Sarina Bowen does it again! Him by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy is one of my absolute favorite m/m romances, and I was curious to see how Sarina Bowen would match that book with this new one on her own. Let me tell you that she nailed it! The New Guy is such a wonderful and sweet m/m hockey romance with two amazing main characters to root for, and some added layers of grief and the struggle of being a single parent.
The New Guy is the first book in Sarina Bowen’s new series Hockey Guys, and follows two main characters – the closeted hockey star Hudson Newgate and the out but widowed athletic trainer Gavin. Hudson’s nickname “New Guy” comes not only from his last name, but from the fact that he keeps getting traded. The first time he got traded was immediately after telling the management that he was bisexual, which is why he’s decided to stay in the closet for his remaining career. Especially since his agent and father keeps telling him to stay quiet to not risk anything.
Hence, Hudson keeps to himself, and stays away from socializing with his teammates and avoids anything that could risk exposure. Like hooking up with a guy at a bar. Definitely not doing that! Until he meets this gorgeous guy at a bar, realizing too late that he lives in the same team-owned building…
Gavin lost his husband two years ago and ended up being a grieving widower with sole responsibility for the daughter his husband adopted before they met. Being a single parent, he really needs the new job to support his daughter. Until he meets this gorgeous guy at a bar, realizing too late that he is a hockey player at the new team he will start working for…
I read this book in one sitting, it was so addictive and I rooted so much for all characters that I just couldn’t bear to put it down until the very end! It was such a perfect forbidden romance story with lots of depths and added layers. Like Hudson’s toxic relationship with his dad, Gavin’s problems with this late husband’s parents (especially the “monster in law”) and how they were threatening to take his daughter from him, Hudson’s loneliness and longing for being able to show his true self and the way Hudson and Gavin were immediately attracted to each other and had such a sizzling chemistry, but it still felt like a slow burn romance with true relationship development.
All in all, this was a both heartwarming and heartbreaking story with a perfect balance of hockey and romance, fun banter, vulnerability, steam and sweetness. Highly recommended!
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
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Cuteness overload! This novella was a pure joy to read, it really warmed my heart and made my day! I’m so happy that Jamie got his moment of glory and for the wonderful wrap-up of this series. Epic was nothing less than an epic conclusion of one of my all time favorite mm romances. If you haven’t read this series yet, I truly urge you to do so!
Him is easily one of my absolute favorite m/m romances, which I first read in 2020. I’ve always planned to continue the series, but I was so scared to be disappointed that something always kept me from buying Us. Not until I saw the new gorgeous editions of the series and just had to get them. And let me tell you, I needn’t have worried at all! Us is a perfect sequel that made me fall in love with Wes and Jamie all over again! It made their epic love story even more relatable and amazing, by adding depth and struggle, while making their love for each other even stronger. I absolutely loved this book!
Please note that this review contains spoilers for Him, so please don’t read it unless you’ve read Him first.
Him ended on a blissful note with Wes and Jamie getting their happy ending by being bold enough to admit their love to each other after years of friendship (and a few years of estrangement). In this sequel, we get to see how secrets and hiding affects the relationship, no matter how strong the love is. This book was much darker, with Wes and Jamie struggling with miscommunication, distrust and jealousy when seeing the other one pretending to be into women, and the toll it takes to always have to hide your true self. In addition, Jamie struggles with his work with his team underperforming and his colleagues being homophobic idiots, as well as depression when getting sick.
But even though Us deals with a lot of heavy topics, it’s truly an absolutely amazing and heartwarming love story! Wes never waved from his support for Jamie, and really showed how deep his love was. At times I got a bit frustrated with Jamie, and how he changed so much from the easygoing, positive and adorable west-coast surfer guy to a grumpy and quite selfish person at times. But it made it all so real and relatable, and added a whole new layer of depth to the relationship between Wes and James, and made me love Wes even more for standing by his man no matter what.
Just like in Him, the love and support from Jamie’s family was one of my favorite things in the book. That family is just the sweetest, funniest and most supportive family ever! I love their banter and snarky comments, but also how they always have each other backs.
