The Lily Cafe is thrilled for the opportunity to participate in the book blog tour for Talk Bookish to Me by Kate Bromley! Thank you to Justine Sha at Graydon House Books for both the opportunity and a review e-copy.
Title: Talk Bookish to Me
Author: Kate Bromley
Publisher: Graydon House Books
Publication date: May 25, 2021
TALK BOOKISH TO ME (On-sale: May 25, 2021; Graydon House; Trade Paperback Original; $15.99) is a laugh-out-loud stunner of a story, perfect for fans of Beach Read and The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, that will delight book nerds everywhere!
Kara Sullivan is definitely not avoiding her deadline. After all, it’s the week of her best friend’s wedding and she’s the maid of honor, so she’s got lots of responsibilities. As a bestselling romance novelist with seven novels under her belt, she’s a pro and looming deadlines and writer’s block (which she definitely doesn’t have) don’t scare her. She’s just eager to support Cristina as she ties the knot with Jason.
But who should show up at Cristina and Jason’s rehearsal dinner but Kara’s college ex-boyfriend, (the gorgeous and infuriating) Ryan? Apparently, he’s one of Jason’s childhood friends, and he’s in the wedding party, too. Considering neither Kara nor Ryan were prepared to see each other again, it’s decidedly a meet-NOT-cute. There is nothing cute about this situation, and a bit of notice to mentally prepare would’ve been nice, Cristina! However, when Kara sits down to write again the next day, her writers’ block is suddenly gone. She has to wonder what’s changed. Are muses real…? And is Kara’s muse…Ryan?
I love books about books and books about writers, so I was very glad for the opportunity to participate in the book blog tour for Talk Bookish to Me. It sounded cute even though romance isn’t something I typically read. I’m not sure if it’s because I needed a break from all the heavy fantasy I’ve been reading lately or if this is just that good, but I devoured this book and really enjoyed it.
Talk Bookish to Me is a cute, funny romance about getting a second chance at love. It puts a former couple in very close quarters when feelings have been left unresolved for ten long years. I loved that Kara was a romance novelist stuck on her next novel when the romance of a lifetime falls in her lap. Of course, both Kara and Ryan keep secrets from each other. The intense chemistry between them is clear from the start, and sets off an incredible ride for both of them as they come face to face with what they really want in their lives.
Talk Bookish to Me is about a successful romance novelist currently stalled on her next novel with a deadline looming over her head and a six month trip to Italy awaiting her. Her best friend is about to get married at the same time she needs to write an entire novel, but inspiration seems to land in her lap and her agent practically orders her to use it to every advantage no matter how much it might ravage her heart.
Kara needs to finish this book, and her college boyfriend, Ryan, picked the perfect time to drop back into her life. After ten years apart, things still burn hot between them, but their break hadn’t been an amicable one. Instead, it hung over them for ten years, easily creating tension when they come face to face at the pre-wedding party for her best friend who is about to marry his childhood friend. When Ryan ends up kicked out of his hotel, Kara’s solution is to have him stay with her, taking her agent’s orders to heart. Of course, with so much unresolved between them, it doesn’t take long for sparks of all kinds to fly.
As a romance, Talk Bookish to Me is fairly predictable. Before any of the key events happened, I knew they were going to occur, but I really couldn’t wait to find out just how they were going to unfold. The characterizations of Kara and Ryan were so good that it was easy for me to forget the romance novel formula most of the time because I was so invested in them as a couple. The first half was wonderful and funny and so full of chemistry and tension. I loved every word, every playful and stinging barb they threw at each other. The second half was sweet, but I felt it meandered a bit. I kind of wish either it had been split off into it’s own story or it had started there because it felt like there could be a lot going on there in terms of characterization. But, no matter how out of place it felt to me, it did work in terms of the romance Talk Bookish to Me is offering.
I adored Kara and Ryan. They made the whole story for me. The best part was that they were supported by an equally funny and interesting cast. Some of the secondary characters weren’t exactly complex, but they each had their own distinct personality and they all blended really well together. Talk Bookish to Me is told from Kara’s perspective, so it was an incredible delight to get things through her eyes, to read about her meddling friends and sister. This book has an incredible cast of strong women who all have a soft spot for romance. But I really loved when Kara and Ryan were on the page together. Their early banter is funny and awkward and familiar. Their feelings for each other are clear as day, creating a perfect balance of chemistry and tension. I did feel it came off too strong at times, but I really liked how the banter and serious conversation balanced out so the banter never became truly cringe-worthy.
The one thing that disappointed me was that I expected more talk about books. There is a bit of chatter about some romance novels, but, since no authors were provided, I have no idea if they were referring to real books or not. Of course I expected that any book talk would revolve around romance novels, but I wish there had been more. I did appreciate that Kara is a romance novelist and is keenly aware of how different real life is from the kind of books she writes.
Despite the lack of bookish talk, there are snippets of Kara’s manuscript woven in. Since I enjoy a regency romance every few years, I really enjoyed what she had to offer. I both remembered why I like and don’t like them, but I did enjoy seeing how her characters paralleled her life. I also really loved the real talk about how if “real life” were a romance novel, x, y, and z would occur. I didn’t feel it was poking fun at romance novels, but more stating fiction and reality are two entirely different things and, well, it’s happening in Kara’s real life so let’s see how a romance novelist handles it. It was fun and helped me forget the romance novel formula.
Set mostly in Manhattan, and a little in Italy, I think I got a stronger sense of Italy than Manhattan, but I liked that Talk Bookish to Me is set in a large city. It didn’t play off the whole random chance of meeting people in a big city, and managed to keep the world small in a large place. It gave the story a nice intimate feel while providing a big playground for the characters to amble around in.
As a romance, Talk Bookish to Me absolutely delivers. It’s witty and funny and perfect for readers who enjoy the second chance at love trope.
How many cups of tea will you need?
About Kate Bromley
KATE BROMLEY lives in New York City with her husband, son, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?). She was a preschool teacher for seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions – writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh. Talk Bookish to Me is her first novel.
Connect with Kate Bromley
Thank you to Justine Sha for a review copy and the opportunity to take part in the book blog tour for Talk Bookish to Me. All opinions expressed are my own.