Slow Burn, Book 2
Heat Factor: This series is called “Slow Burn,” so don’t be surprised when the sex happens pretty late in the story.
Character Chemistry: It’s obvious to everyone but Joellen that Cameron is completely smitten.
Plot: Joellen’s new neighbor is suuuuuper annoying and suuuuuper hot and somehow now he’s giving her kissing lessons.
Overall: I really liked this one, but I also know that some readers may find some parts of this book challenging.
I almost gave up on this book on page one. It opens with a list Joellen is making about why she hates Christmas, and #1 is “I’m fat.” I wasn’t sure I was in the mood for a bunch of fat shaming, but this book had been recommended to me as laugh out loud funny, so I pressed on. I did end up really enjoying this book, but fair warning: Joellen is dealing with severe body dysmorphia and general self-loathing, so being in her head is sometimes…a lot. (The text is explicit about the fact that this is what’s going on, which, given that this is a 1st person single-POV book, is pretty impressive.)
Anyways, Joellen works for a big publisher and is massively in love with the CEO, because he’s beautiful and therefore must be perfect (you can see where this is going). She never talks to him, because she is convinced that she is awkward and weird and talks down about herself all the time. She doesn’t stand up for herself. Ever. Her social life consists of her cat and the 80-year-old lady who lives down the hall.
That all changes when Cameron, a Scottish rugby player with miles of muscles and some very enticing tattoos, moves into the apartment across the hall. Joellen comes home after a long and terrible day to loud music blaring so she bangs on the door to ask him to turn it down. He opens the door without a shirt on, because of course he does. Let’s say that Joellen is not very polite during their first interaction—so when Cameron forcefully insinuates himself into her life, she doesn’t hide like she does with everyone else. She doesn’t care about impressing him, so why worry about what he thinks of her? Since Cameron is mega-famous and usually has women hanging all over him, he finds Joellen’s indifference charming. They become friends, of a sort, and Cameron starts coaching Joellen in winning her boss’s attention.
Even though this book is told solely from Joellen’s perspective, Cameron is not a very opaque hero. Joellen may be clueless (because she is so hung up on the fairy tale about her boss she’s built up in her brain for the past decade, because she can’t believe that a hot, successful guy like Cameron would ever be interested in her), but Cameron is dropping plenty of clues that the reader knows how he feels. And the scenes where Joellen is starting to figure out that maybe Cameron might like her are utterly charming (and also infuriating, because, COME ON JOELLEN). You know it’s true love when the hero tells her to keep her glasses on.
Since this is rom-com week, let’s talk about how this works as a comedy. The interactions between Joellen and Cameron are pure comedy gold, especially if you like reading people tease each other. Joellen’s narrative voice is also fun—when she’s not putting herself down. However, I must note that this is one of those comedies that also deals with heavy topics, including Joellen’s toxic family and her negative self-talk; there is also an attempted sexual assault.
Is this the best rom-com I’ve ever read? No, but it was solidly funny and the romance is definitely swoon-worthy.
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