Sunday, August 7, 2022

Review: Forever, Plus One by Wendy Warren

Forever, Plus One by Wendy Warren
Series: Holliday, Oregon, Book 2
Publisher: Harlequin Special Edition
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Forever Plus One cover
ISBN: 9781335724144
Release Date: August 23, 2022
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Harlequin

Rescued…by the brother of the (ex-)groom!

Nikki Choi loves the boisterous family she was adopted into as a baby. But dreams of her own happy-ever-after are dashed when her fiancé suddenly calls off the wedding. Leave it to her BFF to come to her rescue! Evan Northrup is the perfect faux beau, offering support and making no demands—making her feel loved. But the single dad seems intent on keeping things pretend, while Nikki is shocked to be falling wildly, deeply for her old friend…

Forever, Plus One is a heartwarming best friends-to-lovers romance that tugged on my heartstrings. Wendy Warren’s second venture into Holliday, Oregon is an engaging romance filled with characters who are easy to adore.

Nikki Choi was just dumped six weeks before her wedding. Nikki is smart, loving, and beautiful but her relationship with her ex played into her insecurities and she’s now trying to claim herself again. She’s coming up on her thirty-seventh birthday and has serious anxiety about finding love and starting a family in a way that feels deeply relatable. Evan Northrup, the older brother of her ex-fiancé, has been her best friend for years and offers to save her from the awkwardness of the upcoming summer of weddings she’s attending by pretending to be her boyfriend. Evan is a single father whose son is the center of his world. He’s a loving dad and a great best friend, but he has issues about commitment after the way his marriage ended and the parade of stepmothers he’s had all his life.

Friends-to-lovers, single parents with sweet children, and commitment phobia are all common in romances, but Warren makes everything feel fresh in this story thanks to her wonderful characters. Nikki is adopted and even growing up with a family who loves her unconditionally it doesn’t mean she hasn’t struggled in the past. And even being a high school guidance counselor with a degree in Psychology doesn’t protect her from having body image issues; issues that her fitness fanatic ex fed into. And Evan has deep-seated insecurities about his own ability to have a relationship that he has to confront. Warren doesn’t make it easy on them, but the way things worked out made every bump in the road worth it. Nikki and Evan are simply meant to be, no matter that they’ve hidden it from themselves for years.

Forever, Plus One is the second book in the Holliday, Oregon series but it can easily be read as a standalone. I adored revisiting Eden and Gideon (of Moonlight, Menorahs and Mistletoe) and thoroughly enjoyed my time in Holliday. And it would be remiss of me to discuss this book without mentioning Nikki’s family. I absolutely loved the Choi family and they helped make the world of this story come alive. Not to mention Noah, Evan’s son, is so sweet with Nikki and I adored their relationship. The surprising emotional hits for me in this book were scenes Nikki and Evan had with their parents. Those brought tears to my eyes and really rounded out the book well.

Forever, Plus One was a true joy to read. The characters came alive, the romance was a satisfying slow burn built on a healthy foundation, and the happily ever after made me smile. I cannot wait to revisit Nikki and Evan again!

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.