Friday, April 28, 2023

Book Review: He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not

By Sara Steven

Dax Hartley has made flowers his entire life, just like his late father did.

When his dad's old florist’s shop is up for sale, he has to have it. Only problem is, he'd need to sell a kidney to afford it. The reality show Battle of the Blossoms is the perfect opportunity to win the money he needs, but when his childhood crush blows back into his life, distractions risk taking his eyes off the prize. He needs his head and heart to start working together to ensure he doesn't miss the opportunity of a lifetime.

Hollyn Matthews has made some colossal mistakes in life.

When she's dumped just as she's expecting an engagement ring, she knows she's put her heart into the wrong man. Hoping for a second chance at being a grown-up, she moves home to stay with her brother and his best friend Dax, a boy whose memory faded as she ran away from her past. Facing the hurt she left behind means facing some home truths about herself, but there’s one boy who has always loved her, if only she’d take the time to notice him. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

What a unique story! I’m more than familiar with reality TV shows and formats, but a reality show that consists of florists battling it out is a premise I’d never even thought of, and have never heard of.

I loved Dax. His background, the reasons behind his need to win the Battle of the Blossoms, and the unfilled crush he has towards Hollyn–it all added up to such a great character. It’s true that there are plenty of people who see him as a bit of a player where women are concerned, but as a reader, I could tell just how much he has invested in how he feels for Hollyn. That it is genuine and real, even if those closest to Hollyn aren’t sure how to take that, and if it’s even legitimate.

Hollyn was also a likable character. At the start of the book, we discover just how rough it’s been for her in her current relationship, and after she’s dumped, she ends up crashing with her brother River and Dax. I had a tough time dealing with River at first. I know that his characterization had most likely been written to be a more surly type of person, and he has a lot of ideas and opinions on who should or shouldn’t date Hollyn–Dax included. I think at one point, I said out loud, “It’s not your business River,” even though I’m fully aware that he’s a character in a book. But he elicited that much of a reaction out of me. 

Hollyn has a lot of unfinished business to tend to with her family, with Dax lumped into that. She feels a lot of guilt in leaving her life behind, and given the issues with her prior relationship, she doesn’t trust herself to make the right decisions. The moments where she leans on Dax for advice were sweet and tender, often brought up by remembrances of a time when things had been so much simpler for them, when they were kids. There is a lot of love there, but can the love transcend from the past into the present? And can Hollyn ever trust again? He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not was truly enjoyable, and filled me with the hope for second chances.

Thanks to Aimee Brown for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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