015
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: M/M
Pages: 360
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Ripped Bodice | Google Play Books
Goodreads
four-stars

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.

Warning: contains sexual situations, skinnydipping, shenanigans in an SUV and proof that coming out to your family on social media is a dicey proposition.

Due to the fact that I no longer have an aversion to first person, I decided to pick this book up. Elle Kennedy is my girl (although she doesn’t know it) and Sarina Bowen is Holly & Rowena’s (though I don’t think she knows it). This is seriously an ace writing team, so I was really excited to read this book. It’s the first m/m that I’ve read in sometime. I really decided to read it after I read Tracy’s review of Us. I just couldn’t not read it.

Ryan Wesley never expected to see Jamie Canning again. After becoming best friends a hockey camp over the summers when they were young, Wes ruined it the night he made an unforgivable bet with Jamie. Wes left camp and never looked back although he regularly regrets it. Even when he was eighteen, Wes know that Jamie was the only man for him. Problem with that was that Jamie is as straight as an arrow.

Fast forward several years and Wes and Jamie meet at the championship for college hockey. Seeing Jamie makes Wes realized that he didn’t just lose the man he loved, he also lost his best friend. He decides to apologize, which is something he should have done a long time ago.

Jamie never knew why Wes disappeared from his life. Hurt for the friend that he lost, Jamie is thrilled to see him again. He still doesn’t know why Wes left camp so suddenly. All they did was a little experimenting and Wes paid up on a bet. He doesn’t even consider that the bet could have been the reason Wes left and never spoke to him again. He was wrong.

Knowing he was going to lose Jamie for a second time, Wes makes a rash decision. He contacts the director of the very same hockey camp that he and Jamie went to as kids and offers to be a coach. Jamie goes back every summer to coach. All he wants to do is spend six weeks with the man he loves before he heads to Toronto and the NHL. It doesn’t even matter that Jamie doesn’t know it.

I found this book incredibly realistic. After a hot night between the sheets, Jamie grapples with his sexuality. He’s never been attracted to men, but he can’t stop what he feels for Wes. When their summer comes to an end, Jamie won’t let their time to be over. He loves Wes just as much as Wes loves him and nothing, not even Wes’ career is going to stand in the way of him being with the man he loves.

The book wasn’t as much about being gay as it was about finding your person. Wes was Jamie’s person. Jamie was Wes’ person. The fact that they were both men meant little to Jamie. He was a little naïve though. He didn’t realize how difficult it was for Wes to be out of the closet as a gay man. He soon finds out what Wes faces when he faces it himself. That’s still not enough to keep him away from Wes.

I loved Wes and Jamie. Loved them. They were truly meant for each other. Not just romantically, but as best friends. If you’re looking for a good m/m, this is your book.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5.

Him

four-stars


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Review: The Chase by Elle Kennedy

Posted September 6, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Chase by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Chase (Briar U, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Briar U #1
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: August 6, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 377
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Goodreads
three-stars

A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy

Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there’s no logical reason why I’m so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don’t usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I’m flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn’t help that he’s buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we’re roommates?

I suppose it doesn’t matter. Fitzy has made it clear he’s not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I’m not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I’m not about to start. I’ve got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realizes what he’s missing?

He knows where to find me.

The Chase is the latest contemporary new adult release by Elle Kennedy. I’ve been dying for Elle Kennedy to return to this world. I loved the Off-Campus series and I was so excited when I saw she was releasing Summer and Fitzy’s book. Although we met Fitzy in the Off-Campus series, this stands alone just fine.

Summer has been crushing on Collin Fitzgerald for a few months. A New Years Eve party gives her the perfect chance to see if their chemistry is everything she thinks it’ll be. When things go awry, she ends up kissing another hockey player, Hunter, instead. Her living plans fall through a couple weeks before she’s supposed to start at Briar U, and she ends up rooming with Fitzy, Hunter and one other guy, so things get pretty complicated. She and Fitzy are still dancing around each other, but Hunter makes it clear he’s interested..and how. Summer wants to like Hunter, but unfortunately it’s Fitz who has her attention.

Fitzy really wants Summer, but he doesn’t want to want her. He’s a quiet introvert, and someone like Summer who is always in the spotlight just isn’t for him. He keeps saying and doing the wrong thing with her, but somehow he can’t seem to stay away. When push comes to shove, can he stand his ground and be with someone like Summer? Or is it too late for them?

I really wanted to like this story. I went into it with high expectations, but in the end I was left feeling like the book was unfinished. There were too many open threads and unresolved plot-lines. More, I really disliked the love-triangle between Hunter, Summer and Fitz. I feel like Summer spent the majority of the book leading Hunter on, while Fitz lied about how the way was clear because he didn’t want her. The first time I read the book, I was glad Summer and Fitz got together, but I read it a second time and I couldn’t get over how poorly they both treated Hunter. As a friend, teammate and roommate, he deserved more from them.

I also felt like the sleazy professor bit was unfinished. Or maybe the final resolution was just unsatisfactory. I wish we’d seen the fallout of that on page. I also wish we’d seen more than just a lame apology from her adviser.

