Audio Review: The New Guy by Sarina Bowen, narrated by Teddy Hamilton & J.F. Harding (Hockey Guys #1)

Note: An advance listener copy (ALC) was provided by the author.

"I want another chance with you." 
He stops pacing and throws his arms out to the sides. "And I want it too, you dickhead!" 
"I like dickheads," I remind him. "That's not an insult."

This audiobook should have come with some sort of warning label, but since it didn't, allow me to share a pearl of wisdom from moi to you: Do NOT listen to this while driving. The combination of Sarina Bowen's writing, Teddy Hamilton and J.F. Harding's narration, AND my own anticipation over this being a new M/M hockey romance AND a series starter from Bowen since Him may have had me super duper anxious and excited. And well, let's just say that all of that had me distracted--enough that I had to stop listening to the audiobook lest I find myself either lost or preoccupied, and neither of those are recommended while operating a motor vehicle. Let's put it this way, The New Guy (and his guy) is best enjoyed when it's just you, your headphones (or speaker), and sans potential for interruption. Oh, and prepare to fall in love with this single dad and his hockey player.

Let me just say: The struggle is real. What struggle, you may ask. I'm trying really hard to not gush to the point that I may unintentionally mention something that could be considered spoiler-y. What I will tell you is that The New Guy, book one in the Hockey Guys series, introduces readers to Hudson Newgate and Gavin Gillis, both twenty-five and both part of the Brooklyn Bruisers hockey organization--the former a recently traded player and the latter a newly acquired athletic trainer. Neither is looking for anything in terms of romance. Hudson needs to focus on playing hockey and ensuring a more permanent spot on the team; Gavin wants to provide a fresh start for him and his seven-year-old daughter, Jordyn. They've both got to prove themselves--plus while Gavin is out in terms of his sexuality, Hudson isn't. As tempting as it may be to explore their connection, it could never go anywhere, not with so much on the line for these new guys. Right?

I'm simply going to put this out there: The New Guy is, hands down, one of Sarina Bowen's best work to date. Dare I say that it came THIS close to knocking The Understatement of the Year as my favorite Bowen read. The romance was undoubtedly there, as was the hockey (and I'm not talking about a tidbit here and a nugget there of the sport either), but then Bowen strikes this deliciously amazing balance of angst and wit, and I'm a smitten kitten-happy puppy hybrid. Hudson and Gavin were main characters who had such depth to them and becoming as emotionally invested as I was in their happily-ever-after was an inevitability that I would never have been able to resist. Jordyn was a scene-stealer extraordinaire, and having those characters and couples from the Brooklyn Bruisers/Brooklyn Hockey book universe was a bonus. I honestly couldn't have chosen a better narration duo than the new-to-me pairing of Teddy Hamilton and J.F. Harding. These two were the proverbial cherries atop Bowen's decadent M/M romance. Five-plus stars.

Release Date: 28 February 2023

Date Listened to: 14 February 2023

Learn more about Sarina Bowen.

Learn more about Teddy Hamilton and J.F. Harding.

Purchase The New Guy on Audible.


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