OUTMATCHED by Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young

What happens when a boxer finds chemistry with a geek?

Parker Brown can’t believe she needs to hire a fake boyfriend. When she landed her dream job in renewable energy, she thought she’d be entering a world at the forefront of progressive thinking. But the head boss prefers to promote employees who are “settled.” Thankfully, she’s found the perfect candidate, a fellow intellectual looking for some quick cash. What Parker gets is his protective big brother—Rhys Morgan. The tall, muscled ex-boxer with a foul mouth shows up just as her boss does, and now she’s stuck with the manipulative jerk.

Responsibility weighs heavily on Rhys. Now permanently out of the ring, he’s trying to hold together his late father’s gym and keep his younger brother, Dean, on the straight and narrow. To save Dean from himself, Rhys takes his place, ready to give this society girl a piece of his mind. Instead, he finds an opportunity. Even though they can hardly stand each other, posing as Parker’s boyfriend is a win-win deal. She gets to keep her job, and he’ll charm her star-struck boss into sponsoring his gym.

Problem is, they can barely keep their hands off each other. And what started as an easy deal isn’t so easy anymore. Because what future can a rough ex-boxer, afraid to open his heart, and a polished society geek, who has sworn off real relationships, possibly have?

They say opposites attract. These opposites are about to combust on impact.


Title : Outmatched
Author : Kristen Callihan & Samantha Young
Format : eARC
Page Count :
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : November 19, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 3 star review

The coming together of two of my favourite romance authors was like Christmas and I waltzed into OUTMATCHED with full enthusiasm. This was a story of a fake relationship (which I do enjoy) and two very opposite characters. There were misunderstandings, judgements and chemistry along the way, so lots to get your teeth into.

Parker was battling a misogynistic workplace and a boss who’s behaviour forced her hand to hire a boyfriend figure for work events. She just wanted equality but I hated that she had to do this just to get her mind to be taken seriously. Rhys was the occasionally angry and definitely grumpy character who could turn on the charm and unexpectedly offered to be Parker’s boyfriend for a price. He was all about the money…initially. I loved the uncovering of how they misjudged one another, that was something pleasurable to read.

The boss was an absolute revolting character and I didn’t love to hate him, I just hated him. This element of the plot drove me somewhat wild with annoyance. I also struggled with the fake relationship storyline going on too long and the narrative became lacking in tangability for me as the story progressed. Because of the extended fake relationship, I didn’t buy into Parker and Rhys as something more. The weird thing was, I really liked them as characters and their backstories, just not together. It made me sad that I couldn’t buy into them fully.

OUTMATCHED has lots of goodness, a nice sporting foundation (sports romance is kryptonite to me), an opposites attract story and fake dating. If these are your thing, I hope you enjoy this story.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 19, 2019

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


We doubt we need to remind anyone that THE QUEEN OF NOTHING by Holly Black, the conclusion to The Folk of the Air series, is out today. Does anything else even need to be said about this? Nope!

BLOOD HEIR by Amélie Wen Zhao is finally getting it’s long-awaited day in the spotlight. The pitch says that this is first book in an epic new series about a princess hiding a dark secret and the con man she must trust to clear her name for her father’s murder. Sounds amazing.

A non-fantasy title to get excited about today is OUTMATCHED by Kristen Callihan and Samantha Young. This is an opposites attract story that we hear has amazing chemistry, banter, and characters. We are excited to read it.


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

KISSING GALILEO by Penny Reid

Her professor just saw her mostly naked. Awkwardness is guaranteed to ensue.

What do you do when your freakishly smart and wickedly sarcastic Research Methods professor sees you mostly naked? You befriend him, of course.

‘Kissing Galileo’ is the second book in the Dear Professor series, is 74k words, and can be read as a standalone. A shorter version of this story (40k words) was entitled ‘Nobody Looks Good Naked’ and was available via Penny Reid’s newsletter for free over the course of 2018-19.


Title : Kissing Galileo
Author : Penny Reid
Series : Dear Professor #2
Format : library ebook
Page Count : 294
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Cipher-Naught
Release Date : June 17, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

I really enjoyed Kissing Tolstoy but Galileo just left me a little disconnected, to be honest. Emily and Victor were not opposites, they felt like twins and their similarties actually got on nerves. Core to this story is once again a relationship between professor and student. For me, this storyline was not resolved as one minute there was high concern about the ethics of the relationship and later, none at all.

