Saturday, February 28, 2015

Recent Reads

I am easily pleased when it comes to books and sometimes I wonder if I come across as a Harriet Klausner type author *shuddering at the thought*  I have a tendency not to do reviews on the books that don’t work for me so it may seem as if none do.

Besides being easily pleased, when I find an author I really like, I tend to like all their books.  But these two reviews are exceptions to the rules of Kristie.  The first one in the series I loved, the second I loathed – as you will see if you keep reading.
Here is the first Book in the series....

Alex (Cold Fury Hockey, #1)Alex by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First thing I have to get off my chest on this book – I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED. LOVED IT. DO YOU HEAR ME WORLD, I LOVED IT.

Ok – got that off my chest. I enjoyed this book so much I inhaled it almost in one sitting and now it’s my obligation and delight to explain why. I have read a few other Sawyer Bennett books; some I loved, some, well, one – not so much. She has another hockey series, the “Off” series and I read and really enjoyed the first 3 I read and ordered the whole set. I’m not quite sure why I didn’t finish reading them, I certainly enjoyed them. But I didn’t. So when I saw this book, the start of a new series, the Cold Fury Series, I snapped it right up.

Now this is a sports themed, hockey in particular romance. I’m Canadian and for many of us, it’s almost like it’s in our DNA even if we don’t watch it much. I know it’s in mine and while I don’t watch a whole lot any more, I do keep track of the woeful Toronto Maple Leafs *a moment’s silence here…………….* and I watched it religiously when I was young. And I went to MANY a game when I was in my teen years and the local Junior B had a team with most of their players my age – so you can only guess what one of the big draws was there. All of this is to say that I “KNOW” hockey. So I’m always holding my breath when I start a hockey romance, hoping the author ‘gets’ the sport. And thankfully Ms. Bennett does

Alex Crossman, the hero, of our story is a jerk. In fact he is called the MVP – Most Valuable Prick - by many of the fans. He is amazingly talented but his attitude sucks donkey balls (a phrase coined by another but one I love)
In desperation, the team brass forces him to join forces with a local social worker, Sutton Price and our heroine, in a drug awareness campaign.
The love for this book started right from page 1. Though he comes across a jerk - and in fact he really is one, it’s a form of protection for a very abusive childhood. His father was cruel and sadistic to him and Alex has had to develop a tough shell. Though he doesn’t mind helping Sutton, in fact it’s something he could really get on board doing, he hates being forced into anything – that chip on the shoulder attitude. He shows up late, doesn’t want to cooperate at first, that kind of thing. But Sutton doesn’t give up on him. She also has come from a very abusive background and though she doesn’t know the details of Alex’s past, like recognizes like. But instead of being bitter and angry and lashing out, she has used her experiences to help others. And through her patience and caring, Alex slowly drops his attitude and become a much kinder Alex. And of course, since this is a romance, they develop a relationship.

Both Alex and Sutton are AMAZING characters. They are like two different side of the same coin in so many ways. Their growing love for each other and as a result, the love scenes are smokin’. And I mean bring a fan and some ice. It’s getting to the point where I yawn and skim many a sex scene but these were so well written and fit in so well with the story they really worked for me.

And before I go I simply have to say that in one particular scene, after Alex screws things up, it is THE. BEST. GROVEL. SCENE. EVER!!! I LOVED every single word, every sentence, every comma and every period. I loved the nuance and I loved the picture it put in my head. This book needs to be read if only for that scene alone.

Wrapping up, this book is wonderful. I already have the next in the series on pre-order and I know I’ll be reading this book again and again – and soon. The first read went by too quickly. A hearty thumbs up for Alex by Sawyer Bennett.


And now we have my review of the second one in the series...

 with a very different reaction

Garrett (Cold Fury Hockey, #2)Garrett by Sawyer Bennett
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ve had such a good run with Sawyer Bennett books so far this year. I think I’ve read more of her books than any other author. Alex in particular, was a most excellent read. So it’s with a great deal of sadness that I say the next book in the series, Garrett, isn’t working for me at all. Garrett played a role in the first book and now he stars in this one. To put it simply, Garrett is a pig, a man-whore, a player of more than just hockey. In almost the first scene in this book, he’s in bed with two women and he doesn’t even really remember their names. He never dates the same woman more than once. The one time he did go on three dates with a woman it was only that it took him that long to get into her pants – his words. Pig. Not. Hero. Material. Now the women who allow themselves to be treated like aren’t any better, but he is supposed to be a hero *snort*.

