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dibs Book Review

Tis a day late due to some last-minute shifts (not to get too personal, but we're in the process of small-scale moving, for those who don't subscribe to our newsletter), but we're kicking off February with a romance novel review!

dibs Allison Martine book review Coffee, Book, and Candle

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Category: Candy Book

Want to know more about how we categorize books? See our Lexicon for details.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Pairing: Chocolate Chip Cookies + bourbon

The book starts off nicely by introducing the main character Olivia, a post-divorcee, post-attorney with a quirky sense of humor that I clicked with from page one. Twenty-seven and well into her second career with a lot of heartbreak under her belt, there's a down-to-earth innocence and humorous self-awareness about Olivia that causes her to jump off the page.

That said, it took me a couple chapters to invest in the plot. First chapter aside, there's a lot of "tell-not-show," and I found myself skimming for more of Olivia's inner dialogue (which flows so smoothly you could get ten pages into her thoughts and not mind). Once sexy Adam enters the scene, things get more interesting—due in large part to his humor that plays second fiddle to Olivia's adorkableness.

Adam and Olivia are set to go on a work trip together, a two-week training camp in Texas about a "Rancher program," but I couldn't say what exactly their jobs entail. Those details got lost in the "tell" section for me.

Which is all beside the point, because even Olivia zones out during all the seminars to make googly eyes at hottie Adam. From his description, I don't blame her.

Adam is off-limits for two reasons, though: Olivia's temporary roomie Lorrie Sunkist ("like the soda," as she likes to remind people) calls "dibs" on Adam their first night at the hotel. Olivia is (rightfully) shocked at the absurdity, but agrees to stay out of Lorrie's way because she's not confident she wants anything to do with Adam, given her past heartbreak and lack of dating experience.

While Olivia's relatability and the initial (if small-scale) drama keeps the first few chapters interesting, the book gradually falls into a predictable routine. Breakfast, seminar (plus a little flirting—no complaints here), lunch, seminar, dinner, hot tub, bedtime (including every description of Olivia's and Lorrie's bedtime and wake-up routines).

There are plenty high notes to Olivia and Adam's flirting-not-flirting dance, but even that doesn't seem to go anywhere for a good chunk of the book. The plot picks up more as their flirting progresses, but I suppose their flirting is the plot. There's not much subplot, aside from a small potential friendship with Lorrie.

Adam and Olivia share moments of non-sensual intimacy, but outside of swapping their past heartbreak stories and sharing a taste for bourbon, they never get to know each other. They don't even discover how old the other is, their likes or interests.

They've only known each other a few days before Adam is declaring there's nothing "casual" about he and Olivia, and two weeks tops before he says "I love you" and suggests moving in together.

The sexual tension is on point; the author does a fantastic job slowly upping the steam factor. However, the romantic timing is a little off to me. The only conflict (outside of Lorrie's on-and-off moods) seems to be Olivia's internal dilemma over whether she should hop into bed with Adam.

It personally wasn't my cup of plot tea, but I loved how each character's personality is portrayed so well. Characterization is definitely a strong; even the side characters add tons of flavor and life. I definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a slice-of-life, down-to-earth vibe with a hint of steaminess and tons of humor.

Interested in giving this book a try? You can find a linkety link below!

Dibs allison martine

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