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I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive boyfriend to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.

I want the opposite.


BOOK REVIEW: The Opposite of You

Rachel Higginson

BOOK SERIES: 

RATING:

“He’s too familiar. I don’t want a guy like Killian Quinn. I want the exact opposite of him.”

I always know that I’ve found an all-time favourite in a story when I start missing it before I’ve even reached the end. There has not been one thing about this book that I did not adore—from the vibrant characters and vivid dialogues between them, to the perfectly paced love story that never eclipses the great message behind the author’s every word—and it only took me a few chapters to know that I had found a true gem. Stories like these are the reason I read—they are exactly what I always hope to find when I turn that first page—and I have loved this book from its first words to the very last. The story of a broken young woman finding herself again and regaining her confidence through her life’s greatest passion, this is an absolute top recommendation from me.

Life could take everything else from me—my stable future, my expectations, my dream of becoming a noteworthy, decorated chef before I hit thirty, my last dollar… all of it. But I would not give up on my goal of becoming the chef of my own kitchen.

Once a promising young student at one of the best culinary schools in America, Vera Delane is at a painful existential crossroad in her life, having escaped a toxic relationship that left her self-worth and confidence in smithereens, and then drove her to spend a year working her way through Europe, hoping to find herself. With her savings heavily depleted, and with all her hopes and dreams of running a five-star kitchen of her own now just a distant memory, Vera finds herself back in her small North Carolina hometown, funnelling all her energy into a food truck, her last attempt to salvage the remnants of a career that never got off the ground, and to piece together her broken life.

This truck, as beautiful and inspiring as she was, didn’t represent the person I thought I would become. She was the culmination of everything that I’d let happen to me. She was dreams abandoned and futures lost. And she was all I had left.

Her brave enterprise, however, just happens to be located right across the plaza from one of the city’s most acclaimed restaurants, run by one of America’s rising chefs—the über-talented, but obnoxiously smug Killian Quinn. And from the moment she takes residence across the street from him, he makes it known to her just how unwelcome her little fast food truck is in his neighbourhood.

“You stick to your side of the street, and I’ll stick to mine, and we’ll manage to go on with our lives without any problems.”

But the more Killian scrutinises her every effort, following closely everything she does in her kitchen, the more he rouses in Vera a woman ready to stand up for herself and battle anyone who stands in her way. They bicker, they toy with one another, and in the midst of it all, a most delightful game of cat and mouse is slowly set into motion.

He’d bulldozed into my life and shaken up everything I’d thought was true about men and chefs and people. And I didn’t know what to do with him.

But even as their sizzling attraction soon takes central stage, Vera’s history of judgment and insecurity in relationships makes her distrustful of self-possessed men like Killian. After letting herself be mistreated for two years by someone she was too weak to contradict, Vera is now fearful of her own heart, knowing it could be manipulated into falling back into an old pattern of behaviour. She is terrified of being vulnerable with someone again, and everything about Killian—his confidence, his steadiness, his strength of character— frightens her to her core. But the more she fights her feelings for him, the more she realizes that the charming, loveable man before her is nothing like the demon she is so desperate to vanquish from her life.

“I found you, Vera, because I was supposed to find you.”

An entirely character-driven story start to finish, with meticulous focus on detail and a steady and measured pace that allows the reader to savour the careful development of character to the fullest, Rachel Higginson casts a spell with the deftness and poignancy of her prose, leaving us mesmerized by her every thoughtful sentence. It is evident that the author takes palpable pleasure in crafting characters that stay with the reader long after their story is done, exploring their inner struggles, and only pointing them towards a way to overcome them. The result is a compelling plot that is both absorbing and entertaining, and one I will undoubtedly revisit often in the future. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

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“At some point, we’ll fight. In the future, things might get difficult. I’m never going to be an easy person to get along with. But, Vera, on the other hand, we can fight for each other. Life will likely get difficult whether we’re together or not, so why not tackle it together? And I might be an asshole, but I’m an asshole that cares a very great deal for you. In fact, I might even love you.”

Excerpt

Killian stared at me for a minute, not saying anything and not doing anything. I turned back to the counter and put the knife away. Talking about boyfriends made me stabby. I didn’t want to be responsible for what happened to Killian if he pried any further.

Not that he pried.

He just asked a question, and I verbally vomited all over him.

