I’m a big fan of Helena Hunting’s Pucked series (the audiobooks are amaaazing) so I was excited when I heard she’d be releasing a standalone rom-com! Unfortunately, I didn’t love Shacking Up quite as much as I did her other series – it was a little too slow and too long for my taste. But for those of you who love Helena Hunting or are in the mood for something slow burn and hilarious, you might want to check this out!
Ruby Scott’s life has taken a turn for the worse – she’s wayyy behind on rent, can’t find a steady job, and acting/dance auditions are scarce. But the one time she gets an audition for a role she knows she’ll nail, she gets insanely sick and ruins her chances by throwing up on stage. How did she get sick? From her friend’s engagement party the night before, where she was kissed by a random, hot, but sick guy who thought she was someone else.
Her best friend feels bad that Ruby bombed her audition, because it was her party that she got sick at, so she devises a plan for Ruby to stay at a lavish apartment and take care of the owner’s animals. But of course, because Ruby has terrible luck, the owner happens to be the guy who kissed her and got her sick. Bane feels awful, so he agrees to the pet-sitting arrangement. It doesn’t hurt that Ruby is gorgeous and he hasn’t been able to get their kiss out of his mind…
“Wow. You have a binder?” Ruby looks like she’s trying not to laugh.
“There are a lot of things that need to be covered.”
“Your tone implies you think this is excessive.”
She takes the binder from me and opens it. “How many pages are in this? More than a hundred?”
“It’s ninety-eight. Francesca and Tiny have very specific needs.”
“Ninety-eight pages of needs.” She leafs through it and mutters, “I wish someone was this in tune to my needs.”
Ruby and Bane feel a connection (and some intense lust for each other), but wth Bane leaving on a business trip for five weeks, that doesn’t leave much time for them to actually be together and explore what they feel. What ensues are banter-filled texts, sweet FaceTiming sessions, and the occasionally awkward encounter, and you have Bane and Ruby’s build-up of their romance.
I liked Shacking Up well enough, but it just wasn’t interesting enough for me to keep my attention. The main characters are apart for a large majority of the book – sure, they keep in constant contact with one another, but I would’ve liked them to be physically close too. The romance was too slow too – nothing REALLY happens between Ruby and Bane until Bane gets back from his trip, which is way later in the novel. So I didn’t love this book like I hoped to, but it was a classic Helena Hunting-laugh-out-loud read. Be prepared for some cringeworthy moments, because these characters are full of them!
Quotes are taken from the arc and are subject to change in the final version.