Enemies To Lovers: The Ex Talk & Because of Miss Bridgerton

07 April 2022

I don't know about you, but my biggest guilty pleasure when it comes to reading romance novels is the 'enemies to lovers' trope. Although I know this trope is extremely popular among romance readers, there's just something about the initial push and pull tension that draws me in and makes me lose sleep. 

The Ex Talk
by Rachel Lynn Solomon
Published on January 26th, 2021 by Berkley
Genres: Romance, Contemporary

Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon's sparkling romantic comedy debut.

Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can't imagine working anywhere else. But lately it's been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who's fresh off a journalism master's program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.

When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it's this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it's not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.

As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.

The Ex Talk is such an entertaining take on this guilty pleasure trope — rival co-workers, fake dating, forced proximity, slow-burn chemistry, and charming banter — everything I look for in a romance!

Rachel Lynn Solomon's rom-com debut follows the story of Shay Goldstein and Dominic Yun, co-workers at a public radio station in Seattle. In an effort to keep their jobs amid budget cuts, the idea of a show about exes figuring out what went wrong in their relationship comes to Shay's mind. Et voila, the pair end up being forced to co-host a show called The Ex Talk under the pretense of being exes due to their undeniable chemistry.

This was an enjoyable read — the premise surrounding public radio is definitely unique among most romance novels. The only downside to this was the ending which felt a bit messy and rushed. Otherwise, I think Solomon writes entertaining dialogue and I wouldn't be opposed to reading more of her works. A recommended feel-good read, perfect for fans of Emily Henry and Rosie Danan! 

Review originally posted on Instagram

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Because of Miss Bridgerton (Rokesbys #1)
by Julia Quinn
Published on March 29th, 2016 by Avon
Genre: Historical Romance

Sometimes you find love in the most unexpected of places...

This is not one of those times.

Everyone expects Billie Bridgerton to marry one of the Rokesby brothers. The two families have been neighbors for centuries, and as a child the tomboyish Billie ran wild with Edward and Andrew. Either one would make a perfect husband... someday.

Sometimes you fall in love with exactly the person you think you should...

Or not.

There is only one Rokesby Billie absolutely cannot tolerate, and that is George. He may be the eldest and heir to the earldom, but he's arrogant, annoying, and she's absolutely certain he detests her. Which is perfectly convenient, as she can't stand the sight of him, either.

But sometimes fate has a wicked sense of humor...

Because when Billie and George are quite literally thrown together, a whole new sort of sparks begins to fly. And when these lifelong adversaries finally kiss, they just might discover that the one person they can't abide is the one person they can't live without...
Another adorable couple to add to the growing list of the enemies to lovers trope is Billie Bridgerton (elder sister to Edmund aka Papa Bridgerton) and George Rokesby — childhood frenemies (and neighbours) who just seem to vex each other, though it's mostly Billie being her usual troublesome self and George being a grouch.

Because of Miss Bridgerton is a cute start to the Bridgertons' prequel series, The Rokesbys, but it didn't have the same magic that radiates from the stories of the Bridgerton siblings made popular again by the Netflix and Shondaland adaptation.

No doubt, Julia Quinn writes exceptional characters that are easy to love and relate to. Billie and George's chemistry feels so much like a heartwarming blooming first love with the right amount of push and pull and Quinn does exceptionally well when writing about fluffy family dynamics in the form of chaotic and laugh our loud scenes and dialogues. This book started off so powerful but unfortunately later plateaued after a few chapters — the pacing was weak and slow, and the plot, which weirdly focused on George's missing brother, Edward, felt nonexistent and turned the actual romance into a backdrop.

Nonetheless, the rest of the Rokesby brothers are still under my radar so I'll likely give this series another go! But for now, I'll just continue to let Julie Andrews highjack my mind's reading voice even if I'm not even reading anything remotely British (I read this right after binge-watching the second season of Bridgerton. #Kanthony SLAYED!)

Review originally posted on Instagram.

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