I’m a sucker for a gooey, light romance novel, and this new Kasie West book hit just as I was coming down with the flu, so it was the perfect audiobook to listen to as I laid in bed for sixteen hours a day. It’s got a sweet little romance you can root for, a protagonist that has a lot going for her but you also kind of hate at moments, and a resolution that’s nice and well-packaged. What more could you want?
Hadley is a swimmer–that’s who she is–and that’s what ended her last relationship, with Robert. Now, she’s even more focused on swimming as a way to be the best and maybe overcome the shadow her her long dead older brother, who her parents still organize benefits for yearly. But when a guy wearing a Heath Hall (new movie star superhero) mask jumps into the pool and throws off her groove, Hadley gets sidetracked. She’s got to find out who is behind the mask and why they’re so determined to mess her up. Along the way, she ends up learning more about the friends around her, her family, and herself. The mask ends up being a bigger plot point than I thought too, and it’s a nice message.
This book is, apparently, the third in a slightly-connected trilogy along with Love, Life, and the List, and Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss, so I’m kind of TICKED they changed the title from the original Hearts, Heroes,and Heath Hall. One, it matches better, but I think it’s just more memorable than the vague, Nora Roberts-y “Moment of Truth,” but whatever. The books are “in the same universe” and Moment of Truth mentions the people of Fame, Fate, and the First Kiss at the end, but it’s not a huge overlap.
Anyway, I liked this book. It’s short-ish. The audiobook was under 8 hours. It gets to the point pretty quickly. I figured out the romantic plot pretty early on–but I definitely didn’t mind–and liked watching it unfold. I also liked the way West dealt with the heaviness of the older brother’s death, though I did have timeline questions (how old are her parents??) and I thought that Hadley’s reactions felt really authentic, especially at the end. I also loved the way the plot point around the mask twisted and turned and yet was tied up nicely in the end.
I’ll never turn down a good Kasie West book, though I hope she’ll keep going for unique, cute titles instead of leaning into vague and too “romance-y” in the future. Probably not her decision anyway, but “Hearts, Heroes, and Heath Hall” is way more interesting. I’m already looking forward to her next book, which I hope will be out this fall! Since I’ve currently read every single book Kasie West has written (yes even the strange sci fi-ish ones), please recommend me some similar reads that are good on audio!