by Christina Lauren
Release Date: May 17, 2022
Publisher: Gallery Books
Number of pages: 379
Ages 14 and up
CW: death of parent, gun violence, sexual harassment
Growing up the daughter of notorious treasure hunter and absentee father Duke Wilder left Lily without much patience for the profession…or much money in the bank. But Lily is nothing if not resourceful, and now uses Duke’s coveted hand-drawn maps to guide tourists on fake treasure hunts through the red rock canyons of Utah. It pays the bills but doesn’t leave enough to fulfill her dream of buying back the beloved ranch her father sold years ago, and definitely not enough to deal with the sight of the man she once loved walking back into her life with a motley crew of friends ready to hit the trails. Frankly, Lily would like to take him out into the wilderness—and leave him there.
Leo Grady knew mirages were a thing in the desert, but they’d barely left civilization when the silhouette of his greatest regret comes into focus in the flickering light of the campfire. Ready to leave the past behind him, Leo wants nothing more than to reconnect with his first and only love. Unfortunately, Lily Wilder is all business, drawing a clear line in the sand: it’s never going to happen.
But when the trip goes horribly and hilariously wrong, the group wonders if maybe the legend of the hidden treasure wasn’t a gimmick after all. There’s a chance to right the wrongs—of Duke’s past and their own—but only if Leo and Lily can confront their history and work together. Alone under the stars in the isolated and dangerous mazes of the Canyonlands, Leo and Lily must decide whether they’ll risk their lives and hearts on the adventure of a lifetime.
Most of the books I’ve read from these authors so far have kept me fully engaged. While I was very invested in this story, I also found it easy to put down more than I expected.
When it comes to the romance between Lily and Leo, I was all in. These two are very sweet together. It’s funny to use that word when it comes to Lily, she has a lot of rough edges, yet it fits. In the beginning, it seems as if the rift between the two of them won’t be able to be mended. The authors found a story that was plausible and forgivable for the way these two left things all those years ago. And knowing Leo’s internal struggles when he sees Lily again and realizes how her life has played out helped me to be all in on them rekindling their romance.
Things got a bit loosey-goosey when it came to the intrigue and struggle that comes about during their trip. Some parts of it were a lot of fun and made sense, others just didn’t add up and had me scratching my head. I just couldn’t follow the reasoning for some of the decisions that were made. I kept telling myself that it’s a work of fiction and it doesn’t always have to make sense, but sometimes it would take me out of the story.
All in all, I had fun with this read. Most of the characters were quirky and charming. The storyline was interesting and different. The chemistry was on point.
Wonderful review. In contemporary romance I dislike unrealistic choices and events. If I have to suspend my disbelief then make the story fantasy of paranormal 😂
Exactly. I don’t mind things being conveniently serendipitous in a contemporary romance, but it needs to make some sort of sense. Plus, it bothers me when otherwise smart characters make dumb decisions just to push the plot forward.