Blog Tour, Book Reviews, Books

ARC Review | The Risk (Briar U #2) by Elle Kennedy



A sexy standalone novel from New York Times and international bestselling author Elle Kennedy. THE RISK takes you back to the world of hot hockey players, feisty heroines, bro banter, and steamy scenes…

Everyone says I’m a bad girl. They’re only partly right—I don’t let fear rule me, and I certainly don’t care what people think. But I draw the line at sleeping with the enemy. As the daughter of Briar’s head hockey coach, I’d be vilified if I hooked up with a player from a rival team.

And that’s who Jake Connelly is. Harvard’s star forward is arrogant, annoying, and too attractive for his own good. But fate is cruel—I require his help to secure a much-coveted internship, and the sexy jerk isn’t making it easy for me.

I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend.

For every fake date…he wants a real one.

Which means this bad girl is in big trouble. Nothing good can come from sneaking around with Jake Connelly. My father would kill me, my friends will revolt, and my post-college career is on the line. But while it’s getting harder and harder to resist Jake’s oozing sex appeal and cocky grin, I refuse to fall for him.

That’s the one risk I’m not willing to take.



copy of don't mess up my tempo (2)

After months of waiting for the release of The Risk, it has graciously landed on my Kindle app. All thanks to Nina Bocci for the ARC. Thank you. Thank you. As I publish this post, maybe The Risk has reached your Kindles too! All the waiting for its release is worth it, I tell you.

I’ve been an avid reader of Elle Kennedy since she released The Deal and the rest of her Off-Campus Series. I love the way she writes, how real and fun her stories are. She got me so hooked with her college and hockey-based stories, friendship and couples and so there were no questions asked when she dropped Briar U series. I know I need to read it. I know I need to sign up for the ARC of this book.

The Chase, the first book of Briar U series, was an okay read for me. I wasn’t that crazy over Summer and Fitz. Me thinks that I should reread it and thoroughly reflect on my thoughts about it once again, though. But one thing that I know and clearly remember about that book was – how I was seriously teased by Brenna Jensen and Jake Connelly. Every time they show up, I just want them to go and make out already. That’s how high the tension between them is. From that point, I know and I’m very confident that they’d be taking the next story of the series. Because how can Elle Kennedy waste such characters and steam like that, right? The exact moment they encountered each other, I know they were going to be such an explosive duo. The question left there is – how will their characters get tangled up?

Kennedy drops The Risk’s synopsis and all I focus on is “I need Connelly to be my fake boyfriend. For every fake date…he wants a real one.”. Basically, aside from Enemies to Lovers trope that would fit them, we also get fake dating. Imagine the tension from all sides and the headlines: Brenna Jensen, the daughter of Briar U’s hockey coach, goes out on a date with Jake Connelly, Harvard’s team captain and star foward, her enemy (her hockey team’s rival).

The Chase perfectly built up the tension, chemistry and burn that exists between Brenna and Connelly and it was so easy to slip into The Risk. She’s feisty. He’s cocky. Together, they are such a riot. We already have a grasp of their characters and making every scene that transpire between them a very anticipating one. Every scene feels like it is a climax.

Please proceed with caution as some parts may have the teeny tiniest spoilers.

Confident, a spitfire, knows how to hold her own ground and someone who doesn’t easily back down – that’s Brenna Jensen right there. Exactly the reasons why she blurted out the lie of dating Jake Connelly to HockeyNet’s executive Ed Mulder, the guy who interviewed her for her internship. Ed Mulder: a misogynist and a typical guy who’s world revolve around sports, he’s obsessed with the Jake Connelly. Forget that she couldn’t stand Connelly, Brenna wouldn’t back down from Mulder’s misogynist ways. If she can do something to sway things her way, she would do it for the sake of that internship slot. Even if she needs to recruit and require help from her enemy.

But funny how the fake dating trope in the story was cut oh so short. I could easily count the number they fake dated each other. I want more. I’m dying for more. Just imagine the kick that we’ll be getting out of it. Brenna and Connelly being sugary sweet on the outside but on the inside, the urge to slit each other’s throats is high just because. Imagine the crazy banters that they would get into (not saying crazy banters weren’t present but imagine if there were more, Brenna wanting to pull her hair out because of frustration). I guess, I expected more from the fake dating.

