Cover Image: When Sparks Fly

When Sparks Fly

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Hot! Hot! Hot! The sparks certainly do fly between Avery & Declan!  Oh, I really loved this couple.  So perfect!  This is a really wonderful friends to lovers HEA book that needs to be on your TBR list.  Looking forward to more books with London, Harley, Mark and Jerome’s stories-with updates on Avery & Declan of course!
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I usually like friends to lovers romances, but this was a bit boring and repetitive. Declan and Avery lacked chemistry. I didn't like Declan. He sounds like an immature player. He is very posessive and insecure. I didn't like how he treats Avery. The story lacked depth and I wasn't able to connect to the characters. This book wasn't for me.
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I’m a sucker for a good friends turned to lovers story.

Avery and Declan have been best friends since college. They’re about as close as two roommates can be. But when Declan lets Avery down, he feels totally responsible for the accident that could have cost Avery her life. 

While Avery is on the mend, Declan makes it his top priority to care for her. He helps her in every aspect of her life. But while Declan is helping Avery, the two realize that the feelings they have for one another might be more than platonic. 

This was such a sweet story. The way Declan dropped everything to help Avery recover from her accident was touching. He was made out to seem like a tough, frat boy type, but Avery really brought out his soft side.

Avery was so sweet to Declan as well. Working with him through his trust issues and helping him become a better person instead of just making up and jumping back into their relationship. I loved that the author made a point to show how the two worked to rebuild their foundation. 

The ending had me bawling, it was SO sweet. But to be honest, the beginning had me crying too so it was a full circle I guess! It was such a good romance story! 

A special thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read and review this book.
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I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
This is the first book I have read by this author and it might be my last. I found it steamy with lots of angst, but it’s not one I would recommend to others. Declan is a man-whore and doesn’t respect women nor himself. Avery deserves more and shouldn’t be so quick to trust him. All I could think about was - how many STD’s does this guy have. I’m not old fashioned, but the carefree attitude about sex is ruining true love relationships and this story doesn’t help.
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I loved this book- maybe a favorite by the author.  A classic BFF to lovers stuck in force proximity with a twist. The two main characters have great chemistry (they are bff and roommates). Watching them come together and grow individually was really sweet. There was some steam but off the charts.
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Special thanks to Sara at St. Martin's Press for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 2.5 stars rounded up.

I've seen Helena Hunting's books a lot in the book community and the covers always catch my eye and make me want to add them to my TBR but this was the first time I've actually read one of her books. That's why I'm pretty sad to say that the sparks didn't fly for me with this book—that said, I do seem to be in the minority with my thoughts on this!

CW/TW: car accidents (one in the past, one happens in present but mostly off-page), PTSD, parental death, toxic relationship, stalking/phone tracking, cheating (in the past)

Friends-to-lovers is easily one of my favourite tropes in romance and although the relationship ended up being more toxic towards the end, there were some sweet heart-fluttery moments between Avery and Declan throughout the book. I liked how their romance grew organically from the friendship and another trope that I do like is 'forced' proximity and this one definitely served! Despite everything that happened leading up to the accident, Declan was so sweet and considerate when taking care of Avery so I can't deny I felt some smooshy feelings in those moments. As someone who often reads fairly sexy romances, this one was very 'mild' with only one more 'graphic' sex scene that faded to black and the rest were just mentions of intimate moments that already passed or thoughts of a sexual nature. So if you're not into reading graphic sex scenes, you could pick this up.

I really liked that Hunting emphasized the importance of seeking out help by seeing a therapist. I'm seeing this more often in books and I love how reaching out to support for your mental health is being normalised, especially in romances and for both H/H. While I wish the lead up to Declan's therapy was handled better, I'm glad that his seeking support was acknowledged and highlighted.

The concept of Spark House was fun (I'd love to go there!) and that was one area where I actually felt Avery's passion come to life. I also enjoyed how the sisters worked together to keep the place running and it showed how close their bond was and how much they cared for each other. I always love reading about sisters in books and this one was no exception. I did want the sisters to have stronger development but I still liked whenever all three came on the page together and I loved how natural and fun their interactions were!

The biggest issue for me was in the writing. Since I haven't read anything by Hunting before I was honestly a little shocked by how stilted and repetitive it was. The writing made it pretty difficult for me to not only immerse myself in the story but to really connect with the characters, especially because I felt it was a lot of telling and not enough show, which made it hard to feel invested in the romance and the characters' personal growth. There were also some parts that were uncomfortable to read, such as when one of the characters said that this person isn't whole if they have a disability, and it made me cringe! I also thought that Avery's PTSD was handled well at first until it just disappeared and then she was suddenly very okay with driving and being in a car again which didn't feel realistic to me.

