Top critical review
Ick - bad formatting!
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on September 18, 2022
I'm at 7% and the formatting in this book is terrible! New paragraphs starting mid sentence, some paragraphs not starting at all (run-together paragraphs, making dialog hard to parse), huge blocks of text bolded for no reason.....
UPDATE: I finished this book. Turns out when the POV is Julian, the entire chapter is bold. Annoying. The other formatting errors remain throughout the manuscript.
TL;DR: 3 stars. Deductions for editing, d0uchey characters, and instances of poor grammar.
STORY: I struggled to like it. Julian Masters is a man-child, despite having 2 children of his own. I get that he has reasons for being "the grumpy one" in this sunshine/grump trope, but I wasn't charmed. When he gets together with his friends, Seb and Spence, their banter is crass and cringey, and sounds more like high school vulgarity than late 30-somethings discussing their personal lives. I was not impressed. During the intimate scenes with Brielle, I got the vibe that the smex was being presented through a male lens, which was disorienting. Julian comes off as very self-centric in his lovemaking, and Brielle happens to enjoy the encounter almost incidentally. Not cool! ALSO, pet peeve, he's 38 or 39, and goes on an on about how old he is. OMG just stop. You aren't freakishly old at 39 (or even 49). I HATE IT when people moan about being old in their 30s and 40s. Yes, age gaps are sometimes squicky, but this one is only 13 years, so also not worth moaning about.
That said, the smex was objectively hot and explicit. TL Swan hits the right buttons (for me) describing male org@sm. The developing relationship between Brielle and Julian's family was nice to read, too. I was irritated at the end (SPOILER FREE) when the grownups make an announcement rather than asking the kids for their input. The whole book has been about helping the kids self-actualize, now you're going to just make decisions for them without asking?? Seems like two steps back and just an attempt to deliver some kind of pretty wrapped up resolution.
CONCLUSION: This is my first TL Swan book and I'm disappointed. I expected better editing, better grammar, and a more polished/nuanced story, especially since the cover is high quality. I'm dragging my feet on starting the next book in the series - Mr Spencer - because Spencer was definitely the MOST manwh0re-d0uchey of the trio and based on reviews it looks like that won't change in his book. I don't mind a dirty mouth; I just really dislike a vulgar man. It's a tough line to navigate for some authors.