Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Per My Last Email by Juliana Smith: Book Review

   *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

Layla Wright fit in her role as admin at West Oak Publishing about as well as she would at a five star restaurant in her ‘I love DILFS T-shirt’. When she applied to the job she thought she would be learning the ins and outs of the industry to eventually write and publish her own novel. But after years of staying in this same position, she’s unsure of how to break out of her routine and chase her dreams.

Luke Wells knows the words “friend zone” all too well. Staying in a dead-end position at a company he doesn’t care for only has one bonus: Layla Wright. He may hate his job just as much as she does, but she’s the one thing he’s not willing to lose. When Luke finds out he’s up for a promotion, he has to decide how far he’s willing to go to stay close to Layla. With his own dreams of running a bar on the line, is Layla really worth sticking around for—especially when she’s never indicated there will be anything more between them than friendship?

A seaside work conference is just what they need to shake things up and break them out of this tight bubble they’ve been living in for so long. Will they finally be brave enough to go for what they want or will they return home with everything between them unchanged? Boundaries get crossed, lines get blurred, and donuts get eaten.

Juliana Smith is an author in a small town in Alabama. She is a full-time realtor, and part-time author, but she spends a lot of her time with her husband and daughter. Juliana writes heartfelt romance filled with laughter and warm fuzzies. She can usually be found in a Chic-fil-a drive-thru or listening to Star Wars theory podcasts, often at the same time.

To subscribe to her super amazing newsletter and receive VIP behind-the-scenes, special offers, and exclusives go to her Instagram @authorjulianasmith .

When I started reading this, I must admit that I found myself wondering if I'd picked the wrong book. I'd read a previous book by this author and enjoyed it, and had seen this one mentioned by several others who tend to read clean romances, so I was excited to read it. Fairly early on there was a joke about making a 'trip to no pants land' that took me by surprise and had me wondering if this was in fact a closed-door romance after all. There was also a fair amount of language as well-- it's still probably not what most people would consider a ton and it was nothing too major (no f-words, no using God's name in vain, etc), but it was certainly more than I'm personally used to seeing in the types of books I prefer to read. Thankfully, it WAS closed-door, and a few slightly inappropriate jokes aside, it was actually fairly tame in the romance department... though perhaps not one for the most conservative of readers. 

This was a sweet workplace, friends-to-lovers romance. Layla and Luke were super sweet together, and even when they were painstakingly oblivious, I enjoyed their characters very much. They were kind of nerds--- and I mean that in the best way possible. I am NOT a Star Wars fan, but I'm married to one/the mother of one... and I'm slightly ashamed to acknowledge how many references I understood throughout this story. Those who ARE fans will likely appreciate that all that much more. The end felt perhaps a bit more rushed than I would have liked, but overall I thought it was an enjoyable story. 


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