I read romance books almost all the time and have read just about every kind of romance. Some, I get back to often. Some, I hate with my whole heart. And some, I become obsessed with and think about at the most random times. They slip into my heart and hold it. They make me want to read them again and again until they are a part of me.

Restore Me was the last kind of romance book.

about Restore Me

Restore Me by J. L. Seegars book cover

Sloane

Dominic Alexander is my late husband's best friend and the last man on Earth that I should want. He's arrogant, dismissive, and up until recently has only ever used those dark eyes of his to look right through me. For the last ten years, he's taken a sick pleasure in making me feel paper thin, like my entire existence is of no consequence to him at all.

But now, things are different.

After one drunken night, and a surprisingly sexy act of heroism, he's started to be...nice. Treating me like something other than the physical embodiment of his annoyance, which would be nice if it didn't make me feel all the things I swore to never feel for another man after my husband died.

Dominic

Sloane Kent is going to be my undoing.

What's worse: I think I'm going to enjoy being unravelled by the gold flecks in her hazel eyes and the adorable little way she scrunches her nose up when we're arguing, which we've done a lot of over the past decade. She thinks it's because I hate her, and I've always let her think that because the alternative is...untenable.

But something is changing between us, and I don't know how to stop myself from breaking every promise I've ever made to myself regarding my best friend's wife. Promises that include never telling her that there's a long list of things I feel about her, but hate isn't one of them.

Content warnings: grief, death of a partner, recalling an accident, miscarriage.

my review

Even though I read tons of romance books, I move on from most of them quickly. There are always more books to be read. Even if a book is really good, I won't reread it unless it is a comfort read and I'm in a low mood.

Those rules went out of the window with this book. After reading it for the first time, I immediately reread my favourite parts. I wanted to write a review a while later and ended up rereading the entire book under the guise of "brushing up for the review." I think about the main characters and their chemistry whenever asked for a romance book recommendation.

It isn't a "comfort read" for me. But I'm obsessed with it.

She smelled like heaven.

Right from the first line, I was hooked. Restore Me is written in a way that if you start reading it, you can't stop.* The writing style is descriptive and intriguing. I love how the author sets the scene by giving the right amount of details. And all of the details add to the character's personality. There was no description without a reason.

I especially loved how feelings were described in the book. A fundamental part of getting to know the characters through a first-person point-of-view is seeing how they feel in various situations. It is finding out what they believe in and what drives their actions.

The writing style is more show than tell in this book and it worked out really well with the characters and the overall vibe of the story. There was an emphasis on how each character is feeling in every scene and that made the book heady with emotion.

It is not a light and comforting read. It is a book that will make you feel along with the characters and hold your breath at crucial moments due to the intensity of emotions.

*I picked up the book now to check my notes and ended up reading three chapters before remembering this review.

That's part of the problem with knowing your enemy so well: becoming familiar with the information you never have a reason to use like how to make her eyes shine with happiness or the right thing to say to entice her lips to pull into that dazzling smile that she gives to everyone but you.

I love a good romance book with flawed characters and Restore Me delivered beautifully.

Slone and Dominic are not perfect people. They make bad decisions, don't always communicate well, and are selfish at times. They can't help but view the world with a lens tinted by their vulnerabilities.

While it is a romance book, there is a lot of emphasis on the individual characters as well. We get to know who Sloane and Dominic are by themselves. We learn about their childhood, what they believe in, what drives them, and what holds them back.

Chapter by chapter, we learn about their layers and connect with them. They both have demons to fight alone. They have individual character arcs in the book. The individual attention makes their romance even better because we see what they have in common and why they're perfect for each other.

He's spent more than a decade annoying the life out of me, and I know from experience that knowing how to push someone's buttons comes with the ability to see right through them. To read their minds through facial expressions and body language alone.

Sloane and Dominic have always been at each other's throats—bickering, throwing insults, and generally not getting along. They simply tolerated each other for the people they both love. But one night changes everything and suddenly, they fit together perfectly.

The book accurately shows how hate and love are two sides of the same coin. And how just one action can flip the coin.

I loved seeing them fall in love. The chemistry between them was palpable right from the start. When they were on the cusp of getting into a relationship, the intensity of their scenes shot up. I was almost breathless with anticipation.

We see enough of them learning how to be together to see how their years of history actually make them better together. Everything they know about each other through the lens of hate makes them stronger in love. They almost instinctively know how to be together and comfort each other.

It also makes every interaction of theirs high in intensity. Especially explicit scenes. This book is HOT. Sloane and Dominic's chemistry explodes when they finally get together. And their cuddly comfort scenes afterwards are almost too much. They're the couple who spend one night together and then never spend nights alone. They're inseparable and it is amazing.

All the hurt I feel, all the pain Sloane feels, lies squarely on my shoulders, and I'll bear it because that's what you do for the people you love.
You put their needs before your own.
You take the rain, so they can dance in the sunshine.

Dominic is also completely obsessed with Sloane and I LOVED THAT. He may "hate" her on the outside but he is totally in love with her. I loved seeing him be whipped for her and basically worship her with his heart. It is shown through his words, his actions, and especially through his body language.

If you want a romance book where the boy is absolutely obsessed with the girl, this is it.

And the best part? Sloane slowly becomes obsessed with him too and it is so satisfying to see her love him the way he deserves.

His smile spreads and so does the warmth in my chest. I love making Dominic smile. Over th past few weeks, I've realized that putting a smile on his face is more satisfying than making him scowl.

Lastly, I really liked how the book dealt with grief and second love. Eric was Sloane's first love and Dominic's best friend. It was the reason Dominic stepped aside for 12 years and pretended to hate Sloane.

They both accepted that Eric is a huge part of Sloane's life and did not discredit his position in their lives even as they fell in love. They never pretended as if the past and Eric did not exist. It was really nice how this important thing was not ignored or silenced.

overall

The above reasons are the reason why Restore Me is on my best romance books list. I absolutely loved the book and will probably reread it at random times.

I highly recommend it if you want a romance book with great characters, explosive chemistry, and really good smut.

be wordy with me!

Have you read Restore Me? If not, have I convinced you to add it to your TBR list?

Do you have any such romance books that have great characters and are high in intensity? Do recommend them to me in the comments!

stay wordy, Sumedha
photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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12 comments

  • Viral says:

    OMG just amazing.

    TBH this is the first time I have read a review of your completely ( you know me, I hate reading XD )
    The short intro in the mail was enough to drag me here till the comment section.

    The enthusiasm with which you've written this is reflected very well.
    If I ever am going to read a Romance genre this is going to be the first 🙂
    Keep up the great work.

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      Ayy, thank you so much, Viral! And one of these days, you will read a book and love it. You know quite a few readers to get by unscathed ?

      Reply ➔
  • Jenny in Neverland says:

    I love those sort of books which are written in such a style that you literally can't stop! Great review 🙂 x

    Reply ➔
  • eleennaeisloved says:

    Yay, you finally posted this review and it's so well-written!

    Reply ➔