Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance
Publication date: 06/26/2020
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
Well, there was some good stuff. Then...
So, if you've read any posts or lists or reviews on this blog, you know that I'm a HUGE, crazy, super fan of the "grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one" trope. I eat it up like candy. I one-click pretty much any book that has even a hint of that trope. And while there was some good "grumpy/sunshine" action here, there was some other stuff that I had trouble overlooking:
Look, I'm not one of those harpies who stands on a soapbox and yells into the void how unrealistic romance novels are. I truly don't usually care about realism in my novels. I read fiction for escape from real life, and I see nothing wrong with that. But when characters do weird stuff and the only explanation I can see for it is plot contrivance, well...I have trouble overlooking that. So, while I'm willing to overlook the fact that Zelda meets Ash on a plane, completely at random, and notices that he's reviewing her resume on his computer (the odds are, like, what...1 in 10 million for something like that happening?), I have a little more trouble overlooking the fact that Ash took Zelda home with him and wouldn't let go of her. Literally. He literally clung to this stranger like she was his woobie. It was kinda cute that he got so attached to her so fast, but it was also a little too weird for my comfort.
The old switcheroo
Up until the first sex scene, Ash was this semi-uptight business-y guy and Zelda was a wild, blue-haired free spirit. Then the sex happens and BAM--suddenly, Ash is an incredibly dirty-talking dominant and Zelda is his practically his submissive. I'm OK with dirty-talking dominants, but when a guy who has been super respectful and gentle with the heroine all of a sudden orders her to drop to her knees and suck him off...well, let's just say I don't like being caught off guard. I like some consistency in my characters. All the sex in this book felt like it was taking place between two different characters than the ones I'd been reading about up until that point. It was super disconcerting.
I do sometimes think instalove gets a bad rap. There is something super romantic about the notion of love at first sight. But still, I get a little twitchy when, in contemporary romance in particular (paranormal is different), two characters who are basically strangers start professing their love and deep feelings for each other. Ash and Zelda were definitely in instalove. So, if you're opposed to that kind of thing, this book will NOT please you.
To sum it up...
All things considered, I've read worse. Hell, I've read worse today. And this one did have some really fine moments of "grumpy/sunshine" yummy goodness. But at the end of the day, the bad balanced out the good and I was left with a general feeling of "meh."
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
It's well-written and not stigma-y. But it wasn't my cuppa.