NEW ADULT FAKE DATING: The Dare (Briar U #4) Review

Summary (from the author):

52918684._SY475_College was supposed to be my chance to get over my ugly-duckling complex and spread my wings. Instead, I wound up in a sorority full of mean girls. I already have a hard time fitting in, so when my Kappa Chi sisters issue the challenge, I can’t say no.

The dare: seduce the hottest new hockey player in the junior class.

Conor Edwards is a regular at Greek Row parties…and in Greek Row sorority beds. He’s the one you fall for before you learn that guys like him don’t give girls like me a second glance. Except Mr. Popular throws me for a loop—rather than laughing in my face, he does me a solid by letting me take him upstairs to pretend we’re getting busy.

Even crazier, now he wants to keep pretending. Turns out Conor loves games, and he thinks it’s fun to pull the wool over my frenemies’ eyes.

But resisting his easy charm and surfer-boy hotness is darn near impossible. Though I’m realizing there’s much more to Conor’s story than his fan club can see.

And the longer this silly ruse goes on, the greater the danger of it all blowing up in my face.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

I was beyond excited when Elle Kennedy announced back in April that there would be a fourth installment in the Briar U series. This spin-off series to the Off-Campus series follow a new set of hockey players and college students at the fictional Ivy League school, Briar University – but don’t worry, there’s plenty of cameos from the Off-Campus series! The Dare follows college junior & aspiring teacher, Taylor, who’s had enough of the mean girls in her sorority and California surfer & heartthrob of the Briar U hockey team, Conor. When Taylor and Conor begin to fake date after a dare, the two realize that could potentially be a couple even without being dared to. 

The Dare was a fun take on the fake dating trope. I really liked how Conor and Taylor are friends before moving on to anything really romance-related. Most of the relationships in the Briar U world start with romance before relationship statuses are set, so it was a refreshing take. I’ll admit that sometimes the boys of Off-Campus & Briar U blend together, but I feel like Conor wasn’t as much as a bad boy & player as some of the other guys. I also really liked Taylor as a protagonist, having enjoyed her relationships with her mom and her best friend, Sasha. It was also fun reading about her field experience as a student teacher. 

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NEW ADULT FUN: The Play (Briar U #3) Review  

Summary (from the author): 

413eh7lf2nL._SY346_What I learned after last year’s distractions cost my hockey team our entire season? No more screwing up. No more screwing, period. As the new team captain, I need a new philosophy: hockey and school now, women later. Which means that I, Hunter Davenport, am officially going celibate…no matter how hard that makes things.

But there’s nothing in the rulebook that says I can’t be friends with a woman. And I won’t lie—my new classmate Demi Davis is one cool chick. Her smart mouth is hot as hell, and so is the rest of her, but the fact that she’s got a boyfriend eliminates the temptation to touch her.

Except three months into our friendship, Demi is single and looking for a rebound.

And she’s making a play for me.

Avoiding her is impossible. We’re paired up on a yearlong school project, but I’m confident I can resist her. We’d never work, anyway. Our backgrounds are too different, our goals aren’t aligned, and her parents hate my guts.

Hooking up is a very bad idea. Now I just have to convince my body—and my heart.

 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Elle Kennedy is my favorite new adult romance author. Her Off-Campus series stole my heart last summer, so I knew I needed to kick off my June with one of her Briar U books, The Play. Briar U is the spin-off series to Off-Campus. Both series follow romances between the women of the fictional Ivy League school, Briar University, and the college’s hockey players. The Play follows Hunter, who we’ve seen in both series, and a new female lead, Demi. As the newest hockey team captain and after years of being a playboy, Hunter decides to take himself out of the dating world in order to focus on his team. Hunter isn’t expecting anything from his psychology project partner, Demi, until a nasty break-up makes Hunter and Demi closer than they ever expected. 

The Play was everything I look for in my Elle Kennedy books: charming male leads, college life (partying included), hockey, romance, and smart,sarcastic female leads. I’ll admit that Hunter was never really my favorite male lead, especially after The Chase, but he really grew on me in this book. Having his perspective brought out a new side of him. There’s a little bit of talk about his  feelings for Summer, but his romantic focus in this book was really combatting his feelings for Demi while trying to stick with the commitment he made to himself. Demi and Hunter have such great chemistry from the very beginning, and while they had always been flirty with one another, it was fun seeing them move from friends into something more. 

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I don’t think Demi was my favorite Briar U/Off-Campus protagonist, but she grew on me. I believe Demi is the most diverse protagonist in all of the series, having a black father and Cuban mother, but there’s been a lot of discussion in reviews about the authenticity (or lack thereof) of her representation and a few stereotypes associated with her. While I did enjoy Demi’s intelligence and strength, I do agree with reviewers that her representation did need some further development. Read More »

VALENTINE’S DAY ROMANCE READ: The Risk Review

Summary for The Risk (Briar U #2)

rhweiskEveryone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Since one of my reading goals for 2020 is to read more romance, I kicked off my 2020 reading with a sports romance! Elle Kennedy is one of my favorite new adult and sports romance authors, having loved the Off-Campus series last year. I read the first book in the Briar U series, The Chase, in October and now have of course finished the second book in the series, The Risk. The Risk is hands-down my favorite Briar U book!

The Risk follows Brenna Jensen, daughter of Briar University’s hockey coach, and Jake Connelly, the Harvard hockey team star player and Briar U’s biggest rival. Brenna and Jake have a somewhat hate-to-love romance that is more on the side of forbidden romance. Coming from two sides of a huge college hockey rival, Brenna and Jake can’t reveal their attraction for one another to basically anyone, let alone their fake relationship. Brenna is up for an internship at a male-dominated sports company and the only way that she can capture her potential boss’ attention is by telling him that Jake, an upcoming NHL rookie, is her boyfriend. As Brenna and Jake spend more time together ‘fake’ dating, the lines between fake and real begin to blur.

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ROMANCE  & CONTEMPORARY LOVE: Fall Mini Reviews

Monthly mini reviews are hit or miss for me, depending on the amount of books I read and if I have enough thoughts & feels to dedicate entire reviews for them. I read the following three books- a new adult romance from my favorite NA author, an adult romance from a much loved writing duo, and a debut contemporary- in October and November 2019.

The Chase (Briar U #1) by Elle Kennedy 

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Ever since I read the last book in the Off-Campus series back in May, I have been highly looking forward to starting Elle Kennedy’s spin-off series, Briar U. The series follows new and old characters involved in new relationships in the (hot) hockey playing world that is the fictional Briar University. The Chase follows Summer, the sister of Dean (the male lead in The Score), as she transfers to Briar U after being kicked out of her Ivy league school after a freaky sorority party accident. When she’s not welcome into Briar U’s chapter, Summer finds herself living with three of the Briar U hockey players, including the tattoo-covered, quiet, artistic and video-game designer Colin, otherwise known as Fitz.

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I was so excited when I found out The Chase’s male lead was Fitz because he was one of my favorite secondary characters in Off-Campus. Summer and Fitz definitely have a slow burn romance, as the two spend the majority of the book not being together. I wish their relationship had progressed sooner, in that nothing really happens in the book until their relationship really begins to bloom. However, I loved getting to follow the characters and their everyday. Much of Summer’s everyday follows her life as a fashion major, dealing with a creepy professor, and the struggles that come with her learning disability. Elle Kennedy incorporates a lot of mature themes with #MeToo vibes. Set in his senior year, Fitz finds himself competing for a full time position at a big video game company.

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