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review 2017-11-20 13:13
#Audiobook Review: Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Stay - Audible Studios,Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen,Jacob Morgan,Lucy Rivers

Hailey Taylor Emery co-owns a thriving startup “go-for” company with her ex. Hailey is a huge Toronto Maple Leafs fan, and is a bit flustered to discover her long-time celebrity crush, Toronto forward Matt Erikkson, is one of her clients. She is even more discombobulated when he refers to her as “hottie” and invites her to a game. 

 

Over 18 months ago, Matt’s wife insisted on a divorce, and he’s still feeling the impacts. His ex convinced him that being a professional hockey player and having a long-term relationship can never work. However, after meeting Hailey, Matt is considering putting his heart out there again.

 

I absolutely adore the Him/WAGs world that Ms. Bowen and Ms. Kennedy have developed over the course of three books. This is the first story that wanders away from the “original” characters and family, and the authors do a great job transitioning the focus to Wes and Blake’s teammates. Overall, I enjoyed Stay, and found Matt and Hailey to be an adorable and sexy couple. With that said, I also had a few hiccups with the story and Hailey, which made it not quite as amazing as the previous three books.

 

As I mentioned, I enjoyed Matt and Hailey together. Their playful banter, especially as translated through texting and messenger apps, is fun, and it allows the couple to get to know one another in a safe place. And once they become a couple, I loved watching them grow, especially Matt. I also love the WAGs supporting characters, who add dimension to the story. And there are some fabulously hilarious moments… just think “junk selfie in a public restroom”!  I do really like it when it’s just the two of them getting to know each other, spending time together and with the team. 

 

However, I did struggle a bit with the first half of the book. First because I didn’t care that much for the female narrator (discussion below). Second, I couldn’t get 100% behind Hailey. She’s unsure and uncertain, and it made it difficult for me to cheer for her. Third, the ex situation on both sides adds too much tension, making parts of the story very combative. Finally, I had a big issue with a conflict that came up regarding client confidentiality. It is a serious thing, and I felt Hailey, the OWNER of the business, took it way too lightly!

 

As far as the narration, Ms. Rivers excels when portraying Hailey, although it was a tab bit slow at 1.25x. And her female characters are good, but sometimes they felt forced - in that she was working too hard to create different voices from the norm. However, her male voices sound just like a goofy teenage character from a cartoon show I used to watch, and that is all I heard every time she performed any male character, to include the lead. That took me out of the story too often. On the other hand, the male narrator is the same who voiced Wes in both Him and Us. While it was a bit confusing at first (because I kept thinking it was Wes speaking), once the story progressed, it worked well. I really like Mr. Morgan’s voice, and felt he does a great job with a multitude of characters. He also brings solid emotion to Matt, who is struggling to figure out his life.

 

In the end, I’m giving Stay a B rating, whereas normally a book that has a few issues would get a B-. I liked Matt and Hailey together, especially for the second half, after she got over her nervousness and committed to the relationship. The couple clicked, creating a strong romance and finish to the book. I just adore this world, and hope the authors give us more stories soon!

 

My Rating: B

Male narrator: B+

Female narrator: C

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review 2017-11-20 13:12
#Audiobook Review: Good Boy by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Good Boy - Teddy Hamilton,Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen,Tanya Eby

Jess Canning is struggling to find her path in life. Planning and hosting her brother Jamie’s wedding to NHL superstar, Ryan Wesley, helped her realize party planning isn’t the job for her. After determining that her life’s calling is to be a nurse, Jess is relieved to earn a scholarship to the Smith Nursing school in Toronto.

 

After hooking up with his best friend’s little sister not once, but twice, Blake Riley realizes for the first time in five years, he wants more with a woman than a one-night stand. He’s into Jess, so when she moves to Toronto, he makes it his mission to woo her into being his girlfriend.

 

Good Boy is the wonderful followup to the amazing two-book Him series. I love that the authors did this spinoff starting with Blake and Jess - especially with Wes and Jamie’s wedding kicking off the title. The wedding helps transition nicely from the Jamie-and-Wes centric stories, to focus on Wes’s teammates. I love that they the pair is still a significant part of the book, but as the story unfolds, the focus is truly on Jess and Blake. 

 

I already liked Blake from the previous book, but after Good Boy, I’ve fallen hard. He’s got such a heart of gold, but he’s cocky and playful. He pushes, but knows when to back off. He makes me laugh. He’s the kind of character you want as your own best friend. Whether hanging with his teammates, romancing Jess, or skating on the ice, Blake is always true to himself and those around him.

 

Jess and Blake make a great pair. They start off as “frienemies” with their chiweiler hookup (a hilarious scene from Us), and I was worried I would be annoyed with Jess. She wants Blake, but is horrified by that, so she is a bit rude to him. But he takes it all in stride, confident she likes him, and wears her down. He knows just how to be there for her when she needs it. I really like how the story is all about them coming together - getting over their own hurdles. It’s gradual and real, rather than all at once. Love sneaks up on them. 

 

Teddy Hamilton and Tanya Eby are two narrators I’ve enjoyed listening to recently. Mr. Hamilton voiced the part of Jamie in the previous two books, and I recently listened to another contemporary romance by Ms. Bowen, that was also narrated by Ms. Eby. Because I had heard both narrators play other parts just before listening to Good Boy, I kept thinking of the other characters while listening to this one. While it gave some familiarity to the tale, it was also a little confusing for me. However, they are both strong, talented performers, creating fitting voices for the two main characters. My only issue with Ms. Eby is that I didn’t care for her versions of Jamie and Wes because I’m so used to the other narrators’s versions. And while I liked her Blake, I did have trouble at times distinguishing between her male voices. 

