Review: Hard Hitter by @SarinaBowen

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It’s amazing how a book can just lift one’s spirits up, up, and away. It seems as if the universe decided to give me a break. So did author Sarina Bowen. I got addicted to her Ivy Years series (especially this one), and I just didn’t want to leave these characters’ presence. Never mind that I haven’t ever seen a single hockey game in my life (well, except in watching the Disney films, “The Mighty Ducks” 1, 2, and 3). Ms. Bowen is able to carry me through the game with just hockey stick tape, hot sexy scenes, and extremely likable characters.

But I have a confession to make first. *Deep breath* I hated the first book in this new Brooklyn Bruisers series.

what

I know, right? Unfortunately, I did. There were subsequent books that Ms. Bowen wrote that didn’t do for me as well. (I’ll let you search for those tepid reviews yourself.) So, honestly, I don’t know what happened between “Rookie Move” and “Hard Hitter.” Was it because I was in a bad mood at the time I read about Trevi and Georgia’s story? Was I feeling much calmer this time around with O’Doul and Ari? I don’t really think so, particularly because I was having a shitty week when I started HH. Then again, who cares? Bottom line is: I just feel like I won myself – since I don’t feel like that “Hard Hitter” was a waste of hard-earned cash.

Hero Patrick O’Doul was someone I can relate to. No, I wasn’t fostered, and no, I haven’t witnessed my parents murder each other (yet), but I get him. I get the need to be alone. The inability to connect with one’s co-workers. The need to hide one’s pain… Okay, maybe I don’t get that last part, since I’m a bit of an overweight hypochondriac, but I get him. His heroine, Ariana, though… with her, I can get a bit harsh. For eight years, she was in a relationship with a guy who had sold drugs in his clubs, who had borrowed money from Russian mobsters, and who stupidly blackmailed said mobsters. And, she didn’t know that the guy she was with, the guy she lived with, the guy she was having sex with, was doing such. To her, he’s just a “douche.” (Kim’s insert: he’s waaaaaayyyy more than just a mere “douche.”) When he hit her during a fight, she finally had it and kicked him out of her house, but didn’t report him to the cops. Instead, she just changes the locks to her house, but keeps her ex’s personal belongings in her basement, which has a separate door. She kept his things for him, because his shirts were expensive. Yep, that was what she said. **Oi vey**

eye roll

Whilst she changed the locks on her main entrance, she foolishly didn’t change her basement’s locks. Hence, her ex eventually keeps an office in her basement and locks her out. She’s colored surprised. “Great,” I said to myself, she’s naively stupid about people. And, she’s supposed to be a native NEW YORKER!!!

Sorry, sorry. Didn’t mean to shout, but that irked me. I’m an urbanite myself, from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Urbanites are groomed to never, ever trust a guy who betrays you in the first place. That’s why fictional Ari annoyed me for a bit. Nevertheless, I’ll continue biting into the story. After I brushed aside the heroine’s naiveté, I got into it. I mean, really into it.

First, I found out that those fights on NHL rinks are staged. There are actual enforcers in 4 starsprofessional ice hockey – guys who are just paid to fight and entertain the blood-thirsty fans. I admit: I went on YouTube and binge-watched those fights and a few hockey pranks, too. Second, I found that I still love Sarina Bowen and her books. Can’t wait for Nate and Becca’s book now. And what is up with that Lauren? Bet she’ll have a book, too.

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