And then he sees Olivia at a pre-season team party, the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen and he is IN LUST yet again. He hits on her, but she’s not playing. It turns out they have mutual acquaintances and when they run into each other again, she has changed her mind and wants to be another notch in his very long, very notched belt. She is facing life altering events in her life and she wants to live it to the fullest and that includes having hot and heavy sex with a man she is very attracted to. And lo and behold, Alex is smitten. The man, who slept with over 50 different women a year, but never the same one twice, never wants to fuck another woman. Yep – that’s how he explains things. As does she. They are both very crude in their language with each other. Sawyer Bennett does write in graphic words but it’s never really stood out the way it does in this book. While not a prude, I did find the language offensive. I found Garrett offensive. I found Olivia offensive. There seemed to be no tenderness between them other than her illness, no tender murmurings, just plain gutter language – all the time. Dirty talk can be very sexy, but I found theirs ugly. I found their entire relationship sex based, not love based

I found her best friend offensive. Not so much that he was gay – but that he was FLAMING gay. I felt he was way too much of a stereotype. I found Alex and Sutton bland. They were such vivid characters in their own story. But I think the author gave them a boring pill for this book.

Another thing that really irritated me; Olivia’s mother came to stay with her for a while to help her through some rough times. Garrett and Olivia waited until she went to bed and then boffed like bunnies. No, just, no. I was young and horny and newly married once and slept under the same roof as family but I didn’t do any boffing.

And not finished yet, another thing I found unrealistic is Olivia’s reaction to her health condition. It barely seemed to really register with her. I get that a new relationship with a hot young hockey player would be number one on her mind, but I just found her reaction to her illness unbelievable. Towards the end, just when I thought it would be hard to dislike the characters any more, I did.

I love Sawyer Bennett books and considering the number I’ve loved, I’m not going to stop reading her, but I hope the next one I read is softer, gentler and more believable than this one. There are a lot of very positive reviews for this book so I feel like one of a very small group of salmon swimming upstream *grin* but I did not like this one, no I did not. I give it two stars because I finished it and it was quite readable.


Renee B said...

I like this author too. I would like to try this series out, but I am sad that you didn't like it very much.

Kristie (J) said...

Renee B - I was simply mad for the first book. I loved Alex from the first page all the way through to the last page. It was Garrett's book I didn't like - I did kind of like him as a secondary character in that book. It was when he was the "hero" of his own book and then was more of a personal thing. I don't like hound dog heroes - at all. I have the same feelings of intense dislike for real rake heroes from historicals too - Dain from Lord of Scoundrels being the lone exception. And judging by the reviews for Garrett at GoodReads, I'm in the minority on not liking it. And I've read enough Sawyer Bennett books to certainly be on board for next book. I think she's a great author - just this one and the first book in the Last Call series I have rather strong negative reactions too.

SusiB said...

I don't want to ruin the book for anyone, but I thought that Alex was a really stupid book. First of all - the hero is a very successful professional ice hockey player and hates the sport. That makes no sense at all. Nobody could ever reach that level of success doing something he hates. Also, when he starts his affair with the heroine, he keeps telling himself that he's going to screw up the relationship. He just waits for it to happen, as if we wasn't capable of seeing which kind of behavior is bad for a relationship with a woman, and consequently avoiding it. The guy had me rolling my eyes, scratching my head in confusion, and going wtf?? all of the time.

Kristie (J) said...

SusiB - It's funny how different readers react to different books isn't it? While I loved Alex myself, I couldn't stand Garrett. Yet you go to GoodReads or Amazon and there are very few people who didn't love it to pieces. That's why - and I don't always add, but try to - say "for me" :-)
And I think he loved playing hockey - it's just that the abuse he suffered at the hands of his father caused him to hate it. I have two sons and while neither of them played hockey, there are some real horror stories about some of the hockey parents. And while he hated it, he was very good and it did pay A LOT of money