Chloe Green is so close to winning. After her moms moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, she’s spent the past four years dodging gossipy classmates and a puritanical administration at Willowgrove Christian Academy. The thing that’s kept her going: winning valedictorian. Her only rival: prom queen Shara Wheeler, the principal’s perfect progeny. But a month before graduation, Shara kisses Chloe and vanishes.
Chloe as a character is definitely interesting and she felt very authentic. Sometimes when I’m reading contemporary books the characters either read too young or old but I feel like Casey McQuiston got all of these characters pretty spot on. I liked the fact that Chloe rebels against the rigid rules and regulations at her school. At first I was confused as to why Chloe was so adamant in figuring out what happened to Shara and why she just had to follow her clues. I felt like there was no motivating factors for her to continue chasing after Shara when it was obvious she was just messing with them and sending them on this wild goose chase.
I didn’t like Shara’s character at all honestly. From what we find out about her throughout the course of the book she has always capitalized off her position as the principal’s daughter and uses and manipulates everyone around her for her own gain. Her quest she sets out for Chloe, Smith and Rory again really showcase how much of a bad person she is and I didn’t really like how she is supposed to be redeemed at the end. We don’t get to see her have conversations with Smith and Rory about how she used them and vice versa, we’re just supposed to accept that they are all good and dying each other’s hair. She just wasn’t really held accountable for anything and that annoyed me.
Overall I just didn’t understand what the purpose of the book was. It was centered around Shara however we don’t even meet her until almost three quarters of the way through. We see everything through Chloe’s perspective and she doesn’t have the nicest things to say about her and then I’m expected to believe that it was actually love she was feeling. Shara very nearly sabotaged Chloe’s whole academic career because she actually liked her too much? Just doesn’t make sense to me.
I understand that these are teenagers and maybe the way they feel isn’t supposed to make sense and this book was just supposed to be about accepting who you are and coming to terms with your feelings and growing from that, but I came out of it not feeling miffed. The other characters were entertaining and distinctive for the most part. The Rory and Smith subplot was adorable and I really enjoyed seeing them come together!
⭐️2/5 stars I can understand the appeal, wasn’t for me though…
Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell. Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire — a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favour too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher
April as a character isn’t very likeable to be honest, she is standoffish and pushes people away unnecessarily. For someone who had no intentions of staying in this town after her daughter goes to college she is very much worried about what they would be saying about her. I don’t understand why there is anything wrong with being open and public about her relationship with Mitch and it was quite rude of her to just negate their obvious feeling for each other and try to keep him a secret.
I like that Mitch called her out after she downplayed their relationship and he established boundaries with her. I kind of wish this would of been a dual perspective so we could of got to know Mitch more when he was at home and how he navigated his family before he brought April to meet them. I liked that we got that background about him and his family and how they have put his profession down over the years and don’t take him seriously, it gave the book and Mitch as a character much needed depth.
Usually I like fake relationships as a trope but I feel like in this case April didn’t get into it enough for me to fully believe in it. Mitch 100% did, I really enjoyed him as a character and it honestly made sense why he would be into April but she didn’t reciprocate it enough, it’s more like she felt obligated at the time otherwise their ruse would of been exposed. She obviously didn’t want to get judged for dating a ‘himbo’ at her age and it showed throughout the book through her actions.
It was overall not bad, I could overlook April’s flaws and get on board with the storyline. It was well paced and kept me invested throughout though it was kind of predictable. Jen DeLuca kind of has a formula with these books and you can easily see where things were headed and the outcome at the end. Nothing wrong with that though, I didn’t go into this book expecting anything more so I was still entertained!
⭐️3/5 stars Honestly forgettable but enjoyed at the time!
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…
Eve’s character didn’t really gel with me at the start of the book. I thought she was spoilt and childish, pretty much exactly what her parents thought of her. But as the plot progressed and we learnt more about Eve and her struggles figuring out who she is as a person and why she throws away opportunities at the earliest convenience before the fails. She displays a lot of growth over the course of the storyline and even though her feelings for Jacob come on pretty quickly it made sense and she sat down and thought out why and if she was really feeling this way before communicating that to Jacob.
Jacob was precious. I love his sternness and abruptness and his overwhelming standoffish attitude yet that starkly contrasts with how he runs the B&B giving his tenants any and every opportunity to engage with him to make their stay better. I loved the banter between them, especially their first meeting! To see him slowly thaw around the edges when he was around Eve and accept all of her little quirks was wonderful to read and the way he tries to fight his feeling for her down was very cute.
I love a good hate to love trope and this book hit the nail on the head for me. I have to say the conflict between them that drove them apart was a little lacking in the dramatics for me. I think Eve definitely should of been a lot more sterner with her family and sent them away before going and talking to Jacob. It all felt a little rushed in the end and I wish it would of been drawn out a little more.
I have to say this is probably my favourite out of the three books in this series. In comparison to the other books this one felt a lot more light hearted and carefree. The stakes weren’t at a all time high or anything and it was just a fun, light fluffy read that I needed at this point in time. Talia Hibbert pretty much stuck to the same format throughout the three books but it works so why change what isn’t broken?!
Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.
I really liked Stacey as our main protagonist. I thought she seemed very realistic and relatable. I can totally see how she would invest herself in this relationship with Dex online after being so lonely for so long. It was quite subtle and progressed I thought naturally to what it ended up being when she found out the truth. Had I been in the same situation I probably wouldn’t of forgave Daniel quite as quickly as she did but there connection was electric!
I knew immediately when Stacey had so many queries about whether or not this was the same Dex she had the flings with over the summer that it wasn’t him writing all of these emails. And they the only other male character that was introduced was Dan so it was kind of obvious that he was the one. But I was able to overlook the predictability of the plot because of the setting and the bond I have with the other character from the previous book.
The pacing was at times a little slow and repetitive but I was pretty much invested with these characters right from the start so it carried me through the story pretty quickly. I could of dealt with a little more sexy scenes in the book as well, it was definitely less smutty than the first book in this series but it was still pretty cute!
⭐️4/5 stars was an enjoyiable, romantic, fun read!
Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television? Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition–under no circumstances will she actually fall in love.
I loved Bea as our main protagonist. She’s witty, fun, well spoken and still is constantly making mistakes but owning them and moving forward at all times. I loved the fact that she’s such an advocate for plus sized people yet still has her own insecurities when it comes to dating and men in general, especially under the contrived circumstances of a reality dating show. I think anyone in her situation would think and react quite similarly to her and I loved how raw and accurate the depictions were.
The format of the book was fantastic and definitely kept me engaged. From the production emails to the call sheet and the messages in the fan group chats, it gave much needed depth and contrast to the book and set a fast pace as well. At first the pacing felt too fast especially when we are meeting all of the men. I couldn’t really differentiate between them all and was forgetting which was which. I kind of wanted more of a slower introduction and a more thorough background of all of them but it made sense how rushed things were in terms of the plotline.
At times I got a little bored with all of Bea’s indecisiveness. Agonising over every single detail of the dates and whether or not the men were in this for the right reasons which again is valid but it did kind of get on my nerves. She comes across as such a boss bitch from the way she dresses and how she articulates herself but the journey to the end did drag a little.
Lauren’s indiscretion really got on my nerves. I feel like all the trust we built with her over the course of the storyline was shattered and I really feel like Bea should of been more hurt about it. She forgave her really quickly and given the context we receive from her earlier behaviour when she is confronted with similar situations she would of reacted differently. So that was a little weird for me as well.
Overall I highly enjoyed this book. It was really nice having some more fat representation in books and I feel like this is highly underrated!