Hooked on You is the first book in the new Maple Falls series by Kathleen Fuller. All books are set in a small town in Arkansas called Maple Falls. Maple Falls is your typical small town filled with people who know you by name and who all have a habit of getting into your personal business. The first book features Riley McAllister and Hayden Price, two high school classmates who never interacted prior to both of wining up back in Maple Falls at the same time.
Riley left town with no plans of ever coming back. She is determined to make it big in New York city as a mixed media artist. Unfortunately things haven’t exactly panned out as expected for her ~ she is basically a struggling artist. One day, she received a phone call from her grandmother who recently broke her leg in a softball game. Her grandmother asks her to come back to Maple falls to help her during her recovery. Riley reluctantly agrees and is unexpectedly welcomed back to town by Hayden.
Hayden also left Maple Falls ager graduation with big plans – to become a professional baseball player. His goal was finally within reach when he blew out his pitching arm. Since then, he has returned to town working at his families hardware store. He is determined to make the best out of his situation starting with buying a house to fix up and starting a church softball league. It is this league where Riley’s grandmother breaks her leg sliding into third base.
Riley and Hayden were classmates but in completely different social circles. Hayden was popular and a bit of a jock while Riley was just trying to get by unnoticed. Yet unbeknownst to them, each had caught the others eye. Now in present day, they start catching each others eyes again. These two characters had such sweet chemistry. Hayden really is a good hearted man and the patience he shows for Riley is so endearing. She’s a complex character who has put up big walls for being hurt in the past. He recognizes this and tries to reassure her that not everybody is out to hurt her.
The only other person who has never hurt Riley is her grandmother. Her grandmother took her in and basically rescued her from an unstable mother. I adored this relationship. It felt so real. I also enjoyed her grandmothers friends (The Bosom Buddies) and how they wrapped their arms around Riley. Plus, they sure do love their gossip! Maple Falls is such a small area that it doesn’t take long for word to get around to everyone. Especially once both Hayden and Riley start making changes to their respective family stores. Admittedly, I always love when characters come together to revitalize and rebrand a town.
Hooked on You is a bit of a Christian romance but it did not fell over done. There are some mentions of God and bringing people together, and some church scenes but it was not the full focus of the story. In fact, there is a little bit of an undertone that not everything is exactly as it seems in a small church going town. Overall, Hooked on You has its dryer moments, usually involving Riley, but i found it to be enjoyable and it pulled at my heart strings with moments of finding love, family, friendships, and forgiveness.
Rating: 3.5 Stars