Contemporary Romance/Romantic Comedy
Publication date: 01/21/2021
Kindle Unlimited: Yes
I had high expectations about this one going in because I've read LOTS of Tessa Bailey books in the past and loved them. I'm super pleased to say this book met and exceeded my every expectation:
Plot overview: Struggling dancer Reese meets Leo, who happens to be the son of a guy who can make or break her career and make all her dreams come true. She could use Leo--or fall hopelessly in love with him. I think we all know what she ultimately picks. (And every minute of it is AWESOME)
Trope bingo: dancer/artist heroine, grumpy hero and sunshine-y heroine pairing.
Y'all know that I've scaled back in a REALLY big way on the reviews I do on the site. That's mostly because I'm super busy, but also because I've struggled to find great reads since the pandemic hit. I don't know if that's a reflection of my mood or stress about what's going on in the world, but my reading time and enjoyment of books has suffered. But I'm SO happy to say that this book helped to remind me of all the stuff I love about the romance genre, and rom coms in particular. Here's the good stuff:
Reese, the heroine
Reese is quirky and talented and hard working. She has big dreams, and it takes a ton of courage to do what she's doing--and that makes her a character to admire. I wish she would've been completely honest with Leo from the jump, but I also see why she was reluctant to do so. (And in case any readers are worried about it, minor spoiler alert): no, Reese doesn't ever do anything to use Leo in any way. It was an idea she had, but after meeting him, she realized she was too good/decent/honest a person to go through with it.)
Leo, the hero
Leo...phew, Leo. He's the stuff of romance novel hero dreams. He's gruff and grumpy, but never treats Reese with anything but respect. He's a hot and sexy dirty talker who BAKES. That's right--he runs a successful bakery where he is the culinary artist. That kind of makes this a flipped trope romance like I was discussing last week. Long-story-short: we need more heroes like Leo in Romancelandia.
The banter & sexy times
Tessa Bailey is a master of witty, sexy banter that flows easily and naturally. It's not something that just any author can do well. Reese and Leo's banter is fun, hilarious, natural, and was probably terribly complicated to write, because I imagine that anything that sounds that natural wasn't easy to create.
And the sexy times are of the oh-holy-hell-that's-hot variety without ever venturing into erotica land. (Not that there's anything wrong with erotica. But this is a romance first and foremost. An incredibly HOT romance, but still...not erotica)
If you're looking for low angst, high heat rom com, you should pick this one up. You can thank me later.
Does this book contribute to or help crush the romance stigma?
No rehab needed. This one's clean and sober.