A SEQUEL I LOVED: Well Played Review

Summary (from the publisher): Stacey is jolted when two of her two best friends get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it’s been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she’ll even find The One.

When Stacey imagined “The One,” it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she’s not sure what to make of it.

Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey’s shock, it isn’t Dex—she’s been falling in love with a man she barely knows.


My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Jen DeLuca’s Renaissance Faire inspired contemporary romance, Well Met, is one of my favorite reads of 2020, so I could not wait to get my hands on the sequel companion novel, Well Played. Never have I ever been to a Renaissance Faire, but that hasn’t stopped me from falling in love with these two books! You don’t necessarily need to read Well Played before reading Well Met, but I highly suggest that you do, #1 because Well Met is such a fantastic contemporary romance and features one of my favorite fictional boyfriends, Simon (he gives me MAJOR Ben Wyatt vibes). But more importantly, the sequel does contain spoilers for Well Met, i.e. the relationship progress or status of Emily & Simon. Reading Well Met gives you a more rich and fun understanding of the Ren Faire world, since Emily is new to it herself in the first book, while Well Played’s main protagonist, Stacey, is a seasoned tavern witch. 

Well Played follows Emily’s best friend, Stacey. A longtime tavern witch and Ren Faire volunteer, Stacey looks forward to the faire every year, not just because it’s one of her few favorite parts of still living in the town she grew up in, but also to reunite with her summer fling, Dex. Dex is a member of renaissance band, the Dueling Kilts, managed by Dex’s cousin, Daniel. On a whim after the faire ends for the year, Emily emails Dex to share her thoughts on their ‘relationship,’ and receives a way more tender and emotional email back then she could have ever expected. As Stacey and Dex email throughout the year and form a relationship, it never crosses Stacey’s mind that the person behind the email might not be Dex after all…Read More »


71mbWCWSjILSummary (from the publisher): All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.

Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?

The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?

This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.


My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

Well Met had been on my TBR for forever and a half. Almost all of my blogging friends have loved this contemporary romance about a woman who finds herself wrapped up in small town life and its annual summer-long Renaissance Fair. I always wanted to pick up Well Met, so I don’t know what prevented me from picking it up before this May.. okay, maybe blame it on my irrational fear of running out of contemporary romances on my TBR. I finally bought my own copy back in March and after officially finishing all of my undergrad work, I treated myself and started reading! I ate up Well Met over one weekend and it quickly became of my favorite reads of 2020!

As soon as I began the first chapter of Well Met, I fell in love. After a bad breakup and needing to help her older sister after a bad car accident, Emily is in Willow Creek for the summer, which means volunteering with her niece to participate in the town’s Renn Faire. Emily finds herself enjoying the experience way more than expected… that is except for Simon, the fair’s organizer who seems to perpetually have a clipboard up his butt. But when Emily and Simon are in their faire chracters, Emily a tavern wench and Simon a pirate, their flirting game is on and blending the lines in their relationships as enemies vs. something more.

I personally fell in love with Simon because he gave me major Ben Wyatt vibes (aka my fictional boyfriend/husband from Parks & Recreation), thanks to his appearance, organization and adorable nerdiness. While Emily is our main focus, we learn why it’s so hard for Simon to break out of his hard demeanor and why the faire means so much to him. I liked how we’re able to get to know him without having his perspective, since I liked Emily’s first person narrative so much.

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