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Tessa Bailey is back with a Schitt’s Creek-inspired rom-com about a Hollywood “It Girl” who is cut off from her wealthy family and exiled to a small Pacific Northwest beach town… where she butts heads with a surly, sexy local who thinks she doesn’t belong. 

Piper Bellinger is fashionable, influential, and her reputation as a wild child means the paparazzi are constantly on her heels. When too much champagne and an out-of-control rooftop party lands Piper in the slammer, her stepfather decides enough is enough. So he cuts her off, and sends Piper and her sister to learn some responsibility running their late father’s dive bar… in Washington.

Piper hasn’t even been in Westport for five minutes when she meets big, bearded sea captain Brendan, who thinks she won’t last a week outside of Beverly Hills. So what if Piper can’t do math, and the idea of sleeping in a shabby apartment with bunk beds gives her hives. How bad could it really be? She’s determined to show her stepfather—and the hot, grumpy local—that she’s more than a pretty face.

Except it’s a small town and everywhere she turns, she bumps into Brendan. The fun-loving socialite and the gruff fisherman are polar opposites, but there’s an undeniable attraction simmering between them. Piper doesn’t want any distractions, especially feelings for a man who sails off into the sunset for weeks at a time. Yet as she reconnects with her past and begins to feel at home in Westport, Piper starts to wonder if the cold, glamorous life she knew is what she truly wants. LA is calling her name, but Brendan—and this town full of memories—may have already caught her heart

Title : It Happened One Summer
Author : Tessa Bailey
Series : It Happened One Summer (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 416
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : July 13, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5

Hollis’ 3.5 star review

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed so much of this, but whether it’s hype or just me, it didn’t quite live upto what I expected it to do for me. But it was still a good time with at least one spinoff/companion being set up, so, yay, fun.

If the socialite transplant to a small town wasn’t enough to win you over, maybe grumpy/sunshine will? Both were definitely working for me. The real win for me though was because Piper sold this for me. I’m noticing a trend that I love Bailey’s female MCs a lot more than the male ones, even when the male ones are good. The ladies win it. And this is no exception.

Piper lives her life curating her social media presence, trying to stay relevant in a shallow blink-and-you’re-not-trendy world, and has lots of contacts but no actual friends; something that becomes painfully obvious after a night in jail leads to her being relocated to a small habour town in the PNW and none of her so-called friends reach out to check in. With her sister by her side and Siri helping her learn to cook, she nonetheless faces her new circumstances head on.

And in doing so she meets Brendan (a name I kept forgetting because it just didn’t seem to fit him, don’t ask me why), a local sea captain who takes one look at her and doesn’t see someone who fits, much less someone who would be a permanent fixture, in his town.

My favourite part of this romance were those early chapters where they didn’t quite know how to act around each other, even after they had dropped some of the antagonism, and were sorta just.. friends. I loved it. Brendan is having to deal with, and move on, from something and I found that whole journey really moving. That might’ve been the best part with him.

Don’t get me wrong, he’s kind, giving, and fully loves all of Piper, embraces all her behaviours and high maintenance elements, but I think some of the shine wore off once we got to the sex scenes. Thankfully there was zero baby or honey girls in this one but for some reason the sex scenes just didn’t land for me. Which isn’t to say all the sexy moments were bad, we had a few really steamy teasing ones, but sometimes the actual act was just.. not it. But to each their own.

Outside of the romance, there is a good selection of colourful characters in the background, not all of them great, a few I kind of side eyed (no villains or evil exes or what have you, just regular people being a little shitty because reasons) but much like the inspiration for Piper, the town did a lot of what I felt Schitts Creek did — added to the dynamics at the core of the show without necessarily overshadowing them. And this book did the same. It was a good balance.

There’s definitely a lot of good here and I had a good time, it just wasn’t the pure perfection I thought it could be. But I’ll be reading on for sure.

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