Review – Tools of Engagement by Tessa Bailey

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Please also note, this is an adult title (not YA).**

Title Tools of Engagement (Hot & Hammered #3)

Author Tessa Bailey

Description from Amazon

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve theirdreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, but the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.

Release Date September 22, 2020

Initial Thoughts

I actually didn’t realize this was the third book in a series when I applied on NetGalley but I decided to read it anyway. I like home improvement shows and I had heard really good things about Tessa Bailey’s writing.

Some Things I Liked

  • Enemies to lovers. My favorite trope. It wasn’t quite the classic version because Wes never actually disliked Bethany but I really enjoyed their banter and how much Bethany told herself she disliked Wes.
  • HGTV vibes. I also liked the idea of a home improvement show competition. It gave the story a unique spin. The idea was well thought out but not so detailed that I bogged myself down with whether or not it was realistic.
  • Bethany’s sister-in-law. She was an absolute loon and I really liked her. I’d read a spin off about her just because she was so eccentric.
  • Deeper themes. Despite being a rom-com, this story tackled some serious themes of parenthood, responsibility, and living up to family standards. Both Bethany and Wes had issues to sort and I thought they both showed a ton of character growth.

Series Value

I read book #3 in this series first. There are definitely spoilers for the first two books in this one but since this is a HEA series, you can assume the outcomes of the first two books anyway. I definitely want to read the other two books and I am not bothered by knowing some spoilers. For full spoiler-free reading, I’d suggest starting with Fix Her Up.

I would continue reading this series but I don’t think there will be more books simply because all of the main characters we have been introduced to are living their happily ever afters.

Final Thoughts

I liked this book. It had a cute premise and the characters had good growth. I also liked that it was set close to home in Long Island, NY. This was my first Tessa Bailey book but I’d like to read more in the future.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Island Affair by Priscilla Oliveras – if you liked the themes of a character who felt like she was not living up to her family’s expectations but managed to build a business for herself, try this April release by Priscilla Oliveras.
  • Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey – if you liked the themes in this book and like me, read them out of order, you’ll probably enjoy reading Georgie’s love story.
  • The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren – if you liked the home improvement and design show aspects of this book, try this standalone by Christina Lauren.

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