Well Played (Well Met, #2)
Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.

Well Played (Well Met, #2) Details

TitleWell Played (Well Met, #2)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 22nd, 2020
PublisherBerkley
ISBN-139781984805409
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Adult, Contemporary Romance

Well Played (Well Met, #2) Review

  • Nilufer Ozmekik
    January 1, 1970
    I couldn’t be happier to turn back to Willow Creek for second tango for the Renaissance Fair! So when I got my ARC and after a few screams, unsuccessful handspring trials (which ended with hitting my right foot against the wall and limping like Kaiser Soze throughout the day), sipping mimosas, having the longest brunch party (me, dogs, husband who secretly empties his plate filled with my homemade Eggs Benedict into flower pots –yes, my flowers looked like famous flower at the Little Shop of Hor I couldn’t be happier to turn back to Willow Creek for second tango for the Renaissance Fair! So when I got my ARC and after a few screams, unsuccessful handspring trials (which ended with hitting my right foot against the wall and limping like Kaiser Soze throughout the day), sipping mimosas, having the longest brunch party (me, dogs, husband who secretly empties his plate filled with my homemade Eggs Benedict into flower pots –yes, my flowers looked like famous flower at the Little Shop of Horrors after that experiment-) later, I excitedly gets it into my hands and started devouring it. Good thing about the book is: we have another sweetest, charming, romantic, shy, a little insecure hero: Daniel Mac Lean (redhead Irish: combination of younger Damian Lewis and James McAvoy) we may easily adore. And we have also likable heroine Stacey (Anastasia is her real name but thankfully she doesn’t use that name and it didn’t ruin the book for me with FSOG vibes. Amen to that!) stuck in a town, bored with her job, watching her friends settle down, chasing their dreamy jobs and getting married as she lost her dream career about fashion by choosing her family and taking care of sick mother. But now only good thing she likes about her life is Renaissance Fair and her hookup with Dex Mac Lean: leading singer of Dueling Kits, looking like Chris Hemsworth’s Irish version ( yes, dynamitic combination! As soon as you visualize you can’t help your hyperventilation!) But Stacey just bored to have friends with benefits relationship. She’s looking for something real. And now Simon and Emily’s engagement makes her more worried. She is happy for them but she feels lonelier, feeling like losing another friend who is about to get settled. After facing her realties and too much drink later, she makes a brave also silly move and writes a drunk email to Dex. She wasn’t truly into him but she needs something concrete for her life, right? And surprise, surpsie: he answers back: they start to write emails, texts each other sharing their intimate secrets for 11 months and when the fair reopens Stacey realized: somebody reenacted Cyrano Bergerac game! She wasn’t writing to Dex all the time. She was connecting with his cousin Daniel. She had her suspicions because the guy who was writing to her gentle, chivalry, sweet and friendly and he can pour his feelings into the writing. He is not an egotistical manwhore like Dex! She was falling in love to the wrong guy from the beginning. So will she give him a second chance? Could be Daniel the one? I think I enjoyed both characters and their sweet love story: Cyrano Bergerac theme but the reality about Stacey’s hookup with Dex and her admiration about him at the beginning irritated me. Maybe I’m a little old school and this is not a real love triangle because two guys don’t fight for a girl but I still feel bad for Daniel, even though he lied to Stacey at the beginning. The second fact that we welcomed back Emily and Simon again but as far as I see: they are so many parts about them in the story and I thought they’re not the supporting characters, they are still main characters and it seemed like a short novella about their marriage inserted into this novel which gives us less chapters about Daniel and Stacey. Till the second half of the book: Stacey still didn’t know who she was communicating with and their relationship parts evolved so fast. I wish we may spend more time with them.Overall: I still enjoyed the writing, the entertaining Renaissance theme, soft, sweet romance but I didn’t enjoy this second installment as much as I liked the first one. I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars and I finally decided 3.5 stars and rounded them up to 4 because of lovely, mud pie hero! A kind request to the author; I’m begging you dear Jen DeLuca, please give us Mitch’s book! Thanks a lot!Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this sweet, entertaining ARC with me in exchange my honest review.
