I don’t think I advertised this enough, but All or Nothing at All by Jennifer Probst was actually one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. At one point, I thought it was my #1 most anticipated, although after devouring all 705 pages of A Court of Wings and Ruin the same day it came out, I realized maybe not. Either way, I was ecstatic when I got the chance to read this, and unsurprisingly, it was just as amazing as all of the other books in the series.
All or Nothing at All is the third book in Jennifer Probst’s Billionaire Builders series, sort of inspired by the Property Brothers. This book features Tristan Pierce and Sydney Greene. They were childhood friends turned lovers, until Tristan took off to New York and Sydney stayed in her hometown. Three years later, he’s back and shocked/betrayed when he finds that Sydney has a kid. He gives her the
cold shoulder, unaware that the kid is actually his. So basically, the perfect, most potentially swoony contemporary romance plot ever – it’s why I thought this book would be my favorite in the series. Now having read the book, it’s a hard call. I’m stuck between the second book Any Time, Any Place and this one. The former was perfect in every way, and while I did love this one as well, there was one thing this book didn’t quite hit.
Let’s go through the checklist:
The selfless heroine. CHECK.
The adorable, lovable kid. CHECK.
The relationship between father & daughter and mother & daughter. CHECK.
The drama and pain after the big reveal. CHECK.
The perfect, angsty relationship between Sydney and Tristan. Umm, not so much.
While I loved so much about this book and had a great time reading it – minus the tears at the painful bits – one thing that really got under my skin while I was reading was Sydney and Tristan’s relationship. Too much of their relationship was founded on sex. It was clear that they both loved each other’s personalities and who they were to one another, but for most of the novel, this rarely came through in the way they interacted with each other. It was brought up at the end of the novel, but the apology wasn’t big enough, and my cold heart apparently isn’t as easy to please as the characters in the novel.
There’s also this thing that happens about three-quarters of the way into the novel. I won’t spoil it, but one character is taken advantage of and literally no one stands up for this character. They let all of what’s happening happen to the character, and all the males and females we’ve come to know and love from the last two books stick up for the other character without even bothering to know more about the situation. Sure, they have the sad character’s back later in the novel, but they weren’t there for the character when the character so could have used them. Again, the character forgave them, but I still hold a grudge. And I’m not even done yet.
The happily ever after bit usually occurs after one of the characters realizes that he/she is in the wrong, and makes a grand apology (re: two paragraphs above where I complain about the apology not being grand enough). I’m not sure if this is even a big deal, but the fact that one character absolutely refused to believe the other character until there was absolute proof right in front of that character’s face that the other character wasn’t lying really bothered me. And that both characters were totally okay with this turn of events and that one of them didn’t demand a bigger apology (yes, I’m back to that) just made me feel confused things. I don’t even know.
Despite all of that, I really enjoyed reading this book. This series is absolutely perfect, and honestly, the fact that this book made me feel so many things means that it’s that good. Obviously these characters are very different from me and have less cold hearts – except maybe Tristan – but the plot was stunningly written, even despite my complaints. I suppose I wanted Sydney to stand up for herself more and Tristan to come to conclusions a bit faster and both to not make stupid mistakes, but hey, c’est la vie.
If you still don’t believe how much I enjoyed the book, I gave it five stars (★★★★★). If I hadn’t read the other two books in the series, maybe it would have been four stars, but the interactions between all these characters that now feel like family makes everything okay. Everyone’s story was different, and I applaud Probst on being able to write unique romances year after year. This is why she’s my go-to Contemporary Romance author, folks.
NOTE: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book in any way.