April 23rd, 2021
Oh my gosh – I do not think I’ve EVER loved a contemporary romance more than this book! As I’ve explained in previous reviews, I am somewhat new to contemporary romance and have been a lifelong fantasy reader. Out of all the contemporary romance books, I have absolutely found books I have enjoyed, but this one is truly extra special and I can see myself re-reading in the future when I am grabbing for a comfort read. If possible, I always read books at my library as I am never sure how I will feel, but this was one of those “instant buy” books that as soon as I closed the cover it immediately was added to my online shopping cart. The story follows Chloe, a woman living (but not thriving) with chronic illness, fibromyalgia specifically. Her world is turned mostly upside down when she’s almost the victim of a freak drunk driving accident while walking one afternoon. From that jarring experience, the very sensible Chloe Brown realizes maybe she does not want to be so sensible and predictable. She decides to make a “get a life” list starting with moving out of her family’s house – er mansion. Now in her own apartment (or flat rather, the story is based in the UK), Chloe quickly realizes she might need help completing all the items on her list. Her landlord, Red, might just be the guy to help her break out of her shell and live the life she wants to without hesitation. I loved Talia Hibbert’s writing style. This is my first book of hers, and the writing has a punch to it. It does not beat around the bush, there is no unnecessary padding, and no word salad that left me going “was that even necessary?”. Some books leave me feeling drained – like when you go on vacation and return just to think “I could use a vacation from my vacation”. Not this one – it’s the reading equivalent to a 5-star resort with all the booze and food you want with just enough physical activity where you do not turn into a complete sloth. I digress. I found myself literally laughing out loud at the banter between the characters. Chloe and Red both have the proper amount of wit and snark to leave you wanting more. Their relationship is equal parts sweet and sexy which make for a couple you want to read more and more of until you are gobbling down the book in a single sitting. Not only are Chloe and Red a solid couple, but they each also want to be healthier for themselves individually. So many romance books glorify toxic, dependent relationships – and while those may be fun to read, they are not great to look up to. Red and Chloe, while they each have baggage, do not perpetuate any toxic behaviors. Red in particular was a refreshing love interest, he has many stereotypical “macho” traits (motorcycle and tattoos being two examples) but is equally parts sensitive and caring. As mentioned, Chloe and Red both have baggage that is integral to their relationship and their story. Chloe lives with fibromyalgia and has to confront her own energy level limitations and pain on a daily basis. She also struggles with abandonment issues due to previous friendships and relationships ending as a result of her illness. Red on the other hand was the victim of an abusive relationship that left his self-worth shaken. While I am not someone who lives with chronic illness nor have I been in an abusive relationship, I feel as if Talia has written both of these points with class, nuance, and respect. I feel like I could gush about this book for so long. If you’re looking for a book to give you warm and fuzzy feelings and even if you say “but I do not like contemporary romance!” give this one a try. It is smart, hilarious, and everything good about love wrapped up in one book. I truly feel like I have peaked in my romance reads for the year and it is only April.