Editorial Articles, Writing/Articles

List of Book Boyfriends: Part 2

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Click HERE to see Part 1 of my Book Boyfriends List!

Hello Readers!

It’s been awhile since I made my last list, and I’ve met plenty more since then of some seriously eligible male characters who I absolutely loved to read and kept me entertained in multiple ways. I decided to make a Part 2 because there’s so many more to add, maybe this is partly why I’m single because I could never make a decision to narrow it down if I had to pick just one!

Hope you enjoy the list and maybe get some ideas of some new books to read because of it, and let’s talk if you (yes, YOU the reader) think I’m missing someone who belongs amongst all these other men too!

This list is in no particular order.

***Please note: I own no rights to any of these images, if any of the owners see this article and wish for me to remove them, please contact me and I will gladly do so!***

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Casteel Da’Neer (Blood and Ash series)

Image courtesy of artist Dominique Wesson, Instagram: @dominiquewesson

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire, the second book in this addicting series, was by far my favorite book of 2020, and Cas made it to the top of this newer list even before I finished the dang book! Jennifer L. Armentrout sure knows how to write an ahhhhmazing book boyfriend, and I only hope I help introduce more readers to him and these books that I’m obsessed with lately. He’s got the charm, the dimples, the body, the teeth; he’s pretty much perfect!

Matthias Helvar (The Grishaverse)

Image courtesy of artist Coralie Jubenot, Instagram: @merwildandco

Matthias was one who I may or may not have liked at first, but he definitely grew on me as I read the Six of Crows books by Leigh Bardugo that are a part of her multi-series Grishaverse. He was a more stoic, big-blond-brute character but was a total cinnamon roll when he could no longer deny his feelings for Nina. I love their whole dynamic so much; how romantic is it when a witch hunter ends up falling in love with the very thing he’s been trained to hate?

Jericho Barrons (Fever series)

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Another (possibly) shocking choice to some, but Barrons is another one who really grows on you as you read on in the series. He’s tall, dark, and obscenely handsome, but he’s a big grump too and doesn’t change despite how crazy he is about Mackayla Lane. He’s a complex character as you get to know him more and more with each book, and the actor/model Marco Dapper is my personal fancast choice for him since there isn’t very much fanart out there of him.

Reid Diggory (Serpent & Dove series)

Image courtesy of Salome Totladze, Instagram: @morgana0anagrom

Reid Diggory was am incredibly likeable character who was also frustrating as hell because he had such a black and white way of looking at the world he lived in. He has a somewhat similar dynamic with Lou as Matthias and Nina did in Six of Crows: a witch hunter has been raised to believe witches are evil creatures and the hate them, but of course he ends up falling in love with one because love works in crazy ways like that. He’s a natural leader and a total Gryffindor and always shows massive bravery with a sense of doing the right thing and bringing justice.

Christian Mackeltar (Fever series)

Image courtesy of the actor/model’s IMDB profile

Who doesn’t like a sexy scot? Christian was someone I liked immediately in the series by Karen Marie Moning. As the series went on, I felt so bad for him as he really gets the short end of the stick in what felt like so many different situations, and he got even hotter when he almost went dark there for a little bit, but ultimately stays the same good guy that he is! Andrew Biernat is a model on Instagram and my fancast choice since there’s not really any fanart of anyone from these books unfortunately.

Kell Maresh (Shades of Magic series)

Image courtesy of artist Tara Spruit, Instagram: @taratjah

Kell reminded me a little bit of Newt Scamander from the Fantastic Beasts but less socially awkward…he’s got excellent taste in outer wear, and while I haven’t read the other books after the first one in this series, I can already tell that Kell will be a favorite of mine throughout the entirety of it all.

Jamie Canning and Ryan Wesley (Him duology)

Credit to owner

These two are a package deal because why not? I loved their friends-to-lovers, second chance love story; Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen write some adorable and equally steamy romance, even better for me personally when it’s between two hockey playing jocks!

Hunt Athalar (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Kris, Instagram: @faeriereverie

BIG shocker that yet another Sarah J. Maas male character makes the cut based off my last list, right? Hunt was an amazing character in House of Earth and Blood, and his slow burn with Bryce was incredible to read and I am so excited to see where this series goes. I think I fell for him in the scene when he’s in a backwards baseball cap and grey sweatpants (a gay man’s weakness) hanging out in Bryce’s apartment; there’s just something about that homey-domestic image, adding the fact that he has the reputation of being this deadly warrior, that really got my heart racing. He did have one major slip-up, but he definitely redeemed himself in my eyes, all in one book!

