Romantic Comedy Recap 11.12.18
It’s been a while since I’ve done a Rom-Com Recap. In October, I read several romance novels, but a handful were pretty angsty and not very heavy on the comedy. While I enjoyed them, they definitely do not fall in the Rom-Com category. But I did read a couple of lovely romantic comedies that I want to share.
Take the Lead by Alexis Daria won the 2018 RITA Award for Best First Book. It tells the story of Gina Morales, a dancer, and Stone Nielson, a reluctant reality tv star from Alaska, and their partnership on Daria’s version of Dancing with the Stars, The Dance Off. Gina has been on the show for a few seasons, but basically is told before this season that she needs to win in order to stay on as a dancer. It is clear that the producers from both The Dance Off and Stone’s show want a showmance between Gina and Stone. Gina is adamant against this, and while Stone is kind of ambivalent either way, he quickly is on board with whatever Gina wants. The sexual tension and chemistry between Gina and Stone is crackling, but Gina wants to keep everything strictly professional and Stone respects Gina’s wishes. While I understood Gina’s resistance to being told do things that could affect her professional life, I think she was a little short-sighted on how everything would play out, especially after they started their fling. Stone’s storyline was more interesting to me; Stone comes from a big family, and their reality show is all about living off the grid and being survivalists. So technological and pop culture references that should shock Stone don’t seem to faze him, which continually befuddles Gina. But the reason why seems to be a much bigger issue for Stone than it is for anyone else. I enjoyed the chemistry between the two, but I think a lot of their issues could have been figured out much earlier on if they had only communicated with each other. I do not watch Dancing with the Stars or really any reality show (except for The Great British Baking Show), but I was really intrigued with this world. Daria made the set and all the side characters come alive, and I am excited to read the next book in the series, Dance with Me, with Gina’s roommate, Natasha, as the heroine and Dimitri, one of the show’s judges. If you are looking for a fun contemporary read with a Latina main character, definitely give Take the Lead a try!
I discovered Kate Clayborn on Twitter and finally read her whole Chance of a Lifetime series (the third and final book in the series Best of Luck comes out at the end of this month, and thanks to Kate for the ARC from her Twitter giveaway). I absolutely loved this whole series and cannot recommend these three books enough. Three best friends buy a lottery ticket and end up winning; after they split the money, each one tries to figure out what she wants to do with this new money. Beginner’s Luck is the story of Kit and Ben. Kit is a scientist and working as a lab tech at a local university, and Ben is the corporate recruiter who comes to convince her to take a job with his multi-billion dollar company. Kit is dead set on refusing any offer from Beaumont Materials, but because Ben feels bad for assuming his target is a man and comes to apologize, she gives him a chance to make his pitch. Ben happens to be in town taking care of his father who is recovering from a fall, and he and Kit strike up a friendship that quickly turns into a fling. But things are not easy while Beaumont is still after Kit, and Ben’s future career plans hedge on Kit’s recruitment. I adored Kit and Ben, but my favorite character was Ben’s dad Henry, who owns a salvage yard. It reminded me of what I imagine Chip and Joanna Gaines have going on in Waco, with lots of vintage hardware and antiques from various estate sales and such. When Kit won the lottery, she wanted to buy a home and give herself permanence and a home. So she buys a fixer-upper, and Ben and Henry help outfit her home with lovely details. Beginner’s Luck completely charmed me, and I know it will do the same for you. And you’re in luck (pun absolutely intended!), because Luck of the Draw and Best of Luck are also amazing and wonderful.
How the Dukes Stole Christmas is a Christmas historical romance anthology with four novellas from Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Sophie Jordan, and Joanna Shupe. I have read everything Sarah MacLean has written and read several of Tessa Dare’s books, but this was my first time reading historical novellas and reading Sophie Jordan and Joanna Shupe. Each novella takes place around Christmas and has a duke as the hero. Tessa Dare’s “Meet Me in Mayfair” was really cute; James is a reluctant, new duke whose estate owns Louisa’s family home. Louisa is determined to find a wealthy husband at the Christmas ball who can save her family from being exiled and forced out of their home. Louisa and James have a great rapport, but I felt the premise was a little too thin given the one night timeline. Sarah MacLean’s “The Duke of Christmas Present” is about two childhood sweethearts Lady Jacqueline and Eben, now the Duke of Allryd. Twelve years have passed since Jack left Eben. Eben spent those twelve years turning the Allryd dukedom into one of the wealthiest in Britain, but he is not happy. He misses Jack so much, but when Jack shows up in his house on Christmas Eve, he is determined to make her see that he is sorry and can make her happy now. I adored this loose retelling of A Christmas Carol. Sophie Jordan’s “Heiress Alone” is based on Home Alone. When Annis Ballister’s family accidentally leaves her in a Scottish castle, she finds herself alone with two servants. But when a band of thieves begins circling the area, the Duke of Sinclair takes Annis and the two servants to his castle. When Annis and Sinclair are forced to hide out from the thieves and are snowed in, things heat up between them. Joanna Shupe’s “Christmas in Central Park” is the only novella set in New York City in the Gilded Age, which was my first Gilded Age-set romance. I loved the setting. Rose Walker is a writer, posing as Mrs. Walker whose weekly advice columns cover all manners of domestic issues and appear in ten newspapers across the country, but no one knows her true identity except for her editor. When a scandal erupts and her editor is fired, Duke Havermeyer, the president of the publishing company, insists that Mrs. Walker host a Christmas dinner party for the Board of Directors to smooth over any lingering leadership doubts. Rose must come up with a fake husband, a home, and a staff in order to save her job. While Rose is worried about her secret, Duke is captivated by her; he shouldn’t be attracted to a married woman and someone who works for him, but he finds himself charmed and smitten. I enjoyed this Christmas anthology, but the novella length was difficult for some of these plots to seem completely realistic. They all take place over one or a few nights, so it was hard for me to believe that one side fell in love so quickly, but the stories were all cute and Christmas-y, so that helped! If you are looking for a holiday-themed historical romance or just want to get into the Christmas spirit, definitely pick up How the Dukes Stole Christmas.
So many great romantic comedies this fall, and thanks to #RomBkLove, I’ve added so many more to my TBR. I’ve been reading a lot of mysteries lately, so the rom-coms provide a much needed break!
Let me know if you’ve read any fun romantic comedies recently.