A Romance Review: Consider Me

Consider Me by Becka Mack caught my attention from its place on the library shelf. I couldn’t not pick it up with the tag “Endlessly sexy and funny” (Hannah Grace from the front cover). That’s exactly what I like in a book! My favourite surprises were that it was a hockey romance (a different cover than I’m used to for hockey romances), Becka Mack is Canadian (which I love), and she’s a teacher (go teachers!). I got excited to start reading the book right away (I even managed to keep it dry despite biking home from the library in a rain shower that day).

Playboy NHLer Carter meets his best friend’s girlfriend’s best friend and everything changes. Olivia doesn’t trust Carter and his very public lifestyle of serial dating. But maybe Carter could change? As Carter and Olivia figure out how to move from a crush into a relationship, they realize that true happiness in a relationship takes work. And like all romances, things are all right in the end. Especially since they both love Oreos.

Consider Me is a story that looks at what it takes to make a relationship work. And that sometimes, taking a risk is better than living in fear (mess and all).

What I enjoyed about this book was the humour. Only a Canadian could write this line: “I wanna tap that man like a maple tree.” Although Mack deals with some of those formative moments in a new relationship (learning to communicate, learning to work together, learning to be better, learning to trust, learning to be vulnerable), the humour throughout the book kept me engaged. I couldn’t wait to see what Carter would pull next to get Olivia’s attention, and I knew that Olivia would react in a way to surprise Carter at every turn.

As an editor, I thought that Mack did a great job of creating two very distinct voices. The choices in words, word order, and physical actions all came through distinctly for both Carter and Olivia. I think that the unique voices are the strength of this book, and what keeps readers invested until the end. The transformation and the angst of young love is there on the page in lots of awkward and wonderful detail.

One recommendation I would have as an editor is to work on cutting down the overall wordcount for this book. Cutting or combining some of the scenes would make this book a little more digestible for the readers. More specifically, some of the narration scenes could be combined together to speed up the pace of the book. It’s well written, but it’s over 500 pages, which is hard for some readers to take on and finish. But Becka Mack packed a lot into this book, and I can see it would be a challenge deciding which scenes to leave out.

Here are some of my favourite lines from Consider Me:

  • “I genuinely didn’t realize they made people this ostentatious, and yet when he strolls right by the reporters after his game and lifts me into his arms, butterflies still erupt in my stomach.”
  • “The longer I stay, the more I see, the easier it becomes for me to fall.”
  • “What if I fall in love with you?” “Then I’ll fall with you, too, Ollie girl.”

I can see why Becka Mack’s book has taken off. The writing is great and the characters are interesting. And I’m excited to see that Becka Mack was able to get picked up by Simon and Schuster. Happy reading!

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A Romance Review: Under Construction

I found Kate Cole’s book Under Construction on Instagram. I try to support indie romance authors, especially Canadian authors, and Instagram is a great place to find local authors. Cole’s first book in her Women in Trades Romance series definitely caught my attention. But if I’m being honest, it was the book cover that actually got me interested. (I 100% judged the book by its cover.)

Avery is living a double life: a badass heritage stone mason by day, and a woman who loves wearing pink and dancing by night. Avery’s job of restoring the historic Taylor Building is made that much harder because of the perfectionist project manager Kent, who gets under her skin in the worst way. But when Avery bumps into Kent in the real world (away from scaffolds, highlighters, and hardhats), things get weird. But weird in a good way (eventually).

Under Construction is a fun take on the enemies-to-lovers trope. “Sometimes there’s more to people—and projects—than meets the eye.”

From Kate Cole’s website

What I enjoyed most about this book was Cole’s writing style. The playfulness of the writing and the characters kept me engaged and entertained. The puns, the play on tropes (looking at you shoes and staircase), and the playfulness of the characters made this such a delightful read. In fact, I read it twice in a row it was that good!

What impressed me was the research and knowledge that went into writing this book. Stone masonry. Stones. Quarries. Mortar. Tools. Everything a stone mason needs. I really liked the information about the changing technologies within the field. I’m not sure if Kate Cole works on a site, but she knows her way around a trawl it seems.

As an editor, I loved how polished this book was. Typos? Couldn’t see any! I especially noticed the use of strong verbs, and the balance of action-narration-dialogue. The work that went into this book is so clear. It’s a labour of love to polish a book this well, and Kate Cole clearly loves to write and revise. In her acknowledgements she thanks her beta readers and editor, and I am reminded that writing, although a solitary endeavor, is done within community. I can’t wait for the next book in the series to come out! I’m now a huge fan.

One recommendation I would have as an editor is to be okay with some run-on comma splice sentences sometimes. I appreciate the semicolon, colon, and em dash a lot (like, really really a lot), but sometimes it helps with the flow to use a comma (and maybe break some punctuation rules). But again, the writing in this book is such high quality that this advice is personal preference.

Here are some of my favourite lines from Under Construction:

  • “By the time I get to the mortar shack, my mood is as dark as a hundred years of accumulated stone soot and atmospheric soiling.”
  • “I name all my pets after food products; it just what I do.”
  • “For the record, I’m smart enough to know when a woman knows better than me–which is often–and man enough to let a woman take charge when the situation warrants it.”
  • “I feel his hard chest against me; the smell of him fills me up like a sedative, warding off the anxiety I’ve felt ever since hearing those dreaded words ‘we need to talk’.”

If you’re looking for strong characters, clever puns, and excellent writing, check out Kate Cole. You won’t be disappointed!

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