Nikolai Lantsov (The Grishaverse)

Image courtesy of artist Kevin Wade

Nikolai is someone I kinda hate to love, only because he’s one of those cocky, overly-confident guys who I know I would roll my eyes at every chance I get if he was a real person. He’s definitely not all bad, I especially enjoy his rebellious spirit and how he’s a wandering pirate captain while he’s also royalty! He was a major highlight of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, and I plan to read King of Scars starring him very soon too as the Netflix show releases to the public.

Gideon Cross (Crossfire series)

Credit to owner

Gideon Cross is a much better written Christian Grey, there I said it…He’s an enigmatic billionaire who has a dark past that’s caused him to have a pretty depraved, private sex life, and it only takes meeting that special someone to change everything! Sure, I can admit he’s incredibly over protective and has some alpha hole tendencies that border on possessive maniac-like behavior, but I also see how in his mind it’s all to protect the woman he loves. Their relationship may or may not be toxic to some readers, but I will admit that I fell for him either way. Henry Cavill is my fancast pick for him as there isn’t really any fanart of him.

Tharion Ketos (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Salome Totladze, Instagram: @morgana0anagrom

I’ve always had a thing for mermaids, and Tharion is no different with that AND he’s written by Sarah J. Maas. He gives me Finnick Odair vibes a little bit with his obvious confidence, but he’s also got an otter that sends messages to people above land that I can’t help but fangirl over! I was happy to hear he becomes a bigger character in the second Crescent City book, I say give me as much of him as we can get!

Bennett Ryan (Beautiful Bastard series)

Credit to @Reading_Is_Sexyy

This was such a fun series, and it starts off strong with Bennett being featured in the first book. He’s definitely not perfect, and he perfectly fits the title “Beautiful Bastard” in some instances, but he does mature and grow up a bit to become a better man. Besides that, he does have his charming moments, looks great in a suit, has a killer business ethic, and knows how to have sex in tons of different public places!

Ruhn Danaan (Crescent City series)

Image courtesy of artist Kris, Instagram: @faeriereverie

I liked the idea of Ruhn being a character who rejects his whole “Chosen One” reputation he’s been given for as long as he can remember. Most of us are tired of that trope, Ruhn certainly isn’t a fan of it either, and it’s a fresh take on it at least! He’s a moody and broody character, like a lot of other SJM male characters are, but he grows a ton in the book and shows many hidden depths, he’s also incredibly courageous when he gets an extra push, even if he might disagree with my statement.

Cage York (Seabreeze Series)

Image courtesy of the model/athlete’s Instagram profile: @brian_pruett

Cage York actually stars in the third book in this New Adult romance series, but I read it before any of the others and I instantly fell for this cocky, charming, sexy college baseball player. He’s a total manwhore, as most male romance novel characters usually are, but he meets someone who changes everything, and he’s a total goner. He’s had a difficult upbringing, so the cockiness and attitude is all a front, and it’s endearing to see he’s just a guy who wants someone to love him!

Noel Kahn (Pretty Little Liars series)

Image courtesy of the actor’s IMDB profile

Believe it or not, but the book version of Noel Kahn is actually a whole lot better of a guy than how he was portrayed in the TV show. He’s still a lacrosse playing high-school jock who’s “one of the bro’s,” but he’s actually a sweet guy despite all that and becomes a great boyfriend for Aria later on in the series. I still use Brant Daugherty as my image for him because look at him!

Lor (Fever Series)

Image courtesy of the model’s Instagram profile: @philippe_leblond

Lor was a pleasant surprise because when you first meet him in these books, he just seems like another handsome henchman who isn’t much more than that. Once I read chapters from his perspective in book #7, Burned, I can’t lie: I liked him! Sure, he’s yet another manwhore, alpha-hole character, but I liked some of his one-liners and his protectiveness for Dani on a purely platonic level shows he’s a decent guy no matter what. Model Philippe Leblond is my fancast pick since there isn’t any fanart of him anywhere.

Drew Baylor (Game On Series)

Image courtesy of the model’s Instagram profile: @dennisboeer

I have a weak spot for college athletes in New Adult romance books/series, because Drew is another name to add to the list who falls in that category. His relationship with Anna in The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan was amazingly done, and his perseverance to show her how he was serious about his feelings for her and all he did to show his devotion was what made me fall for him. Their chemistry was electric and from the first time they hook up to all that they go through, Drew is for sure a keeper! Drew Boeer is a german model I found on Instagram whose also my fancast pick since there’s no fanart of Drew.

