Tuesday, October 14, 2014

SUNNY - BLOG TOUR: "Alex" by Sawyer Bennett

by Sawyer Bennett
Book 1 in the Cold Fury series

Welcome to the Blog Tour for Alex by Sawyer Bennett. Thanks for joining us in celebrating the book and the author.  If you missed yesterday's release post, you can sign up for the Giveaway at the bottom of this post.  I hope you enjoy our review. 

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 façade, the more Sutton craves the man she uncovers.

There is definitely a balance in writing a great sports romance.  The sport has to be relevant to the story and it has to be integrated into the romance.  Sawyer Bennett does a stunning job bringing it all together.  It is clearly written from a fan's perspective.  There is so much to love about this book:

1.  His name is Alex Crossman : Alex is a man who experiences very little joy and peace in his life, even as a NHL hockey player.  He plays more as an obligation and expectation, rather than for passion of the game. But Sutton is able to get behind the façade and see the man underneath. As Sutton so aptly put it: “Wearing a blanket of loneliness and anger makes him seem vulnerable to me, and watching him open up a bit makes me all the more intrigued.”

He comes from such a dark place, it is intriguing and satisfying seeing him come out into the light.

2. It would be easy to focus this review entirely on Alex alone.  He is a noteworthy character, but in truth, the best thing about this book is Sutton Price.  She is a self-made girl.  Learning to be independent from a young age, she is making it as a drug counselor and is wise beyond her years.

She gets Alex to see things from new and different perspectives. He’s had one lens in which he has been seeing the world and she gets him to try on new glasses.  As a counselor and daughter of an addict herself, she knows how to read Alex. She sees the residue he leaves behind as a child of an alcoholic.  She knows when to give him space and when to push a little.  It is beautiful watching Alex come to life. I love, love, love Sutton.

You know you are emotionally vested when you feel the heart dropping moment with your character.  I felt the apex and nadir of Sutton and Alex’s relationship. I cried. I yelled. I cursed.  And I smiled BIG at the ending.

I chose to re-read Alex before writing this review. Again, even through I knew the story, I was completely drawn in by the charm of the book.  Sawyer Bennett knows how to capture the reader’s attention with her intuitive understanding of people’s motivation and desire for good, desire for strong relationships. 

IN A NUTSHELL:  Sawyer Bennett scores big with Alex.  It may be my favorite book by this author yet!

USA Today Best-Selling author, Sawyer Bennett, is a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn’t have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.

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