Book Review

Book Review: The Fine Art of Losing Control by Ashley Shepherd

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 366 pages
Author: Ashley Shepherd
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: October 7th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Willa Loveridge likes to be in control.

…of everything and everyone.

And when things start to spin out of her control, she only knows how to do one thing: panic.

So she failed her Foundations of Western Art class. Her ex-boyfriend sent her naked pictures to all of his friends. Her roommate hates her. Her mom and stepdad are having a baby. And her estranged father appeared after nineteen years of radio silence for the sole purpose of paying her college tuition.

Seriously? He couldn’t even introduce himself first?

But at least this one, she can handle. She can’t change her grades, wipe her pictures from the internet, force her roommate to love her, or stop her mom from replacing her. But the father she’s never met dropping serious cash on her floundering education? A girl can handle that.

Or so she thinks.

In an effort to regain some control of her rapidly spiralling life, Willa boards a plane to New Zealand to find the man who thinks he can just throw eighty-five grand at her and then disappear again. She’s done with the absent father act. She at least wants to meet him face-to-face before a panic attack sends her into an early grave.

But after an unexpected emergency landing and a brief encounter with a cult, Willa somehow finds herself in a caravan with a YouTuber, the star of a million Korean Dramas, and a Scottish kid with an unhealthy attachment to his guitar. Together, they navigate the backroads of New Zealand one wrong turn at a time.

Which is basically her worst nightmare.

Between some unnecessary hand-holding and a swift push out of her comfort zone, Willa soon finds herself learning the fine art of losing control.

A new adult slow burn romance!


One of my favorite parts of someone traveling in a contemporary book is getting a feel for the location. Shepherd’s writing had me convinced to buy a plain ticket for a trip ASAP [and I hate planes y’all].

Okay okay, back to the story. I enjoyed this! Not to the fanaticism level of Faking Under the Mistletoe (which is you’re reading this ADD TO YOUR TBR NOW), but still a solid read where I highly look forward to whatever book she writes next.

There was a lot of self-deprecating and darker humor (I should jump off this bridge right now, wish that car had ran me over, etc.). I definitely did not appreciate the amount of times this was used. I think it did shed light on what Willa was going through though. I was upset and angry for her and the horrid awfulness that was her ex-boyfriend.

I loved watching Willa slowly take hold of what this book is titled, losing control. Willa focused a lot on having things go exactly as planned and if not she would have control issues over it (which I can really relate too). Hanging out with the hodge-podge of friends that she did allowed her to loosen up as time went on. I thought her character arc was great as Willa accepted alternate routes on her life plans.

Ollie and Willa’s romance was cute. I loved all of the banter and slight flirtations. Ollie was clearly smitten with her and it took Willa awhile to realize that (with reason, of course). It was a slower build and didn’t shoot past its mark by the end. I liked how there story ended (for this book, I promise there’s a HEA!).

Many deeper lines in this story were involved too. Appreciating and finding family. Learning about one’s past. Accepting help and opening up about being harassed. These are all incredibly hard topics to approach and I like the way Shepherd went about it.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses, some implied scenes but nothing detailed (at the very end)
  • Trigger warnings: abusive relationship (emotional/verbal), ex-boyfriend posted/shared naked photos of Willa to friends then repeatedly harassed her online

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