Undercover Bromance – Published 2020
“Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
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.” – Goodreads
WHAT I LIKED
This is the sequel to The Bromance Book Club, which I adored, despite assuming it would be terrible. The premise doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy, and yet it’s delightful. This book did not disappoint. Braden Mack is perfect, and I love him. Liv is frustrating beyond belief, but the author does a great job of showing us why she doesn’t let her guard down and why she’s so angsty, which makes me hate her less.
I love a good enemies to lovers trope, which is sort of what this was. I say sort of, because Liv sort of seems to hate literally everyone, and I don’t think Braden really ever hated Liv. But it read that way a bit, and I enjoyed it. He really had to work hard to get Liv to give him a chance.
This book is MUCH heavier than the first, covering some much darker topics. In the very beginning of the book Liv is witness to workplace sexual harassment, which drives the plot of the rest of the book, as she wants to take down her boss. Additionally, Braden’s family past is less than glamorous, his mother having been victim of domestic violence. Much like the first book, it also tackles masculinity and gender norms as well as feminism and equality.
The Russian. In the first book he was such a silly add-on, but in this book he actually has a name, Vlad, and comes in handy more than once. I really liked him.
Hop and Rosie. My god I loved them both so much. Rosie is Liv’s landlord/roommate on an actual farm, and Hop is an old Vietnam Vet who is secretly in love with Rosie. When Rosie found out what happened to one of Liv’s coworkers, she said, “Get her out of there, Livvie. Whatever it takes, just get her out of there.” Got me right in the feels.
The book club. This book didn’t have excerpts from romance novels throughout, like the first, but when it was brought up it was meaningful. The guys were there for Braden throughout the novel to get him through all of his mishaps, and I just think they’re adorable and swoonworthy.
WHAT I DID NOT LIKE
Not much to critique here. Taking down a sexual predator is not what I have in mind for the driving plot of a romance novel, and some parts weren’t totally believable, but all is forgiven.