Cover Image: Take Me Home

Take Me Home

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Member Reviews

Well this book certainly took me and my emotions on a ride. I was so sucked into Hazel and Ash’s lives that the world ceased to exist until the book was finished. Their relationship was enough to get my heart invested but the added familial pressures they both faced put my heart in a vice, especially poor Hazel. Enemies to loves, just one bed, and all kinds of romantic goodness with added emotional heft, just one book put Melanie Sweeney on my must read authors list.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I'm genuinely surprised that this is Melanie Sweeney's debut — this is one of the best contemporary romances I've read in recent memory, and while it does deal with some heavier subjects (for instance, Ash's father has been diagnosed with MS and is dealing with early symptoms), the rivals-to-lovers dynamic between Ash and Hazel is brimming with so much tension from the beginning that it's a wonder my Kindle didn't catch on fire. From the early road trip elements (including an only-one-bed + power outage scenario) to what happens when you're forced to go back to your hometown and navigate all your new, transforming feelings for someone you thought you couldn't stand, <i>Take Me Home</i> is full of hilarity and heartbreak in equal measure. You'll definitely be rooting for these two to make it work.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this edition from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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This debut novel starts out as a road trip and then evolves into something much more. Hazel Elliot and Ash Campbell are from the same small town in Texas. They knew each other in high school when Hazel dated Ash’s best friend, Justin. Hazel felt badly mislead and used by Justin and wants nothing to do with him or his friend.

Hazel and Ash wind up at the same college, but have little interaction until Hazel is in grad school and she finds a refuge in an off-campus coffee shop where Ash works part-time. They start to get to know each other when Ash needs a ride home for the holidays and Hazel is reluctantly going home for the first time in years to attend her dad’s wedding.

Prickly is an understatement regarding Hazel. She gets along by saying everything is fine and accepting less than she deserves from her family and colleagues, and then shutting herself off from any emotional investment in relationships. Anytime she feels a relationship might go south, she withdraws and doesn't look back. Essentially, she feels that all relationships are temporary.

Ash, on the other hand, is a true caretaker. He is kind and supportive of both his family and Hazel, whom he has quietly had a crush on since high school. Ash shows up for Hazel multiple times on their road trip and once they are back in their home town.

While traveling and spending time back in their small town, Ash and Hazel navigate both their growing attraction, and a number of family issues, including Ash’s seriously ill father and Hazel’s dad’s history of emotional detachment.

#TakeMeHome is an enjoyable first novel that is often touching, and sometimes funny, detailing how Ash and Hazel deal with these challenges while trying to reach out and build a true relationship together.

Thanks to #NetGalley and Penguin Group of @PutnamBooks for the ARC.

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An absolute delight. A slow burn romance that’s also surprisingly deep. Ash is a delicious cinnamon roll and Hazel is complex and delicious. I thought Taylor Swift had the monopoly on red scarves… not so 😏

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I would like to thank Net Galley and Penguin Group for the opportunity to read this as an ARC. This is an interesting book, a rom com with some nice twists. Hazel and Ash knew each other in High School, and went to the same college.But Hazel has broken up with her High School boyfriend-Ash's best friend, and she wants nothing to do with Ash as well.Fast forward 4 years later, Hazel has to go back to her home town for the first time in years, and Ash needs a ride home for Christmas. It starts as the ride share from hell, and navigates the twists and turns of hate, friendship and romance. It is an interesting premise, and the characters are engaging and appealing. There are a few areas that bothered me. There are a lot of characters, family, friends and acquaintances of Hazel and Ash populate the landscape, to the point that when a character we met in an early chapter reappears, I was hard pressed to remember who they were. There is a lot of family angst on both sides, and it was a bit hard to navigate at times. All in all , however, it was a fun, well written book. book. This is Melanie Sweeney's first novel, and I look forward to her next one.

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If you like authors like Emily Henry and Carley Fortune, you’ll love this debut novel from Melanie Sweeney. It’s a sweet story about relationships with friends, family, romantic partners and also yourself. This book made me laugh and cry and I will be looking forward reading more from this new author.
4.5 ⭐️
2.5🌶️

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***Thank you to NetGalley, Putnam Books, and author Melanie Sweeney for this ARC.***

My Grade: B ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ A touching, funny, and very romantic read. So many of my favorite book tropes in one story!

