Super cute but also immensely frustrating, this slow-burning office romance is a quick and easy read. I LOVE that it features a HERO who starts the book plus-sized and unsure of himself. It was really refreshing to read about a hero who just assumes that the pretty girl at work wouldn’t be into him, and it explores some interesting topics revolving around weight, self-worth, etc, once he makes a concerted effort to get healthier and winds up with a conventionally sexy body. Unfortunately, the storyline is executed in such a way that it’s all miscommunication and pining, drama and time spent apart. We never see these two fall for each other, those feelings are already established when the book begins – and we barely get to see the payoff. So, while I really liked many of the individual elements, I didn’t love the book as a whole.
The story follows Blaine, a woman who has been crushing on her co-worker for awhile now. Every other time she’s spoken up about her feelings with a guy, it hasn’t gone well, so Blaine has never come right out and said how she feels about Lysander. Surely it must be obvious, right? She’s given him plenty of not-so-subtle hints, but they seem to be stuck in a friend zone. So when a temporary work assignment takes Lysander out of town for six months, Blaine decides that she’ll speak up… as soon as he’s back. The only trouble? In the time apart, Lysander decided to get healthier, and his new diet has left him looking like every girl’s dream – and he came back with a girl on his arm. Lysander isn’t comfortable with all of the attention he’s been getting since he “got hot,” and it’s made him reevaluate many of his relationships. He’s not quite the shy nerd he once was, and it’s only now that he’s changed that women have started looking at him differently.
It’s a quick, cute, and closed door romance, with an upbeat vibe and tons of pining. I really liked Lysander at the start, and the concept is a great one. Who doesn’t love a nerdy, cinnamon roll hero who has the potential to go from friend to lover? But the devil is in the details, and that’s where this gets things wrong. Lysander isn’t actually a compelling hero once he comes back to town, and I started to dislike him immensely. The endless miscommunication was frustrating, as was the fact that Lysander and Blaine spend BARELY any time together on the page when they’re not working. The development of their feelings happens off the page, so it was difficult to understand the reasons why they’re right together. Things didn’t play out quite like I was hoping, and I had definitely lost interest by the end. There’s a lot of good going on here, but I can’t say that I loved it.
The audio is solid! Dual narration with two skilled narrators, I have zero complaints about the audio. I love both Tim Paige and Kelsey Navarro’s voices, so they made it a great listening experience. The runtime is short enough that I was able to binge in one sitting, and the upbeat tone works well in the format. There’s also no steam, so it worked as a workday listen as well. My issues are entirely with the story itself. I received an early copy and am voluntarily leaving a review of this office romance.
Dice meets derby in a new contemporary romance novel by bestselling author Charlie N. Holmberg.
Fourth try’s the charm… or is it?
The first guy Blaine ever confessed her feelings to dismissed her. The second made her friendless. The third, a viral internet sensation.
And Blaine is praying the fourth will be different.
After two years of pining for the aloof and secretly hilarious IT guy at work, roller-derby-warrior Blaine creates a master plan: after Lysander returns from his transfer in California, she’s going to spill everything. And why not? She’s got a killer undercut, thighs of steel, and shares his love for superheroes. In her book, they’re a match made in heaven.
Lysander has enough self-esteem to fill a thimble and has always struggled with his place in the world. When his father has a health scare, Lysander takes charge of his own, and consequentially loses fifty pounds. Suddenly the people around him think he’s worth his space—especially the women. And when Lysander fishes the literally shallow waters of dating and returns with a girl on his arm, Blaine fears she may have lost her chance with him entirely.
About the Author:
Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Wall Street Journal bestselling Paper Magician series and the Amazon Charts bestselling Spellbreaker series. She is also the author of the Star Mother series and the Numina series, as well as five stand-alone novels, including Followed by Frost, a 2016 RITA Award finalist for Young Adult Romance; The Fifth Doll, winner of the 2017 Whitney Award for Speculative Fiction; and The Will and the Wilds, winner of the 2020 Whitney Award for Speculative Fiction, as well as Novel of the Year for Adult Fiction. Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. She currently lives with her family in Utah. Visit her at www.charlienholmberg.com.
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