Tuesday 27 December 2016

#CBR8 Book 126: "Managed" by Kristen Callihan

Page count: 344 pages
Rating: 3 stars

Sophie Darling (sadly nowhere near as awesome as my favourite romance heroine with Darling as a surname) is on her way to a job interview in London and unexpectedly and happily finds herself upgraded to first class. Her joy is somewhat lessened when very handsome, but supremely grouchy Gabriel "Scottie" Scott is seated next to her, outraged that one of the two seats he's purchased has been allotted to someone. Nonetheless, cheerful and mischievous Sophie decides to try to crack handsome guy's crabby demeanour (at this point she doesn't know his name) by both flirting and teasing him and once she discovers that he's clearly deeply uncomfortable on planes, she does her best to distract him, so he doesn't have such a bad time of it.

Before they arrive in London, they discover that the interview Sophie is on her way to is as social media rep for the rock band Kill John, which Scottie manages. So indirectly, if she gets the job, he will become her boss. Obviously, he can't get involved with one of his employees, so any flirting between them has to stop right there. Once Sophie does meet the band, there is a brief conflict involving her paparazzi past, but she gets the job, and will now be going on the European tour with the band.

In "could only happen in a romance novel" plotting, both Sophie and Gabriel have trouble sleeping and it's making them both irritable and less than efficient. They discover, through plot contrivance that only when in the same bed can they get a good night's sleep. So Gabriel proposes that Sophie start sleeping in his bed, totally platonically, of course, even though everyone with eyes in their head can tell that both he and Sophie are absolutely gone for each other, and Scottie's famed iron control is about to crack every time some other guy so much as glances in Sophie's direction.

Emmalita, one of my fellow romance enthusiasts over on CBR, absolutely hated this book and Gabriel in particular. I can agree that Gabriel isn't the most likable of heroes, but I read him as a lot less emotionally manipulative and controlling than her. Like so many alphahole romance heroes, there are issues in his past that have led to him becoming an icy control freak and he's terrified of letting loose or letting anyone get close to him. He clearly has massive abandonment issues and believes that as long as he doesn't let anyone get close (be they a romantic interest or his friends/found family, the band and Brenna), he will never be left alone again. He also clearly has some serious anger issues that he takes out with no holds barred fights for money every so often. Does he behave like a stuck-up d*ck for a lot of the book? Yup. Did I see what Sophie saw in him? Nope, not really. Did I hate the book? Not even slightly.

Sophie is a lovely character and I liked that she was working hard to make up for a past in which her life choices both with regards to career and boyfriend made her do some pretty rotten things. The third act complication where her sleazy ex suddenly enters the picture again and creates tension between her and Gabriel felt incredibly unnecessary and made me roll my eyes. Still, I liked her, and this book passed the time just fine. Can I clearly remember the plot now, three weeks after reading the book? Nope. Do I regret paying money for it? Not really, as Callihan self-publishes these and I have very much enjoyed her Game On books enough that she gets a chance or two extra because of them.

It's a perfectly forgettable book. If you want to read a really good book involving a heroine surnamed Darling and a guy with a lot of control tendencies, read Courtney Milan's lovely Unraveled instead. Smite is a million times better in the hero department than Gabriel is. For better Callihan books, check out her Game On series. Based on this, I doubt I'll be paying any more money for future instalments of the VIP series, unless they are very reduced or free.

Judging a book by its cover: While the previous book in the series, Idol, had brighter, sharper colours on the covers, this one is in more muted pastels, showing what I'm assuming is supposed to be Gabriel sitting around waiting for the band to finish, or something? It's not a very exciting romance cover, but then again, neither was the first one in the series. Callihan is clearly not going for steaming covers for these self-published books.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read

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