Wrath (Kingdom of the Wicked series)

Image courtesy of artist Coralie Jubenot, Instagram: @merwildandco

So in actuality the Prince from hell is maybe not a great option for an actual significant other, but I had to add him just purely for the hotness factor. He’s full of darkness and a secret yearning for cannolis once Emilia turns him onto them, but he was a fun character who added a lot of sex appeal to this first book in Kerri Maniscalco’s series. Sure, the ending may sway a few people in the opposite direction, but go read the From Blood and Ash and get back to me on whether a enemies-to-lovers-back-to-enemies romance can’t have its happily ever after!

“King” Aren Kertell (Bridge Kingdom series)

Image courtesy of artist Dominique Wesson, Instagram: @dominiquewesson

Aren is my last pick on this Part 2, and he definitely ends it on a strong note! He’s smart, strategic, loyal, brave, and has a great enemies-to-lovers romance dynamic with Lara in this New Adult Fantasy-Romance by Danielle Jensen. He goes above and beyond to ensure the safety of his people and kingdom and is so selfless in his actions to face his enemies and protect those who cares about.

Click HERE to see Part 1 of my Book Boyfriends List!

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell

New Adult, New Adult Romance

My Review: The Hook Up (Game On #1): by Kristen Callihan

Publish Date: January 16th, 2015

Number of Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing

Genre(s): New Adult Romance, New Adult, Romance

Total Star Rating: 4.25 Stars

‘Why won’t you let me kiss you, Anna?’

I can’t breathe.

‘Why, Anna?’

‘It’s too much,’ I rasp.

‘Not when I want everything.’ He says it so deep and strong, a staking of a claim. ‘And I want everything with you, Anna.’”

— Kristen Callihan, “The Hook Up”

For fans of new adult, sports, opposites attract, or just college-age romance stories, The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan is a definite choice to add to your “To-Read” stack ASAP. It was actually pretty well written, the romance was equally sweet and steamy, there was never any unnecessary drama, and both the main characters were incredibly likeable, fleshed out, and both go through so much growth within the chapters of this book.

I honestly didn’t have too high of expectations going in; I thought it was just going to be another college/sports romance, like the ones I’ve read before, but it was just going to be one that wasn’t as trashy as some of the titles available out there. The premise, to me, sounded like my assumptions would be right and this wasn’t going to be anything special. It also didn’t help that there was the whole cliché “Insta-Love” moment right off the bat when the two characters’ eyes met for the first time. Hard as it was, I tried not to roll my eyes too much and kept reading on. That’s where I slowly became full of shock and surprise in the best way possible.

For a new adult romance novel, this story had a surprising amount of depth to it once the author really lets you in on her character’s’ thoughts, especially the inner conflicts of both her main characters, Anna Jones and Drew Baylor. Both have traumatic pasts that they both want to be able to move on from, but of course it’s what’s holding them back from their goals, and it was so enticing to see how they both realized that dealing with their issues would help out their relationship. Added bonus to the fact that their issues were both so extremely relatable too compared to other NA romances: Anna used to be picked on for being the fat girl growing up back home, so when the big man on campus, star quarterback “Battle Baylor” is hitting on her and seeking her out, why wouldn’t she believe that it’s some sort of prank or that she couldn’t handle being in the spotlight with everyone’s eyes on them? Drew’s background is a sad one: his parents both died and it’s been just him for quite some time. Everyone recognizes him and loves him as the football star and leader on the field, but he wants to be known as more than just that. He wants to have actual friends and not fans, to be seen as more than just a dumb jock to some, and wants to know he can make it without people’s pity or letting things slide just because he’s won the Heisman trophy for their campus. Like I said, the characters felt so incredibly real as you learn more about them: their faults, their dreams, their fears, and it was amazing how they both overcome their inner turmoils all while their relationship develops based on where they’re both at mentally. It all tied together so well, and I was impressed by this story development

Of course, there was also plenty of sex. A new adult romance is expected to, and believe me, I’m not exactly complaining either. I was a little surprised at how quickly the first hook up happened in the story, especially with how the story was set up, and it does have the potential to make you think this story is going to be trashy and there’s not much else that’s going to happen. Don’t think that way! I’m telling you, it gets better, even in the love scenes that fill up the book. None of them seem excessive or over the top, they are all very well written, there’s plenty of balance between the sweet and pure fluff compared to the steamier and smutty moments too. What starts off as just casual sex slowly evolves into more passionate and meaningful as the romance develops and both characters really begin to fall for each other.

