Better Than Expected by Haley Cass

Better Than Expected
Published: 11/18/22
A When You Least Expect It Story

From the moment I started Those Who Wait, I knew I was reading the words of a special author. With each book since, my appreciation for Haley Cass’s skills have only grown. She creates characters that are so well developed, it’s impossible not to become completed invested in their lives.When You Least Expect It touched me deeply, Caroline trying to be a friend to Hannah, while trying to deny the feelings she felt growing with each passing day. And Hannah trying to come out the other side after a bad relationship, concerned with being the best mother she could be, while navigating her confusion over her feelings for Caroline. It always hard to let characters like these go and I was thrilled when Cass announced we would get more of them.

In Better Than Expected we get Hannah’s perspective and it’s perfect. The story begins on the day of Michael’s Christmas party, the first time Hannah meets Caroline, goes through the events of WYLEI, and beyond. While I knew and appreciated Hannah’s strength in all she had to deal with in WYLEI, this really delved into what she went through with Michael, and I found myself in awe of her resilience. As Hannah finds herself spending more time with Caroline, Cass writes beautifully her trepidation and how her feelings evolve.

While I love Hannah and Caroline, Abbie steals the show. That little girl could someday rule the world. She is wise beyond her years and so integral to her mother finding happiness. I love everything about that kid and Caroline’s family making a place for Hannah and Abbie warmed my heart. The only drawback from this book were the murderous feelings that Michael inspired. If you didn’t want to throat punch him after reading When You Least Expect It, you will absolutely want to do that and more after reading Better Than Expected. I am so happy that Hannah found someone like Caroline, who loves and appreciates the incredible woman she is and is the second parent that Abbie deserves but most of all, I’m happy we were given the gift of more time with these characters.

An ARC was received from the author for an honest review.

In the Long Run by Haley Cass

In the Long Run
Published: 11/19/21

In the Long Run by Haley Cass is simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. I could never imagine loving two of her characters more than I love Sutton and Charlotte from Those Who Wait, but then I met Brooke and Taylor.

It was only supposed to be one night, a night where Brooke Watson can forget who she is and just give in to the feelings she has always had for Taylor Vandenberg. Type A Brooke doesn’t have one night stands. It’s not on her carefully constructed life plan. But a few glasses of wine and the knowledge that she probably won’t see world traveler Taylor for another few years relaxes her enough to give in to the desire she feels and sees mirrored on Taylor’s face.

Taylor left Faircombe, Tennessee at nineteen and never looked back.  She had to get out of that suffocating little town. Taylor came out while still in high school and it wasn’t exactly easy. There was a whole world out there to be explored and she’s done so on her own ever since. Taylor spent a lot of time with Brooke and her brother Ben, even though she was a few years older. Brooke was just always there. Taylor never saw her as a little sister though. There was always just something more. After spending hours satisfying each other, Brooke freaks out and leaves Taylor asleep in her hotel room with a note thanking her and signed with regards and her full name. Oh, Brooke, you awkward, adorkable thing!

When Taylor receives a phone call from her sister asking her to come home and spend a few months to help her through her surprise pregnancy, Taylor can’t even imagine how she would stay so long in that town. But, she can’t say no to Savannah. She’s missed out on a lot and Savannah was so young when she left town. Their relationship has mostly consisted of phone calls here and there when she can manage it. She has to do this for her sister because she needs her but why does the thought of being near Brooke for so long leave her both excited and uneasy.

Brooke seriously doesn’t have time for all of the feelings having Taylor in town brings up. She has a full life with her three cats, demanding job and the asshole mayor she fights with on the daily. She can’t take Taylor’s flirting and carefree attitude. The thing is the more time she spends with Brooke, the more she wants that time to continue. They have this banter, a ton of sexual chemistry and that thing where someone really knows you, from how you take your coffee to the things that happened in your youth that shaped you into who you are today. Taylor never imagined she would develop real feelings for Brooke. Yes, she has always flirted with her and gave her her first kiss but it’s always just been fun. She has no time for feelings.

There is something seriously beautiful in the way Haley Cass writes. It’s the best way to describe her writing. Taylor and Brooke reach in and grab your heart and don’t let go. They are the perfect example of opposites attracting. Taylor with her yoga, traveling around the world, seemingly carefree attitude and Brooke with her structured, reserved, emotional awkwardness. But those are how the great love stories are made. By taking people who shouldn’t work yet they fit perfectly. I love how Taylor’s secret place in her hometown where she used to escape was this old, abandoned house. When she has an argument with her brother she goes to the house and it’s now being lived in by Brooke. Brooke is Taylor’s safe place and the home she never knew she was searching for.

I read this book in a day and a half. Not sure if I should brag about that, as it clearly means I did nothing else in my life during that time. But, whatever, one must have priorities and a new Haley Cass book fits the bill. She is able to write characters who are so developed I honestly have a hard time remembering that they aren’t real because I feel like I know them so well. This book gave me all the feels and that’s what a great book should do. It lets you escape life and feel like you’re just watching two friends find love. One of my absolute favorite books of the year.

ARC provided by the author for an honest review.