This post contains a gifted copy and affiliate links.
Hello friends, today I’m sharing my review of Act Your Age Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert, which is the final book in one my all time favourite romance series. I have loved each and every one of the Brown sisters; discovering these books is truly a highlight of my ‘reading career’ as it were, and I’m so sad to be turning the final page of their story.
BUT! On a happier note, this book was bloody wonderful and I am chuffed that I was able to read an advanced copy via NetGalley (cue much screaming). It featured so many of the tropes I love the most and possibly my fave Brown Sisters love interest 👀
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Genre: Adult romance
Length: 400 pages
Affiliate Links: Bookshop.org*
Spice Rating: 🌶🌶🌶
Eve Brown is a certified hot mess. No matter how hard she strives to do right, her life always goes horribly wrong—so she’s given up trying. But when her personal brand of chaos ruins an expensive wedding (someone had to liberate those poor doves), her parents draw the line. It’s time for Eve to grow up and prove herself—even though she’s not entirely sure how…
Jacob Wayne is in control. Always. The bed and breakfast owner’s on a mission to dominate the hospitality industry—and he expects nothing less than perfection. So when a purple-haired tornado of a woman turns up out of the blue to interview for his open chef position, he tells her the brutal truth: not a chance in hell. Then she hits him with her car—supposedly by accident. Yeah, right.
Now his arm is broken, his B&B is understaffed, and the dangerously unpredictable Eve is fluttering around, trying to help. Before long, she’s infiltrated his work, his kitchen—and his spare bedroom. Jacob hates everything about it. Or rather, he should. Sunny, chaotic Eve is his natural-born nemesis, but the longer these two enemies spend in close quarters, the more their animosity turns into something else. Like Eve, the heat between them is impossible to ignore—and it’s melting Jacob’s frosty exterior.
Content warnings: childhood neglect and anti-autistic ableism
In a few words:
A top tier diverse adult contemporary romance with own voices autistic rep, featuring two characters you can’t help but love, lots of witty banter, super steamy sex and laugh out loud moments aplenty.
My Review of Act Your Age Eve Brown
Like with all the books in this series, Talia opens up with a content warning which I’m always so pleased to see. She then shares with us a playlist of songs which make an appearance throughout the story and I loved this little added extra!
The story begins with Eve discussing her preference for journalling as opposed to a dated diary, due to it’s carefree and wild nature. I totally agree, but also this scene nailed Eve and her personality down to a tee. Eve is the sunshine character personified. She wears slogan tees, reads Captain America fanfiction, throws caution to the wind, is loud, boisterous and pure chaos. And she’s plus size which we LOVE to see.
She was smiling at him, which Jacob found infinitely suspicious.
Having been unable to find a career or passion she truly loves and thrives in, and being somewhat spoiled by her family, her parents resort to an ultimatum: stick in a steady job for one year, and we’ll reinstate your trust fund. Thrown by this sudden change in circumstance, she hops in her car, drives to a small village and comes across a job advert for a chef’s position at a local B&B. Where she meets… Jacob.
Where Eve is like a storm in a teacup, Jacob is cool and controlled, regimented in his routine, weighing up the pros and cons of each situation. He comes across Eve for the first time when she turns up unannounced for a job interview at his B&B. Utterly thrown by her carefree manner and growing increasingly frustrated and flustered, the two have a not so fortunate first impression of one another. And what could make matters worse? Oh perhaps just that Eve proceeds to run Jacob over.
Because the moment Jacob left the safety of the pavement, the car’s lights flicked on, and the car itself jerked backward. Directly into him. Hard. Trust Eve fucking Brown.
With Jacob’s arm in a cast he desperately needs help at the B&B, not just with the day to day runnings but also the upcoming Gingerbread Festival. So, Eve takes on a full time position and moves into the B&B shortly after their meet-cute.
From day one, I absolutely loved Eve and Jacob’s relationship. Despite how easily they got under one another’s skin, with lots of witty and sly quips from both parties, this truly was the perfect opposites attract romance. Within a number of days the two fell into a routine, Jacob becoming increasingly flustered and disarmed around Eve, while she found a sort of stability and peace. And their undeniable attraction to each other really just pissed them off more.
