New Release Blitz & Review:
With a Twist by Staci Hart
BookCrushin is happy to participate in the new release blitz for With a Twist by Staci Hart! In this post you will find all the book information, an excerpt as well as my review.
With a Twist by Staci Hart
Category: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
Publication: July 12th, 2015
Love is somewhere near the bottom of Lily Thomas’ list of life goals, right next to competitive eating and underwater cave diving. She’s spent six years pirouetting and pliéing her way up the ranks of the New York Ballet with her eye on the prize and love in the back seat. But now that Blane Baker — Lily’s long time crush — is finally single, she’ll throw her rules out the window without thinking twice.
Reality with Blane isn’t as epic as the fantasy she imagined, and the truth sends her spinning straight into the arms of the man she never knew she’d always wanted.
West Williams has been friends with Lily since the day she moved into their building and he saved her armoire from a swift, sudden death by staircase. Their friendship has always been easy, the boundaries clearly defined. With neither of them willing to risk their relationship, they’ve drifted happily through the years as companions, never considering more.
That is, until they do. And that realization changes everything.
With a Twist by Staci Hart is advertised as a friends-to-lovers contemporary romance and, while I am not generally a fan of contemporary romance, I was intrigued enough by the description to want to give it a chance.
The story is told from the point of view of Lily, a twenty-something professional ballet dancer, and West, a twenty-something TA with a man-bun, a sexy beard, and a dream of being accepted into Columbia’s doctoral program. West and Lily are neighbors, best friends, and the center of a group of friends who meet regularly at Habits, the bar where Lily’s roomie/best friend, Rose, bartends. Think of it as a modern day Cheers. Much of the action in the novel takes place at Habits.
Lily has been in love for years with Blane, a fellow dancer in the ballet company; Blane has always been unavailable, up until the beginning of the book, when Blane is inserting himself into Lily’s life. Literally.
I liked With a Twist, but I didn’t love it. My main issue with the book is that I didn’t connect with most of the characters. In my opinion, Lily was very shallow throughout the entire book; she “fell in love” with Blane when she was a teenager and lusted after him for years, but there is nothing redeeming about Blane; Lily even admits to her friends that yes, he is a douche and she really only keeps trying to maintain a relationship because 1) he’s good looking and, 2) she feels like she should because she has crushed on him for such a long time. In fact, almost every time she is with her friends, Lily badmouths Blane (which is fine, because he is truly a jerk) but the minute she is alone or with him, she talks herself back into giving their “relationship” another chance. But why? He brings her lilies, which she mocks as “vagina flowers.” He calls her “Lilypad,” which makes her want to vomit. He clearly annoys her, plus he’s a huge jackass with zero personality, so it just doesn’t make sense. There’s no connection between the two characters other than their genitalia, and even that isn’t good enough to warrant Lily’s supposed angst over giving Blane a chance. And, there’s never really any clear reason as to why Blane suddenly decided to pursue Lily, other than a throwaway line about it “being so easy to get her into bed” (I’m paraphrasing).
Then there’s West. I did like West; I am a sucker for man-buns and beards and, when you add in a Lit degree, I’m a goner. But, again, I never felt chemistry between West and Lily. Their mutual friends talk about how the two of them have always obviously been in love with one another and I would have liked some flashback scenes to cement that attraction. Something just felt off. Lacking.
The action was a bit repetitive. Lily and her friends would drink, then Lily would moan that she couldn’t drink anymore because she had to have her body in shape for her next performance; then, she would have terrible sex with Blane and repeat the entire process again.
Overall, the story had potential. I’m not an expert on ballet, my only knowledge having come from watching Center Stage several times over the years, but the scenes involving Lily’s dancing seemed authentic. I enjoyed the tension between Tricky and Rose and, while I don’t want to spoil anything, I know that another relationship was in development within the story, which added another dimension to the novel. The real downfall for me was that most of the characters were immature and superficial. With more character development, I think this could have been a 4-star read.
3.5 stars out of 5: A fast read, some interesting aspects, a few truly funny parts; the story could benefit from character and plot development.
Staci has been a lot of things up to this point in her life — a graphic designer, an entrepreneur, a seamstress, a clothing and handbag designer, a waitress. Can’t forget that. She’s also been a mom; she has three little girls who are sure to grow up to break a number of hearts. She’s been a wife; even though she’s certainly not the cleanest, or the best cook. She’s also super, duper fun at a party, especially if she’s been drinking whiskey. Her favorite word starts with f and ends with k.
From roots in Houston, to a seven year stint in Southern California, Staci and her family ended up settling somewhere in between and equally north, in Denver. They are new enough that snow is still magical. When she’s not writing, she’s sleeping, gaming, or designing graphics.