Series: Off Campus

Review: The Goal by Elle Kennedy

Posted November 9, 2016 by Rowena in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Goal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Rowena
The Goal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #4
Also in this series: The Deal, The Score, The Score (Off-Campus, #3)

Publication Date: September 26th 2016
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 350
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads

She’s good at achieving her goals…

College senior Sabrina James has her whole future planned out: graduate from college, kick butt in law school, and land a high-paying job at a cutthroat firm. Her path to escaping her shameful past certainly doesn’t include a gorgeous hockey player who believes in love at first sight. One night of sizzling heat and surprising tenderness is all she’s willing to give John Tucker, but sometimes, one night is all it takes for your entire life to change.

But the game just got a whole lot more complicated

Tucker believes being a team player is as important as being the star. On the ice, he’s fine staying out of the spotlight, but when it comes to becoming a daddy at the age of twenty-two, he refuses to be a bench warmer. It doesn’t hurt that the soon-to-be mother of his child is beautiful, whip-smart, and keeps him on his toes. The problem is, Sabrina’s heart is locked up tight, and the fiery brunette is too stubborn to accept his help. If he wants a life with the woman of his dreams, he’ll have to convince her that some goals can only be made with an assist.

I feel like we’ve been waiting so long to finally get Tucker’s book. He’s been so absent from the other books and I’ve always wondered where the heck he spends his time away from the house. Well, we finally find out and the answer is…everywhere. He’s in his truck, hooking up with girls, crashing at Fitzy’s house and lately? Chasing one specific girl around.

He’s graduating soon and should be focusing on making some plans for after college, making arrangements to move back home to be closer to his Mom but he can’t seem to stay away from Sabrina James. Even after she rejects him soundly, he can’t stand away. Lucky for him, she can’t seem to stay away either.

Sabrina James is one smart cookie and she’s got plans for her future. She grew up knowing exactly what she wanted (a good paying job to get her out of the squalor that she grew up living in) and what she didn’t want (getting stuck in the squalor that she grew up living in). She’s so close to making those plans come to life so the very last thing she needs is a distraction and that’s exactly what Tucker is.

It took me a long time to read this book but honestly, that had more to do with my mood than the writing of this book because when I went back to it, I finished it up pretty quickly. I enjoyed the story, I adored Tucker and I came around where Sabrina was concerned so all in all, it was an enjoyable book but it’s not my favorite of the series.

John Tucker. This guy had me right from the jump. I love characters who know what they want and don’t waffle back and forth, giving me whiplash and Tuck was one of those characters. He was strong and charismatic and honest. He said what he meant and he meant what he said. There was no game playing where he was concerned. He knew that one of his friends had history with the girl he wanted so he made sure to go and talk to his friend about his intentions and I just about swooned over that whole thing. I loved his attitude toward Dean’s issues with his girl. His whole, “Deal with it” attitude. He made me swoon at every turn and I just absolutely loved the hell out of him.

Sabrina was a lot harder to take. It wasn’t her drive to succeed or her smart brain that turned me off but her attitude toward certain things that got on my nerves. Her hot and cold attitude toward Tuck in the beginning, her inability to take the help that is offered by those that care and love her and also her me against them attitude. Sure, she works hard at everything but the bitterness she shows toward those that had it better or easier than her (Dean, all the athletes, etc…) made it hard for me to like her. I wish she had been above all of that stuff, that she’d take pride in her accomplishments without the short cuts instead of spending so much time pissed off about shit that in the long run, didn’t matter. When she finally lets go of all that animonisity toward Dean, Tucker and everyone else, I liked her better. I thought she grew a lot throughout the book and I was glad for it.

I really enjoyed how much of a team these two were once they made the decision to be together. I loved that Kennedy didn’t let a set back change Sabrina’s course and I really loved how Tucker took to being a father.

