About the Book

Title: Hook, Line, and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters #2)
Published: 2022

First Impressions: You Again?
Meet Cute: It Happened Last Summer
The Lean: Longing and Pining and Angsting, Oh My!
Dirty Talk: Present and Accounted For
We Need To Talk: The Dreaded Miscommunication Trope
Was It Good For You: It’s The Foreplay For Me

 

First Impressions: You Again?

I’m officially updating my go-to First Impressions title from “Have We Met Before?” to “You Again?” because at this point, there’s no playing coy when it comes to cartoon covers. I cannot deny that we’ve known each other for awhile because these covers are EVERYWHERE. And honestly? No more playing nice. I’m sick of it. That’s right. I’m officially declaring it for all the world to hear: I am OVER cutesy cartoon covers and the moment someone publishes a romance novel with a different cover style, I’m buying ten copies.

What’s Your Type?

  • Friends to Lovers
  • Forced Proximity
  • Dirty Talk
  • Small Town Romance
  • Music Lovers

Dating Profile

After Hannah Bellinger and her sister Piper spent last summer in the small fishing town of Westport, Hannah headed back to Los Angeles, where she’s been nursing a crush on her director boss with little success. When her production company decides to film in Westport, fisherman Fox Thornton is JUST the guy to help her catch her crush’s attention (or, at the very least, make her boss jealous). But the more time she spends living with Fox, the more she begins to develop real feelings for him.

Fox hasn’t stopped thinking about Hannah since last summer, and having her back in town is bringing up all sort of feelings that he’d rather not face head-on. He was living the ultimate bachelor lifestyle, and suddenly his adorable, sweet best friend is traipsing around his apartment in nothing but a towel. Fox wants Hannah, but he also wants what’s best for Hannah, and he’s a thousand percent sure that that isn’t him.

Meet Cute: It Happened Last Summer

Hannah and Fox actually met last summer, in It Happened One Summer, the love story about her older sister Piper. Hannah accompanied Piper to Westport when Piper was banished from LA for bad behavior. And when Piper met and fell in love with boat captain Brendon, Hannah naturally found herself spending time with Brendon’s first mate, Fox. When the foursome took a trip to Seattle together, Fox arranged to take Hannah to a record convention and purchased a Fleetwood Mac album that he later gave her as a gift.

Since she returned to L.A., Hannah and Fox have kept in touch via text almost daily and become great friends. So Hannah living with Fox while her company films in Westport should be easy breezy…right?

The Lean: Longing and Pining and Angsting, Oh My!

Fox, unfortch, is the ultimate fuckboy. He’s had a reputation since middle school for chasing (and catching) tail, and he’s grown to prefer it that way, because when people have low expectations for him, he’s less likely to disappoint them. Being wanted ONLY for his skills in the bedroom means that no one has to, like, get to know his personality. He knows that Hannah deserves better than him, and even if he could turn it around and become a better man, she would still be the butt of everyone’s jokes and gossip around town. So he sticks her firmly in the friendzone for her own safety, despite the fact that he is literally dying inside to be with her.

Hannah, meanwhile, is also developing feelings for Fox but assumes that he is not interested in any sort of real relationship, especially with her. Buckle up for some serious mutual pining, y’all.

Dirty Talk: Present and Accounted For

Bailey is known for dirty talk, and if you’ve read any of her other books, you’ll know she doesn’t hold back. So it’s no surprise that the dirty talk is present and accounted for here, but – and I know that I’m about to say something that is probably going to be a Very Unpopular Opinion™ – BUT I feel like there is a time and a place for dirty talk, and a time and a place for….not dirty talk.

Listen: whatever floats your boat! But after months of a sweet, supportive friendship, when Hannah and Fox are finally doing the deed, the dirty talk felt almost out of place, as if he was being mean to her.

Ms. Perky’s Prize for Purplest Prose

Teacher types on laptop while talking to student
Typing a romance novel on a computer screen

“He surged up with his hips again, watching her face closely, memorizing her tiny gasps of air, relishing the way her tits dragged up and down on his chest, nipples erect. God, this sweet, horny girl. He couldn’t wait to get her out of that bra and panties. Get her splayed out, nothing in the way of his tongue, his fingers, his cock. She’d be screaming down the motherfucking building tonight.”

We Need to Talk: The Dreaded Miscommunication Trope

Most of this book veered into the dreaded territory of the miscommunication trope – you know, if the two main characters would just sit down and have a conversation, there would be little, if any, drama. However, I do think Fox and Hannah’s concerns were legitimate, and even if they had managed to have a conversation about their fears, it wouldn’t have solved everything right away. So I overlooked that, and really thought that the first 75% of the book had great tension and build up. It kept me reading late into the night because I wanted these two boneheads to just BONE ALREADY.

But then in the last 25% of the book, Fox gets unbearably melodramatic. Like pages and pages of exposition on why he can never be with Hannah because he is a manwhore? It was so exhausting that I found myself skimming a lot in the last part of the book, which should never happen!

Was It Good For You? It’s The Foreplay For Me

This is the third Tessa Bailey book I read and the third time that I’ve felt like the first three quarters were great and the last quarter really let me down. Bailey knows how to start strong, and keep me reading. She’s great at build up and tension and her sex scenes are extra spicy. But, to me, she has trouble sticking the landing. It really depends on how you like your HEAs, and if you prefer a lot of inner turmoil and characters processing their own trauma before they can commit to one another (as opposed to, say, rescuing your new bride from the hands of a vengeful rival who plans to burn down your gaming hell with her inside), then DO I HAVE A BOOK FOR YOU.

FTC Full Disclosure: I did not receive money or Girl Scout cookies of any kind (not even the gross cranberry ones) for writing this review. Hook, Line, and Sinker is available now.

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Rosemary lives in Little Rock, AR with her husband and cocker spaniel. At 16, she plucked a copy of Sloppy Firsts off the "New Releases" shelf and hasn't stopped reading YA since. She is a brand designer who loves tiki drinks, her mid-century modern house, and obsessive Google mapping.