In the end, I just didn't feel much of anything towards the characters and their romance except rage for how quickly everything spun out of control in such an over-the-top fashion. I already wasn't a huge fan of how the story started with the incident leading up to the accident, and while the situation mellowed out in the middle, the relationship quickly became toxic (I mean, phone tracking?) and everything that happened after the big blow out felt rushed and unrealistic. Overall, while I'm disappointed that this one was more miss than hit for me, it was still a very fast read and would be a good palate cleanser between genres!
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"When Sparks Fly" was a sweet, funny, emotional roller coaster, where I found myself constantly rooting for the main characters.   While some of the plot points caused major eye rolls, I really enjoyed the friendship/relationship dynamic between Avery and Declan, best friends whose relationship changed following a life altering event for Avery.   I would definitely recommend!
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I've enjoyed other romances by this author, and as I've been on a romance kick as my way of dealing with pandemic hibernation, I grabbed this one though the premise involved car accidents--not usually my idea of a trope to get a romance going. Especially as the heroine's parents had died in a crash, as you learn right up front.

But that is the motivator for her closeness to her two sisters, as well as her fear about driving, and Hunting really makes it work. Avery forces herself to get into the car and drive alone after her roomie and best friend, Declan, blows her off though knowing her tires are crappy and that she is tense on long freeway drives.

Bang! 

It's Declan who wants to take care of Avery after she gets out of the hospital to make up for his thoughtlessness. The story really takes off there, as impatient I-want-to-do-it-myself Avery and Declan, product of horrible parenting and still emotionally a frat boy, have to deal with the reality of casts, meds, and just getting to the bathroom to pee. Which is so very unromantic that it becomes romantic because of the way Declan learns to take care of her.

I really loved watching these two begin coming out of their emotional shells and in trusting the other, become trustworthy, and capable of real love in all its varieties.

The middle did get a tad one-note (when Avery desperately needs the release of sex and Declan is there for it; it felt like all of a sudden there were 586,784 uses of the word 'orgasm' per page, to a rather clinical effect) and the Big Misunderstanding inevitable these days in so many romances kind of threw Declan back into jerk territory, but watching the two talk things through like grownups was a pleasure to watch. Despite those slight bobbles I really enjoyed the book, especially the humor.
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When Sparks Fly

Sparks fly is a friends to lovers, roommate romance that handles some heavier topics while balancing building relationships between the characters. 

It’s a little heavy and sad at times, which isn’t what I usually love in my romance. This book is a true romance as we end up with a HEA, but it’s a sad journey getting there. Our hero, Declan takes it upon himself to take care of his best friend Avery after she was in a pretty rough car accident. He blames himself for the accident since he bailed on her the morning of and otherwise would have been with her. The relationship grows as the two of them come closer to one another, both physically and emotionally during Ave’s healing journey. 

The conflict wasn’t my favourite, but it was resolved in what I felt was a healthy way. The whole time I was like “this better happen” and it did (I was very thankful Declan chose to go see a therapist because his reaction was unhealthy and he definitely needed a way to discuss and work through those emotions), which was a relief. Avery handled the situation in a very mature way, not putting all the blame on Declan but recognizing his reaction also wasn’t appropriate. I still enjoyed it, but I didn’t quite get those butterfly feelings between Declan and Avery. I did, however, really like the way Declan chose to reach back out to Avery at the end. Using the crossword was sweet and brought the story full circle. 

While this wasn’t my favourite, I can see a lot of reading will be drawn to Avery’s healing story and will fall for how caring Declan was!
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Avery Spark knows her roommate is cute. Ok, not just cute. Really, really hot. But she and Declan are friends - and that's for the best. Until, maybe, it isn't. After Declan pushes their friendship to the side for a one-night stand, self-sufficient Avery's life is turned upside down - and Declan and Avery find themselves in a dynamic neither of them ever bargined for. 

I absolutely loved When Sparks Fly! It's charming, emotional, sweet, and steamy. This one's going to be a huge hit! RIYL friends to lovers tropes, YA romance.
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When Sparks Fly (EBook) by Helena Hunting 
This is a friends to lovers story.  Avery Spark and Declan McCormick have been best friends since college and now they are roommates.  After Avery in badly injured in a car accident and Declan feels guilty because he was supposed to be driving her - he offers to take care of her.  There is angst, guilt, anger, laughter, love, tears, jealousy, misunderstanding and lots of steamy stuff to get us to their HEA.
Reasons I enjoyed this book:
Happily Ever After Easy-to-read Unpredictable Romantic Tear-jerker Great world building Page-turner Entertaining Funny Wonderful characters Steamy
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WOW!!! Where are all of the glowing reviews for this incredible book? I loved it so much! The two main characters were so feisty and believable and had incredibly hot chemistry together. But, this was not just a fluffy romance. It deals with some heavy topics in a really sensitive way, like PTSD and anxiety. This is easily my favorite romance that I have read this year and I have consumed a LOT of romance books. Man, this was an absolute delight and I really enjoyed it. Read it, read it, read it!!!
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Lovely novel - liked the hero and heroine.  Although a bit long in parts, I thought it was a fun contemporary romance. I would read other books by this author.

