I received this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Warning: This review contains spoilers.
As a book blogger, a book about other book bloggers should be relatable, right? Not this one. Books, Blogs, & Reality follows four romance book bloggers: Brooke, Rachael, Lizzie, and Jess. These four women are friends thanks to the book community though they’ve never met in real life. This electronic relationship provides the women with a sense of security and an absolving vulnerability that they can’t get with their “real” friends. Most of their discussions revolve around books and their passion for romance novels, a passion that runs a bit too deep.
Brooke: Upon her first day at work at a new company, Brooke forms a crush on her boss. Unlike every other woman that’s thrown herself at Brooke’s boss, Jag thinks Brooke is special and is willing to break the rules just for her. This is until an external force (Jag’s parents) interferes in their relationship (remind Jag that in their culture they only marry people of similar decent). True to a rom-com, Brooke and Jag break up and awkwardly work together until a misunderstanding forces them to confront their problem. Then Brooke screams about how Jag should have fought for her (as if it’s that easy) and that she was willing to fight for their relationship so why couldn’t he. Skip a few hours to when Brooke is home and just comes to the thought that she’ll give up on Jag, suddenly Jag is there at her door saying nothing at all, but his presence says everything. Finally, they both decide to fight for their relationship even though it will be no easy task. The only redeeming part of this story, a quality that’s repeated for every storyline, is that Ringbloom finally infuses a bit of reality at the very end of the story. In Brooke’s case, the reader doesn’t get to see when Brooke meets Jag’s parents, but on the drive home, she admits to Jag that he was right and that it won’t be easy, it will be nearly impossible, to convince his parents that she is a better fit for Jag than someone of a similar background.
Rachael: Rachael is an avid reader of BDSM. She likes reading it so much that regular sex isn’t interesting to her anymore, so she tricks her boyfriend Kevin into engaging in BDSM activities with her. However, things don’t go according to Rachael’s plan. First, she never reaches the big O that all the authors write about. Second, Rachael realizes that BDSM with her inexperienced boyfriend hurts more than expected. But instead of speaking up, Rachael goes with it until Kevin takes it too far and Rachael has to utter her safe word. Of course, Rachael never wanted to be that girl who had to use her safe word so she immediately feels ashamed, but instead of telling Kevin what’s wrong, she breaks up with him on the spot and kicks him out of her apartment. After a few days of wallowing, Rachael’s boss gives her some “advice” which prompts her to finally have the talk with Kevin she should have had some time ago.
My first problem with Rachael’s character is that she came off, at least to me, as delusional. Sure, a reader may imagine his/herself in a character’s shoes or fantasize about a book boyfriend, but to try to reenact a scene from a book and try to get the same exact results is a bit crazy (unless you’re reading a recipe book or a how-to book because then you should get the same results). I can’t imagine myself reading a BDSM scene and thinking “I’ve never done this before, but I want to try so I’m gonna trick my boyfriend into to doing it even though he’s never done it before and it’ll come out just like the book.” If that sounds the least bit crazy to you, then you get who Rachael is.
My second problem with Rachael is that she broke the first relationship rule, communication. I get that she was in a vulnerable place, but how would things get better if she never said anything.
Lizzie: Lizzie finds her life incredibly boring. She married her high school sweetheart right out of high school and now a few years later, she’s a stay-at-home mom to a little boy and she and her husband barely talk to each other. One day, Lizzie receives a message on social media from a guy who had a crush on her in high school. This causes Lizzie to start going down memory lane and think about what her life would’ve been like if she had chosen that guy instead of her husband. However, the big twist is that other than the original message, all the messages are coming from someone who isn’t the guy who had a crush on Lizzie.
Even though Lizzie’s story is a bit like a plot point from a soap opera, it isn’t too far fetch. Lizzie wasn’t trying to emulate a book or imagine what a character would do in her shoes, she was simply trying to add a little excitement to her dull life.
Jess: Jess’s story tackles the cliches “it takes a goody-two-shoes to turn a bad boy good” and “every girl winds up with a guy after a love triangle/V.” In Jess’s story, Jess is crushing on Riley, a known bad boy and womanizer. But Jess is determined to be the one to turn him good, just like in the stories. However, Riley is just using Jess to get his rocks off. On the other side of the love-v is Mike. Mike is average, meaning average height, average brown hair, average brown eyes, average everything. Mike is the type of guy the stereotypical protagonist doesn’t date because he’s too average and nondescript, but in the end he was always Mr. Right for her. The only part I liked about Jess’s story is that she doesn’t get either guy. She isn’t the one to change Riley, she’s just one of the many who gets used. She doesn’t get to date Mike because instead of waiting around for her to get over Riley, he finds someone who truly appreciates him.
All in all, I didn’t like Books, Blogs, & Reality, but it was interesting nonetheless.