When a stranger with epic tattoos and a glare to match starts coming into Matheson’s Hardware, buying things seemingly at random and lugging them off in a car so beat-up Charlie feels bad for it, his instinct is to help. When the man comes in for the fifth time in a week, Charlie can’t resist intervening.
Rye Janssen has spent his life breaking things. Promises. His parents’ hearts. Leases. He isn’t used to people wanting to put things back together—not the crumbling house he just inherited, not his future and certainly not him. But the longer he stays in Garnet Run, the more he can see himself belonging there. And the more time he spends with Charlie, the more he can see himself falling asleep in Charlie’s arms…and waking up in them.
Is this what it feels like to have a home—and someone to share it with?
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you to Carina Press for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I love romance and was excited to read this book based on the synopsis. I did find out that this is the second book in the series, so I searched for the first one (Better Than People) in case I needed any background. Good news: Best Laid Plans can be read as a standalone! If possible, I do recommend reading the first one just because it's really sweet to see Jack and Simon's relationship unfold, but you can definitely jump into Best Laid Plans without worry.
Great Character Development
This story moves quick but it's lovely to see how Rye and Charlie change as individuals and in their relationship with each other. Rye especially comes off as aggressive and antagonistic in the beginning, but it's clear that he just needs some help. As he learns to trust Charlie, and vice versa, we see how they need each other. It was also lovely to see Simon and Jack again. Rye and Simon's friendship is awesome, and I adore seeing how Jack and Simon are doing as a couple. Parrish has also included additional secondary characters this time and gives them a real storyline, specifically connected to Rye. Representation matters and she does a wonderful job with it in this book.
Excellent Conversations Around Sex
I absolutely love how Rye approaches this conversation with Charlie. Charlie is clearly super nervous about everything to do with sex and Rye shows so much compassion and support. What's great about a character like Rye is that he's been through so much personally and is so open and sympathetic to what others are going through, so he literally does whatever he can to make the other person feel comfortable. I won't get away spoilers, but his frank and non-judgemental way of talking lets Charlie feel comfortable, which is amazing because this is someone who is so uncomfortable with sex so we're so happy when he finds someone he can be open with.
Kindness is Key
The message of this book is kindness, specifically learning how to be kind to ourselves and to others. Rye is the epitome of someone who has been rejected and abandoned but continues to try to help others. Although he and Charlie get off to a rocky start, his kindness and protectiveness is what draws Charlie out of his shell. Both men may approach situations differently, but ultimately they do what they can to help others. Honestly, these are two very sweet characters.
Overall, this is a romance novel that attempts to remind readers that being kind - to ourselves and to others - is the most important thing we can do. While the book moves quickly (personally, I would've loved more time with the characters and bigger "fight" between them), there is still a great story here. I'd recommend this to those who are looking for a sexy LGBTQ+ love story, to anyone who has enjoyed other Carina Adores or Roan Parrish books, or for those looking for a sexy love story.
BEST LAID PLANS comes out on FEBRUARY 23rd.
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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