Overall, this was a great effort by Elle Kennedy and another solid story for this series. I always love seeing the other characters and seeing them in this one wasn’t any different. I loved seeing Graham and Logan compete to be the baby’s Godfather. I also really liked seeing the girls welcome Sabrina into the fold. Dean coming out and fixing things with Sabrina made me smile and when the book ended, I was one happy camper.

I’m mighty curious to see if Elle Kennedy announces a spin off to this series featuring the next round of boys that moved into the house. I don’t want to leave this world so I’m hoping that happens.


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4 out of 5


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Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Posted August 3, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 3 Comments

Review: The Score by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Score (Off-Campus, #3) by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #3
Also in this series: The Deal, The Score, The Goal
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Pages: 361
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

He knows how to score, on and off the ice
Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.
It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over
Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

Dean wasn’t my favorite character in the previous books in this series. I didn’t dislike him, but I wasn’t dying for his story. I had mixed feelings when I saw this was to be his story, though that didn’t stop me from diving right in when I received the ARC.

Though he still isn’t my favorite character from the series, Dean really came to life for me. I loved how unapologetic he was about who and what he is. He grew up extremely rich, but there was no dysfunction in his family. They’re a tight-knit group who love and respect one another. He’s a playboy, sure, but it isn’t because he’s got some deep, dark secret lurking in his past. He just likes to bone. He’s had a few heartaches and frustrations in his life, but only a few. He’s laid back in the extreme and isn’t really passionate about anything. He liked hockey but had no plans to go pro, and honestly didn’t seem like he’d be too upset if he suddenly was unable to play. He did well in school and planned to attend law school like his father and older brother, but he wasn’t really invested in the idea. He was sort of just skating, and was totally content with that.

Of course, the downside to his causal approach to life was his lack of consideration for the trials and tribulations of others. Having never really been touched by hardship, he didn’t understand or accept it well.

Allie just ended a 3 year off-and-on relationship with Sean. She really loved him, but his refusal to support her dreams for the future made her realize how ill-suited they really were. She’s struggling with that to do with her future as is – focus on television and movie work in Hollywood or on-stage, more serious work in New York – and she doesn’t need the added stress of a boyfriend who doesn’t support her. She isn’t interested in casual sex, but she ends up having rebound sex with Dean the weekend she breaks up with her boyfriend. She’s filled with shame and self-recrimination over it and vows to never do it again. I really liked that Allie knew she wasn’t cut out for casual sex and chose not to indulge. I found her desire to be in a caring relationship realistic and, honestly, kind of refreshing. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m all for sexual liberation however that comes. I think women should be able to be as sexually free as men, with the slut-shaming that often follows. But there are women out there who aren’t interested in casual sex, and I’m glad to see that portrayed here. Allie wasn’t repressed or a prude. She was more than willing to get freaky and try out new kinks, she just wasn’t interested in trying those out with casual partners.

I found the main conflict to be a bit disappointing. I saw it coming from the very beginning, but I’d hoped Kennedy would take the story in a different direction. Though I understand it was necessary for his growth as a character, I would have liked to see that happen in a different way.

There was a good amount of humor in this book and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. On particular scene made me giggle like a schoolgirl, and I’m still snickering over it. There was also a good amount of depth and emotion.

I was surprised – and saddened – by the event that is the catalyst for Dean’s conflict (I’m trying not to spoil it). I’m not going to lie, I totally teared up.

Allie’s inner strength impressed me, and Dean’s slow slide into commitment was very satisfying indeed.

4 out of 5

four-stars


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Joint Review: The Score by Elle Kennedy

Posted January 15, 2016 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Score by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Score by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #3
Also in this series: The Deal, The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal
Published by Self-Published
Publication Date: January 11, 2016
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 350 pages
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

He knows how to score, on and off the ice

Allie Hayes is in crisis mode. With graduation looming, she still doesn’t have the first clue about what she's going to do after college. To make matters worse, she’s nursing a broken heart thanks to the end of her longtime relationship. Wild rebound sex is definitely not the solution to her problems, but gorgeous hockey star Dean Di-Laurentis is impossible to resist. Just once, though, because even if her future is uncertain, it sure as heck won’t include the king of one-night stands.

