Friday, May 1, 2020

Book Review: Off the Market

By Sara Steven

Can the man who saved the day win her heart?

Quinn LaFayette is in her inaugural year as library special programs director of Last Stand, but when the kickoff performance for the children’s summer program goes terribly wrong, she has to save face as well as her job. She has a surprise advocate in Cole, whom she did her best to ignore in school. Seven years has only made Cole more appealing, but Quinn is determined to resist the sparks that fly between them because they are too different.

Restaurant owner Cole Hutchinson is no bookworm, but thanks to his fast-thinking antics, he ends up saving the day at the library and earning Quinn’s praise in the process. He’s tempted to seek more, but he’s juggling plenty of female attention from gracing the June edition of Modern Texas magazine featuring barbeque. Cole’s not interested in revisiting a woman from his past, but there’s something about Quinn that he can’t quite ignore.

Can Cole prove that opposites really do attract? (synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Given my love of all things books, I could very much relate to Quinn and the type of character she is. Her comfort zone involves the bookshelves in her public library, and obviously she has chosen the best profession for her as the library specials program director. But what isn’t so obvious are the subtleties that surround the power dynamics in a small town. In the midst of trying to pull off a successful summer reading program for the town of Last Stand, she’s dealing with one catastrophe on top of another while trying hard to appease upper management and Board members who could be a potential threat to her livelihood.

Running concurrent with all of this are her budding feelings for Cole, a man who she has always placed into the pseudo friend zone. She’s known him since elementary school and has witnessed many a female swoon over his charms. Up until now, she’s been immune to them. But it’s in seeing him reach out and attempt to help that she begins to see him in a different light, and by the same token, Cole begins to see himself differently, too. This means really seeing Quinn for who she is, opening himself up to the possibility of something more.

Last Stand is representative of small-town life. While we learn more about Quinn and Cole, we’re also learning more about a community that at times grate on one another, due to the close proximity of everyone, and in other moments do all they can to support one another, because everyone knows everyone else, and because in some respects, this small community is a family. There is something sweet and beautiful in that concept, even within the moments of chaos that Quinn experiences under the hands of those who she ultimately works to support. A town like Last Stand makes me want to move to a smaller place myself, in order to potentially grasp onto that sort of lifestyle.

This is the second book in the Texas BBQ Brothers series, and while I haven’t read the first one, On the Market, Off the Market could easily be a standalone. I never felt lost or like I didn’t understand the town or the characters within it, but there are plenty of scenes with the two main characters from the first book (Hutch and Valerie) that propel me into wanting to learn more about them, and their backstory. It’s those sweet, idyllic moments that really hooked me, earning a much-deserved five stars!

Thanks to Audrey Wick for the book in exchange for an honest review.

More by Audrey Wick:

1 comment:

Audrey Wick said...

Thank you for such a lovely, 5-star review! So glad you enjoyed this book, and I look forward to sharing it with more Chick Lit Central readers. READ ON!