by K.M. Galvin
Series: Galway Girls #2
Publication Date: July 17, 2023
Source: Grey's Promotions
I received this book for free from Grey's Promotions in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
I, Cassidy Ann Putnam, have a crush.
On Elias Amir Carmichael the Third.
It started with a bet, and after almost four years of edging herself with hatred, Cassidy can’t help but feel attracted to Elias. And that is a problem. No one has ever matched her so well. No one has ever challenged her in a way that engages every part of herself. No one gets her blood as hot as he does when he volleys every insult she throws at him right back at her. She hates him as much as she wants him.
Cassidy has sunk her claws into me so deeply that I don’t know how to get rid of her.
Or if I even want to.
As much as Elias can’t stand Cassidy, he respects her. She’s smart and driven, and she’s a formidable enemy as his main competition in Stanford’s engineering program. It’s too bad he’s wanted her longer than she’s hated him. Their rivalry has always been a challenge they rise to. But within every insufferable exchange, riding close to that line of hate, is their attraction to one another, driving them both insane.But what would happen if they gave in to the temptation? Would the unexpected, something neither ever considered, surprise them in the end?
While it’s been quite a while since I’ve been in college, I have a definite soft spot for new adult romances set there. The mix of freedom, academic pressure and an unlimited future juxtaposed with romance is just *chef’s kiss.* So when I saw the adorable cover and realized this was a rivals to lovers story? Heck yeah! While this is the second in a series, I read it as a standalone without any problems.
Cassidy has hated Elias’s guts ever since a group of friends bet that he could get her to dance with him (he couldn’t). Sure, objectively he’s cute but he’s also the son of a famous tech company founder, someone who’s probably had everything he’s ever wanted handed to him. Cassidy, on the other hand, knows that she’ll have to work hard to reach her goals which is even more reason to keep her mind off any kind of relationships other than the very casual kind. Things come to a head senior year with a contest for a lucrative internship position at Elias’s dad’s company – an internship that will fit in perfectly with Cassidy’s plans. Her only real competition is Elias, so all she has to do is keep her eyes on the prize and beat him. Easy, right?
As a woman in STEM, Cassidy knows she has to be tough. She’s confident, fierce and doesn’t hesitate to call out misogyny when she sees it. She’s also a meticulous planner. Get that internship, leverage it to get a job there, use their tuition reimbursement to get her master’s…. Basically her entire future is planned out, down to getting a dog at 28. She doesn’t have time for anything that’ll knock her off that path. Cassidy’s afraid of commitment, dumping any guy the moment he seems to start getting attached to her. Luckily, Elias is the guy who’s mainly in her thoughts… except it’s not because of the rivalry, but because she’s developed a very inconvenient crush on him.
Elias is pretty much the epitome of “poor rich kid.” He doesn’t have friends so much as hangers-on, his dad is emotionally distant and everyone assumes he got where he is thanks to daddy’s money. Cassidy catches his eye the moment he sees her and their years of academic rivalry only lead to him falling completely for her. Except unfortunately she still hates him.
Cassidy and Elias’s relationship starts out with plenty of reason for dislike (at least on one side) and then add the rivalry from competing over the prized internship? The emotional stakes are high and sets the stage for a good rivals to friends to lovers slow burn relationship arc.
The way the relationship builds is very well done. Elias, besides already being head over heels for her, truly respects Cassidy and considers her his intellectual equal. Not so much for Cassidy – after all, as the son of a famous tech company founder, of course Elias gets everything handed to him and has never had to work hard at anything, right? But through shared study tables and a lot of chai they build a friendship. And Cassidy realizes he’s not this evil cardboard cutout – contrasting her warm and supportive family with his demanding father is enough to realize he’s got problems of his own. What I really loved the most though was when things go wrong, when they hurt each other, they communicate. Sure, they may need to take some time to cool off or go lick their wounds in private, but they always end up talking it out. They have absolutely sizzling chemistry from the beginning of the book and as their verbal sparring turns into flirty banter, wooo.
Perhaps the best thing I can say though is that it’s engrossing. I basically sped through the book in a day because I simply had to know what would happen next between Cassidy and Elias. I’ve been in a bit of a book slump lately and finding something that really grabbed me and wouldn’t let me go was a sheer delight. Oh, and another good thing? Cassidy is 5′ 10″, tall girls represent!
Overall, a fun and very enjoyable new adult rivals to lovers romance! I will definitely be picking up the first book in this series!
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