Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen
Contemporary romance released on February 12 by Rennie Road Books

You’d think a billion dollars, a professional hockey team and a six-bedroom mansion on the Promenade would satisfy a guy. You’d be wrong.

For seven years Rebecca has brightened my office with her wit and her smile. She manages both my hockey team and my sanity. I don’t know when I started waking in the night, craving her. All I know is that one whiff of her perfume ruins my concentration. And her laugh makes me hard.

When Rebecca gets hurt, I step in to help. It’s what friends do. But what friends don’t do is rip off each others’ clothes for a single, wild night together.

Now she’s avoiding me. She says we’re too different, and it can never happen again. So why can’t we keep our hands off each other?

Y’aaaaaallllllllll. Y’ALL. I have been waiting for this book since I read Rookie Move in 2016. I’ve enjoyed every Brookyln Bruisers book– and I don’t know whether the series will continue (it appears this book was self published?) but … if this is how it ends, it’s a lovely way. I’d love to see more though. (And yes, I know there are ~spinoffs and this series itself was a spinoff… which yay for interconnected books that can all still stand alone! That in my opinion, is how you do series!) As soon as we met Nate and Becca I’ve been saying how I C A N N O T WAIT!!!!!!!! for their book. I wasn’t disappointed.

Becca – Rebecca Rowley – has been the friendly sidekick for a few novels now, and it was interesting to see her … well, not herself. She’s suffered a head injury and is a bit of a mess. I don’t know if it was because of this, because this is her story, but … it was a bit frustrating because she just made so many … not brilliant choices. It’s understandable though, because it’s so easy to be objective with others, but be clueless about yourself. Becca’s a classic case. Everyone but everyone knows Nate is stupid in love with her. Stupid in love with her. … Except for Becca herself. Brookylnaire gives us a different view of always bubbly, ever competent Becca.

Nate Kattenberger. So I’m the type who has bitched about billionaire heroes for … always. (Most of those heroes aren’t even billionaires!!! They’re about as believable as the thought that I can fly!) Nate is not in that category. It makes perfect sense and is totally believable that he’s a billionaire, because of the tech boom, and kudos to Ms. Bowen for creating an actual, and believable billionaire. But what I like is that Nate is so normal. He’s just a guy who loves tech. However – it’s also realistic in that the book shows how running a billion dollar company has entirely changed his life. He has 2,000 employees to consider, and mostly devotes himself to the business side of things. Not only that, but the constant demands on his time. Oh and? He had a normal, well-adjusted childhood, great parents, and friends.

Then there’s the hockey aspect. I don’t want to talk too much about it because there are potential spoilers … and I like how all that was handled though. Why he bought a team, what was – or wasn’t – the motivation behind it … and all the drama with Juliet. And Alex. Oh my god I can’t really review this book without spoilers. … Maybe I should create a new post just to discuss spoilers …

I “live tweeted” my reading of this book but tried to avoid spoilers. These two are after I finished it. If you want to click you can see the whole thread. (No point in including that whole long image…)

I do have to say there was some manufactured conflict which was frustrating. I also want to note I was reading an ARC, but I honestly don’t think much will have changed from what I read to the final copy. (I could be wrong but …) I think the issue was, we’ve read three books already where we (everyone!) knows Nate loves Becca and they’re meant to be. This book sort of erases all of that and pretends there’s no history. It might work for someone who is picking this book up cold. (Even so though.)

And I’ve talked about Nate a lot, but Becca also has feelings for Nate. She had a crush on him when she began working for him, but had to ruthlessly tamp it down for multiple reasons. I think she’s repressed them so much she doesn’t realize it’s there. I can understand not allowing yourself to fall for your boss because it’s just stupid and dangerous and doing so has made he so oblivious to him. And to her own feelings. She can’t allow herself to even daydream about anything happening there.

I admit I didn’t love the flashbacks … not that they’re there, but some of them were written in this tone/tense/voice that I found a bit awkward. At least for the first few. Nevertheless I did like the look back to “how it all started.” And showing that Nate and Becca have been friends from the start. It was frustrating though that Nate clearly developed feelings for Becca early on, but in this book for parts of it he didn’t recognize or realize it, on and off. The courier.

One thing I did like is … yes there was conflict, real and some extra, but even when they’re “stupid” … the talked it out. Which – I get freaking out and making mistakes, but then realizing you messed up, apologizing, and then having a conversation. Thank god for adult characters! (And I mean that seriously. Major gold star.) When it comes to the really important things… Nate and Becca communicate.

There’s also the cast of secondary characters, and I’m including Bingley here (this AI program, which adds the perfect touch and nod to KTech), and I can’t not mention the humor and heat. Nate and Becca obviously have chemistry off the charts and this awkward dance of work and love, the latter being difficult enough on its own. Bingley and Nate’s staff add the perfect moments of humor.

I also loved the ending. The way Nate handles being Becca’s boss. (I also found it so. damn. frustrating. how Nate didn’t/couldn’t pursue Becca, but I respect the hell out of him – and his friends – pointing out the absolute imbalance of power and how it could appear to be coercive. I’ve had that issue with other books, and felt it was so well done here. Even as I wished Nate would have just said something. It made sense though, and was the best way.

I might be talking in circles, but when you read it, you’ll understand. I’m so happy I read this book. And that my really high expectations were met. (I was so scared I wouldn’t like the book, because sometimes that happens when it’s the book you most want.) I’m definitely going to be re-reading Brooklynaire and reading more of Ms. Bowen’s books. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it yet, but Brooklynaire literally made me laugh out loud a few times, and just … everyone needs that. <3

Grade: B+

You can read an excerpt here, or buy a copy here.

4 thoughts on “Review: Brooklynaire by Sarina Bowen

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