I normally find Penny Reid’s quirkiness of characters and narrative endearing but in this instance, I didn’t. In fact, I found the whole repetitive reciting of data, statistics and research methods annoying (and I am an academic with a PhD). Perhaps I just don’t like my fiction with such a big slice of work in it but for me it really detracted from the enjoyment. The ‘constant comparion’ (excuse my pun – Penny Reid now has me at research euphemisms) of their friendship and later relationship to statistical analysis or data, got old for me. The eventual relationship came to late for me to truly enjoy it.

The flip of body image issues from the male perpective was a welcome storyline. This topic was handled with realism and I could credibly appreciate Victor’s journey and feelings…bravo! I wanted a bit more from Lavender, I was sad that initial scene was never revisted (or tied up).

This is one of those rare moments where I didn’t really enjoy a Penny Reid book but considering I adore the vast amount, I won’t worry. There are many fans of this book, just not me.

PERMANENT RECORD by Mary H. K. Choi

Mary HK Choi new book cover reveal Credit: ohgigue

After a year of college, Pablo is working at his local twenty-four-hour deli, selling overpriced snacks to brownstone yuppies. He’s dodging calls from the student loan office and he has no idea what his next move is.

Leanna Smart’s life so far has been nothing but success. Age eight: Disney Mouseketeer; Age fifteen: first #1 single on the US pop chart; Age seventeen, *tenth* #1 single; and now, at Age nineteen…life is a queasy blur of private planes, weird hotel rooms, and strangers asking for selfies on the street.

When Leanna and Pab randomly meet at 4:00 a.m. in the middle of a snowstorm in Brooklyn, they both know they can’t be together forever. So, they keep things on the down-low and off Instagram for as long as they can. But it takes about three seconds before the world finds out…


Title : Permanent Record
Author : Mary H. K. Choi
Format : ARC
Page Count : 432
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers 
Release Date : September 3, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

I read EMERGENCY CONTACT, Mary H. K. Choi’s debut novel, before the era of the blog so believe me when I say I liked elements of it but didn’t love it. I found the story to be a little dull, though the characters were occasionally vibrant even if I didn’t like them, with plenty of Real Issues(tm) to tackle, but overall the story felt a little.. sad. A lot sad. Nonetheless I wanted to give her follow up novel a chance because I wondered if there might be more of things I liked to balance out what I didn’t.

And, sad to say, the answer is a nope.

I definitely appreciate this take on the ‘normie-meets-a-celebrity’ trope, but. So much but. Again, this comes from not quite liking the characters even if sometimes they did dazzle a bit. Adding to this weird sense of dismay was a really rough read, with more Real Issues(tm), sprinkled (heavily. maybe doused) ontop of the whole experience. The greatness factor was having a young person deal with the horrifying and very real danger of credit cards, debt, and the uncertainty of post-graduate school. But w o w was it, like, a serious downer. Sure, we end on a high (medium) note, not resolved with everything tied up in a neat bow, but leaning into the reality, instead of avoiding it, but wow.

The book is hella diverse and occasionally did make me laugh out loud (twice? maybe three times) but honestly I’m just really sad because I know this isn’t the author for me. I can appreciate the work she’s doing, what she’s putting out there, and the people who will relate or learn from it. But I won’t do this to myself again and she deserves better than my low reviews when I now know, with certainty, we just aren’t meant to be.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NOW ENTERING ADDAMSVILLE by Francesca Zappia

Zora Novak has been framed.

When someone burns down the home of the school janitor and he dies in the blaze, everyone in Addamsville, Indiana, points a finger at Zora. Never mind that Zora has been on the straight and narrow since her father was thrown in jail. With everyone looking for evidence against her, her only choice is to uncover the identity of the real killer. There’s one big problem—Zora has no leads. No one does. Addamsville has a history of tragedy, and thirty years ago a similar string of fires left several townspeople dead. The arsonist was never caught.

Now, Zora must team up with her cousin Artemis—an annoying self-proclaimed Addamsville historian—to clear her name. But with a popular ghost-hunting television show riling up the townspeople, almost no support from her family and friends, and rumors spinning out of control, things aren’t looking good. Zora will have to read between the lines of Addamsville’s ghost stories before she becomes one herself. 


Title : Now Entering Addamsville
Author : Francesca Zappia
Format : ARC
Page Count: 364
Genre: YA paranormal
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Release Date: October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

Is there anything worse than reading a new book by an author who wrote one of your favourite books.. and not liking it? Worse, wanting to DNF it after like twenty pages?

Okay, there are many many worse things, but roll with it.