It’ll take more than flashy moves to win her over

Dean always gets what he wants. Girls, grades, girls, recognition, girls…he’s a ladies man, all right, and he’s yet to meet a woman who’s immune to his charms. Until Allie. For one night, the feisty blonde rocked his entire world—and now she wants to be friends? Nope. It’s not over until he says it’s over. Dean is in full-on pursuit, but when life-rocking changes strike, he starts to wonder if maybe it’s time to stop focusing on scoring…and shoot for love.

Warning: We included spoilers, but they’re hidden under the tag. Click at your own risk!!

Holly:  I really loved this story. Though he still isn’t my favorite character from the series, Dean really came to life for me over the course of the story. I loved how unapologetic he was about who and what he is. He grew up extremely rich, but there was no dysfunction in his family. They’re a tight-knit group who love and respect one another. He’s a playboy, sure, but it isn’t because he’s got some deep, dark secret lurking in his past. He just likes to go to the “bone zone”. He’s had a few heartaches and frustrations in his life, but only a few. He’s laid back in the extreme.

Rowena: ​I really loved this one too.

I was surprised by how much I loved this one because I thought Dean was a crackhead and I wasn’t prepared for how much I would come to love him. I mean, he wasn’t as on my radar as Logan was before I started The Mistake, but boy did Elle Kennedy make me sit up and take notice of Dean in this one. I may not have been a big Dean fan before this book but I just might be the President of the Dean fan club now.

Holly: Dean is a totally unapologetic man-whore. He likes sex and refuses to apologize for liking it with as many partners as possible. He knows Allie is off limits because she’s Hannah’s best friend, but when they both give in to temptation one night and she completely rocks his world, he can’t stop thinking about her.

Rowena: They were really good together. I liked that Dean was bothered by Allie and Sean. I was so used to him sleeping with different girls every night, with no repeats that seeing him imprint on Allie was cute at the same time that it was hilarious. When Beau calls Allie, Bella and Allie gets all pissy…haha!

Holly:  I loved that he was all about her at first because she kept refusing him.

Rowena: The romance in this one was good. I loved seeing both Dean and Allie come together. Dean really had his work cut out with this one and it was fun to see Mr. Playboy really work to get in Allie’s pants.

Normally, I’m not a fan of the whole secret romance plot but I think Kennedy did a good job with this one. When they finally came out out of the closet, I loved it. I loved that it was Dean that Allie turned to for comfort.

Holly: I thought it was hilarious how they kept their fling a secret so they wouldn’t get crap from their friends. OMG, the bathtub scene? I DIED. I was laughing so hard I almost fell out of bed.

Rowena: I loved that scene! Dean was so disgruntled and seeing Allie laugh at the same time feeling bad about it all had me cracking up.

Holly: I really liked that Allie knew she wasn’t cut out for casual sex and chose not to indulge. I found her desire to be in a caring relationship realistic and, honestly, kind of refreshing. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m all for sexual liberation however that comes. I think women should be able to be as sexually free as men, without the slut-shaming that often follows. But there are women out there who aren’t interested in casual sex, and I’m glad to see that portrayed here. Allie wasn’t repressed or a prude. She was more than willing to get freaky and try out new kinks, she just wasn’t interested in trying those out with casual partners.

Rowena: I understand what you mean. Allie wasn’t there judging other women if they wanted to be a part of the casual sex scene but she wasn’t interested in that. Sex was something she enjoyed but she was more comfortable enjoying sex with someone she cared about and not any Tom, Dick or Harry would do. I could respect that.

What did you think about the whole thing with Beau?

Holly: I’m not sure what I think about the thing with Beau. It was unexpected and kind of shocking. I’m still processing it.

