So I kept comparing this book to historical romances I have read that dealt with marriages of convenience and found “Isn’t it Bromantic?” wanting. I think my main issues were that there were too many plot holes i.e. how come the guys had never met Elena until now? It’s been like what, 3 years since the events in the first book? I didn’t really find that Elena/Vlad were in love with each other. And there were way too many fade to black love scenes. Yes I complained yesterday about long love scenes on Twitter, but I just kind of shook my head while reading this book. And then finally, it feels like the characters that Adams has created don’t even understand romance novels. Them going on about how the main couple has to struggle otherwise it’s not worth it. Um no. There was a whole robust discussion about this on Twitter a few weeks back that many readers loathe the whole break up in the third act romance novels do an or miscommunication issues that cause the main characters to break up. I think the first book was a cute idea and each offering since has dimmed my enthusiasm for the bromance book club. And dare I say it, the men in this book feel very condescending to me now. They seem to think romance novels have all of the answers on how to treat and talk to the women in their lives and I want to tell them all to go outside and touch grass.
“Isn’t it Bromantic?” follows the story of Vlad (AKA the Russian) and Elena. The story opens with Vlad being at the wedding of Mack and Liv. Another member of the club is having “digestion issues” and there’s a quick summary that now that Vlad has been diagnosed as gluten intolerant he no longer has the bathroom issues he used to (yes this is real). Real quick though readers find out that Vlad wants a “real marriage” to his wife Elena and we find out she’s a childhood friend that he married. Elena arrives at the wedding, but goes away by telling Vlad she can’t give him what he wants and leaves. The book fast forwards to six months later with Vlad visiting the “Cheese Man” (yes this is real) after avoiding the man in his bromance book club for months. Vlad who plays hockey, ends up hurting his leg and needing surgery. This results in Elena being called who comes back from Chicago to help him. Yadda yadda yadda, the bromance book club is there to put things right between them.
Look, Vlad was always used as a comedic foil during the series. The number of times we had to hear about how he destroyed a bathroom was a lot. And there’s still a lot of digestion and fart jokes. I did see one reader note though that they were upset with Adams making “Vlad” magically cured by not eating gluten. And yeah, as someone with a gastro condition, I would love if I stopped magically eating something it would not cause issues with me. The little bit I know about celiac disease is that it can mean other issues that are not really discussed beyond Vlad can’t eat gluten. But is obsessed with cheese. And can I say this, I think after Vlad wept for like the tenth time I would have said that’s it, I am out. I felt like he was a caricature Russian for some of the book, which I hated.
Elena. I can’t help it. I get she was like I am a journalist and this is what I do. I won’t get into her whole subplot (spoilers and all) but it didn’t make any sense for a variety of reasons.
Like a lot of readers have said though, most of the women in this series don’t shine as well as the men. And that’s the case here as well. Elena felt blah to me. And I honestly really want to talk to some members of the Bromance Book Club because they seem to think constantly begging someone to be with you is a good thing. I don’t know. We also get introduced to the “Loners” group (God help me) and I hated the character named Claud. I am sorry, being nasty to someone is not a character trait. And I hope that these characters don’t show up in future novels.
The writing was not as great as prior books IMHO. I rolled my eyes a lot. And the flow was up and down. Way too much of the book was focused on other characters sticking their nose into Elena and Vlad’s relationship that Elena’s whole subplot got kind of ignored until the last minute. There was a whole subplot with Vlad writing a (terrible) romance novel and the Bromance Book Club members giving him (terrible) advice. No you don’t need the main characters to struggle, no you don’t just introduce a love triangle and have the heroine torn between two dudes. As someone on Book Twitter said, we (readers) always know which one the protagonist is going to choose, so it’s not an issue. Unless you Janet Evanovich who still has two dudes thirsting after Stephanie Plum and all of the readers as a collective getting sick of it.
We do get a Happily Ever After (HEA) ending. Honestly the main reason why I gave this 3 stars was that it was better than the last book and that whole mess with Alexis that I am still aggravated about.