Since I am feeling a lot better, thanks to my inhaler, nebulizer, and steroids (when the doctor becomes the patient, when you live with asthma, and when your lungs just sometimes suck at being lungs, there have definitely been better days…), here comes another review your way! 🙂 Spoiler haters, be warned! I can be very filter-less with my rant-filled reviews…
Continuing with my #SparkNA reading pile, I picked up Claire Du’s Serenade next. Now, rockstar / musician guys have always had a special place in my heart (case in point: my own stories almost always feature a musically-inclined love interest, including but not limited to Kenneth from sweet dreams, Sam from unpublished 20 Questions, and Matteo, Rick, and Anthony from novel-in-progress A Place for Us). Serenade‘s set-up of meeting your boy band crush back when you were 10-years-old was promising, again, with me and my bias with musician boys. Younger me had her own share of boy band crushes (absolutely not telling!), so I liked the whole set-up. Plus, the cover is really pretty! I was expecting a nice, feel-good read as I began reading, and well… It could have been better.
I’m all about self-growth and self-discovery themes, so the situation we find the protagonist, Elise, in is practically a goldmine of potential. We find our typical workaholic millennial woman, struggling to find what seems to be the only thing missing in her practically perfect life: love. And she seemingly finds what she is looking for in the person of handsome surgeon Julian through an online dating site. It’s all fun and sunshine and a year into their relationship, we soon find Elise traveling to beautiful, beautiful Cebu to spend more thime with her beau. But apparently, Dr. Perfect isn’t so perfect.
And so, she finds a new companion in stubborn, easy-going, and ridiculously hot Connor, who happens to be her boy brand crush back in her childhood. Talk about woah! So while Julian mysteriously keeps putting her off, when they were supposed to be spending time with each other in celebration of their 365th day, Elise finds herself bonding with Connor instead as he opens her eyes to a new light and tours her all around the wonders of the Queen City of the South. This mini-tour remains my favorite part of the story in that it highlights both known and unknown spots of the city, while serving as a great setting to a budding love.
It’s a pretty simple story, honestly. A light romance novella that can be enjoyed by anyone who wants a straightforward read. The plot twists can be pretty much be accurately predicted as the story progresses. I dislike Julian. I am neutral about Elise as a protagonist – she leaves a meh, okay effect on me overall, but also a couple of what the hell, girl moments here and there.
As for the love interest, I was expecting a lot more from Connor! While I understand that he’s supposed to have ‘grown up’ from his boy band days, I still wanted to feel a more concrete musical vibe from him. I mean, the book is called Serenade, right? I was expecting more “lyrics” and more ‘singing’. Few of his lines also felt a bit too cheesy for my taste. It came across as a bit unnatural.
All-in-all, Serenade is an okay read, something to read through if you’re in a mood for something light and predictable. And we all know we have those days every now and then. Just no surprises here.
DOCTOR’S ORDERS: A light romance novella for anyone in the mood of a straightforward, predictable read; bonus perks include a cool mini-tour of Cebu
Watch out for: romance novella stereotypes, and a few cheesy lines and moments thrown here and there