This book was provided free via NetGalley.
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What might be most frustrating about this novel, is how wasted its potential is! As someone who has read (literally) hundreds of romance novels, it sometimes feels that all the tropes on how 2 characters go from friends to lovers are repetitive and thus unmemorable. However, Avery and Declan have a GREAT trope that is totally unique AND believable. Where it falls flat is the lack of connection I felt between the two of them. These 2 have known each other for years and apparently have been hiding their feelings for just as long but I could have easily believed that they started living together 3 months ago and now want to sleep together. The story really could have benefited either from flashbacks in the past, or more of insight of how their relationship grew. I think this would have been more beneficial than Declan's POV chapters.
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Loved this story, but felt like the ending was sped up. For a great romance I don't mind reading a bit about how being apart was. I didn't even feel like I knew WHERE Avery went when she moved out?? Felt rushed at the ending, would love to give it more stars if I felt it hadn't just been swept up in a quick ending.
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While I am a huge fan of the friends to lovers trope, I don't think this narrative and pair of characters delivered on that promise. The exposition of the story happens too quickly, the only evidence I have that the two main characters who happen to be opposite sex roommates are also best friends is the fact that the female character, Avery, keeps telling us so. There is A LOT of telling in this book and very little showing. She tells us they are best friends since college but he, Declan, doesn't ACT like a best friend at all. In a fit of jealousy he completely abandons his best friend who has to make a long road trip in terrible weather alone -- which leads to a car accident that leaves Avery immobile. Declan feels absolutely terribly and awfully guilty and in taking care of her every need, kind of falls in love with her? The problem was that I never really believed these two were friends in the first place and Declan is immature, insensitive and too much of a douchebag to ever be likable throughout the whole novel. And it just gets worse from there. There's insecurity that breeds as jealousy and he jumps to conclusions, doesn't let her explain herself, etc. I mean, for me, all I ask in a romance novel is that the male love interest be someone that I can root for, someone I could love or want the female lead to end up with -- I was yelling RUN AVERY RUN at my kindle every time Declan showed his "playboy" side. It wasn't attractive. 

I'm giving this two stars because maybe there is an audience for this type of novel, but I am not it. I don't know if I will be reading Helena Hunting ever again either because she used outdated and unnatural phrases in her characters' inner thoughts and dialogue like: morning nookie. What adult woman refers to sex as nookie, IN HER OWN HEAD?
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Avery is a very strong character and I loved that about her.  Declan is a sweet guy, and I loved that about him.  I was surprised to read that family and friends had MUCH opinions about Avery’s and Declan’s really close, tight friendship…and never said a word.  Never expressed an opinion.  That was a bit odd for me.

Overall, I loved their close relationship and then how it changes, and grows, after Avery’s accident.  They each have defining events in their pasts (both long ago and recent) to personally work thru but reading about them growing closer was great.  At times, there was a lot of angst that I could have done without, but overall, I enjoyed the read.  And their HEA turns out to be hard fought and hard won.
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Overall an enjoyable read. Cute and a little frustrating at times, oh well isn’t life this way nowadays.  Family issues and terrible events are what we are used to. We can relate real quick. We can forgive or forget. Our decisions writes our story.
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Helena Hunting has taken an intriguing premise, and turned it into an engaging, touching story of romantic love built on a strong foundation of friendship and shared history. Avery and Declan became fast friends in college, and developed a tight knit circle of friends. Both Avery and Declan endured trauma and tragedy early in their lives. Declan is a loyal friend, but emotionally closed off to the possibility of a meaningful commitment to a woman, and Avery, who loves her sisters, her friends, and her career, just isn't all that motivated to find "the one." 

Here's what makes this book a real standout for me. First, the entire cast of characters are multi-faceted, flawed, loveable, and funny too. There is a genuine, palpable connection between Avery and her sisters, and Declan and everyone. He is considerate and thoughtful (most of the time! There were two times in the story that I wanted to throttle him in the head - see next paragraph), and takes care of those around him. It's rare that characters are so well-developed that I feel like Spark House and Avery and Declan's condo are real places where we could go to hang out with them. 

Declan makes two major missteps, and man, I was ANGRY with him. As the story progresses, we gain a better understanding of why he emotionally isolates, and then all I felt was compassion for him, but prepare yourselves. You'll likely want to yell and cuss at him! 

I thoroughly  enjoyed the realistic description of the tender care and thoughtfulness that Declan provides while helping Avery rehab, and how even when frustration bubbles over, one can see that they truly love one another. The journey of observing them find their way to happily ever after is rich, sometimes very sexy, and totally enjoyable.
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This was your typical romance book. I thought it was a bit draggy in the middle and I could have done without the self satisfying comments. Over all it was an enjoyable book.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy
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