Fantastic second book in the hilarious, “Bromance Book Club,” romantic-comedy series
Reading Level: Adult Romance
Release Date: March 10, 2020
Pages: 320 pages
Reviewed By: Kate McMurry
Braden Mack and Liv Papandreas are important subcharacters in the first book in this series, The Bromance Book Club (BBC). It is not absolutely essential to read BBC before reading Undercover Bromance (UB), but BBC is so wonderful that I highly recommend it. Braden is a professional baseball player and teammate of the hero of BBC, Gavin, as well as Gavin’s best friend and beloved babysitter of Gavin’s preschool-age, twin daughters. Liv is the sister of Thea, the heroine of BBC, and doting aunt to her adorable little nieces. I am so delighted that Braden and Liv have gotten their own chance to take the spotlight here in UB!
This story is a classic, “enemies to lovers” and “opposites attract” romantic comedy. Braden is a laid-back people person, and Liv is an uptight, grouchy loner. They already knew each other from the events in BBC, but their initial Meet Cute in this book is riotously funny. To his guilty dismay, Braden is accidentally instrumental in getting Liv fired from a prestigious job as a sous chef at a fancy Nashville restaurant owned and managed by a celebrity chef. The job was a crucial stepping stone in her career, which was the only reason Liv spent over a year putting up with the boss from hell. Not only is the chef verbally abusive to his staff, but Liv discovers from one of her fellow apprentice chefs the night he fires her that the chef has sexually abused her coworker and may well have done the same to multiple other female apprentice chefs. As a result, on top of her anger and resentment at her own unjust firing, Liv is filled with a righteous determination to take down her scummy boss. In the process of seeking out Liv to apologize for his part in her firing, Braden learns of her quest and insists on helping her, in spite of Liv’s equally strong determination to go it alone.
Just like BBC, UB is filled with humor and heart. Braden is the founder of the Bromance Book Club, a small, tightly-knit group of big, strong, macho-appearing baseball players who read romance novels together to gain important life lessons. “Romance novels,” they gravely inform any new members of their group, “are primarily written by women for women, and they’re entirely about how they want to be treated and what they want out of life and in a relationship.” Braden is the ultimate, enlightened, metrosexual male, which is a source of a significant portion of the humor in the book. It is both comedic and impressive hearing him lecture big gruff men on how to be more sensitive and understanding toward the women in their lives.
Liv is a real fireball. Life has taught her to distrust all men, and the latest fiasco with her horrible boss hasn’t done anything to improve her opinion of the male half of the population. Though Liv can sometimes come off as bitter and alienated, two things soften her harsh edges and make her very sympathetic. The first is the sharp intelligence displayed in the witty repartee slung between her and Braden. The second is her deep love and loyalty for her sister and nieces and her best-friend relationship with her fun and feisty landlady, a sixty-something hippie who lives on a farm.
In addition to the landlady, there are many other hilariously adorable subcharacters in this novel, including cameo appearances by Gavin and Thea and their little twin girls and many of Braden’s teammates whom we first met in BBC. There is also a wonderful secondary romance between the feminist, hippie landlady and an arch-conservative old coot whom Braden helps enlighten on how to go about winning the heart of his stubbornly self-sufficient lady love.
This is a slow-burn romance, which I very much enjoy. The sex scenes between Braden and Liv are very tender as well as sensual, and they always advance the relationship rather than existing just to throw in some graphic sex—a failure of far too many romance novels.
In short, this book is a real keeper, and I very much look forward to the next book in this fabulous series.
I rate this book as follows:
Romance Plot: 5
Secondary Romance Plot: 5
Take Down the Boss Plot: 4
Bromance Bookclub Plot: 5