Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the wonderful people at TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair review! This review will be spoiler free so everyone can enjoy it!
Let’s kick things off with a summary so everyone knows what I am rambling on about, shall we?
“Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s traveled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom is off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.
When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom has arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.
Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that’s inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.”
One of my favorite things about doing tours with TLC Book Tours is getting the chance to read more contemporary adult novels! I sometimes get lost down the rabbit hole of YA fantasy, and its always great to step out of that and read something a little grittier and with a bit more steaminess to it. 😉
This book was a lot of fun and told very interesting story. Darcy is a total mess; her heart defect resulted in her being coddled her whole life and completely left out of numerous family adventures; her parents literally left her with her grandmother while they flew of to Disney with her twin brother, Jamie, and his/their best friend Tom. On multiple occasions. In any other story this would have created a ton of resentment and hate, but here Darcy just copes with it by becoming a reckless world traveler as soon as she turns 18, until now – 8 years or so later. While the story makes you think she’s running from her feelings for Tom, it’s more obvious to me that her behavior (crazy drinking, inhaling sugar like it’s air, leaving at the drop of a hat, meaningless sexy times) goes way beyond unrequited love and far more into reckless abandon in the face of 18 years of being treated like porcelain. She also has little to no filter and I found myself constantly frustrated by the things she would say, then take back, the make a joke about but really mean. I can’t blame Tom AT ALL for being super confused and frustrated by her.
Tom. Oh Tom. Darcy pretty much worships the ground he walks on, lusts after him like it’s her job, and cannot seem to get her act together. It walks the line between love and crazy, and yet somehow it works? I definitely teared up at a few of their more frustrating exchanges, and anytime a book can do that is a total win for me. Tom is def a shining example of manhood (and Darcy’s constant comments to this effect will ensure you never forget it). He’s a SUPER nice guy, hardworking, trustworthy, and a little overwhelmed. Restoring the cottage is his big break in starting his own construction company, finally getting out from under the tyrant he worked for before. I feel like this angle was underplayed, and could have been further developed to much success with the plot. Passing comments are made about his former boss blacklisting him so many contractors won’t work for him, but it stops at passing comment and never seems to creep into the project in any way. Missed opportunity for sure.
Now let’s discuss Darcy’s twin brother, Jamie, for a minute. I have VERY little love for Jamie. He’s the Golden Child and he knows it. He’s a jackass about 90% of the time, and you just want to reach into the book and shake him until his teeth rattle. He treats Darcy like she is dumb, overrides everything she has to say, and literally tells her that Tom is “too good” for her. Um…excuse me? One scene has him “swooping in” to take over a task from her (at HIS insistence, mind you) and he just barrels into it with no care, confident that he can do it better because he’s A Man. *frustrated growl* He does get a little bit of redemption in the end parts of the book, but NOT MUCH. He needs a book of his own so I can make him work for my affection a little harder.
I do like Tom and Darcy as a couple, as nuts as she is. He mellows her out and she loosens him up. Being a former business owner, she does an awesome job helping him get started with his own, once he finally lets her help that is. She also steps right in and isn’t afraid to get dirty. AND she’s actually got a pretty good knack for the construction thing. The chemistry between them is palpable, and I spent most of the book just as frustrated with them for not just doing it already as I was for the stupid things they would say. The hallmark of a good steamy romance, in my opinion.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable book that kept me up late reading because I was too involved to put it down. It made me cry, which is always a good sign, and gave me a satisfying ending that left me happy. The smut level was low, something I am more than okay with, but had just enough steam to take us solidly into the adult genres. No “quivering members” here, but no brushing over the more adult moments either. I would recommend it to anyone who likes adult contemporaries!
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow Books for sending me this to review!