IDK why all the romance novels I happen to read last month had purple covers….
Sweet Talkin’ Lover by Tracey Livesay
To get promoted at her company Caila Harris must find a reason to shut down the company’s low performing co-packing plant in the small town of Bradleton, Virginia. But Bradelton’s mayor, Wyatt Asher Bradley, isn’t letting the town’s livelihood close without a fight. Professional enemies-to-lovers is actually one of my favorite tropes since reading Buns but I was so out on this book because I could not with the hero. Wyatt came off spoiled and overly privileged. He spends the entire book lying and scheming instead of IDK….actually doing his job to save the plant. Caila felt a little pretentious and fell a little flat for me. I felt no spark between the two and to top it off there was no good grovel.
It didn’t help that the audiobook narrator, Nicky Walker, uses such a broad Southern accent that made Wyatt (and all the Bradleton residents) sound like cartoons. – ★★
Advanced Physical Chemistry by Susannah Nix
25-year-old Penny Popplestone is swearing off men…that is until she learns Hottie Barista aka Caleb, the barista she buys coffee from every day, has a crush on her.
JenReadsRomance read all the RITA nominated books last year and I think she sums this book up perfectly; it feels like someone telling you their pedestrian love story and not like a romance novel. We only get Poppy’s POV and something about the way Caleb was constantly objectified didn’t sit right with me. It was like all he had to be was hot for us to like him.
That said I did like Nix’s voice, her close third-person works for me. We really get inside Penny’s head. But yeah….I can’t really see what it is about this book that made it so RITA worthy. Nothing about it felt particularly exceptional? – ★★ +.5
Not The Girl You Marry by Andie J. Christopher
Much like the heroine in Advanced Physical Chemistry the heroine in this book, event planner Hannah Mayfield, has also sworn off men. Except Hannah needs a boyfriend to prove to her boss she believes in love for a promotion. She decides to use Jack Nolan, a journalist she connected with at a bar. But what she doesn’t know is Jack is using her to write an article about how to lose a girl. Yes, this is a gender-swapped How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days send up and…no, it doesn’t translate well.
This book starts with a very personal forward from Christopher about her own struggles with dating and identity–it’s clear she left some blood on the page in this book. Hannah legitimate dating insecurities make the whole Jack-being-a-jerk-to-get-rid-of-Hannah come off as more cruel than funny. There’s also no reason why Hannah wouldn’t just tell Jack she needs a fake relationship for promotion. Hannah is an on-page feminist and it makes no sense she would allow her boss to even give her that kind of ultimatum anyway. In the end, (mild spoiler) she quits because she realizes its wrong. Don’t even get me started on the implausibility of Jack working for a website that would pay him to write an article about how to lose a girl?
January LaVoy gives an all-star performance on the audiobook, her voice has so much range. I think I’ll skip the second book but I’m curious to check back into to see what kind of romance she’s writing for this catholic priest character… – ★★★
In both Sweet Talkin’ Lover and Advanced Physical Chemistry, the male characters are referred to as their Job Titles Hottie. Is hottie a thing we’re still doing? I know Grey’s Anatomy did it back in the day but even then they were McSteamy and McDreamy and not hottie ? IDK, I don’t like it.