Friday, November 7, 2014

NERC Review #51: Alex by Sawyer Bennett

Title: Alex
Author: Sawyer Bennett
Publisher: Loveswept
Release Date: October 14th, 2014
*eARC kindly provided by Loveswept via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
USA Today bestselling author Sawyer Bennett scores big-time with the first novel in a sexy new series hot enough to melt the ice.
Hockey star Alexander Crossman has a reputation as a cold-hearted player on and off the rink. Pushed into the sport by an alcoholic father, Alex isn’t afraid to give fans the proverbial middle finger, relishing his role as the MVP they love to hate. Management, however, isn’t so amused. Now Alex has a choice: fix his public image through community service or ride the bench. But Alex refuses to be molded into the Carolina Cold Fury poster boy . . . not even by a tempting redhead with killer curves.
As a social worker, Sutton Price is accustomed to difficult people—like Alex, who’s been assigned to help her create a drug-abuse awareness program for at-risk youth as part of the team’s effort to clean up his image. What she doesn’t expect is the arrogant smirk from his perfect lips to stir her most heated fantasies. But Sutton isn’t one to cross professional boundaries—and besides, Alex doesn’t do relationships . . . or does he? The more she sees behind Alex’s bad-boy fa├žade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.

My Review!
Ever since I finished the Off series, I've been sorely disappointed by Sawyer Bennett's books. But I keep trying them, because she's a great writer and I know I can fall in love with another one of her books again. I just had to keep reading them, and I finally found the story that brought me back to why I've loved her books since the start.

I loved that this one featured hockey again, that one of the main characters was a hockey player. But Alex Crossman is not exactly a nice guy. He's arrogant, ill-tempered, even a little cold. And normally, those types of characters will turn me off from a book. But I could tell that he had a story, and I wanted to find out what it was that turned him into the man he is today. The man who plays a game that he hates and doesn't care about anyone but himself. I thought Alex's character development was wonderful. It didn't feel too slow or too fast; it felt believable. And so much of his growth as a character involved Sutton Price.

I adored Sutton! I loved her compassion and patience; I loved that she was a counselor and that all she wanted was to help people. She was such a strong character. And even after all that she'd been through, she was still a compassionate individual who had a large capacity for forgiveness. That type of personality makes it easier for people to walk all over you, but not Sutton. 

I loved that their romance was a slow development, that they became friends first and got to know each other through the anti-drug campaign for youth they were starting. I thought it was so adorable when Sutton would call Alex, get so excited about the game, and they would spend hours talking about hockey. I think those helped Alex immensely, because after awhile, he started to love the game again. And of course, their romance was sweet and steamy.

I loved most of the secondary characters, too! I especially adored Sutton's family; her mom, stepfather, and brother, Glen (who is just the sweetest kid ever). They were such an important part of Sutton's life, and I loved their scenes together. Alex didn't really have anybody except for his teammate, Garrett. (I'm so excited for his story; this dude is awesome). Both Sutton and Alex had problems with their dads, and I thought the struggles shown through that were realistic and genuine, even if those relationships seemed to become better faster than I thought they would.

The plot focused on Sutton's and Alex's relationship, but also never lost sight of the caring people around them. I loved that hockey was such an integral part of the story-line. I also adored how the two met and that Sutton's career and the program they were starting had an importance to the story.

I really love Sawyer Bennett's writing style, and I am so happy that she has another hockey series. I can't wait for more from these characters, and I'm also excited to read Garrett's story. :)
4 Paw Prints!