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  • Writer's pictureAnnika Pillai

i read the entire blue beech series by charity ferrell so that you don’t have to

I feel a little bit embarrassed to admit that a lot of what I pickup is just based on recommendations from TikTok. And most of the time I hate the books TikTok recommends me, but I am a sucker for companion-novel series, so I just couldn’t not read this one.

The Blue Beech series by Charity Ferrell basically takes place in a small-as-fuck town in Iowa (Iowa of all places?) and follows the romances of a few people living there. The series is basically a bunch of interconnected standalone’s, and I wasn’t planning on binging the series, but it just kind of happened, so here are my thoughts.

Just A Fling

The first book in the series is Just a Fling, and it follows Stella, a celebrity, and her new bodyguard Hunter. Her previous bodyguard had to take some time off, so he asks his brother to take over the position for a few months. Hunter, an ex-military man, has just recently suffered a heartbreak, when he finds out that his fiancé had been cheating on him with his best friend, so he is not looking for a relationship.

Hudson really does not like Stella in the beginning––he was pretty mean to her, but they quickly adopt a sex-only relationship.

I actually ended up DNF’ing this book, and I thought that it was just okay. Hudson was kind of dick, and I honestly didn’t like him that much, and Stella was kind of bland. I don’t know. I wasn’t really able to connect with either of the characters, and that led to a pretty forgettable romance.

Overall rating ➳ 3/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ Maybe? Idk

(tw: miscarriage)

Just One Night

I was actually pretty excited for the second book in this series, Just One Night, and I actually enjoyed it! This book follows Dallas––Hudson’s brother––and Willow––Stella’s assistant. Dallas’ wife recently passed away, and he is grieving heavily. One night he is at the bar, and he gets drunk and hooks up with Willow, who is grieving a breakup. The next morning is humiliating for Willow; she wakes up to Dallas calling their night a mistake, and embarrassed, she runs out on him, hoping to never see him again. Until she finds out that she’s pregnant.

I’m going to be honest, my biggest red flag is that I don’t hate the pregnancy-trope. I don’t love it, but I also don’t hate it, and I didn’t hate this book. I loved the small-town setting a lot, and Dallas was actually so sweet? I was expecting him to be a huge dick, but he really wasn’t. It was so obvious that he cared about Willow––he just had some stuff to work through.

I also just appreciated how the author touched on how you can love two people in two completely different ways––I don’t think I have ever read a book where the hero or heroine has had a partner that passed away, that they truly loved (their previous partners are almost always total assholes), so I really loved seeing that in this book.

That being said, Willow did get on my nerves at certain points. Her self-pity was getting repetitive, and although her feelings of inadequacy in comparison to Dallas’ first wife wasn’t unrealistic, it was also getting annoying. Still, I did enjoy this book a whole lot more than the first.

Rating ➳ 3.5/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ I think so?

(tw: miscarriage, grief, cancer, death)

Just Exes

The third book in the series was awful. I’m sorry, but I don’t really think that there is a better way to describe it, other than just dreadful, which is sad since I was very curious about Lauren’s character.

Just Exes follows Lauren and Gage––years ago, back in high school, they used to date, until Lauren broke Gage’s heart. Fast forward to now, and Gage is back in town. Except he is nothing like the boy that Lauren used to know, and he absolutely hates her.

I don’t think that I have ever read about two characters who were more immature than these two. They acted like teenagers; it was aggravating to read about. They played jealousy games with each other, and just refused to communicate properly.

I have a hard time with second-chance romances, because I feel like so many times authors are just telling us that the two characters love each other, rather than just showing us. I’m supposed to believe that they are in love, because they were in love ten years ago, even though it has been, ten years!

I ended up DNF’ing this book 40% in, so that should tell you the whole story.

Rating ➳ 1.5/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ Absolutely not

(tw: death of a child)

Just Neighbors

After the disaster that was the third book, I had really low expectation for the fourth book, so I was pleasantly surprised!

Just Neighbors follows Kyle, the local cop, and Chloe, his next door neighbor, and also the woman who hates him for what he did to her back in high school. One day Kyle shows up on Chloe’s front porch, claiming that he wants to fix things between them; Chloe is skeptical at first, but he very quickly starts to wear her down, until she realizes that there may be more to Kyle than what meets the eye.

This was your classic enemies-to-lover’s romance––which I don’t usually love, but for some reason this one just worked for me. The banter was great, Kyle was so sweet, and Chloe was such a strong heroine.

Also, the twist at the end? I did not see that coming, oh my goodness. Out of all the books in the series, this one was my favorite, so if you are going to pick up any of them, I’d recommend this.

Rating ➳ 4/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ Yes!

(tw: grief, death of a child, alcoholism, drug abuse)

Just Roommates

The fifth book in this series was actually one that I was super excited about, because it had a trope that I usually really like––sorority, rich girl, and grumpy, older guy.

Just Roommates follows Sierra––Kyle’s little sister, and the daughter of the mayor––and Malakai, the bartender from the wrong side of the tracks. Ever since she was eighteen, Sierra has been showing up at Malakai’s bar, and every time, he ends up kicking her out. Over the course of a few years, they end up forming a tentative friendship, despite having all the odds stacked up against them.

The first 20% of this book was actually so good, and I was so excited to continue reading. I liked both of the character’s, and the setup was enough to keep me engaged…but things quickly went downhill from there.

I think that this book fell in the same trap that Just Exes did, in that both characters were unbelievably immature. I had a hard time believing that there were in their mid-twenties just based on the way they acted. This was a slight age-gap romance, and Sierra’s youth really shined through at times. It’s sad because I really wanted to love this book, but it was honestly pretty hard to get through.

Rating ➳ 3/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ Meh? Not really

(tw: infedelity)

Just Friends

I honestly probably would not have picked up the last book, if I hadn’t planned on doing this review. And I kind of still regret picking it up.

Just Friends follows Rex––Sierra’s brother––and Carolina, his best friend. They became friends in high school, and have been inseparable ever since. Though Rex harbors feelings for her, he swears he won’t ever cross that line with her, because he loves her too much to lose her. (Spoiler: he crosses the line).

This book felt like every other friends-to-lovers book I have ever read, and I do not mean that in a good way. It was predictable, cliche, and just very boring. Rex’s reasoning for not wanting to date Carolina just felt very stupid.

Also, Carolina got on my nerves so much? Her decision-making was wack, and I just felt so irritated with her at times. She was such an unlikable heroine, and I could not understand what Rex saw in her.

Rating ➳ 2.5/5 stars

Worth reading? ➳ No

(tw: toxic relationship, gaslighting, adult/minor relationship, sexual harassment)

I really think I need to stop getting recommendations off of TikTok (I know, I say this every week), because I literally only gave one book four stars.

Anyways, back to the big question: is this series worth reading? I’m going to be honest, and say that I don’t really think it is. If you are interested in picking up a book, I’d recommend that you read Just One Night or Just Neighbors, but everything else was very skippable to me. I did love the setting, and the small-town vibes, but nothing other than that really did work for me, sadly.

Just a Fling ➳ 3/5 stars

Just One Night ➳ 3.5/5 stars

Just Exes ➳ 1.5/5 stars

Just Neighbors ➳ 4/5 stars

Just Roommates ➳ 3/5 stars

Just Friends ➳ 2.5/5 stars


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