Review by Veronica

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“Okay. Matthew.” She looked up from his lips only to get sucked straight into his eyes. It wasn’t her fault. Nothing so blue and intense and sparkling in the sunlight the way they were could exist without being stared at. It was a natural fact, that shade of blue was magnetic.

Holy Moly! Come As You Are is freaking amazing. It is a must read for any rom-com fan.

Ashley Cooke will do just about anything to save her struggling ski hill. When she hires the men from a local sober living home for the season to cut costs, even she thinks she’s gone too far. With her credit cards maxed, her cheating ex-husband intent on buying the mountain out from under her, and record-breaking snow in the forecast, she can’t afford to be distracted by the six-foot-tall bearded and tattooed sober living home owner moving onto her mountain.

Recovering addict and ex-grunge rocker Matthew Madigan has devoted every minute of the last decade to the men residing at his sober living home. When he meets tightly wound and adorably flustered Ashley, desires he’s put on the back burner for years start to simmer. Immune to his infamous albeit rusty charm, Ashley presents a challenge he can’t resist. When she offers to give him skiing lessons in exchange for his help training her St. Bernard rescue dog, he jumps at the chance to ride next to her on the chairlift despite his debilitating fear of heights.

During bunny hill shenanigans, chairlift confessions, and steamy cabin serenades, Madigan teaches Ashley that a person’s past doesn’t define them, and Ashley shows Madigan that the men he helps aren’t the only people who deserve a second chance. When sabotage threatens both the men and the mountain, Ashley and Madigan will have to decide if they’re only having a winter fling, or if the mountain isn’t the only thing worth fighting for.

Get ready for some major gushing on my part. I cannot believe how much I loved this book. I immediately re-read this book because I loved it so much. Come As You Are is a great rom-com for book lovers who are looking for a romance with characters that are a bit older. Ashley is in her 40’s, and Madigan is in his 50’s. I adored and enjoyed the fact that the two main characters were older. It doesn’t exist in the romance world too often, and I am not sure why. Having characters that are a bit older means that they have plenty of great and not-so-great life experiences, which gives them so much more depth and makes them interesting. I loved this story; it has it all humour, spice, romance, relationship and family drama, and an adorable dog. Everything works so well together, and the end product is this entertaining, emotional and steamy love story that you won’t forget. 

For readers who are looking for a wintery read but don’t want a book full of holiday hoopla, then this is the book for you. This story is set in a ski resort, and you feel like you are being transported to this wintery wonderland. I wanted to pack my bags and visit this place. I loved the scenes where Jess taught all the guys how to ski. It was hilarious and something I could relate to. I have no sense of balance and cannot ski to save my life. So I got why the guys constantly fell on their asses while learning to ski. 

All the characters in this book are fabulous! I found myself invested in all of their stories and wanted to learn everything I could about them. Hell, I even like Chuck (Jess’s asshole of an ex-husband). He was a man you loved to hate and really the perfect “bad guy” for this story. Jess’s mom was a flighty delight and ensured that this story was never dull. I also really enjoyed the dynamic between Jess and her mom. They are polar opposites, and this creates a lot of conflict between the two of them. It was wonderful watching as these two tried to navigate their relationship. 

Jess did a great job at addressing the topics of alcoholism and substance abuse, the recovery progress when trying to overcome these addictions and the reintegration into society of people on parole. There are tough topics to discuss and even tougher topics to integrate into a rom-com. I could tell that Jess researched these issues and put a lot of thought into how she was going to include them in her story. Madigan and his men were never shown in a negative light in this book. As a reader, I felt a tremendous amount of compassion for them. Their recovery journey is not easy; there are plenty of ups and downs, but I was rooting for them the entire book. Jess addressed plenty of common stereotypes often associated with addictions and made sure to portray these men as humans. They are good guys in this book; they are just going through a rough life patch and deserve compassion and forgiveness. Their stories will touch your heart.

Jess and Madigan are one of my favourite all-time rom-com couples! These two are perfect for each other. That is not to say that their relationship was smooth sailing because it definitely wasn’t. These two had to overcome many bumps and hurdles in this book before they could get their happily ever after. They both have complicated backstories. Madigan is a former addict and has dedicated his life to helping others overcome their addictions. He is afraid of pursuing a romantic relationship with anyone, especially Jess, because of his past and this fear that a romantic partner would judge him for it. Jess was in a very toxic marriage for many years. Chuck did a number on her self-confidence, which made her terrified to open her heart to another guy. It doesn’t help that the ski lodge is under major financial stress, which makes her feel like even more of a failure and the fact that Chuck keeps on popping up in her life trying to mess with her head only complicates the matter more. As you can see, Jess and Madigan bring a lot of emotional baggage to this relationship, which creates many problems. What I like about them is that neither tries to swing in and rescue the other person. Instead, they help each other by being there and listening and being that calm, supportive and understanding presence they need in their lives. 

On the more fun and swoony side of things, Madigan really knows how to turn on that charm. When he sets out to sweep Jess off her feet, it creates moments that are sweet and spicy. The dialogue between these two is smart and witty, and you can see the sparks flying when these two are together. The spice in this book is on fire, and there is plenty of it. 

Come As You Are is a swoontastic rom-com that will warm you up on chilly winter’s night.

Thank you, Pinkity Publishing for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.