Him, by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

Him

Grade: A-

Doing it at: 55%

Catnip: Hockey Players, Friends to Lovers, Childhood Crush, Summer Camp Romance, All the Feels, Tattoos, All of the P, None of the V, Dual Narrative, #TeamAnal

Shame Scale: Low shame. This was a sweet book.

Fantasy Cast: Kris Letang, David Rundblad

What do we taste like?: the rain, beer, something addictively masculine

Book Description:

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 recently read The Deal, by Elle Kennedy – which was also about a hockey player – and liked it a bunch. So when I saw that she was collaborating with Sarina Bowen on a M/M hockey romance, that was pretty much all I needed to hear to pre-order it. I’ve said it before and I’m sure I’ll keep on saying it: M/M romance is super hot you guys. All of the P, none of the V. It’s all rock hard abs and tight buns, with nary a boob in sight.

This one starts out with Ryan Wesley (Wes) and Jamie Canning, two college hockey players on opposite sides of the country, realizing that they’re both about to play in a big important championship series (sorrynotsorry, I don’t know if it was a real series or not because I could give a fuck about sports), and might see each other after four years of silence. Jamie and Wes were best friends growing up, spending summers together at hockey camp in Lake Placid, but Wes cut off all contact with Jamie when they went to college. Jamie has always been pretty butt sore about it (hehehe), and they’re both wondering if their teams are going to play each other in the series, and what it’s going to be like to see each other.

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Scorched, by Jennifer Armentrout

scorched

Grade: B+

Doing it at: 56%

Catnip: Hate to Love You; Strong Female Lead; Firemen; Actual Real Life Problems; Pool Boner; All the Feels

Shame Scale: This book addresses some serious issues in a realistic and grown up way, it’s essentially a Real Book. So no shame.

Fantasy Cast: Garrett Hedlund; Bella Thorne

What Do We Taste Like?: Sugar and liquor

Book Description:

Sometimes life leaves a mark…

Most days, Andrea doesn’t know whether she wants to kiss Tanner or punch him in the gut. He is seriously hot, with legit bedroom eyes and that firefighter body of his, but he’s a major player, and they can’t get along for more than a handful of minutes. Until now.

Tanner knows he and Andrea have had an epic love/hate relationship for as long as he can remember, but he wants more love than hate from her. He wants her. Now. Tomorrow. But the more he gets to know her, the more it becomes obvious that Andrea has a problem. She’s teetering on the edge, and every time he tries to catch her, she slips through his fingers.

Andrea’s life is spiraling out of control, and it doesn’t matter that Tanner wants to save her, because when everything falls apart and she’s speeding toward rock-bottom, only she can save herself.

Sometimes life makes you work for that happily ever after…

Cleone: We adore Jennifer Armentrout, and eagerly read everything she gives unto us as quickly as we can get our hands on it. Scorched was no exception. I gave it to myself as a present after reading The Book That Mustn’t Be Named.

Mary: Plus, this one has a really cute cover. I’m a huge proponent of buying books solely based on the cover art.

C: Andrea and Tanner are the best friends of couple Sydney and Kyler (we aren’t going to talk about the name Kyler), from Frigid, and have an antagonistic relationship. Andrea has had a crush on Tanner since her freshman year — he’s very dreamy — and he literally didn’t know she was alive until two years later. She’s floundering a little, trying to decide where her life will take her as adulthood looms, dealing with some anxiety that she’s not doing a great job of acknowledging, and partying too much. Like way too much, Andrea can’t seem to have a few drinks without it leading to A Lot of drinks. ALOT

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M: Andrea felt like someone I would want to hang out with (when she wasn’t blackout drunk). At one point, she’s planning a night with her best friend Sydney, and she describes my perfect night:

I could get one of those cheese and meat platters. And I could also get a slew of hot guy movies – movies with Theo James and Jude Law and Tom Hardy and other hot British dudes. Were all of them British? I didn’t know. Their voices were hot and that was all that mattered.

C: We can have that exact night, bae, name the day. Summer sausage and English sausage.

M: I know my calculus. U + Me = Us  ❤

C: When the four friends decide to spend a week together at a cabin in West Virginia, things with Andrea and Tanner start to take a turn for the romantic. Tanner is very charming, and picturing a hot fireman with a flat top and aviator glasses was a lovely way to spend an evening in my backyard.

“Eventually,” I nudged her arm and grinned. “Because while I know I’ll look damn good in a police uniform, just imagine what I’d look like in a suit.”

His lips tipped up at the corners and he spoke in a voice only I could hear. “If I wanted you, I’d have you.” What in the holy hell hotcakes?

M: Here are some hot fireman to help you visualize Tanner:

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M: Tanner and Andrea have that really fun hate-flirt dynamic going, where they both antagonize each other because they obviously want to get naked and lick each other’s faces.

“I mean, who wouldn’t go slut-a-roo for him?”

Who indeed.

C: I really liked Andrea, even when she is fucking up she seems sympathetic, and real, like a girl you’d want to hang out with. Her best-friendship with Sidney rang true, when her best friend suspects that Andrea and Tanner are hooking up she won’t take any vague nonsense as an answer:

She gave me her best serious look.
“Don’t you dare lie to me, Andrea.”

I rolled my eyes. ” I didn’t say we didn’t do other things, but we didn’t do that”

“What other things?” A wide smile broke out across her face as she smacked my arm. “Tell me. Tell me now.”

“Stuff. Things. Use your imagination.”

She folded her arms and waited. “My imagination sucks. I need help.”

C: Andrea and Tanner banter and bicker before getting down to business in the luxe cabin, that their friends have conveniently vacated for them. Once the book hit the 50% mark it really started speeding along for me, with their relationship and with Andrea’s emotional struggles.

M: Like all our favorite Armentrout books, the dirty parts are scorching 😉

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M: Not to sound like jaded old pervs, but we read so much of this stuff that we’re often skipping right through the gravy to get back to the meat and potatoes. This book had us both hot under the collar.

C: Andrea’s anxiety, depression, and alcoholism are addressed head on, she has real life consequences as the result of her very not smart decisions. There is no quick fix, and when Armentrout is describing the feelings of panic, boredom, and ennui I felt heartbroken for Andrea. A lot of romance novels are light, and glib. The characters end up feeling a bit like paper dolls placed in a bedroom. But this felt like a true struggle, the author was clearly writing about something she was familiar with on some level, and that only enhanced the story.

M: She really manages to capture the feelings of self-loathing you have when you’re dealing with depression. And it’s the kind of horrible but functional depression that I think so many of us deal with – you appear outwardly fine, but internally you’re a wreck. I found myself really relating to Andrea and rooting for her to change her life and find happiness. I also really appreciated the fact that Tanner wasn’t the hero who saved her. She saved her self. She put in the work, and Tanner waited for her – but she wasn’t doing it for him, and wasn’t even sure that he would still be around for her when she got everything sorted out.

C: The doing it felt secondary to the story in Scorched, YES Tanner and Andrea’s HEA is the finish point of the book. However, her emotional journey and her life choices spiraling out of control  took center stage. This book gave me real feels.

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