ARC Review…Up to Me by Christi Barth

Up to Me releases tomorrow!

Up to Me COVER



Ella Mayhew’s always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family’s hotel. But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds—shirtless. He’s the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn’t even know his name.

Graydon Locke’s on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine’s always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He’s always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes—falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he’s on the verge of axing. And letting the town’s residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.

Ella’s the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he’s lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn’t save her parents, but it’s up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.


My review:

Up to Me is the first in a new series from author Christi Barth. A fan of Christi’s, I am always excited to get my hands on a new release from her and Up to Me was no exception. Now that I’ve finished it I give it my vote as my favorite Christi book yet. It was phenomenal!

Graydon Locke has made a living blending in and being observant. It’s his skill at excelling at these two things that has made his job as an undercover business analyst of sorts a successful one for him. Although if he’s being honest, it’s getting a bit old and as he arrives on his latest assignment, he starts to think this may not be for him anymore. Coming in, calculating the pros and cons of closing a business or keeping it open, and giving his report to the powers that be. The endless days of living in and out of hotel rooms are starting to get old. The latest business in need of assessment though gives him a breath of fresh air. A beautiful resort manor with an equally beautiful staff member that has his blood pumping and may be exactly what he needs to gain some new perspective. Too bad from the moment he meets Ella he has had to lie about his intentions here at the resort. He needed to stay undercover.  It wouldn’t matter anyway because he wouldn’t be here long enough for the truth to come out….or would he?

Ella Mayhew loved it at the resort. It was her second home, after all. But beyond that she loved her small town, her loyal friends and all the typical locals that came with small town living. It’s that small town atmosphere that makes newcomers stand out like a sore thumb. The latest sore thumb is one delicious and welcomed attraction, however. Ella’s had a rough go of things since losing her parents a few years earlier and this handsome stranger has been the first guy to pique her interest in far too long. What could be a better or more welcomed distraction than a hot and steamy temporary fling with a delicious hottie? It was so unlike her, though…could she throw some caution to the wind and see where this could lead? He wouldn’t be here for very long so what could it hurt, right?

The delicious attraction between Graydon and Ella starts off pretty innocently enough but soon grows into so much more than either of them had bargained for and soon Graydon starts to think that his career omission when they first met may come back to bite him in the arse…because the longer he knows Ella the more apparent it becomes that there’s no way he could ever recommend closing the resort she loves so much. Even though his own future may depend on doing just that. Would they be able to make it past his original act of deceit? Would either of them be interested in going from temporary to permanent anyway?

As I sit here and type this review, I am immediately drawn back into my imagination and the world Christi has built for me in the Finger Lakes in upstate New York. Oh, how I wish I could actually go there and visit right at this very moment! It’s been quite some time since I was drawn into a book world and felt so at home there. There are so many wonderful things author Barth has given this town to make it so rich and homey. The characters are well-developed and so enjoyable. Graydon and Ella have a fast connection but it didn’t feel rushed at all. Graydon is a true gentleman and wants to do right by Ella, despite the whole resort take-over undercover thing. He is patient and kind and brings Ella out of the shell she had crawled into after the death of her parents. Ella is strong all along but just needed a little push to believe it again and Graydon excelled at that push. Beyond the main couple of Ella and Graydon, are Ella’s friends and townspeople that make this book really stand out in my mind. Ella has an amazing support system in this town and it’s one she knows she’s extremely fortunate to have. There are so many quirks Christi gave this town that I fell in love with: the mailbox journal, the mayor’s dog, the annual resort party, the town bullies, the coffee flavors at the town’s diner, the obvious history everyone shares with each other…all of it. As I mentioned earlier, I wish I could go for a visit right this minute!

Up to Me was a real treat to read and I highly recommend it for a great summer beach read….or lounging by an upstate New York lake!

Thank you, Christi, for giving us Ella, Graydon and a whole town to love! I cannot WAIT to see what you have in store for us next!


Five Loves


Buy links:

 Amazon   |  B&N 

About the author:

Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage.

A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning.  Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance.

Christi is President of the Maryland Romance Writers and lives in Maryland with her husband.

Website  ~  Goodreads  ~  Twitter  ~  Facebook




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