August was The Deal

The Deal - coverSo sorry about the rather belated August Reads post, folks! I’ve been down and out with a constantly morphing flu for the past three weeks, and as my PC is upstairs, and I don’t own a working laptop or tablet, it’s been all I can do to crawl up two flights of stairs and power up the old PC to wrestle my email inbox into submission, let alone publish a post to this blog. Serves me right for attempting to do a little too much, too soon, I guess. But hey, at least I can remove my mechanical keyboard’s keys and give ’em all a thorough clean after I’ve coughed and spluttered all over them for the umpteenth time. Yay for Corsair Vengeance mechanical keyboards :)

Confession time: Considering how flu-fuzzed my brain is right now, much of what I’ve read these past couple of weeks let alone last month is simply a blur. Meaning that without flicking through all the books on this list all over again, I’d be hard put to talk about what aspects I particularly enjoyed, and why you should perhaps give them a go. Damn flu! Grrr. Anyway, luckily for me, The Deal by Elle Kennedy proved such a memorable book that choosing it from the August Reads list to talk about today was a no-brainer :)

I feel compelled to mention that as soon as I finished The Deal, I passed it onto DD (who was also stuck in bed feeling under the weather for most of her mid-semester break) and told her she should read it. Reluctantly — maybe because she was feeling too sick to get out of bed and fossick through the bookshelves for something more to her taste — she did read it. Or perhaps devour would be a more accurate term. And her verdict: “I didn’t want to like it, because, you know, cliched college romance premise. But… I loved it!” My response: “Told you you’d like it.” *smiles in an annoyingly smug Mum-knows-best way*

Here’s the blurb for The Deal:

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.

Okay, so maybe the premise of “hot, hard-bodied jock who’s failed a crucial test (and therefore won’t be able to continue playing his chosen sport because an F grade has tanked his GPA), begs the smart girl to tutor him in return for, a) pointers on how to attract the guy she’s crushing on, and b) boosting her social cachet by squiring her to a couple of college campus functions, and then, you guessed it, hot jock falls for smart girl” has been done before. But, as with all great stories, it’s not what premise an author chooses, necessarily, but how well the author not only executes the premise but makes it hers — twists it to make it unique. And for me, Ms Kennedy twisted a been-done-before premise beautifully to give me a memorable book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I really liked that Garrett isn’t your stereotypical not-so-bright jock. He’s über-smart, and the F he got on this test was entirely unexpected — in fact most of the class failed it, too. Hannah, on the other hand, was a little shocked she’d aced it. She’s bright, sure, but not a complete nerd of the genius persuasion or anything. Another thing I enjoyed was that Hannah just wants Garrett to quit bugging her — she hasn’t got time to tutor him, even if she wanted to… which she most definitely doesn’t. Leading to heaps of snarky comebacks like this one:

“For the love of God, I’m not tutoring you.”

“Sure you are.” I shrug. “I just need to figure out what you want in return.”

“I want to not tutor you. That’s what I want.”

Their encounters while Garrett’s trying to convince Hannah to tutor him are amusing as all get-out. Love it! And consequently, rather than Hannah coming up with a way for Garrett pay her back for the tutoring, it’s up to Garrett to figure out what Hannah thinks she wants… and then convince her that he’s the only guy who can help her get it.

I also appreciated that while Hannah has suffered a trauma in her past, she’s put it behind her. For example, rather than not socializing at all, she socializes on her own terms — usually with a close friend to watch her back. I’m probably not expressing myself very well — damn this 3-week-and-counting flu! — because I don’t mean to come across like I think anyone who’s suffered sexual assault should simply be able to put it all behind them and carry on as usual. I sure as hell don’t think that. And I guess what I’m trying to say is that in The Deal, while Hannah’s past trauma does of course affect her decisions, the story isn’t all about Hannah overcoming her past. She’s moved on, knows what she wants to do with her life and is working her butt off to get there, while still managing to find time to participate in college life. For example, she’s had a long-term boyfriend, and she’s putting herself out there. Sure her past still affects her, but it doesn’t define her. Garrett’s past, on the other hand, is almost impossible to escape because it’s literally in his face every time he comes off the field after a game.

Hmmm. All this talk about dark pasts is making this book sound depressing and past-trauma-driven, and maybe putting you off reading it, right? Please don’t be put off. Because The Deal is far more than the traumas Hannah and Garrett have endured. For me, like its two main characters, The Deal was funny, sexy, heart-warming and brave — truly a memorable read indeed.

Here’s my full reading list for August 2015:

  • Sweet Spot by Susan Mallery
  • Infernal Affairs by Jes Battis
  • Sheikh’s Desert Duty by Maisey Yates
  • Marriage Behind The Facade by Lynn Raye Harris
  • The Education of Mrs Brimley by Donna MacMeans
  • The Perfect Lover by Stephanie Laurens
  • Someone Like You by Susan Mallery
  • Falling For Gracie by Susan Mallery
  • Heartless by Gail Carriger
  • Hot On Her Heels by Susan Mallery
  • Straight From the Hip by Susan Mallery
  • Beyond Control by Bronwyn Jameson
  • Zane: The Wild One by Bronwyn Jameson
  • The Untamed Sheik by Tessa Radley
  • Summer Days by Susan Mallery
  • Somewhere I’ll Find You by Lisa Kleypas
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maass
  • Rule’s Obsession by Lynda Chance
  • Sweet Success by Susan Mallery
  • The Deal by Elle Kennedy
  • The Truth About Lord Stoneville by Sabrina Jeffries
  • How To Engage An Earl by Kathryn Caskie

Happy Reading!

:)

M

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