Monday, April 18, 2016

Review: "The One That Got Away" by A.J. Pine (Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Romantic Comedy)

The One That Got Away (The Kingston Ale House Series, #1)
by A.J. Pine

Publisher: Entangled Publishing, LLC
Genre:Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Series: Kingston Alehouse
Six Month Rule (#2) (affil.)
Publication Date: April 18, 2016

(Affiliate links)
Description from Publisher: How far will one man go for the woman he's loved since high school?

Jamie Kingston has been Brynn Chandler's best friend since middle school. Only once was their friendship tested—when Brynn gave Jamie a single kiss. Since then, they've had an unspoken agreement never to cross that line again, and she’s ready to let go of the past and move on.

But Jamie has loved Brynn for as long as he can remember, and now that he's ready to tell her, she has her sights set on someone else. Knowing this is his last chance, he asks Brynn to go on a two-week road trip. But their time alone brings old hurts to the surface, and Brynn has to decide if the one that got away lies at the end of the journey or if he's been by her side all along.

A.J. Pine

About the Author
A.J. Pine writes stories to break readers’ hearts, but don’t worry—she’ll mend them with a happily ever after. As an English teacher and a librarian, A.J. has always surrounded herself with books. All her favorites have one big commonality–romance. Naturally, the books she writes have the same. When she’s not writing, she’s of course reading. Then there’s online shopping (everything from groceries to shoes). And a tiny bit of TV where she nourishes her undying love of vampires, superheroes, and a certain high-functioning sociopath detective. You’ll also find her hanging with her family in the Chicago ‘burbs.

My Rating:
Heat Rating:
I received a digital ARC from the publisher through for an honest, unbiased review. My opinion is my own.

This is a cute best-friends-to-lovers romantic-comedy story. In my opinion, when you tell a story of this type, it's really important to build up just how special the two people are to each other from a non-romantic level, though also giving us a reason to believe that they are also attracted to one another. And A.J. Pine does a great job on both counts!

The road trip Jamie and Brynn take is filled with all kinds of quirky touches and it had the right kind of serendipity that wasn't too crazy. Their adventures are humorous, touching, and just plain fun. I really liked their dynamic and both characters were fairly well-rounded, though I could have done with a bit more information on who they are. Jamie felt more fleshed out than Brynn did by the end, especially since we know more about his family, why he reacted the way he did "that summer 10 years ago," and his interest in brewing is explained well. There were some real laugh-outloud moments that rounded this one out and gave it that extra layer of enjoyment.

One thing that felt a bit off in the story is that it had been TEN years. At one point, Brynn indicates that they had drifted apart for their 4 years in college immediately after "the incident." But Jamie's perspective seems to indicate that she continued to be his rock throughout all of that. I'm not sure if that's an actual inconsistency or not. If they weren't in contact much for 4 years, the 10 years since makes more sense and makes their feelings that much more believable. Otherwise, in the case of being best friends who were in love with one another for 10 years and things ramp up, it seems less believable since their attraction over that 10-year period seems like it was likely very strong. Yes, you have the Spencer angle to consider, but that seems less prevalent until much later. Pandora's box was opened 10 years before, how on earth did they stay close while ignoring it?!

I really enjoyed the story, regardless of that one issue, and thought that it was funny and sweet. The sexual tension and chemistry between Brynn and Jamie is palpable and you really enjoy the ride (See what I did there? Road trip... Ride... ;) ).

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