Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy - Review


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.

Kristine's Review:

Reviewed: August 2015.
College alpha men...check...a storyline that dragged me in, had me invested within the first few pages...CHECK... Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy was one of those books that had me intrigued when it first popped up on my facebook feed, I marked down the release date in my diary and waited (not so patiently) for it's release, I #1clicked it the second it went live and made sure I left it to read when I had time to savour it, book friends gave it high praise and I was excited to dive in, when I had a break in my blogging commitments yesterday I dove in...and I didn't put it down until I turned the last page, I struggled to walk away to eat dinner with my family, as I read the final words I set it down, smiled that smile only a book lover will understand, I sighed and then I picked it up again to read through my highlighted passages, I messaged book friends to tell them to buy this book instantly if they hadn't already, and I enjoyed that joyous moment any reader will understand when you finish a book that made your heart soar.
Ryan Wesley, has few regrets, he's a college hockey superstar about to embark on the national championships, he's got a NHL contract waiting for him once his college career is over, life is good... the only thing that truly gives him pause is the way he ended his friendship with childhood friend Jamie Canning four years ago. Embarrassed, guilt ridden, upset and angry Wes walked away from his best friend fearful some drunken decisions can never be fixed. Despite the confusion of adolescence and childhood crushes on his very male best mate one thing that night all those years ago proved was that Wes was gay, he accepted it and went about his life.
Jamie Canning lost his best friend Wes four years ago, he hasn't allowed himself to truly think about it in detail in the years that passed, he's an all star goalie with a contract waiting for him, he's not short for friends, he's got a girl who keeps his bed warm and he spends his summers coaching the sport he loves, when he runs into his ex best mate at the Frozen Four play offs, for the first time in four years he finally lets the memories of all that happened wash over him, he remembers summers spent at camp with Wes, he remembers what it's like to have a best friend by his side, and he remembers the confusion and hurt and anger of that best friend walking away without a word.
Wes is undoubtedly all alpha male, he's tough, independent, his strength isn't just physical, he's lived a life where he's had no choice but to be self sufficient, with the exception of Jamie he's never truly had anyone he's wanted to let in, he's gotten used to hiding who he is sexually, not totally in the closet but not truly out of it either, for such a huge personality being discreet constantly has taken its toll.
Jamie can't really complain about his life, he's got a loving and supportive family, friends who have his back, a girl who would jump at the chance for something more than friends with benefits, hockey and summer camp, he's never really known what it's like to have to hide a side of himself, but when he and Wes finally have the opportunity to mend their friendship, things he's never really addressed, thoughts he's never entertained are suddenly brought to the forefront of his mind, try as he might to dispel is thoughts, he is realising his sexuality might be more fluid then he thought, but more than that whatever happens this summer might be about more than just experimenting.
"Loved you every summer since I was thirteen years old."
There's this beautiful tender quality to both Wes and Jamie, Wes has come to terms with where he is and what he wants, but embarking on anything with Jamie means being vulnerable in a way he hasn't been since that fateful night four years ago. There's a stereotype that professional athletes especially hockey players must be big and tough, that gay men are flowery and effeminate, even in the day and age we live in hatred and bigotry still run rampant, it's evident that we even have to label books as M/M and not just as contemporary romance, in truth there wasn't one moment in this book that the thought that these two characters were anything but two people taking me along for a ride as they discovered what I already know to be true, that love is powerful, it has the power to build you up and bring you to your knees, that family is the one you make for yourself, that your worth is not determined by those who only wish to tear you down.
"But here's the thing about family, Ryan...blood doesn't mean shit. You just need to surround yourself with people who do love you."
From the first page to the very last line Him captivated me, it was funny and irreverent, sexy as hell, it was tender and touching, Bowen and Kennedy straddled the line of when to go for it and when to pull back perfectly, there was never a moment when I thought something was over done, and even as I turned the last page I was left wanting more and yet perfectly sated, it's a tough gig to balance heat, humour and heart but the authors knocked it out the park, and I can't wait to see what else they write together.


Purchase Links:

Amazon US:
Amazon AUS:
Amazon UK:

About the authors:

Elle Kennedy

A RITA-award nominated author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from Yor...k 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 Silhouette Romantic Suspense, Harlequin Blaze, and Samhain Publishing.


Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen lives in Vermont's Green Mountains with her family, eight chickens and too much hockey and ski gear. She holds a B.A. from Yale University.

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