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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HIM by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy Review + Interview

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.


How did you two decide to collaborate on a book?

Sarina: We both write series about hockey players already, and I've always loved Elle's books. So it was a really good day when Elle said to me, "I loved Understatement of the Year, and if you ever wanted to co-write an MM hockey novel, let me know." 
And I said HECK YES! What I most admired about Elle's Off Campus series was the warmth and humor, and I knew that if we wrote something together, it would have both of those things. Every minute of working on this book was a pleasure.

Elle: I was half-joking when I made the suggestion to team up, because with my schedule, it's hard to squeeze in new projects. But after I threw it out there, Sarina emailed me and said, "I'm in! Let me know when you have time to plot something!" So we started brainstorming, and I kept thinking, "No! I can't let my brain get distracted by all this m/m yumminess!" 
But it was too late. I was already obsessed with the story, and then we ended up writing the whole book in about 3 weeks. I love Sarina's Ivy Years books, so I had a really good feeling about our styles meshing well. And they did. The whole project came together so perfectly!

Your book deals heavily in hockey.  Did you have to do sports research?  Were you already a huge fan?

Sarina: I'm a college hockey nut, and we go to games all season long. And Elle is Canadian. They're, like, born with an understanding of the sport.

Elle: Football is actually my first love, but hockey is a close second. I don't go to many hockey games (I can't remember the last time I went to one!) but I watch enough of it on TV to know how the game works.

What is the biggest difference between this book and what you usually write?

Sarina: Well, there's skinny-dipping in this one. My other novels have a lot in common with this one -- the coming-of-age themes, the humor. Readers of The Ivy Years will feel at home reading Him.

Elle: I guess the biggest difference is that the main characters are two guys! Other than that, I think Him isn't that different from my other books. Like Sarina said, the themes and humor are kind of the same.

In a shootout, which one of you would win?

Sarina: Well, damn. I guess we need to find out. Confession: I wear white figure skates. But I'm pretty agile on them. This could get interesting.

Elle: I have white figure skates too! But...I don't know how to stop. Seriously, when I'm on skates, the only way I can stop skating is if I steer myself toward the boards and crash to a stop. And if I'm on a rink that doesn't have boards? I'm screwed. So yeah, Sarina would win, hands down.

Sarina: Wait. Did you get a pair without brakes, Elle? *giggles*

Sarina Bowen writes steamy, angsty contemporary romance from Vermont's Green Mountains. (Her ancestors began logging and farming Vermont during the 18th century. These were rugged, outdoor types without benefit of a laptop or a good latte. It boggles the mind.)
Sarina enjoys skiing, skating and good food. She lives in Windsor County, Vermont, with her family, eight chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

New York TimesUSA Today and Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Elle Kennedy grew up in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, and holds a B.A. in English from York 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 writes romantic suspense and erotic contemporary romance for various publishers. She loves strong heroines and sexy alpha heroes, and just enough heat and danger to keep things interesting!


My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Jamie and Ryan are total jocks full of testosterone, pranks and drive. They are both star hockey players who met at a summer camp for the best of the best as kids. They spent each summer together honing their skills and getting into trouble. Eventually, they crossed some lines beyond being just best friends which confused things. After meeting again a few years later, they're both unsure of where they stand with the other.

I had so much fun reading this. The writing is very colorful and original. For someone who reads a lot, it often feel like I read the same phrases over and over so this was definitely welcomed. Also, I really dug all the sports talk. Both Jamie and Ryan are real guy-guys, ya know, horseplay, beer and ESPN types. HIM has mucho laughs and sexiness. It has themes of figuring out who you are and what you want out of life, and some about the nostalgic feeling of being a teen goofing off. Bottom line, it left me fulfilled and happy, and the pleasure was all mine. I hope this writing duo teams up again.

***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


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