This series is fun, but I think this one may have bitten off a little too much. I wasn’t completely sold on the chemistry between the leads, even though the rest of the book was pretty good. Also, the Russian didn’t get a name until the end of the book, but at least he has a name now. It was feeling weird to make a whole person a joke. I’m not sure she can ever make him a POV character with all the jokes about his gastrointestinal issues.
I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this one, so my 3.5 star rating is definitely warranted. I really liked both of our protagonists individually. Liv is Thea’s sister from book one, and Braden is the founder of the Bromance Book Club, and we finally learn why he started reading romance novels. He has a pretty good backstory. The plot of this one follows Liv, who is working at a celebrity chef’s restaurant, and is fired when Braden brings a date there and orders their famous $1000 gold cupcake (the ingredients of course only cost about $200) and she accidentally spills it all over the couple, right in front of said celebrity chef, who is an asshole. She gets fired, and in the process witnesses the man sexually coercing one of his employees. This opens a whole can of worms where Liv becomes adamant in exposing him, but she is utterly ill-equipped to do so. Braden feels bad for having gotten her fired, and they end up scheming to take the chef down.
I think the harassment storyline worked for me. It seemed a little odd at first to have something so serious in a book with such a silly premise, but I think the author made it work as much as she could. This series is all about illuminating feminist issues and having men undo their toxic masculinity, so that fits right in. My problem though was that there were so many threads going on that the connection between the two leads felt underdeveloped. I just never felt it with them, even as I liked watching them interact (Liv really doesn’t like him at first). There was also a subplot about Liv’s landlord to deal with, and Braden’s mom moving to town (and him dealing with his past), as well as another subplot involving Liv’s friend (who was also a victim of the chef, whose name I can’t remember at this point), and the continuing adventures of the book club and the book they are currently reading. It was a lot to have in one tiny book, and the main relationship just didn’t get to breathe.
I did like it, though! And I’m definitely going to continue the series. The next book is about Liv’s friend, who owns a cat café. The book covers for this series continue to be delightful, as well. This one I find hilarious, and the next one has cats all over it.
[3.5 stars, not rounding up because it wasn’t as good as book one, which I rounded up for]