Rating : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Recommendation : ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Disclaimer – I’m a big fan of the Smartypants Romance books and have read all of the releases to date. I’ve also read all of Penny Reid’s previous books that started the spin off series of books that are a part of Smartypants Romance. Although this book can be read as a stand-alone, I would recommend reading the previous books as it creates more depth to reading the story and understanding the backgrounds of characters that may appear every now and then. I am also an ‘In the loop’ Patreon for Smartypants Romance which involves having access to one eARC per year, which this book is not.
So I’ve been on a big ‘catch-up with the second launch of Smartypants Romance releases’ the past few days, which is why my last few reviews are all from the same book-universe and I’m not regretting it in the slightest! We come across Abel in book number 1 of the Cipher Office series – Weight Expectations (that’s if you’re reading the books in order and not as a stand-alone). Where we come to enjoy the banter between himself and Rian when she decided to join the gym where Abel works and enlists his help, after many back and forths, to help her lose weight.
I’m really happy Abel got his own book, he’s a single dad to his extremely sassy second grader Mabel after his wife May (yes they did put their names together to name their daughter) walks out for a ‘better life’. Money has become tight and Abel is worried about his financial stability going forward.
Elliot divorced her narcissistic husband 3 years ago and finds herself trapped as a guest in her mother’s home along with her rambunctious daughter, Ainsley. Landing a manager job in the childcare facility at Weight Expectations seems to answer all of her problems, especially after she crashes (literally and figuratively) into Abels world.
I think this book has so many merits and I especially love the dynamic of two single parents trying to do the best for their girls and the power struggle that ensues when you mix the dynamic up with a potential blended family. I found the characters and their problems to be very realistic and often found myself with my heart in my throat with the emotional ness of some of the scenes in the book.
This book is a slow burn friends to lovers with an added single parents bonus and I think one of my favourite reads yet. I’m glad Abel finally got his happily ever after!
“Yeah. That’s about right. Because no matter where this relationship goes, no matter if or how it ends, this is love right here. It’s not the kind that bowls you over so nothing else matters. It’s not the kind that fizzles when the lust is gone. It’s the kind that starts with two people being best friends and grows until they become “your person.” That’s the best kind of love there is.” – Elliott