I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Upsy Daisy by Chelsie Edwards
Series: Higher Learning #1, Green Valley Chronicles #24
Published by Smartypants Romance on May 5, 2020
Genres: NA Contemporary Romance
Source: the publisher
College, cookies, capers, Oh my!
Upsy Daisy, an all-new first love college romance from debut author Chelsie Edwards, is now available in Kindle Unlimited!
Daisy Payton has everything.
But perfection comes at a high cost, and Daisy is wilting. Determined to use college as her chance to bloom anew, she’s focused on only one thing, leaving the Payton name behind and forging her own path—even if she has to tell the teeniest of fibs to do it.
Trevor Boone has nothing.
Abandoned as a child.
Raised by distant relatives.
Constantly reminded he’s a burden.
Trevor’s lived at the edges of opulence for years, having all he’s ever desired dangled just out of reach. But his ambition is finally about to pay off and nothing will distract him from his goal—finishing college top of his class and starting life, on his own terms.
When Daisy and Trevor meet it’s clear from the start that they’ll tempt each other to distraction, can they learn to put their ambitions aside and fall or will they lose it all?
‘Upsy Daisy’ is a full-length romance, can be read as a standalone, and is book #1 in the Higher Learning series, Green Valley World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
I guess I hadn’t quite realized when I started this one that it was going to be set in the recent past, an origin story if you will, for Daisy of Daisy’s Nut House in our beloved Winston Brothers series. While the majority of it did not actually take place in Green Valley, there was a fun little bit around Christmas time when we even got to see a baby Bethany Winston. Well, not a baby, she was like 6 years old I think, and not a Winston yet, but it made me squeal out loud to see her! I know she’s one that would be really hard for an origin story, because it’s impossible to think that we could have any happy story with the father of that clan, but that’s another story, and lets get back to how wonderful this one was!
It was set in 1975, when I was only 3 years old, so I don’t actually remember most of the fashion and clothes other than pictures that I try to hide of how my mom dressed me. But it was so much fun reading about them, and how hot pants and jumpsuits and bra tops were a thing at the time. Also the roller skating party for a fraternity or college thing tickled me due to how it has turned into maybe an elementary or middle school thing, if you actually still have a rink in your town. Or it was before all the craziness of this pandemic. But once again I digress.
I loved Daisy, I loved Trevor. Both did their own little lies to cause issues in the relationship. Although neither meant for them to hurt the other, and both had such good reasons. Both also had good reasons for not telling like I always complain the characters should just come clean usually in romances. But no, the reasons they kept it quiet made a lot of sense.
I’d consider this more New Adult because of being set in a college, and it was so unique to read a story set in an HBCU (Historically Black College and University). Something that I personally haven’t had a chance to read about, yet at my current school where I am a librarian, my students are always looking to go to one, so it was informative and fun for me to read.
The characters were all really well rounded and stood out from the pages. Like I said, reading about their wardrobe choices was fun to imagine the picture in my head! My eyes just about popped at the bit about a two hour church service, when I was younger, an hour was pretty much how long it was, unless it was a special Christmas or Easter or Confirmation ceremony. But I guess for other religions it is probably more like the two hours. The steamy level in this was mostly saved for the end, just a kiss or two here or there throughout the rest of the book, although the characters did have their feelings about each other that were both emotional and physical spelled out as the story progressed.
All in all, a wonderful story, I really loved it so much, I’m embarrassed to say so much more than I thought I would when I began and realized it was set in the 70s. Another wonderful, great addition to the Green Valley World, and the Smarty Pants Universe!
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My room was small with pale yellow walls, one window on the far wall, two closets, two raised beds, and a single dresser. I’d beaten my roommate there and claimed the bed closest to the window. We’d made quick work of the cleaning and had gotten a good way through the decorating and hanging my clothes before Dolly flopped on the bed and called me to sit next to her.
I knew what was coming next. It was one of my favorite Dolly speeches. It was the “Today You Become a Woman” speech. My conservative guess was I’d become a woman twenty-three times in the last few years. It’d happened when I’d gotten my driver’s license, when I’d gotten asked to the junior prom, when I’d gone to the senior prom, graduation day … you get the drift. Dolly was good with marking milestones with big speeches.
She’d begin gently but I knew it wouldn’t stay gentle for very long, she would poke and pry and try to get me to cry and suddenly I was tired and ready for her to go.
