Review: Reverb by Anna Zabo (2019)

Twisted Wishes, Book 3

Heat Factor: Lots of sex, lots of details, lots of fun

Character Chemistry: We are mature adults who can articulate our desires, which means we are extra sexy!

Plot: Rock star gets it on with her hot bodyguard

Overall: Loved the characters, didn’t love the prose

Romance novels come in a couple of different flavors when it comes to the relationships they depict:

  1. Protagonists have no chemistry, so why I am even reading this?
  2. Protagonists argue all the time, and then have make-up sex, and this is supposed to be a healthy relationship?
  3. Protagonists are bad at articulating their feelings, resulting in many misunderstandings. But at least they have things in common and sometimes talk to each other.
  4. Protagonists are emotionally mature adults who communicate well.

Reverb is an example of #4. In other words, it’s the kind of romance novel that actually models the work that goes into a successful relationship, instead the Happily Ever After being pure wish-fulfillment. That is not to say that the road to true love isn’t without a few bumps, but the main hurdle that the characters face in their relationship about two-thirds of the way through the book is a legitimate problem in terms of competing wants and needs.

It helps that the protagonists are imminently likeable, and in addition to actually talking to each other, they also have banging sexual chemistry.

The reader meets Mish, the heroine, in the hospital. She has just sprained her hand punching an overzealous fan who came at her with scissors and cut off some of her hair for a souvenir (!!!). No need for security though, because she gave him a thorough ass-kicking. I should also mention that she’s the bassist in a band that is just making it big. And that she fills the role of band mom to her fellow musicians, who she refers to as “the boys.” Needless to say, she can take care of herself, and does not approve of the plan to hire a bodyguard for the band’s upcoming tour.

That is, until the bodyguard in question shows up. David is competent and can definitely hold his own in a fight if necessary, but he doesn’t do that Alpha posturing thing where he makes all the decisions for the lady’s own good. Instead, he gives Mish and the rest of the band all the information about security threats they face, and then acquiesces to their wishes as appropriate. Like I said, Mature Adults! David also happens to be trans, which means that when Mish talks about maneuvering through the world as a woman and the defensive measures she routinely takes, he understands exactly what she means.

As one might expect, Mish and David get hot and heavy, but also share an emotional connection that neither expected to find. Their relationship is both sexy and sweet, and I am all about it.

However, I had a hard time getting to that point because I didn’t love Zabo’s prose. Specifically, the language is meant to evoke the characters’ thoughts, which Zabo does by frequently leaving the subject out of a sentence. An example of what I mean for those who aren’t grammar nerds:

Yeah, the camera loved her. Loved every member of Twisted Wishes. Beautiful people, all of them.

The writing style makes things more immediate – the reader gets closer to the characters. However, I prefer things a little more polished and removed, so I found the immediacy and rhythm of the words distracting. This may not be a problem for other readers.

I close with a quick content warning: If you do not like profanity, skip this one. Lots of fucks to be had here.

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

Coming soon to a bookstore near you, currently available for pre-order. Release date: Next Monday, May 6th!

Buy Now: Amazon

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