Well, it might have been cut short but it opened a lot more for their relationship. It didn’t hinder the playful and sexy tones of the book. Their chemistry is already given and it even burned brighter in this one. The friction between them because of studying in rival schools just flames it all up. They’re more like “fake enemies”. Hear hear, their witty banters is something that I live for. I love the play of lines and the back and forth. You’ll see how much they enjoy each other’s company and how they just click. They get each other. They’re good for each other. I’m sure you’ll go aww because of these two.

It’s not wrong for me to wish that there were more scenes of Brenna applying/venturing towards her internship, right? I think it would be interesting to read more about Brenna breaking through the bullshit of HockeyNet and the sports journalism world. But I guess knowing that ending right there could make up for it.

Jake Connelly surprised me in a lot of ways. He lives and breathes hockey. He may have a tough exterior, cocky (I guess he has all the shots to act like he does because the boy is extremely talented with hockey) but a big revelation to me is how he’s such a huge softie. Despite Connelly being a big deal in the hockey world, he made me feel that he’s just a regular guy. A guy who would also crave for his parents’ attention and see even a bit of their interest towards his hockey career. Yet even they appear disinterested and busy with life, like a good boy that he is he still takes time to visit and eat breakfast with them. Other kids might fuck off as well because they may think what’s the point, but no, Connelly still give hugs and kisses to his Mom and chats up with his Dad. His views in school and life are very refreshing to read, as well. I love being in his head.

Take note this book also have a good dramarama. Prepare your heart as you get to know more about Brenna and her past. What she conceals beneath that tough and vibrant personality of hers. It’s messy and painful that certainly left her a lasting burn. My gut feeling was right. I knew it. 

Her relationship with her father suffered from it and how they interact with each other was painful to watch. Nothing ever felt warm and homey between them. Indifferent more like it. Her father’s reasoning, I get it but I’m not glad with how he handled it. How can he not see the effect of his actions? But I certainly had a good cry when they cracked. Their pain was very tangible. It felt like I was holding their heart when they were rehashing about the past and the things that were going through their mind.

Aside from the interesting characters, back stories and the all in all solid plot of The Risk, Elle Kennedy is great in incorporating her side characters. The entire Briar U gang is back and are teasing us about possibilities.


Kennedy took this chance to introduce a new pairing – Rupi and Mike Hollis. Yes, the Mike Hollis. He’s such a quirky character and I would love to pick on his brain. But the downside, he’s so immature and petty. Same with Rupi. At first, I found her endearing what with her amount of confidence and being a blabbermouth. But later on she became annoying. Their relationship isn’t healthy at all. Both of them just screaming their lungs out and being immature. There, I think they bring out the little kid in each other (in the worst ways possible).



As I’m typing this post (February 14th, 11:40-ish here in the Philippines), Elle Kennedy dropped the cover of The Play (Briar U #3)!


The moment I saw it, I initially thought of Rupi but I don’t think Elle Kennedy would go over Rupi and Hollis’ relationship again. Especially with that amount of exposure they have in The Risk.


Why do I have the feeling that it’s going to be the story of Hunter x her girl? I keep on going back to his talk with Brenna and hmm, it just made me think twice.

But who knows this story might as well be about Nate’s.

Come on, October, please come faster.

The Risk made me fall for Brenna and Jake even more. You know what, the entire time I was reading this the recurring thought in my head was “i must protect these babies”.

Brenna and Connelly’s vulnerability was all over this book. Coming from two tough characters, it felt like it was an honor for me to see them being stripped down to the core. Brenna is one tough gal but to see her slowly opening her heart and acknowledging that she could rely on someone else…it was a sight to see. Same with Connelly. Despite being married to hockey and a non-relationship type of guy, it was great to see how he dealt with his feelings. I didn’t expect for him to turn out the way he is. To see that part of them exist made them human, real. We may have different experiences and paths in life that we take but insecurities, pain and the what ifs in life – we all have that. We feel that. Every day. 

With that being said (obviously I enjoyed reading this book), The Risk is a strong follow-up novel to The Chase and second installment for the Briar U series. It lived up to the excitement that I built it up in my head and most importantly I had fun with Brenna and Connelly.






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