After a long, uncomfortable silence, he said, “Uh, I came over to ask if you wanted to go out with some of us from the restaurant tonight? It’s Wyatt’s birthday.”

Surprised by his offer, I turned around and leaned against the counter. If I was honest, I was surprised that he was still here. He hadn’t fled. He’d witnessed some of my crazy and hadn’t abandoned me. He stood there as calm and patient as always.

Something warm and bubbly burst through me. I crossed my arms, trying to ward off the sensation, but I couldn’t manage to banish it. I tried to convince myself that it was just nice to be included with the staff at Lilou, but even my stubborn heart saw through the lie. It had nothing to do with Wyatt or his birthday and everything to do with the cocky, self-absorbed chef standing in my doorway. “Where are you going?”

Killian inclined his head toward the other side of the plaza. “Probably Verve or Greenlight. It could be cool.”

“Yeah, it could be.”

Half his mouth lifted in a coaxing smile, partly hidden behind his beard. “You don’t sound convinced.”

“No, it’s not that. I mean, Wyatt’s cool. And I should probably get him a gift for all he’s put up with from me anyway. I just don’t know anybody except you and the birthday boy.”

He shrugged, playing cool, but his shoulders were rigid, and he’d crossed his arms over his chest. “Yeah, but you do know me. We could hang out. Away from food and our places of employment.”

I licked my suddenly dry lips and avoided his gaze. God, I wanted to say yes. My first instinct was to say yes. To jump at the chance to see what he was like away from a kitchen. To get to know him without the pressure of performing. But Derrek was too fresh in my mind, a dark shadow that lingered in every corner of my new happiness.

Killian sensed my hesitation and threw me a life preserver. “You don’t have to decide now. Just see how you feel later.”

“How will I find you?” Not that I was thinking about going. Because I wasn’t.

“Here, hand me your phone. I’ll give you my number.”

I blinked at him, unable to believe he was seriously hitting on me. He had such a poker face. “Okay, smooth operator,” I mumbled.

His lips twitched into a reluctant smile. “What?”

“Don’t act so casual. I see what you’re doing.”

It became harder for him to hold back his smile. “I’m just saying; then you can text me later.”

“Mmm-hmmm.”

The smile won, breaking through and transforming his face from ruggedly handsome to I can’t breathe when I look directly at you. “I probably need it anyway, you know, for like work stuff.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Work stuff?”

“That way I can just text you tips and salt warnings.”

“You wouldn’t.”

He reached up to tug at the side of his beard, forcing it into shape. Then he curled those long fingers at me, gesturing for me to give up my phone.

Apparently, I’d also lost my mind. I grabbed my cell from the shelf over my head and walked it to him. “If I get a text about salt, I might punch you.”

He took the phone from me after I’d tapped in the password, our fingers brushing in the exchange. It wasn’t anything. We barely touched, but a burst of sensation sizzled up my arm, sending butterflies in a craze inside my belly and flushing my cheeks with heat. What was wrong with me?

I’d sworn off men.

All men.

Including him.

Especially him.

But honestly, did I even stand a chance when it came to him? His bright green eyes were warm beneath thick lashes. His dark hair was wavy and full, pushed to one side in a disheveled sort of delicious mess. He was just a step shorter than me, since he still hovered near the doorway and it was the first time I looked at his face where his beard wasn’t the prominent feature. From this angle, I noticed his tanned, perfect skin and the wrinkles his forehead made when he raised his eyebrows.

I swallowed and took a steadying breath. Get it together.

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167 Comments Hide Comments

Love this review!!! I’ve only read a few books by this author so far, but but my favorite thing is how she “casts a spell with the deftness and poignancy of her prose”. I can’t wait to read this and experience her magic again!

She was new to me but now I cannot wait to read the other two novels of hers that I’ve had waiting on my kindle for so long. Thank you for liking my words, honey! ;)

I always try to wait patiently for the books you review to see what one I have to read next. I have not read any other books by this author, but as soon as I leave this message I’m one clicking this book! As always, thank you for a lovely review!

She became one of my favorite authors after i read The 5 Stages of Falling in Love. Her writing is phenomenal. I’m going to be jealous of whoever wins this. I’m just hoping and praying I do! LOL

Love your review and the excerpt. Can’t wait to read this one. Thanks for the amazing giveaway chance! This cover is one that I definitely want on my shelf.

I have loved this authors prior work so much! I blindly 1-clicked on your recommendation alone, knowing I loved this authors work.
I could make an entire book of your reviews alone, Natasha! Thank you for what you do!

