- Stupid Love by Riley Hart
Stupid Love by Riley Hart
Out of all the apartments in Atlanta, I ended up with the worst neighbor. Shaw Hastings is a headache. He’s so full of himself it makes me crazy. Our official language is snarky banter—which I don’t enjoy, I swear. I’ve got eyes for my bestie Danny, anyway. I need to figure out if he feels the same, so I email an advice column written by a serial dater, who’s just as annoying as Shaw. Now, I’m asking myself why am I thinking less about Danny and having a blast virtually flirting with Anonymous?
I don’t know why I like my adorable neighbor, Elijah Coleman. We’ve got nothing in common, yet somehow he’s both boring and kinda fun. He reminds me of this guy who emailed my advice column, so it shouldn’t be surprising that—oops—they’re the same person. Imagine me then offering to help Elijah get Danny in real life just because it means spending time with him. We go from angry neighbors, to frenemies taking dancing lessons together, to a flirtatious friendship where I enjoy making him happy.
No matter how much we fight it, Elijah and I are stumbling toward the L word. It’s messy and scary, but then he smiles, strikes a beautiful dance pose, or kisses me, and suddenly it’s not so bad. He’s ruining me, and I sort of like it. Stupid love. Unfortunately, with my track record of running scared, I just might wreck the only real relationship I’ve ever had.
It's been a while since I've read a Hart romance, and I am very glad I grabbed this one when it came up for review! Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and this one is more enemies to frenemies to let's-try-something-but-let's-not to holy crap I'm stupid in love with you, with several more steps in between.
Shaw and Elijah seemingly have nothing in common but an address. A cynical, sarcastic try anything once advice column writer/real estate agent and a pilates-teaching dancer, they may be neighbors in a building but they want nothing to do with each other.
I'll admit it. I had a really difficult time connecting with Elijah through the majority of the book. He's very sweet and up front and Pollyanna-ish, something I just don't know a lot about. Then I read the lines from that quote up above, and it melted my hardened heart. Those two sentences made me stop and review every single piece of my characterization of Elijah to that point with new eyes.
I adored Shaw from the start - give me a flawed bad boy any day and I'll fall hard every single time.
This is a slow burn romance...and I mean slooooooooooow. However, it yielded some of the loveliest (and steamy, don't get me wrong here) sexy times. The chemistry between these characters was clear from the first time they are physically in a scene together, and it just ramps up exponentially throughout the book.
There is a ton of character growth on both sides, something that is important to me in a book, and something which is guaranteed to be done well in Ms. Hart's books. The struggles the characters work through physically, emotionally, and mentally create tiny but spider-silk strong threads that tug at your heart.
There are several side characters, family and friends of both men, but the two best friends, who featured most prominently, still felt like they were barely there and didn't add much depth to the story. It's clear that they will feature in coming books, and I look forward to learning more about them.
All in all, this is a sweet rom-com with a few darker turns. There are references to homophobia and racism, but nothing on-page. I enjoyed Stupid Love, and I am rating it at 3.5 stars, rounding up to 4 stars for sites that don't accept halves. If you're looking for quick-witted banter and slow, sweet realizations of love, this is the book for you!
I voluntarily read an ARC copy of this book from Riley Hart with hopes for but no obligation to provide a review.