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Monday, June 25, 2018

Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters - Book Review, Guest Post & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Avery and Merritt were best friends in high school. They both wanted more, but before they could declare their love for each other, Avery got a once in a lifetime opportunity to host a television show. She left and broke Merritt's heart. Fifteen years later Avery is still part of a successful home renovation reality program, together with her best friend and fake boyfriend Alistair. To be a star Avery has to pretend she's in love with a man she sees as a brother. For years this charade went well, but now Avery is back in Portland for their next renovation project, just in time to attend her high school reunion. Avery desperately wants Merritt to forgive her, will she have a chance to make things right?

Merritt is the owner of a thriving business. She has quite a reputation, breaking the heart of every woman she goes out with. For Merritt there was only one true love, but Avery hurt her badly. Now that she's back in town Avery wants to rekindle their spark. Merritt might seem tough, but she knows Avery can shatter her once more. Avery isn't in Portland to stay, is it a good plan for Merritt to let the woman who has so much power over her back into her life? Avery wants to make amends, is she serious this time?

Worth the Wait is a moving romantic story. Avery and Merritt have quite a history. Avery was pressured into choosing a career in television over true love. She dreamed of becoming a star, but she paid a big price for her choice. Avery has very little room to make her own decisions. She has to meet certain standards for the show and almost every part of her life is fake. Spending time with Merritt shows her that she's missing out and she slowly grows as a person. Avery doesn't want others to take the lead any longer and this was a fabulous process to witness. Merritt has to have quite a bit of patience and she carefully guards her heart. It isn't easy for Avery to break down her walls. They have a lot of issues to work on and I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if they'd be able to overcome every obstacle in their way.

Karelia Stetz-Waters has written an amazing complex love story. Avery and Merritt have a deep emotional connection. When they are together everything is exactly as it should be, but Avery isn't a free woman. She's signed plenty of contracts, Alistair heavily depends on her and her success provides an income for many people. Karelia Stetz-Waters explores each repercussion of her actions and every consequence of Avery's battle with having such little freedom. I loved that aspect of the story. She combines this with a strong relationship, Merritt and Avery are soul mates and that's beautiful. Worth the Wait is a complicated and bittersweet story filled with surprising twists and turns. It's a terrific book about personal growth, giving love a chance and choosing happiness.


If you love romantic stories about true love Worth the Wait would be an excellent choice. It's part of the Out in Portland series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

About Karelia Stetz-Waters

Karelia Stetz-Waters is a contemporary lesbian writer. She is passionate about providing happy endings and a vision of redemptive love for readers of all orientations. Her novels include For Good, Something True, The Admirer, The Purveyor, and Lambda Literary Award and Golden Crown Literary Society finalist Forgive Me If I’ve Told You This Before.

Karelia teaches English and writing at Linn-Benton Community College, where her students include everyone from drag queens, to farm boys, to Sudanese refugees. They all tell stories of passion and perseverance and inspire her to write characters that are real and diverse.

Karelia has a BA in comparative literature from Smith College and an MA in English literature from the University of Oregon. She also teaches writing for the Gold Crown Literary Society Writing Academy, a non-profit organization that seeks to promote and strengthen lesbian fiction.

She is married to her beloved wife of 19 years and lives with her a friendly cat and a breed of dog never-before-seen: the King Pug Spuglette (a cross between a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and a pug).


Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

My Secret and the City That Inspired Worth the Wait
Guest post by Karelia Stetz-Waters

I have a dark secret: I don’t live in Portland, Oregon. I know. Most people don’t live in Portland. They’re totally out of the closet about that. You ask them where they live. They’re, like, “Detroit!” No shame.

But all the romance novels in my Out in Portland series are set in Portland. I like to perpetuate a kind of I’m-in-Portland sensibility. My Instagram feed is all Portland. My wardrobe is Portland. I’ve got a Portland haircut. (To my credit, I can get to Portland in the time it takes Portlanders to get across town in rush hour.)

But there’s something good about writing romances set in a city I love and I don’t quite live in. I’m always yearning for Portland: the food carts, the crazy art, the cocktails with names like the Manhattan Man Bun.

Romance is all about yearning. This is particularly true of my latest book Worth the Wait. Worth the Wait is about two women who loved each other in high school. Do you remember your high school crush? How even their name written on the inside of your binder filled your with starlight? Did it work out? Did you know deep down it would never last? I think that yearning for your first love is one of the most powerful, poignant feelings.

My heroines, Merritt and Avery, didn’t tell each other how they felt in high school. Merritt was afraid of ruining their friendship. Avery was afraid that coming out would ruin her nascent television career.

When Avery and Merritt meet at their high school reunion, the spark is still there, but their lives are incompatible, so they agree to have the summer fling they should have had in high school. It’s just like young love. Their first kiss foreshadows the last, and every moment is more precious because it’s so beautiful and so impossible.

Portland provides a glorious backdrop for their story. There’s the gorgeous view from Mount Tabor, the whole city spread out in a carpet of green. There’s the Peculiarium, a business so weird, you can’t really name its type. It’s a walk-through, homemade house-of-horrors/art installation/gift shop/ice cream parlor. Most importantly, there is Old Portland Hardware & Architectural, the hardware store I modeled Merritt’s business after. Old Portland Hardware & Salvage sells ephemera from the past: brass light switch covers, columns from a Masonic hall, chandeliers made out of a thousand antique crystals. Beautiful as these objects are, they represent how Merritt is stuck in the past and in her fear of being hurt.

But there’s more to the story. When Avery looks out from the vantage of a lavish Nines Hotel suite, she thinks that Portland looks like a different city every day. That’s love.

Love makes the ordinary extraordinary. Love makes a walk to the minimart a quest. Do you remember the first date you went on after you knew you were in love? Remember how time slowed down? You could see everything for the first time. Fascinating. Magic. Your city wasn’t the city you lived in last month. Your apartment wasn’t the same four, leaky walls you’d been complaining about for a year.

My wife and I are about to celebrate our 20 year anniversary. To this day, one of my favorite things is running errands in our hometown. Shhh, don’t tell, it’s not Portland. It’s one of those towns on the

freeway that people only stop at if their kids need to pee. But when I’m with my wife, every trip to Big Lots feels like special. After the yearning comes the happily ever after, and that’s not the end of story. It’s the beginning of a thousand adventures.


One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a signed paperback copy of Worth the Wait by Karelia Stetz-Waters. Three runner ups will receive a Kindle copy of Worth the Wait and a signed postcard.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. Worth the Wait sounds like a sweet second chance romance and a great addition to the Out in Portland series.

  2. Looks like a good read, thanks for the chance!��

  3. It sounds amazing and very 'now'.

  4. Sounds like a fantastic absorbing read!

  5. How could you not love a town that has a cocktail called the Manhattan Man Bun! Sounds like an awesome place.

  6. I'm so excited to read it. Sounds amazing.

  7. I do very much like the sound of this book.

  8. Thanks for the great prize and competition. Good luck everyone!

  9. I'd love to read more about Merritt and Avery.

  10. Oh, the sweet pain of those teenage crushes; the trepidation of a first kiss ... and then to get a second chance? Wonderful!

  11. A nice guest post. I know your secret now! I don't believe that I've ever been to Portland but I've now added it to my list of places to visit. It sounds like a great place from your description.