It’s a mini review! I’m clearing out my review queue of all the books I can’t seem to convince myself to finish, for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean these are negative reviews, it simply means that something isn’t compelling me to keep reading at the moment. Maybe I’ll go back to them another day, maybe I won’t!
How far did I get? Around 160 pages in, which is about halfway through.
Why did I stop? I was really looking forward to this indie debut, because not only is the cover GORGEOUS, but the blurb sounds fantastic. Unfortunately, I’m not the biggest fan of 3rd person POV – I didn’t realize it was going in; 90-95% of the books I encounter are not. It’s not a dealbreaker, but the book has to immediately hook me for it to work. This super slow burn is so quiet and emotional that it didn’t have the kind of immersive quality I’d need to enjoy that POV. I also found the pacing a little frustrating, as there’s a lot of setup relating to the large cast of characters, and then our couple goes from instant enemies-ish to mutual crushes very quickly. It was all wholesome and sweet, but I also started to feel the page count. I only got halfway through, and it’s not liked I wanted to DNF, but I don’t want to push through when something is clearly just not a good fit for me. So, not a quality issue, just a preference.
I do have a little side note though – I also did not like the way spicy/smutty romance books are discussed in the story, at least in the portion I read. I assume it will be a larger (more positive?) discussion later in the book, since the hero ghostwrites super spicy romance/erotica, and he’s embarrassed about the quality of them. The heroine has read some of the books he writes, and thinks to herself “she was a human trash can feeding herself garbage on occasion, and she was fine with that.” Do I think of myself as a “human trash can” if I read bingeable romance that’s focused on the spice? Absolutely not. I don’t think it was ill-intended, but it certainly didn’t sit right with me either.
Was I enjoying it initially? Yeah, I was. This is a debut by an author who seems to have similar reading tastes to me, so I was looking forward to this in a big way – especially after seeing that stunning cover. I love the themes that are explored, and I liked both main characters. So certainly nothing terrible about the book, and the writing quality is there. Simply not a good fit for this reader.
Would I finish this? I would. I’ve been so busy with work that rom coms have been my jam recently, but if this becomes a breakout hit (I would not be shocked), then I’d certainly pick it back up once enough time has passed for me to be in a different kind of reading mood. I still don’t think it’s a great fit for me stylistically, but sometimes I love books that I set aside the first time. Who knows!
Who would I recommend this to? Slow burn lovers! This is clearly going to be a super slow burn, I can tell that from what I’ve read. It’s also pretty emotional, and deals with some heavy topics. Perfect for anyone who loves found family, and that will be a major component of the series as a whole (the kids are mostly teens, and they’ll be getting their own books). So there’s a ton of potential here, especially if you’re a fan of 3rd person POV.
Walker Hartrick was the epitome of a free bird with a devil-may-care attitude until tragedy struck his family and he was thrown into guardianship over his nieces and nephews. To make matters worse, the daughter of the man who destroyed everything he ever cared about moved back to Archwood, Oregon. She’s a reminder of what he lost and the ever-growing list of his failures.
The one person he should never pursue.
Talia Cohen, one half of a failed engagement and new grocery store owner, upended her entire life to move back to her childhood town with its fair share of dark memories. A change of pace was what she wanted—a new life away from the one she’d built in New York City that had come crumbling to the ground. Answering for the sins of her father and continually running into the one person who was adamant about wanting nothing to do with her wasn’t high on her list.
Falling for him was never the plan.
About the Author:
Katie grew up in Southern Oregon surrounded by never-ending trees, trails, and water sources. In addition to getting serotonin from the outdoors and well-organized spreadsheets, she has always been drawn to the art of storytelling. Her family knows her as someone who can successfully make people cry with a well-written birthday card. Reading captivated and sucked her in from a young age and eventually, the endless stories she fabricated in her head became too much of a hyper fixation to not write down on paper. Although her romance novels are often sexy and comedic, they also focus heavily on mental health and self-worth. Ultimately, her goal is to use the human condition to connect to the heart of readers and she makes no exception with her debut novel, The Ones We Fight For.
More info at: https://katiegolightlybooks.com
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