Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Review: Us by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy

US
by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Series: Him #2
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, LGBTQ
Publisher: Self Published
Publication Date: March 15th 2016
Source: ARC from authors for review
Rating: ★★
Amazon - Barnes & Noble

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

Warning: contains sexual situations, a vibrating chair, long-distance sexytimes and proof that hockey players look hot in any shade of green.

If you recalled, last year, I became full-on obsessed with Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy's Him. It's one of my favorite books of 2015 and I had nothing but love for Jamie and Wes. When I heard about Us releasing, I was part thrilled but also part worried. More often than not, sequels to contemporary books tend to introduce a ton of useless drama and misunderstanding, something that I'm not a fan of. Up to about 20% of Us, I was worried that that would still happen, but in the end, I strongly believe Us was a necessary sequel for Jamie & Wes, because there were a few things left with loose ends in Him.

Him ended with Wes starting his new career as a pro hockey player and Jamie starting his career as a hockey coach. Because of their careers, they pretty much have a long distance relationship with all of Wes' traveling. Add to that Wes has to keep his relationship with Jamie secret for the sake of his team. This creates some strain in their relationship because these two are a couple who have a rough time when they are not around each other. The downs in their relationship was realistic to me - not being able to be around your partner in public is never fun. Enter Blake, Wes' teammate who decides it's a bright idea to get an apartment in Jamie & Wes' building. I can't tell you guys how much this guy irritated me in the beginning. I was ready to punch him in the nuts because he was one those really annoying characters who not only cock-blocked, but did it ALL THE TIME. I was so surprised when he eventually grew on me though! He turned out to be a huge supporter of Jamie and Wes and I was thrilled those two had such a great friend to rely on. Can you believe that I'm actually crossing my fingers and hoping for a Blake book, preferably with Jamie's sister who he had a connection with in this one?

Back to Wes and Jamie's relationship. It suffered a bit in the beginning, but here's the thing, I think they needed to go through this rough patch to strengthen their relationship and to help them realize just how good they are for each other. What I'm trying to say is to me the relationship drama never felt contrived and by the end of all those obstacles they faced, Jamie and Wes became even more unified than they originally were. Don't worry though, Us wasn't all about the downs. There were some pretty fantastic up moments between Jamie and Wes that reminded me of why I fell so hard for them in the first book. Their banter, sexual tension and camaraderie were as fun for the reader as it was in Him. The sexy times though! *blushes* Just seeing the two of them together brought me a whole lot of joy and made going through all the depressing scenes worthwhile.

While without a doubt Him is my favorite book in this series, Us was a pretty fantastic sequel too. The exploration to the changes in Jamie and Wes' relationship dynamics, the secondary characters and Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy's flawless writing prowess made Us a stellar book. If you read and loved the first book and are worried, don't be - I promise you that Us is an enjoyable novel.

Did you read Him last year? What are your thoughts on contemporary novels getting sequels? Let me know in the comments below!