A Perfect Mess – Sienna Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.
3.75 stars. This is a sweet, return to small hometown romance.

Del left her hometown as soon as she could. Having never quite found home elsewhere, when she gets a phone call from her father asking her to return home and look his shop whilst he’s on the run from the IRS, she takes it as a sign to quit her job and see where life takes her.

Bree never left said home town. Cheerleader and dating a football player last time she saw Del, life has changed for her somewhat. She now works at the store Del is looking after.

I enjoy reading Waters work and this definitely has some enjoyable qualities. One of my favourite parts of the book is both Del and Bree having to confront their feelings for each other. For Del, there is the not wanting to be near her high school crush, for Bree, the new feelings surrounding Del and her recent life changes. The push pull between them keeps the book interesting and the narrative flowing.

I liked how both characters weren’t what I was initially expecting from the opening chapters, and I enjoyed the small town feel of the book. I liked Del’s growth and acceptance of the town’s occupants and what it might mean for her future. Her father is also an interesting character.

Romance fans will find something to enjoy in this one.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

A Big Straight Wedding – Sienna Waters

Rating: 5 out of 5.
This might be my favourite Waters book so far. I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about the storyline from the blurb, but I trusted that it Waters would get it right and I’m happy to say she did. I haven’t read a book in one sitting for weeks – a relatively normal occurrence for me – but I couldn’t put this down today.

Nic lives with her best friend George. They’re both gay, don’t have a lot of money and spend the majority of their time either partying or working to make ends meet. When Nic finds out that George’s wealthy family actually has a trust fund set aside for him – on the condition that he marries a woman, she suggests a marriage of convenience for the two of them so he can get the money she feels should be rightfully his.

When it comes time to choose a wedding planner – they meet Klara, owner of a small but growing wedding planning business, who is surprised to be asked to bid for such a large society wedding, but desperately needs the work to keep her business afloat.

The problem for all of them is that the attraction between Nic and Klara is unmistakable. They all have something to lose in this arrangement and I love how Waters uses this to create the tension and some laughs throughout the book.

All of the best friends are fun, including George. They all have a reason to be there and their characterisations ring true in how they fit with Klara and Nic. Their side stories whilst brief are also nice to read. I liked both Nic and Klara as characters and the opposites attract element worked really well.

The book is well paced, especially as it’s for the most part only a month long. Somehow Waters manages to keep the urgency of the need for the wedding, whilst conveying that the burgeoning relationship isn’t moving along screamingly fast.

I especially liked that the ending and the epilogue didn’t suddenly change who the characters are, the narrative stays true to how the characters would have behaved and has a really good ending because of it. I’d love some kind of follow up to see where they all are in a few years.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

The Real Story – Sienna Waters

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
3.5 stars. An enjoyable easy read. Waters has become a reliably enjoyable author for me and I liked how this one is again completely different from the book before.

Elle is failing at Edina magazine. She cares more about partying and recovering from hangovers than pitching good ideas. When she feels her job threatened she’s forced to come up with a job saving idea on the fly. Her bright idea – a profile of one of the most reclusive business successful business women – Alya Goldstein.

I found the first part of book to be awkward in that we know the big secret, that Elle has fallen into Alya’s life due to her deception and need for the story, so when they start to fall for each other it made me anxious as I was waiting for the moment that would inevitably cause hurt. However it’s cleverly written in that there is still a lot of honesty when you look for it.

Whilst I didn’t enjoy the deception as such, I liked the premise in that it wasn’t one I’ve encountered personally in this way before in queer fiction. A byproduct of the deception meant that the conflict between the two had a genuine reason to happen and Waters didn’t continue it any longer than necessary, which I found to be a relief.

I liked that Elle’s relationship with her best friend is brutally honest and truthful, in perfect contrast to the beginning of her relationship with Alya. Alya’s relationship with her grandmother mirrors this. Both of these relationships force each of the MCs to explore things more honestly.

I would recommend this to any queer romance fans.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

One For The Road – Sienna Waters

Rating: 4 out of 5.
I really enjoyed this one and am happy to say I feel like Waters is back on form with this story.

Leo runs the local bar in a small town. She lives her life stuck in the past – serving only beer and a few spirits, just making do to make rent on the bar. On the surface she’s a loveable grump, with a heart of gold.

We meet Sammie after she’s run away from everything she knows, purchased a luxury RV and decided to park it in Leo’s lot. She’s drawn to Leo in a way she’s never experienced before, doesn’t know what she wants from life and just wants to earn enough so she can move on again.

Both main characters had plenty about that them I could identify with and I liked their chemistry. There’s an age gap that feels workable – both of them have experiences that make them quite compatible. The secondary characters were also really great. I liked Sara, who has a lot of wisdom for someone so young, but who was able to connect with both Sammie and Leo. I also liked Leo’s friends and the way they forced her to confront her feelings.

I liked all of the different elements that Waters was able to combine into one narrative, including discovering sexuality, becoming an adult, dealing with exes, grief, closure and a heavy dose of finding oneself, without it all feeling too overburdening or rushed. Even the inevitable angst moment felt like it could happen in real life and that these MCs could have made those choices.

I liked the ending and the communication between the two, especially the recognition of why they work together. I’d recommend this to age gap and romance fans in general.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.

Fair Trade – Sienna Waters

Rating: 3 out of 5.
This is my fourth Waters book and whilst it wasn’t my favourite of the four I did find it to be an enjoyable read.

Leigh is an American lawyer working in London. She’s a very private individual and doesn’t get on with her boss, but knows that she doesn’t want to go back to America if she loses her job. Rosie is a gardener by trade, she loves spending her time getting her hands dirty but is struggling to make a living doing what she loves. They unwittingly find themselves thrown together in an unusual situation when they meet one day in a London pub. Rosie agrees to help Leigh out by entering into a fake ‘green card’ marriage in exchange for the one thing she’s always wanted.

I haven’t read many fake relationship books, so I don’t have a lot to compare this one too, but I feel like my enjoyment was hampered by Leigh’s character in this particular trope. Her private nature makes the fake relationship hard to believe, so whilst I thought Leigh was written well as a character, she just didn’t fit in the situation. I also found the fact that Rosie so openly discussed the arrangement to be quite strange.

I enjoyed the twists in the narrative and whilst I didn’t initially feel much connection with the two MCs, both had points that made them likeable, even relatable, but I just didn’t get a personal connection. It’s perfectly possible others will feel differently than I on this one though. I did like how both MCs grew within the narrative though and I found the ending very fitting.

I received a free copy of this book via Booksprout and am voluntarily leaving a review.