Do you have a favorite romance novel trope? Some examples of the most common tropes are friends to lovers, enemies to lovers, forbidden lovers, secret identities, forced proximity, second chance, and fake relationships. This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the romance tropes, instead these are ones that have popped up in the romance books I have read in the past couple months. My latest romance read, The Ex Talk by Rachel Lynn Solomon, featured two of these tropes: enemies to lovers and fake relationship.
Shay Goldstein has been working at a Seattle public radio station for almost a decade. Hired on for an internship when she was 19, Shay has worked her way up to producing her own show. Working at PPR is her dream and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. The one wrinkle: working with Dominic Yun, her newest colleague who just graduated with his masters in journalism and who will not shut up about having his masters. He’s the hot new thing at the station and Shay can’t stand him.
At a pitch meeting for new ideas, Shay proposes a new show where two exes talk about their relationship and deliver relationship advice on air. Their boss decides Shay & Dom should host, despite the fact that they have never dated and frankly can’t stand each other(though the hatred feels more fueled by Shay than Dom). Their new show, The Ex Talk, skyrockets to fame, their popularity soars, and their lie grows bigger and bigger. The more time Shay and Dom spend together, the more they realize they might not actually hate each other. Their deception looms, leaving the two knowing that if the truth comes out, their careers and budding relationship will end.
This title is loosely related to the book, Business or Pleasure by the same author, which I read last year and LOVED. I have yet to read a title by this author that I haven’t enjoyed.
Classic but not cliched, this is a story of misadventures and misconceptions that will absolutely capture your heart. Teddy Spenser Isn’t Looking For Love by Kim Fielding tells the age-old story of how appearances can be deceiving and opportunities can come from places you’re not expecting.
After a sour ending to his relationship, Teddy Spenser decided that love was not something he wanted. He wanted to focus on work and make a life for himself, without the inevitable hurt and heartbreak of love. He definitely didn’t want to see what could happen with his aloof, buttoned-up, out of touch and totally gorgeous coworker, Romeo Blue. But then their boss sends them on a business trip to woo an rich and eccentric investor to back their project. Not only do they get off to a rocky start, but then the investor sends them on three weird quests to prove their worthiness, and Teddy feels like he just can’t catch a break. However, all the time alone with Romeo is starting to show Teddy that he might need to rethink some of his assumptions about him – and maybe his assumptions about love, too…
Did I know what was going to happen in this book? Absolutely. Did that make it less fun and sweet? Absolutely NOT. This book understood its assignment and does it very well. Good features include a motley crew of characters, lighthearted tone, steady pace, and generally uplifting theme: that second chances do happen and dreams do come true. Maybe it’s current events talking, but I think this is a very necessary book to refresh hope and optimism – and have a laugh along the way.
If you love classic tropes of romance and fanfiction (including ‘there was only one bed’), or you need a book to make you believe in love again, this is the story for you!
New book club pick! Virtual Book Club will be discussing The Escape Room by Megan Goldin on Wednesday, July 29th at 2pm central. Information on how to join the discussion is below!
Curious what the book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:
In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead. When the four of them are ordered to participate in a corporate team-building exercise that requires them to escape from a locked elevator, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator, the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception and intimidation thrive. Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?
This book is also available in the following formats:
Virtual Book Club
Wed, Jul 29, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (CDT)
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Co-written by Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin, How to Be a Grown-Up is a fascinating peek into upper class New York and the world of start-up websites – in this case, one for upper class babies and their parents. More than a little absurd, this world of over-consumption and ambitious, yet inexperienced, young bosses is the one in which Rory finds herself – after her husband, an aspiring actor, dumps her.
Kraus and McLaughlin are the authors of The Nanny Diaries,and there are definite similarities – in the dynamic between the very rich and those struggling to get by. Some of the scenes do seem to be written filmically; we can almost see a Scarlett Johansson or Anne Hathaway-type breaking her foot as she juggles the impossible demands of her tyrannical bosses and the equally formidable demands of her two children, while teetering on five-inch heels.
The most successful part of the book is the satire of the workplace – the two young entrepreneurs in charge of the start-up dress in the skimpiest of outfits no matter how cold they are, and regard “things” such as wastebaskets and a work space as unnecessarily retro. It’s satisfying to see the tables turned, and Rory’s experience and know-how are acknowledged as valuable.
If the authors had focused more on the work aspect of the book and less on the inexplicable choices Rory makes in her personal life, the book would have, in my opinion, been better for it. Still, it’s a revealing and interesting look into a very fast-paced world, not well-known in Iowa – even in the metro Quad-Cities.