3.5 stars ***
An emotional friends to lovers romance full of risky secrets and late-night lessons in seduction.
Dylan is my best friend, and the only person in my life who understands me. He doesn’t mind my social awkwardness or my weird history. The only glitch? He doesn’t know that I’ve been hopelessly, desperately in love with him since the first day we picked apples together in his family’s orchard.
But I know better than to confess.
Now that we’re both in college together, I’m seeing a new side of him. College Dylan drinks and has a lot of sex. None of it with me.
Until the night I foolishly ask him to tutor me in more than algebra…and he actually says yes.
But the cool morning light shows me how badly I’ve endangered our friendship. And I don’t know if anything will be the same again.
I was so excited to get an e-arc copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
The True North series is one of my favorites! There is so much family, comfort, nature, and good food. And Sarina Bowen has really woven in several layers of emotional conflict in all of her characters. Chastity and Dylan were never the two kind of characters, where I couldn’t wait to get to their book. And this is a college set romance, which does take a different sort of style than the previous books in the series. I thought Dylan and Chastity had a cute relationship as friends, and I think Sarina did a really effortless job of writing that transition into something more adult and sexy! After their intimate scenes I no longer thought of them as CUTE! That being said both Chastity and Dylan kind of fell flat to me as characters unfortunately. There were times where I loved Dylan’s sweet nature towards her, but more often than not his stream of consciousness was shallow and immature. Which for a twenty year old white male college student, may be realistic, but unfortunately not endearing in a romance. Chastity felt like a less interesting rewrite of the character of Zach from earlier books. The conflict of her past as an escaped cult member was written in very much the same way his was. I really wish there had been something a little more interesting to her character arc that had made it distinct. Although I maybe didn’t LOVE them as stand alone characters, their chemistry was undeniable and there were more than a few times their interactions put a smile on my face.
Overall this is one of my lesser favorites of the True North series, though of course it had it’s moments. I just think this romance lacked a certain amount of depth and maturity I loved from early romances between other characters, which makes sense as they ARE younger and it is college set. Maybe the sub-genre just wasn’t suited to me.
That being said I still adore the series, and can not wait to read any future books that come out! Sarina Bowen always finds a way to have me craving something when I read her books, only this time it was caramels!