Review: Wisdom Check by Katherine McIntyre (2022)

Dungeons and Dating, Book #2

Review of Dungeons and Dating, Book #1

Heat Factor: They’re super horny. But more importantly, this book prompted me to Google men’s lace panties, so now I’ve seen that

Character Chemistry: I was very convinced that Cal and Jules were totally into each other

Plot: Why have one obstacle to the relationship when we can have one obstacle every other chapter?

Overall: This book was charming, and the aforementioned obstacles reasonably kept the tension up throughout the book.

When all was said and done, I had a lot of fun reading this book. Like:

🎲 Cal is part owner of a gaming cafe

🎲 Cal is a divorced single dad with a 2yo (and she’s never impossible so it’s all “Aww, that was such a sweet age!”)

🎲 Cal is Jules’s boss

🎲 Jules has a man-bun and loves to wear lacy undies

🎲 Jules has put off his own dreams to take care of his siblings after his mom died

🎲 Jules and Cal really want to have sex with each other, and yeah, they’re employer/employee, but also the office culture is such that if they were actually worried about HR problems, they’d have been flagged before the zippers come down

🎲 Jules and Cal have a found family thanks to the gaming cafe, which includes all of the employees, who all like to play games together, etc.

🎲 Everything keeping Jules and Cal apart is pretty reasonable.

With respect to the plot, as I mentioned above, this office is already in a place that I think Holly and Ingrid would be like, “Yeah, that tracks,” and I, from my much more corporate legal manager headspace am like, “Why are we worried about the employer/employee component of this relationship when there are already sooooooooo many avenues for the owners of this cafe to get in trouble? It seems like closing the barn door after the horses have bolted.” I mean, the inherent issues of consent within the power dynamics of a sexual relationship between a boss and employee are on another level from, say, talking about sex at an after-hours event with all your staff, but they’re still in the same legal minefield. I suspect most people will be like Holly and Ingrid and not like me when reading this book, but it was an interesting observation for myself. 

I also wish the dark moment had not gone the way it did. I get it, both from where Jules was positioned and from a story crafting standpoint, I just personally really like it when the bomb gets dropped and it looks like things are going to go really dark and then (AHA!) the characters demonstrate that they actually have a good relationship by talking about what’s going on instead of going full 3rd act breakup. If that had happened in this case, I think my enjoyment of the conclusion would have been significantly more because Cal and Jules had spent so much time working so hard on building a stable relationship. The other thing about this was that Jules’s conviction that Cal’s ex was right was mind-boggling. She doesn’t even have a job, how could her comments possibly have any merit? But emotions, they’ll get ya every time.

Lastly, I’m still processing how I feel about this, but just to flag for other readers – Cal’s ex and her behaviors and personality are described in various synonyms of icy often. I would go so far as to call it a motif (if I had ever finally figured out what that is in 10th grade instead of being totally confused while writing that Macbeth essay). Given the historical context of women being referred to as “frigid,” I didn’t love it. I mean, the wife was definitely not a nice person. I would not want to be friends with her. But always in the back of my mind the connotations of calling women “frigid”… 

So anyway, this book would probably have reasonably broad appeal. It’s got solid and reasonable tension. It’s got two guys who are totally hot for each other and adorably pine for a forever after with each other. It’s not high angst, so it’s not a stressful read. (But thanks to the tension it’s not a “no plot, just vibes” book either.) The found family is really lovely, as is Jules’s bio family. And all readers might not be gamers, but I am, so I always like to get some gamer love in my reading. It’s just such a charming book!

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.

Buy Now: Amazon

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