Book Review: Want You to Want Me by Lorelei James

Posted September 30, 2020 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Want You to Want Me by Lorelei James

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Want You to Want Me by Lorelei James
Genres: Cozy Romance
Published by Berkley on August 4, 2020
Pages: 384
Format: eBook
Source: the library

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Also by this author: "Schooled", Wrapped and Strapped, Unraveled, What You Need, Just What I Needed, Racked and Stacked, Hang Tough, Spun Out, All You Need, When I Need You, I Want You Back

Second in the Want You cozy romance series (and sixth in the Need You Universe) revolving around the Lund family in Minneapolis. The couple focus is on Gabi Welk and Nolan Lund.

My Take

Ooh, Nolan is being sidelined at work, which makes no sense to me. If he’s the CEO-in-waiting, doesn’t he need to know what’s going on?? This is the start of his character arc, which evolves as he comes to realize what he really wants and what his “true” position is in the company.

That realization doesn’t come from just his own experiences, and it ticked me off. It seems so antithetical to the Lund family. It does help, somewhat, when we learn the explanation at the end.

Another stressor for poor Nolan is that charity event he’s supposed to come up with. It’s Sam who gives him the idea, and it’s a great one. Helping LGBTQ kids realize they’re not alone and give them a chance to network.

Poor Gabi has her own character arc — losing that chip on her shoulder. One put there by her parents. Okay, not fair. “Inspired” by her parents.

I love that Gabi and Nolan start off so poorly and slowly build a friendship.

The whole Lund family is so supportive of people. Okay, okay, mostly supportive — Nolan can give you some other ideas! But Jax is so cool when he invites Gabi to play on his invitational hockey team! A woman on a men’s team, oh yeah. It plays right into her crusade to legitimize women and hockey. It sure helps with those kudos her fellow teammates give her. It’s the LCCO, their charitable side, that is so terrific: Annika sponsors a coat drive; Brady and Lennox host tutoring classes; Walker and Trinity build and paint sets for community theater; and, Jensen and Rowan run a summer camp for kids focusing on music, dance, and art.

I love what Dallas is doing, following her dream, giving Jax’s bar a fun twist. I love the idea of the barcade. Hmmm, she also exposes why Ash has been so odd lately.

Ash and Nolan have an in-depth conversation about their relationship. How it evolved and how it changed. It’s also the one in which Nolan and Ash have a heart-to-heart with Nolan baring his sense of guilt and Ash affirming him.

The conflict with her growing feelings for Nolan and the upcoming exhibition game are nothing to her worries over that new job Gabi is applying for. An opportunity that raises yet another conflict over Gabi not telling Jax she might be quitting. Even worse is that new job would force Gabi to move to Duluth. Then it really gets bad when Wolf Sports North accuses her of using her contacts.

Okay, so I’m a girl, I really enjoyed Gabi’s session with Nolan’s stylist.

Gentlemen, there’s a good lesson in here for you, as the fact that Nolan listens and pays attention plays a big part in what pulls Gabi in.

Hoo-hooo, Nolan lays down the law to his dad and LI!! Whoa, Dani lays it out for Gabi, too. Wow.

The Story

Hockey player Gabriella “Gabi” Welk spent her life in pursuit of championships, but she has little to show for it besides dusty trophies and second-place medals. Now her career consists of several part-time jobs to make ends meet. When Gabi gets a chance at her dream job, she swallows her pride and asks her nemesis — smart, sexy, and savvy Nolan Lund — for help.

Since being named future CEO of Lund Industries, Nolan has tried hard to overcome his reputation as a fun-loving playboy and ladies’ man. For the first time ever, he’s more focused on the company than his personal life. He spends his free time at the ice rink his brother owns, cheering on his niece at her hockey games…and watching Gabriella Welk, the superstar athlete and assistant coach who gets under his skin in a way he can’t ignore.

They have little in common besides their mutual mistrust, but between family crises and sibling rivalries, Nolan and Gabi realize they want to be more than just friends — much more.

The Characters

Gabriella “Gabi” Welk, a.k.a. Happy, a former hockey champion and winner of too many championships to count, coaches part-time at Lakeside. To make ends meet, she referees for the Minnesota Youth Hockey League. Gabi lives at Snow Village. Her sister, Dani, and her hockey team won gold at the Olympics; Dani also “won” at the boyfriend stakes. Tyson is Gabi’s about-to-be-former boyfriend, a third-level assistant coach for the US Olympic Women’s Ice Hockey Team. Lawrence Welk is/was an uncle.

The English Liddy Eldridge, who lives in Snow Village, is Gabi’s pesky neighbor and now a freelance ice dancing choreographer and a sports apparel rep.

Nolan “Prince” Lund, a.k.a. Charming, suddenly became the CEO-in-waiting when his brother Jax jumped ship (I Want You Back, 1 (5)). Archer is Nolan’s dad and the CEO of Lund Industries. Samantha, now Sam, is Nolan’s PA. Britt is a floating admin working for Nolan and Sam and Archer’s secretary.

Lund Industries (LI) is…
…owned by the billionaire Lund family, a.k.a. the Lund Collective. LuTek is a subsidiary, a software manufacturing arm. Brady Lund, Nolan’s cousin, is the CFO; he’s married to Lennox (What You Need, 1). Jenna is Brady’s admin.

