Thursday, January 21, 2016

Review: The Deal by Elle Kennedy

The Deal by Elle Kennedy
Book One of the Off-Campus series
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Rating: 4 stars
Source: Kindle copy bought from Amazon

***Warning: this is an adult book, and for the eyes of mature readers***

Summary (from Goodreads):

She’s about to make a deal with the college bad boy... 

Hannah Wells has finally found someone who turns her on. But while she might be confident in every other area of her life, she’s carting around a full set of baggage when it comes to sex and seduction. If she wants to get her crush’s attention, she’ll have to step out of her comfort zone and make him take notice…even if it means tutoring the annoying, childish, cocky captain of the hockey team in exchange for a pretend date. 

...and it’s going to be oh so good. 

All Garrett Graham has ever wanted is to play professional hockey after graduation, but his plummeting GPA is threatening everything he’s worked so hard for. If helping a sarcastic brunette make another guy jealous will help him secure his position on the team, he’s all for it. But when one unexpected kiss leads to the wildest sex of both their lives, it doesn’t take long for Garrett to realize that pretend isn’t going to cut it. Now he just has to convince Hannah that the man she wants looks a lot like him.

What I Liked:

I love Elle Kennedy's romance novels - her series published by Entangled Brazen is so good! As much I love Elle Kennedy, I'm not a New Adult contemporary romance person. I've struggled with the genre, after reading so many back in 2013, when it first exploded. But I'm very happy that this book was only $0.99 (on sale), because I could not miss the sale. And I'm glad I didn't because I LOVED this book!

Hannah has been attracted to a grand total of two boys - one being her ex boyfriend, the second being a hunky football player who doesn't know she exists. When Garrett Graham, captain of the hockey team and all-around player and ladies' man, offers to take her on a date to get Justin's attention, in exchange for tutoring, Hannah puts common sense aside and agrees. Garrett can't fail this class, because doing poorly would mean getting benched and missing games - which isn't going to happy. What also shouldn't happen is the simmering chemistry between him and his smart tutor. But will Garrett win Hannah over?

I'm not into New Adult contemporary romance (hits waaaaay too close to home for me, as well as the books are usually very repetitive ripoffs of a select few big hits), but this book was very different, and for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest differences is that while there IS a Big and Terrible Thing of Hannah's Past, it is NOT the focus and end-all-be-all of this book. It's not a dark weight hanging over the book. And while Garrett also has kind of a Not So Good Past, it's again NOT a black cloud over the story. Nothing about the "tough issues" in this book is overwhelming, all-encompassing, and totally cliche. Which was refreshing!

What this book WAS made of was lots of humor and slightly awkward situations, sarcasm and adorable banter. Garrett and Hannah have never spoken two words before, but everyone knows who Garrett is. Garrett is floored by the fact that Hannah isn't jumping at the chance to tutor him. Or let him take her on a date, to catch another boy's eye and get her on his radar (trust me, this actually makes a lot of sense, especially from a college student's point-of-view). Garrett really has to work to get Hannah to agree to tutor him, and this beginning really amused me. Watching Hannah shoot him down every time was hilarious!

I connected so well with Hannah! Smart, dedicated, hard-working, living in the library... I get her. I'm also an idiot who tutored an athlete for long hours of a semester (my story wasn't a cute as hers though). I also really identify with her some of her personal and financial struggles, and how she is so different from Garrett as a person. Hannah is such a great protagonist! I wasn't swamped in sympathy for her - it's clear that she didn't need a man to help her get past issues (which is usually what is typical in New Adult contemporary romance novels). 

GARRETT! He is so great as well. Swoony and sexy and shameless and sweet and silly and adorable and stubborn (ALL the "S" adjectives), this boy had me from the start. I have a soft spot for athletes - particularly soccer and hockey players. Especially particularly the captains. Garrett may seem like an arrogant prick from a distance, and he may really have earned his player reputation among the ladies, but he's also a good guy. And so much more than his good looks and yummy bod. 

I love the romance! About two fifths of this book features a purely platonic relationship between Garrett and Hannah. I love how this is set up, because it's kind of a friends-first-lust-second relationship, of which I am a huge fan. Garrett and Hannah can be in the same wrong and discuss classes and shows and personal things, like FRIENDS. Things changed when they kissed, and I do like how much chemistry develops. Their physical relationship is very slow ad exploratory, in a slow-burn way. They learn to trust each other as much as they learn what the other likes.

The climax of this book (which, in typical New Adult contemporary romance novels, usually features a ton of drama) wasn't as bad as I was expecting, from a New Adult novel. Sure, it's kind of typical in a blanketed sense, but it's also way less on the drama and more focused on the tender, sweet ending. I loved the ending!

Overall, I really liked this book. I'm glad it was on sale, because I have been intrigued but on the fence with this book since it appeared on my radar about a year ago. I regret not reading this sooner!

What I Did Not Like:

There is one thing that bothered me about this book, but I see it is something that is addressed in the next book, featuring Logan and whoever he falls for. So I won't say anything specific, but... it bothered me. Still is. I might not read The Mistake.

