TITLE: Hook, Line, and Sinker (Bellinger Sisters Series Book 2 of 2)
AUTHOR: Tessa Bailey
GENRE: Contemporary romance
PUBLICATION DATE: March 1, 2022
TROPES: Friends to lovers
NARRATOR: Lauren Sweet
Hook, Line, and Sinker is a swoon-worthy tale about finding the courage to believe in yourself. It details the story of Hannah, the younger Bellinger sister, and Fox Thornton, Brendan’s best friend from book 1 – It Happened One Summer. Reeling us back into the cozy fishing town of Westport, Tessa Bailey weaves an emotional story about friendship, love, and believing in those you care about, especially when they don’t believe in themselves.
King crab fisherman Fox Thornton has a reputation as a sexy, carefree flirt. Everyone knows he’s a guaranteed good time—in bed and out—and that’s exactly how he prefers it. Until he meets Hannah Bellinger. She’s immune to his charm and looks, but she seems to enjoy his…personality? And wants to be friends? Bizarre. But he likes her too much to risk a fling, so platonic pals it is.
Now, Hannah’s in town for work, crashing in Fox’s spare bedroom. She knows he’s a notorious ladies’ man, but they’re definitely just friends. In fact, she’s nursing a hopeless crush on a colleague and Fox is just the person to help with her lackluster love life. Armed with a few tips from Westport’s resident Casanova, Hannah sets out to catch her coworker’s eye…yet the more time she spends with Fox, the more she wants him instead. As the line between friendship and flirtation begins to blur, Hannah can’t deny she loves everything about Fox, but she refuses to be another notch on his bedpost.
Living with his best friend should have been easy. Except now she’s walking around in a towel, sleeping right across the hall, and Fox is fantasizing about waking up next to her for the rest of his life and…and…man overboard! He’s fallen for her, hook, line, and sinker. Helping her flirt with another guy is pure torture, but maybe if Fox can tackle his inner demons and show Hannah he’s all in, she’ll choose him instead?
Fox and Hannah have a pure and genuine friendship built on mutual support, loyalty, and love for music. They gave each other the confidence to break out of the roles they were placed in. And their struggle with their insecurities and flaws felt very real. Bailey did a great job balancing the intense heat between them with sweet, tender moments that will tug on your heartstrings.
Bailey added such complexity to the playboy character that is Fox Thornton that it’s a refreshing take on toxic masculinity. From childhood, Fox was inappropriately sexualized – given loose change for condoms because his mother expected him to become a womanizer like his father. Eventually, Fox accepted these low expectations as his truth. But then comes Hannah. Through a wholesome friendship, she slowly chips away at his walls to prove he’s worthy of being more than just someone’s “good time.” But what if what she finds isn’t enough to make her stay?
Fox’s character development is remarkable, realistic, and genuine. My heart ached for how everyone perceived him and his struggle to combat the societal pressures to maintain a particular reputation and image. Especially when, deep down, he wanted to be something more. His efforts to fight against his unrelenting self-doubt are something that everyone can relate to, making him an emotionally impactful character.
Despite being used to playing the second fiddle to her older sister, Hannah is a force all on her own. She’s kind, loyal and stands up for the people she loves. Music runs in her blood, and I really enjoyed learning about it through her eyes. While I couldn’t relate to most of the songs that Hannah was so passionate about, I was completely bowled over by her love for music, that it made me want to google all her songs to find out why she loved them so much. And her knack for finding the perfect song for any moment was endearing and a delight to read.
It is a slow burn but not so slow that you will get bored. As they teetered on the line between friendship and love, the gradual build-up of tension between them kept me engaged and rooting for them to finally give in to their feelings. And it was completely worth it when they did.
Their conflict resolution had me pumping my fists in the air with how Hannah handled it, making her one of my favorite female MCs.
The epilogue is a heartfelt farewell to the Bellinger sisters, and it made me wish for more about the next chapters of their lives.
Tessa Bailey tackles toxic masculinity head-on in this book. She explores the stigma that men face in trying to be vulnerable and the effects of being taught that a man’s social value stems from their success with women. She also demonstrates how society is complicit in these issues and encourages a healthier approach to them. It reminds of the Bromance Book Club series by Lyssa Kay Adams as she also does a great job of shedding light on toxic masculinity.
Hook, Line, and Sinker starts with a text exchange between the MCs, setting the casual tone needed to build their friendship. I liked that they didn’t message each other every day, but when they did, there always remained a quiet undertone of comfort between them. This made a great foundation to progress their storyline.
Compared to book 1, this one has a different tone of intimacy. Brendan and Piper’s story is dramatic, bold, and open-hearted. But with Fox and Hannah, you get to see a quieter and gentler kind of love.
Lauren Sweet’s voice is exactly how I imagined Hannah to sound. Her ability to invoke emotions into her characters and the little nuances she added to Fox’s voice made for a wonderful audiobook experience. Definitely recommend the audiobook version.
Hook, Line and Sinker is a love letter to anyone who has felt like they were meant to be more than what society expected of them. The authenticity of Bailey’s characters shines through so well that it makes you stop and take notice. If you’re looking for a funny, steamy and heartwarming read then Hook, Line and Sinker is perfect for you.
The Bellinger Sister series is one I’ve re-read multiple times, and it will remain one of my most recommended rom-com series ever.
Where to Buy
**These are NOT affiliate links.
Hook, Line, and Sinker
RATING: ★★★★★/5 ᐧ || ᐧ Hook, Line, and Sinker is a swoon-worthy and emotional tale about friendship, love, and believing in those you care about, especially when they don’t believe in themselves.
Author: Tessa Bailey
Leave a Reply