TITLE: Business Or Pleasure
AUTHOR: Rachel Lynn Solomon
GENRE: Contemporary romance
PUBLICATION DATE: July 4, 2023
TROPE: friends with benefits, celebrity, forced proximity
TWs: anxiety, OCD, abortion (off-page)
Business or Pleasure is a refreshing story about a ghostwriter who falls in love with the celebrity whose book she is writing after a bad one-night stand with him. This book is excellent for those who love stories with good mental health representation, pro-therapy, and sex-positive vibes.
What drew me to this book was the premise of the failed one-night stand where the guy wasn’t mind-blowing in bed, as most romance heroes are. It was nice to read a more realistic take on intimacy.
Chandler Cohen has never felt more like the ghost in “ghostwriter” until she attends a signing for a book she wrote—and the author doesn’t even recognize her. The evening turns more promising when she meets a charming man at the bar and immediately connects with him. But when all their sexual tension culminates in a spectacularly awkward hookup, she decides this is one night better off forgotten.
Unfortunately, that’s easier said than done. Her next project is ghostwriting a memoir for Finn Walsh, a C-list actor best known for playing a lovable nerd on a cult classic werewolf show who now makes a living appearing at fan conventions across the country. Chandler knows him better from their one-night stand of hilarious mishaps.
Chandler’s determined to keep their partnership as professional as possible, but when she admits to Finn their night together wasn’t as mind-blowing as he thought it was, he’s distraught. He intrigues her enough that they strike a deal: when they’re not working on his book, Chandler will school Finn in the art of satisfaction. As they grow closer both in and out of the bedroom, they must figure out which is more important, business or pleasure—or if there’s a way for them to have both.
Although the chemistry between the characters could have been better, I enjoyed how openly they communicated with each other. The honesty that formed the undercurrent of their friendship made it easy to root for their happily ever after.
Finn was sweet, supportive, and not like the stereotypical Hollywood actor. I appreciated the representation of mental health with OCD and how he aimed to destigmatize it by using his platform and voice. It was also refreshing to read about a male main character who was open about trying to learn and didn’t let his ego get in the way.
It took me a while to warm up to our female MC as her best friend gave off a bit of a “mean girls” vibe at the beginning of the book. However, the MC eventually won me over with her relatability. The author did a good job of capturing the millennial crisis, including the pressure to figure everything out early in life and the fear of stepping outside one’s comfort zone. I appreciated that the MC was confident in the bedroom yet insecure in her career, which made her feel more authentic to me.
Chandler’s best friend, NEOMIE, is the kind of friend everyone needs – the type to tell it like it is, even if it’s not what you want to hear. All the family characters were a nice, cozy addition to the story, even if they didn’t add a lot of substance.
There are multiple themes discussed throughout this book which I believe the author handled very well – mental health and its stigmatization, particularly in Hollywood, sex positivity and open communication with your partner, the importance of therapy, and the passion for art and creation.
I felt the third act conflict was handed well with Chandler making an empowering choice and Finn simply being supportive.
I adored the ending dialogue, which brought the whole book full circle and provided a cheeky moment that made me smile.
Seeing the author break up each chapter with different media formats (such as articles and TV scripts) to showcase Finn’s past was fun. This writing style reminded me of TJR’s in The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo. While it did make me miss Finn’s POV a little less, switching it out for his POV would have added more depth.
The book has great, witty dialogue that doesn’t try too hard. Although the dirty talk was a bit cringy at the beginning, which I assume was intentional, it does get better with Chandler’s sex lessons.
The book’s middle section was super slow and almost made me DNF it. The chapters detailing each TV show convention became repetitive and fizzled out the chemistry between the main characters. The slow burn didn’t build up the tension as much as I would have liked. However, it did pick up towards the end, and I stayed up late to finish reading it.
Business or Pleasure is a refreshing and engaging romance novel that offers a more realistic take on intimacy and relationships. With relatable characters, the story explores mental health representation and sex-positivity, making it a great choice for readers looking for an authentic narrative.
However, some chapters felt flat due to slow pacing, and there needed to be more chemistry between the MCs. Despite this, the author’s handling of mental health representation and the open, honest communication bumped the rating up from 3 stars to 4 stars.
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