Ash Lund, the COO, and his sister, Dallas, are Priscilla and Monte (a basketball phenom) Lund’s kids and cousins to Jaxson and Nolan and Annika, a.k.a. “The Iron Princess” who’s married to Axl (All You Need, 3), Walker (married to a pregnant-again Trinity; Just What I Needed, 2), and Brady. Now Dallas Lund, a.k.a. the Fair Maiden, now she has her business degree but she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the business-oriented Lunds. She prefers being the idea girl.

Jaxson “Stonewall” Lund, a former NHL player and three-time winner of the Stanley Cup, and his wife, Lucy, along with their daughter, Mimi, a.k.a. Meems, have moved into their 8,000-sq.-ft. apartment. They got married at Christmas.

Jax is asked to be captain of the Western Conference, playing an exhibition hockey match. When Drakken had to cancel, Jax asked Gabi to play. Teammates include Rexall who gives Gabi props for her actions, Matt “MM” McCoy is a hot, single goalie, Connor “Nils” Nilsin, John “JK” Kingston, and Patrick “Parn” Parnell.

Lucas “Griz” Griswold is the captain for the Eastern Conference. He’s picked Gabi’s arch-enemy, Amelie SanSimeon-Wipf, a.k.a. Asswipf. Her brother, Gerard SanSimeon, is also on the team.

As of I Want You Back, 1 (5), Jaxson now owns Rosewood Bowling Alley (where the LGBTQ event will be held) and Lakeside Ice Arena, an ice rink that includes hockey programs for kids. Margene is the rink manager. 14U is a team Gabi coaches along with Anna, a co-coach, and its players include Keena, Parker, Kari, and Jacie.

Monte and Ward are Archer’s younger brothers. Their father had been the mean, nasty Jackson. The kids’ great-grandfather was Magnus, and he’s the one who built the Lund fortune. Selka, Priscilla, and Edie (Nolan’s mom) are in charge of Lund Cares Community Outreach (LCCO), a foundation that funds a lot of charities and events.

Chris is in IT. Kayla is the head of IT. Gerry is either an employee or a competitor.

Zosia, Zeke, and Zach Lund are cousins whose family had been cut out of LI by their grandfather, Jackson. They run a fishery, shipping, and charter boat business in Duluth and discovered another lucrative potential. And they’re getting ticked at LI. Grover Lund was their father, Jackson’s youngest brother and a real screw-up, psychopathic. Winita Lund had been their mother.

Leda is the woman Grover raped; Scarlet is the child who resulted; and, Chris Biersbach, who married Leda, had built ESP into a successful business. Lund and Sons Distillery is about to be up and running. They’ll be in half the old warehouse with Clearheaded Spirits, a nonalcoholic brand, which will occupy the other half along with some anchor stores. Jax is investing too.

Thomas and David Lund have Lund Farms, the ag side, which they inherited from Lincoln, another brother of Jackson’s, who was married to Alice.

Wolf Sports North is…
…the biggest independent sports reporting network in the Upper Midwest. All Sports Central is their parent company. Dahlia Switch is an assistant to the production manager. Alan Mayes is the VP of Programming. Minka is the production manager for Minnesota Weekly Sports Wrap-Up. Lance Jacoby is the CEO. Jubilee Jones, a figure skater who took fifth in the Nationals, is one of those women who love to insult.

Pashma Patel is the core sports anchor for Channel 9 News. Barnes is a freelance photographer who keeps popping up.

Snow Village is…
…an apartment complex for professional athletes owned by Jensen Lund. He’s married to Rowan, and they have a son, Calder (When I Need You, 4).

Jacques “Q” Andres is Nolan’s stylist. Elton is his husband, a rocket scientist. Yep, literally. Digi-Dong is a company that misrepresents its tech. Equipment Service Products is a company in Duluth. Sasha Igorsky is a Russian hockey player with whom Dallas had fallen in love…then he disappeared.

Buddy’s is a dive bar with cheap booze that Gabi frequents. Rico is the bartender. Brenda is one of the cocktail waitress and Rico’s mom. Matt and Jeff are a couple of regulars, twins, and friends of Gabi’s. Branyon’s has wings. Carly, a former teammate of Gabi’s is the new head coach of the Whitecaps, a new NWHL women’s ice hockey franchise based at TRIA — the Minnesota Wild’s new training facility. Charlie is a bartender in Duluth. Some of Dani’s teammates?? include Natt, Viv, JR, and Amylin.

Janiece is a woman Nolan does not remember. Baylor is a friend of Nolan’s. Maddie’s mother is a production associate for Minnesota Weekly Sports Wrap-Up. Mariah is a former teammate of Gabi’s; Amy is Mariah’s partner. Markus and Edison are Sam’s friends. Dr Curran is a cardiologist. Dr Lee is the head of the cardiac and thoracic surgery units. Cooper Winchell and Rupi Gilroy are coming on to Gabi at the Grant Foundation Gala.

The Cover and Title

The cover has a background of pastel peach with a gradually transparent image of Nolan and Gabi in an embrace at the top and the Minneapolis skyline at the bottom. Just under Nolan’s and Gabi’s chins is the author’s name in a royal blue with an info blurb between her names. The title is immediately below in a deeper blue script font. The series info is back to the royal blue beneath the “Me”.

The title is a two-way conundrum with two people unsure about each other who Want You to Want Me.

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