Since the moment I finished reading The Bromance Book Club, I’ve been excited to jump into the sequel but I was prepared to wait for months. Imagine my surprise when I got approved for the ARC (Berkley rarely does) and I knew I had to read it as soon as possible. And it lived up to all my expectations and then some.
The writing in this book is as much fun as it’s predecessor was and I couldn’t put the book down at all. It’s not exactly an enemies to lovers kinda story, but more like two bickering people who don’t want to fall for each but just can’t help it. This leads to a lot of amazing banter and dialogue in the book and I thoroughly enjoyed the interactions. If the first book tried to tackle one form of toxic masculinity, this book tries to shine some light on sexual harassment in the workplace and the power imbalance even in seemingly consensual actions. The author also doesn’t shy away from pointing out that powerful men get away with their despicable actions because other “supposedly” good men look the other way. I also appreciated the message that not all survivors of harassment are in a position to fight and we shouldn’t judge them for whatever decisions they make for their own physical, mental and financial well being.
I was really excited to read Mack’s story because he was a total charmer in the first book and I wanted to get to know him better. It was really fascinating to get into the head of a man who is kind, totally considerate, a bit extra protective, always there to help, and an unapologetic believer of the power of romance novels. There is a whole backstory to why he reads romance and why the book club started and it was heartbreaking to get to know that. But he is a total charmer and he has completely made me fall in love with him and he is definitely the latest addition to my list of book boyfriends.
I won’t say hated but I really disliked Liv in the first book and I wasn’t sure if the author could make me like her this time around. And I have to say the author tried and while I could sympathize with Liv most of the times, she is still mostly arrogant and judgmental and doesn’t think of consequences before taking any actions or saying what comes to her mind. Everyone around her was very supportive of her efforts to take down a serial sexual predator despite her not appreciating any of their help. I also hated how she judged the other survivors and only could see her perspective as the right one, and it took multiple people explaining and yelling for her to realize she was in the wrong. Her trust issues run deep and I totally could see how much she didn’t want to be vulnerable, but I didn’t appreciate her hurting others in the process. She does realize all of it eventually but it just wasn’t convincing enough for me.
If I liked the book club in the first book, I completely fell in love with them here. They are all so much fun, taunting and teasing each other but also having each other’s back, having thoughtful discussions about the book they were reading and also the wider implications of the story, about harassment in general and what they could do about it. They never once hesitated about helping Liv in her endeavor. They are also such amazing friends to Mack and were there whenever he needed them, even when he didn’t know it. I think every guy needs such a gang in his life. While I like all of them, the Russian was a delight this time around (read the book to find his name 😜) and we have a new addition in Noah who I hope becomes a permanent part of the group. We also meet another bickering elderly couple Rosie and Hop and they were just the characters we needed to round out this amazing book.
In the end, I just want to say that I had so much fun reading this book and I would love to reread it soon. If you like prickly but vulnerable heroines with daddy issues and a thoughtful but sometimes clueless group of guys who rely on romance novels to understand women better, you should totally checkout this series because it’s the perfect antidote to toxic masculinity. If you already enjoyed The Bromance Book Club, pick this up as soon as it releases because I promise you that you will be utterly charmed by both Mack and the whole delightful gang. And now I’m quite interested in knowing who the next book is going to feature and what sub genre of romance the book club decides to choose.
PS: Thank you to Berkley and Netgalley for providing me with this advance copy. All opinions expressed here are unbiased and solely mine.