xo, Zach by Kendall Ryan
Narrator: Andi Arndt, Sebastian York
Publication Date: January 23, 2018
Point-of-View: Alternating First
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes
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Reading Challenges: Holly's 2019 GoodReads Challenge, Holly's 2019 New to Me Challenge, New to Me Challenge
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The first time we met was at a party.
Your ex arrived to show off the person he'd left you for last month, and you asked me to pretend to be your date.
I was more than happy to help. You were attractive, smart and witty--and that kiss we shared? It left me wanting you for days.
The second time we met was in my office on campus where we were both surprised to discover you were the new master’s degree student in poetry that I would be working with. You promised to be professional. I did no such thing.
The late nights and intense study sessions spent alongside you majorly throw me off my game. I want you, and I fight with myself daily over this fact.
I know I'm crass, that my sexual innuendos and dirty mouth annoy you, but I live for those two bright spots of color in your cheeks. If that's the only reaction I can get out of you, I'll gladly take it.
You hate Mondays so every Monday I slip an anonymous poem into your bag and your smile gets me through the week.
I think I'm falling for you, and I know it's wrong. I know that I'm only supposed to be the adviser to your program and nothing more, but here's the thing. I think you're falling for me too.
Audible was a having a 2 for 1 Credit sale and this book was on the list of available options, so I decided to give it a try. This is my first book by Kendall Ryan. I love Andy Arndt and Sebastian York as narrators, they’re wonderful. As soon as I saw their names listed I knew I had to get this.
Poppy, who is recently single, goes to a party with a friend and sees her ex with another woman. In a moment of panic she approaches a stranger and asks him to pose as her date. They end up having a great conversation and sharing a really hot kiss. He asks for her number, but she isn’t quite ready to commit to seeing him again. She tells him if it’s meant to be they’ll find each other. She’s feeling really great about it until she meets with her new adviser Monday morning and it’s Zach, the really great kisser from the party.
Zach wants Poppy. He wants to get her in bed, yes, but he genuinely likes her and thinks they could have something special. He’s almost 30. Ready to settle down and looking for something long term. But he also has a potty mouth and doesn’t always remember to spell out what he’s thinking. This makes Poppy hesitate to start anything with, even though he’s all in.
I really liked Zach. He was sweet and caring, despite his potty mouth. The poems he wrote Poppy were cute and I liked that he wanted her for more than just her body. The first couple chapters had a lot of humor. I actually laughed out loud a couple times. Then things went downhill. There were a lot of things that bothered me after the first quarter.
1) Zach is Poppy’s adviser. She told him she wasn’t interested in a relationship and he pursued it anyway. They eventually had a discussion about how she was safe with him and their professional relationship would never be affected by personal stuff, but it came too little, too late. He was already creepily aggressive a couple times prior to that.
2) Poppy. I hated her. She started out funny and sweet, but by the third chapter she was already getting on my nerves. View Spoiler »She’s a single mom and she kept claiming (in her thoughts) that she couldn’t get involved with Zach because she had to focus on work, school and her son. That’s cool, except her son played little to no part in the book, aside from adding additional conflict. There was very little interaction shown between her and her son on page, and in fact he spent the majority of the book with her parents, even when she had free time. In fact, she kept his existence a secret from Zach for almost the entire book.
I’m not judging her for needing a break. I was a single mom for a long time, and we need adult time, too. « Hide Spoiler It was the way she threw it up as a road block for their relationship (internally) that bugged me.
Plus, she blew really hot and cold with Zach. She kept leading him on. She would flirt with him, kiss him, let him go down on her, then bail. The next day she rejects him and makes it clear she wants nothing but a student/adviser relationship with him, then she throws a fit because he goes on a date with someone else and purposely flirts with someone, because “screw it”!?!? She doesn’t want him, but no one else can have him either? She’s mad he’s with someone else after she rejected him repeatedly, but it’s okay for her to flirt with someone else? She makes it clear she’s not comfortable being in a relationship with him because he’s her adviser, then kisses him?
More than that, it was the immaturity of her actions. She literally ducked into bathrooms and ran around corners to avoid him. She was 24, not 14. The longer the story went on the more angry at her I became. Every time she let him kiss her or go down on her then disappeared, my blood pressure rose.
4) Poppy’s friends were pretty awful. The minute they gave out her personal information to Zach – with her sitting right there telling them not to – they lost me. With friends like that who needs creepy enemies?
Although there were couple things I liked, they didn’t make up for the rest. Between this and Rowena’s experience with Baby Daddy, I don’t think I’ll be trying another Kendall Ryan book.
1.5 out of 5