Note: This ARC was provided by Entangled Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
“You’re just you, Annie. I don’t know how you do that. There’s no first impression. There’s simply—you.”She kissed him, just a soft peck on the cheek, but it somehow felt more intimate than what they’d done in the hotel room last night.
“We’re not dating, remember?” she said. “You don’t have to impress me. So how about when it’s just us, you be simply—you?”
Oh. My. GOD. A.J. Pine, I'd inform you that you owe me muscle relaxants because the muscles in my cheeks seem to be frozen in this perpetual smile ever since I finished reading Three Simple Words, but I haven't smiled this much because of a book in quite a while so I'll run with it. Let me give you three of my own simple words to explain how I feel about this third novel in the Kingston Ale House series: I. LOVED. IT!!! Ooh, or maybe we can go with LE. SIGH. FOREVER!!! I'm also good with MAJOR. SQUEE. MOMENTS!!! Suffice it to say, I adored every single bit of this book. From the falling-for-a-best-friend's-sibling trope being implemented in possibly my most favorite way I've ever come across so far to two main characters--one twenty-five-year-old bestselling author, the other twenty-eight-year-old bookseller--who have completely different views when it comes to love and romance but are absolutely meant to be. Did I forget to mention the recurring characters, four of whom already have their stories told and one who's on Team Fun after getting his heart broken? Those are just my top three reasons, so keep on reading, peeps.
Wes Hartley has a bona fide bestselling debut novel, one that could optioned for a film, and countless readers who consider him their favorite romance author. Only Wes's novel wasn't about romance because Wes doesn't believe in romance and all the fluff and stuff that supposedly comes with it. Books may often guarantee happy endings, but that's fantastical, wishful thinking as far as he's concerned. Reality bites, but it doesn't mean you can't have fun in the process. Unfortunately, reality also comes in the form of his agent and his editor, and if he doesn't hand in fifty pages of the second book he's supposed to have been working on for weeks, he may end up being nothing more than a one-hit wonder in the publishing world. This leads Wes to return to his hometown of Chicago and his best friend Jeremy Denning is more than welcoming, giving him a place to stay and asking his boss to give Wes a few shifts at the Kingston Ale House. When Jeremy asks him to do a signing to help his sister's flailing bookstore, Wes is more than happy to do it for his high school crush, Annie Denning. One problem: Annie absolutely hates Wes's novel.
Annie Denning loves books. She blogs about them and sells them in her store, Two Stories. She's got a pretty good and loyal following online, but her store could use more customers. Thanks to her younger brother, the store will be hosting it's first ever book signing with an actual bestselling author, and he just happens to be none other than her brother's best friend, Wes Hartley. As appreciative as she is, Annie isn't a fan of Wes's debut novel, thinking the lack of a happy ending and romance isn't right. Wes doesn't believe in love and romance; Annie does. As much as she doesn't agree with him, there's no denying that Wes has grown up to be a gorgeous man. The attraction between them is undeniable, and soon, they find themselves coming up with an agreement to "have fun", a temporary thing. There is no "more" for them even if she gets to know him better and sees he's a good guy. He doesn't fit the bill when it comes to the fairy tale she dreams of. Because, like it or not, there is no possible way Annie could ever fall for a man who doesn't believe in happy endings or finds it unfathomable to even say three simple words...could she?
I've read all of A.J. Pine's books, and this one has just become my numero uno favorite. I mentioned earlier that the falling-for-a-best-friend's-sibling trope was done extremely well here and that had a lot to do with the creativity the author used. Here, Annie is the sibling and she happens to be an older sister instead of the usual younger kind. Also, while Wes did have a crush on her when he was a freshman and she was a senior in high school, it wasn't this secretly intense feeling of unrequited love. It was, plainly and simply, a teenage crush. One of my favorite things here is the use of romance in literature and books in general. It was an effective backdrop to the entire love story, with Wes on the "realistic" end and Annie on the "fantasy" end. They both had valid points in their arguments, but as is the case with many things in life, the truth was somewhere in the middle. Annie and Wes had to come to the realization that, more often than not, reality merged fantasy is even better than the two apart and that the best things in life--like true love--should never be given endings. My final Three Simple Words for this review: FIVE. PLUS. STARS. ♥
Read my reviews for the Kingston Ale House series:
The One That Got Away (book one) - five-plus stars - My Review
Six Month Rule (book two) - five-plus stars - My Review
Three Simple Words (book three) - five-plus stars - My Review (posted above)
Release Date: 17 October 2016
Date Read: 17 October 2016
Learn more about A.J. Pine.