Thank you to Elle Kennedy, Bloom Books, and Raincoast for the advance reader copy of The Graham Effect, the story of Hannah and Garrett (The Deal)’s daughter and the start of second-generation stories from Elle Kennedy’s Off-Campus/Briar U universe.
It still doesn’t feel real that this is a real book! My favourite thing about this story was just how nostalgic the reading experience felt. But that nostalgia was balanced with an original story that all hockey romance fiends are going to love!
Gigi Graham has exactly three goals: qualify for the women’s national hockey team, win Olympic gold, and step out of her famous father’s shadow. So far, so good, except for two little things. Fine–a little thing and a big, grumpy thing. She needs to improve her game behind the net, and she needs help from Luke Ryder.
Ryder is six-foot five, built, opinionated, rude…and sexy as hell. But he’s still the enemy.
Briar’s new hockey co-captain has his reasons, though. The men’s team just merged with a rival program, leaving Ryder with an angry roster where everyone hates one another’s guts. To make matters worse, the summer coaching spot he’s angling for with the legendary Garrett Graham is out of reach after he makes the worst possible first impression on his hero. So, really, this compromise with Gigi is win-win. He helps her make the national team, she puts in a good word
with her dad.
The only potential snag? This bone-deep, body-numbing, mind-spinning chemistry they’re trying to ignore. It’s a dangerous game they’re playing, but the risks just might be worth it.
Check out my more detailed thoughts below…
- Characters: Gigi Graham and Luke Ryder are the main characters of The Graham Effect. Gigi is the daughter of Hannah and Garrett the main characters from The Deal, the first book in the Off-Campus series. Gigi is just a mini-Garrett Graham, and I loved her for it! She’s got his sass and I loved how she held her own in every situation this book threw at her. Her determination is commendable too, as throughout this book her quest for a spot on the Women’s Olympic Ice hockey team is unmatched! Ryder is her love interest, and you won’t be able to help it he’s so easy to fall for. Another hockey player which I loved as both characters could bond over their shared love. Now I must say the cameos are one of the best parts for the loyal Elle Kennedy readers out there! I loved seeing Hannah and Garrett as parents, along with meeting Gigi’s brother Wyatt and a few of the other characters at Briar U.
- Setting: It felt so nostalgic to return to Briar University! I have such a soft spot for hockey romances with college settings, they are probably some of my favourite college romances to read. There is an additional setting near the end of the book that takes the plot on a sharp left turn, I’d say you have to read it for yourself because Elle sure takes the entire Graham family on a journey.
- Pacing: Fans will be delighted that you will have a sizeable Elle Kennedy hockey romance to escape into. For being a slightly larger book, it is paced incredibly well, and the plot never slows so I was hooked into the story at all times. I found the ending a tad rushed, but that did not deter from the fact that I loved the pacing of the buildup just so much.
- Romance: Gigi and Ryder hate each other when our story starts, but their undeniable chemistry has them catapulted into a friends-with-benefits arrangement. From that FWB dynamic to them being unable to keep their feelings to themselves. Fear not this is not a situation where neither of them share their feelings for a while, rather they are so communicative, and I loved that! Now in the past, I would not have added Elle Kennedy to a list of best smutty scene writers, I always enjoyed her spice, but she did not write the kind of scenes you go read again and again. In this one though there are so many iconic scenes from the shower to the library that will live on in this fandom for infamy! Needless to say, if you like your college hockey romance with spicy heat but also heartwarming you will love this.
The Graham Effect receives five out of five stars.
You can pick up the story below…
Thank you again to Bloom and Raincoast for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!