I found the main conflict to be a bit disappointing. I saw it coming from the very beginning, but I’d hoped Kennedy would take the story in a different direction. Though I understand it was necessary for Dean’s growth as a character, I would have liked to see that happen in a different way.

Rowena: What kind of direction?

Holly: I’m not sure. I guess I wanted Dean to prove Allie’s dad wrong. He said Dean wasn’t strong enough to handle any major crisis or curve-ball. I didn’t want him to be right. I wanted Dean to man-up and be there for her. To pull himself out of his funk without taking advantage of Allie. I just wanted him to be better than her dad expected him to be.

Rowena: Yeah, you’re right. I would have preferred for that to happen. For Dean to prove Allie’s Dad wrong but I’m glad that he eventually got it right.

View Spoiler »

Holly: That aside, I didn’t have much to complain about. There was a lot of humor and I loved the banter and wit.

Rowena: Elle Kennedy wrote another strong character driven romance with lovable characters and I can’t help but want more from this world and from Elle Kennedy period. She’s like one of my favorite authors ever. I’m following so many of her series but this series is my favorite. This book was another winner for me.

Holly: I really loved Allie’s inner strength. I felt like she really help up well with all the stuff she had to deal with.

Rowena: I really liked Allie’s character. She was true to who she was throughout the entire story. She was strong and she liked herself and cared about those around her. I loved when people would talk about Dean and inwardly, she’d get all defensive.

Rowena: It would be nice to have a spin off since we’re running out of people in the Off-Campus house to read books about.

Holly: I’m not ready to leave this world, either, but I don’t know that I’m interested in an offshoot featuring the football team. Maybe…

Rowena: Speaking of, Tuck? Holy shit, Tuck!!

Holly: I knew what Tuck was doing that whole time. I can’t wait to see how that plays out.

Rowena: ​Did you know his whole story line or you just knew that he was working toward that announcement at the end? LOL.​ And his heroine? How do you feel about her? I’m not sure yet.

Holly: I suspected he was going to announce what he did, but I flat knew who his heroine was going to be. I’m on the fence about her, too. I’m sure Kennedy will write a fab story, though. I have faith.

Rowena: But overall? I loved this book. Gah, I just loved it all. 4.5 out of 5

Holly: I was disappointed in Dean at the end, but Allie’s inner strength impressed me, and Dean’s slow slide into commitment was very satisfying indeed. Definitely another winner from Kennedy.  4 out of 5

Final Grades

Rowena: 4.5 out of 5
Holly: 4 out of 4

four-stars


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Review: The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Posted May 13, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 1 Comment

Review: The Mistake by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Mistake by Elle Kennedy

Publication Date: May 6th 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 294
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

He's a player in more ways than one... College junior John Logan can get any girl he wants. For this hockey star, life is a parade of parties and hook-ups, but behind his killer grins and easygoing charm, he hides growing despair about the dead-end road he'll be forced to walk after graduation. A sexy encounter with freshman Grace Ivers is just the distraction he needs, but when a thoughtless mistake pushes her away, Logan plans to spend his final year proving to her that he's worth a second chance. Now he's going to need to up his game... After a less than stellar freshman year, Grace is back at Briar University, older, wiser, and so over the arrogant hockey player she nearly handed her V-card to. She's not a charity case, and she's not the quiet butterfly she was when they first hooked up. If Logan expects her to roll over and beg like all his other puck bunnies, he can think again. He wants her back? He'll have to work for it. This time around, she'll be the one in the driver's seat...and she plans on driving him wild.

I really liked Logan in The Deal, book 1, and I was looking forward to reading his book. I wasn’t sure about the whole “screwed things up with a freshman” bit from the blurb, but Kennedy won me over with The Deal and I was willing to give it a try. I’m really glad I did. Both Logan and Grace were wonderfully written. There was a ton of humor. I laughed out loud several times. I also loved the friendships they had outside each other, especially Logan’s with his teammates. Honestly, this book is worth reading just for that.

