In book review elle kennedy the risk

REVIEW: The Risk

Title: The Risk
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre(s):  Romance, New Adult
Release: February 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

"So, you want a date on Friday night-"
"A fake date."
"A fake date," I amend. "Well, in return, I want a real one."
"A real what?"

This review is going to be short and sweet. Elle Kennedy has written some of my favorite romances in the New Adult genre (HIM, The Deal, WAGS) so I jumped at the chance to review this highly anticipated beauty. Opinions were divided about The Chase in particular (the previous Briar U book), but I objectively loved it (I think I gave it 4 stars as well!). Anyway, when I found this beauty in my kindle this morning I couldn't wait to devour it!

What is this book about?
The Risk is the second instalment in the Briar U series, which centers around the Briar University Hockey team. Brenna Jensen, the daughter of Briar's highly esteemed coach absolutely loathes Jake Connelly, Harvard's star player, but she can't ignore the undeniable chemistry that is brewing between them. In order to land her dream internship, Brenna name-drops Jake in a conversation with the misogynistic boss of the firm, which ends in a straight-up disaster. Her potential future employer now thinks she is dating Hockey star Jake Connelly, and the worst part of it? Connelly isn't opposed to the idea.

"I hate that when he looks at me, he still sees that 
self-destructive girl with the poor decision-making process. 
But I'm not her anymore. I haven't been her for a long time." 

What did I think of The Risk?
I'll start by saying I absolutely adored the dynamic between Brenna and Jake in The Chase. The little moments between the two of them really built the anticipation for them when they appear in The Risk. I, then, again absolutely adored their dynamic in this book. I feel like a broken record because I keep repeating this, but I'm not necessarily a fan of the hate-to-love trope, unless it's done in a particular way. I really enjoyed the interactions between the two of them and I especially appreciated the soft edge their relationship had. Connelly being a fairly brash guy with a soft touchy side a added such a nice layer to his character. Having said that, I would've loved there to be a little more of the fake dating aspect. Their little pretend-hate scenes and their banter formed some of the best parts of the book. 

As far as romances go I think this was an improvement from The Chase. Their dynamic felt a little more organic and I liked Connelly more than Fitzy, but Summer has remained a great character throughout both books. The dynamic between Summer and Brenna, in particular, was great to read and made me smile a ton!

Then, the real highlight of this book for me was definitely Brenna's character, and she might be my favorite protagonist of the whole series (Off Campus included!). I loved her attitude towards men and life, how strong she was, and her vulnerable edge. Her backstory really made me feel for her. I specifically liked the emotional moments with her father, and those scenes were some of the high points of the book for me.

I also want to give a quick shoutout to Rupi, I really liked her as a side-character and how brazen and energetic she is. I hope to see some more of her in potential future books (or even her to get her own book? please?). 

Despite the fact I really enjoyed this, where The Risk loses a star is its plot and side-story. Some of the story felt very predictable and the drama often a little contrived. I didn't love the climax of the story because it reminded me of a load of other romances I'd already read. I know that romance is character-focused a lot of the time, but that doesn't mean it has to necessarily be predictable. I would've loved to see more of the fake-dating plot instead, or even more about Brenna or Connelly's backstories. 

The particular side-story that bothered me was the way in which Connelly's best friend (of whom I loved that she was a girl!) had to have a crush on Connelly. I mean, I get, it, it adds drama, but this only solidifies the view that women are in constant competition for the attention of men and can't have guy friends. It also felt like this side-plot didn't serve any purpose. I didn't really understand the necessity of her being jealous of Brenna? 

Albeit not perfect, I really enjoyed The Risk and devoured it in (almost!) one sitting. Despite some of the contrived drama, it hit the mark for a good romance. There are steamy scenes, cute banter, and Brenna is for sure one of my favorite Elle Kennedy characters; her relationship with Connelly was frustratingly cute. I look forward to see what other books Elle releases in the Briar U series!

[Thank you to Elle Kennedy for providing an ARC of The Risk]

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