Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Allison Ashley - Home Sweet Mess

Charming NFL marketing manager Logan Davis has a major crush on his best friend’s sister. Despite the fact that pursuing her would be a Bad Idea, she makes him want to abandon casual dating.
Sassy social worker Jeni Bishop has lost faith in love. She can’t stand Logan or the NFL team he works for, but can’t help thinking he could help her scratch an itch.
When Jeni’s brother and Logan’s closest friend is diagnosed with cancer, they unexpectedly find themselves on the same team. With Logan interested in a relationship and Jeni ardently avoiding them, they resist their growing attraction even as their lives continue to intertwine in unexpected ways. Can a man who has never experienced love convince a woman hardened by it that romance isn’t dead?

Comment: Last year, I liked a book by this author and I saw there would be another one in the same universe, featuring characters we've glimpsed in that book, so I was curious to try this one as well. It was cute that this one works more or less at the same time, meaning that we get to see some of the same events through a different POV.

In this story, the focus is on Jeni, she's the sister of Andrew from the other book and we learn she works at the social services and has recently moved which means she hasn't many people she knows in the new city. We learned in the other book Andrew is diagnosed with cancer and Jeni is, of course, very affected and even more so since they are twins. At the same time, her brother introduces her to his friend Logan, whom she immediately labels as a womanizer and, worse, he's working for a NFL team Jeni isn't a fan of. However, they become closer, especially since they have Andrew in common and both want to see him recover. At the same time, it's difficult to not see in each other someone they care about and the more time they spend together, the closer that relationship is...but will they overcome their personal issues to embrace a life together?

Once again, I have enjoyed a book by this author. I don't think it's the most complex or passionate story ever, but I liked knowing these characters and seeing what they were up to and how they learned to trust one another with their secrets. I think the path to love wasn't easy, but was believable enough for me to root for them.

The pace is pretty much the same as we had on the other book. We often see Andrew but only because he is someone both protagonist know. Nothing about him gets center stage but it's certainly nice to read this or that and think about his own story. Jeni and Logan seem to be one way - he seemed to be a ladies' man as soon as Jeni saw him for the first time, and she seemed to be a more quiet and unassuming female lead - but as the story develops, it was fun to see their roles switch a little bit, namely Logan becoming enamored with Jeni more quickly than she did with him.

Jeni is an intriguing heroine, she is clearly a soft-hearted woman but she has had a disappointment in love, with a relationship which ended badly. This colors how she sees other potential relationships, which added to what she thought about Logan at first, makes her doubt they could ever be a couple. However, the more she got to know him, the more special he looked, and she discovers first impressions can be deceiving, he does look like a ladies' man but he hides a heart of gold and a wonderful personality. His main flaw is the NFL team he supports.

Of course I found it funny how they were antagonists because of their teams but it was all fun and Logan does prove to be a great hero. Perhaps some of his behavior at first might have seemed unappealing but as the plot moved along, the more of an amazing guy he turned out to be. His reasons for some distance at first are valid but it was very romantic to see him falling in love with Jeni and his personality was very likable, as well as how he acted in his relationship with his mother, with Andrew...

I think there were some moments it felt things could have been done better, perhaps more poignancy in some key scenes, but overall, I felt this was a sweet story, where people overcome some issues, where the characters have to think about why they have certain opinions, where we get to see them evolve or improve themselves by being friends or by having close relationships with others and this, in a way, sort of happened here, thus why I liked most of the book.

I'm curious to read more about this author. I see there will be a book coming out this year and I will want to read it, hoping it will be as entertaining and sweet as this one.
Grade: 8/10

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