Romance Interlude 1.0

Exit Through the Jungle (2020)
by Alicia Crofton
Publication: August 29, 2020
Series: Escape in Paradise #1
3 stars

**I was provided a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

I enjoyed the book but it wasn’t exactly an edge-of-my-seat page turner.  If anything, it was an entertaining summer read that had a little bit of romance, adventure, and maybe a little suspense.  The book starts off right away with jewelry heiress Jolie Bourgan on the beach taking photos for her social media account.  She’s been successful as an influencer but has to turn to her father when sponsors start pulling out, and he isn’t exactly happy about her life choices.  After the death of their father, the Greene brothers are trying to keep the family business afloat.  Kai, the responsible one, has to step in when his older brother behaves recklessly and puts the family business in jeopardy.  Kai’s and Jolie’s lives intersect when he unwillingly kidnaps her and now has to try to protect her. The majority of the book takes place in Costa Rica.

It sounds more harrowing and exciting than it actually is.  While I read this, I kept thinking it would work better as movie where we would be able to feel their chemistry and experience adventure than to read it.  It is somewhat predictable as well with some twists at the end.  The book ends with somewhat satisfactory ending but still leaves many unanswered questions.  A sequel is set to be released next year or so.  I may or may not pick it up just because I wasn’t exactly invested in Kai and Jolie’s relationship to begin with.  It’s really just lust and attraction between the two of them and then love is used so hastily that I had to suspend my own beliefs to accept that they could be in love so quickly. Sure, it’s possible in life and in books as well but I just really wasn’t on board with it in this case. Their chemistry with each other was just so-so.  Their adventure takes place in the span of just a few days so I couldn’t help but question their feelings.  Jolie questions it herself, wondering if it is a case of Stockholm’s syndrome but quickly dismisses the idea.  My overall assessment is that it is a 3 star because I was entertained at points but it teeters on being 2.5. 

Something to Talk About (2020)
by Meryl Wilsner
ASIN/ISBN: 9780593102527
Publication: May 26, 2020
3 stars

I read the summary and was immediately intrigued–so were many library patrons because I had to wait over 2 months to read this. I liked the diverse representation with Jewish American (Emma) and Chinese American (Jo) leads as well as the f/f relationship.

Love isn’t used so carelessly and there is a build up to the “will they or won’t they” that I initially liked. Their relationship isn’t one that was created overnight or in the span of a few days–I mean if you discount the rumors, that is. Jo and Emma have worked together for a long while and maintain a professional relationship. It’s likely that a romantic relationship is something neither have thought about but with the rumors created by the media after attending an awards ceremony together, their relationship might finally be steered in a better direction. There is chemistry between them and this is cultivated in the book fairly well. There were a few moments that increased my heart rate but this was overshadowed by miscommunication–which goes on for a long time–and the constant inner turmoil. Emma thinks a lot and there are pages and pages of her thinking through things. Jo does a lot of thinking too but not nearly as much as Emma does, but still lots of thinking and not much communication between the two frustrated me. As I mentioned, initially the build-up was good but what it became was inaction and frustration rather than the feel-good angst that comes with a slow burn. This made the book feel overly long.

Despite the book feeling long-winded, the ending definitely lifted my rating of the book. It is one of the better endings I’ve had the pleasure of reading this summer.

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