Monday, May 8, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: Solo by Lauren E. Rico

When graduate student Katherine Brenner walked into my class, I couldn’t stand her -- all perfect skin and big, blue eyes -- just like the woman who broke my heart.

If it wasn’t for that blizzard, if her car hadn’t broken down outside my house, if she hadn’t looked amazing by the firelight, I never would have kissed her. No matter how hard I try, every excuse I make not to see her comes up flat.

I can’t stop thinking of her lips. Or the way her curves fit perfectly in my hands. There’s a million reasons why this won’t work. I’m her professor. It’s against university policy.

And if this gets out, I could lose everything.

~Book Review~
4 Stars

Drew Markham is a professor teaching music theory.  Katherine Brenner, a politician’s daughter, is his graduate student. A look alike to someone he once knew, Katherine’s presence fills him with disdain.

Both characters are perhaps realistically flawed. Katherine is stubborn, yet determined, through and through. Drew, I honestly found nothing endearing about as a romantic hero in the opening. He put me in mind of a self-centered, big ego professor who most students have probably had at least a few times during their college career. He boasts inflexible policies and bullies certain students.

But this story is full of surprises—a suspense side plot in addition to a deeper tale of perceptions and loyalty. If you are looking for simply a smutty teacher-student taboo romance, that’s not what this is. And I came to respect that even though I did crave more sultry encounters.

Told via Katherine and Drew’s alternating first person POV, the plot utilizes the stranded together premise to change the dynamics of their relationship. It was a huge feat to pull off based of where these two characters are in the beginning and the details of their isolation are not without a lot of suspension of disbelief.  But it pulls it off, doing a good job of showing two people with a terse and combative relationship getting to know each other and dealing with each other in a new light.
“‘You know, at first, I couldn’t believe my bad luck—to have you, of all my students, stuck here with me. Now, I realize what incredibly good luck it was.’”
I had my doubt about connecting with them in the beginning, but as the story went on it drew me in. There’s definitely no insta love or insta lust in this one. The duo really does have to work at a relationship and that was refreshing to read. There’s no ‘oh I’m so hard for her’ or ‘I’m so wet for him’ jargon that is starting to become clichéd in the romance market. The relationship conveyed here is more mature.

There are also some cute texts between them that help make the romantic relationship flirty while keeping the story from being too heavy. It also helped provide some well roundedness to the characters, depicting them in different roles.
“‘I can think of a few other things I’d like to put in your hot little hand.’”
Some complaints I had along the way trailed off once everything came full swing with the themes coming to fruition and the complexity of most all the characters reaching a pinnacle.
 “‘Before things ever even start to go south, you need to have a good look at the people around you. Then figure out who has the most to gain from you losing everything. That will be the person who betrays you in the end—if you’re not prepared for it.’”
What is Katherine’s darkest day? And what’s Drew’s brightest?

I did enjoy the mystery angle, even if I knew the culprit from reading other reviews. And I came to both like and root for Drew and Kate. 

My biggest critique would be Drew’s reaction at the climax. It seemed out of character for both a man of his intelligence and after the progress that had been made. Also, I wish the epilogue would have been longer/developed further, showing more of Drew and Kate as well as the supporting characters, one of which seemed like a dropped plot point.  

Readers who have studied or are interested in music will find an extra bonus in this one. The author clearly displays her knowledge of that academic world.

Solo is a full length standalone contemporary romance/romantic suspense. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much for the great review of Solo! I appreciate you taking the time to read and review.
    All best,