Mini Reviews and Reading Recap #2


Thrown Off Track by Tamsen Parker - a longish novella, boy band m/m romance with an interesting demi rep which I liked though it was completely different from my personal experience. This is a low-heat friend-to-lovers story where two best friends and band mates become a couple. I loved the romance arc which had some virgin feel because it was the first time for Teague to feel sexual attraction and desire. I loved how they were comfortable with each other and freely discussed their feelings, their sex lives, including a lot of explicitly stated consent. I appreciate  how considered of his giant statue Teague was, but having this said again and again every couple of pages became repetitive. He did act immature at times, jumping to conclusions but given the general turmoil of his life at the moment, I guess this was understandable.

The romance between Teague and Christian blossomed at the time when the band had to move on and each member had to start thinking about/working on a solo career. This highlighted some interesting perspectives on the life after the boy band bringing forth discussions of  popularity and making money vs making the music you love. All the characters read like real people, unique, with their own characters and quirks, no generic stereotypes of the bad boy rock star.

In short, it was an enjoyable, very emotionally charge rockstar romance which I greatly recommend. 4 stars

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One Night Wife by Ainslie Paton.  I loved this present day Robin Hood kind of romance about a con artist and a failed actress trying to a run a charity coming together. There were lots of thoughts on redistribution of wealth, on lying and deceiving the others and ourselves which i found rather entertaining to read. It's a captivating, fast moving story that offered a critical look of a society which values appearances and wealth above all. The story also showcased some interesting family dynamics which is my catnip in romance.

I loved both hero and heroine and their romance arc was fabulous. He was caring but restrained, trying to keep things between them professional, never losing sight of the business and at the same helping her/protecting her. She was totally infatuated with him while also trying to stand on her own, to prove to herself (and in a way the world that has rejected her one too many times) that she is not a failure, a quitter who gives up at first obstacle. 

I feel I got to know him and his motivations a bit better and he was definitely my favourite. Despite the lies and deliberate omissions. I loved how she came back to him on her own, after making her mind, fully aware of who he was and he was trying to do. 

Absolutely brilliant romance with an unusual premise, richly drawn MCs and supporting cast. It's the first book in a new series and I'm excited to read the upcoming books as well. 4 stars

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Bad Reputation by Stephanie London (out on Aug 4) is the second book in the series and while I loved the first, I found this one a bit messy. The story is still very much focused on the abuse and potential harm of online tools but some other conflict was thrown in the mix - employer/employee (director - ballerina) relationship, her dramatic past, a jealous co-worker. 

I liked the characters on their own and both had interesting back stories - she is an Aussie  who tried to make it in the ballet world of NY after leaving Sidney due to a professional/personal scandal. She was having a fun, uncomplicated life but never quite gave up on her dreams. He was trying to prove his worth outside his family who were a superstar power couple in the ballet world. 

I enjoyed the story and found the MCs likable but felt there were too many things going on, too many small obstacles and conflicts happening, too many subplots, all this left the main conflict underdeveloped. 3 stars

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Currently reading - To Have and to Harley by Regina Cole (out on Aug 7) - a m/f biker romance where the bad boy bikers find themselves running a wedding planning business. There were nice touches but way too much stereotyping and cardboard secondary characters, plus the heroine is getting progressively more naive and helpless, so I'm putting it on hold at 65%. 

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