#BookReview: The Wedding Setup by Sonali Dev

Easy, Safe, Short Second Chance Romance. This was one of those second chance romances where you’re really not putting too much on the line giving it a chance. It is short – though its page count is not known even a week before publication, it is an easy hour or two read. So likely in the 100 ish page range, *maybe* out to 150. It is a fairly easy read too with the infamous meddling of the Aunties during a semi-traditional Indian wedding with modern flare providing much comedy and the actual romance being of the second chance, standard Hallark Movie fare variety. If you’re not deeply immersed in the Indian culture and fighting these particular battles of tradition vs modernism yourself (even though so many of us face those same battles within our own cultures, whatever they may be), this is a pretty safe read as well. Nothing overly challenging about the actual writing or the content. And a bonus for this reader, since the characters here weren’t involved in politics, the author didn’t bring her personal politics into the story here. Overall a solid introduction to this author and her *general* style, this is an easy one to take a chance on for new readers and a safe one for long time fans. Very much recommended.

This review of The Wedding Setup by Sonali Dev was originally written on January 4, 2022.

#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff

For this entry in the Twelve Days of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a grounded yet funny fake marriage romance… during a traditional Indian wedding week! For this blog tour entry, we’re looking at The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff.

Solid Second Chance Romance. This is one of those second chance / forced proximity / fake dating types of romance tales, all combined during a five day traditional Indian wedding celebration. The angst between the two leads is palpable, and their own individual motivations are solidly grounded. The Indian family interventions – and ensuing irritating (for the characters) hilarity (for the readers) hijinx – are well done, and Shroff does well to explain the various ceremonies reasonably well in-story so that those not familiar with them can follow along and not get lost in the story, yet not so much that it becomes an academic treatise on each ceremony. Overall a fun, funny, and short-ish (220 ish page) romance that gives a solid break from reality for many, and really… isn’t that most of what we expect a book to do? Very much recommended.

After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff”

#BookReview: The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh

Snarky Romance Reads Shorter Than Its Actual Length. This is one of those fun, snarky, steamy – yes, there are numerous sex scenes, for those that care either way about such things – romances that doesn’t quite work as a true “enemies to lovers”, since the initial fight is more a miscommunication when these two characters – both introduced in 2020’s The Boy Toy – first meet up in the aftermath of that tale. It officially clocks in at around 350 pages, but Marsh keeps the tale pulsing along so well that this reader never really noticed the actual length and indeed by the end the book feels much shorter. For technically being a Book 2, this is also a fairly loosely coupled “series” – yes, these characters are introduced in the first book, and yes, the first book’s primary couple (and another character or two) appear in this book, but neither is truly dependent on the other and each totally work fine as standalones in a shared universe as well. Overall a fun book, maybe not an “end of summer” book but definitely a fun, summery feel. Very much recommended.

This review of The Man Ban by Nicola Marsh was originally written on June 29, 2021.

#BookReview: The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh

Excellent Case Study In Storytelling. Over the last month, I’ve read all three of the books Marsh is releasing (from three different publishers) over the course of six weeks from early October 2020 through mid November 2020 (when this, the last of the books in this “series”, releases). And each has been dramatically different from the last, which speaks to Marsh’s true skill as a storyteller. Second Chance Lane, the first of the series, was a Hallmarkie romance. My Sister’s Keeper, the second, was a weaving, winding, soap opera of a tale that my wife says would work well as a Lifetime Movie.

And here, with The Boy Toy, we get arguably the most cinematic of the three books, in the vein of a multicultural Knocked Up / Hundred Foot Journey. We get an older lead female. We get a look at various facets of Indian culture (that as my friend Ritu says in her own review, many of Western cultures won’t be as familiar with – more on that momentarily). We get a more-balanced-than-usual look at the struggles of infertility as it relates to those who actually want children. (Vs childfree people like me that *don’t* want children and thus infertility is actually a blessing of sorts.) We get an age-gap *ish* romance with the *female* being the older person in the couple.

And yes, we get sex. A lot of it. And all over the place, beginning as little as 10% into the book. If you’re looking for a “clean” / “sweet” romance… you’re not gonna want this one. 😉 Similarly, getting back to the cultural issues… Marsh does a good job of not hiding at least one Indian equivalent of what I call “Talibaptists” in the US. She does a great job of showing the pressure they can wield socially and the damage it can wreak, and she doesn’t shy away from this aspect at all – instead giving a solid example of how to overcome it. Every culture has these types, sadly, but Marsh shows them in depths not often explored, particularly in a romantic comedy, and again – shows her strength as a storyteller in doing so.

Ultimately though, this is a fun and funny romantic comedy that hits all the right notes, discusses some heavy topics, but leaves you satisfied in every way text on some surface can. Very much recommended.

This review of The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh was originally written on October 23, 2020.