Romantic Comedy Recap 3.30.18
More romantic comedies! I have read a lot recently because work has been pretty crazy, and the perfect stress reliever is a good rom-com (and also wine). Susannah Nix’s final book came out earlier this month, and then I discovered the other two books from Amazon and Penny Reid, respectively.
Susannah Nix’s third book in her Chemistry Lessons series, Advanced Physical Chemistry, follows Penny and Caleb. Penny’s last four boyfriends have cheated on her, and she can’t figure out why. So she decides to swear off men for a while, but all that comes crashing to a halt when the hot barista at her favorite coffee place Antidote kisses her out of the blue. Caleb has been crushing hard on Penny for months, but Penny never realized because Caleb barely ever talked to her. Both are incredibly attracted to each other, so Penny decides to proposition Caleb. They embark on a fun physical relationship for a month before Caleb leaves to go to medical school. But feelings get in the way for both of them. I absolutely loved Penny. She is part of Esther’s knitting group from Intermediate Thermodynamics and then practices yoga with Melody from Remedial Rocket Science. I love those little cameos. Penny is a plus-size, super friendly baker who works from home as a patent examiner. But because she needs human interaction, she goes to Antidote every day for her coffee fix. I loved the banter back and forth between Caleb and Penny. Caleb is a man of very few words, but when he does speak, he means what he says. His background broke my heart, but he is just such a standup guy; he really is too adorable. Who doesn’t love a guy who makes them lavender lattes that aren’t even on the menu? Swoon. George, one of the regular customers at Antidote, is a delightful curmudgeon who paves the way for Penny and Caleb’s relationship; I loved his character and how both Penny and Caleb deeply cared for him. I loved Advanced Physical Chemistry like I loved Nix's previous books. She creates such strong heroines and swoonworthy guys that feel relatable. I hope she continues this series!
One and Only by Jenny Holiday is the first book in the Bridesmaids Behaving Badly series. Jane Denning is tasked with babysitting her friend Elise’s fiance’s younger brother for their wedding. Cameron MacKinnon’s bad boy reputation precedes him; he has been discharged from the Canadian army early and no one knows why. Cameron is just excited to be back in civilization and cannot wait to check off a bunch of typical manly things now that he’s back home, like casual sex, a good steak, driving a really fast car, etc. Because Elaine is worried Cam will ruin her incredibly DIY-Pinterest wedding to Jay, Jane is stuck with Cam for the 10 days leading up to the wedding. However, when Cam and Jane start to actually spend time together, sparks fly, and while neither one wants a relationship, they begin to fall for each other regardless. Jane is a young adult novelist who writes about adventure but rarely actually risks anything in her own personal life. Cam shows up and gets her out of her comfort zone. Cam suffers from PTSD and is trying to figure out what to do with his life since he is no longer in the army, and Jane helps ground him and gives him a bit of direction. I enjoyed Cam and Jane’s relationship, but the wedding stuff and Elaine’s bridezilla characterization really rubbed me the wrong way. But One and Only did come with some heat, so I could overlook Elaine and her absurdity.
Lucy Parker’s Act Like It is one of Penny Reid’s recommendations, and I’ll pretty much do whatever Penny says. Act Like It is the story of Lainie Graham and Richard Troy, two actors in The Cavalier’s Tribute on the West End. Richard Troy has had one too many bad mentions in the London press lately, so the play’s management decide to have Lainie, London’s sweetheart, appear with Richard to soften his image and help the play, much to both Lainie and Richard’s chagrin. However, once they start spending time together, things heat up, but there’s the small matter of their costar, Will Farmer, who just happens to be Lainie’s ex-boyfriend. Will and Richard openly hate each other, so drama surrounds these dramatic actors. I adored the banter between Lainie and Richard. Lainie never takes any of Richard’s shit and is always prepared with a sassy comeback, which endeared her to Richard. Also I am such a sucker for a sweet nickname (see Drew calling Ashley “Sugar” in Beauty and the Mustache), so I am one hundred percent on board with Richard calling Lainie "Tig" because she couldn’t stop bouncing in her seat in his car, like Tigger. These two were lovely, and I will definitely read more by Lucy Parker. If you liked The Hating Game (and how could you not like it??) and are looking for something similar, Act Like It is definitely in the same vein.
I am sure I'll be reading more great rom-coms this year. They just make such great palate cleansers to heavier books and the real world.