Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Tessa Bailey’s done it again. Honestly, I have no original feedback: nothing I haven’t said in a previous review whilst singing Tessa’s praises. Even her last release, It Happened One Summer, had me questioning, as I didn’t know if I could like the characters…but I did. Of course I did, because it’s Tessa Freaking Bailey.

Hannah is decidedly not a leading lady: the kind of woman who takes control of their lives and their stories. As evidenced by the hopeless crush she’s been nursing for years, and that she is still a production assistant, and not composing music scores. But when she finally speaks up at work, suggesting a new filming location, she ends up back in Westport…and much, much closer to Fox, her sister’s fiance’s best friend, and possibly hers, too.

Ever since Hannah Bellinger walked into Fox’s life last summer, everything he knows has been turned upside down. Regular trips to Seattle for hookups have been replaced by late night texts and purchasing records…and while he’s got it bad for Hannah, being a loyal boyfriend is just not in him.

Feelings aside, there’s a lot to unpack here!

I couldn’t wait for Fox and Hannah’s story since I devoured It Happened One Summer, last summer, lol. Hannah’s bold demeanor was an instant draw, and you could tell Fox had puppy dog eyes every time he saw her. I loved their dynamic even before it had a name. But truthfully, this was even better than I had hoped. Hannah and Fox fit together perfectly as best friends, so their romance comes naturally. Fox is a steamy fisherman who elevates the ~romance~. Hannah is sweet and down to earth, and I loved her true to desire to help people, including Fox. They’re a good contrast and an even greater match.

This book was psychologically deep. Like the characters here had some serious things to work through, but I love that it was done tastefully and believably. We leave our characters better than we found them, but still with work to do: and I’m living for it. I love when we acknowledge that people have problems, and despite their best efforts, that’s what they bring to the table in a relationship, too. Everything about this book hit so acutely: you can’t keep waiting for happiness to come to you. It’s an effort, and we work at it. All of Tessa’s novels hit pretty square in the chest when it comes to personal growth, but I thought this one was the more evolved and impressive of all that she’s written. The things that Fox grapples with in the book, regarding being a ladies’ man and where that stems from, is intricately woven and so delicately unraveled by Hannah, a perfect polar opposite, through her friendship and warmth. It’s truly a beautiful novel, while also being a hell of a good romance.

This is one of the first romance books to make me cry in a while. When did I tear up? Right about here:

You can’t live life worrying about what people will think. You’ll wake up one day, look at a calendar, and count the days you could have spent being happy.

Hook, Line, and Sinker by Tessa Bailey, LOC 4711.

Even out of context, that hits hard! And in context, it’s just enough to make you cry.

Like I said from the start, I don’t know what else to say except read it. I’m so here for Hook, Line, and Sinker.

Hook, Line, and Sinker was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. It will be released March 1, 2022. You’re going to love it. 😉

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Ugh, GUYSSSS. This book was SO SAD. I’m going to be real upfront with you, this book is not what I expected, whatsoever, and I’m going to do my best to not spoil it for you either. I think there’s something magic in the book I expected to get, becoming the book I got – and I wouldn’t want to ruin it for anyone. Whoever wrote this synopsis did a lovely job. Specifically, “In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.” It certainly was not.

Dannie is a corporate lawyer, living exactly the life she planned for herself in New York. Her best friend is her total opposite: free-spirited and loving and flitting from one thing to next. But Dannie is okay with that; she’s content with her own life and knows Bella’s is far different.

Until the night she gets her dream job and gets engaged, when she falls asleep and wakes up in what is certainly not a dream but most definitely a vision of the future – five years from now, in a different apartment, with a different man. When she returns to her present, she lives with this haunting memory until the day she meets that man in person, four and a half years later.

Honestly, that’s really all I can tell you without spoilers! But if this description sounds good to you, buckle up. This is not the ride you think it is.

Somewhere around the halfway point of this book, things took a sharp right turn, I started sobbing, and I haven’t stopped since. I cannot relay to you the beauty of this book in words, and how it made me feel. The characters were incredible and whole, and while I felt at first that they were too perfectly cast to be real, I know now that that’s the point of the story, and what can be drawn from it.

One interesting thing I noted was that Dannie’s perspective is very robotic. You understand right from the beginning that she’s very Type-A, she lives things exactly according to plan and thrives in environments of her own making. But her voice gains strength throughout the novel: as she’s forced to step outside and feel, you can see the change in her perspective and her dialogue, the way she interacts with others. It’s like a blending between two extremes (you’ll see!) that leaves her a little bit better than we found her, prepared to move on to something greater. Again, it’s so hard to review this book without ruining it for you. I want everyone to experience, the shock, the grief, the love that this book has to offer, without my having tainted it.

This book flew by for me. Whenever I picked it up, I could hardly put it down. You’ve been warned. 🙂 I highly recommend In Five Years.

An advance copy of In Five Years was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley. It was released March 10, 2020.