TITLE: A Very Merry Bromance (Bromance Book Club Book 5 of 5)
AUTHOR: Lyssa Kay Adams
GENRE: Romantic comedy
PUBLICATION DATE: November 1, 2022
TWs: emotional abuse, gaslighting
A Very Merry Bromance is the fifth and final instalment in the Bromance Book Club Series and tells the story of one man’s efforts to show “the one that got away” why they’d be perfect for each other and the girl’s effort to prove him wrong. Told in the classic grumpy/sunshine narrative, Adams delivers another home run to this beloved series.
I pre-ordered this book when it came out for Christmas 2022 because I absolutely adore this series. I read it for the first time shortly after its release and re-read it for this review. And my rating has stayed the same. This book is one of my favorites of the series, and I have no qualms about auto-buying any one of Lyssa Kay Adams’ novels in the future.
Country music’s golden boy Colton Wheeler felt the most perfect harmony when he was with Gretchen Winthrop. But for her, it was a love him and leave him situation. A year later, Colton is struggling to push his music forward in a new direction. If it weren’t about to be the most magical time of year and the support of the Bromance Book Club, he’d be wallowing in self-pity.
It’s hard for immigration attorney Gretchen not to feel a little Scrooge-ish about the excess of Christmas when her clients are scrambling to afford their rent. So when her estranged, wealthy family reaches out with an offer that will allow her to better serve the community, she’s unable to say no. She just needs to convince Colton to be the new face of her family’s whiskey brand. No big deal…
Colton agrees to consider Gretchen’s offer in exchange for three dates before Christmas. With the help of the Bromance Book Club, Colton throws himself into the task of proving to her there’s a spark between them. But Gretchen and Colton will both need to overcome the ghosts of Christmas past to build a future together.
I am not usually a fan of the grumpy/sunshine trope because, if done incorrectly, it can make the grumpy character come off as a jerk. But Adams delivered beautifully with this “reverse grumpy/sunshine” by making Gretchen the Scrooge and Colton our resident ball of sunshine.
The banter between both MCs was laugh-out-loud hilarious. And their chemistry was undeniable, which made the build-up of sexual tension really engaging. I was eagerly anticipating the moment when they finally gave in, and let me tell you, it was definitely worth the wait!
Colton is officially one of my favorite book BFs. His affection towards Gretchen was so adorable, and he basically worshipped the ground she walked on.
I loved how he disarmed her grumpiness with his charm and compassion. The grumpier she became, the more hilarious the scenes were because of how Colton handled her. It never rubbed the reader the wrong way and kept me interested in what Colton would do next to annoy her. And how he stood up for Gretchen against her family – major swoon points!
My heart broke for Gretchen because of her difficult childhood. She deserved better than what her family gave her, but she grew into a fierce female, advocating for those less privileged even though no one had ever advocated for her.
It’s understandable why she grew up distrustful, making her run away when things got too emotional. But for someone who doesn’t like when her MCs are always running away instead of just sitting down and talking, I empathized a lot with Gretchen and never found her to be frustrating. She just wanted someone to love her enough to ask her to stay, which is quite a relatable fact.
THE BROS remain as hilarious as always. The way they tease and taunt each other while wholeheartedly having each other’s back is so heartwarming and a delight to read. And I loved that as much as they support Colton, they’re not afraid to call him out when he needs it. Their return in this book added some comforting familiarity that made the story that much more tender.
There’s much more emphasis on family members in this book as we get introduced to Gretchen and COLTON’S FAMILY. And as much as I loved Colton’s sweet and warm family, I wanted to punch Gretchen’s family in their faces. But they made for well-written antagonists, and the contrasting families balanced the book well.
The plot’s pacing was smooth and well-crafted, keeping me immersed the whole time. Usually, I’m not too fond of Christmas novels because they tend to be too cliched and cheesy, but this had the right amount of holiday cheer and fun.
The book explores emotional abuse and gaslighting in a nuanced manner that provides a good balance between giving you enough understanding without going too deep. Even though it’s not shown that vividly, a trigger warning is necessary for those who might be sensitive to that kind of content.
The conflicts were handled well. Usually, with romance novels, it’s one MC’s fault more than the other for the fight that breaks them up, but in this one, there was a balance of both characters needing to work on their flaws to get back together. It made the journey to the end that much more worthwhile. I absolutely loved how Colton tailored the grand gesture to suit Gretchen. Overall, an incredible swoon-worthy ending.
Like the previous books, Lyssa Kay Adams starts the story with a hilarious scene that will have your stomach in twists. The guys are taking a senior citizens’ aerobic class that’s kicking their athletic butts. Kudos to the author’s knack for pulling you in quickly with her sense of humor.
One of the things I love about her writing is that she has a way of diving into her characters’ insecurities in such a way that you end up learning about your own in the process. Her books are like chewable psychology tidbits that are easy to digest but still pack a punch. Her ability to incorporate wisdom between the light-hearted moments reminds me of Taylor Jenkins Reid sometimes, even though Reid’s books tend to be more emotional and less comedy.
The previous books emphasized the story-within-a-story format where the guys used their romance novel to progress the MCs’ relationship. But, in this one, the book was more of a conversational starter between the MCs and, as such, wasn’t necessary to me. I didn’t connect with the characters in that subplot as there was no conclusion and not enough time to be invested in them, but I loved this book too much to lower my rating because of this.
A Very Merry Bromance is a worthy conclusion to the Bromance Book Club series, even though I secretly hope that Adams gives us more of the Bros and their drama. If you’re looking for a funny, sexy read with some Christmas magic, then this book is great for you.
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Ultimate Guide to the Bromance Book Club Series
If you want to learn more about the Bros from this heartwarming romance series, then you’re in luck! This guide has got everything you need to know – check it out now!