 

Although the WAGs series, starting with Good Boy, is a spinoff of one of my favorite series, you do not have to read Him or Us prior to starting this one. Blake and Jess are a fabulous couple and the book is a lot of fun. I am so glad the authors continued what they started in Him and opened it up to this larger world.

 

My Rating: A-

Narration (both): B+

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review 2017-11-10 14:50
#Audiobook Review: HIM by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
HIM - Audible Studios,Teddy Hamilton,Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen,Jacob Morgan

As teens attending a hockey elite camp each summer in Lake Placid, Ryan (Wes) Wesley and Jamie Canning became the kind of best friends that are forever. However, Wes harbored a secret: he loved Jamie as more than friends, and one night, their last night at camp ever, Wes pushed things a bit too far. 

 

Four years later, the pair haven’t spoken throughout their college careers, and Jamie never figured out what he did to lose Wes as a friend. Running into one another at the NCAA Frozen Four championships allows the pair to start a new friendship. Yet working together as coaches at the place where their friendship all began gives this pair time to reflect on what they really mean to one another. 

 

I don’t know if I can adequately express my affection for Wes and Jamie and their beautiful relationship. Him is one of my favorite books; it hits every emotional note and has a wonderful happy ending. But the journey to get to that happy place is filled with bumps and tears, as well as some smoking hot sex.

 

Right from the start, I absolutely adored Jamie. He is genuinely hurt and angry that Wes abandoned their friendship over a little sex. He doesn’t care why the sex happened or that Wes is gay. He’s hurt at how little Wes thought of him. This sets up the type of man Jamie is, and I only became more and more impressed as the book continued. Always laid-back, the biggest worry he has is wondering why he isn’t freaked out that he is attracted to his best friend. Jamie is a rock; someone who thinks things through rationally. I loved getting a glimpse of his introspection regarding his sexuality, his career, and life in general. 

 

On the other hand, it took me a little longer to warm up to Wes. I loved his character, but it took time to see how much he has always loved Jamie, and how the genuine fear of losing him, or seeing disgust rule Jamie’s actions, controls Wes’s thoughts and actions. He adores Jamie so much, that he is willing to take whatever Jamie is willing to give, yet never seeing beyond the surface out of these fears. Thank god Jamie is a better man, who is willing to push Wes until he sees clearly.

 

As a huge fan of Elle Kennedy’s college hockey centric, Off-Campus series, the opening cadence of both Ryan and Jamie felt utterly familiar, as if the two were teammates with the guys from Briarwood. Both narrators feel at home with the cocky college hockey player vibe. And I can’t believe neither were narrators in the Off-Campus series. Initially, I felt the narrator for Jamie was a bit stronger. He shared more emotion in his performance. However as the story went on, I grew to appreciate how the narration for Wes deepened and matured, just as Wes does. I don’t know which narrator portrays which character, but both did a wonderful job, and I loved having two different and distinct voices for the two different POVs.

 

In the end, I absolutely loved Him in all aspects. And I am super excited that there is a second story, Us, which continues to follow Wes and Jamie as they begin their life together as a couple. Him is an amazing love story about two best friends who find powerful love. Filled with all sorts of smoking hot sex, the story is emotionally raw at times but never too rough, with an HEA at the end. 

 

My Rating: A+

Narration (both): A

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text 2017-11-02 23:11
Good Boy Sarina Bowen $1.20!!!
Good Boy (WAGs #1) - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen

osting her brother’s wedding for an MVP guest list is the challenge of Jess Canning’s life. Already the family screw-up, she can’t afford to fail. And nobody (nobody!) can learn of the colossal mistake she made with the best man during a weak moment last spring. It was wrong, and there will not be a repeat. Absolutely not. Even if he is the sexiest thing on two legs.

Blake Riley sees the wedding as fate’s gift to him. Jess is the maid of honor and he’s the best man? Let the games begin. So what if he’s facing a little (fine, a lot) of resistance? He just needs to convince the stubborn blonde that he’s really a good boy with a bad rap. Luckily, every professional hockey player knows that you’ve got to make an effort if you want to score.

But Jess has more pressing issues to deal with than sexy-times with a giant man-child. Such as: Will the ceremony start on time, even though someone got grandma drunk? Does glitter ever belong at a wedding? And is it wrong to murder the best man?

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review 2017-10-18 20:23
Good Boy
Good Boy (WAGs #1) - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen

  WAGs, Book 1

I Picked Up This Book Because: These two authors make magic when they write together.

The Characters:

Blake Riley:
Jess Canning:

The Story:

I wasn’t ready for the end of this book. I was enjoying myself so much I didn’t even realize we were done.

Writing: Excellent.
Forward Motion: Also excellent, I do not recall any drag time.
Overall Interest: When I was in it I was in it, but I didn’t start reading at stop lights until the end (Did that make any sense?)
Length of Reading Time: Good
Re-read-ability: Very small chance

The Random Thoughts:

Favorite Quote: "Bitch, I'm Canadian."

The Score Card:

description

4 Stars

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