Title: Straight Up Love
Series: Boys of Jackson Harbor #2
Author: Lexi Ryan
Edition/Pages: Paperback, 351 pages
Jake has been in love with his best friend Ava for years. But their relationship has been stuck at strictly platonic until Ava drunkly requests his help in getting pregnant. Jake takes this as his last chance to win Ava’s heart. So he agrees to help – with the caveat that the do it “the old fashioned way”. As things heat up between them, it becomes apparent that their relationship won’t come out of this unchanged.
➸ POV: 1st Person from Eva & Jake’s POVs
➸ Ava McKinley: 30, Divorced, Wants to have a baby, Jake’s best friend since childhood
➸ Jake Jackson: 30, Owns/Runs Jackson Brews bar, Secretly in love with Ava, Friend-zoned
➸ Content Warnings: Infertility, Divorce, Cheating, Grief, Death of a loved one, Cancer
I still absolutely adore this series. Honestly I want to marry the entire Jackson family – I love their dynamic and banter. These books are so easy to get wrapped up in. Their family dynamics, friendships, angst, tumultuous relationships, new love, lots of steaminess – it’s just the whole package.
However, I didn’t love this one quite as much as the last book. There were definitely parts of this I absolutely adored – the chemistry between Ava and Jake was 👌 I was living for it. My favorite parts were when Jake was trying to bait Ava into admitting her attraction *fans self* The tension was palpable!
Honestly I wish there had been more of it!
My main hangup on this was actually just a personal preference for the friends to lovers trope. This was very one sided for the majority of the book and I prefer when both parties have been secretly pining for the other. Ava was extremely reluctant to admit to even the reader that she had feelings beyond friendship for Jake.
I also didn’t particularly care for the addition of Molly, Ava’s seemingly perfect stepsister… It felt like one too many things in this book. We had the baby plot, the romance plot, the family drama plot, the infidelity plot… It was so much back and forth that by the time Molly was thrown in I was over the seemingly never-ending wave of conflicts. I will say though – in hindsight, I’m extremely curious to learn how the Molly plot plays out in upcoming books! So while I might not have loved all the particular drama aspects in here specifically, they did build anticipation for upcoming books!
Overall this was a really good time. I loved being back with these characters (finally! (a year later…)) and Lexi Ryan writes such amazing character chemistry and tension. The epilogue was really sweet and already has me itching to jump into book 3!