Jul 25 2017 12:00pm

First Look: Cathy Yardley’s One True Pairing (July 25, 2017)

One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley

Cathy Yardley
One True Pairing (Fandom Hearts #2)
Swerve / July 25, 2017 / $3.99 digital

One True Pairing is set at the beginning of a fan convention. Our hero, Jake, is one of the stars of the show, although he doesn't get as much hype as his costars. Our heroine, Hailey, is a girl who is tough as nails, a pocket rocket who is doing her best to not get bowled over by the movie star, and holding her own.In fact she knocks him on his ass, really. She's described as a “gothabilly bookworm-slash-barista” - and she's also a casino dealer, so we've got a lot going on. They decide to stage a fake relationship in a symbiotic deal, and of course nothing goes as planned.

I really liked that Jake was a super star who was not only happy with, but wanted “just enough.” He wasn't a “more more more” grasping type. He's doing quite well in his field, and refuses to let work consume him. It was unexpectedly refreshing, and just really nice. He's your normal—not normal—but really normal hero. Basically, he's abnormal because he's well adjusted, and it's delightful. 

It might seem a little silly, but one thing I think that Cathy Yardley did incredibly well was describe the convention atmosphere and its attendees. You really got the feel of being there, and from both sides too. The book actually wasn't what I was expecting, based on the blurb, but I didn't mind that. Hailey isn't really a “home town girl” - she grew up in LA, but she has chosen to settle down in a small[er] town outside of Seattle. Although she's not exactly in suburbia if it's an area with a number of hotels, large enough to all host conventions that are sold out.

I really liked things once Jake and Hailey truly got together. The group of friends made for a wonderful secondary cast. My favorite might be the scary artist yet tiny adorable friend Kyla, and the healthy respect that Jake gives her. While of course saving the bookstore is Hailey's initial, and overarching motivation, it definitely isn't the sole reason, and I found her harping on that (that she's only only hanging out with Jake for the bookstore) to be disingenuous.) I think we all know that was never the case and never going to be the case though, so that's easy enough to move past. 

I did have an issue with how both characters seemed to overreact for the first half or so of the book. It was clear the hero or heroine didn't mean something, but the other would shoot through the roof. (Usually, Hailey, unfortunately. I also felt a number of the juxtapositions used to describe her didn't really help things along.) That, and a plethora of “pop culture” references, which so quickly get are outdated, if not lost. 

However, Jake balances her nicely. He's a Hollywood star of a cult favorite show, on the verge of a breakout. His father is Hollywood royalty, but they've never really had a relationship. (Jake is illegitimate and his dad didn't know about him until Jake became an actor.) Jake is so down to earth, with a wry sense of humor, you just can't help but like him. Then there's the fact that he's gorgeous and self effacing ... who wouldn't like him? The thing is though, he's definitely not perfect either, which helps keep him interesting. (I had a real problem with him punching someone in a scene - not so much for him doing it, but him doing it for no real or good reason, and worse Hailey's reaction to it. No. Don't be impressed or attracted to or by gratuitous violence.)

Jake is the one who really throws himself out there, time and again, and you have to admire him for that. He's so into the moment though, he can sometimes be thoughtless. He isn't doing it intentionally or maliciously, he's just that excitable. It's who he is - and he's young. Although he's also fed up with the plastic people he's had to endure on the Hollywood scene. He definitely knows he's been lucky, and appreciates what he has. He also works for it, and is willing to work for it. You have to admire that. Hailey and Jake complement each other so nicely.

Hailey knows who she is, and makes no apology for it. However, what keeps her from being flat and static in One True Pairing is the fact that she has to confront something that is both her biggest flaw and her biggest [asset] - her devotion to the family she's created. And how she lets it hold her back from living her life. 

One True Pairing is a fantastic fun summer read, with just enough substance to give it bite.


Learn more about or order a copy of One True Pairing by Cathy Yardley, available now: 

Buy at Amazon

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H&H Editor Picks:

Cathy Yardley Excerpt: One True Pairing

Cathy Yardley’s Love Letter to Fandom Continues with New Level Up Look

July 2017 Romance Novels New Releases Shopping List


Lime Cello, http://tartsweet.com - A Little Bit Tart, A Little Bit Sweet

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
This does sound like a fun read! Thanks for the First Look.
Lime Cello
2. Limecello
@Kareni - I hope you enjoy it! I've had Level Up in my TBR for quite some time and I know people ADORED that, so I need to read it. Just still on my fantasy romance kick though. :)
3. Kareni
Well, I certainly enjoyed Level Up, so odds are I'll like it. Enjoy your fantasy reading kick!
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