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  • Annette
    January 1, 1970
    Be very jealous, for I got to read an early copy of WELL PLAYED, Jen DeLuca's follow up to the absolutely swoon-worthy WELL MET.DeLuca is, hands down, one of my favourite authors and this book did not disappoint. The romance, the longing, the charm, the steam...all there. I absolutely loved this book and need a third book by her immediately!
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  • Mary H
    January 1, 1970
    I need this book IMMEDIATELY
  • Lily Herman
    January 1, 1970
    Ugh, y'all, I'm sorry. SO SORRY.I wanted to be able to tell you that I absolutely adored this novel and that I thought it was the perfect sequel to Well Met (which I loved!).Unfortunately, Jen DeLuca's Well Played fell a bit short for me. Don't get me wrong: I still really enjoyed this book; it's a 3.5-star novel for me. I loved that DeLuca incorporated Emily and Simon from the first book (though some might find them a little too prominent), and the fact that this story takes place over the cour Ugh, y'all, I'm sorry. SO SORRY.I wanted to be able to tell you that I absolutely adored this novel and that I thought it was the perfect sequel to Well Met (which I loved!).Unfortunately, Jen DeLuca's Well Played fell a bit short for me. Don't get me wrong: I still really enjoyed this book; it's a 3.5-star novel for me. I loved that DeLuca incorporated Emily and Simon from the first book (though some might find them a little too prominent), and the fact that this story takes place over the course of a year is Very Much My Shit™. (I love Josie Silver's books, so this should come as no surprise.) I also really related to the #growth journey that Stacey was on; both of DeLuca's books so far have been about more than just a woman finding a dude.For me, Well Played just lacked that little extra umph factor. I've found that a catfishing trope is always going to be risky, because it blurs that line between irredeemable actions by a love interest and a bad but potentially understandable thing to do; in this case, I was just never totally sold on the romantic arc, though there were some adorable moments.Again though, I still liked this book, enjoy Jen DeLuca's writing style, and will absolutely read Well Matched when it comes out; in fact, I'm already counting down the days.
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  • Sylvie
    January 1, 1970
    Is it September already?Cuz I need this book... Is it September already?Cuz I need this book...
  • Patty
    January 1, 1970
    Book Review: Well PlayedBy: Jen DeLuca⁣Genre: Romance⁣Format: E-ARC thank you so much to my friends at @berkleypubfor my gifted copy!⁣⁣⁣Stacey looks at her life and feels behind. When looking at her best friend- and fellow tavern wench, Emily, she starts to compare herself and feels stuck. After another year of the Willow Creek renaissance faire held yearly in her small town, she reminisces on a fling with Dex the lead singer of the Dueling Kilts. After a night out and one drink too many, Stacey Book Review: Well PlayedBy: Jen DeLuca⁣Genre: Romance⁣Format: E-ARC thank you so much to my friends at @berkleypubfor my gifted copy!⁣⁣⁣Stacey looks at her life and feels behind. When looking at her best friend- and fellow tavern wench, Emily, she starts to compare herself and feels stuck. After another year of the Willow Creek renaissance faire held yearly in her small town, she reminisces on a fling with Dex the lead singer of the Dueling Kilts. After a night out and one drink too many, Stacey sends Dex a love note.....⁣⁣⁣This book was absolutely amazing. I needed a book like this right now to cheer me up and binge read. I loved the continuation of the story line, the characters, the twists, the turns. I loved how it could be a stand alone if you haven’t read Well Met. I loved relating myself to Stacey and overall just loved this book so much! If you enjoy romance- put this on your radar! ⁣⁣⁣⁣5/5. Jen Deluca is easily becoming one of my favorite authors ♥️⁣Anyone else excited for this read?⁣
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  • lazybookconqueror
    January 1, 1970
    I can't wait to read this! I can't wait to read this!
  • Angelica
    January 1, 1970
    Ok, but why is every romance novel cover yellow now?Is no one going to acknowledge that?
  • Anna Bright
    January 1, 1970
    hi, I friggin love jen deluca.
  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    ↠ Well Met ★★★★★I just know this is going to be the cutest romance with one of my favorite tropes!
