Book Review | 'The Chase' (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy

The Chase (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy Kindle
The Chase (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy Kindle

Reading has always been a huge passion of mine. And now, ever since James came along, it's safe to say my kindle is constantly being updated with a variety of different books. After all, what else am I to do at 3am when he wakes up for a feed? One of my guilty pleasures has to be a good romance novel - I'm definitely a sucker for a good steamy read! And especially in those first few weeks with James, I'd be blitzing through a book a day to keep myself awake and entertained in the early hours of the morning. That's when I found myself reading the first book in the new Briar U series by Elle Kennedy - 'The Chase'.

'Everyone says opposites attract. And they must be right, because there's no logical reason why I'm so drawn to Colin Fitzgerald. I don't usually go for tattoo-covered, video-gaming, hockey-playing nerd-jocks who think I'm flighty and superficial. His narrow view of me is the first strike against him. It doesn't help that he's buddy-buddy with my brother.

And that his best friend has a crush on me.

And that I just moved in with them.

Oh, did I not mention we're roommates? 

I suppose it doesn't matter. Fitzy has made it clear that he's not interested in me, even though the sparks between us are liable to burn our house down. I'm not the kind of girl who chases after a man, though, and I'm not about to start. I've got my hands full dealing with a new school, a sleazy professor, and an uncertain future. So if my sexy brooding roomie wises up and realises what he's missing?

He knows where to find me.'

Kennedy has long been on my favourite authors list for a while now, ever since I had the pleasure of reading her 'Off Campus' which Briar U stems from. So when this book popped up one day in my kindle suggestions, I was very excited - The Chase follows the story of Summer and Fitz, both introduced in the previous series, as well as featuring some cameos from the previous characters like Summer's brother and Fitz's hockey team mate Dean. Out of all the previous books, Dean and Allie's (Off Campus Book 3: 'The Score') was definitely my favourite, so to see them again living their happily ever after was great.

Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis is the Dean from The Score's little sister, and like Dean, she's confident in her own skin, ridiculously wealthy and a force to be reckoned with. However due to some issues at her old school she is forced to relocate, and as it's last minute Dean manages to hook her up with some accommodation. That room? Well it just so happens to be in a house with three of Dean's former hockey teammates - Fitz, Hunter and Hollis. Unfortunately for her, she's had a crush on Fitz ever since she first met him.

Colin Fitzgerald is the complete opposite of Summer's normal type, and even though he tries to hide his attraction to her and fight it as much as possible, it's evident in their interactions that there's a hell of a lot of attraction bubbling beneath the surface. When Summer moves into their house, chaos and a bit of an awkward love triangle ensues.

The Chase (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy Kindle

'I want a man with clear intentions. A man who makes an effort and is excited to spend time with me. A man who actually wants to want me. If he has to fight himself to be with me, then chances are he'd never fight for me if it came down to it. What woman would ever choose somebody like that?'

Am I a fan of love triangles? Both yes and no. When executed properly, and when they actually add something to the story, they can amount to a great book - but more often than not, they're just used as a plot device to keep the two main characters apart. Thankfully Kennedy doesn't fall into the second category here, and the triangle between Summer, Fitz and Hunter doesn't detract too much from the story. It's also refreshing to see the fallout once Summer and Fitz finally give in to their feelings and how Hunter reacts afterwards - more often than not in other books, the third party just kind of fades into the background afterwards.

Romance-wise I can dig a good slow burn, and that's exactly what The Chase is down to a T. Sometimes I found myself wishing for just a bit more, but then it probably wouldn't have felt right for these two to get together straight away. Summer is too stubborn after overhearing Fitz's offhand comments about her, and Fitz fights his attraction as much as possible due to his desire to stay out of the spotlight where Summer naturally lives. When things do eventually get going it's around the 70% mark, and whilst I loved the build up, I do wish it had happened maybe a little earlier just so we got to see more of these two together. 

The Chase (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy Kindle

'We live in a society where too many women tear each other down instead of raising each other up. That's absurd to me. We need to empower one another, teach future generations of girls that it's important to stand together. Once upon a time, we had a common goal and a common enemy. We were burning bras, and fighting for the right to vote. 

Now we're body shaming each other on social media and blaming the mistress if our man cheats.'

As a character, Summer is ridiculously likeable and rather complex. She has great spirit and is passionate about what she loves, and one of the things I found compelling was Kennedy showing us her struggle with ADHD. She's strong and determined to not let it hold her back, and it was amazing to see her vulnerability and how she ultimately comes through that. She's also a champion of women through and through, believing women should be holding one another up instead of tearing each other down. Summer is the embodiment of girl power, and I was living for it!

Fitz for me was slightly less likeable than Summer, and it's only down to his reasons for staying away from her - for me they seemed a little paper thin, and whilst Kennedy gives an insight into Fitz and why he acts the way he does, it just seemed a bit lacklustre. I kind of expected there to be more of a reason behind it to be honest. But when he interacts with Summer, that's where his character really developed to me. He goes from someone more comfortable in the shadows to taking risks and getting out of his comfort zone, and it really seems like they both bring out the best in each other and balance one another out.

One thing I have to point out is the secondary characters - in particular Brenna. I absolutely adored her, and I was ecstatic to find out that book 2 in the Briar U series is Brenna's story. Her friendship with Summer was one of the highlights of the book for me, and it was really fun to see them meet and form a genuine bond. The two have a fun and easygoing friendship, and I loved seeing the banter between them. The other secondary characters such as Hollis and Hunter also have a great presence, and it was really fun to go back to the characters we were first introduced to in the Off Campus books.

However for every great character and story, there also has to be at least one or two douches. It's what adds to the angst and makes stories like this so binge-worthy, am I right? The Chase features two characters who are designed to pretty much purposefully grind your gears, and both Summer's professor and one of her classmates with an interest in Fitz manage to do exactly that.  I won't spoil anything or go into more detail here, but I did find it satisfying that the professor managed to get his comeuppance in the end, even if he did get off lightly in my opinion.

The Chase (Briar U #1) By Elle Kennedy Kindle

'I feel like too many girls fail to remember one vital truth: we deserve someone who gives us one hundred percent. Half-assed effort isn't effort. Half-assed love isn't love.'

Overall, I absolutely adored The Chase for bringing us back to Briar and all the hockey boys - if there was one thing I was sad about with the Off Campus series, it was that there were only four books! Summer and Fitz's story really kept me hooked right until the end, and I loved seeing how their story finally panned out. If you're looking for a great, steamy read with excellent characters that develop over the course of the book then I can't recommend The Chase highly enough. I seriously can't wait to see what else Elle Kennedy has in store for us with the Briar U series!

How about you - have you read The Chase? Or are you adding it to you TBR? Let me know in the comments below!

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