NOW ENTERING ADDAMSVILLE was such a dissa-aca-pointment (one day I’ll stop referencing these movies but today is not that day #pitchperfect4lyfe). It’s not that I had major hopes for this story in general, I just expected to love whatever this author came out with, expected to feel something (a lot of somethings, if her last book was any indication) and that didn’t happen.

This is the author’s first paranormal fiction and.. like.. it didn’t work? Or at least not for me? The worldbuilding was kind of all over the place, the mundane setting played such a huge part and yet I’m baffled as to what that was all about, and the characters? I liked maybe.. one. Maybe half of one. And this had a significant cast, there were a lot to choose from, many on offer to the reader, and nope. I’m just all around confused by how we went from ELIZA AND HER MONSTERS to this.

I know this is coming off harsh and as a result I’m going to quit this review now before it goes any further but honestly? I just have the sads.

** I received an ARC from the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

LAST LIGHT by Claire Kent

It only took four years for the world to fall apart.

Now the last member of my family has died, and I’m forced to travel across what’s left of three states to find the only people I know left alive. To survive, I’ll have to salvage food and supplies and try to avoid violent men who’ve learned they can take what they want by force. The only way I’m going to make it is by trusting Travis.

Travis used to fix my car, and now he’s all I have left in the world. He’s gruff and stoic and unfriendly, and I don’t really know or like him. But he’s all I have left. He’ll keep me safe. We’ll take care of each other. Until we reach what’s left of our town and can finally let go of one another.

Last Light is a standalone post-apocalyptic romance set in the near future after a global catastrophe.


Title : Last Light
Author : Claire Kent
Format : eARC
Page Count : 335
Genre : Post-apocalyptic romance
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : November 13, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

I’ve been a long-time fan of Claire Kent ever since her book ‘Escorted’ and while this isn’t a pen name the author writes under much, I jumped on the chance to read and review this one. I have enjoyed a number of post-apocalyptic stories, those with and without romance and this take did not let me down. I read this book in one sitting, I couldn’t put it down.

LAST LIGHT is carried by a cast of two, Travis and Layne. They were from the same home town, a few years after the world-changing event and having to travel to safety. All the things you might expect from this kind of setting were prevalent, no food, no power, gangs of vigilantes and increased vulnerability for women. That said, at no point was there a thread of the weakness of women, on the contrary, Layne was empowered and fierce in her own way.

This story centred on a slow growing connection and a romance to light fires. I lived for it and I loved it. I found everything about their past and presents engaging. There was a strong and detailed world in the background and a plenty of storyline to hang on to. The steam was pretty strong in this read but it fitted so well.

There were other characters that came into the story, friendlies and not-so-friendlies. There was a background of mild tension as you might imagine in a world such as this which added to the pacing of the story.

I would love to read more of this world and characters and I continue to love anything written by Claire Kent.

Thank you to the author for the review copy through netgalley.

NOT THE GIRL YOU MARRY by Andie J Christopher

How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other. 


Title : Not The Girl You Marry
Author : Andie J Christopher
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Berkley
Release Date : November 12, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

Before starting this book, I did the thing you should never do : I looked at the GR rating. Which, as of writing this review, is sitting at 3.60. Which sounds bad but we need to remember this is out of five. It’s not terrible. But it was surprising considering, at the time, this was still a month out from publication. 

And so I dove in, waiting, wondering, for it to go sideways. And yet it never really did?

Despite seeing the rating, I forgot to revisit the blurb (#TeamNoBlurbs) and was delighted at the How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days spin on a contemporary romance. It’s really not that far off from the film except the roles are reversed and the story is made more diverse. I thought the narrative around Hannah’s anti-dating baggage being tied up in her identity to be a really smart move. Forever questioning where she stands in a world that wants her to lean into her whiteness or shun it (she’s biracial with a white mother and black father) and the past relationship that didn’t think she was appropriate either way, coining the “not the girl you marry” phrase she then associated with herself.

On the other end of the equation, Jack is perfect. The perfect guy, the perfect boyfriend, so perfect he scared all his previous girlfriends away. He has to try hard to scare off Hannah, to go against what he wants and knows is right; and it doesn’t always work out. I thought his backstory was actually pretty perfectly balanced because it felt real, and a bit heartbreaking, but it didn’t overshadow Hannah’s.

I was really enjoying the story, the romance, the hijinks, though I’ll admit some bits felt a little dragged out — this two week period felt endless? — and I wanted less moral outrage on Hannah’s side and a little more on Jack’s. It did feel a little unbalanced though I agree the circumstances, the ramifications, from the lies would’ve been bigger had Jack seen things through. So.. I don’t know.

What did take some of the love out of this for me, too, was just how close it felt to the movie. Again, updated to include apps, diversified, backstory for the characters, so it isn’t cookie-cutter. But it’s close enough.

But I did have a good time. This was lighthearted but grounded enough to not cross into fluff territory (forever adding a disclaimer that I don’t use this word negatively) and honestly I just had a good time reading it. 

** I received an ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – NOVEMBER 12, 2019

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!
As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


LAST LIGHT by Claire Kent is a post-apocalyptic romance with a super strong story line. This book focuses on one couple and the fact that these two carried a whole book and Micky could not put it down is testament to it’s goodness. Micky’s thoughts will be on the blog soon.

NOT THE GIRL YOU MARRY by Andie J Christopher is a How To Lose a Guy in Ten Days spin on a contemporary romance. It’s really not that far off from the film except the roles are reversed and the story is made more diverse. There’ll be a review on this one from Hollis sometime this week!


Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!

THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB by Lyssa Kay Adams – double review!

The first rule of book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife. 


Title : The Bromance Book Club
Author : Lyssa Kay Adams
Series : Bromance Book Club (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Berkley/Headline Eternal
Release Date : November 5, 2019/January 30, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ .5/ ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 2.5 star review

What, in concept, should be such an excellent take on a second-chance/save-the-marriage romance, with manly men learning to navigate the pitfalls and stumbling blocks of their relationships from romance novels, really only 100% succeeds in concept form. 

The author throws us right into the thick of things. The story opens up with the hero on a bender because, after a month of silent treatment following a devastating reveal from his wife, he’s finally walked out. They are headed for divorce. But don’t despair! The wise yet comedic ensemble to the rescue!

Men are idiots. We complain that women are so mysterious and shit, and we never know what they want. We fuck up our relationships because we convince ourselves that it’s too hard to figure them out. But the real problem is with us. We think we’re not supposed to feel things and cry and express ourselves. We expect women to do all the emotional labour in a relationship and then act confused when they give up on us.”

Honestly, they were the best part. But mostly Mack. 

You hear the voice, too?
It’s your subconscious. At some point in this process, every one of us have had to fight a British aristocrat in our brain that identifies things we would otherwise prefer to ignore.

The problem I think, for me, is lack of context and foundation. Which I think in theory is what the author was going for. We didn’t know who these characters once were, and why we should be sad about their current state, because they’ve lost themselves (or, really, the heroine has). They have changed, faked their way through happiness, and more, until they — she — reaches her breaking point. But conversely this worked against the story — again, probably only for me — because I didn’t.. care as much? And also I found neither of them really had a leg to stand on. But, I mean, I’m not married, so what do I know?

Nothing on Earth is as strong as a woman who’s good and fed up.

The heroine’s biggest point of contention is that she feels betrayed by her husband for not seeing how much she has changed since they met. How many parts of herself she’s sanded down, or swallowed, for the sake of their family and his career. He doesn’t see all the ways she has faked living, and loving, the past few years of their relationship. But, I mean also, she throws it in his face and yet she’s also never said boo about any of it. Whereas the hero, okay yes didn’t react all that well, but every time he tried to reach her, to make up, she would push him away or shut down. I didn’t blame him for some of his frustrations. And this went back and forth for a while, with her seriously punishing him beyond where I think the limit should’ve been, and then I guess we’re meant to forgive her because it’s all been a symptom of her childhood and resulting insecurities and expectations..? Whatever.
Again, this might have worked if I had.. cared.. more. 

What the hell is a Regency?
That means it’s set in eighteenth or early nineteenth century England.”
“Oh, great. That sounds relevant.”

The romance novel/story within the story was sometimes fun but also a little much, too on the nose considering how meta this was already feeling with some of the discussions amongst the bros, but it also kinda proved that this author could write a historical romance and I would probably really enjoy it. Her writing seemed better suited to those passages than the contemporary ones. 

[it’s] at least a BB four.
Do I want to know what that means?
It’s our rating system for how much sex is in it.
But what does BB stand for?
Book Boner.”

So, overall, I didn’t quite love this. And definitely not to the extent I expected to.

This is on the shorter end of things reading wise, and it does move fairly smoothly, I felt like I made a lot of progress in a short time, but overwhelmingly the characters just kind of failed to live up to the potential. I adored the ensemble of dudes as a supporting cast because it was less of the relationship drama, though can fully admit they read more like caricatures for the comedic relief, and am tentatively looking forward to Mack in a starring role. But as a result of who I assume he’ll be paired with.. I have concerns.

The point of all of all of this is to court her, Gavin. Not seduce her.”
What’s the difference?
It’s a fucking miracle you got married at all. The difference, is to make her want you, not prove how much you want her.

I would definitely read on, and read more from this author, but I might suggest lowering expectations just a tiny bit. I definitely could’ve done with that before diving in.

** I received a ARC from Edelweiss and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **


Micky’s 3.5-4 star review

This was such a fun concept, from the blurb to the excellent book cover. I read THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB after reading a very heavy book and it was just the light kind of fun I needed. This is a perfect weekend or beach read but it also feels like a fresh concept.

I love to read a book about married couples and these two, Gavin and Thea had a marriage on the rocks and in deep trouble. It was the kind of marriage suffering from neglect and lacking in honesty. However, I could see from the start that there was much to salvage and I enjoyed their journey.

This is a romantic comedy at times with periods of seriousness. The guy friends in Gavin’s life enlisted the help of some regency books to teach Gavin how to woo and satisfy his wife. Everything about this aspect was hilarious and I adored how there was a second mini story within this book in the form of the regency novel he was reading.

He pulled ‘His Pissed-off Countess’ or whatever it was called from the drawer. Del took it from him and held it aloft like a preacher about to drop some gospel.

Gavin learning to change his behaviour was central to this story and he was kind of dumb but also humble and willing to change. I grew to like him and to root for their marriage. I was glad to see some wake-up in Thea too.

“It absolutely is true. A woman remembers every time a man winks at her, because we love winking. It’s like catnip. Wink at us, and we roll over and start purring. You haven’t winked at me in a long time.”
“Then I’m an idiot.” Gavin slowly lowered his gaze to lips. “Because I wouldn’t mind hearing you purr.”

There was a strong sense of family in this book with twins in the middle of this marriage. There were some incredibly sweet moments between the four of them that just made me warm and cosy.

I’m really looking forward to reading more from this series and this author, she reeled me in with this fun story.

Thank you to Headline Eternal for the early review copy.

FIVE YEARS GONE by Marie Force

The most brazen terrorist attack in history. A country bent on revenge. A love affair cut short. A heart that never truly heals.

I knew on the day of the attack that our lives were changed forever. What I didn’t know then was that I’d never see John again after he deployed. One day he was living with me, sleeping next to me, making plans with me. The next day he was gone.

That was five years ago. The world has moved on from that awful day, but I’m stuck in my own personal hell, waiting for a man who may be dead for all I know. At my sister’s wedding, I meet Eric, the brother of the groom, and my heart comes alive once again.

The world is riveted by the capture of the terrorist mastermind, brought down by U.S. Special Forces in a daring raid. Now I am trapped between hoping I’ll hear from John and fearing what’ll become of my new life with Eric if I do.

From a New York Times bestselling author, Five Years Gone, a standalone contemporary, is an epic story of love, honor, duty, unbearable choices and impossible dilemmas.


Title : Five Years Gone
Author : Marie Force
Series : Navy Captain John West #1
Format : ebook
Page Count : 400
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : HTJB, Inc
Release Date : October 9, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

When I am in the mood, military romance (if that’s a sub-genre) can really float my boat, I’ve had some profound reads in this category that are totally memorable. With this title and the idea it conjures, I was looking forward to an angsty, emotional ride and guess what, that’s exactly what I got.

What surprised me about this book is that I expected this to be about the missing soldier but really it was about Ava, the women he left behind. It was a unique situation, John had kept her in the dark in their two year relationship, encouraging her not to share her connection to him and keep it a secret. Is this ringing any alarm bells for you? It did for me, but not Ava and in retrospect, she put this down to her age and naivety.

“I blame myself for not paying closer attention, but mostly I blame him for leaving me in this torturous state of limbo.”

Five years later, Ava had to move on. The story really concentrates on her new start in a new city and her friendship with Eric. Eric was a good guy, not unrealistically so but I did so like him; he won my heart. The slow development of something more between Ava and Eric was great to read, I’m here for the slow burn always. Ava was definitely a work in progress, a heart-repair project and I came to like her very much.

There were elements of this story that were predictable, it’s pretty obvious with the title that John, her first love returned but that didn’t take away from the reading experience at all. Whilst I didn’t cry, I can tell you that this is the kind of read that had all the feels and I enjoyed rolling with the emotions and occasionally closing my kindle for a breather.

This is my first book by Marie Force and I enjoyed her writing style and the story she crafted. There’s another book to this series, but FIVE YEARS GONE is written so that it can stand alone. That said, I think I’m going to have to pick up with the other character soon.