Tuesday 28 July 2015

Review - Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Title: Him
Author: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Release Date: July 28. 2015

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.

It was only a couple months ago that I read my first M/M book. Each one I’ve read has been emotional, thought-provoking, and scorching hot. But THIS one? This one felt like all of those things, turbo charged. 

There is something inherently emotional about a friends-to-lovers romance. Something I think we’ve probably all experienced – that hope and uncertainty. The exquisite pain of loving someone more than you should, of remaining close without ever being close enough. Add in a sexual awakening and trying to function as a gay man in a manly man’s world and – oh, my heart!

Ryan Wesley (Wes) and Jamie Canning met as teenagers at hockey camp. They became best friends until an incident during their last summer at camp drove them apart. Four years later, and each man is finishing college, on the verge of starting his NHL career, when their lives intersect again. And then – the magic happens. 

The relationship that these two develop was so…perfect. So deeply emotional, playful, sweetly tender, and hot as fuck. Even as friends their chemistry was palpable, and once they cross that line – um, you’ll want to have extra panties on hand. Several pairs.

Jamie’s journey in this book was especially touching to me. There were moments that took my breath away and left me thinking, ‘YES. THIS. Love is love. THIS is love.’ I loved the easy camaraderie between Wes and Jamie, I loved how their friendship showed through even as they struggled with the course it had taken. As jocks, there’s a fair amount of smack talk and teasing and the whole vibe just rang true to me. Everything about this book felt authentic, and warm, and amazing. 

I loved how this book explored the impact of a gay relationship on all aspects of their lives. The guys had to deal with their careers, their families, the judgement of complete outsiders. All of these things were handled with honesty and sensitivity and humor – making it impossible not to open your heart to this relationship, these men, and this book.

I cannot recommend Him highly enough. I loved every second that I got to spend with Wes and Jamie; I want to carry them around with me forever so they can keep making me laugh, make my heart race, make me remember how true love has no boundaries and always feels like coming home. So – SO good.
~ Review by Shelly

Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy is a story of long lost love. 

When Ryan Wesley goes to hockey camp every summer and rooms with Jamie Canning, he finds a best friend. But when one event at changes the course of their lives, they lose each other. Years later, their love of hockey brings them back together again.

Him is a love story which reminds us to tell the ones we love how we feel, when we feel it. Fate is a fickle thing; sometimes we get a second chance and sometimes we don’t. In this case, Wes and Jamie find their chance over their shared love of hockey and summer camp, where times are simpler, and they are able to find themselves. 

Wes has known since the day that he was in love, but he didn’t want to push his feelings on Jamie, and the fear of rejection was more than he could handle. This story resonated with me on such a basic level. It doesn’t matter who you are, we’ve all had that one person who we loved and waited to tell them, for fear of how they would respond. 

I was so glad that Wes and Jamie got their chance at HEA. Such an amazing story! 
~ Review by Heather

Yeah….so, this book is super hot – and I do mean super hot – and one of those great reads that’ll suck you right in until you’re feeling all these damn feelings and you’ve finished the book and OMG, I WASN’T READY FOR IT TO END!

Four years ago, one drunken night and some boundary-pushing cost Jamie Canning his best friend. Ryan ‘Wes’ Wesley cut him off without a word, and he’s been wondering why ever since. Now, they’re face-to-face for the first time since then, and for Wes, all the old feelings re-surface. The guilt for pushing his straight best friend into not-so-straight territory, the desire, the love.

One night shouldn't change a friendship, but stretching one night into six weeks and learning that maybe straight isn’t so…concrete certainly can. But what happens when it’s time to go their separate ways?

I LOVED this book. L.O.V.E.D it. It was smart, seamless and sexy – you’d not know that this was undertaken by two authors, with the way the story flowed. Two excellent authors, mind you. They made Him a flawless example of team-writing, gracefully skating between Jamie and Wes’ POVs, working in the info about *that night*, and opening Jamie’s eyes to the changes in himself. They made it funny, meaningful and honest. I was in awe of how well they grew these characters, told their stories, voiced their concerns. It was marvelous, and I didn’t want to put it down…

Each page closer to the end had me on edge – where would these two go, would they go together, can they (and others) accept what’s happening? I HAD to know. Then, I was 16% remaining….15%....10….5….over. And I felt like I’d missed something. Nothing major, don’t get me wrong. This book is wrapped up beautifully; a complete story with a fantastic, hold-back-the-tears epilogue, but I wanted more.

Maybe I am just uber greedy but I was hoping to find out a little of what happened after (I can’t say more without spoilers), so now I am hoping for more books in this series or, better yet, a short continuation of Wes and Jamie’s story, since I feel like there are still obstacles for them to face – and I’d love to see them do it together.

Oh, wait, no! I WANT BOTH. I would LOVE to go back to camp (or college, or the NHL) with a new couple AND get more of this one. Can you blame me? Him is still stuck in my head and I am STILL feeling all those damn feelings because of it…Gah!

~ Review by Beth

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont's Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)

Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

A USA Today bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York University. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be a writer, and actively began pursuing that dream when she was a teenager.

Elle currently publishes with Signet Eclipse, Harlequin Romantic Suspense, Samhain Publishing and Entangled Brazen. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting! 

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