So I’m a little behind on posting reviews, but we’re getting caught up!
Title: Booked on A Feeling
Author: Jayci Lee
Publisher:St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: July 26th 2022
Rating: 2//5 Stars
I really wanted to love this book. I’m slowly expanding my romance reads and this one sounded so insanely adorable and involved a BOOKSTORE, what was there not to love?
I ended up being pretty disappointed. First of all, even though I knew this was a friends to lovers troupe, I didn’t expect it to be so…nice guy-ish? Jack had been secretly pining for Lizzy for years, basically being at her mercy for whenever she needs him, because he is in love with her. Its a case of a guy feeling trapped in a friend zone and doing whatever he can to get out of it, which is something that has never sat right with me.
Then there was the descriptions, OH THE DESCRIPTIONS. Both Lizzy and Jack are Korean, but the author acts as if this is a fantasy culture and not one that is rooted in reality. Anytime a Korean food, phrase, or cultural norm is referenced the story stops to go “In Korean culture, this is the type of food that is made for you when you’re upset because of this, this, and this.” It really pulled me out of the story because Jack and Lizzy had no reason to explain this to anyone, it was purely for the readers sake. It was easy to figure out some of these cultural differences through context clues, and the extra pause in explanation wasn’t necessary. (Plus the food descriptions were unnecessarily long)
And don’t get me started on the sexual descriptions….”be still my throbbing vagina” is not a phrase I ever want to read again.
I also felt as if the timeline was skewed? Lizzy is supposed to be spending three weeks in Weldon on her vacation, but SO MUCH happens in this time period. I don’t want to flat out spoil anything, but between her and Jack’s relationship, the work she does at the bookstore, it’s A LOT. At one point it seemed as if Lizzy had accomplished two weeks worth of stuff, but timeline wise it had only been about three days. This girl must’ve been waking up at 4am and going to bed at midnight in order to accomplish all the stuff on her various to-do lists. It just wasn’t realistic. And I know its just a book, but contemporary fiction is one genre where the timelines and nature of a day need to be a little more rooted in reality.
I ended up liking the side characters a lot more than the main ones – I adored Shannon and her son, and Jack’s sister (whose name I can’t recall at the moment), but some of the side characters were severely underdeveloped. Jack has a twin brother, who randomly pops up only when Jack needs to talk to someone and has no personality traits of his own.
Maybe I’m diving into contemporary romance too quickly – so far there are only a very select few authors that I like and I don’t think I’m the target audience for friends-to-lovers romance novels quite yet…but for the right person I can see them loving this story and the overly cute romance of it.
I have one other small caveat that counts as a spoiler, so don’t scroll further if you don’t want to know!
I would have rated this book higher if it wasn’t for just one detail – which if its a troupe you enjoy that’s GREAT, but for me its the one sure fire way to make sure I don’t read your books again. It sounds nitpicky and pretentious, but I get to decide what books I read, right? If this book had ended just one chapter earlier I would’ve been satisfied with the ending and gone “aw that’s cute” but instead we got the “one year later” time jump. In that one year, Jack and Lizzy got married, which I don’t care how long you’ve been friends, at the end of the book they had dated for LESS THAN THREE WEEKS and been broken up for a few months, that just seems a little speedy for my liking. And then there’s the part I hate…LIZZY IS PREGNANT!!!! I don’t know what it is about this troupe that bothers me so much, but if your happily ever after has to end with marriage and a baby on the way, its not for me, and I say this as someone who is in fact, married with a child.
Like I said though, I’m still very much dipping my toes into the contemporary romance genre as a whole and discovering what I like and what I don’t. This book wasn’t for me, and I still tend to be overly critical as I figure out the tropes that I like.
I do hope there are people out there who absolutely adore this book and that it finds its target audience!!