Hello friends! Today I brought you two romance novels I read at the end of 2020, but haven’t had the chance to talk about yet. I’m thankful for these two fun romances as they made some of the most stressful parts of my December a lot more bearable, and I hope they’ll have a similar effect on you. I can’t wait to share them with you and encourage you all to pick them up.
mY REVIEW OF Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade
Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster. Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.
April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.
Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.
With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?
I saved Spoiler Alert until I really needed a cheerful romance, and I’m so glad I did that because this book was such a life-saver in December! From the get go, I was incredibly invested in the characters’ story and was rooting for everything in their lives to work out. I loved Marcus, a really kind and lovely man who has been pretending to be someone he is not during the past few years. While I was angry at him for hurting April by keeping his online persona a secret from her, the fact that he was really well-written helped me understand his motivation and accept his reasoning. I really loved the way the conflict that ensued from this secret was handled, especially as April also ended up taking responsibility for expecting Marcus to open up to a then-stranger.
As for April, I loved her confidence, and I thought that the way her insecurities manifested was very realistic. She was very sure of herself for the most part, but there were certain people and situations that occasionally cracked her confidence. In part related to this, in part related to the conflict I mentioned above was the importance of communication and how the novel really highlighted this. There was a scene where April took something as an insult, while Marcus had no idea what he did wrong – thankfully, they were later able to communicate and discuss this issue, and I just loved the focus on this.
Overall, Spoiler Alert was a whole lot of fun with fantastic protagonists, as well as a supporting cast that was an absolute delight to read about. I can’t wait for the future additions / companions to Spoiler Alert, and I’m also looking forward to reading more by Olivia Dade, as this was only my second book by her.
REVIEW OF The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Do your own dishes.
Knock before entering the bathroom.
Never look up your roommate online.
The Wheatons are infamous among the east coast elite for their lack of impulse control, except for their daughter Clara. She’s the consummate socialite: over-achieving, well-mannered, predictable. But every Wheaton has their weakness. When Clara’s childhood crush invites her to move cross-country, the offer is too much to resist. Unfortunately, it’s also too good to be true.
After a bait-and-switch, Clara finds herself sharing a lease with a charming stranger. Josh might be a bit too perceptive—not to mention handsome—for comfort, but there’s a good chance he and Clara could have survived sharing a summer sublet if she hadn’t looked him up on the Internet…
Once she learns how Josh has made a name for himself, Clara realizes living with him might make her the Wheaton’s most scandalous story yet. His professional prowess inspires her to take tackling the stigma against female desire into her own hands. They may not agree on much, but Josh and Clara both believe women deserve better sex. What they decide to do about it will change both of their lives, and if they’re lucky, they’ll help everyone else get lucky too.
I cannot count how many bloggers I’ve seen raving about The Roommate, which of course, raised my expectations even higher than they already were after I read that fantastic blurb. I’m so happy to say that The Roommate deserves every bit of praise it’s gotten, as it’s an utterly entertaining romance novel with a fantastic cast of characters. Aside from The Kiss Quotient, this is the first time I’ve read a novel that focuses on a character who does sex work, and I really loved the way it was portrayed. Josh – and Naomi, for that matter – both enjoyed their work, even though it came with some negatives and even as they struggled under the strict control of the company they were signed with.
Speaking of sex work, I loved that Clara, Josh and Naomi set up a business with the goal to make sex more enjoyable for women. Obviously, working on something sex-related was nothing new for the latter two, but for Clara, who is quite shy and self-conscious, it was difficult to get used to how open and cool people were about sex and nakedness; I loved seeing her become more self-confident. Part of that journey had to do with her coming to terms with the fact that she cannot be the “perfect” member of her family, as not only was that unhealthy, but also impossible. I’m so excited for The Intimacy Experiment, which is going to be Naomi’s books, and I’m quite sure it’ll be just as good as The Roommate was.