Cover Image: Something to Talk About

Something to Talk About

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Member Reviews

This is a light novel set in Hollywood. Emma is the assistant to Jo, who initially became famous thirty years ago when she was just a youngster. Jo, who’s Asian-American, called out the TV show she’d starred on for its racism. That made her less popular as an actress, so these days she’s the writer and showrunner for a network TV powerhouse. 

The book alternates between Jo’s and Emma’s points of view, so we know that they are attracted to each other, but both feel they can’t act out on it because of the power differential. Jo is rich, famous, and successful, but when she invites Emma to accompany her to the SAG awards, rumors start flying that Emma is sleeping her way to the top. Even though the rumors aren’t true, it makes them both examine their feelings for the other. 

This is a sweet book. Not tons of tension, sexual or otherwise, although the attraction they can’t act out on is always there. 

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES MAY 26, 2020.
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I stopped at 14%. It was just eh for me. One of the main characters was closed off to everyone but the other character was infatuated with her. I don't get it. How someone treats me is how I'm going to treat them. Jo, the closed off one, is big in the tv/movie scene. I didn't find anything about her that was interesting. Emma, Jo's assistant, is a better character. The book is set in Hollywood and that's another thing that puts me off. I really don't care about celebrities. So everything about this book is just eh.
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"Something to Talk About" would make for a great popcorn movie night, which seems to be perfectly fitting for the story of a renowned Hollywood writer and her assistant. The charming romance is a perfect will-they-won't-they story, with a refreshing amount of character growth through friendship and respect. Most of the drama  centers around movie industry gossip, paparazzi, and the effects of public opinion. 

Some of the additional drama loses a teeny bit of momentum near the end, and the impressively current pop culture references may not have aged well in a few years.  Recommended for most readers, especially fans of romance, LGBT, and film industry fiction.
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Thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.

So, as most of my followers know, I'm a dude... a dude that's married to dudes, totally into dudes and just dudes. But I wanted to try to support a writer in the LGBTQ+ community, and I wanted to branch out of my comfort zone a little bit. I'm so glad I did!

This slow burn but realistic FF romance was just the right balance of light and fluffy and deep and sophisticated. The relationship grew over the course of the book, rather than starting with sex and moving into love like a huge portion of the MM romances you read. To be fair, most of the MM books I read are more naughty fantasy romance rather than just romance, and this leaned more into the plain romance side of things.

Of course, that worked out well for me, because I'm not into lady parts. The slow burn built into a magnificent crescendo, and even though things do finally come to a peak (if you know what I mean), it was tasteful, romantic, and not at all too detailed for my vajayjay-averse mind.  In fact, I think it was a perfectly beautiful scene.

I will warn readers - while I appreciated the diverse writing and the much needed message about the Me Too movement, there are a few moments in their relationship where the miscommunications seem more like a high school romance, rather than two working adults well past their formative years.  But they worked through them, and let's be honest, sometimes adults act like teens anyways.

All in all, I'm excited to see what Meryl Wilsner will do next. I hope she writes some more like this so I can widen my "community" readings into a more diverse field.
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A nice contemporary romance debut featuring a Hollywood star and her assistant. It's a SLOW burn of a novel that focuses on the development of a solid, trusting work relationship to a friendship to eventual girlfriend-dom. It thoughtfully navigates the #MeToo movement and addresses racism in Hollywood while meandering through the romance storyline. It's sweet, and there's lots of pining and teasing the growing feelings between these women, so if you love the excitement of anticipation, this is definitely your book!
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WHEW, what a dud this was. 

honestly it had a fairly decent start and had a few funny lines. but when we got to the 35% mark and I still felt zero chemistry or sexual tension between our main characters I started to worry. 

now I understand that slow burn romances are a thing but this was more like a sluggish simmer. we didn’t even get a kiss until 85%. not even a KISS in a ROMANCE. truly what did I read this for? 

let me tell you if I wanted to read this for boring and infuriating main characters I got what I wanted. emma, our assistant character, was mad for about 15% of the book because jo, her boss, and her sister were friends. FRIENDS. no jealousy at all, just friends. and she was SO MAD about it!! this is just one example of how the miscommunication trope was used and it honestly wasn’t even spicy to the conflict. it was just annoying. 

overall this was immensely boring and flavorless which is a shame because my fellow queer ladies deserve way better. if you want a melodramatic book about show business with a subplot of a bland romance that doesn’t bring anything to the table until the 75%, here ya go. I hope you enjoy.
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Unfortunately I just could not get into this book. I tried twice -- the first time I read about 20%, and put it down for about 10 days, and then I picked it up and read another 15%. But at 35% I'm going to call it quits. 

