Sunday, March 17, 2013

Review- Off Sides by Sawyer Bennett

Off Sides
“I'm not sure what possessed me to do it. Maybe it was the impossible expectations I faced, maybe it was my own self-loathing. But I just knew I needed something different to happen. I needed derail me from my current path. Otherwise, I would become lost...a hollowed out shell of a man. So I did it. I approached her, then I pursued her, then I made her mine. And my life was saved...”

Ryan Burnham is the privileged son of a U.S. Congressman and captain of his university’s hockey team. While he is on the verge of fulfilling his dreams to play in the NHL, his parents want him on a different course. One he is expected to accept for the sake of his family’s public image.

Forced her to abandon her music career after the heart breaking death of her parents, Danny Cross exists on the opposite side of the tracks from Ryan. She is struggling to make her own way, working two jobs, attending college part time and volunteering in a homeless shelter. She is on a mission to build her own success.

With a chance meeting, their vastly different worlds collide, causing each to evaluate whether they are truly on the correct path to self-fulfillment and happiness. Can their relationship survive? Particularly when others are against them every step of the way. A lot can happen in just ten short days...

As far as novellas go, I usually avoid them. Yes, there are some great ones out there, but they normally feel rushed to me. I don't get to feel a deep connection to the characters and the story just seems to move way too fast for my taste. Apparently, if it's done properly, this is not the case. At all. And OFF SIDES is a perfect example of a novella done right. I loved these characters. So much.

We have Danny who, on the surface, is pretty badass. Purple streaked hair, piercings, knows how to stand up for herself and doesn't hold her tongue.

“Excuse me. But we are in the middle of an important discussion. Do you think it’s appropriate to just interrupt us with the assumption we are ready for you?”
“I’m so sorry… It’s just… I saw all of you sitting here, and well, forgive my ignorance, but I’m pretty sure Ockham’s Razer says that among competing theories and all things being equal, the simplest theory is probably the correct one. I saw you had already looked at the menus and put them back down. Therefore, the simplest theory is that you are ready to order. Think of it this way… I think I saw you review the menus, therefore I am here to take your order. I mean Ockham is a little before Descartes’ time, but it’s still a sound principle don’t ya think?”
Then we have Ryan, who seems like a decent enough guy. Wealthy, captain of the hockey team, maybe spoiled and definitely bored with some aspects of his life. He's intrigued by Danny.

She’s stunning. No unique. No… that’s not it. Uniquely stunning… that’s what she is. I don’t know what it is about this girl, but fuck she’s hot. And clearly smart as shit.
 It turns out that these two both have more going on for them than meets the eye. Danny is a violinist who had to drop out of Julliard to care for her dying mother, has no family left, and is working her butt off just to make ends meet and try to move on with her life. Where Danny has had to struggle in life, Ryan comes from a a wealthy family and has all of his plans laid out for him. Or his parents' plans, rather. But Ryan himself turns out to be open minded, caring and, despite Danny's best efforts, not easily scared away from the rougher parts of her life.

Of course these two hit it off and fall deeply for each other.

"She looks even better up close and I hope my tongue isn't hanging out. I want to tell her I will have her, with a side of her, and for dessert... her."
"You are more important to me than anything else in this world. As long as I have you, I don't need anything else. It's you Danny. It will only ever be you." 

But some people have different plans for the two of them. More specifically Ryan's mother and ex-girlfriend who seem to cause trouble for the pair at every turn. Ryan's mother is calculating and manipulative and will stop at nothing to see Ryan end things with Danny, who she sees as a horrible match for her son, and reunited with his ex, Angeline. Angeline, in turn, tries to tear Danny down every chance gets and is really just such a nuisance.

"I've never been into girls that had facial piercings or dyed hair. The type of girls my parents expect me to date wear pearls and cashmere and have a pedigree a mile long behind their names. How does mother put it? "Your father is in the public eye so we must maintain proper appearances at all times."

As I said, I loved the two main characters (and this book is in alternating POV) and really felt invested in them and their story. They really were perfect for each other. Even the supporting characters were fantastic. Paula, Danny's roommate and best friend is pretty badass herself and so funny. And Mike, Ryan's best friend is one of the few people in his life that is truly supportive of him no matter what. Such a good friend to him and a really great guy. As much as was involved in this story, it didn't feel rushed at all. Of course when you love a story, you want it to be longer and that was definitely the case for me here, but the whole book read at a really great pace. There were laugh-out-loud parts, emotional parts, and you'll be rooting for these two to have their happily ever after. 5 stars for this "good boy" meets "bad girl" and falls madly in love, screw what everyone else things gem of a novella ;-) Really loved it!

Apparently there was a huge outcry for there to be an epilogue at the end of Off Sides, which has been remedied. The newer kindle version DOES have an epilogue now. But if you're one of the ones with the pre-epilogue version, like me, you can find it on Sawyer's website HERE. There is also a companion book, OFF LIMITS, due out in APRIL that will take us on Emily's journey-- Emily is Ryan's bratty turned understanding sister that we get a glimpse of in Off Sides. I'm excited to see how her story plays out. She has a lot of growing to do, but seems to be up for the challenge :) Looking forward to that. You can add Off Limits to your TBR list on goodreads HERE.
About the Author:
Sawyer Bennett
Sawyer Bennett is the pen name for a snarky southern woman and reformed trial lawyer who decided to finally start putting on paper all of the stories that were floating in her head. She is married to a mobster (well, a market researcher) and they have two big, furry dogs who hog the bed. Sawyer would like to report she doesn't have many weaknesses but can be bribed with a nominal amount of milk chocolate.
Connect with Sawyer Bennett:
And Sawyer-- this is for you ;-)


  1. I will get you for that, Brittany!!! Not the amazing review but that swirl of purple with the words...*ack*...Super Bowl XLVII Champion...*ack*

    Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a nice review. I'm so glad you liked it. And we know this review is impartial since you knew I was a Steeler's fan before you wrote it!!! :)

  2. Oh don't be jealous now ;) haha! I'm so very glad you liked the review! Looking forward to reading Off Limits :)


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