ARC Review: Him by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

2 Aug 2015

Book Title: Him
Author: Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Series: Standalone
Release Date: July 28th, 2015
Genres: M/M Romance, Sports Romance
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.



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THIS is why I love MM romance! HIM has the absolute perfect blend of everything I love about MM romance. 

1- Strong, masculine, virile men 
2- Friends-to-Lovers trope 
3- Gay-for-You trope 
4- Endearing secondary characters 
5- Humor
6- Angsty tug of war regarding sexual orientation 

Need I say more? In a nutshell, Wes and Jamie have been friends since childhood. Both men are avid hockey players who attended a hockey camp in Lake Placid every summer... until one stupid bet, a challenge, threw their friendship in the garbage. They hadn't spoken for almost four years until they run into each other in a college tournament, The Frozen Four. Can they get their friendship back? Why did Wes break all contact for all these years?

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HIM is written by the Bowen/Kennedy author duo that I don't believe I've experienced before. Something I'll amend pronto! The writing was flawlessly smooth, with a perfect dose of banter infused to force the reader to smile throughout. The humor brought me back to my personal college days- the pranks between us, the banter between the guys. I'm actually amazed no male author input was in this book as they captured typical male sexual-innuendo banter in spades!
“Next year in Toronto you’ll probably have a personal assistant to carry your stick around for you.” It feels superstitious to talk about my NHL contract before the Frozen Four. So I change the subject. “That’s awesome, dude. I love it when another guy holds my stick."
Or better yet-
Like, what two guys stand around describing their perfect sexual partner?” I widen my eyes and look around. “Did we wander onto the set of Sex and the City? If so, I’m Samantha. Called it.” The tension diffuses instantly, as Canning’s lips twitch uncontrollably. “You know actual character names from Sex and the City? Shit, if you hadn’t told me you were gay, I would’ve figured it out just now.”
A bit of a warning- this book probably shouldn't be consumed in a public venue. People may thing you're a bit odd. Smiling, laughing, flushing, fidgeting may ensue. You've been warned. 

The angsty build of HIM was perfectly done. One thing about this genre that's an immediate draw for me is that inner struggle within when a man is just coming aware of his attraction to the same sex. Wes had already determined he was gay but Jamie was firmly in denial because he truly loves sex with women too. The authors did a fantastic job with his character- building his gradual acceptance that yes, he's a bisexual man.

Secondary characters- coming from a family of six children myself, I loved the cameos from the Canning clan. Thanksgiving was a perfect snapshot of family time within the home of a large, supportive family and it was a great touch.

Steam- sweet Jesus. Don't read this amongst anyone who may be able to read your old lady font over your shoulder. It was off the charts hot and I loved the realistic progression of the physical side of their relationship. It was the perfect blend of physical AND emotional for Wes and Jamie.

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I don't even want to count how many times I've typed the word perfect in this review. I could consult a thesaurus but, heck, no other word describes every aspect of HIM.

I'd HIGHLY recommend HIM for readers new to the MM genre. The plot-line much like typical Contemporary Friends-to-Lovers tropes but with two hot virile men instead. It's not raunchy. It's a beautiful love story and it reminded me of my first read within the genre. That being said, I have a NEW book recommendation for newbies to the MM genre. 

 And I thank you, Katy, for this fabulous recommendation. You're a doll.

  Advanced copy received by authors in exchange for my HONEST review.

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