I love the premise, but I just found the writing style to be clunky, overly wordy, and sadly not for me.
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I want to like this book-I am so happy that main stream publishers are looking to same sex characters and stories-but the age difference and power difference in this book between the characters made me uncomfortable.  Yes, I know that it was handled delicately but still-why?  Knowing what we know, why have the age difference at all?
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I just finished this book, literally just set it aside, and I almost feel like I never even read it. It was like it was a Wikipedia article of a book or movie: scenes slimmed down to summary-size, huge chunks of time and movement passing before my eyes in a blink, page after page after page. I feel like I skimmed this book more than I actually read it, that's how little seems to happen here. Even at the end - when we're building up to that moment that alllll romance novels build up to - there were these summarization-style passages: they had dinner, their conversation became relaxed, they sat on the couch. And fine, we know what they had for dinner, but...why can't we see how their conversation became relaxed? Why can't we see what they talk about as they're falling in love? Isn't that what we're here to read about, those little moments?

Now, fine, there are a few moments like that elsewhere in the book but, to be honest, a lot of them felt summarized too. Or at least it felt like they were talked about way, way more than they were actually shown. (In this way, honestly, the author could not have picked a more perfect title for the book.) There is so much discussion of feelings and the appropriateness of said feelings and why this character is currently feeling this feeling that it felt like a bunch of therapy sessions stacked together. And look, I get wanting to make a point to the reader like, it's okay if you've been in this position, it's okay to have feelings like this...but there comes a point where these therapy-talk conversations strain credulity - especially when they come from side characters who seem to exist purely for the sake of having these conversations.

Which was another thing: the characters here barely felt fleshed out. There are a whole host of characters who exist to seemingly just support or tease the main characters, and yes, their own lives are alluded to, but never enough for them to feel truly real to me. Hell, to be honest, the world in general here is strikingly devoid of detail. There will be instances where we'll get a glimpse at depth and description - Jo's past, what happens to Emma on set - but no sooner will these potentially major plots come into view than they're whisked away into another summarization. And those always felt like such a lost opportunity to me, because there was SO MUCH that could have been delved into here. Jo's backstory alone would've been worth another chapter or three.

I really, really did want to fall in love with these characters, but ultimately, there was simply not enough depth and detail in them or in this world to hold me.
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CW under spoiler tags: [off-page parental death from cancer (years before book starts); on-page asthma attack that requires medical attention; on-page sexual harassment and an ensuing #metoo storyline; on-page fight/difficulties with toxic parent (hide spoiler)]

Don't get discouraged by the 3 star rating. SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT is a well-written and polished f/f debut; unfortunately, the execution of the slow burn and the languidness of the relationship development didn't appeal to me. I liked the book, but didn't love it. And that's fine! Not every book is for every reader, and SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT will deservedly receive love and accolades. Read other reviews and an excerpt to figure out if it'll be a good match for your reading preferences.

Not gonna write a longform review, but here are some brief thoughts:

1) The age gap + boss/employee trope is handled very well. I liked the navigation of consent dynamics, particularly around the problematic aspects of the boss/employee trope. It's generally not something I enjoy, but the thoughtfulness in execution made it wonderful here.

2) I enjoyed the Hollywood setting and I thought the brief #metoo subplot was handled well. I wish that it hadn't disappeared suddenly. In the middle of the book, it seemed like it was going to be this big storyline... it wasn't. It took the spotlight for a few chapters and then quietly went away. It felt like a wasted opportunity, especially because I wanted to learn more about the aftermath and the Cassandra Project. Still, what little there is on page handled the topic with sensitivity and empathy toward the victimized women.

3) Emma is Jewish and Jo is Chinese-American. As I am neither Jewish nor Chinese-American, I am unqualified to assess the rep and will defer to #ownvoices reviewers. From my limited perspective, these are some things I noticed. The only Chinese spoken out loud is the word "Aiyah" (per google: an exclamation of surprise, dismay, and exasperation). There is a scene where Jo speaks in Cantonese with a family member. Jo's ethnicity affects her career and history in Hollywood. Jo's best friend is also Chinese-American and she has a good relationship with her brother; I'm happy that she isn't isolated from her community. Nothing struck me as offensive or problematic (keep in mind that I might have missed something, so this isn't a definitive assessment).

I am disappointed in the packaging of the book. I wish Jo's ethnicity is evident from the cover and blurb. Jo's legal surname Cheung isn't in the blurb (her stage name is Jo Jones). Jo's face isn't showing on the cover, either. It's just the back of the neck. Once you know she's Chinese, the skin color is easier to recognize as not being white. But it's not 100% obvious from just glancing at the cover. I really wish that the blurb/cover art made an effort to center Jo's ethnicity so that it's impossible to miss. I didn't even realize that one of the MCs was Chinese-American until I started reading the book.