  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    So disappointing. I’m trying to think of this as its own thing and not compare it to Well Met, but then it becomes even more disappointing because it’s so negligible. I liked it okay. I’m not sure that it needed to exist. I skimmed over Well Met before I sank into this and this pales in comparison. I’m not sure that as a reader I’m supposed to not realize immediately that Stacey isn’t talking to Dex (it’s in the book marketing, so I suppose it’s not a secret) but the fact that STACEY doesn’t rea So disappointing. I’m trying to think of this as its own thing and not compare it to Well Met, but then it becomes even more disappointing because it’s so negligible. I liked it okay. I’m not sure that it needed to exist. I skimmed over Well Met before I sank into this and this pales in comparison. I’m not sure that as a reader I’m supposed to not realize immediately that Stacey isn’t talking to Dex (it’s in the book marketing, so I suppose it’s not a secret) but the fact that STACEY doesn’t realize it drags the book down. And that her mystery email/text friend lets it go on for a full YEAR soured me on their relationship. This just felt so slight and the conflict isn’t really a conflict at all. I enjoyed spending more time with Emily and Simon. I imagine that the author wanted to spend more time with them, because we definitely get a LOT of scenes about their wedding planning. I didn’t mind it but it was fan servicey. All this said? I’ll be here for an April and Mitch book. Need.
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  • Nicole
    January 1, 1970
    I NEED IT. Does anyone know if a release date has been announced?
  • Cameron
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the eARC! We were introduced to Stacey, one of the Faire co-organizers, in Well Met and this is her story. Stacey came back to Willow Creek to help her family and then settled into a life there after her mother's health scare. However, the life she's built is starting to chafe after seeing how all the friends around her are moving on, getting married, having families. One night, after some wine has bolstered her with a dash of bravery and a ro Thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for the eARC! We were introduced to Stacey, one of the Faire co-organizers, in Well Met and this is her story. Stacey came back to Willow Creek to help her family and then settled into a life there after her mother's health scare. However, the life she's built is starting to chafe after seeing how all the friends around her are moving on, getting married, having families. One night, after some wine has bolstered her with a dash of bravery and a romantic filter on life, Stacey messages Dex, her Faire no-strings-attached hookup. And when he replies with more feeling than she expected, she soon finds herself falling in love with someone who keeps surprising her.I just love this series and I will read every installment that is put out in this universe. Getting to know Stacey and reading about Willow Creek from an insider's perspective in this book felt cozy, like coming home. I also appreciated how well this book writes about the frustration, feelings of obligation, and limited opportunities that small towns and family obligations can create. I've known many people in my life who have expressed those same feelings and it made Stacey feel very real.The romantic lead is also fire. I am so here for a ginger romantic lead and having the opportunity to read emails/texts from him for so much of the book made it feel like we actually got to know him, unlike other books where the love interest can just feel one-dimensional and like a vague collection of characteristics meant to make us swoon. My only disappointment with the lead was (view spoiler)[ the continual walking-away and giving up easily. I don't love when books use that as a plot device and personally it's just annoying. But it did give Stacey the opportunity to decide what she wants and make some changes in her life. (hide spoiler)]I also appreciate how forthright and decisive Stacey is. It was refreshing to read a lead character like that. However, at times it also felt like things were solved for Stacey rather than Stacey taking the lead in her own life to direct her own path. I wish that Stacey had made some of her own small changes throughout the book instead.My only other note was I don't know about was the structure. (view spoiler)[The first half is spent getting to know Daniel through texts and emails, but nothing really happens. It was easy to tear through but at the same time, I felt like "What is happening for Stacey? And what are we spending time on right now?". Then the book really picks up and we spend the rest at Faire with Stacey and Daniel, which ends up compressing a lot into very little time. I don't know how you'd improve that given the long-distance romance is so integral to the story, but again, I would've liked to see more for Stacey's everyday life and then perhaps it would've felt more balanced. (hide spoiler)]I loved this book and I'm SO EXCITED for the third installment - for April & Mitch's story. The second these two characters were hanging together with Stacey at the end of Well Played, I was rooting for them. And I anticipate it might end up being my favorite match? Anyway, all to say, I can't wait for 2021!
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  • Meagan Durham
    January 1, 1970
    So very cute! I loved reading about Stacey and especially sweet Daniel. I love the representation of different body types in this book. Being able to relate to a character and their problems is oh so important and Stacey was very easy to step into her shoes. I can’t wait to return to the RenFair next book!
