REVIEW: Anyone but You by Chelsea M Cameron

Things are going great for Sutton Kay, or at least they were. Her yoga studio is doing well, she’s living with her best friend, and she just got two kittens named Mocha and Cappuccino. Sure, she doesn’t have a girlfriend, but her life is full and busy. Then her building is sold and the new landlord turns out to be the woman putting in a gym downstairs who doesn’t seem to understand the concepts “courtesy” and “don’t be rude to your tenants.” Sutton can’t get a read on Tuesday Grímsdóttir, but she can appreciate her muscles. Seriously, Tuesday is ripped. Not that that has anything to do with anything since she’s too surly to have a conversation with, and won’t stop pissing Sutton off.

Sutton’s life gets interesting after she dares Tuesday to make it through one yoga class, and then Tuesday gives Sutton the same dare. Soon enough they’re spending time working out together and when the sweat starts flowing, the sparks start flying. How is it possible to be so attracted to a person you can barely stand?

Warnings: light spanking

Category: F/F

Anyone but You is a lesbian romance novel about a pair of fitness girls who gradually fall in love despite rocky first impressions. A bit of a mildly enemies to lovers story, and a really cute and flirty ride from start to finish. A little slice of lifey at times, it’s pretty short and sweet, easy to breeze through quickly, and keeps you having fun for the entire duration that you will spend reading it.

WRITING
The writing style is fairly playful. First person can be tricky to do without making your POV character irritating, and while Sutton’s internal dialogue can often be a little silly, the author keeps her feeling relatable and fun loving without too much of the sarcasm that can ruin these sorts of books for me. It definitely felt like it was written by a millennial, with a sort of modern sense of humor lingering about the prose and saturating the atmosphere. The plot can be a little predictable and lacking in layers; this is strictly about the developing relationship between Sutton and Tuesday and there’s no B-plot. There are a lot of scenes that are just daily life, casual chit chat conversations between various characters where nothing is actually happening. This makes it a very light, breezy sort of read, nothing super angsty or any big anxiety causing twists, which is a refreshing change of pace sometimes. It reminds me of coffee shop fic. It’s nice, relaxing, warm, and safe.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
I really loved both Sutton and Tuesday. They were incredibly engaging, and their banter and bickering was fantastically fun. They start out at odds with one another, fighting and getting on each other’s nerves the way only people incredibly attracted to each other can. It was a real treat to watch their resentment and irritation blossom from sexual tension to a genuine affection for each other, and if you like watching relationships that start out rocky before they can admit their feelings, this is perfect. It’s also such a great use of the ‘useless lesbians’ trope as they are both perfectly oblivious to each other’s feelings, a lack of communication makes them blunder aimlessly through various social encounters, and they were an absolute joy to follow. I really especially enjoy Tuesday, but I often really enjoy unapologetic assholes. As Sutton describes her, Tuesday is “hot and mean” which is always an incredibly fun combination. I also very much enjoyed Sutton’s roommate, they were an absolute delight.

WORLDBUILDING
Being that the story takes place around and in gyms, it is saturated in fitness culture. Technically more of a ‘theme’ than a setting, it was rather fun and charming for me to engage with a story that is so steeped in workout regimes, especially given that this is generally a very masculine trope in media. Sutton owns and runs a Yoga studio, while Tuesday runs CrossFit and weight lifting. While I am not involved in either of those specific fitness regimens, I do very much enjoy fitness an active amount in my own life and the fantasy of the kind of people that revolve their lives around it is always a really nice one. It’s a window into a world that, again, in most media is usually reserved for male characters, so it’s very refreshing to see two women who’s lives revolve around gyms and workout culture. Again, Tuesday is such a wonderfully great fantasy character; fit as all hell, rippling muscles, cool and aloof, position of power (landlord)… I absolutely love it. And Sutton and her bickering over what kind of workout is the better kind of workout is also stunningly fun. (They’re both wrong; the best kind of fitness regimen is Martial Arts)

STEAMINESS
The smut content in this is excellent!! There’s everything you could ask for in an admittedly fairly vanilla romance novel. There’s antagonistic interactions and bickering, followed by sexual tension and pining which is always a fantastic lead up to the eventual dam breaking and passionate angry makeouts. When they do finally have sex you’ve been begging them to just fuck already for half the book so far, and it’s lovely. It’s very sensual, very tender and very evocative. The author does a very nice job with these scenes, making them both emotional and incredibly sexy. I usually enjoy much darker fare for my smut, but I was well satisfied with the emotional progression here, and pleasantly surprised at the spanking play thrown in at the end as just that extra little bit of spice. All in all very well done in the smut department!

This is a very cute and sweet little lesbian romance and I do very much recommend it as being a fun read. It’s lacking in much serious substance but sometimes all you want is to see two very fit, very bossy, very headstrong ladies fall in love and workout together. And for real, who wouldn’t immediately fall head over heels in love with Tuesday, I swear.

Have you read Anything But You? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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