All The Books I Can Read

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Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

on April 9, 2018

The Love Coupon (Stubborn Hearts #2)
Ainslie Paton
Carina Press
2018, eBook
Copy courtesy of the author/publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

How many coupons does it take to fall in love?

Flick Dalgetty knows what she wants and how to get it, which is why she’s about to start her dream job in Washington. Until then, she needs somewhere to crash, and Tom O’Connell’s place is her sole option. He’s a repressed, antisocial ogre…but man can he kiss.

For Tom, being around Flick is like being too close to the sun. Her untamed energy is overwhelming, and he’d spontaneously combust if he had to live with her long-term. Housemates with benefits—and an expiration date—suits him just fine.

Then Flick gives Tom thirty coupons, each entitling him to one obligation-free activity, from bowling and bubble-bathing to morning delight, removing all the guesswork from being incompatible partners and shifting their fling into high gear.

Now the problem is their arrangement is drawing to a close, and they might be falling in love—and there wasn’t a coupon for that.

I was a pretty big fan of the first novel in this series, The Love Experiment so I was pretty keen to read this, especially because the blurb contains two of my favourite words in a hero: repressed, antisocial. I don’t know what it is but sign me up for an uptight type, especially when the female love interest is a more forward personality. I just really enjoy reading that dynamic. It’s much more interesting to me than the manwhore/virginal female pairing.

Tom’s room mate moved out when he took a job overseas and although Tom knows he needs a new one in order to have the level of financial comfort he prefers, he definitely does not want Felicity ‘Flick’ Dalgetty as his room mate. She’s chaos and Tom is organised, clean and tidy. He doesn’t like mess and Flick is sure to be a whirlwind tearing through his apartment. But she does only need a room for three months before she takes a job interstate and eventually she wears him down.

At first their interactions are minimal – Flick leaves early and is generally in her room when Tom returns from work. But eventually their paths start crossing a little more often. Tom offers to share his cooked meals with her and they share conversations which lead to a kiss. I really liked the chemistry between the two of them. Flick has a great, refreshing attitude towards a fling and she’s very confident in herself, which was fantastic. Tom often has doubts (although I think his reasons are fine) and he at times attempts to retreat a bit, perhaps a bit afraid of truly being able to let go. This book takes time to explore both Tom and Flick’s backgrounds in a really in depth manner and you can see how where they’ve come from has shaped their interactions with others. Flick’s relationship with her family I found really interesting – and also a bit puzzling. In some ways I understand why she continues to do what she does but to be honest the majority of my thoughts were wondering why she even bothered. There’s only so much someone should be expected to endure before making decisions for their own good.

Tom and Flick bounce off each other really well and although they both sometimes touch a nerve with their frank questions, they’re very equal. I really liked the idea of the coupons and how fun Flick made some of them, as well as sexy. I got the feeling Tom lived a very ordered life, did the same things every day and Flick was definitely more about having fun, being spontaneous and even though the coupons mean things are decided in advance, Tom can redeem any one he chooses and a lot of them are fun and sort of casual so it pushes him to do things he wouldn’t normally do and open himself up to new experiences, both in bed and out. The coupons were such a cool idea and added so much to the story, I only wish they’d been introduced a little earlier as it’s quite far into the book when they appear. Most of them do get described but I do wish it could’ve been in greater detail and time spent on all of them as they are quite an important part of Flick and Tom’s growing relationship.

From the very beginning it’s clear that this is just supposed to be a fling, because Flick is leaving in three months to go to a new job interstate and Tom has a plan, which results in him being promoted sooner rather than later. This is a romance novel so you know it’s going to end differently to that but I loved the fact that I couldn’t pick how it was going to go. Both Tom and Flick had careers that were very important to them and Tom was on the property ladder and was very focused on his future and how he wanted things to go. The chemistry between them was so strong both sexually and emotionally that I was incredibly invested in the outcome. Both of them compliment the other in lots of ways – Tom takes care of Flick in a way that she hasn’t really experienced. Not a “boyfriend protecting the little woman way” but in a more nurturing, feeding her and providing stability sort of way. And Flick encourages Tom to live a little, explore his feelings, indulge. Relax the rules, enjoy things. There’s a balance there and it works, although small things can tip that balance out and result in struggle.

I loved this….perfect blend of characters that for me were both likeable and interesting. Their journey was a fun one to go on and I’m looking forward to the next in this series.

8/10

Book #61 of 2018

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2 responses to “Review: The Love Coupon by Ainslie Paton

  1. Lily Malone says:

    She is so much my cup of tea, Ainslie Paton. She’s a must-read author for me. She is so darn prolific though that I can’t keep up. I still need to read the third book in her Damaged Goods series, and then there is this new Love Experiment/Love Coupon – I haven’t got to either of those yet. Part of that too is, I save Ainslie Paton reads for when I’ve finished a book or deadline – they are my ‘reward myself’ reads… but I’ve been too busy to ‘reward myself’ at the moment!

    • I feel the same way! I’ve really liked the last few I’ve read from her. It’s hard to keep up with everything….especially when you have so much going on! I have a list of books a mile long that I file under “one day” but to be honest I’d probably need several lifetimes to get through all the books I want to read!

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