“They say nice guys always finish last. I say the only place that should apply is in the bedroom—it’s just good manners, after all.” – Brett MacKinnon, nice guy and frequent resident of the friend zone
LIV: There are really only three things I need in life: sex, baseball, and winning. My hot boyfriend and season tickets take care of the first two, while I always do my best to cover the last. So developing an unexpected crush on a new friend is more than a little inconvenient. I don’t have anything but friendship to offer Brett, but with the way he looks at me, he has me wishing I did.
BRETT: I’ve been put in the friend zone so often, they’ve got a sandwich named after me. You’d think I’d be used to it by now. But when it comes to the delectable Liv, I’m determined to ditch the friend zone and show her I’m boyfriend material. Too bad the position’s already been filled by a ball-playing caveman who could flatten me with his pinky.
What will it take to show Liv that nice guys can be more than just friends, and that love is the one game truly worth winning?
|The Way You Are
|Carolina Connections (Book 5)
|Pages / Length:
|224 / 5 hrs 44 mins
|Category / Genre(s):
|Friends to Lovers
|Point of View:
|First Person, Past Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
|3rd January, 2020
Second half makes up for the first
This is the 5th in the Carolina Connections series about a group of ever expanding friends and family. Brett has been mentioned or lightly featured in previous books but this is where he comes to the fore and gets his own story. This is complete with its own HEA and you don’t need to have read any of the previous books in the series.
Liv is brand new to the series so this is the first time we meet her – and she didn’t get off to the best start with me. At the start of the book she’s got a boyfriend – the hot but dim Troy. And boy does she bang on about how hot he was and how much she enjoyed sex with him. As she gets to know Brett, she’s still with her boyfriend despite him treating her quite poorly and still enjoys the sex. It was just a bit icky. There wasn’t really any cheating but I don’t like to read about either of our main couple with other people, and her actions and reasoning for staying with Troy made her appear vapid and shallow. I also didn’t like her cheering and jeering during the baseball games. It was embarrassing and classless – but that just might be my Britishness showing!
Liv’s character was made worse by the wonderfulness that is Brett. He’s such a sweetheart. He’s very much a nice, normal guy – a marketing exec with a normal body and a massive crush on the girl he can’t have. He was funny and cute, smart and sexy – I just adored him. And I felt bad for him that he couldn’t have fallen in love with a nicer gal.
I was feeling quite ambivalent about the love story until about half way through the book. At that point, Troy was out of the picture and it was all about Brett and Liv taking their friendship to the next level. That’s when the book really kicked off for me and I started to very much enjoy the story. A classic friends to lovers, slow burn romance.
As always with Sylvie Stewart, along with the love story we get such a rich story that’s always an absolute hoot. This bunch of friends – while appearing less so than in the first few books – are friendship goals. I laughed out loud, not just with them but with Brett and Liv, too. I know I can always rely on Ms Stewart’s stories to perk me up and raise my spirits.
The story is narrated by Amanda Stribling and David Black and both are very good in telling the story. I always do prefer when there’s a different voice actor for each different character – it really does help to build the story and get to know the characters.
I wouldn’t have missed this story as I make my way through the Carolina Connections series. It wasn’t my favourite of the series but luckily, the second half of the book definitely made up for the first. The audio was eminently listenable and if you are reading through the series, or like to read stories where the cast is more ethnically diverse (Liv is Asian) then I would recommend this book to you.
USA Today bestselling author Sylvie Stewart is addicted to Romantic Comedy and Contemporary Romance, and she’s not looking for a cure. She hails from the great state of North Carolina, so it’s no surprise that most of her books are set in the Tar Heel state. She’s a wife to a hilarious dude and mommy to ten-year-old twin boys who tend to take after their father in every way. Sylvie often wonders if they’re actually hers, but then she remembers being a human incubator for a gazillion months. Ah, good times.
Sylvie began publishing when her kids started elementary school, and she loves sharing her stories with readers and hopefully making them laugh and swoon a bit along the way. If she’s not in her comfy green writing chair, she’s probably camping or kayaking with her family or having a glass of wine while binge-watching Hulu. Or she’s been kidnapped—so what are you doing just sitting there?!!