✨ HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY TO IN A JAM! ✨
Hi friends, I’m so excited to share my review for In a Jam by Kate Canterbary today! When I learned that I was approved for an ARC of In a Jam I literally squealed because I am a big fan of Canterbary’s romances and I’m so happy to say that this one didn’t disappoint!
Special thanks to the author for providing a digital ARC via Grey’s Promo in exchange for an honest review!
In a Jam
Pub Date: 20 September 2022
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When Shay Zucconi’s step-grandmother died, she left Shay a tulip farm—under two conditions.
First, Shay has to move home to the small town of Friendship, Rhode Island. Second—and most problematic since her fiancé just called off the wedding—Shay must be married within one year.
Marriage is the last thing in the world Shay wants but she’ll do anything to save the only real home she’s ever known.
Noah Barden loved Shay Zucconi back in high school. Not that he ever told her. He was too shy, too awkward, too painfully uncool to ask out the beautiful, popular girl.
A lifetime later, Noah is a single dad to his niece and has his hands full running the family business. That old crush is the farthest thing from his mind.
Until Shay returns to their hometown.
⚠️ CONTENT/TRIGGER WARNINGS
absentee parent(s), brief mention of parent death, brief mention of parent chronic illness, mention of incarceration, mention of temporary foster care placement, reference to teenage teasing/bullying (not detailed, not explicit), brief incidence of fat-shaming, living with a neurodivergent child
TL;DR: Listen, maybe I’m just biased because I have a *huge* thing for Canterbary’s growly and gruff but absolute simp heroes who worship the ground their heroines walk on, but, HELLO, DADDY BREAD BAKER! This book was one helluva good time—the banter, the friendships, the romance, and holy granola, the STEAM! 🥵 This also has a plus-sized FMC and I loved the fat rep and body positivity! This small town romance serves marriage of convenience, friends(ish)-to-lovers, the single parent trope and delivers on that great ‘meddling (alright, they’re nosy) community’ vibe that I *love* about small towns. This book has what I’ve started to think of as the ‘chaotic charm’ that embodies Canterbary’s romances and I 1000% loved it!
I have to admit that the chemistry took a little time to sink in for me and I think that’s mostly because the story relied on their close friendship as teenagers as proof of their adult connection but didn’t really show it; at least, not to the point where the intensity of Noah’s feelings made sense. So in a way, the connection came across as very instalove at the beginning. While (IMO) the relationship was never as fully developed as it could’ve been to lay the groundwork for their connection, the combination of their rekindled friendship, their natural (explosive!) chemistry, the forced proximity and Noah’s straight-up simp behaviour towards Shay, had me hoisting the sails and jumping on board this ship pretty quickly! I loved their dynamic and the little wild family they formed together with Gennie.
I honestly can’t remember the last time a rom-com (or really any book) had me cackling as wildly and as often as I did while reading In a Jam, and it’s all thanks to the great characters and the ✨exquisite✨ banter. Where do I even get started with Shay and Noah? Shay is a KG teacher who recently got left at the altar and inherited her step-grandmother’s farm in Friendship, Rhode Island where she spent the last two years of HS before leaving and never looking back. She’s quirky, intelligent, and has a kind heart. Though she’s not without flaws, who is really, I thought she was relatable especially when it came to matters of the heart. I really felt for her but she goes through some great growth with the help of her crew and Noah and we loved to see it!
In contrast to her sunshine personality, Noah was the gruff growly grump who is essentially the popular all-arounder in the community despite hating it. He’s a whip-smart lawyer turned farmer-entrepreneur after moving back to Friendship several years ago and recently became a “single-parent” when he adopted his niece, Gennie. Although he outgrew being the fat kid once he left teenhood behind and is now the physical embodiment of many a person’s wet dream, on the inside he’s still the same shy and awkward introvert who’s not great socially. He wants to hate Shay for shattering his heart and unrequited dreams but the minute he sees her again, he’s a total goner.
WHAT A SIMP AND I LOVED IT! He was so endearing and definitely gave me grumpy Stremmel vibes from The Worst Guy and Linden lumberbear vibes from The Belle and the Beard and honestly, it’s my favourite combination. And don’t even get me started on the sex scenes because the steaminess practically melted my Kindle. 🔥 When it comes to bedroom fantasies, Noah is the filthiest giving minor alpha/dom vibes and the way Shay complements his play was absolute FIRE. He can’t keep his hands off her and the simp spoils the hell out of her and listen, Daddy Bread Baker is fine as hell! 🥵
Other than these two with their incendiary Kindle-melting chemistry, I adored the secondary characters in the story. Gennie is probably the wildest and most hilarious child in a single-parent romance that I’ve ever read. No joke, the shit that came out of this kid’s mouth was absolutely shocking and I LOVED IT. 😂 That said, her outlandish behaviour is in large part due to the emotional traumas she suffered in the past year and my heart broke for her situation. No child should have to go through that but Noah and Shay helped bring her out of her shell with their unwavering love and support. On Shay’s side we have the crew of teacher besties who have the best friendship chemistry and the most fun-loving banter. I especially loved her connection with Jaime—this is the kind of ride-or-die friendship I live for—and I truthfully could’ve read a story just about these two being their unapologetic selves and living their best forking lives! Friend banter is as high up there for me as romantic banter is.
Okay, clearly I wrote a whole ass essay but basically, this romance was so good and I had so much fun reading it and I was super sad when it ended. Canterbary is magic with this combo of grumpy hero+sunshine heroine and has yet to fail in delivering on the banter-filled, endearingly awkward and delightfully angsty (and wildly steamy) romances. Gimme more! 😍
Kate Canterbary doesn’t have it all figured out, but this is what she knows for sure: spicy-ass salsa and tequila solve most problems, living on the ocean–Pacific or Atlantic–is the closest place to perfection, and writing smart, smutty stories is a better than any amount of chocolate. She started out reporting for an indie arts and entertainment newspaper back when people still read newspapers, and she has been writing and surreptitiously interviewing people—be careful sitting down next to her on an airplane—ever since. Kate lives on the water in New England with Mr. Canterbary and the Little Baby Canterbary, and when she isn’t writing sexy architects, she’s scheduling her days around the region’s best food trucks.
Do you have In a Jam on your TBR or does it sound like a romance you’d like to read?