A blend of women’s fiction and romance, this heroine-centric story features its own unique combination of ingredients. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this new-to-me author, but I quickly discovered that her writing style and voice worked well for me. I loved the offbeat quality of the story, as well as the fresh and playful feel. It was focused more on the heroine’s work and less on the romance than I was hoping, but both were central to the story. And I really enjoyed the progression from strangers with a terrible meet cute to friends to lovers, as well as the hero. We only get the heroine’s POV, but I loved getting to know the hero better. Every time the animal talk would get to be too much for me, the romance would draw me right back in. So this ended up landing somewhere between three and four stars for me, but anyone going in expecting as much of a women’s fiction feel as romance will likely enjoy it quite a bit.
The story follows Lucy, a zookeeper whose work is the most important part of her life. She’s hoping for a promotion soon, which would help take away the sting of her ill-advised workplace romance coming to an end. So when a popular animal TV show host comes to the zoo for the summer and their first interactions don’t go well, Lucy thinks that Kai will be nothing but a distraction from her goals. But the more she gets to know the softer, sweeter of side of Kai, she realizes that there’s a very different man hiding behind his upbeat TV persona. The two clash before bonding over their love of gorillas and mommy issues, but Lucy’s not sure that they’re meant to last beyond the summer.
I went into this with zero expectations, it just sounded like a fun read. And it was! The vibe is lighthearted for the most part, with dashes of emotion and angst. This is truly Lucy’s story, and we follow her as she learns and grows over the summer. Kai is just the kind of man she needs in her life, but he’s only one part of her journey. The chemistry between them was excellent, and I was completely engrossed every time they shared the page together. I wish there were more of those moments, personally. It started to lose me somewhere in the middle, as the romance got pushed aside for a whole lot more gorilla talk, but that changed in the back half as Lucy and Kai grew closer. Had I known that this was more women’s fiction-focused, maybe I would’ve gone in with different expectations or on a day when I was in the mood for something slower and quieter, but I did enjoy this quite a bit. It’s slow-burning with some sizzle towards the end, and the moments with Lucy and Kai were great. I’d definitely check out Rea’s work again in the future, this was pretty good.
A zookeeper always on the fringe learns to go after her wildest dreams—including a certain television star—in this charming and laugh-out-loud romantic comedy by Kerry Rea, author of The Wedding Ringer.
Lucy Rourke has two great loves in her life: the gorilla troop she cares for as a primatologist and the laundry list of reality TV shows she watches to escape the fact that her actual love life doesn’t exist. And like a reality contestant gunning for the final rose, Lucy’s laser-focused on one thing: getting promoted to head keeper. So when a wildlife docuseries hosted by hotshot TV personality Kai Bridges chooses her zoo as its summer filming location, she sees an opportunity to showcase her beloved gorillas to the world and land a starring role in her department.
When Kai and his film crew arrive, however, it’s obvious to Lucy that Kai cares more about sky-high ratings than the gorillas, and he considers her a camera-averse know-it-all whose wardrobe consists entirely of khaki. But she’s surprised to discover there’s more to him than his rugged good looks and cheesy catchphrases…and that maybe a promotion isn’t the only thing she wants. But when secrets from their pasts threaten to complicate everything, Lucy discovers that happiness and success aren’t the same thing—and that finding joy just might mean getting a little wild.
About the Author:
Kerry Rea is a 2017 and 2019 #PitchWars mentee. Her work has appeared in Seventeen magazine. She lives in Columbus, Ohio, with her husband and four dogs.
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