Would I Recommend It:

I highly recommend this book! This could be one of my favorite New Adult contemporary romance novels - which you never hear me saying. Yaaassss to a hot hockey player! Even bigger yaaaaaassssss to a smart, tough girl who doesn't take the hockey player's crap! Low on the drama, high on the swoon and giggles: good balance!


4.5 stars -> rounded down to 4 stars (you will also never see me rate a New Adult contemporary romance novel higher than 4 stars, so this book is quite exceptional). I don't know if I'll convince myself to read The Mistake, and I see I've missed its $1.99 sale. But I want to continue with this series, especially for Tuck's book!

Was this review helpful? Please let me know in the comments section!


  1. I have this one also, but I just haven't felt the need to read it yet. I have a few of her books that need to be read. Maybe I'll get to this one soon. Great review!

    1. You should, Lekeisha! I highly recommend One Night of Sin.

      Thank you!

  2. Aw, yay for enjoying this book so much sweetie :D I'm glad you liked the girl and the boy. <3 And that the romance was good ;) Not for me, but it do sound pretty awesome.

  3. I loved this book. I agree that NA is repetitive, but it is still a guilty pleasure of mine. I never laughed as much during a book as I did with this one. I probably broke the high lighter function on my kindle. Great review!

    Amber @ The Book Bratz

    1. In my opinion, there is no such thing as a "guilty pleasure", in reading! If there was, historical romance novels would be mine. But seriously, never be ashamed of what you read!

      I'm glad you loved this one, Amber. :D

  4. I don't know how I missed this review while visiting yesterday, Alyssa, but OMG! I'm so so so happy you enjoyed this one as much as I did. I really liked Hannah as well even though I know some people saw her as judgmental. And Garrett! <3 He needs no words!
    I loved that their relationship was platonic too. It was really fun to see them be friends before they moved further.
    Anyways, I couldn't be happier you liked this and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on The Mistake. I hope you like it too! :)
    Lovely review, Alyssa!

    1. You and Nereyda were big factors in my decision to (finally) read this book! Literally everyone I know that has read this book has enjoyed it. Which is amazing!

      I'll see what I can do about The Mistake! Maybe closer to the publication date of book four.

      Thank you so much, Nick!

  5. I so loved this one and the rest of the series so far! This has to be my absolute favourite though! Hannah & Garrett for the win!!

    And I need me a Garrett too dammit!!

    1. Thank you for buddy-reading with me, Pili! We took a leap! ^_^

  6. Great review Alyssa! I absolutely love reading NA books especially the slow burn attraction and love the two main characters have. I totally understand that you don't read NA like that anymore. That's way I always read a mixture of YA, Adult, NA and Middle Grade books so I won't be burn out to read so many NA books and it has helped me a lot. But this one looks and sounds amazing and right up my alley! Plus I've been dying to read a book by Elle Kennedy for a long time know. I heard nothing but great reviews about her books. Thank you for the awesome post my friend.

    1. I hope you read one of Kennedy's books, Katiria! I personally recommend this one or One Night of Sin.

      Thank YOU!

  7. You finally read this! I'm so happy you loved it. I highly suggest you try The Hook Up if you liked this. That has no 'big bad past' and it's just so good. The banter is so similar to this (it was written first so it's not a rip off)

    Okay, about Logan. What he is attracted to is the relationship they have, not necessarily Hannah. He thinks he likes Hannah, but he really just wants what she and Garrett have. I see why it makes you iffy, but he realizes that and there is no drama from that.

    I liked The Mistake a lot, but this was my favorite of the series.

    PS, are you on Instagram?

    1. I think I have The Hook Up, actually! I definitely want to read it at some point - one of my personal challenges to myself is to read some of the freebies/cheap Kindle books I bought in the past and never read. Like The Deal... The Hook Up... and so many more. *hides*

      Okay I am so glad you said that about The Mistake, because it's really been bothering me! I was half in, half out with that one, but I think I'll give it a go. :D

      And to answer your question - I am not (sadly, or maybe not sadly?). I'm telling myself it's because I can't handle it in terms of creativity but I think it's just laziness at this point LOL.

  8. Of course I've heard so much about this series, but I can't bring myself to read them... there's just something about each book that nags at me, and I wonder if the author isn't for me. BUT, the humor and the swoon sound great, and I'm so happy you enjoyed! Good luck with the next one. :P

    1. Girl! I could have sworn you read this series! *jaw is on the floor* I can see what you mean though. Have you read One Night of Sin, one of her Brazen novels? It is SO good, with zero angst and such, and it's only $0.99! One of my favorite Brazen novels ever. :D

      Thank you, Danielle!

  9. Yay! The Deal was my favorite NA last year. I haven't read The Mistake. Yet. Now I'm curious about what you didn't like and I'll have to read it :)

    1. I haven't read The Mistake! I'm just very apprehensive to read it. D: Glad you loved The Deal, Liza!


I love comments! I will always try and reply to your comments, as well as leave some comment love on your blog! :)

Also, this an award and tag free blog. While I am flattered that you would think of me, I really do not have the time to follow up. Thank you!