Release date: May 10, 2022
Publisher: Berkley Romance
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.
Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favorite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.
In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
It’s so refreshing to find an authentic feeling romance anymore and this one truly felt not only genuine, but fresh and fun too. While the romantic storyline was great and definitely the centerpiece of the story, there was so much more to it as well. The author did a great job of exploring how society’s standards of beauty and health are absurd through the lens of a kick ass heroine. Crystal was such a fun character, she’s funny and charming, she’s also a bad ass hard worker but she also has struggles that I thought the author handled in a meaningful way. I’m always a sucker for a character who is an influencer but I’ve yet to read about a fitness influencer so that was super interesting for me. She’s also not your typical size zero fitness advocate, she has curves and she’s not trying to lose weight she’s just trying to be healthy and strong all the while trying to be a source of motivation and support for other women. She was just so great, I could go on but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Scott because he was swoon worthy and sexy. The supporting cast of characters were a lot of fun as well and I’m really hoping this is a start of a series because I would love to get a book about Tara, Crystals sister! Overall an impressive debut that I truly enjoyed.
Overall rating: 4.5/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.