Jersey Girl by Rhonda James
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Series: Sticks & Hearts #1
on May 18, 2016
Brantley Cage is a standout D-man on Great Lakes University hockey team. Now that his dream of signing with the Detroit Red Wings has come true, his goals for senior year are simple: Work hard. Score big. Stay away from love.
And then he meets her. There's just one problem. She's the sister of his best friend, and he’s been warned that she’s off-limits…
Cassie Rivers is a musician desperately in need of a do-over. Leaving the past behind, she transfers to GLU in search of something, or someone, that inspires her.
And then she meets him. Her brother's best friend and teammate. But according to the Bro Code he's supposed to be off limits…
You’ve heard what they say about forbidden fruit… One taste is more addictive than one of them is ready to admit. Will he keep skating away from love? Or has this player finally found his Jersey Girl?
I’ve never been to a hockey game before, but I’m starting to think it would be well worth my while. My desire to be on this tour was driven by the cover. I mean, look at it! It’s absolutely scrumptious. And Brantley Cage? Oh la la, he was marvelous. The perfect balance of broken boy, athleticism, and dreamy eyes to tug at my heartstrings.
First and foremost, I loved the relationship that Cassie and Brantley had before anything physical was involved. They understood each other on a level that most people crave, and not just in a relationship. When things turned into something more, they didn’t lose that connection. It might not be the type of relationship that everyone wants, but I dare you to tell me you wouldn’t want someone willing to fight and protect you like Brantley does Cassie.
The book was told in dual perspectives—and if you’ve read some of my other reviews, you know I love this. Like some people love chocolate (okay, I love chocolate, but that’s beside the point), I love dual perspectives. Seeing two different sides to a story that had endless viewpoints is interesting and wonderful and opens up a world of possibilities. Cassie and Brantley both told their stories well, and I connected with each of them.
Cassie connected with the girl that just can’t quite fit. She had friends and got along with her roommate, but moving away from the world she had known and the boyfriend that had been her first everything, wasn’t easy to handle. I understood her desire to stick to what she knew. When Brantley came along, her regular day superman, I loved their chemistry. She was strong, independent, and talented, but after a bad relationship, she needed someone to remind her of that. I believe that Cassie speaks to the girl that’s just trying to find her way, not just someone to spend time with and love.
Brantley had my heart. Yes, he was gorgeous and he most definitely knew the right things to say, but I fell for the broken boy. I loved reading about him through Cassie’s eyes, but his chapters really established his character. His love for hockey and need to be better and do better shined through. It’s a common theme for the girl to fix the bad boy, but the more I read, the more I realized that Brantley was not the bad boy. He had the dark, brooding thing going on (who doesn’t love that, right?), but he also had a big heart. He didn’t want to hurt anyone, but he wanted to guard his heart, too. Maybe I’m a sucker for the broken boy, but I think even if you’re not, you’ll fall for him. (Who doesn’t secretly love a guy with tattoos?)
The playlist on Spotify that goes along with this book is perfect! I’m listening to it as I type this—Rhonda James perfectly captured everything that I felt, and hopefully other readers, felt when I was reading this. Now I really can’t stop thinking about this book. The romance was heavier. This is a new adult book, so there are more steamy bits than the YA literature that takes up a portion of my shelves and time, but I really enjoyed it, nonetheless. The characters are in the later portion of their college years, and I enjoyed that a lot. James did a magnificent job of creating relatable and realistic characters.
You’ll be dreaming of sexy hockey players for a while after reading this book. But guess what? It’s the first in a series! I can’t wait for more books in the Sticks & Hearts series. Who will capture my heart next? Get your copy of Jersey Girl—as if the cover didn’t convince you enough.