“Do you like your room?” she asked innocuously.
I nodded, because I knew she hated when I nodded. Instead of reacting she simply stared and stared until I said, “Yes, it’s nice, a bit small for two people but I’m sure my roommate will be nice and we will make do,” I said it more hoping than knowing.
Dolly smiled, and then after a moment said, “Don’t be angry with your father …”
I stared at her confused, waiting for her to go on. She seemed to be struggling for words and so I patted her leg reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I’ll write him a letter. Or better yet, I think I saw a pay phone at the end of the hall, I’ll call him and tell him I’m not angry he couldn’t make the trip.”
She sighed. “No, Daisy, I know you’re not angry over that.”
There was another pause and she took a deep breath. “Daddy wanted to surprise you. He thought you might be more comfortable in your own room here since you have your own room at home.”
I continued to stare at her. “He called in a favor with one of his friends at the Alumni Association and they made special accommodations for you … someone will be by to collect the extra bed—”
“No,” I said more forcefully than I intended. I wasn’t angry with Dolly.
Although she had kept this from me until now, so maybe I should’ve been. In fact I definitely should’ve been.
“Dolly, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I knew it would make you upset. There is no use trying to change what’s done.”
“No use? Would make me upset? I am way past upset. I don’t want special accommodations. I don’t want my own room. I don’t want to be treated differently,” I hollered.
“Daisy, calm down. This isn’t the end of the world.”
How could I explain that it wasn’t the end of the world, it was a continuation of the same world.
And that was the problem.
I wanted to be Daisy Payton here, not Daisy Payton.
Because Daisy Payton played a mean game of spades, and knew how to cornrow in every direction. She had a natural head for figures, and could even do three digit multiplication in her head. She loved the Temptations and could cut a rug on the dance floor with the best of them. She could bake better than your eighty-five-year-old granny. She studied geography for fun. She got a four-point-oh during the worst year of her life. She was good with potted plants but terrible in the garden; weeds were foes she could not defeat. She’d been kissed twice. Once was awful and once was amazing, so amazing that she did it again, and then again—so really four times, but three of the kisses happened in one session. And she wanted opportunities to roll that fifty-fifty dice again to find out how the next kiss would be.
But Daisy Payton?
Daisy Payton had a powerful father. (That poor man.)
Daisy Payton was a rich girl. (She’s not but it doesn’t matter if people think you are.)
She had a dead brother, who got murdered in Vietnam. (What a useless war.)
Daisy Payton had a mother who was there and then *poof* was gone from breast cancer. (Poor Daisy.)
Daisy Payton went from rich girl to poor girl. Poor little rich girl that everyone looked at with pity.
And she hated it.
She hated that everyone, everyone thought they knew her.
She hated the assumption that if they hurt with her, or worse, for her, then it made the pain better, as if that made it the entire community’s pain; when it absolutely didn’t.
She hated that she still read and reread the letters from her brother. Some of the pages had wrinkles from being crumpled in fits of anger because oh, she was so angry when he left. And then she felt guilty and stupid and horrified that she’d almost destroyed his letters when they were all that was left. Some were starting to show signs of age, yellow in some spots and the ink fading in others, and she hated that too because how could so much time have passed without him?
And she hated that her mother had been helping her shop for homecoming dresses and was buried before Thanksgiving. It had spread so fast.
No junior prom dress shopping. No junior prom.
She barely remembered her senior year.
She hated that her friends and family and perfect strangers spoke to her in hushed tones and assumed she was broken.
She hated that they were right.
Because the ache inside her was relentless. It constantly missed her brother. It constantly missed her mother. It would not abate. It could not be moved. She was thoroughly, horribly, broken and all that brokenness was put up for examination by an entire town. That just couldn’t happen here.
For the whole of her life, the whole of Green Valley had treated her differently, and she absolutely hated it.
But she wasn’t in Green Valley now. And Daisy Payton had a plan.
About the Author:
Chelsie Edwards’ mother declared her a smarty-pants at 4 years old; now she gets to be one professionally. She manages project timelines by day and book timelines by night. She resides in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. and has no dogs, fish, or birds, but her neighbors cat “Buddy” keeps her company by sunbathing on her porch. Her debut novella is scheduled to be released Spring 2020 on Smartypants Romance and will chronicle Daisy and Trevor’s journey.
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