In terms of the romance, I really enjoyed Summer and Fitz together. The push-pull of their relationship was wonderfully done. I loved how different they were, yet how compatible for all that. I really liked that Fitz was a nerdy introvert. I also really liked Summer. Her ADHD was explained well, and I loved that she and her family were so close. The conversations between her and her parents had me cracking up. My heart also broke for her as she struggled with her self-confidence about her smarts. She was a confident woman in many aspects of her life, but the inferiority she felt because of her ADHD came across so well, my heart really went out to her. There’s so great humor in this book, too. Fitz and Summer kept getting interrupted during sex and I laughed out loud a couple times over it.

While I loved parts Fitz and Summer’s romance, the way they handled things with Hunter, coupled with the unfinished feel of other parts, sullied the story overall. Without that, I’d probably have given it a 4. As it is, I have to go with:

3.0 out of 5

Even so, I am looking forward to the next book in the series.

Briar U

three-stars


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Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Posted August 22, 2018 by Casee in Reviews | 4 Comments

Summer Reading Challenge Review: The Deal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Casee
The Deal (Off-Campus, #1) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off-Campus #1
Also in this series: The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Deal (Off-Campus, #1), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal (Off-Campus, #4)
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: April 9, 2015
Point-of-View: First
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 330
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Goodreads
five-stars

She's about to make a deal with the college bad boy...

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she's carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush's attention, she'll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice...even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date.

...and it's going to be oh so good

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he's worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he's all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn't take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn't going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

This book was fucking amazing. Ah-maze-ing. That’s right. Amazing.

I didn’t have high hopes after reading The Year We Hid Away. I should have had faith in Elle Kennedy though. Why? Because she’s Elle Fucking Kennedy. That woman knows how to write a book. I’m not usually into this “New Adult” crap, but after reading this book, I plan to continue to read every single thing that she has written thus far.

Garrett Graham is a star hockey player. He’s also misunderstood. No, he really is. Everyone sees him as the son of a Stanley Cup winner. They don’t understand how much his abusive childhood has affected him. Hell, even Garrett doesn’t fully understand how it has affected his every day life. That is until Hannah Wells comes into his life.

Garrett only needs Hannah to tutor him. If he doesn’t pull up his grade in Ethics, he will be suspended from the hockey team. Only Hannah tells him no, which shocks Garrett to no end. She isn’t impressed by him, him status or, well, him. At all. So he makes her a deal. He will help her get the guy she’s crushing on if she helps him bring his grade up. Win-win. Until he starts falling for her.

Hannah has her own demons. When she was fifteen, she was drugged and raped at a party. What came after is only the stuff of nightmares. She’s mostly dealt with everything, but she still has a little problem when it comes to sex. She can’t have an orgasm. After a few weeks of studying with Garrett and a seriously hot kiss, Hannah propositions Garrett. Which sounds sleazy, but it was anything but.

These two were just made for each other. Garrett comes to the realization that hockey isn’t everything. Hannah realizes how wrong she was about Garrett. He’s not just some dumb jock. This book is so damn funny. I was sitting on the beach, literally laughing my ass off and people were looking at me like I was insane. I didn’t care. I was enjoying the book too much. Any author that can make me laugh like that is a keeper in my book. So thank you, Elle Kennedy. I haven’t enjoyed a book this much in a long time.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Off-Campus

five-stars


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Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Posted January 2, 2018 by Holly in Reviews | 4 Comments

Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
Good Boy (WAGs, #1) by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: WAGs #1
Also in this series: Stay
Publisher: Rennie Road Books, Self-Published
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 269
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Goodreads
four-half-stars

Hosting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody - absolutely nobody! - can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.

Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor, and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

Caution: May cause accidental aspiration of tea or coffee. Do not read in a public place where loud laughter is inappropriate. Contains hot but hilarious hockey players, puppy cuddling and a snarky pair of underwear.

I somehow missed this series when it was first released. I ended up reading Stay first, then picking this one up recently when it was on sale (along with the audio) for the Kindle. I’m so sorry I skipped this one the first time around. Blake was hilarious. I loved him. I liked Jess, too, but Blake really stole the show. I thought, based on the way he acted in Stay, that he’d be manic and annoying. That wasn’t the case, though. He was just a big, lovable guy.

Blake and Jesse hooked up while they were taking care of Jess’s sick brother. Blake is anxious for a repeat, but Jess isn’t about it. Which just means he has to convince her. Since she’s maid of honor and he’s best man at her brother’s wedding, he has plenty of time.

Jess has always felt like the underachiever in her family. So telling them she wants to change careers – again – isn’t high on her list of favorite things to do. But she’s finally settled on nursing school and she’s feeling really good about it. Blake is a distraction she doesn’t need. When they’re living in the same city and she doesn’t know many people, it’s hard to avoid him. And let’s be honest..she doesn’t really want to.

This book was so good. As I said, I adored Blake. He was such a sweetheart. For all his talk of being a player, at his core he was a stand-up kind of guy. He’d do anything for his friends and often sacrificed his own happiness for those around him. Jess always felt inadequate next to her overachieving family. I liked how she came into her own. She gained confidence in herself and stopped worrying so much about measuring up to her family. Together they were wonderful. Great chemistry and a solid foundation. I couldn’t get enough of them.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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