on November 5, 2019
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The first rule of book club: You don't talk about book club.
Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott's marriage is in major league trouble. He’s recently discovered a humiliating secret: his wife Thea has always faked the Big O. When he loses his cool at the revelation, it’s the final straw on their already strained relationship. Thea asks for a divorce, and Gavin realizes he’s let his pride and fear get the better of him.
Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville's top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it'll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner hero and win back the trust of his wife.
Alpha dudes who read romance novels…apparently this is a thing I’m VERY into. After Take a Hint, Dani Brown and now The Bromance Book Club, I kind of can’t get enough of this premise.
In book one of this series, we’re treated to a second-chance romance with hunky pro ball player Gavin trying to win back his estranged wife Thea. On the surface, the issue is that Gavin hasn’t delivered the big O since he and Thea got married after a whirlwind romance and surprise pregnancy, but the real deal is that these two don’t know how to communicate. Gavin is invited to the top secret Bromance Book Club by a teammate, and together they set off to save his marriage. As he delves into the pages of steamy romance, he learns how to break down some of his hyper-masculine walls and talk with his beloved Thea.
“We all have a void,” Del said a moment later. “Something that’s missing in us. Something we need but don’t want to admit or don’t even know we’re missing until we find it in that other person.”
There was really nothing to not like about this. I loved the predominantly male POV (though admittedly, it’s 100% through a feminine lens). I loved a bunch of dudes banding together to learn how to be better partners coupled with the somewhat silly twist that their learning “manuals” would be romance books. I’m generally not into second-chance romances as a trope, and that held true for me with this title, but overall it was a fun and easy treat.
*****Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
Published by Berkley on March 10, 2020
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Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assist Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even while she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.
The sequel gives us Mack’s romance. Throughout the first book, Mack is the guy who flirts with anything with a pulse, but also the first one to show up when one of his fellow bros is in trouble. Mack seems like a douchey nightclub owner as we start our enemies-to-lovers tale between him and Liv, but ultimately we learn he has a heart of gold and a troubled past – and more than anything just wants some sweet, sweet lovin’.
For three years, their book club had hidden in the shadows. Read in secret. Met behind closed doors. There were ten of them in all—professional athletes and city officials, tech geniuses and business owners. And, in the case of Mack, the owner of several Nashville bars and nightclubs. All drawn together by a shared love of books that had made them better men, better lovers, better husbands. Except for Mack on that last one. He was currently one of the last single guys in the group.
My biggest draw back from this book was the subplot. I’m a stickler for what’s happening between all the kissing, and this one didn’t do it for me. At the very beginning, Liv is fired from her job as a pastry chef. Mack thinks it’s his fault for an exchange at the restaurant, but really her boss is a disgusting predator who Liv catches in the act. She vows to take him down at any cost. The cost turns out to be a lot of victim blaming for women who won’t come forward, and risky, questionable behavior to bait the former boss. I’m all for the sisterhood moment of trying to help others, but Liv had some serious stumbles on her learning journey that took away from my overall enjoyment. That said, I will absolutely be diving in to book three when it releases later this month because these are well written and fluffy reads.