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  • nancy (The Ravenous Reader)
    January 1, 1970
    My heart is so happy. I didn’t think I could love Well Played more than Well Met but I truly have. I liked the characters in this book more, the story had more depth and the swoon factor gave me all the heart eyes imaginable.It was very well played. Bravo!!
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  • Monica (Tomes Project)
    January 1, 1970
    THIS! COVER!
  • Jessica B.
    January 1, 1970
    *early work perk read*
  • Leah (Jane Speare)
    January 1, 1970
    SO cute. I think I liked it more than the first? They’re pretty different though. Can’t wait for more Ren Faire in the next book!
  • Lili Marcus
    January 1, 1970
    I can't find a more suitable gif, okay? I can't find a more suitable gif, okay?
  • tai
    January 1, 1970
    Home was the RV, Daniel’s beat-up, rust-red pickup truck, my tuxedo cat wearing a pair of dragon’s wings, the smile in Daniel’s eyes when he looked at me, and his arms around me when we went to sleep at night. I couldn’t imagine a better home. Or a better life. Earlier this year, I picked up Well Met on a whim after seeing all the reviews for it, and I immediately fell in love with the characters, small town and fairie setting, and Jen DeLuca’s charming writing. Upon finishing it, I was so exc Home was the RV, Daniel’s beat-up, rust-red pickup truck, my tuxedo cat wearing a pair of dragon’s wings, the smile in Daniel’s eyes when he looked at me, and his arms around me when we went to sleep at night. I couldn’t imagine a better home. Or a better life. Earlier this year, I picked up Well Met on a whim after seeing all the reviews for it, and I immediately fell in love with the characters, small town and fairie setting, and Jen DeLuca’s charming writing. Upon finishing it, I was so excited to read Stacey’s book, after how much I enjoyed her as a side character! Although I had a few problems with this story overall, I quite enjoyed it and it didn’t fail to make me smile. First off I want to say that Stacey has become a favorite character for sure! There was so much about her that I related to: How she sees her old high school friends and even newer friends lives move forward while she feels stuck in the same life for so many years, nothing changing, nothing new. It felt so relatable when she was struggling to figure out who to talk to when she was going through something, and even more relatable when she talked about how her best friend has become a “facebook friend” and has moved on to bigger and better things. A lot about her hit so close to home, and I fell for her and wanted her to succeed so badly. She was for sure my favorite part of the book (with her cat being second because really, how could I not fall for her cat?!) I also adored how important Emily and Simon were in this book. Even though they were side characters in this, it didn’t feel like they were because they were side a big part of the storyline, and as someone who absolutely loved them in Well Met, I loved that so much about this book. Ok, so here is what I’m having mixed feelings about: Daniel. I actually liked him quite a lot, he was sweet and thoughtful and treated Stacey just like she deserved to be treated. But I didn’t like how he lied to her and then, when the truth came out, he just didn’t handle it that well. Twice they fought and broke up, and he just... gave up so easily, no fight, no trying to get her back, no romantic declaration. He was the one who screwed up, and it didn’t sit well with me that he just moved on and Stacey was the one who had to go after him. Like, really?! Don’t get me wrong, I really liked him, but at the same time... if he loved Stacey as much as he said he did, I would’ve thought he would’ve fought for her at least once, went after he and apologized. No relationship doesn’t have its ups and downs and fights, but if you’re going to give up after one fight? I don’t know, it didnt sit well with me.Even with that, like I mentioned I liked Daniel. I kind of related to him in some areas, like how he feels that close to his cousins he just will never be good enough or the one people will pay attention to and look at. He had so many problems when it comes to self confidence and I totally felt him in that area. The romance, for me, was super cute. I loved the chemistry between Stacey and Daniel. I loved their back and forth emails and texts and how they got to know each other’s hearts before they even got together. I loved them when they were actually physically together. And I loved the way this book ended. But, like I mentioned, I didn’t like the fact that Stacey had to go after Daniel after he was the one that screwed up. I didn’t like how he lied to her to get to know her. I felt like his apology and reasoning was a little bit weak and stupid. I didn’t buy it. But, judging from my rating and overall enjoyment I didn’t personally think it ruined the story for me or how much I loved these two together, even though I wish some things would’ve gone differently.I also do want to talk about the setting of these books. They make me want to google search a Renaissance Faire close to me so that I can attend it. I loved the setting so much. And not just the Faire setting, but also the small town setting which I am a sucker for. One of my favorite parts of these books for sure! Overall, another great story in this series. I love Jen DeLuca’s writing and although this was not as good as Well Met for me, I still enjoyed it so much and I am SO excited for April’s book! Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    Couldn’t put it down. Enjoyed it as much, if not more, that Well Met.In Well Played, Stacey has been stuck in a rut with her reasons for staying in small town Willow Creek becoming excuses. After college she had the opportunity to move to the big city and start a career, but her mom’s health crisis put those dreams on hold and now that hold has become permanent. Her friends have started careers, relationships, and families, so one night she throws caution to the wind (after too much wine) and em Couldn’t put it down. Enjoyed it as much, if not more, that Well Met.In Well Played, Stacey has been stuck in a rut with her reasons for staying in small town Willow Creek becoming excuses. After college she had the opportunity to move to the big city and start a career, but her mom’s health crisis put those dreams on hold and now that hold has become permanent. Her friends have started careers, relationships, and families, so one night she throws caution to the wind (after too much wine) and emails her no strings summer fling Dex to see if there could possibly be more. Dex is a musician in the Dueling Kilts band that plays at the Willow Creek’s Renaissance Faire every year. She starts to receive thoughtful and earnest emails and clever texts from Dex. Does Dex have heretofore hidden depths or is someone else behind these online exchanges? As the year passes, summer comes back to Willow Creek along with Ren Faire and the return of the Dueling Kilts. Stacey is about the meet (again?) the man she has spent the year falling in love with.As I said with Well Met, the Ren Faire lifestyle is such an original setting for a novel. Past characters make appearances with the wedding of Simon and Emily from the first book and the hint of a possible connection for Mitch in the next book entitled Well Matched. I think there is more than the surface playboy in Mitch and I think Emily’s sister, April may be the one to call him out on it. The final email sent to Stacey in Chapter 20 was so heartfelt that I felt I was falling in love with the email writer as well.Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for the ARC
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  • Sara
    January 1, 1970
    3.5Really enjoyed this but not as much as the first one. I think the time jumps kind of took away some of the build up for me that Well Met had. Narratively, it made great sense, but I didn't get as invested in the romance because of it. It has a really solid start but the follow through was a little bit meh. (The "conflict" at the end didn't really help with it.) Still, it was a lot of fun to read and I liked seeing Stacey changing and realising what she wanted from life. She's a very open and 3.5Really enjoyed this but not as much as the first one. I think the time jumps kind of took away some of the build up for me that Well Met had. Narratively, it made great sense, but I didn't get as invested in the romance because of it. It has a really solid start but the follow through was a little bit meh. (The "conflict" at the end didn't really help with it.) Still, it was a lot of fun to read and I liked seeing Stacey changing and realising what she wanted from life. She's a very open and likeable character who's unapologetic about who she is but also deals with insecurities and I think a lot of people can understand and relate to her. While the latter half disappointed me a little, the ending was great. I just would have loved to have seen more of her friendship with Emily and especially her love story with Daniel AFTER she realises he was the one writing her. Obviously he is there but (again) I missed seeing the build up of a deeper emotional connection when they were both at the Faire. With Emily and Simon in Well Met, as the story progressed, they really explored those emotions. Speaking of Emily and Simon, I loved seeing them again. It really tied in what I loved about the first book and I hope they are just as important in the third (they have to be since it's about April, right?). The story would have benefitted from a little bit more emotional work, but other than that it's still a well-written, fun romance that does more for getting me interested in Renaissance faires than any poster I've seen posted along the highway ;) Next summer we're going to eat Turkey legs and fall in love!