I also really loved Blake, the nosy neighbor who in the end turns out to be nothing but a big, wonderful, goofy, protective friend.
All in all, this was such an honest, tender and beautiful story showing the importance of communication and the danger in keeping things secret. But most of all, it showed Wes’s and Jamie’s unwavering love and the courage it takes to put that love first. The steamy parts were perhaps a bit too explicit for me, but other than that, Us was the perfect sequel which added new layers to one of my all time favorite mm romances!
4.5 stars rounding up to 5
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This is my second time reading this book and I loved it even more this time around! I still think that the steamy parts are a bit too explicit for me personally, but Wes’s and Jamie’s love story completely stole my heart with their relationship development, their sizzling chemistry, the perfect execution of the friends-to-lovers and second-chance-romance tropes and all the feels! I’m definitely change my rating to 4.5 stars rounding up to 5 after this reread!
“I have the same damn weakness I’ve always had… My weakness is him.”
Original review from October 15th, 2020:
Him is easily one of my absolute favorite m/m romances! I read this book in one sitting, it was completely unputdownable. This friends-to-lovers, second chance romance is so sweet, funny and steamy, with an absolutely sizzling chemistry.
Jamie and Wes are both college hockey players, who’ve been best friends since they were young teens; meeting up every summer at the hockey camp at Lake Placid. Wes has loved Jamie since he was 13, but he knows he can’t do anything about it with Jamie being straight.
“Jamie Canning was my first crush and my first love. But he was never mine to have.”
Then last night at summer camp, a bet derailed and everything changed between them, making them lose contact. Now, four years later, fate brings them together when their college hockey teams play for the championship. And even though Wes fears facing Jamie again, he can’t miss this chance to make amends.
Even though the book is set in a hockey environment, don’t worry if you are not into sports, this is not a sports jock kind of book! There were some parts that were a bit too sexually explicit for me (I’m more into YA…), and the cover is a bit on the cheesy side, isn’t it? But apart from that, this is such a sweet romance story about a guy falling for his best friends, about taking chances and putting yourself out there with the risk of getting hurt, but potentially to find love.
4 stars changed to 4.5 stars rounding up to 5 after reread on October 22nd, 2022
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All 1 Star 2 Stars 3 Stars 4 Stars 5 Stars Abbi Glines Abby Kaitz Abdi Nazemian Adam Silvera Adib Khorram Aiden Thomas Aisha Saeed Aislinn Brophy AJ Collins Alexandra Christo Alex Beltran Alexene Farol Follmuth Alexis Hall Alex Kelly Alex Sanchez Alice Dolman Alice Oseman Alice Winn Ali Hazelwood Alison Cochrun Al Riske Alwyn Hamilton Amanda Ferreira Amanda Woody A. Meredith Walters Amy Aislin Amy Harmon Amy S. Foster Amy Spalding André Aciman Andy V Roamer Angie Thomas Annabeth Albert A. Poland Ashley Poston Ashley Woodfolk Ashlyn Kane Audrey Coulthurst Ban Gilmartin Becca Fitzpatrick Becky Albertalli Benjamin Alire Saenz Beth Bolden