Review: xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan


Note: This ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

There was a lot of hype leading up to the release of Kendall Ryan's brand-new standalone. The question is, does xo, Zach live up to it all? This contemporary romance brings with it some humor as well as some angst. It's the story of Zachary Austin a twenty-nine-year-old writer who works as an adviser at a university and whose dating life--or lack thereof--has given his well-meaning mother free reign to poke her nose in his personal business. Who would have thought he would meet the woman who would consume his every waking thought and live in his every dream and fantasy at a frat party while pretending to be her boyfriend? They part ways with only a singular soul-burning kiss and without last names or contact information exchanged. All hope is lost...then she walks through his office door.

Twenty-four-year-old Poppy Ellis knocks Zach's already off-kilter world completely free of its axis. But she's a poetry graduate student and one that he happens to be tasked to advise. Even if there isn't a hard and fast rule against an adviser and student getting together, Poppy has has vowed to keep her focus solely on her grad studies and on the one guy in her life. So what if Fate seems to keep bringing her and Zach together and everyone around her thinks she should take a risk? The dirty-talking, tatted-up hottie is probably looking for a hook-up or two before he heads to New York, and she's not in the market for that. Maybe the anonymous poet leaving her love notes is more her type of guy. Poppy intends to keep it platonic and professional with Zach...no matter how hot her adviser may be.

There's a bit of a taboo element in this story in terms of Zach being an authority figure and Poppy being under him (although not in the way he kept hoping she was). I liked that these two shared one unforgettable kiss that lay the foundation for all the sexual tension between them as they struggled to toe the line. Zach didn't pussyfoot when it came to what it was he wanted for the two of them, and that was something that I appreciated. Poppy, on the other hand, was a walking, talking contradiction, and it did get to the point of frustration at times. I understood that she had priorities but I also felt that she had all these preconceived notions about Zach and she would be all flirty and touchy feely with him only to run off and avoid the poor guy. So yeah, I wasn't that much of a fan of hers.

As far as the author's writing is concerned, the story itself was enjoyable and Ryan's created a male main character who I wouldn't be surprised to find on more than one book boyfriend list. There were times where the transition between scenes would be somewhat abrupt. However, this was a quintessential Kendall Ryan read, one that was both sweet and steamy and had a couple of memorable supporting characters that helped to bolster the story without necessarily trying to be scene-stealers. Okay, maybe Kody (Poppy's neighbor and close friend) was scene-stealer material, as was Zach's filter-less mom. So, what's the answer to the question I posed at the beginning of my review? Did xo, Zach live up to the hype? It almost did, which is why I'm giving it 4.5 stars out of a possible five. ♥

Release Date: 23 January 2018

Date Read: 21 January 2018

Learn more about Kendall Ryan.

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