The Rivals of Casper Road (Garnet Run) – book review

The Rivals of Casper Road
by Roan Parrish
Release Date: September 27, 2022
Publisher:  Harlequin Special Edition
Book #4 in the Garnet Run series
Number of pages:  258
Contemporary Romance
Ages 17 & up
CW: abduction, cheating
He’s in it to win it

Until he falls under his neighbor’s spell.

Bram Larkspur’s rugged, sexy looks belie his fear of all things horrifying. But as Casper Road’s newest resident, he’s excited to join the annual Halloween decorating contest. The competition is keen, especially from six-time champion, architect Zachary Glass. But when enigmatic Zachary sparks a prank war, it’s game on—until one sizzling kiss turns these rivals into allies. Now only one thing scares Bram: how quickly he’s losing his heart to Zachary.

Halloween romance isn’t the same huge category the way Christmas romance is, they are few and far between in comparison. This book hits all the right notes for the spooky season without being spooky itself. Casper Road, the street Bram just moved to, really does it up for Halloween. Although Bram is NOT a fan of scary things, he gets into the competitive spirit when he realizes just how seriously his taciturn neighbor Zachary takes the decorating and friendly competition on the street.

Bram is so easy to love. He’s open and friendly and just wants to make everyone around him feel comfortable and happy. He had a wonderful upbringing and is very close with his large family, but he moved away when his heart was broken and he was looking for a fresh start. Garnet Run is the perfect place for someone like Bram.

Zachary grew up a lot differently than Bram. He was always more on the periphery in school, often bullied and sneered at for his “otherness”. Things only got worse when his sister disappeared and his mom became obsessed with finding her, even to the detriment of her child that was still in the household. While Zachary is successful in his work, he works from home, and that dynamic works best for him. He also has friends (Hello Wes from The Lights on Knockbridge Lane!) although most of his interactions tend to be online. He’s socially awkward and he has found a way to live that works for him. Bram moving in across the street upends Zachary’s carefully scheduled life.

These two are so much fun. I was afraid their rivalry would take up too much of the book, but they both quickly realized they’d rather be working together than against one another. Zachary’s love of the horror genre and anything macabre is in direct contrast to Bram’s fear of anything with even the hint of creepiness, but they learn to respect each other’s boundaries and support the things the other likes.

I had a note about one scene that said, “so pitch perfect”. That’s how I often feel about this author. The writing really pulls you into the story and shows you all of the emotions, from high to low, so you experience the characters’ lives along with them. And while Bram is the sunshine of this relationship, it’s very obvious that he shines brightest for Zachary. Zachary may have been harder to get to know, but when things started to come to a head for these two I was at a place I now understood him and his idiosyncracies so I could sympathize with him just as well as I sympathized with Bram.

I didn’t realize until recently that this series has a novella about the couple who restored the theater in town (I believe it’s listed as book #2.5 The Pride of Garnet Run) and I’m so excited I’ll get to spend more time in Garnet Run. I really love this town and the people who keep it moving.

5 stars

About Cheri

I'm the mom of two boys and wife to my high school sweetheart. Our oldest, Josh, is living at home while working and paying off student loans. Our youngest, Griffin recently left his active duty Army job and is now National Guard here at home. He moved back to Michigan with his wife Kirsten and our beautiful granddaughter Hazel. I work part time and try to fit as much reading into my life as possible.
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2 Responses to The Rivals of Casper Road (Garnet Run) – book review

  1. Louise H says:

    Beautiful review, enjoy the rest of the series!

  2. Pingback: TTT: Favorite Books of 2022 | All In Good Time

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