Adult Reviews

Review | Tools of Engagement

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Author: Tessa Bailey.

Length: 368 pages.

(Book 3 in the Hot & Hammered Series)

“I am your destination. And you didn’t get lost on the way to me, you just circled the block one extra time.”

Goodreads Synopsis.

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.

In Tessa Bailey’s latest rom-com, two enemies team up to flip a house… and the sparks between them might burn the place down or ignite a passion that neither can ignore!

My Thoughts.

Usually books in romance series can be read as standalones, however, this story is so woven into the other two, that I think it would be rather difficult if you didn’t have any background.

After reading Love Her or Lose Her I was very excited for this next installment for several reasons. First of all, the banter between Wes and Bethany was amazing and really spiked my interest (specially because of the rivals to lovers dynamic). Second, I loved Rosie and Dom’s story (far more than the previous one), so I was very hopeful for this next one. Lastly, the synopsis completely hooked me. I was so sure that this book would be my favorite out of the three. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.

Expecting perfect can only lead to disappointment. Besides, it’s the flaws that give a person character. That’s where the beauty hides.

I think that this novel had so much potential and I am so sad that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. This story isn’t bad, not by any means, but there were just so many things that didn’t work for me.

I don’t mind steamy scenes. In fact, it would be weird if I did, considering that it comes with the territory of loving romance novels. I don’t really take them into account and, most of the time, I don’t even mention them in my reviews because I feel that they are a given in this genre. However and surprisingly, this book hit a limit for me. There was just too much. The first half was completely dry, but the moment that you hit that midpoint, there’s an immediate and very evident switch. Suddenly, the only thing they both talked and thought about was sex. It was kind of annoying, specially because it completely eclipsed the story, in my opinion.

Overall, I wanted to know more. I wanted to understand Bethany and Wes better, and how they became who they are. I wanted to know more about Wes’ and Laura’s relationship. I wanted to know more about the flip, which I thought would play a much bigger and important role in the story, but we barely knew anything about it. On the same note, the tv show element was completely unnecessary and kind of tainted the whole experience for me. I just think the characters’ growth was a bit rushed and I didn’t really understand how they overcame their trust and self-esteem issues.

I love Tessa Bailey and I thought the other books in this series were great. Unfortunately, this was my least favorite of the three. If you like romance, you should give this a try because it’s not a bad book. It’s just that my expectations were a bit high and it let me down.