⭐️⭐️⭐️ Good, but not great

Book one in this series was an EASY 5-star rating for me, so you can imagine how disappointed I was when I loaded this one up on my Kindle and… just wasn’t feeling it. There’s nothing explicitly wrong with the story, but I couldn’t connect to our heroine. She comes across as pretty juvenile, and I found myself wishing these two would just have a real conversation and figure things out.

The story follows Bash, a college football player whose personal issues have led him to play for a school that’s considered the last chance for athletes. He’s excited to be closer to his family, but unfortunately that family now includes his ex-girlfriend and current stepsister, Ember. The two dated in high school but never made their parents aware, which made things complicated when they suddenly found themselves step-siblings. Bash broke things off without explanation, and now they are trying to navigate college together as just friends, when that’s not what either one of them really wants.

Second chance romances can be tricky, but work best when you’re rooting for the characters. My dislike of Ember started things on the wrong foot, and things went downhill when Ember and Bash set each other up with other people while still refusing to have a conversation. If you like a lot of teenage angst (as well as some serious family issues), this might work better for you because Sariah Wilson’s writing style is as solid as ever and there are plenty of good things about the book. I’m still excited about the series as a whole – there’s the potential for some great stories – but this one definitely wasn’t my favorite. I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review.


Blurb:

The rules of love and second chances are due for a major-league shake-up in a warm, witty, and unpredictable romance by the bestselling author of The Friend Zone.

Ian “Bash” Sebastian and Ember Carlson were high school sweethearts…until their single parents got married. With one thorny twist of fate, a secret young crush went from on fire to off-limits. What could a new stepbrother do but bail? Now, after almost four years, Bash has returned to Seattle, and he’s back in Ember’s orbit at End of the Line. EOL is the go-to college for second-chance scholarships. But what about love?

Sure, the old hurts are there. So is the attraction—and it’s more magnetic than ever. Still, they’re adults now, levelheaded and just fine with the friend thing. If only to make family dinners less awkward. But when they agree to start dating other people, moving on threatens to bring them closer together than ever.

Is it time to admit their past to their parents? Even trickier, their hope for the future? Because Ember and Bash deserve a love story of their own. With all their defenses down, can they make it a happy ever after?

Amazon | GoodReads

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