For two such confident and powerful people, they really do turn into fumbling messes around each other and it was SO CUTE. One of my favourite romance tropes is the calm and collected character being thrown by the most mundane of actions from the love interest, in this case closing something with a bop of her hip.
“You,” he croaked, squeezing his eyes shut. This—woman—this lilac and orange—female—this—destroyer of fucking worlds.
Now as much as this was cute, ohhhhhh boy was it also hot. The smutty scenes in this book were absolutely 10/10. As with all of the books in this series, the sex scenes don’t take over the plot and there are only a handful scattered throughout, but wow the ones that are there? *fans self* This was a super sex positive read as they explored a healthy sexual relationship, and I loved seeing Jacob, usually so put together, absolutely fall apart with Eve in this way. It was HOT. I am a simp for Jacob Wayne basically, no further comment at this time.
I loved that even with they started to develop a romantic relationship, the banter and the back and forth didn’t stop. Although this book only spanned a short while, the character development, both alone and as a couple, was so well done it felt like they could have known each other for months.
Eve smiled, a real smile—the bright, sunshine one that lit up entire rooms, possibly entire worlds. He felt a bit dazed. As a concussed man who’d only just woken up, it probably wasn’t safe for him to be exposed to such things.
Both characters are canonically autistic too, which is own voices representation, and while I can’t comment on the accuracy it seems to be handled really well and not something just included as a plot device. The characters talk about their different experiences, with Eve only having a recent diagnosis, and I was so pleased to see the mutual understanding between the two. Eve recognised what was important to Jacob and she respected that, it eventually becoming important to her too. It was the same with Jacob; he might approach things in a completely different manner than Eve but he never belittled her for this.
While the setting of this book is relatively low key, with the majority of the story being set within the B&B, it never felt dull or restricted. There were plenty of laugh out loud moments which if you’ve read any of Talia’s other books you know she delivers with huge success, including the duck pond scene. Featuring a classic rom-com trope and the sarcastic banter that only Eve and Jacob can provide, it was impeccable.
“Fuck . . . off . . . awful woman.” She laughed. She laughed. For God’s sake, Jacob was going to push her out of a bloody window.
Our fave Brown sisters and their partners return for this book and I was so happy to have a glimpse into their lives and how things have changed since their own books. I miss them so much already and I think I’m definitely overdue a re-read of Chloe Brown! Eve’s parents, her pansexual grandmother and her gran’s partner also make an appearance and I just love their whole dynamic. We’re also introduced to Jacob’s best friend Mont and his two sisters, who I believe will be featured in Talia’s next planned series!
Personally I love a happy ever after, and Talia always delivers them with perfection. We have another huge romantic gesture between Eve and Jacob but as usual it didn’t feel cheesy or over-exaggerated, it just felt right for the characters. I really did love how the pair apologised to each other for any hurt they may have caused and I felt this conversation was so powerful and important to the plot and the character development.
His lips tilted at the corner into something that was almost—a smile. A smile like slow-dripping honey beneath the summer sun. She faltered, a little bit stunned. Jacob made ice look good, but apparently, he made warmth look even better. Oh dear.
Act your Age, Eve Brown* was a perfect contemporary romance for me. It was diverse, featured two independently strong and interesting characters with sizzling chemistry, super steamy sex offset with tender moments, laugh out loud scenes and a sex positive and believable relationship. This book was the piece of escapism I needed with absolutely NO MENTION of any pandemic at all. If that doesn’t encourage you to read it, then I don’t know what will.
If you like the sound of that, you may fancy these!
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
The first book in the Brown Sisters trilogy, though they can be read separately as technically they are standalone novels! A diverse adult romance with chronic pain, anxiety and fat rep; I fell in love in two chapters. Not only was this book super romantic and sweet, phewwwww this was hot!
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
This is the second book in the series, an addictive diverse adult romance with fat rep, mental health rep, fake dating and the ultimate grumpy but soft love interest. I posted a full spoiler free review here too if you wanted to check that out and also a full spoilery chat with Imi as well.