I have been a reading maniac lately, but it doesn’t help that I found some podcasts and book blogs that pretty much feed my need to read all the romance. In fact, I heard about two books today that I just went ahead and requested at the library because they sounded so good. Meanwhile, I’m still getting through the list on my Kobo and Kindle and making sure I get in on new ones from NetGalley. This one was one I requested on a whim. It’s the 3rd in a series, but assuming you don’t need the backstory of the side characters, it can be read on its own. In fact, after reading the synopsis for the first two, I’m glad I started with this one. This book comes out in August.
The Escort by Laura Marie Altom
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Carol and Nathan hook up at the wedding of the people each of them has been in love with for a long time. Though only intending on a quickie on a pool table, the two find that they’re interested in pursuing more with the other. But with Carol’s background of men leaving her and Nathan’s pride and lack of money presenting them with challenges, it’s hard for either of them to commit fully. When Nathan takes a job as an escort, he thinks it’ll solve his problems, but as he becomes more attached to Carol, he realizes that the choices he made to take care of her could actually endanger her instead.
Let me say that while this book was fun, it was also a little bit silly. It wasn’t a romantic comedy, and much of the content was serious, but overall, it was still silly. Among my favorite silly things:
– A company named Zoogle and the fact that people use Zmail
– A guy signs up with an escort service and right away is given a car, an apartment, a bunch of new clothes and money (if anyone can verify this is truth when it comes to escorts, please let me know)
– The fact that the guy decides he can lie to his girlfriend about still having the job and then somehow miraculously help her do something and go on an assignment in the same weekend without cloning himself
– Celebrity singers showing up at big events, my favorite being John Mayer’s hilarious cameo
While there were times I wondered if this novel was actually taking itself seriously, I was also really digging on many aspects of it. I like the role reversal of the heroine being the well off one while the hero initially has no money and a low paying job at a grocery store. I thought the crazy madam was brilliant (though evil), and I enjoyed the angst between the 2 main characters.
As far as annoyances go, Carol wasn’t horrible. She had dealt with some stuff in high school (fairly serious stuff) and was trying to deal with her own hang ups about abandonment, while at the same time wanting to take care of Nathan to maintain control. Nathan is sweet, but it drove me nuts that he didn’t tell Carol about things that potentially put her life in danger. Also, as hard as he tries, Nathan never comes across as a full alpha male, which I think worked really well for the story.
I didn’t get any major heart feels from this book but it had a few good moments, so I’m giving it a 3/5 Romance Factor. The Sex Factor also gets a 4/5. The scenes were steamy, but there was a little bit of shady voyeurism at one point that got kind of squicky.
Overall, this was a fun read. Though I talk about its sillier points, there are some heavy things in this book, like voyeurism, the threatening of loved ones, and adoption, so it’s not necessarily a laugh riot, but I think the author did a good job balancing the silly with the serious.