I also really enjoyed the fun banter between Drew and Anna too; the author really shows that their relationship works outside of the bedroom too as they bond and continue to get closer to each other. Anna is a hard shell to crack, what with her past and her insecurities, but she has those moments where she lets Drew in, and shows what great chemistry the two of them truly had. The dialogue was a little off at some points; there were times where I scoffed and said “A college student doesn’t talk like that,” but there wasn’t anything that raised too many redflags, so it’s an easy thing to overlook.

And I think how you see yourself makes you who you are. Your soul doesn’t have a title or an occupation. It’s just you. The rest of the world can go fuck themselves.”

— Kristen Callihan, “The Hook Up”

What It’s About:

The Official Blurb:

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love!

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy, right?

Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…

Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she’s shut him down. Completely.

That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It’s a good thing Drew knows all about winning.

All’s fair in love and football…Game on

What I Liked:

  1. Both Main Characters Inner Conflicts! This was the most surprising out of the whole novel, and it added so much depth to the story. Gone was the sexy, shallow, and smutty college romance, and right before my eyes, the characters felt so much more genuine, more fleshed out, more relatable, and so much more memorable.
  2. New Book Boyfriend: Drew Baylor! He definitely gets the MVP award for me, he was an amazing character who I liked even when his first line was when he sputtered out “Hey Big Red.” I liked that he was the one fighting and scratching for more than just hot, casual sex in his relationship with Anna. He fell hard for her, probably also way before her feelings were mutual, and it was sweet to see how devoted he became. Also, I’m glad he wasn’t just another man-whore that has become a cliché in this genre; he’s charismatic and has a past with that reputation, but he’s learned from it and has moved on since, but it’s still something that came between them when he wanted more and she was so hesitant.
  3. The Romantic Chemistry! Kristen Callihan gave Anna and Drew some amazing chemistry, even outside of the bedroom, library, Drew’s car, etc. With both of them dealing with their own issues, it was great to see the scenes where they bond and ultimately help each other overcome both their fears and setbacks in order to be together in the end. Their banter was hilarious and sexy, and the tension rose to scorching levels that show how well they worked together.
  4. Gray Gets Better! Gray is Drew’s teammate and oldest best friend. They’ve been through a lot together, but honestly he wasn’t doing it for me through most of the beginning. He’s blond, he’s hot, he can get with any chick and he knows it, and he’s not a fan of his best friend falling for some random chick. Luckily, as he appears more often and we see a different side of him with both Drew and Anna, he really starts to grow on you and you see yourself also hoping he gets everything he wants out of life.

What I Didn’t Like:

  1. Insta-Love/Lust…It’s a cliché in fiction, both regular and romance, that a lot of readers are just tired of. I admit that I too am one of those people, and part of me was already willing to pass on this story when it happens right away in the story. It’s just not realistic, and Anna’s body’s reaction to when her and Drew’s eyes land on each other for the first time seemed over the top, even if I’m a male myself. You can look at someone and instantly think they’re hot, and maybe you really want to have sex with them right off the bat, but let’s get real… our bodies don’t feel like they’re about to combust with lightning shooting out of our eyes, etc. Not that that’s word for word what happened, but you get my point.
  2. Some of the Dialogue Seemed Off…It’s minor, but there were just a few lines or instances where I couldn’t help but scoff at some of the dialogue written and think “That is not how a college student talks.” Sure, Anna and Drew are both practically AP-level students who are both incredibly intelligent, but even smart people don’t just say certain phrases or words just for the sake of them sounding smart.

Conclusion:

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was a scorching romance with two amazing main characters that were easy to root for and get behind, but what made me really love it was the way the author handled both character’s inner conflicts and how they both had their own coming of age moments that were needed in order for them to end up together and be happy. It made it feel like this story wasn’t just about the romance, it was about personal inner growth too.

I definitely compare this book to the Off-Campus or Briar U series written by Elle Kennedy; both are sports/college-age new adult romance titles, and they both have swoon-worthy leading males that are more than just the playboy womanizers that’s slightly only a part of their reputations. They also share sassy, snarky, intelligent female leads who put the athletes on notice and keep them on their toes.

This is a part of a series, and Drew’s best friend Gray gets the spotlight next time around, so with how much I enjoyed my first ever Kristen Callihan novel, I think it’s safe to say I’m going to be checking it out. I’m not exactly in a big hurry to get my hands on a copy since I have over 80 books stacked up in my bedroom that I still need to finally read, but a review of the sequel in the Game On series is inevitable.

Thanks for Reading!

— Nick Goodsell