Every year I keep a long list of the books that I read during CBR that I didn’t have a chance to review. Looking at the very long list for 2020 made me realize that if I don’t write down my thoughts (as I have for the past 11 years), I will never remember that I read any of these. Ergo, here are some smaller reviews, wrapped up in a larger review. I hope to spit a few of these out before CBR13 starts!
The Bromance Book Club is the first in a hopefully charming series of books about a group of guys in Nashville who are successful athletes and other high-profile professionals who get together and talk about how reading romance novels is beneficial to their relationships. They all learn to follow the lead of their fictional heroes and find new ways to communicate with their girlfriends/wives and hopefully improve their lives.
This first installment is about Gavin, a Major League Baseball player, who’s wife Thea has recently asked him for a divorce. He has been living apart from Thea and his twin daughters, and its killing him. Gavin is reluctant to tell anyone what’s been going on in his marriage, and at the start of the story, has turned to drinking instead of talking. His friends come to his rescue, and hand him a Regency-style romance, telling him that this book will help him win Thea back.
To say that Gavin is doubtful would be an understatement.
Meanwhile, his wife, Thea, is just trying to get on with her life with her daughters and maybe go back and finish her degree. She quit college when she got pregnant and since then her only job has been mother and baseball wife.
I enjoyed the story and the idea of the book, but I didn’t really love Gavin or Thea, or her sister Liv. And the “Grand Gesture” at the end annoyed the crap out of me. But I found most of the rest of it charming and fun and would definitely pick up another installment in the series.
Next up was the delightful audiobook (free on Audible!), Call Me Maybe. I only found out about this one thanks to Ingres77’s reviewearlier this year, and was glad I did.
Vera is a quirky and fun small business owner living in Brooklyn. She is attempting to launch a company that specializes in gift boxes (like gift baskets, I guess?) tailored to specific people and occasions (cute, but HOW DOES SHE AFFORD AN APARTMENT IN BROOKLYN?). In order to do that, she needs a new website, which for REASONS has to be much more complex than her old laptop’s operating system can handle, so she has to call the website company’s customer service line for help.
And then she talks to her helpful and friendly customer service rep, Cal, for something like 9 hours. Sure! Why not?
Over the course of the next week or so, Vera and Cal continue their conversation. Her website is still buggy, and it really needs to work FOR THE BIG SHOWCASE ON FRIDAY! Cal really wants to help her so that the customer is happy, but mostly, he just loves talking to her. Vera keeps calling to check on the status, but mostly, she just wants to chat with Cal.
Both Vera and Cal have other things going on, of course. Cal has some weird family dynamic that caused him childhood trauma that still lingers. Vera’s family doesn’t have a lot of faith in her business, and jokes around that she’s a quitter, which really bugs her. And there’s a strange subplot about Vera’s brother trying to set her up with his friend Fred, who plays the flute.
Vera might be a little too quirky and cute, but I really didn’t mind. During COVID it seems like all I can manage are feel-good stories with happy endings, so this really fit the bill for me. And did I mention it was free?