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Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Sports/ Young Adult 8th March 2016
Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle KennedyUs by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him, #2
Published by Rennie Road Books on March 8th 2016
Pages: 328
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five-stars

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?

I’m struck as always, by this particular series, not because M/M isn’t usually my cup of tea, but because of the very human choices that both Jamie and Wes face in spite of their gender – and their courageous decision to choose love – a point that is reiterated throughout the book – is the only thing that keeps me coming back.

‘Us ‘has to be one of the hardest, most painful but most rewarding reads I’ve ever had. If I’d cheered for Jamie and Wes in the first book rigorously, this book cataloguing their difficulty in staying afloat, trapped in their miserable bubble with the weight of expectations bearing down on them was akin to watching a train wreck happening in slow motion without any way to stop it. (Or perhaps this is entirely because of the very typical tendency of males not to talk at all?)

Jamie and Wes are compelling characters that have somehow taken root and grown into monstrous proportions in my head, despite their stupidity with each other at times. I’m reminded again, of this very special friendship that had begun in a humble summer camp that stayed solid even as things started to go wrong and when it all ended well, I was happy again – for fictional characters who’d come to life to strongly that they could have easily been any of my friends.

Even then, I’m entirely unprepared to say goodbye, as these guys and the team drink their hearts out on the last page – and I can only hope there’ll be another book past this one.

five-stars

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

Posted in Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Sports/ Young Adult 19th August 2015
Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle KennedyHim by Sarina Bowen, Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #1
Published by Rennie Road Books on July 28th 2015
Pages: 276
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-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.

I’m typically wary when I start a M/M romance book, but I didn’t expect to be drawn into their drama so quickly…and ended up learning quite a few precious life lessons on identity, self-worth and sexuality through the fictional characters of Wes and Jamie in the process. If that isn’t what fiction is supposed to do, then what is?

five-stars
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