Monday, October 30, 2023

REVIEW: Come As You Are by Jess K Hardy



Come As You Are by Jess K. Hardy was a fun surprise. I saw it on NetGalley and decided to give it a shot and am so glad I did. This novel about a family ski lodge/mountain trying to not get eaten up by a corporate entity and a ragtag group of men in a sober living facility was heartwarming and thoughtful. Ashley, the lodge owner, is on the struggle bus--her ex-husband wants to buy out her family's legacy, her mom seems to undermine her at every turn, she's understaffed, overworked, and still grieving the loss of her dad. Madigan, the owner of the sober living home, is looking for steady employment for the men he's in charge of and at the invitation of Ashley's mom, approaches Ashley with a proposition: she gets workers for less than what she's used to having to pay and his men get an opportunity to gain skills and show responsibility, while living clean and sober. Once the shock of it all wears off, Ashley grudgingly accepts the deal and what ensues is a journey of discovery and hope mixed with fear. 

Madigan and Ashley begin to get to know each other and show one another that it's okay to want things, that you can actually trust people with your heart, and that it's okay to be vulnerable with those that you trust. Of course there are missteps and misunderstandings but what I really appreciated about these characters is that they actually communicated about things, listened to each other, and tried to be respectful of what the other one needed. I loved that Hardy made Madigan a big softie; it's nice to see a man be real with his emotions and to see it on the page. I appreciated how she wrote Ashley too; that she showed a character who had unfortunate, but realistic, fears and judgement about the men she was hiring and how she learned about how wrong she was. 

Come As You Are was a great weekend read: sweet, romantic, honest, and heartwarming. I look forward to the next book in this series. 


He'll win her heart one mixtape at a time.
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.
Perfect for fans of Elsie Silver and Lyssa Kay Adams, Come As You Are is a steamy, later-in-life, small-town, redemption romance with lots of heat and even more heart!
Content notes: Addiction, divorce, mourning the loss of a parent

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