Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner
This debut tells the slo-o-o-o-w burn romance between a Chinese-American showrunner in her 40s and her younger assistant. A Hollywood workplace romance with this kind of power dynamic may sound cringe but Wilsner navigates it effectively. Still, I could never fully engage with this one. I found the storylines around the romance and the pacing dull, it was like a bunch of little scenes instead of one fluid story. I struggled with staying interested. The format of something happens, the characters talk to another character about what just happened followed by a mention of dessert reminded me a lot of The Wedding Date, so if you like The Wedding Date I think you’ll love this.
CW: There is a sexual harassment storyline with one of the heroines. It’s not intense and resolved in a positive way but fair warning.
Being Hers by Anna Stone
In this erotic romance, 23-year-old law student Mealnie Greene discovers a new side of herself when she begins a BDSM relationship with Vanessa Harper, the inscrutable owner of the bar where she works nights. This is an incredibly sexy but also deeply emotional read as Melanie and Vanessa’s arrangement develops into a level of intimacy neither of them planned. The writing does get choppy at times and there is a weird extended flashback that was awkwardly placed and felt like it was from a different book. This is Stone’s first book and it’s self-pubbed so there are some growing pains. I’ll be curious to check out some of her most recent work to see how she has evolved. This one is available on KU!
Things Hoped For by Chencia C. Higgins
After receiving a serendipitous job offer in Houston, massage therapist LaTrisha Martin packs up and moves south. She doesn’t want to admit it, but she’s looking for love and quickly finds it with Xeno, a popular Houston rapper on the cusp of going national. This is a perfectly paced, tender high feels romance with such an intense burn. At a little under 200 pages this is a short book that left me wanting more. I also think the way Higgins handled the rapping was so smart. Sometimes lyrics can be cheesy in book and in this she doesn’t try to write lyrics but instead tells us what Xeno is rapping about and how it makes LaTrisha feel.
This is book 4 series so it does feel like you’re crashing a party but it’s still enjoyable as a standalone!