Arc review, Book review

Review – Crush in the Cascades by Lisa S. Gayle

Storygraph//Waterstones//Amazon

Reality TV, riches, and a race for romance! What’s not to like?

For Easton Cooper, everything—except a chance at one million dollars. Desperate for cash, he’ll even compete on an outrageous action-adventure reality show, and he hates reality TV. As luck would have it, he’s thrust into his element, a series of outdoor challenges in the Oregon Cascade Mountains. But there’s a catch—he’s staring across the meadow at his partner—a tan, hot, out-of-place California girl, wearing heels and a formal dress in the middle of freaking nowhere—and she will not bring him down! Even if he has to drag her across the finish line.

Amity Rose wants an adventure. No one told her that “dress accordingly” meant deck out in hardcore mountain gear. So she wore strappy heels and a fancy dress to the opening scene. So she hates bugs, cold air, tents, campfires—must she go on? Now all the contestants think she’s a pampered princess—and to add to her bad luck, her partner is the worst—a gangly, overconfident, know-it-all mountain trail guide. Did the directors just add a romantic twist to the drama? Sure, why not? Maybe she’ll leave the race with something more valuable than money. Just not with him!

Crush in the Cascades follows the contestants of a survivoresque TV show in which participants are matched in opposite gender pairs and take part in various challenges. Amity certainly makes an impression when she turns up the first day of filming in a dress and heels thanks to a communication mishap and for some reason, she applied even though she hates everything about being outside 😂 We are given a reason for why she signed up but it did fall a bit flat for me on the explanation! Cooper is desperate for money to help his friend out and suffers from some serious insta love regarding Amity and the two of them make a sickeningly cute couple for much of the book.

Unfortunately, I really struggled to like the characters, for me, Cooper came across as a misogynistic jerk who refused to see Amity’s strengths even at the end of the book. Ultimately, Cooper wasn’t the only sexist male character, it seemed like pretty much all the male contestants were fresh from recording an alpha male podcast! Amity was also very flat for me, her reasons for taking part in the show didn’t make sense and in my opinion, she didn’t try to really engage with any of the other contestants until towards the end.

There were obviously good elements to the story though – I really enjoyed the challenges themselves and the descriptions of the world they were in were pretty good too. My favourite relationship was actually the blossoming friendship between Bria and Amity – I would have been happy with no romance at all 😂

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to Netgalley and Lisa S. Gayle for my review copy – all opinions are my own.

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