Early Review | Top Secret by Elle Kennedy & Sarina Bowen

TopSecret_finalebook_ebookTop Secret
Elle Kennedy & Sarina Bowen
Contemporary Romance M/M
May 7, 2019

About the Book:  

Bestselling authors Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy return with their first Male / Male romance in 3 years.

LobsterShorts, 21
Jock. Secretly a science geek. Hot AF.

LobsterShorts: So. Here goes. For her birthday, my girlfriend wants…a threesome.
SinnerThree: Then you’ve come to the right hookup app.
LobsterShorts: Have you done this sort of thing before? With another guy?
SinnerThree: All the time. I’m an equal opportunity player. You?
LobsterShorts: [crickets!]

SinnerThree, 21
Finance major. Secretly a male dancer. Hot AF. 

SinnerThree: Well, I’m down if you are. My life is kind of a mess right now. School, work, family stress. Oh, and I live next door to the most annoying dude in the world. I need the distraction. Are you sure you want this?
LobsterShorts: I might want it a little more than I’m willing to admit.
SinnerThree: Hey, nothing wrong with pushing your boundaries…
LobsterShorts: Tell that to my control-freak father. Anyway. What if this threesome is awkward?
SinnerThree: Then it’s awkward. It’s not like we’ll ever have to see each other again. Right? Just promise you won’t fall in love with me.
LobsterShorts: Now wouldn’t that be life-changing…

bn2


What is one of Birdie’s most beloved contemporary M/M romances ever? I’ll give you a hint, it’s NOT written by TJ Klune! I’ll give you another hint, it’s co-written by this dynamic authoring duo! Give up?

HIM!

I’ve made no secret of it. I adore that book. I’m positive I will find a way to talk about Him anytime I’m talking about Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy. It is the bar for me, and so far (while other books have come close) nothing has topped it. Not even Top Secret.

Let’s just be for real. Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen know how to write some NA! No matter whether it’s M/M or F/M, they know exactly how to push those buttons. Like every other couple the duo has written, Bailey and Keaton have serious HEAT! It was good.

But! They also had a lot of angst.

I’ve also never made a secret of how I feel about angst. Top Secret caused me to feel the usual combination of addiction and frustration. Addiction, because obviously! Frustration over all their unspoken words. In this one, Elle and Sarina did give me enough of a reason to make the lack of communication understandable. Keaton is an open book, which is why I love him. He takes time to understand his sexuality, but once he does his heart is huge. Bailey, on the other hand, comes from a dysfunctional family which messed with his ability to express and receive affection. So yeah, so much angst I can’t really complain about.

That’s okay, because Keaton’s big heart makes up for all of it. He’s all patience and humor. I wish we’d gotten more animal sex facts from him. They were some of my favorite lines. In fact, I’d say I almost loved the text conversation between SinnerThree and LobsterShorts more than their face to face interactions! I’d say Keaton’s sexy LobsterShorts messages were what ended up hooking Bailey. Keaton is irresistible. Especially so when he let himself be who he was.

He’s a sexy, nerdy, science loving jock.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my frustration with how I feel like Elle and Sarina continue to draw from the same playbook for their M/M romances. Him and Understatement of the Year were almost identical in basic outline. (Best friends have a falling out as teenagers, then reconnect and feel serious attraction, one has a girlfriend/FwB, both are star hockey players…) Anyway, Top Secret had mostly new ideas, which was great, but I was still a bit turned off when one character had a girlfriend again. I know this wasn’t a love triangle story, but either way I’m not fond of stories that use a third person as a roadblock for the main couple. I’d hoped for something completely new and different.

Still, Elle and Sarina are golden.
No matter how bothered I am by a trope, I will always continue to read everything this duo writes together.
Minor complaints aside, I am a superfan!


About Birdie

Don’t look for her in any bar, club, crazy raging party, or anywhere there may be a large gathering of strangers. She’s more likely to be found tucked into the corner of the couch watching one of her favorite shows, or preferably under a comforter with her current novel.

6 Responses

  1. Hmmm…interesting. I never thought that Keaton’s girlfriend was their stumbling block. I thought that Keaton’s surprise at his sexuality and Luke’s sort-of animosity was. Different perspectives!

    Yeah, I liked the angst in this one. It didn’t feel too heavy handed to me, which I definitely appreciated.

    Great review!

    Like

Tell me something!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.