Regina Hobbs is nerdy by nature, businesswoman by nurture. She’s finally taking her pop culture-centered media enterprise, Girls with Glasses, to the next level, but the stress is forcing her to face a familiar supervillain: insomnia. The only thing that helps her sleep when things get this bad is the deep, soothing voice of puzzle-obsessed live streamer Gustave Nguyen. The problem? His archive has been deleted.
Gus has been tasked with creating an escape room themed around a romance anime…except he knows nothing about romance or anime. Then mega-nerd and anime expert Reggie comes calling, and they make a trade: his voice for her knowledge. But when their online friendship has IRL chemistry, will they be able to escape love?
This book has been on my TBR pile and got bumped up in the pile after it was mentioned in a Smart Bitches Trashy Books podcast episode. And then I got to pick a novella for this month’s TBR Challenge, and I picked this book, and I only regret not reading it sooner. Reggie was first introduced to us in A Duke by Default, and the events in this novella happen parallel to those in that book. Most of the focus is on the relationship between Reggie and Gus but we do get doses of other relationships Reggie has, especially those with her sister and her parents. This is probably what I would call insta-love in terms of how the romance works, but the fact that the speed with which it’s acknowledged and the misunderstanding is also cleared up worked, and it didn’t feel rushed or forced.
Reggie is creative, driven, but also the kind of person who will white-knuckle anything that she is afraid of losing. Which is how we end up with the premise of this story. She knows what she wants but does not like asking for help. And she does not like seeing something she loves done wrong. And, because I’m not sure if it’s clear from the cover, Reggie is disabled. Her disability is wonderfully represented, as is her privilege born from wealth.
Gus is also great. He plays to his strengths and acknowledges that he doesn’t see the world the way most people do. In other words, he is also disabled. But the story isn’t eaten up by his disability either, it just informs his actions, just as it informs Reggie’s.
The best way I’ve been able to summarize this is that it is a bite-sized romance with all of the things one expects in a romance done really well with wonderful characters. Which means I think you should go read it as soon as you can. Hence the grade.
You can buy a copy here.
*Aidee submitted this January 2020, and was for the TBR challenge of that month. It’s my fault it’s only getting posted now.