As I write this, I’m getting ready to pack for another Becoming an Outdoors Woman weekend, this one for the spring, but I wish I could say I was excited. I’ve taken several steps back in my health journey, and am currently back at walking with pain. However, by the time this actually publishes, I’m hoping to be back in shape and walking all over the place (having survived BOW, of course). As for this book review, I think we all know how I feel about getting a Lauren Layne ARC. It’s like Christmas, but I get it a few times a year or whenever she releases a book and NetGalley loves me enough to approve me for it, as they did with this one. This book is set to release in August, and if you like friends to lovers stories, this one is one of the best I’ve read.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Parker knows that men and women can just be friends. Best friends, in fact. She knows this, because she and Ben have been best friends for 6 years and have never had the urge to sleep with each other, even as roommates. So when her boyfriend dumps her, Parker comes to conclusion that she just wants casual sex. Then she comes to the conclusion that since she needs to have a connection with someone first, casual sex with her best friend is just the thing the doctor ordered. Because they’ve been friends so long, it’s not going to get weird, right?
Friends-to-lovers is one of those tropes that I find fun and realistic (to a degree), and I love the way Lauren Layne made this trope work. It’s a familiar story, but the way it plays out is fun and kind of like crack…I had a hard time putting this book down. I seriously wanted to skip a gaming session to read this book. I didn’t, but I did manage to stay up and finish this book in a few hours, so win for me!
The plot moves along at a good pace and builds well to the angst of the 2 characters. Their friendship is solid, and I liked the foundation of a good, comfortable relationship. What makes the story better is that it doesn’t start with unrequited love. One is not consciously in love with the other, and though I don’t mind that trope either, I really liked that we got to watch both persons’ feelings develop alongside each other.
Parker and Ben are adorable as besties. I loved how comfortable they were with each other and like all of Layne’s dialogue, theirs is easy and familiar. It’s like reading a book about people I know. Their chemistry comes across to the reader early, but it’s great when characters are blind, even more so when other characters pick up on it.
There were also some really interesting side characters, such as Ben’s friend Joe and Parker’s co-worker Eryn, who’s kind of a bitch at first but ends up having layers. I also loved Parker’s family (her mom is kind of a riot).
The Romance Factor for this book gets the coveted 5/5 because it gave me all the feels. The romance is sweet, and yet Ben and Parker have to get through some rough stuff to get to their happy ending. As for the Sex Factor, I think I’ve been ruined by other books that are super steamy, so this one seemed a little bit tame. But, it’s still getting a 4/5 because even though they’re not detailed, the sexy times are pretty hot…and super sweet.
I think the only thing that pulled me out of the book at times was that since I’m used to hearing Parker as a man’s name, there were times I forgot who’s POV I was reading from. I’ve never had that problem in any of the books before, and I love the switching of POVs by chapter, so it was just a matter of me backing up and re-reading from the right person’s view to get what was going on, and I honestly cant’ blame the author for that. It was all me.
This book comes out later this year and I’d already pre-ordered before I received the ARC. This is one I’m going to read again. Romance fans who like the friends-to-lovers trope should enjoy this.