I loved The Five Stages of Falling in Love, looking forward to a new book from Rachel! Thank you so much for a chance to win <3

After such a review, I really need to give this author a try.
Thanks for the chance to do just that if I’m a lucky winner of the generous internationally open giveaway!

I love how you make us feel like we were there with you. I’m definitely going to check out this author and 1-Click! Thanks!

“I always know that I’ve found an all-time favourite in a story when I start missing it before I’ve even reached the end.”
YESSS! Can’t wait to read this.

Great review! As always, your unique insights are why my library is SO full of great books I would have otherwised turn a blind eye to.

Thanks Natasha! <3

I think I have read every top recommendation you have posted in the last several months, and have never been disappointed! I am really excited to read this one.

LOVE her writing! Can’t wait to read this new story! Her Five Stages of Falling in Love was a TOP READ for me!

Great excerpt! I had not seen this book yet and now I’m going to be reading it, just bought eBooks on Amazon. ❤

I think the banter between them would be fun! And the mention of Vera’s painful experience and lost dream is just si heartbreaking…
I love your review by the way. ..

Thanks for sharing your review and the excerpt – it sounds like a great book and I’m looking forward to checking it out :)

I have downloaded this book and I can’t wait to read it this weekend while sitting on the beach!

Thank you for the intro to Rachel. (how I have not read anything by her…I don’t know) Fabulous review Natasha!!

I love Rachel Higginson!!, The Five Stages of Falling in Love was amazing. I’m on a mission to read everything she’s written. Fantastic review, as always :)

The Opposite of You sounds like a fantastic book! I really enjoyed the excerpt. Definitely going on my must-read list!

Excited for this book! I’ve only read one of Rachel’s books, The Five Stages of Falling in Love, which was amazing. Would love to read more. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

OMG I’m so excited to read this book!! I have read amazing reviews about it!!! Rachel writes amazing stories!!! Thanks for the chance! :D

Love character-driven stories and have been dying to try Rachel Higginson’s books. Thanks for the awesome review, I will definitely look into this one!

You had me at “character driven”. There’s nothing I like more than well-developed characters that drive the plot. It gets me invested, and that’s when I end up returning to a book again and again. I can’t wait!

Yay, I’m so glad I have a KU trial right now so I can read it along with everyone else! I can’t wait to read it. It will be my first Rachel Higginson book :)

Rachel is pretty new to me. I’ve only read one series and I’m still waiting for the next book. I’ve just started one of her books and I’m so intrigued already. I love the banter and the jokes and the smart ass comments. Sometimes it can get too wordy, but I don’t mind it because I just love how she writes. I want to ready everything by her.

“And I might be an asshole, but I’m an asshole that..” can’t wait to read more! Congrats and thanks for sharing your passion!

Can’t wait to read this, love Rachel’s writing style. I am currently reading this review while waiting for my first batch of cold smoked salmon to finish smoking.

I NEED this book in my life! Time to go feed my one-click addiction! Haha Natasha love your reviews and your ratings are always spot on! xo

I’m excited to read this book because I want to read some kind of new stuff, and this one; as review says, would be amazing :)

I’ll tell you what’s wrong with this book. It ended! I couldn’t put this book down and before I knew it, it was over and I was saying Noooooo! These characters! The author makes Vera so real. A lot of her thoughts could be my thoughts. The interactions were fun and witty and I just couldn’t get enough. So happy there will be more to this series and hope to see more of Vera and Killian. I saw 6 stars and knew I had to read this and once again you were 100% right. I will be reading more from this author! Thank you for your amazing reviews.

I’m SO happy you loved it as much as I did!! I can’t get over this book. I saw a food truck today and got all emotional because it reminded me of this story. LOL

This is a new author to me but reading your review makes me want to change that asap! I love your reiews. I am stalking you on Goodreads and I’m soaking up all you have to say to us.

Wonderful review!! Loved this book – food and food trucks are right up my alley. And I thought the author did an amazing job by staying true to the storyline.

Great review!!! I loved The Five Stages of Falling in Love I being hearing great things about The Opposite of You can’t wait to read it

Just bought this book to start while leaving on a work trip! You always make me one click with your amazing reviews!!

Wow. Sounds really great. I’ve heard lots of praises for this new-to-me author, and I’ll love to give all those books a try.

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