So Honest and Lovely | Change of Plans by Dylan Newton

Tuesday, August 08, 2023

 Change of Plans by Dylan Newton

Publication Date: 8/1/23
Pages: 368
Source: Netgalley/ from the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you, Forever!)
In this charming romantic comedy, a hometown hero comes to the rescue of a chef unexpectedly left to care for three little girls—who may end up saving him too. When disaster strikes and chef Bryce Weatherford is given guardianship of her three young nieces, her life goes from cooking with fire…to controlling a dumpster fire. Five‑year‑old Addison refuses to remove her fairy wings, eight‑year‑old Cecily won't bathe, and tween June is majoring in belligerence. With all this chaos, Bryce jettisons hope for a life outside of managing her family and her new job. It's been years since Ryker Matthews had his below‑the‑knee amputation, yet the phantom pain for his lost limb and Marine career haunts him. To cope, he focuses on his vehicle restoration business. He knows he's lucky to be alive. Yet, “lucky” feels more like “cursed” to his lonely heart. When Ryker literally sweeps Bryce off her feet in the grocery store's baby aisle, they both feel sparks. But falling in love would be one more curveball neither is ready to deal with… or is it exactly the change of plans they need?
  • This is the third in a companion series that follows each of the Matthews brothers. While they technically can be read in any order, I do suggest reading them chronologically since there may mild spoilers for certain events that come before.
  • I absolutely adored reading Newton’s companion series, finishing it out with Change of Plans. If you're looking for a lovely contemporary romance that is both heartwarming and a little steamy, these books are for you. They have all the small-town vibes and a romance that will have you smiling from ear to ear.
  • While the small-town vibes certainly brings some added coziness and charm, Change of Plans is also filled with serious and even tearjerker elements. The book follows Bryce and Ryker. Bryce is struggling to find balance ever since her brother and his wife passed, leaving three lovely girls in her care. The elements of grief in this felt raw and emotional. Though readers of the rest of the series have met him before, Ryker reveals sides of his character we have only ever gotten glimpses of in the previous books. As a veteran, Ryker is still trying to accumulate to life after being at war. He suffers from PTSD and night terrors. For a cute contemporary romance, Newton got serious by adding more difficult and hard-hitting topics. While it was a bit darker than her other two Matthews books, I'm glad she didn't shy away from these two characters’ authentic stories.
  • I found that I was taking my time with reading this book, because I just didn't want it to end. Every chapter, every page had me feeling all the feels - ready to cry one minute, while laughing out loud the next.
  • One of my favorite things of this whole companion series has been the mention of real-life places that readers can actually go and experience. Change of Plans, like the rest of the books, is primarily set in Wellsville, New York, which is very real place. Newton also mentions Rochester, New York’s Nick Tahou Hots, a restaurant that I would love to visit in real life to feel even more connected to these characters. Customers of the restaurant can even order a garbage plate just like Ryker and Bryce did in the book! The books are written so well that readers feel like they are walking down the street of Wellsville. It's wildly immersive! 
  • Dylan Newton writes incredibly well. The contemporary romances I've read from her have been so honest and lovely. Newton has quickly become an auto-buy author for me. I'm looking forward to reading more from her.

Change of Plans by Dylan Newton has the best ingredients for a great romance, including an equal balance of heart wrenching and swoonworthy elements. This definitely needs to be your next read. 

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