ARC review: Catch and Release by Laura Drewry

Goodreads   Amazon

As the oldest O’Donnell, Ronan took on the responsibility of caring for his younger brothers after their mother left and their father drowned his pain in alcohol.  After his brothers were old enough to fend for themselves, he got out, got married, and set himself up for a great life.  Or so he thought.  Next thing he knew, Mandy had turned him into someone he didn’t recognize, and he hated what he’d become.

Back at The Buoys, his family’s fishing resort, for the filming of the reality tv series Hooked, Ronan would be happy to stay in the background.  He’d prefer it if the cameras and Hope, Hooked’s beautiful producer, would just leave him alone.  He has no desire for fame or fortune.  He just wants to get back the parts of himself that he lost.

Since his painful divorce, Ronan has been a proud member of the “catch and release” club, never staying with one woman long enough to develop any real feelings.  But there’s something so honest and unassuming about Hope that makes him let down his guard, and soon he’s falling hard. Maybe Hope could be the woman to finally convince Ronan to give love another shot.

Laura Drewry’s Fishing for Trouble series was a highlight of 2016.  Both Off the Hook and Lured In were amazing, and I loved getting to know the two younger O’Donnell siblings.  While Ronan was mentioned in both of these books, the glimpses we got of him were far from flattering.  He came across as angry, gruff, surly.  Not the kind of guy to do emotional heart-to-hearts.  Not really the romance novel lead, if you get what I’m saying.

And yes, that’s how he appears.  That’s certainly the first impression that Hope gets.  But that’s not really who Ronan is.  The real Ronan, once you strip away the heartbreak and pain of his divorce, is a sweetheart.  He’s the kind of guy that finds out what your favorite dessert is and surprises you with it after dinner.  The kind of guy to bring you a mug of tea when you’re working overtime.  The kind of guy that would protect those he loves at all costs.

Going into this book, I was sure that Ronan would be my least favorite of the O’Donnell brothers.  Turns out he’s actually the best.  Anybody would be lucky to find someone like him.

And let’s not forget Hope.  Hope, who is always prepared for any situation. Who regularly keeps safety goggles and bungee cords in her purse. Hope, who spouts off random facts when she gets nervous. Who is honest and warm and loving and still a grown woman who can handle herself.  Hope, who makes the first move, because she knows that Ronan won’t.

I loved these characters.  I know I say that about every book that Laura Drewry writes, but I just absolutely adore her characters. Can I move to The Buoys? Can I be friends with them?

Catch and Release was an amazing ending to a great series.  All three books are fast-paced, engaging reads that will easily keep you up all night.  The first two books were good, but Catch and Release is in a league of its own.  If you haven’t yet started this series, I can guarantee you that it won’t disappoint.

Final rating: ★★★★★

Thanks to Netgalley and Loveswept for the ARC!

Book queue

I am so excited for both of these ARCs!

As you’ve probably seen, I’ve had You Don’t Know My Name on a couple of posts recently – it’s a 2017 debut that I’m really interested in checking out.  And then, of course, Laura Drewry is one of my favorite authors, and I’ve absolutely loved the first two books in her Fishing for Trouble series.  I can’t wait to dive into Catch and Release.

Big thanks to Netgalley, Swoon Reads, and Loveswept for the advance copies.

Top Ten Tuesday: Best of 2016

Happy Top Ten Tuesday!  It’s already the last one of 2016!  Today’s theme is the best of 2016.  I read a lot of great books this year, so rather than agonize over which ones to include, I’m using this as a general overview of my favorites.  In early 2017, I’ll have a more detailed list available for you, broken down by genre.

Below are Goodreads links for all titles included in the graphics:

[since you’ve been gone] [koreatown] [are you there god? it’s me margaret]
[what we saw] [the unexpected everything] [lured in] [you know me well]
[me before you] [some kind of perfect] [made you up]

What were your favorites of 2016?

ARC review: Lured In by Laura Drewry

Goodreads   Amazon

This is my fifth book by Laura Drewry, and honestly, they just keep getting better.  I read Off the Hook, the first book in this series, earlier this year and fell in love with The Buoys, the O’Donnells, and Jessie Todd.  Reading Lured In just solidified Drewry’s place on my list of favorite authors.  I will read anything that she writes, and I can guarantee that I’ll love it.

In Off the Hook, we saw Liam O’Donnell and Kate Hadley revamp The Buoys, Liam’s family’s old fishing resort, into something more.  Now, in Lured In, they’ve gotten big enough to warrant a visit from a popular fishing tv show.  Everybody’s thrilled, except for Jessie, who used to date the host and is less than thrilled at the prospect of rekindling that romance.

Jessie’s relationship with Sam ended for a reason.  More than one, actually, if she’s honest.  While Sam might be the cutest and sweetest guy she’s ever met, and while Kate and Liam might be all for their reunion (and the publicity it would bring), Jessie was never actually that attracted to Sam.  They had next to nothing in common, and the fact that he lives his life touring around on boats didn’t quite mesh with her paralyzing fear of water.

Quite possibly the only good thing about that relationship is that it made Jessie see that she has to get over her fear.  So she asks her closest friend and the most patient person she knows, Finn O’Donnell, to help her out.  Jessie is so comfortable with Finn that just being near him calms her down, so it’s no surprise that, slowly but surely, she’s able to dip her toes in the water again.

While helping Jessie overcome her fear and get past the events that led to it, Finn also gets to talk out some of the traumatic events in his own past.  Watching these two finally trust someone enough to open up about their deepest fears made me so happy.  They have been carrying around some demons for decades, and I loved that they were able to start moving on.

This was such a nice friends-to-lovers story.  I liked that their relationship progressed naturally.  It’s not like a lightning bolt strikes Finn and suddenly he realizes that Jessie is gorgeous.  No, these two have always felt something for each other, even if they didn’t want to admit it.  When Finn’s father was alive, he would have forbidden any kind of romance between them.  Even now that he’s gone, Finn’s brothers would give him hell for going there.  Finn’s always been a bit of a player, and his family wouldn’t want Jessie to be next in the long line of broken hearts.

But the great thing is that Jessie doesn’t really care.  She knows about Finn’s history, and she thinks he’s worth it.  She knows why he acts the way he does, and she understands that commitment might be difficult for him.  But she’s willing to risk it, because Finn is her best friend, and he’s a great person, and their connection is electric.

Jessie and Finn are some of my favorite characters in recent memory.  I always say that Drewry’s characters feel like they could be real people, but it’s even more true for these two.  They’re not pawns being moved around for the author’s amusement.  They act like real people.  Their thoughts, actions, and reactions are real.

I loved these characters, I love this setting, and I love this author.  Every book I read from her is better than the last.  I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

Final rating: ★★★★★

For my 2016 reading challenge, I’m crossing off #40: a book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the free ARC!