Spice Level: 🌶️🌶️🌶️🌶️ out of 5. Nicely steamy without being too pornographic.

TW/CW:
-Adult mental health issues mainly caused by childhood abandonment and trauma.
-The illness of a parent,

Some of the Tropes used:
-Enemies (light) to Lovers,
-Mini Road Trip with a hilarious diner.
-He falls first
-Forced proximity
-One bed.
-Christmas holiday time.

The Good:
-The trope "He Falls First" is one of my favorites, and the character of Ash doesn't disappoint.
-Having the dual 3rd person POV really helps add to the story.
-Hazel and Ash have great banter and amazing chemistry. I loved how they threw it at each other.
-Gorgeous slow burn.
-The diner scene had me laughing so hard! I wonder if it really exists?

The Meh:
-The 3rd act breakup. It made it hard to feel sorry or have any compassion for Hazel with how cruel she was to Ash. He deserved better.
-I wish there had been more mental health representation and possibly have Hazel and Ash acknowledge that they need to hit up a therapist.
-Issues with parental units resolved too easily.

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Take Me Home is a sweet and sometimes angsty debut novel by Melanie Sweeney. I love the main characters and the family relationships that they both have to sort out. A few open-door chapters, if that's your preference. I love the cover!

Thank you, NetGalley and Putnam Books for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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“How could he make her believe he’d never hated her without admitting that, actually, he’d been kind of in love with her? “

“Just two things she’d needed from him today: to show up when he said he would and to make a damn gingerbread house.”

“Why would I suddenly not want you around? Haven’t I come every time you’ve asked me to? Haven’t I told you repeatedly that I want to be around you?”

“You’re living like you expect the sky to fall. And like you’re the only one who could hold it up.”

“Why was it so hard to love me?”

“Then take me home.”

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Oh my goshhhh, this book was everything! It actually helped get me out of a reading slump. I’ve been trying to finish up some of my ARC backlog, so I decided Take Me Home would be my next read, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint.

Hazel is getting her Ph.D., and there’s only one place she can study where her Professor's students won’t bother her. The only bad thing about it is that Ash, her high school ex-bf’s best friend, is a barista at this particular café and makes it his personal mission to bother her by stealing the coveted green chair by the only outlet any chance he gets. When Ash’s car breaks down, and suddenly his only way home for Christmas is if Hazel gives him a ride, she agrees on the one condition that nothing between them can change, or the café and the green chair are hers, for good. They encounter some challenges back home in Lockett Prairie, ultimately making them befriend one another. Hazel and Ash’s relationship progresses while they get to know each other and change what they once thought they knew about the other.

Ash Campbell is the ultimate cinnamon roll MMC. Everything he does and says is swoon-worthy. Hazel has some unresolved family drama to deal with, which makes her journey home emotional, but Ash is there to help her every step of the way despite everything he is dealing with. I loved how their relationship unfolded and how they gained the courage to let each other in. Dealing with parental relationships is a whole other animal on top of trying to navigate your love life, so it warmed my heart to see Hazel come around to letting her dad in and tell him everything she was feeling about his upcoming nuptials.

This was truly such a lovely story that had me hooked from page one on! An easy 5 stars for me!

Add this to your TBR if you love frenemies to lovers, holiday romance, only one bed, and found family tropes!

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super cozy romance! definitely not a road trip story though considering the ride home takes like two chapters & the rest of the story is the two characters connecting in their hometown/dealing with their family dynamics. also was confusing to know that the characters are supposed to be 23 & they seemed so much older emotionally. i do wish this novel had been published before the holidays considering that’s when the story takes place, but that’s ok. nonetheless it was still enjoyable. looking forward to see what this author does next!
thank you to netgalley & g.p putnam’s sons for this arc !!

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TAKE ME HOME (Pub 07.09) is a solid, light lift rom-com debut from Melanie Sweeney. Thank you to Putnam Books and NetGalley for the early copy.

PAST: Hazel Elliot & Ash Campbell knew each other from their small-town high school.
PRESENT: Enemies in the same college town who regularly fight over the best coffee shop chair.
TODAY: Hazel reluctantly decides to give Ash a ride to their town for the holiday break.


