Fool Me Once By Ashley Winstead

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Fool Me Once: A Novel By Ashley Winstead

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Book/Novel Author: Ashley Winstead

Book/Novel Title: Fool Me Once

 

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Summary

“A simmering slow burn bursting with banter… This is a romance for anyone who’s ever felt too messy to be loved.”—ROSIE DANAN, author of The RoommateIn this fierce and funny battle of the exes, Ashley Winstead’s Fool Me Once explores the chaos of wanting something you used to have. Lee Stone is a twenty-first-century woman: she kicks butt at her job as a communications director at a women-run electric car company (that’s better than Tesla, thank you), and after work she is “Stoner,” drinking guys under the table and never letting any of them get too comfortable in her bed… That’s because Lee’s learned one big lesson: never trust love. Four major heartbreaks set her straight, from her father cheating on her mom all the way to Ben Laderman in grad school—who wasn’t actually cheating, but she could have sworn he was, so she reciprocated in kind. Then Ben shows up five years later, working as a policy expert for the most liberal governor in Texas history, just as Lee is trying to get a clean energy bill rolling. Things get complicated—and competitive—as Lee and Ben are forced to work together. Tension builds just as old sparks reignite, fanning the flames for a romantic dustup the size of Texas.
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Ashley Winstead has quickly become an auto-buy author for me. I loved IMDIHAK, and it was my favorite read so far this year…until Fool Me Once.I loved both Ben and Lee, and it made my heart ache in the best way. Second chance romance is probably my favorite trope anyway, but the dialogue between the two MCs was so heart wrenching and beautiful, I just couldn’t get enough.I stayed up all night reading, and immediately went back through afterwards to reread my favorite parts. I know I will be rereading the whole book again soon, but until then it will continue to live rent free in my head.
This would have been a much better book if the author hadn’t felt the need to express her devisive and biased political opinions on almost every page (and that was just the first few pages of the book). It didn’t get any better. It was a very disappointing waste of my time.
The protagonist is a 29 year old woman that acts like a 15 year old girl. She’s unprofessional, impulsive, petty, self-righteous and the list goes on. She supposedly feels guilt over the death of someone she never mended fences with, yet doesn’t think she needs to change. I’m assuming at some point in the book, she finally grows up and learns to act like an adult. However, I can’t fathom a storyline that would make me change my mind about hating her and deserving the love interest.
I really enjoyed this jump to political romance for Ashley Winstead. This book was interesting and hooked me from the beginning. It was smart, witty, and thought-provoking all at the same time.The political goals of the two main characters really drove the story. Lee is a workaholic and has some self-sabotaging tendencies that made me cringe, but her growth throughout the story kept me invested. Ben Laderman is such a sweet hero. He just seems like one of your friend’s boyfriends that you can’t help but adore. When Lee, a.k.a. Stoner, is out pretty consistently making bad choices (Queen of the work hard, play hard movement amongst her friends), Ben can’t help but be a support for her to lean on. His belief in her, in her political aspirations, her goals and her dreams, would make any girl feel like she could do ANYTHING with him by her side.I typically dislike story lines with cheating plots, even when the cheating was in the past. However, I thought this second chance romance really addressed some of the pain, heartbreak, tension, and lack of trust between the characters, and those moments of healing were powerful in this story.Some really big pros from this book:- Side characters: I loved both Lee’s sister and her friend group. They helped me see that Lee was flawed, yet still very lovable.- Hard conversations: I ALWAYS appreciate an author that isn’t afraid to address some hard truths. Lee and Ben’s path from lovers to exes to colleagues to friends to more was filled with all of the important conversations. They addressed things (mostly the mature Ben did anyways) and they took the space and time to hear from each other with respect and love that is necessary for all healthy relationships to work through. We need more examples like this in romance – realistic, hard, but beautiful in the end.- A strong, girl power team that doesn’t let THE MAN stop them. I don’t usually love politically focused novels (we have enough of that stuff in the real world, and I read to escape). THAT BEING SAID, I adored the GIRL POWER you felt with Lee’s company. They were literally trying to take down THE MAN (or, in their case, the MEN) standing in their way. They didn’t let being female stop them. I’m so grateful for examples of this in literature. I’m sad we’re still fighting for these small gains, but we can open the eyes of others to change the world through books like Ashley’s!I was not anticipating how this book ended, and that was a pleasant surprise!This book was a solid 4-star read for me!Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC of this book! These are my honest thoughts!
Fool Me Once is a quirky and fun read. Lee Stone is smart, strong, and funny. She also has her issues which we see come out during the story. While this was a fun read for me, it had some cringe moments. It made me say “Girl what are you doing?!” more than once. I think that is what makes Lee relatable. The other characters are not perfect and some are not likable at all. The energy between Lee and Ben is great. The playful banter between the two had me laughing. I kept saying “Just kiss already!”This is not my normal kind of read and I’m glad I took a chance on it! It was fun along with some heartfelt moments that caused me to tear up. This is a new to me author and I will be looking into her other book. If you love fun quirky romance reads, I highly recommend you check this book out! I give it 4 stars.

 

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