Book Review: An Unexpected Kind of Love by Hayden Stone (ARC)

First, let me just tell you that I devoured this book in one sitting after receiving a copy yesterday. It’s that engaging and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that this is also the debut work of the author! Yay!

This story is basically the gay Notting Hill, and who doesn’t love Notting Hill? I mean, tell me, who doesn’t love Notting Hill??! Right? We got the hipster, anti-social, struggling bookstore owner Aubrey Barnes meeting a C-list American actor Blake Sinclair who’s filming in Soho, and we have a crew of crazy and chaotic side characters!

I loved the series of meet-cute between Aubrey and Blake. There was immediate chemistry between them. The first half of the story was quite engaging and with the right pacing as well. It was told through Aubrey’s perspective only, and I really liked his dry sense of humor, his banter with his friends, and just the way he interacts with Blake. It was just adorable.

Aside from our main characters, I really enjoyed Lily, who’s apparently Aubrey’s best friend and confidante. She’s just very interesting and mysterious at the same time. I’d definitely read a book about her if there’s one in the future.

If I were to nitpick the story, I’d say the scene at the tube station didn’t quite work for me. I won’ spoil it, but the setting of this book is very Gen-Z, right? We have social media, and almost everybody has cellphones, so it’s weird that Blake didn’t even think about the repercussions of his gesture and the way he reacted after it came out; I’m like – surely, he knew that this would come out. Also, the grand romantic gesture of Aubrey flying to New York was a bit cliché, but I love cliché, so that was okay. After that, the whole thing felt just a wee bit rushed. It’s still very much enjoyable, but I wished we’ve gotten more before the time skip in the epilogue.

Overall, this was a very feel-good romance. It has solid characters, the story was very engaging, and it has a happy ending, so I’m one happy bookworm!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Expected publication: August 9th 2021 by Entangled Embrace

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Pre-order your copy on the link below:

About Hayden Stone
More animal than mineral, Hayden Stone is a writer of queer fiction, especially with kissing. He currently lives in Victoria, Canada, and has previously lived in Vancouver, Canada and London, UK. He knows which is the business end of a trowel, the horror of the wrong kind of leaves on the track delaying trains, and a bit about ancient ruins. Hayden likes strong coffee and is owned by two cats.

Pronouns: he/him

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