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  • Kelsey
    January 1, 1970
    This was really cute! Well Played is the second book in the Well Met series, and our story this time focuses on fellow tavern wench Stacey and the manager of the Dueling Kilts, a music group that visits the Faire each summer. Stacey intends to send a message to her summer hookup, Dex MacLean, the guitar player for the Dueling Kilts after the Faire ends, but instead (unknowingly) begins to correspond with Daniel MacLean, the group's manager. Throughout the year, while waiting for the next summer This was really cute! Well Played is the second book in the Well Met series, and our story this time focuses on fellow tavern wench Stacey and the manager of the Dueling Kilts, a music group that visits the Faire each summer. Stacey intends to send a message to her summer hookup, Dex MacLean, the guitar player for the Dueling Kilts after the Faire ends, but instead (unknowingly) begins to correspond with Daniel MacLean, the group's manager. Throughout the year, while waiting for the next summer to start, the two exchange emails and texts, and before Stacey knows it, she's halfway in love with Daniel. But when it becomes clear that Daniel has been pretending to be his cousin, can Stacey get past his lies to give their relationship a chance? This is a romance novel, so of course she can. But there's bumps on the way!I really enjoyed this, although not as much as the first book. There's lots of cameos by Simon and Emily, which was great, and I loved that this is an epistolary novel. I did struggle with (view spoiler)[Daniel's continual lying and how he didn't fight for Stacey. The ending, Stacey has to hunt Daniel down at the Maryland Renaissance Festival, and that seemed wrong to me because Daniel should have been the one doing the grand gesture. He messed up, not Stacey. (hide spoiler)]Overall, this was a fun return to Willow Creek, and I'm excited to see April and Mitch's story in the next book. I received a digital copy of this book for review through Edelweiss+ and Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    **I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**Weirdly enough, I found myself enjoying this one much more than I did the first book in this series. I think it had to do with the fact that I felt a bit more of a connection to Stacey's situation than Emily's. In terms of personality I have little in common with Stacey, but it was more about the fact that she feels stuck living at home, at a loss on how to start living the life she really wante **I received this as an egalley from the publisher through Edelweiss in return for an honest review.**Weirdly enough, I found myself enjoying this one much more than I did the first book in this series. I think it had to do with the fact that I felt a bit more of a connection to Stacey's situation than Emily's. In terms of personality I have little in common with Stacey, but it was more about the fact that she feels stuck living at home, at a loss on how to start living the life she really wanted because she put it on hold for too long. I felt that so much.I also really enjoyed this one more because the romance took much longer to grow and develop. While the pacing of the book itself felt fast and the first half flew by a little too quickly, I loved the fact that Stacey and Daniel actually took time getting to know one another and really communicating. So by the time they finally came together again at the Faire, I felt like the romance was strong and true. Cyrano de Bergerac deception aside. (By the way, when I read the synopsis for this that was exactly my first thought, and while it wasn't exactly that, I loved that they actually referenced it in the book.)There were some ups and downs to this book, but aside from the too-quick pacing of the first half, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It kept a smile on my face, poked some holes in my heart, but in the end left me completely happy and satisfied. 4.5 stars
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for providing this eARC.If you liked Well Met, then I think you'll like this second, charming installment. This time we follow Stacey, in the throes of a quarter life crisis, worrying about turning 30 and living in the same small town (she's 27, truly a baby). The bright spot of her year is the town's ren faire, and one night in a fit of loneliness and wine, she messages her faire fling, a kilted ren fest musician, beginning an almost year-long series of emails an Thanks to Berkley and NetGalley for providing this eARC.If you liked Well Met, then I think you'll like this second, charming installment. This time we follow Stacey, in the throes of a quarter life crisis, worrying about turning 30 and living in the same small town (she's 27, truly a baby). The bright spot of her year is the town's ren faire, and one night in a fit of loneliness and wine, she messages her faire fling, a kilted ren fest musician, beginning an almost year-long series of emails and texts before the next faire. This book was very cute - as in Well Met, the faire and small town settings are fun. I will say, however, that it took a looooong time for our protagonists to be in the same, well, field at the faire. If you are a person who likes a more drawn out romance, though, this will be perfect for you! I also did identify with Stacey's feelings of stuck-ness, especially during this pandemic. Overall a fun contemporary, and we get to see Emily and Simon's wedding - Yay!
