Romance Reviews: MARLOWE BANKS, REDESIGNED & A COSMIC KIND OF LOVE

 

Happy Monday everyone!  After taking a short blog break late last week to be there for my mom for her surgery and post-op recovery, I’m back today with reviews for a couple of romances I read in the hospital waiting room that really helped me to pass the time.  Both are from authors I read and enjoyed for the first time last year, so I was eager to get my hands on copies of their latest offerings. How fun are those vibrant covers?!

 

Romance Reviews:  MARLOWE BANKS, REDESIGNED & A COSMIC KIND OF LOVEMarlowe Banks, Redesigned Goodreads

Author: Jacqueline Firkins

Publication Date: October 25, 2022

Publisher:  St. Martin’s Press/St. Martin’s Griffin

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

 

Marlowe Banks, Redesigned by Jacqueline Firkins follows Marlowe, a costume designer who works on Broadway and lives in New York City. When one of her costume designs is panned in a review, Marlowe’s self-esteem is sent on a downward spiral and she flees New York for L.A. to hide out for a while and lick her wounds.  When we meet Marlowe, she is working as a production assistant/errand runner for a popular TV show, sorting a bin full of socks, and very much over-qualified for the job.

Marlowe captured my attention and my heart right from that opening scene and I wanted to know more about why she was so quick to give up her old life, not to mention her boyfriend, and move 3,000 miles away.  Marlowe is a messy and flawed character, which of course makes her very relatable since we’re all a bit messy, and she’s also someone who needs to learn to stand up for herself and confront what is dragging her down rather than hiding from it, again something that makes her very easy to relate to.  There are a lot of layers to Marlowe and the more Firkins allowed me to start peeling back those layers, the more invested I became in seeing Marlowe bounce back from what she perceives as a huge failure on her part. I couldn’t wait to see what, or who, would be the catalyst that helps her bounce back and reclaim her life. And oh boy, what a catalyst it was!

Angus Gordon is not only the rising star on the TV show where Marlowe works, but he’s also a Scottish hottie who makes everyone swoon when he’s around.  Angus also has the reputation for being an arrogant bad boy, and when Marlowe accidentally crashes into him and spills coffee all over his shirt, she gets to experience firsthand why he has that reputation.  When a costume mishap requires Marlowe to actually step into a scene as Angus’ potential love interest, the death glare Marlowe and Angus give each other somehow convinces the producers that Marlowe should actually be written into the show, and things take an even more awkward turn.

Just as with Marlowe, it soon becomes clear that there’s a lot more to Angus than meets the eye.  He has created the bad boy persona as a way to shield himself from a lot of the pitfalls of fame and in many ways, he’s hiding just as much as Marlowe is.  I loved the way Firkins has their relationship develop.  Even though they start out as enemies, Angus ends up taking Marlowe under his wing and mentoring her to help her get comfortable on camera and working with him.  This leads to a budding friendship as they slowly get to learn more about each other, which then immediately had me rooting for them to become more than friends as it became clear that they were great together, each helping the other to grow.  I loved the journey for both of them.

Marlowe Banks, Redesigned is Jacqueline Firkins’ adult debut novel, and having been a fan of her YA novels, I was eager to get my hands on a copy.  It’s a fun and moving story and if you’re a fan of slow burn romances and stories about second chances and picking yourself back up after failure has knocked you down, I think you’re going to love it!  4 STARS

 

Romance Reviews:  MARLOWE BANKS, REDESIGNED & A COSMIC KIND OF LOVEA Cosmic Kind of Love Goodreads

Author: Samantha Young

Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Publisher: Berkley

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley.  All opinions are my own.

 

Samantha Young’s Much Ado About You was one of my favorite romance reads from 2021, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of her latest novel, A Cosmic Kind of Love.  I was intrigued by the unique premise of an astronaut and an event planner falling for each other after secretly watching each other’s digital diary entries and couldn’t wait to see how Young would work her magic to bring this unlikely couple together.

The story follows Hallie Goodman, a successful event planner who is planning the wedding of Darcy, a New York socialite whose ex-boyfriend Chris happens to be an astronaut. While exchanging information about the wedding plans, Darcy accidentally forwards Hallie a folder full of personal videos that Chris had recorded for Darcy while he was on his last space mission.  Even though she knows it’s wrong, once Hallie starts watching them, she can’t stop.  She loves listening to his soothing voice as he describes what it’s like to be in space. He shows a vulnerable side of himself that Hallie finds herself very attracted to and she can’t stop thinking about him and rewatching the videos every chance she gets.  She decides to record a video of herself to send to him, and although disappointed when it bounces back as undeliverable, she decides she likes to record her own personal thoughts in this way and continues to send them even if they’re not really going anywhere.  Unbeknownst to Hallie, however, Chris is receiving them, and just as she was so drawn to his messages, he finds himself equally drawn to hers and begins trying to figure out how to meet her in person.  Darcy’s wedding of course is the perfect opportunity…

I loved these two characters so much!  They’re just so well drawn and complex, with layer upon layer that make them both seem so realistic.  Hallie is a bit of an underdog, dealing with verbal abuse from parents and an ex who belittles her as a “party girl” because her job is to plan events.  Her ex even goes so far as to tell her she isn’t good enough and that he’s embarrassed that she plans parties for a living.  Chris is dealing with issues of his own, still trying to adjust to life back on Earth and trying to decide what he wants to do next, all the while dealing with an overly demanding father who constantly berates him for not having a clear direction for his life yet.  It was impossible not to root for Hallie and Chris to find their way to each other, or at least to find their path forward and get away from the toxic relationships in their lives.

I also loved the premise of having the two of them meet in person for the first time while each already knew so much about the other because of those personal videos.  Secretly knowing so much about each other added a quiet tension to their in-person meeting that really elevated the scene for me to so much more than your typical meet-cute in a romcom.  The scenes where they each finally had to each confess they had watched the videos impacted me in the same way.  I loved that they were able to be so open with one another and that a relationship between them brought them the love and support they had both been missing in their lives.

A Cosmic Kind of Love is the perfect blend between heartwarming, swoony romance and intense family drama that will not only have you rooting for the main characters to get together but also cheering for them both to finally tell off their toxic family members.  4 STARS

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