One of my favorite reads last year was Well Met by Jen DeLuca (you can read my review here), so it's no surprise the follow up, Well Played, was one of my most anticipated releases this year.
|Pub Date: 9-22-20|
Adult - Contemporary
While all of Stacey's friends are getting engaged or popping out babies, she's stuck working a mindless job and living in an apartment over her parent's garage. This was definitely not how she pictured her late-twenties to be. She thought she'd be a big shot in the fashion world by now, living in a crowded city, but when her Mom became ill she threw away her plans and laid down roots in her small town. Willow Creek isn't all bad, though. In fact, some of Stacey's best memories come from working the taverns at the local Renaissance Faire every year. It doesn't hurt that she's spent the last two summers hooking up with the hottest guitar player, Dex MacLean, either.
However, this year, Stacey vows to make a change. She wants something more than just a hook-up; she wants the real thing. But could Dex be that person for her? One night, she drunkenly sends him an email, and to her surprise, he replies with words so tender and well-written that Stacey is beyond shocked. Who knew Dex felt this way for her? This sets off a year's worth of emails and texts that gradually get more and more flirty as the months leading up to the Faire grow closer. Stacey can't wait to finally come face-to-face with this new Dex, but she quickly learns the man she's been falling for isn't Dex at all.
Like I said, I really loved Well Met, so I was excited to be back in this world with these characters. I had high expectations going into this book, and while I did enjoy it, I didn't think it was as good as I was hoping. Stacey's a fun character to follow, she's bubbly and upbeat, but she also has these insecurities that she tries to hide from everyone. I'm not usually one for a catfishing scenario, but I actually liked the relationship she and Daniel built over their communications, and how it helped them develop a deeper connection. Speaking of Daniel, I thought he was just adorable. He's super sweet and thoughtful and he and Stacey meshed well together. I will admit, I do wish there were more real-life interactions between them to really sell the relationship because at times it didn't feel wholly believable, and I also think the story would've benefitted more with having less of Emily and Simon because they almost overtook the plot at points. Other than that, this was still a fun book and can't wait for the next one.