Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy - Him

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.

Comment: This book has caught my eye because many readers have liked it, including people whose taste I trust. I got the book and thought to let it wait but I've been rather moody and being so busy has removed some of my reading time, plus feeling tired at night made me get behind on my reading goals. This book seemed like a good one to get me some ahead time and I'm quite glad I read it because it's as well done as many people say.

This is the story of Ryan Wesley and Jamie Canning, two young hockey players who've met in their teenager years and became good friends but one lost bet changed everything until the last year of college, where their opposite teams are facing each other. Now the good times and the doubts and the unanswered questions will have to be addressed. Ryan knows why he stepped back, but how will Jamie react? Can their friendship be salvaged? What if Ryan wants more than friendship?

This is the first time I've read something by these two authors. I have books by both in my TBR list but as it happens so often, I still haven't got to them. But the comments about this story were so good I felt immediately the will to read it. I was quite impressed with the level of structure this story has and how "easy" is was to read and simply be marveled by it.

Usually I'm not very fond of NA because in all the books with characters in this age group I've read, most of them had characters acting like teenagers and not adults, youth aside. So, I was expectant to to see if this would be another of those annoying books but thankfully, this was quite the opposite and I was impressed. I think the best thing about the writing was how fluid and smooth it was and I couldn't stop reading because every word seemed to make sense. I feel much more curious to try other series by each author now, considering this book and the level of work they presented.

The plot is captivating enough, although I don't know a lot about hockey. I was very interested in the relationship aspects of the story but all the details about the hockey game, the trainings, the efforts they do to work hard and have success, the message that is supposed to be given to young players and possible new ones, the way things seem to work was all interesting, even more so because I didn't feel I was being given a lesson. Although, to be honest, I can't really say how truthful each information is but it sounded good and was inserted very well into the two protagonists' lives and thoughts.

Of course the best thing is the relationship itself. I liked how we gradually learn about their pasts, how they become friends and why and how is that the step from friends to something else happened. Ryan's feelings have been serious for a long time when it came to Jamie and I liked how well the authors shown that intensity in the scenes we got from their pasts. It made what they have now so much more, much important too. I enjoyed each step they took to become each others' life and strength.
I liked how Jamie didn't go all cliché on realizing he had deeper feelings than friendship for Ryan, eve if he had never thought about himself other than hetero. And his thought process was convincing making this a very believable GFY sort of story.
I loved Ryan too, he's a wonderful person hidden under so many less than stellar moments (he says so himself) and it was amazing to see him not only prove his feelings were deep and serious but how glad and better he turned out to be because he was reciprocated.

The romance is amazing. Yes, there is sex but always with a purpose, always making them feel more in love. I had a lot of fun seeing them develop their relationship and even making it an important part of each others' lives to the point where it gave them the power to make decisions that could improve their future happiness (in this case, Jamie more than Ryan).
Each moment seems like a jewel between them. I couldn't put the story down because I wanted to see them more, I wanted to see what more they could do to be happy.  Yes, there are some conflicting scenes towards the end but I'm glad the authors didn't overdid this and actually presented such a wonderful scenario for the romantic I love yous....

All in all, this is a wonderful story. Yes, one or two little things I'd change but sincerely, this was so romantic it feels unfair so many couples, hetero or gay, don't have a story like this to enrich their relationship or their lives. I do recommend this lovely story to every reader.
I'll try to get the sequel soon too!
Grade: 9/10

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