Eh, this never won me over, but the writing is solid. It’s the characters that drag this down: our heroine feels a bit weak/naive/overly forgiving, and our hero really needs to see a therapist. I wouldn’t date him, lol, and I wouldn’t put up with his behavior – despite a few sweet moments and a backstory that broke my heart. We don’t get his perspective, and there were just too many things that rubbed me the wrong way about him. This has an angsty, new adult vibe that feels very young (not a compliment), and parts of the romance feel glossed over. There’s some great conversation and a few scenes that showcased the POTENTIAL of this relationship, but the push/pull dynamic didn’t allow it to fully shine. I was emotionally detached from the romance because of that, but I’ll acknowledge that there are some very solid elements to this.
The story follows Harley, a college student spending a summer taking a painting class in Italy. She’s giving herself one last summer before she begins her adult life, and that includes following her passion. When she meets fellow student Liam, it’s not love at first sight. The broody player seems to have effortless skill at painting, and his work shows a depth of emotion that Harley can’t fathom. Though Liam repeatedly shows (and tells) Harley that he’s no good for her, she can’t seem to stay away. The two start up a “casual” relationship that sometimes feels anything but. However, anytime they seem to grow closer, Liam pulls away.
I guess it’s just tough to root for a relationship when you don’t particularly like either character – even if the writing is otherwise good. We get a lot of OW drama and player angst at the start, which doesn’t paint Liam in the best light, nor does it make Harley feel like a strong heroine. That’s disappointing. Pair that with Liam’s continued efforts to push Harley away, and I just… didn’t like him. Sure, there are some sweet moments – I love how accepting Liam is of Harley’s birth defect, and I love that it was part of the story. I love the conversation and the tiny glimpses of the 90s. I’m not entirely sure why this was set in the 90s (it’s not referenced frequently enough or relevant to the storyline), but I liked the vibe. This was ultimately a *shrug* kinda read for me – I would’ve been completely fine setting it down at any time, and I wouldn’t have felt the need to know how it all resolved. That says it all, honestly.
When you’re an artist, everything has to be perfect.
Or so I thought, until my professor told me my perfection was boring and unoriginal. Studying abroad in Florence has taught me one thing: I know nothing when it comes to what makes art truly beautiful.
So, with my professor’s words in my ear, I step outside one evening and decide to say yes to any and everything I’m faced with until the sun rises.
Of course, I didn’t expect him to show up.
Liam Benson, the broody, sexy, tortured artist from my class who I can’t stand. He’s got a sour outlook on the world and an ego so big no one could properly stroke it to his satisfaction.
When he finds out what I’m doing, he hijacks my “yes” night.
And after just twelve hours with him, I’m desperate for more.
But Liam is running from more than I could ever understand, and with his heart guarded and mind made up about life, I don’t stand a chance.
I convince myself that we can keep it casual.
But walking away from him at the end of the summer is as impossible as painting outside the lines.
I used to think when you’re an artist, everything has to be perfect.
Turns out everything has to be painful, and messy, and fleeting.
If only I’d known that before I fell under Liam Benson’s spell.
About the Author:
Kandi Steiner is a bestselling author and whiskey connoisseur living in Tampa, FL. Best known for writing “emotional rollercoaster” stories, she loves bringing flawed characters to life and writing about real, raw romance — in all its forms. No two Kandi Steiner books are the same, and if you’re a lover of angsty, emotional, and inspirational reads, she’s your gal.
An alumna of the University of Central Florida, Kandi graduated with a double major in Creative Writing and Advertising/PR with a minor in Women’s Studies. She started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic, and likes to highlight all the challenges of love as well as the triumphs.
When Kandi isn’t writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys live music, traveling, anything heavy in carbs, beach days, movie marathons, craft beer and sweet wine — not necessarily in that order.
Connect with Kandi
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/kandilandks/
Follow Jeeves on social media!
As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases