Early Group Review: Us by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

UsUs by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
#2 in Him
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: March 1st, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
 

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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?

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Our Review

Wendy: I loved this so much.  I was only at 11% at 9:30 when I laid down for the night.  I read the rest of the book that night, finishing at 2:30am.  I literally couldn’t stop.

Angie: You were really looking forward to this one! I thought it was a good read, too. If I hadn’t waited until after midnight to start it, I could have read all night!

Wendy: The thing that I loved about it was that I don’t think one book was stronger than the other.  At least not for me.  There were things I loved about the first book, like the low level of angst and the way they were so open with each other.  Then, there were things that I loved more about this book!  Like Blake!  He was so refreshing, and honestly he was the first of the secondary characters that felt as unique as Wes and Jamie.

Angie: Oh, yes! I loved Blake, and I have to be honest. From the blurb, I wasn’t sure I was going to. I thought he was going to be a nosy busybody, but he wasn’t. He was just looking for some buddies.

The first book resonated more with me than this one did. To be honest, I’m not sure this book was necessary. It was entertaining, that’s for sure, and I do feel like there were some scenes that we needed to see. But I feel like a lot of it was filler, and the stuff we needed to see could have been added to the first book and just made it a longer read. But let’s be honest – it was a four star read for me, so it’s clear I was smitten with the story.

Wendy: I can see that, although for me getting this second story about them trying to make their relationship work in the ‘real world’ outside Lake Placid felt really good.  They had this plan, to go one year as roommates for the benefit of Wes’s hockey career and I enjoyed reading the repercussions of that, and also about how Jamie didn’t fall right into this coaching career.  Life is hard, relationships are hard, and it felt right to read that.

Also, I lied.  As far as secondary characters go, I LOVE the Canning family!  I particularly love Jamie’s mom.  Especially how wonderful she was with Wes.  He really needed that.

Angie: I loved Jamie’s family, too. His mom is the kind of mom you can imagine would have had (vegetarian) cookies and almond milk waiting on the kitchen table after school for Jamie and all of his hockey buddies. His entire family was so kind, and I loved that Mrs. Canning was a rock for Wes as well as Jamie when he needed it.

Wendy: Wes and Jamie!  Ugh, they had such a hard time in the second installment.  I was just glad that through it all, even at the worst, they never stopped loving each other.

Angie: Yeah, this book really put Jamie in a different light than the first book did. Not in a ‘pulling him out of character’ way, but more like a ‘here’s another facet’ way. I think his insecurities about money and his career choices were credible, and it makes sense that he’d have a hard time sharing that with Wes while Wes’s career was at its first peak. And I like how Jamie’s insecurities were a long time coming. Of course they had their time of basking in the newness of their relationship, but reality eventually intruded. As it usually does!

Wendy: Totally, and I think that was a really great balance between Him and Us.  In Him it was more about Wes’s hang ups and insecurities.  His fear that he’d taken advantage of his best friend and loving him while afraid that he wouldn’t get it all.  In Us we got more of an insecure Jamie.

Angie: Can we talk about how HOT this book was now please? I mean, how many wrists do you estimate will be strained and/or sprained during the reading of this book?

Wendy: HAHA!  You went there!  BOTH of the books are incredibly hot!  Wes and Jamie together are one of the hottest couples I’ve ever read.  Seriously.  I also loved how snuggly they are.

Angie: Well, one of us had to! 😉 And can I just say that while I loved the hotness, the ‘not now, honey, I have a headache’ scene had me rolling with laughter. Not only was it unexpected, but it came at a pivotal, intense time in their relationship. It was so well placed and a perfect break from the seriousness. One of so many fun moments in this installment!

Overall, this was a wonderful read. The series was scorching hot and just plain fun from the first page to the last We can’t recommend it enough!

Wendy’s Rating: 5 Stars = A+
Angie’s Rating: 4 Stars = B+

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