Title: Us (Him: Book Two)
Authors: Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy
Publisher: Rennie Road Books
Pages/Word Count: 255 Pages
At a Glance: There were a few little things that felt different about Us, making it fall a bit short of a homerun for me, but those things aside, I ended up really, really enjoying this story.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: 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.
Review: There is one thing that did not change in Us—Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy’s follow up to last summer’s hit, Him—and that is the utter perfection of Wes and Jamie together. There is so much love, respect, loyalty, and just complete goddamn affection between these two, it’s amazing. I LOOOOVE them together; they are the basis for everything that is fantastic about this series. That being said, there were a few little things that felt different about Us, making it fall a bit short of a homerun for me.
The beginning was rocky for a couple of reasons. First, we meet Blake, who, on top of being one of Wes’s new teammates, is also now their new neighbor. Oh joy! Not. He is the neighbor from hell. Constantly dropping in unannounced, and walking in uninvited, and reading texts and emails over their shoulders…he’s a piece of work. But, the problem is it didn’t even seem remotely realistic to me. I felt like Blake was beyond ridiculously annoying. I mean, WHO IN THE HELL acts like that?? The guys could have kept their relationship a secret while still telling Blake where to go, in my opinion. BUT…there ARE, in fact, chatty, nosy, annoying mothertruckers out in the world, so…moving on.
Second, the attitude/language/behavior of several characters—Blake being one of them—simply felt inauthentic to me. There was so much ‘frat boy’ language and behavior, not to mention just things I don’t think any guy would be caught dead saying—‘samesies’ from a grown up, male hockey player??—that it completely threw me out of the story at times. It was so surprising, given that I didn’t notice nearly as much of it in the first book. In my experience, guys that act like that are the exception rather than the rule. Here, though, it was presented as the norm.
Those things aside, I ended up really, really enjoying this story. Jamie went through an extremely rough patch, exacerbated by the stress of keeping the relationship closeted, problems at work, and not knowing how to just talk to Wes. Even though he was being a brat throughout much of the middle of the book and I wanted to shake him, I also felt terrible for him at the same time, and wanted to hug him. Luckily, though, his family was amazing as ever, and helped him get his head back on straight. I also loved how the authors handled all of his issues at work. His boss and the kids Jamie coaches were all amazing and supportive. So good and heartwarming.
Even though the beginning of his first year of professional hockey was a total rollercoaster, Wes was basically a pillar. He did everything he could to be there for Jamie. He never stopped showing his love for him, in spite of still believing they needed to keep the reality hidden. But, ultimately, the shit hit the fan, and the romance was made public. The reaction of Wes’s teammates when he and Jamie were inevitably outed was perfect, yet realistic—and Wes’s birthday dinner with the guys at the end of the book was PRICELESS. I really liked the ‘closure’ (if it can be called that) with Wes’s parents; and he had a blast-from-the-past phone call that was such a special moment in the book. Wes showed such growth in this book. I love, love, love him.
And, okayyyy…one more thing about Blake…I must begrudgingly admit that the son-of-a-bitch grew on me. It was impossible not to like him in the second half. 😉 Read the book. I know you’ll agree with me!
You can buy Us here: