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Book Review, Comedy, Contemporary, Enemies to Lovers, NetGalley, Romance, Series, St. Martin's Press

A Guide to Being Just Friends (Jansen Brothers #3) by Sophie Sullivan


Hailey Sharp has a one-track mind. Get By the Cup salad shop off the ground. Do literally everything possible to make it a success. Repeat. With a head full of entrepreneurial ideas and a bad ex in her rearview, her one and only focus is living life the way she wants to. No distractions.

Wes Jansen never did understand the fuss about relationships. With a string of lackluster first dates and the pain from his parents’ angry divorce following him around, he’d much rather find someone who he likes, but won’t love. Companionship, not passion, is the name of the game.

When Hailey and Wes find each other in a disastrous meet cute that wasn’t even intended for them, they embarrassingly go their separate ways. But when Wes finds Hailey to apologize for his behavior, they strike up a friendship. Because that’s all this can be. Hailey doesn’t want any distractions. Wes doesn’t want to fall in love.

What could possibly go wrong?

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I always love a new author and Sophie Sullivan has made my favorite reads of 2023. When an unsociable computer geek prefers friendship over love, it takes lots of salad, a guide, romcoms, and his kind and funny friend to change his mind.

Hailey Sharp is a struggling business owner of a new salad shop in California. Sounds like an ideal spot, but the customers are scarce. Until one day at the bakery next door she is mistaken for a blind date by a grumpy guy who didn’t believe she was just there for some chocolate. As fate has it, she meets the guy again after delivering a lunch order and he happens to be New York royalty and has a penchant to fix things, but Hailey does not take charity. She’s not a project or investment. So favors are given and a friendship is formed. But things don’t always go according to plan.

As the technology side of his family’s successful investment business, Wes Jansen thrives on consistency and routine. This applied to his personal life as well. Love was not an option for him, though he really likes his new friend, Hailey. He can be himself with her and he can tell her things he’s never revealed to anyone else. When their relationship becomes friends with benefits, life is good until her confession. It wasn’t part of the plan. He has to back away. So why does his heart hurt so much?

Friendship to love is one of my favorite tropes and Ms. Sullivan nailed it. Hailey and Wes are made for each other. I love watching Wes slowly soften his shell around Hailey as she charms him with her wit and love for life. Hailey is a powerhouse of new beginnings as she picked herself up from a toxic relationship and gained back her self-confidence to become a successful businesswoman on her own. She’s not only made friends with Wes and his family but with women she’s met in her shop and through her cousin Piper. Hailey’s honesty and outspokenness are what I admire most about her. She’s true to herself and puts herself out there. Wes, on the other hand, is an uptight, nerdy, analytical big brother who is used to being alone. He has no time for love because he saw the heartbreak and downfall love brought to his parents. Though he doesn’t believe he can love, his actions show otherwise. He creates a video game just for Hailey. He helps a young boy at the local rec center find a job as a delivery boy for Hailey. And he protects his brothers from his despicable father. When Wes realizes his mistake with Hailey, his grand gesture is memorable as he finally gives her what she deserves. 

The family and friends in this book are phenomenal. The love is so strong and everyone has each other’s backs. I especially like Wes’s brothers Chris and Noah. Their playful rapport as brothers is endearing. When Wes messes up, they don’t hold back and when Wes needs them most, they are there for him. 

If you are looking for a feel-good read filled with romance, angst, laughter, family, and friends, pick up this book. I couldn’t put it down. Though I started the series at the end, I can’t wait to go back and read about Chris and Noah.

Jansen Brothers Series:

Ten Rules for Faking It (2020)
How to Love Your Neighbour (2022)
A Guide to Being Just Friends (2023)


A Guide to Being Just Friends

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SOPHIE SULLIVAN is a Canadian author as well as a cookie-eating, Diet Pepsi-drinking, Disney enthusiast who loves reading and writing romance in almost equal measure. She writes around her day job as a teacher and spends her spare time with her sweet family watching reruns of Friends. TEN RULES FOR FAKING IT is her romcom debut novel, but she’s had plenty of practice writing happily ever after as her alter ego, Jody Holford.

Follow Sophie on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


St Martins Press

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