Curvy fitness influencer Crystal Chen built her career shattering gym stereotypes and mostly ignoring the trolls. After her recent breakup, she has little stamina left for men, instead finding solace in the gym – her place of power and positivity.
Enter firefighter Scott Ritchie, the smug new gym patron who routinely steals her favourite squat rack. Sparks fly as these ultra-competitive foes battle for gym domination. But after a series of escalating jabs, the last thing they expect is to run into each other at their grandparents’ engagement party.
In the lead up to their grandparents’ wedding, Crystal discovers there’s a soft heart under Scott’s muscled exterior. Bonding over family, fitness, and cheesy pick-up lines, she just might have found her swolemate. But when a photo of them goes viral, savage internet trolls put their budding relationship to the ultimate test of strength.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts an opinions are my own.
Crystal Chen is a curvy fitness influencer, showing the world how it’s not just skinny people who are fit. She loves her life, until one day just as she’s about to film her daily vlog a ridiculously attractive guy comes and steals her prime squat rack, even after she’d left her gear there. Sparks fly, even if Crystal is reluctant to admit it, but she thinks their tensions are limited to the gym, until her Grandma announce’s she’s getting re-married and Scottie is her Grandpa to be’s grandson. They quickly start bonding over fitness, family and cheesy pick-up lines but when Crystal puts a picture of them on her Instagram she is instantly trolled. Crystal has always pushed body positivity and loving yourself, but she is going to have to take a cold hard look at herself and how she truly feels if their relationship is going to survive.
Crystal was such a brilliant pov to read this story from. She’s a feisty and an incredibly fit introvert & I couldn’t help but resonate with her from page one. The journey she goes on through this book is certainly emotional, but it’s also funny and a little spicy in parts & she grows so much as a character by the end. As well as Crystal we have Scottie who *swoon* is a firefighter and starts off as her gym arch nemesis, Tara, Crystal’s sister and permanent roommate after her engagement ended and Mel, Crystal’s friend, fellow influencer and client at the same time. There’s also Crystals family, including her Grandma who is exactly the scheming, matchmaking Grandma we all need in out lives, but the above are the characters who play the biggest part in the story.
Can I just say yay for having a plus size MC who never once tries to loose weight, or make herself look more traditionally pretty. Crystal knows she’s never going to be a size 0 and has come to terms with that, and now she loves helping others come to terms with their size and showing them how fitness doesn’t have to be about loosing weight. As a plus size girl who has numerously been told she can’t be fit because she’s fat, I loved how Crystal is portrayed in this story. Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t infallible. She may preach loving your body, but through the story she comes to realise that it’s impossible to always love yourself, you are going to have days when you look in the mirror and just think eugh, and that’s absolutely fine.
The romance is absolutely swoon worthy and certainly on the spicy side. Crystal starts off determined to hate Scottie and the tension that bled into these scenes was off the charts. There’s a lot of misunderstanding, and Crystal, just coming off a bad breakup isn’t quite ready to jump into something new, so this book is perfect for those of us who love enemies to lovers and slow burn at that. Their scenes had be cackling in parts, especially when they were both testing their self control, and a little hot under the collar in others, but it was such a brilliant journey to read.
I really loved this book. Everything from the characters to the romance was perfect and I will certainly be picking up any others rom-com’s Lea writes!