Bill Konigsberg B.L. Maxwell Briar Prescott Bri Spicer Brooke Skipstone Cait Nary Cale Dietrich Cara Dee Casey McQuiston Cassandra Clare Cat Sebastian C.F. White C.G. Drews Charlie Adhara Charli Meadows Chasten Buttigieg Chris Bedell Christina Lauren Christina Lee Ciara Smyth Claerie Kavanaugh Clarissa Pattern C.L. Beaumont Colette Davison Colleen Hoover Courtney Kae Crystal Frasier C.S. Pacat Dallas Smith Daven McQueen David Biddle David Yoon Dean Atta Debbie McGowan Debbie Rigaud Debbie Schrack Deborah Harkness Delia Owens D.G. Carothers Dhonielle Clayton D.N. Bryn Douglas Stuart Dustin Thao Elisa A. Bonnin Elizabeth Acevedo Elizabeth Arroyo Elle Kennedy Elle Wright E.L. Massey E. Lockhart Emery Lee Emily M. Danforth Emily Mims Erin Watt Ernest Cline Evan J. Corbin Eve Morton Everina Maxwell Evie Dunmore Felice Stevens F.T. Lukens Grace Williams Gwen Martin Hannah Grace Hanya Yanagihara Hayden Stone Heather Truett H.E. Edgmon Hettie Bell Holly Black Hope Irving H.S. Valley Hudson Lin Ingrid Sterling Jacob Gelman Jacqueline Lee Jacqueline Woodson James L. Sutter Jamie Deacon Jandy Nelson Jax Calder Jay Hogan Jeanette Winterson Jeff Zentner Jen Bailey Jenna Evans Welch Jenn Burke Jennifer E. Smith Jennifer G. Edelson Jennifer Gilmore Jennifer Iacopelli Jennifer Kropf Jennifer Niven Jenny Downham Jenny Han Jeremy Ray Jesse H. Reign Joelle Lynne John Green Jonny Garza Villa Julianne Donaldson Julian Winters Kacen Callender Kami Garcia Kara Leigh Miller Kasie West Kate Larkindale Katharine McGee Kathleen Mareé Kathy Anderson K.A. Tucker KD Casey Kendall Grey Kevin Van Whye Kiley Reid Kim Fielding Kim Holden Kim Liggett Kitty Bardot Kris Ripper K.S. Marsden Laura Hall Laura Pavlov Laura Silverman Lauren James Lauren Shippen Laurie Frankel Leah Johnson Lee Matthew Goldberg Leigh Bardugo Lex Croucher Leylah Attar Lisa Henry Lisa Williamson Lisa Wingate Liv Rancourt Liz Plum Lola Noire Lynn Michaels Mackenzi Lee Madeline Miller Magdalena Di Sotru Maggie Doolin Maggie Stiefvater Malin Persson Giolito Malorie Blackman Margaret Stohl Marie Lu Mary E. Pearson Mason Deaver Matthew R. Corr M.A. Wardell Melanie Munton Melina Marchetta Meredith Russo Miel Moreland Mila Gray Miranda Kenneally Moa Backe Astot Morgan James M. Tasia Nancy Garden Natalie Haynes Nathaniel Shea Nicholas Sparks Nicola Yoon Nic Starr Nic Stone Nina Kenwood Nita Tyndall Nora Sakavic N.R. Walker Nyla K. Owen Lach Penny Aimes Phil Stamper Quinn Anderson Rachael Brownell Rachael Lippincott Rachel Hawkins Rachel Reid Racquel Marie Rainbow Rowell Ray Stoeve Renée Dahlia Rhiannon Wilde Riley Hart River Braun Roan Parrish Robin Gow Roseanne A. Brown Rowan MacKemsley Ruby Moone Ruta Sepetys Ryan La Sala Sally Green Sally Rooney Sarah J. Maas Sarah Waters Sarina Bowen Sasha Laurens Saundra Mitchell Saxon James Serena Bell Shannon O’Connor Sidney Bell Simone Elkeles Siryn Sueng Sophia DeRise Sophia Soames Sophie Gonzales S.R. Lane Stephen Chbosky Stephenie Meyer Steven Salvatore Susan Mac Nicol Suzanne Collins Tahereh Mafi Tal Bauer Tamara Girardi Taylor Jenkins Reid Teagan Hunter Terry J. Benton-Walker Tiffany D. Jackson Timothy Janovsky T.J. Klune T.L. Bradford Tobly McSmith Tomasz Jedrowski Tomi Adeyemi Tracy Deonn Tucker Shaw Val Wise Veronica Rossi Veronica Roth V.E. Schwab Wesley Chu Victor Dixen Victoria Aveyard V.L. Stuart Xan Van Rooyen Yamile Saied Méndez