From the Back Cover
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef. Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club. Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart. . .even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.
UNDERCOVER BROMANCE is the second novel in Lyssa Kay Adams’ “Bromance Book Club” series, in which a group of Nashville’s highest-profile men read romance novels to fix their love lives. When I read the first book, THE BROMANCE BOOK CLUB, I fell in love with the wildly-fun and unique premise, so I was bummed when this second novel didn’t have the same effect on me.
What made the first book so unique was the role the bromance book club played in helping Gavin, the main character, win his wife back, as well as all of the excerpts from the novel they read together as a group. This second book has a significantly smaller book club presence, perhaps because the focus is more on the female love interest rather than her male counterpart, and that was a slight disappointment for me! UNDERCOVER BROMANCE is still a great story, but it was missing that extra bit of bromance that set the first book apart from every other book I’ve read in this genre.
“Fear is a powerful motivator, but so is love.”
UNDERCOVER BROMANCE has a big MeToo theme, which I love, and I really appreciate how Adams is able to incorporate it into the romance genre. However, at times, Adams’ exploration of sexual harassment in the workplace really overshadows the romance, to the point where the “love story” feels like an afterthought, and the “happily ever after” feels incredibly rushed. The relationship between Liv and Mack definitely takes the back burner, and though I’m glad that the MeToo movement has found a home in a romance novel, I do think the rest of the story suffered because of it.
Further, Liv comes off as severely critical and disrespectful of other women and their choices, specifically when it comes to her own best friend. At some points, Liv appears selfish and manipulative, trying to force women into what she wants them to do, rather than what might be best for them. I really struggled to like Liv, and that made it hard for me to root for her relationship with Mack.
“History was built by thousands of women who thought they were just housewives or just secretaries or just seamstresses until the day they got fed up and decided to fight back.”
Unfortunately, UNDERCOVER BROMANCE was a big let down for me. I love the way that Lyssa Kay Adams writes romance—so real and raw!—but with the romance element missing in this one, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I hoped. I will absolutely give this series another chance, though, with the third book, CRAZY STUPID BROMANCE, out October 27!