Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Romance Mini Reviews #5: Trio of Contemporary Goodness

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The Bromance Book Club
Lyssa Kay Adams

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The first rule of this book club:
You don’t talk about book club.

Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him. 

Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.

Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.

I think any romance reader, upon reading the synopsis for this book, will immediately be sold. Men figuring out how to be better partners by reading romance books?? WHO DOESN’T WANT TO READ that? Safe to say, I dove into this book with high expectations but I was still surprised by how much I ended up completely loving it.

Lyssa Kay Adams paints a picture of a marriage on the brink of falling apart. It didn’t get there because of just one instance of, easily resolvable, miscommunication. Adams puts in a lot of effort to showcase a realistically flawed relationship that needs a lot of work to be fixed and where the fixing won’t be super easy. There is a lot of love between Gavin and Thea but even love means nothing if there is no effort put into maintaining a relationship. I genuinely loved watching these two fall in love again and come out of this better people than they were before. I loved more that their relationship was not black and white and had actual depth to it.

I cannot wait to read some of the secondary characters’ stories and also just to read more of Adams work down the road!

43884209Get a Life, Chloe Brown
Talia Hilbert

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Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.

Redford ‘Red’ Morgan is a handyman with tattoos, a motorcycle, and more sex appeal than ten-thousand Hollywood heartthrobs. He’s also an artist who paints at night and hides his work in the light of day, which Chloe knows because she spies on him occasionally. Just the teeniest, tiniest bit.

But when she enlists Red in her mission to rebel, she learns things about him that no spy session could teach her. Like why he clearly resents Chloe’s wealthy background. And why he never shows his art to anyone. And what really lies beneath his rough exterior…

Talia Hilbert is one of those authors I feel like every romance reader loves but somehow I still hadn’t read any of her books. Get a Life, Chloe Brown showed me that I am a giant dumbass for not reading Hilbert earlier. Reading this book was like biting into a still-warm, fudgy, gooey brownie. It is incredibly soft and oh-so sweet. 

Both Reed and Chloe have a truck load of baggage. They trust very few people and are a bit prickly on the outside. But, even with all that, it was amazing how easy their relationship felt? I love the patterns they fell into as they got to know each other and I loved seeing them both push each other to be their best selves. The way race, class and chronic illness is handled in this book is also top notch.

Basically, if you love happiness, and want to read about two people who get off on the wrong foot but slowly come to mean everything to each other, YOU NEED to read Get a Life, Chloe Brown

44083937. sy475 Not the Girl You Marry
Andie J. Christopher

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How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days gets a millennial makeover in this romantic comedy by USA Today bestselling author Andie J. Christopher.

Jack Nolan is a gentleman, a journalist, and unlucky in love. His viral success has pigeon-holed him as the how-to guy for a buzzy, internet media company instead of covering hard-hitting politics. Fed up with his fluffy articles and the app-based dating scene as well, he strikes a deal with his boss to write a final piece de resistance: How to Lose a Girl. Easier said than done when the girl he meets is Hannah Mayfield, and he’s not sure he wants her to dump him.

Hannah is an extremely successful event planner who’s focused on climbing the career ladder. Her firm is one of the most prestigious in the city, and she’s determined to secure her next promotion. But Hannah has a bit of an image problem. She needs to show her boss that she has range, including planning dreaded, romantic weddings. Enter Jack. He’s the perfect man to date for a couple weeks to prove to her boss that she’s not scared of feelings.

Before Jack and Hannah know it, their fake relationship starts to feel all too real—and neither of them can stand to lose each other.

Honestly, as much as I wanted to love this book, and as much as I didn’t actively dislike it, I cannot say that it blew my mind? It’s just.. okay… there is nothing spectacular about the writing or the characters or the romance itself. I would not even know that this book was a genderswapped How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days if it wasn’t marketed as such and I actually forgot about that for most of the time I was reading this book. 

Jack Nolan is such a … nice guy… to the point where it feels almost forced and like he has no other personality besides this? Hannah has a lot of self-esteem issues and constantly feels like she isn’t enough. I am pretty sure she also has internalized racism she hasn’t dealt with yet based on how her character was written but this was never addressed. Which is fine! I just felt like a lot of her self-esteem stuff was never actually addressed because it was bigger than just guys not seeing her as marriage material. 

Their romance also felt like it was too fast and given that I wasn’t really on board with the characters themselves, I wasn’t totally invested in their romance either. 

I think that, if you need a light-hearted rom-com, this book is certainly worth reading and I am sure there will be people who love it more than I could. 

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Rashika has been tired since 2013. There are very few things that spark joy for her besides a nice cup of tea, warm, baked goods, good books and good TV shows. She is here to pile onto your giant TBRs and to-watch lists. Offer her a cookie and she might be nice to you.

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