Heat Factor: Lots of peppers (and a tad of pepper spray perhaps?)
Character Chemistry: It overpowers all reason and sanity, I think
Plot: Sara was a promising student at Julliard when her whole life fell apart. Four years later, she sees a tall, wealthy, handsome man and they immediately get tangled up in a super intense, emotionally-explosive relationship with a lot of serious issues and roadblocks to happiness
Overall: This book is going to be like catnip for a VERY niche audience–if you thought Gossip Girl was the best, most romantic show around, this might be for you. If your favorite summer memories of love look like they came straight out of an episode of Jersey Shore, this might be for you. If you’ve ever heard that Sex and the City actually modeled fairly unhealthy female friendships and you thought “huh?”, this might be for you.
This is the difference between reading as a reviewer and reading for pleasure: as a reviewer, you have to figure out HOW to read a book and THEN review it. Just because it’s not really my thing doesn’t mean it’s not going to be someone else’s absolute favorite book. It’s the reviewer’s job to figure out who is going to like this book and why, and to make those connections for their readers. So that being said, THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTE BANANAS and took me actual days to read because I kept having to take long breaks and to recover from the insanity that is this couple. It was a difficult read for me. But you might actually adore it.
First off, they meet in a coffee shop. She actually stalks him to figure out where he’s going to be and her car ends up dying. He rescues her. He comes on incredibly strong. They do this dance of getting way too serious and then pushing each other away. I want you, I hate you, oh baby, oh baby. All of their friends think this is a really bad idea. Do they ever address the fact that she stalked him? Nope. Do they ever actually seem to resolve any argument they enter into? No. Not really. The actual way they argue made me want to sit in a silent room for a few hours. He’s dismissive and rude. She jumps to conclusions and purposely misrepresents almost everything he says to look worse than it was. It’s seriously messed up. But they really, really love each other.
Actually, the source of their arguments is its own insanity–this couple is the “hold my beer” version of tit for tat conflict–she does something. He gets mad. She’s incredulous. They nasty fight. They separate. They make up and have sex without ever really verbally resolving the issue. Then a few pages later he does essentially the same thing to her and they fight all over again. They take turns wronging each other in exactly the same ways, over and over again.
So as a reviewer, this was a huge challenge for me–I didn’t actually wholeheartedly LIKE a single character in this book. Sara is a terrible friend. Her best friend asks her to check in if she’s going to go out with a guy she barely knows and throughout the entire duet Sara basically drops out of contact and refuses to answer her phone or communicate. The entire time–never once respects the stress she’s putting her best friend and roommate through. It’s okay though, because it turns out her best friend is kind of a huge liar, liar pants on fire herself. Tom lies about an extremely serious deal-breaker of a personal situation the ENTIRE first book and is incredulous when it blows up in his face. Everyone is super messed up in their own way. I’m not kidding, even Sara’s GRANDMA fesses up some really emotionally immature and damaging baggage. So here’s where it finally clicked–I have to read this like the constant, intense, unrelenting drama is the fun part. Ok, so I’m someone who is into serial angsty drama. Everyone is a hot mess and needs therapy. That knot in my stomach because I keep thinking Tom is going to turn out to be the bad guy is supposed to be sexy. Ok. I’m here for it. That is the reader for this book.
But then the villain attempts to rape the heroine in a really graphic, absolutely horrifying scene and honestly this is just not the romance I am here for. Not my jam, folks.
Here’s the thing, if you really do like just unrelenting drama with people who are extremely rough around the edges (not in the way that we’re all a bit messy, I’m talking kind of like a kidney stone of a person but really, really good in bed), you probably will like these books. The plot is INTENSE. The sex is INTENSE. You seriously never know what shenanigans are going to unfold next. And honestly, the author has some chops with her writing style. Not everyone could pull this kind of romantic suspense off, and it does flow really well. I’m going to need many cups of tea to recover from the stress of this plotline, but if your life has been pandemically dull and you need a vicarious thrill with some dark and deeply-flawed characters who bang it out like the Olympic champions of sex, well…let me tell you. This is your series.
I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.
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