REVIEW: Ready or Not by Cara Bastone

Posted March 20th, 2024 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, Review / 7 comments


In Ready or Not by Cara Bastone, One-night stands are not usually Eve Hatch’s style. But mere weeks after she went home with handsome bartender Ethan, she finds herself pregnant. Knocked up. And alone, basically. Because as much as her bestie Willa usually is there to support Eve through anything life hands them, she’s acting weird about the Big News. Ethan himself is shocked and not sure what kind of a role he will play in Eve or the baby’s lives. And then there’s Shep. Willa’s older brother. He becomes Eve’s caretaker, her closest friend, and her rock in the middle of all of the crazy changes going on. And as she leans on his shoulder more and more, Eve is worried that her growing feelings for Shep are of the hormonal, not the real romantic variety.

“Don’t worry, Eve, your body is taking care of you.”
It’s a novel idea. Because if it’s not just me taking care of my body. If listening to my body means that it’s taking care of me too, then…maybe, just maybe…I’m not completely alone.

As the months roll by, Eve has to learn to give up such tight control of just about everything in her life and go with it instead. As she tries to make a plan for how to fit a million baby things in her small-ish Brooklyn apartment and how to work and afford daycare at the same time, her loved ones start stepping up for her. Slowly. Although Shep–klutzy, reliable, sweet and dreamy, Shep–remains Eve’s one constant. And it leaves her to wonder if things do happen for a reason after all. If this was the way she and Shep were supposed to realize their feelings for each other and find their way together amidst the chaos in their lives.

‘No more passive acceptance of my situation. This is my life, on purpose. I didn’t choose the way this pregnancy started. But I can choose the way I bring this kid into the world.
With joy and full desire: “I want you.”

READY OR NOT was a warm-hearted romance, filled with big emotions and even bigger self-realizations for the characters, with the added bonus of a lovely, quirky sense of humor woven in at just the right moments.

‘Yep. You heard it here first, folks. I’m knocked up and ghosted.’

CW: View Spoiler »

While READY OR NOT was most certainly a slow burn romance between two people who had been friends forever, it was so much more than that. A story that also encompassed family, chasing our dreams, and making the best of an unplanned (life-changing) situation, Cara Bastone added layer after layer of issues into Eve’s life. But at the crux of it, more than anything else, this was Eve taking stock of things while chronicling her journey from starting off barely registering that she was pregnant to her eventual joy and awe at becoming a mother. And oh, what a topsy turvy journey it was.

Told from Eve’s POV as a narrative, it truly did feel like she was sitting there telling the reader her thoughts, page by page, in her own way with her fun sense of humor on display. And it made for an intimate experience. Particularly as her pregnancy rolled on. Because even though Eve was not expecting to, well, be expecting, her decision to have the baby on her own was met with varied reactions from friends, family, and coworkers. So as readers, we were there for each new milestone, each time someone put her down for not being married or with the baby’s father, and every time someone supported and cared for her well-being.

To say it was rough on Eve is an understatement. But she did have just enough people in her corner–people she adored and who adored her right back–to help keep her head above water. One such person was Shep, Eve’s best friend Willa’s older brother. He was supportive from the word go. And he was the type of guy who was happy to see those he cared for happy, Eve definitely being in that group. It was complicated for her with Shep. Not only because he was like a part of her family, but because she was worried about trusting her decisions with hormones out of whack and her mind focused on the pregnancy. Then there was Ethan, the baby daddy. I won’t give specifics as to how his part turned out by the ending, but I will say I was pleasantly surprised. And that Eve was surrounded by love and support, as it should be.

QOTD: Do you have anyone in your life you consider “found family”, someone who’s not blood-related but as close as family?

Book Info:

Publication: Published: February 13th, 2024 | by The Dial Press |

A surprise pregnancy leads to even more life-changing revelations in this heartfelt, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance of found family and unexpected love.

Eve Hatch lives for surprises! Just kidding. She expects every tomorrow to be pretty much the same as today. She loves her cozy apartment in Brooklyn that’s close to her childhood best friend Willa, and far from her midwestern, traditional family who has never really understood her. While her job is only dream-adjacent, it’s comfortable and steady. She always knows what to expect from her life . . . until she finds herself expecting after an uncharacteristic one-night stand.

The unplanned pregnancy cracks open all the relationships in her life. Eve’s loyal friendship with Willa is feeling tense, right when she needs her the most. And it’s actually Willa’s steadfast older brother, Shep, who steps up to help Eve. He has always been friendly, but now he’s checking in, ordering her surprise lunches, listening to all her complaints, and is . . . suddenly kinda hot? Then, as if she needs one more complication, there’s the baby’s father, who is (technically) supportive but (majorly) conflicted.

Up until this point, Eve’s been content to coast through life. Now, though—maybe it’s the hormones, maybe it’s the way Shep’s shoulders look in a T-shirt—Eve starts to wonder if she has been secretly desiring more from every aspect of her life.

Over the course of nine months, as Eve struggles to figure out the next right step in her expanding reality, she begins to realize that family and love, in all forms, can sneak up on you when you least expect it.



7 Responses to “REVIEW: Ready or Not by Cara Bastone”

  1. Amy R

    Do you have anyone in your life you consider “found family”, someone who’s not blood-related but as close as family? Yes

  2. psu1493

    Sounds like a relatable story. Thank you for the review. Yes, I do have someone that is found family.