Logan has been crushing on his best friend’s girl for months. When a chance encounter with freshman Grace Ivers provides a much needed distraction, he can’t help but go back for more with her. Until he realizes she’s getting ready to hand him her virginity while he’s essentially using her to get over his crush and breaks it off. Then he realizes he sabotaged the relationship for nothing and tries to win her back. Grace isn’t interested in being humiliated again, and Logan’s really got his work cut out for him.

The hoops Grace made Logan jump through to win her back were adorably hilarious. I still snicker when I think about the poem he wrote, and how he roped his friends into helping him do so many over-the-top things.

Despite the humor, there was quite a bit of depth to both characters. I like that they both came to rely on one another, to share their burdens and hopes and dreams. Even the villainous best friend had depth. She wasn’t a one-dimensional character. Not that her actions didn’t piss me off, but I found sympathy for her in the end.

This was a great addition to the series. It had everything I crave in a romance; humor, depth, love and an over abundance of grand gestures. Highly recommend.

4.25 out of 5

four-stars


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Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

Posted April 23, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: The Deal by Elle KennedyReviewer: Holly
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Series: Off Campus #1
Also in this series: The Mistake, The Score, The Score (Off-Campus, #3), The Goal

Publication Date: April 9th 2015
Pages: 340
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-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.

Hannah is a music arts major with a huge vocal performance coming up. She’s focusing the majority of her time and energy on that, and her other classes. She doesn’t have the time, energy or inclination to tutor anyone in ethics, least of all dumb jock hockey star Garrett Graham. Unfortunately, she’s one of the few people in their class who scored well on their latest test, and when Garrett finds out he wages an all out assault to get her to agree to tutor him so he can pass the retake.

Hannah has no problem refusing. And refusing. And refusing. But Garrett just won’t take no for an answer. When he realizes she has a crush on a transfer student, football player Justin, he offers her a deal: if she agrees to tutor him for a week so he can pass his retake, he’ll get Justin to notice her. Probably she shouldn’t agree to such a ridiculous plan, but Justin is the first guy in a long time to incite lust in her, and she’s genuinely interested in him. Plus, it’s pretty clear Garrett isn’t going to give up until he gets what he wants.

Once she starts tutoring him, Hannah realizes Garrett isn’t a dumb jock after all. He’s actually pretty smart and carrying a high GPA. This one failure could bench him in upcoming games if he doesn’t get his grade up before the midterm, which is why he’s so persistent. She also quickly realizes that for all his joking and lighthearted banter, he’s a really good guy. He comes up with new and interesting ways to tempt her into tutoring her, but he’s never a jerk about it. He genuinely cares about his friends and roommates, and he’s really sweet underneath it all.

Much to their mutual surprise, it isn’t long before they’re friends. Garrett shares his fears about being benched with Hannah, and she shares her frustrations and worries about her upcoming recital. They bicker and joke, marathon watch shows together, and in general become good friends. Garrett actually considers Hannah his only female friend. Until he realizes she’s a woman, too. Then all bets are off.

This was such a cute story. I really liked the progression from antagonists to friends to lovers. I also loved the witty banter, lighthearted friendship, and deeper issues. There was angst and drama, but it was external for the most part. Despite tragic things that happened in both their pasts, both Hannah and Garrett were pretty solid. They weren’t letting their past dramas control their current situations. I don’t think we see that enough in NA. Too often the characters are so focused on the past they aren’t living in the present. Not so with Garrett and Hannah.

Hannah’s issues ran pretty deep, and they were hard to read about at times, but I thought Kennedy dealt with them very well. I really loved the way Garrett stepped up to care of her when he realized why she had certain hangups. It was also great to see Hannah stepping in for him when he needed her to.

This was an unexpected gem of a book. I couldn’t read it fast enough, and yet I didn’t want it to end.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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