I think we can all agree that romance novels are having a bit of a moment right now, and while a lot of the titles that I see promoted in bookstores and online are American, I’m of course keen to check out some sweet romance books by Aussie writers. When I spotted Jodi McAlister’s Here for the Right Reasons on social media in the lead up to its release it went straight on my tbr. It sounded absolutely adorable, and while I don’t watch the Bachelor myself I am certainly no stranger to reality tv and love anything that offers a peek behind the ‘reality’ story-telling curtain – I’m so fascinated by how these sorts of shows create their narratives.
You can check out the synopsis of Here for the Right Reasons below, and read on for my review of this fabulous book (I loved it!).
What is Here for the Right Reasons about?
When Cece James agrees to be cast as a ‘Juliet’ on the next season of the hit television show Marry Me, Juliet, it’s certainly not for the right reasons. She’s knee deep in debt and desperate for the associated paycheck. The last thing on her mind is the hunky ‘Romeo’ waiting for her at the end of the gravel driveway.
But Dylan Jayasinghe Mellor isn’t your usual fame-hungry TV star. An Olympic gold medallist with calloused hands, kind eyes and a propensity for panic attacks, it turns out he’s not here for the right reasons either. As spokesperson for a men’s mental health foundation, and the franchise’s first non-white male lead, Dylan’s got a charity to plug and something to prove.
When Cece gets eliminated on the first night, it seems like her and Dylan’s awkward first meeting will be their last conversation. But when the TV set is shut down unexpectedly, Cece and Dylan suddenly get a little more time together than they’d expected.
My review of Here for the Right Reasons by Jodi McAlister
Like I said above, I loved this one! I’ve had a little bit of trouble getting into books lately, but I picked up Here for the Right Reasons on a Sunday morning and was suddenly over halfway though – always a sign that the voice and pace is working for me.
I think this might be the first book I’ve read that features the pandemic as major part of the plot, and I thought it worked so perfectly to create a ‘forced proximity’ situation. Here for the Right Reasons is McAlister’s first adult romance novel, and I loved the way that she managed to keep the story relatively light and fun, while at the same time tackling some more serious themes like mental health, racism, the foster system, and financial stress.
In terms of the actual romance, I loved seeing the relationship develop between Cece and Dylan. I thought it felt quite natural, considering the completely weird situation they were. There isn’t a lot of spice on the page, but I didn’t think that stopped the book from being swoon-worthy.
I found this one heart-warming throughout, and there’s a little hook at the end that leads into McAlister’s next novel (Can I Steal You for a Second, due out in the first half of 2023) that I thought was absolutely delightful.
I absolutely recommend this one to romance fans, especially if you’re looking for something with an Aussie feel.
Please let me know in the comments if you’re planning to pick this one up – or even better if you’ve read it let me know what you thought (I need more people to talk with about that perfect ending!)
Here for the Right Reasons by Jodi McAlister
Out now from Simon and Schuster
Source: I originally received a free copy eCopy from Simon and Schuster (via Netgalley) for review (thank you!) – however I couldn’t resist buying myself a physical copy to read (who could say no to that perfect cover?!).
Category: Aussie contemporary romance fiction