Amanda Reads: Well Met

I write to you with bleary, puffy eyes because I stayed up late last night to finish reading Jen DeLuca’s Well Met. When I first saw the synopsis of the book, I should’ve known something like this would happen, because, well, just read it yourself:

“All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author Jen DeLuca,” (Goodreads).Well Met cover

The sworn enemies having the hots for each other trope, but set against the backdrop of the Renaissance Faire? A protagonist in her mid to late twenties, literally the exact same age I am now? Yes, please, a thousand times.

I’ve been struggling to fit in enough reading as I’ve gotten older, something protagonist Emily (who has “most of” an English degree) would be familiar with. So, when I get sucked into a book deeply enough to stay up late reading it, it’s usually something that is just so perfectly within my wheelhouse. And as an English/Creative Writing degree holder who starts getting excited about Ren Fest around, oh, January, I’d say this book hits the target.

The basic premise is that Emily moves in with her older sister after a terrible breakup leaves her homeless and a car crash leaves her sister less than ambulatory. In order for her niece to participate in the Ren Fest she so desperately wants to be in, she needs to have an adult volunteer with her. Since Caitlin’s mom can’t exactly walk, let alone parade around in Renaissance garb serving drinks, Emily steps in to save the day. Which is where she meets Simon, who she hates upon first sight, though of course we as the readers know it won’t stay that way for long. 

Romances are so comforting because there is a certain predictability to them, an ease of the formula that is tried and true. And yet, every writer puts their own spin on it, and this book is no different. DeLuca writes such a sexy leading man that I did, in fact, stop reading the book to literally fan myself a few times. Yeah, the interactions between Simon and Emily in their Ren Fest personas are that good. 

I won’t dig much deeper into the plot because I don’t want to spoil how delightful it is, so I’ll simply say I highly recommend you romance loving nerds out there give this one a try. As a girl who grew up loving both sappy romantic comedies and watching Dragonball Z, who dreamed of one day playing Dungeons and Dragons, I sometimes feel like a unicorn–you’re a nerd girl or you’re into sappy, girly things, but both?! It’s so refreshing to see more and more writers putting the two together in their stories, shedding light on the fact that we all contain multitudes.

Well Met is an absolute delight, and I can’t wait to see what debut author DeLuca comes out with next. Something Dungeons and Dragons related, mayhaps? Just saying, I’d read the crap out of a book where two people who initially dislike one another roleplay characters who slowly fall in love… as they do so in real life, against their better judgement.

Amanda Reads: Surprise Me

Hello, internet people! We’re almost to February already, so I’m bringing you a review of Sophie Kinsella’s forthcoming novel, Surprise Me, which comes out February 13th, 2018.

(Full disclosure: I received an eGalley of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my Surprise Me Sophie Kinsellahonest review.)

When I got the email inviting me to read a new Sophie Kinsella novel, I was ecstatic. I adore Kinsella’s writing and couldn’t wait to dig in with another book. When I opened it up and started reading, though, I was a little surprised–the book opens with the main character already married!

If I recall correctly, some of the later Shopaholic books also feature non-meet-cute plots, so this may be less surprising to more robustly read Kinsella fans than myself. But personally, I don’t often read about married couples, so I wasn’t sure I wanted to continue.

Surprise Me wasn’t quite the typical romantic comedy I’m usually looking for when I read Sophie Kinsella, but I did enjoy the story.  The main character has a nice arc and changes by the end, which was a relief because I was a bit annoyed with her at times. I was equally in-the-dark about the biggest surprise of all as Princess Sylvie herself was, so the curiosity momentum definitely kept me reading. It was nice to read a love story that didn’t have as predictable a plot, even if picking up in the middle of a marriage robbed me of my beloved meet-cute.

I suspect I’d have enjoyed this book a lot more if I was seeking stories about how married people’s love lives can still have surprises, too. As it was, I enjoyed the book but don’t know that I’d have picked it up on my own based on the synopsis. So, I recommend this book for anyone looking for a love story that isn’t boy meets girl so much as it is man and woman with kids try to keep the spark in their marriage alive and surprise one another along the way.