Sometimes I need to read every book in a series, even if it's only semi-connected with new characters every book. And sometimes I just dive right in to a series without a care in the world for what came before. Sariah Wilson's #Awestruck was one of the ones where I jumped in with absolutely no knowledge of the rest of the books in the #Lovestruck series (though, honestly, I'm not even sure I knew there was a series and, after reading about it, it seems very unrelated character-wise). The lack of prior knowledge of the series was not at all a problem and I enjoyed meeting the couple Wilson created and following along as the romance grew. Then exploded. And then turned into a HEA. Hey, it's a romance - you know there will be a Happily Ever After!
Here's the synopsis:
A sweet all-American story of love and revenge.I knew what kind of story I was expecting when I picked up #Awestruck. A fun romance with that will ramp up before a huge problem derails the couple (who may only be pretending to be a couple but OF COURSE they're falling in love with each other) but then all is well at the end because they've realized they can't live with each other. And that's exactly what kind of story I got! It was just the type of book I needed on a Saturday after a busy week of vacation and, gasp, no reading.
Ambitious intern Ashton Bailey is about to get closer to her dream of being a sports announcer. All she has to do is prove that too-perfect-to-be-true NFL quarterback Evan Dawson isn’t quite as wholesome as his contract requires. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get delicious payback on the boy who broke her teenage heart. At least that’s her plan. But she forgot just how easy it is to crush on the irresistible charmer. #OhNoNotAgain.
Evan has a knack for getting through the opposing team’s defenses, and he won’t let this tall, redheaded knockout be the exception. He’s determined to make things right between them and earn back Ashton’s trust—and maybe her heart, too.
Then the press mistakenly announces their engagement, and Ashton and Evan find themselves going along with the lie. Now the whole world is watching as Ashton flirts with attraction and disaster. But while revenge is sweet, it just might come at the cost of something sweeter still.
What I didn't know for sure is if I would like the characters and their romance. I liked Ashton. She loves sports and had a smart and sassy personality. And she played basketball! A girl after my own heart. I was totally Team Ashton and therefore not a fan of Evan because he had broken her heart 10 years prior. He didn't make it easier on himself when he stopped by Ashton's intramural basketball game (I LOVED that she still played ball) and says, on page 46:
"Great game! Really intense. You played so well. And I usually hate women's basketball."Um. Excuse me? No. Fuck no. You do not get to insult women's sports. I'm actually kind of pissed Wilson put that in her story of a young woman trying to make it in such a male dominated industry. It's a throwaway line that doesn't need to be in there but it's something that coloured the entire rest of the book for me.
I did like that it was kind of a second chance romance. I mean, Evan never had any romantic feelings for Ashton - she was 13 to his 18, that would just be wrong - but they had a solid friendship foundation that was really fun to watch grow again after they reconnected.
All in all, #Awestruck gave me the romance story I needed - interesting, easy to read, and just the right hint of steamy (though I'd be interested to see what Sariah Wilson could do with a romance where the hero is not a virgin). It was a great way to spend a lovely summer Saturday afternoon.
*A copy of this novel was provided by the Canadian distributor, Thomas Allen & Son, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*