Total Star Rating: 4 Stars
A revitalizing title that can bring back some fresh, much needed rekindling in the Romance genre! It’s a hard genre to stay into, I must admit, because by now it feels like everyone can agree on one thing: it’s so full of clichés. Some are more forgivable than others, but there is certainly a surplus that really either need to be switched up by the creativity of the authors, or just be forgotten about entirely…and yes, I do mean the brooding, charismatic CEO’s with a fucked up past that turn to BDSM to hide their issues with…Thanks for that Twilight…
Anyways, this novel luckily swerves away from that, and were left with something that just feels fresh and somewhat new of a concept, where someone with a mental disability–or condition?–is the protagonist.
For the most part, I enjoyed the book for what it was; some people who criticized this book took it too seriously in my opinion. It’s not meant to be some deep, lyrical look into the psyche of someone or whatever it is they’re dealing with in terms of their mental condition, but a romance novel…like jeez people, go read some J.D. Salinger or Nathaniel Hawthorne if you’re looking for deeper depictions of the human condition in literature.
This book was fun, a perfect mix of sweet and steamy, and a unique look into the mind of a young women who has a condition that affects millions of others in the world, odds are someone who you–yes you, the reader–has too.
What It’s About:
This story revolves around Stella Lane, an average 30-year-old in the Los Angeles area, and is someone who’s always been great with numbers–like, she’s actually obsessed with numbers, math, and algorithms and uses that to determine customer purchasing patterns. She’s a star in the office, but her personal life has some major room for improvement.
It turns out, she actually has Aspergers and is either not at all interested in something, or absolutely obsessed; there’s almost no in-between. At the ridicule of a coworker, Stella decides that in order for her to be considered “dateable,” she needs to work on her craft and gain some experience. What does she do then?…She hires a male escort to show her some killer bedroom techniques.
Michael Phan, the escort, meets her at a hotel bar and they both hit it off. With money woes of his own, he’s not in the position to turn down many offers that are thrown his way, and he has to admit that he’s not exactly being tortured when a cute little brunette comes to him and asks for some help.
Both of them absolutely did not expect much to happen after the night they met, but soon realize they’re feeling more than just lust, and there may or may not be more brewing underneath the surface. There might not be a whole lot of logic when it comes to love, but Stella and Michael both may be willing to try and figure it out together.
What I Liked:
- Using Mental Health to Drive the Plot! What’s truly unique about this title compared to others is how the author used a mental condition like Aspergers as a way to draw the plot and show conflict within the romance as something that comes between the two main characters. Mental illnesses and conditions have become such a big part of a lot of people’s lives nowadays, and it’s refreshing to see it start to carve its mark in literature. It can help people feel understood, that they’re not alone, and can also be inspiring to those that also have the condition. Also, it can enlighten non-affected readers and maybe teach them a thing or two about those that do have it, and help our overall understanding of it.
- The Perfect Mix of Sweet & Sexy! I’d said it earlier, but there is a great balance between two sides of the romance in this title. The main guy is an escort, so did you really not expect some sexy times to be had? C’mon….beside those heated moments, there are also the softer, warmer moments between Michael and Stella that were heartwarming and just make you go aww…
- The Player Falls Hard! There’s something about this trope that always just gets me, sometimes even more than the “fake-dating” one in other stories. For this one, it’s when the confident, smooth, charming, alpha-male suddenly loses his edge because he’s met the girl of his dreams, and she’s thrown him off his game. For some reason, there’s nothing quite like it because of how it humbles him and makes him see the world around him differently–for starters, that it doesn’t revolve around them.
What I Didn’t Like:
- First Love Interest is “Meh”…The plot is presented to you when a guy Stella works with gives her a hard time about her dating life, and is an absolute scum sucking d-bag in general. First of all, what prick makes a girl feel so bad about not having much experience in that regard? I mean, I feel like I don’t need to go into this big whole rampage about #Metoo and feminism, but this guy was also someone who Stella maybe saw right off the bat as a possibly romantic interest…what exactly does she see in him?
- Someone Call HR!…Continuing off #1, also pay attention to the conversation between Stella and this guy–I forget his name, not that it matters–and tell me the guy shouldn’t be having some sort of sexual harassment lawsuit shoved in his egotistical face?? I don’t know if it’s unrealistic or he’s really that sure of himself; all I know is the author made it glaringly obvious that you’re not supposed to like him in any way.
A refreshing and heartwarming title that ads something new to the Romance genre: using Aspergers as a way to add conflict to the overall plot. The author herself has the condition, so you know the occurrences and information recorded is all authentic. A great title to read for anyone who loves the genre and is looking for stories with more original ideas included.
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell