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Jill's Prose & Cons: The Fine Print by Lauren Asher


I happened upon this book because I picked up the second in the series first, and being the obsessed reader I am, I couldn’t fathom reading Book II before Book I


To my Kindle, I went.


Then I read this excerpt:


Rowan

I'm in the business of creating fairy tales.

Theme parks. Production companies. Five-star hotels.

Everything could be all mine if I renovated Dreamland.

My initial idea of hiring Zahra was good in theory, but then I kissed her.

Things spiraled out of control once I texted her using an alias.

By the time I realized where I went wrong, it was too late.

People like me don't get happy endings.

Not when we're destined to ruin them.


Zahra

After submitting a drunk proposal criticizing Dreamland's most expensive ride, I should have been fired.

Instead, Rowan Kane offered me a dream job.

The catch? I had to work for the most difficult boss I'd ever met.

Rowan was rude and completely off-limits, but my heart didn't care.

At least not until I discovered his secret.

It was time to teach the billionaire that money couldn't fix everything.

Especially not us.


Yeah, felt a little cliché and a lot over-the-top, but I kept reading, reminding myself that it is a romance. The typical romance tropes are easy to spot, especially the grumpy/sunshine trope. But this grumpy/sunshine situation was too much at times.


If you aren’t familiar with this trope, in a nutshell, it is a dynamic where two characters with contrasting personalities are paired together, typically featuring one character who is grumpy and cynical and another who is optimistic and cheerful. The grumpy character brings skepticism and conflict, while the sunshine character adds positivity and lightness to the relationship. The interactions between these characters lead to comedic situations, personal growth, and the formation of deep bonds, making the trope a popular and versatile narrative tool.


Whew. The male MC Rowan was grumpy as hell. And the female MC Zahra was, most of the time at least, so excessively “sunshine” I couldn’t look straight into the light.


Also, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the romance genre, there’s always an HEA—happily ever after. It’s a formula just like the Hallmark movie franchise, except Hallmark movies are “G” rated, and this book, as heavy on the grumpy/sunshine shit, it also had some super steamy (ahem, super cliché) sex scenes. After the first round, it got boring. Listen I’m all for a hot sex scene, but how many times can you read: I- turned-her-over-grabbed-her-ponytail-and-shoved-my-throbbing-c*&@k-inside-of-her.


The other issue I have with this book is the character development. Ugh. Where do I begin? I actually think these two characters have a lot of potential, but the way they are written feels extremely one-dimensional. Rowan is such an asshole, and then all of a sudden, he’s in love with Zahra. No middle ground. Either Zahra was riding unicorns and eating cotton candy, or she was mouthing off at her boss and then kissing him in her tiny cubicle at work—really, who the hell does that anyway? I would have loved a deeper dive into the characters, which, if written right, could have enhanced the “slow burn” of their relationship, which at times felt like driving up a steep mountain with sharp switchbacks.


Overall, the story has potential, and I do recommend it for all you romance genre lovers out there. It is #1 in the enemy-to-lovers category on Amazon, but Goodreads tore it apart. For me, it was just okay. I skimmed through some of the ending because it just dragged on, and I was ready for the HEA and, well, just the ending in general. Will I read Book II now? Ehhh… not sure.


Three Stars


My favorite quote from The Fine Print


I honestly didn't have one.


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