Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
There is something in the water in Melanie Harlow’s Bellamy Creek that grows swoony, small-town heroes. Four friends, Griffin, Cole, Enzo, and Beckett, have been friends since their youth, and Harlow has created stories for the first three where you can’t help but lose your heart. In her newest book, Call Me Crazy, we are treated to Enzo’s story. If you’ve read the first two books of Harlow’s Bellamy Creek series, then you’re familiar with Enzo’s lothario ways. Never one to want a relationship, Enzo reads like the player of his friend group. In Cole’s story, the second book of this series, we meet Bianca, Harlow’s heroine of Call Me Crazy, and it’s clear from the start that there is chemistry between Bianca and Enzo, much to their chagrin. To say that I was excited about reading Call Me Crazy would be an understatement given that my favorite trope in romance is enemies to lovers or hate to love. For me, that trope allows for a depth of love in a romantic relationship that feels deeper than any of the other tropes. As we read so often in romances, the line between love and hate is practically invisible, and it makes for stories that explode off the page.
Call Me Crazy is everything I wanted it to be. Harlow’s characters aren’t complicated in her characterization. Both Bianca and Enzo are suited to each other, but they are the last to know. This makes for a compelling read for anyone reading this book because you are anticipatory for the moment when they finally recognize it. With her keen skill at story pacing, Harlow doesn’t rush this. She makes you wait for that moment by creating scenes that are sweet and delicious in their steam and romance. While Enzo plays at being a man not interested in relationships, Harlow shows his capacity at doing it well. As you read his journey and recognize his ability to potentially love Bianca, Harlow draws it to a fever pitch at just the right moment. In that lead-up, Harlow aptly excites you for that moment when it all comes tumbling out. In Call Me Crazy, it isn’t rushed; it’s perfectly timed to keep you invested in Harlow’s story.
Along with the impeccable pacing of her story comes a keen characterization of Bianca. Harlow makes it clear that she is perfect for Enzo (in fact, we see that clearly in Make Me Yours, Cole’s book). Enzo says it well in that he’s attracted to her “moxie.” That is what he’s missed in other women. Enzo needs someone who is intelligent and insightful, and who can challenge him. And Bianca does this in and out of the bedroom. Unfortunately, these two are stubborn, and you are at their whim until they realize their compatibility, which is, as I’ve said previously, perfectly timed for the greatest emotional punch.
What else is there to love about Call Me Crazy? The return of the earlier couples and the sneak peek of Beckett’s story, obviously. Even more, Enzo and Bianca’s families add glorious color to the book. Most importantly, the bonus epilogue is one of the sweetest epilogues I’ve read to date. Harlow takes it in a direction that I adore because it is different from the usual fare of bonus epilogues.
Look, if you haven’t picked up Melanie Harlow’s Bellamy Creek series, what are you waiting for? This series is a master class in small-town romance with swoony heroes and the intelligent, insightful, independent heroines who challenge them. If you’re like me and love enemies-to-lovers, Enzo and Bianca’s chemistry explodes off the page and makes Call Me Crazy a perfect afternoon or weekend read.
In love and romance,