Hey everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on two contemporary reads that are perfect if you’re looking to escape your troubles for a few hours.
The Party Crasher Goodreads
Author: Sophie Kinsella
Publication Date: October 12, 2021
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – The Dial Press
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley. All opinions are my own.
If you’re familiar with Sophie Kinsella’s books, you know she’s the queen of heartwarming, humorous reads and The Party Crasher is no exception.
The novel follows Effie, a young woman who has been struggling with the news of her parents’ divorce. The fact that she thought they were blissfully happy and didn’t see the divorce coming has really tarnished Effie’s view of what she had always thought of as a happy, loving childhood. It comes as even more of a blow when Effie’s father suddenly has a new, and much younger, girlfriend, Krista, and that he and Krista have decided to sell Greenoaks, the quirky old country house that Effie and her family grew up in.
Effie and Krista have butt heads so often over the selling of the house that even Effie’s relationship with her dad has suffered, so when Krista decides to throw a “house cooling” party so the family can say goodbye to Greenoaks, she doesn’t even send Effie an invitation. Effie doesn’t want to go anyway, that is, until she remembers that she had hidden a beloved childhood toy somewhere in the house and becomes determined to retrieve it without Krista or her father knowing she has returned to Greenoaks. She decides the perfect time is the night of the house cooling party since everyone will be distracted by the festivities. What could possibly go wrong?
What I always love about Kinsella’s novels is the balance between family or personal drama and laugh out loud hilarious moments. The drama in this story is obviously Effie struggling to deal with all of these changes in her life, and her antics as she tries to stealthily crash the house cooling party provide endless comical moments since pretty much anything that can go wrong, absolutely does. I found Effie to be an incredibly sympathetic character, even if she did occasionally have some juvenile reactions to her potential new stepmother. Haven’t we all had some family drama that makes such reactions easy to relate to?
I also loved the dynamic of Effie’s relationship with her sister, Bean, who is stuck in the middle of Effie’s feud with Krista. Bean is just so pure, like a golden retriever in human form. She just wants everyone to be happy, especially Effie, and she tries her hardest to make that happen, even if it means helping Effie with her crazy scheme to crash the party. Another unexpected source of help in Effie’s scheme comes in the form of Effie’s ex-boyfriend, Joe. Plenty of awkward, hilarious, and heartwarming moments ensue.
I’ve been going through a rough time lately so I was really in the mood for a funny and heartwarming read. The Party Crasher was exactly what I needed. 4.5 STARS
Well Matched (Well Met, #3) Goodreads
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
With its wonderful characters and magical Renaissance Faire backdrop, I’ve been enjoying Jen Deluca’s contemporary romance series, Well Met, so much. April and Mitch, two of my favorite secondary characters from the previous books, have undeniable chemistry, so I was beyond excited to learn that Well Matched, the third book in the series, would bring them center stage and that the fake dating trope would be involved.
April is such a fantastic character. She’s a forty-year old, single mom who is used to doing everything herself. I really admired her sense of independence. As she says, it has always been just her and her daughter, Caitlyn, against the world and she likes it that way. She has big plans too, now that Caitlyn is heading off to college. It’s time to sell the house, leave Willow Creek, and have a fresh start somewhere else.
Even though she has no plans to stay in town and no interest in romance, she can’t help but admire Mitch Malone, the high school gym teacher. Mitch has a reputation for being a lady’s man and also for wearing a kilt every year at the Ren Faire that shows off his attributes. April can’t deny he’s easy on the eyes, so when he asks her to be his fake girlfriend at a family function to appease his grandmother, who thinks he’s never going to settle down, April agrees in exchange for him helping her with some work on her house.
April and Mitch’s journey together is a bit of a slow burn. It’s clear they are attracted to one another but April fights her attraction every step of the way, in part because of Mitch’s reputation and in part because she’s leaving anyway. Friends with benefits, yes, but an actual future together, nope. I loved watching their relationship evolve, especially as they get to know each other better and April realizes there’s a lot more to Mitch than she had previously given him credit for and finds it harder to fight her attraction to him. I thought DeLuca did a wonderful job of portraying April’s struggle over whether to follow her head or her heart and couldn’t wait to find out which path April would decide to follow.
I also had a great time being back in Willow Creek. I’m always captivated by the magic and charm of the Ren Faire setting and loved that I got to see beloved characters from the first two books in the series and see what they’re up to. I became so invested in these characters that it was like visiting with old friends and I truly loved that feeling.
If Ren Faires, sexy men in kilts, single mom protagonists, and fake dating are your jam, then you definitely want to check out Well Matched. 4.5 STARS