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  • Alexis
    January 1, 1970
    My current favorite trend in romance novels is the “it's a conflict because you have to have one, but it is a real conflict that normal people might experience” and this book absolutely nails it! This second in DeLuca’s Well Met series, that 100% reads as a stand-alone (I have yet to read Well Met) , is a perfect blend of romance and millennial-style coming into one’s own. The characters are relatable and well developed. The setting is a treat, with DeLuca’s writing meaning you can jump right in My current favorite trend in romance novels is the “it's a conflict because you have to have one, but it is a real conflict that normal people might experience” and this book absolutely nails it! This second in DeLuca’s Well Met series, that 100% reads as a stand-alone (I have yet to read Well Met) , is a perfect blend of romance and millennial-style coming into one’s own. The characters are relatable and well developed. The setting is a treat, with DeLuca’s writing meaning you can jump right into the story and be right there. The story weaves in some great romance tropes, while still feeling like you are immersed in the real world. While this will serve well as a light and cozy fall read, it explores some real feelings and issues that will resonate with anyone looking for their life’s next phase. This sweet, funny and touching romance reminds us that in some ways, we all have a lot to learn about love and getting out of our comfort zones.
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  • Courtney
    January 1, 1970
     Welcome back to Willow Creek! I was so fortunate to read an early draft of WELL PLAYED and like always, Jen DeLuca’s masterful storytelling is a straight shot of joy to my soul. Stacey’s voice and perspective is so strong and personal, while keeping to that same charming, cozy, close-to-the-heart atmosphere of Willow Creek--along with fabulous Ren Faire shenanigans, of course! I loved being able to see different sides of the town and culture, perceived by a lifelong local. From page one, WELL P  Welcome back to Willow Creek! I was so fortunate to read an early draft of WELL PLAYED and like always, Jen DeLuca’s masterful storytelling is a straight shot of joy to my soul. Stacey’s voice and perspective is so strong and personal, while keeping to that same charming, cozy, close-to-the-heart atmosphere of Willow Creek--along with fabulous Ren Faire shenanigans, of course! I loved being able to see different sides of the town and culture, perceived by a lifelong local. From page one, WELL PLAYED pulled me in and made me fall head-over-heels in love just as much as WELL MET did. DeLuca continues to show her immense skill in crafting ship-worthy romances woven with whimsy, charm, quotable banter, and heartwarming resolutions that leave readers fully satisfied and lining up for what’s next to come.I want to spend all my days in Willow Creek! 
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I loved last year's Well Met, so I was excited to get to read the next book in this series, which follows dental receptionist-slash-Renaissance Faire tavern wench Stacey. Having put her own plans on hold to help out her sick mother, Stacey feels stuck in the small town of Willow Creek. The Ren Faire is the one bright spot in her year, and especially her occasional hookups with shallow pretty boy Dex McLean, part of a traveling family musical act. When she messages Dex after the Faire season is o I loved last year's Well Met, so I was excited to get to read the next book in this series, which follows dental receptionist-slash-Renaissance Faire tavern wench Stacey. Having put her own plans on hold to help out her sick mother, Stacey feels stuck in the small town of Willow Creek. The Ren Faire is the one bright spot in her year, and especially her occasional hookups with shallow pretty boy Dex McLean, part of a traveling family musical act. When she messages Dex after the Faire season is over, she's surprised to get back a sweet, thoughtful reply. Thus begins almost a year of emailing and texting with Dex, as Stacey slowly falls for the kind and funny man she's come to know.Of course, it's all a lie. (The book blurb mentions this, and the cover photo kind of gives it away with the man's hair color, so I wouldn't call it a spoiler.) She hasn't been talking to Dex at all, and now Stacey's not sure if she can trust the man she's *really* been falling in love with.I enjoyed this book quite a bit, and I really want to run away and join the Ren Faire circuit now. There's just enough conflict and drama to keep it interesting, without feeling melodramatic. And for animal lovers, Stacey has an adorable and supportive tuxedo cat named Benedick.
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  • Shannon Collins
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoyed Well Met last year so it was even more delight when I got an ARC of Well Played through NetGalley. This book, much like the first, was a light read, a wonderful romance set in one of my favorite places in and out of a Renaissance Faire. The lead in this book is Stacey, a tavern wench looking for change.I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was light hearted and fun, with solid flirting and wonderful characters.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    ***Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review***The second installment from Jen Deluca in her ren faire series does not quite hold up to the first. While the characters were all back from the previous novel, I felt that they didn't flesh out the new guy in town, Daniel McClean.
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