ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Willa Nash’s The Bully ARC Review

Thank you to Willa Nash and her team for the advance reader copy of The Bully, the fourth story in the Calamity Falls series.

I have adored the previous books in the Calamity Falls series so I am excited to delve into Nellie and Cal’s enemies-to-lovers romance.

I am a member of Willa Nash’s review team, but I stand by my reviews remaining honest and true.

“Nellie Rivera is trading traffic for tranquility. When the quiet streets of small-town Montana beckon, she leaves Denver behind and moves to Calamity. It would be the perfect adventure if not for Cal Stark.

When her archnemesis dares to show his face one Saturday morning, declaring he is moving there too, she vows to make his life a misery. The town isn’t big enough for the both of them and besides . . .

She was here first.

Cal has been a thorn in her side since high school. He might have bullied her back then, but she’s not a modest teenager anymore and has learned a few plays of her own. If all goes to plan, she’ll run the former pro quarterback out of town within a month.

There’s only one problem. Cal has the same plan. He wants Calamity bad enough to pull out all the stops. And after one kiss, she realizes that he doesn’t play fair.”

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: Our hero is Cal Stark, a retired NFL quarterback. The two-time Super Bowl winner is settling down in Calamity. He is brought there by his friend Pierce (whom you’ll remember from the last instalment). Ou heroine is Nellie, who is Pierce’s assistant and someone Cal has known since high school. Back when they both attended the same prestigious private school, him as the son of a wealthy family and her a scholarship kid, the daughter of his parent’s gardener. Both of our main characters have had their struggles finding acceptance, as they settle in Calamity they make more friends in the wider community, and find who they are outside of work.
  • Setting: The story is set in Calamity, Montana. The classic small-town Montana setting that Devney is known for. The small-town life is attractive to Nellie and Cal. These city slickers are looking forward to a change in the pace of life. The setting brings so many awesome side characters. The characters from previous Calamity books get cameos. There is also the addition of Harry, an older woman in the town who becomes Cal’s wing woman and I loved their dynamic.
  • Pacing: I loved the way this story unfolded. Much of the backstories and our characters’ entwined past comes out through Nellie’s diary. It was such a great storytelling device. Very early on Cal takes one of her diaries and over the course of the story, we get to read more and more instalments in her high school daily life. Along with Cal’s side of what was going on, Devney painted their backstories in an illuminating way. The structure of the entire book felt quite different, we do not really get long stretches with them as a dedicated couple, but this pacing made complete sense for this type of story.
  • Romance: This couple has a lot of intense history, a story tactic I do not think we have seen from Devney before. Friendenemies bordering on enemies is where we start with these two and damn it is an emotional journey to becoming much more. Their push and pull, their history of hooking up and then fighting was all extremely hot but also extremely frustrating. Parts of this book brought me to tears. I felt so much for our characters, my frustrations poured out of me. I just wanted them to stop being so stubborn with each other and their feelings. This may sound bad to you, instead, Devney did a perfect job of keeping me hooked, keeping me fighting for them and their love.

The Bully receives five out of five stars.

You can pick up the story here.

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Thank you again to Willa and her team for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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