E-Reader Addict's Reviews > Crush

Crush by Mae Wood
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it was amazing

Maybe I put too much thought into picking a first book for each year. But I couldn’t be more pleased with myself for choosing Crush to begin my 2020 reading year.

I’ll confess that I'm a huge Mae Wood fan. I’ve read all her books (some of them multiple times), I regularly scour her website to see if there’s anything new, and I get excited to see her newsletters in my email inbox. So turning on my Kindle several weeks back and discovering that the ARC I’d requested from her newsletter had magically appeared, was basically the BEST Christmas present I could ask for. And it was SO HARD not to drop everything and start in. But I made myself wait...desperately hoping it would live up to my expectations.

It almost didn’t.


McKenzie Balfour has her life plan all in place, even though she hasn’t even graduated from college yet. She’ll be the fourth generation to run the von Eck Estate Winery, but right now the family is in the process of raising funds to purchase more land.

Enter investment banker, Ryan Royer. He’s spent the past several years working hard for a promotion to senior vice president and securing capital funds for the von Eck Estate will help seal the deal. What Ryan doesn’t expect is his instant attraction to Kenzie, or hers to him. Things get hot and heavy fast, and Ryan hardly knows which way is up, even when it starts affecting his job.

But once Ryan realizes their relationship could have negative consequences for Kenzie and her family, he’s forced to make a heartbreaking choice.

There are SO MANY things I love about Mae Wood’s books. At the top of the list is that her characters are mature and use their heads. What made me so nervous about this book is that Kenzie and Ryan were kinda out of control - chemistry wise. The first half of the book had lots of sexy times. Now, I’m not a reader who’s afraid of the sexy times. But given a choice, I like to see a relationship develop more outside of the bedroom than in the bedroom. And all the sex between the hero and heroine was getting to be a bit much. But...just when I was beginning to feel disappointed at the lack of emotional depth in this book (because things were mostly physical), a switch was flipped and all the sudden THERE was the Mae Wood I know and love!!!

It was like all the steamy she didn’t include in her book Genealogy was then added to Crush. Which made for one steamy scene after another for, like, half the book.

Thank goodness things turned around. But now that I think about it, maybe it was on purpose. Maybe all that frantic sex was meant to show us - for the reader to feel - how frantic Kenzie and Ryan felt about each other???


Anyway, have I mentioned how much I love Mae Wood’s books? 😊

Kenzie and Ryan were great characters. I loved how even though Kenzie was young, she had a confidence that you hardly ever see in young adult heroines. When things fell apart, she was hurt, but didn’t get mopey or act out. She didn’t behave like a drama queen. And Ryan, oh Ryan...I loved how he was all in with Kenzie, but ultimately made the responsible choice. I love when a character steps back and uses their head to look at the big picture, even though it hurts. But I also love when the hero goes after his girl. There’s not much I love more than a good grovel scene, and Ryan delivered.

The thing I think I love most about this book is that it would probably be labeled a young adult romance, but there’s not a single “young adult” thing about it. Okay, so our hero and heroine let their hormones get carried away and let their chemistry rule a lot of their actions at first. But there’s no ridiculous angst, no immature behavior, no over-the-top drama. No repeating ad nauseam about how hawt the hero is, or going on and on about their woes. Less Pecs More Plot is my motto, and Mae Wood delivers that in spades. I was a little worried that this book would be all about how hot Kenzie and Ryan were for each other, but NOPE, the story dug in and dealt with actual issues. I loved how the story ended, with Kenzie and Ryan doing their own impulsive thing, but also being responsible and setting themselves up for the future. This book made me laugh, but I also cried. And it was fantastic. Every single page.

Now I find myself in my usual post-Mae Wood-read funk. Her books are SO GOOD, and I always fear there’s no way my next one will satisfy me as much. There truly is a shortage of authors who write character-driven stories, with plots that aren’t bogged down by stupid stuff. I’m not sure what Ms. Wood’s next book will be about, but I DO know two things: I will definitely read it, and I can hardly wait.

* a HUGE thank you to author Mae Wood for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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Reading Progress

August 4, 2019 – Shelved
August 4, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
December 31, 2019 – Started Reading
January 1, 2020 – Finished Reading

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