Twist (Dive Bar #2) - Kylie Scott
When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot, bearded, bartender extraordinaire, Joe Collins, only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.
Alex Parks is funny, friendly, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman. And in no time at all they're emailing up a storm, telling each other their deepest darkest secrets... apart from the one that really matters.
And when it comes to love, serving it straight up works better than with a twist.
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My Review - 4 Stars
Kylie Scott came in to my life six months ago by way of Dirty, her first book in the Dive Bar series. It had the perfect amount of wit and angst and I couldn't wait to read more from her. I subsequently binged my way through the Stage Dive series and have been anxiously awaiting Twist ever since.
I read Twist with a smile on my face, laughing out loud often. This shouldn't be surprising when there's lines like this: "Butterflies didn't cover it. There were pterodactyls inside my stomach, swooping and screeching and flying around." p.112
Kylie Scott breathed new life into a plot centered around meeting online and mistaken identity and it had everything to do with Alex and Joe's respective personalities. Joe is a classic good guy and he was very swoon-worthy. A guy other than Joe likely would not have tried so hard to make things up to Alex after she discovered he was the Eric she'd been emailing all along. While they slowly settle into friendship, it is clear they have a lot to learn from each other.
Whereas Joe says yes to everyone in his life, setting up more than a couple codependent relationships, Alex says no to everyone, functioning more like a hermit. We're at our healthiest when we're somewhere between those two extremes. Joe proposes Alex gets out of her comfort zone by saying yes to things and he'll learn to set boundaries by saying no. This was great to see in action.
While the books build on each other, they can be read in any order. The author excels at depicting the community between her characters and the friendships between the groups of friends are some of the finest in contemporary romance.
No matter what's happening in a character's love life, their friends remain important and their significant other naturally becomes incorporated into that circle. Alex doesn't really have friends beyond her best friend Val (loved her character!) so it was neat to see her get to know Joe's friends and realize people aren't as bad as she thinks.
The romance between Alex and Joe was fantastic. Their chemistry was perfect and their interactions often made me giggle with glee. Things were sailing along quite smoothly until tragedy happens (I did not see this coming and it broke my heart!) and Joe made a choice that I didn't think quite fit his character. I did, however, love seeing how Alex responded to it.
It's hard to create new patterns and habits for ourselves and the author doesn't shy away from this struggle. It's another part of why I love her books- they reflect real life. There aren't quick fixes, even when there's an instant connection. Relationships take work and vulnerability and risk and it's all reflected in this wonderful novel.
Disclosure: I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Affiliate links included in this post.