Add to your TBR if you like:
College aged characters (20's)
Forced proximity.
He falls first & harder.
Roadtrip
Small town
Family dynamics
Dual POV
Medium angst

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After reading the summary for this book, I was sold! Forced proximity, enemies-to-lovers… yes!! The execution of the story though was lacking. Most of the summary refers to the roadtrip itself, but that was so rushed and brushed over in the actual story. It felt like a bait & switch. The dynamics of Hazel & Ash’s family lives really stole the show - pushing their romance to the back burner. For the longest time, it was hard to understand why Ash had spent years pining over Hazel when she was such an unlikeable character. I did enjoy the dual POV aspects of this book though. If it was just Hazel narrating the entire book, I’m not sure I could’ve made it through.

It was a cute story that I had a hard time putting down, but it wasn’t what I expected at all, which was disappointing in a way. This isn’t on the author though. I do think it’s a solid debut, but the book summary is a bit misleading.

3.5 ⭐️ rounded up

Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for the opportunity to read this digital ARC. All opinions expressed are my own.

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A joyful romcom that encapsulates the small-town feel with the big-time romance. Will definitely be revisiting this one in the future!

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Take Me Home" is a road trip romp that'll make you want to buckle up and hit the open road! Hazel and Ash's frenemies-to-lovers journey is filled with witty banter, unexpected detours, and enough sparks to ignite a Texas barbeque. With road trip rules like no bad music and no falling in love, you know it's going to be a wild ride. Four stars for a heartwarming tale that proves sometimes the best destinations are found along the way. So hop in, turn up the tunes, and enjoy the ride with Hazel and Ash!
Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

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I will always enjoy an enemies to lovers trope. The angst wasn't too much, and I found myself getting attached to the characters. The dynamic between the MCs was enjoyable. The middle of the book left me a little underwhelemed, but not enough so that I found myself wanting to give up on the story all together. For being my first Melanie Sweeney read, this was a solid book for me and I would suggest it to friends who also love a good enemies to lovers, forced proxy moment.

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"Take Me Home" starts with a promising premise—a road trip, old flames, and the potential for rekindled love. However, as the story progresses, it fails to deliver on its initial charm. The characters, particularly Hazel, feel underdeveloped and, at times, frustratingly immature. Hazel's refusal to communicate effectively with those around her leads to predictable and preventable conflicts, making it difficult to sympathize with her journey.

While initially engaging, the romance between Hazel and Ash loses its spark early on, as the tension dissipates quickly after they confess their feelings. This premature resolution robs the story of the slow burn many readers crave in a romance novel. The focus on familial issues also detracts from the central relationship, leaving the reader wanting more depth and intimacy between the main characters.

Despite its shortcomings, "Take Me Home" may still appeal to readers looking for a light, easy read. The familiar trope of childhood enemies turning into romantic interests is present but lacks the depth and complexity to elevate it to a more satisfying conclusion. Overall, "Take Me Home" falls short of its potential, failing to engage the reader in its characters or their journey fully.

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Great story, great banter. Really had me rooting for both of them from the beginning. Thanks to the publisher for the advanced copy all opinions are my own

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If you like your romance with a heaping helping of feels, then this one's for you. Now in college, Hazel and Ash have known each other since high school, but they also each have a lot of secrets. When Ash needs a ride home for the holidays, he road trips with Hazel back to their hometown. Once there, they are each navigating some family "stuff" that's there. What I liked about this one was that Ash and Hazel are messy, and that's what drew me in. They're still figuring things out (and so are the people around them), and things don't just go according to plan, so it kept me reading to see how things would end up. Thanks to NetGalley for the early look at this July 2024 release!

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The concept for this book looked very good but sadly the execution didn’t work for me.

I was having a great time with this when I started reading. I really enjoyed the first 1/3 or so of the book and was very pleasantly surprised at the dual POV. However, things started going downhill around when Ash and Hazel first kissed, and I got even more bored after Ash told Hazel he was into her FAR too early into the plot. All of the pining and tension that had made me enjoy this in the first place was instantly gone. I’m a slowburn girl at heart so I like my couples to get together around 80% of the way through at the minimum, and this was nowhere close to that.

I just wasn’t a huge fan of Hazel. She did everything in her power to not communicate with people then acted shocked at the consequences of her own actions. I feel like I’m more tolerant of miscommunication in romcoms than most people, yet I hated this. I kind of understood where she was coming from with the third act break up but it just felt really immature.

This book just wasn’t really for me. If you don’t mind the stuff I talked about in the review then still go for it, but I won’t be actively recommending it.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book.

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