Leading man on an Aeniad-based series a la Game of Thrones, Marcus, has made a name for himself as a well-behaved golden retriever. According to the gossip, he’s pretty, he’s sweet, and he is about as smart as a box of rocks. In reality, the last one couldn’t be really further from the truth. It’s more of a front to hide that he suffers from dyslexia. Not to mention, it also means that he doesn’t have to answer the difficult questions on the press junkets. And it also means that no one would suspect that he spends his free time writing fanfiction and cruising on a shipping discord-esque server. But writing fix-it-fic and bitching about the changes the show made from the book series are also In clear violation of his contract, and if his sue-happy showrunners find out, he’s going to be in a whole heap of trouble. So he has to keep his fandom life separate and hidden. Unfortunately, the lines between his online and offline life are blurred when Marcus steps in to mitigate some really horrendous online fatphobic bullying by asking the woman cosplaying as his own show wife out on a date. That woman, geologist April, turns out to be funny and intelligent and pretty much everything that Marcus is looking for in a woman. With one major problem… She’s his best friend online. And he’s been keeping one heck of a secret from her. Oops.
First a couple of warnings. This book deals with body positivity and body negativity, past child neglect, emotional abuse, fatphobia, ableism, and lots and lots and lots of sexism in the media. Make sure you’re in a good place before reading this.
Additionally, here’s a warning for people who have visual disabilities/dyslexia/other visual processing disorder: the e-book I read suffered from several formatting issues including missing carriage returns and fixed font types.
Here’s an example from the book illustrating what I mean:
It’s actually worse because the font can change mid-paragraph, which really messed with me. Yeah… Considering that I have dyslexia (on top of a visual disability on top of a chronic condition that can be triggered by visual cues), it made the book hard to process... Which in a book that features a dyslexic character and the dyslexia is important it’s sort of ironic. And it’s a choice. (And as a note not everyone with dyslexia can process audiobooks, I can’t.) And I’m making a choice not to knock this down a star despite the increased difficulty in reading this. But it needs to be warned about. Onto the story!
This is honestly a very adorable and very sweet celebrity romance. I also love the fact that this book featured over the age of 35 main characters. That’s super rare. Heck finding characters that are over the age of 25 is rare. Never mind one who is pushing 40. Especially when it comes to heroines. I really like Marcus as a hero he is the kind of alpha hero who has enough beta hero tendencies to make me want to pet him on the head and cuddle him to my chest. He definitely has his own opinions and very much wants to protect those he cares about. But he understands that the way he would do something is not necessarily the best way even though he falls sometimes.
Marcus is dyslexic and because of his dyslexia he’s often considered stupid, instead of the reality: that he needs extra time to think things through because his brain doesn’t quite work the same as most people he is surrounded by. It’s nice to see a dyslexic character in media. Especially one who is successful. April is a fun heroine. I absolutely love that she’s a geologist and she’s got her own interests and things that are separate from the hero. And she’s got friends. I also like that she is plus-sized, and while her weight is a factor and her trauma regarding her parents being fatphobic is very much a part of this novel, the inclusion of this plot doesn’t take away from the story itself. In fact, it’s a part of it. Because in a way, this is a story about finding acceptance for who you are as a person and not for what you look like. April is judged by her looks and is found wanting. And that’s incredibly damaging. At the same time, Marcus is judged for his looks and is also found wanting. It’s part of the core story.
I really did like this book. The show is definitely an expy of Game of Thrones as are several of the characters. Including Marcus himself. I mean there’s a reason why I’m using Brienne and Jamie gifs in this review… And it isn’t because I’m a Braime shipper (I’m not… I have my ships in GoT but Braime isn’t one of them). Anyway, I didn’t mind the parallels, but I can see some people not liking it. There’s enough differences that it’s technically not infringing. I am also fairly certain the author inserted herself as E. Wade instead of O. Dade. But since the character is not really present it’s an OK author insert.
The convention that they go to isn’t quite accurate to how cons are run. But it’s closer than a lot of other depictions in fiction that I’ll give it a pass.
But that’s not the only thing that niggled. There’s some iffy consent when it comes to kissing and especially hickeys. As a note, it’s not a good idea to put marks on to someone unless it has been agreed upon beforehand or you’ve asked permission. This is because those marks can be seen as signs of possessiveness. And possessiveness is not attractive. Additionally love marks/hickeys can cause problems in certain workplaces. They can lead to bullying or they can cause harassment, especially sexual harassment, if they are on the neck of a woman. In general, don’t mark somebody without their permission. Not to mention they are technically bruises, and for people with immunocompromised systems or bleeding disorders they can be dangerous and/or deadly.
So yeah, ask first. In all, I liked this book. I like that this book is getting buzz. It’s nice to have plus-sized heroines and heroes with a disability. The writing is on point and I sped through this book in a night. This is a nice quick read. And I can’t wait to read the sequel.
Because of that this gets…
Four and a half stars rounded up to Five
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