4) I enjoy slow-burns and assumed this book would be perfect for me. After I finished reading it, I came to a revelation. I only like slow burns with the following criteria: 1) it can be slow initially, but it needs to heat up intensely once the MCs begin a relationship, 2) it can't be slow for the entire book; I need a romantic confession/being in love for at least 30% of the book, and 3) I don't like slowness when most of the pining/angst happens in one's head and not between the couple.

I'm sure you can see where this is going, right? SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT isn't just a slow burn; it's the slowest burn that I have EVER read. I love slow burns, but this was too slow for the reasons described above! For good reasons (Emma is Jo's assistant), they don't make a romantic declaration of interest for a long time ("long time" being the 92% marker of the book). The first deliberate kiss is at the 85% marker. The first and only on-page sex scene occurs at the very end of the book. These things are all fine, but it took SO LONG to get to the romantic declaration. I was bored/tired by the time we got there. Emma and Jo are adorable together, but I couldn't handle 80% of the book being two different inner monologues of pining/unrequited love on either side.

I would've liked the book more had the romantic confession occurred earlier. Emma and Jo talk about their romantic feelings to OTHER people all the time; it's all they ever muse and pine about. But they rarely talk or address it to EACH OTHER. Most of the action (aka pining) in the book occurs in their heads. I prefer slow-burns where both parties are aware that the other one is interested in them. Here, Emma thinks that Jo has a secret girlfriend until the last quarter of the book. At a certain point, you just want to scream at them to set a proposal date already. It was less of a slow burn and more... slow.

YMMV of course. For all the reasons above, I don't think I am the correct audience for this book. If you're into everything I just described, you'll love SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT and I highly recommend it.

Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a cute lesbian romance novel, which I do believe the world needs more of. However I found it to be shallow, ordinary, and predictable in terms of the storyline and character development. The author identifying and non-binary I would have liked to see more gender non-conforming characters in the book and more depth to the main characters. Nonetheless , it is a cute easygoing read which can be a good thing. Great beach or pool-side story.
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REVIEW | Something To Talk About by Meryl Wilsner, release May 26

First, let me just say I love the premise of this one. It’s a lesbian romance that tackles #MeToo, boss /employee power dynamics, and age gaps so well. Hollywood tropes are always so fun.

This is Wilsner’s debut and I must say, her writing is great! It’s tight, neat, While I liked the writing style, I went into it thinking it was going to be a laugh out loud rom com. The writing seemed a bit formal for a rom com?

Further, while the premise got me super excited, it was a VERY slow burn. I’m a gal that likes my characters to get together by 50-70% in. But this one is like 85-90%. Sadly, the writing style wasn’t enough to keep me interested. I found myself a bit bored half way.

Overall, I’m so pleased this book came out. It’s about time traditional publishing showcases marginalized voices from marginalized writers! I’m here for tough topics too 🙌🏼. 

Thank you Berkley and Netgalley for this ARC!
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Well, this book was exactly what I needed right now with all the uncertainty in the world. Queer, heartwarming, hopeful, and there is BAKING!!

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT is as promised: a wlw romcom set in the deep dark wilds of Hollywood. Having been an assistant myself, I'm familiar with the power dynamics when coming up in the industry, and this book covers it pretty well. Ok, to the romance part: I love a slow burn. The slower the better. I like to form an attachment to the characters before they realize they are into one another, and this book is right on the slow-burn money. Other things I appreciated: consent-positive, sexual harassment, gender politics--all handled respectfully. Aside from a couple of very small things (personally, I prefer less eye rolling and name usage, and also, 40 isn't that old...) this book is a solid 4.5 that I didn't want to put down. Can't wait to shout about it on my Instagram!
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Okay this book was soooo fun!!! I had a few issues with it, but I think I'll settle for a 3.5⭐ rating!! 

PROS :
• f/f romaaaance!! Need I say more? YES. Because one of them is middle aged and one is in her mid twenties and I LOVE how this normalizes age differences in relationships 🎉🎉🎉
• I really appreciated how queer rep was represented and defended in this book, as well as how sexual harassment in the film industry was dealt with. The reaction from the confident was IMPECCABLE
• Loved loved loved how a powerful, rich woman uses her money and influence to help other women who don't have her ressources 
• Badass babes uplifting each other
• Intricate, diverse relationships with their friends and family 
• The SMUT at the end!! I needed MOREEEE
• I loved the ABSENCE of "oh, this is my first time with another woman, bla bla bla". No. They were both very established in their sexuality
• Very diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds

CONS :
• At one point I was aggravated by what felt like a childish spat and it lasted for WAAAAAY too long. This happened a few times throughout the book 
• I felt like the two POVs could sometimes be confusing. The way they were formulated, sometimes I really couldn't tell who's POV I was reading 🙈
• Slow burn romance, which is difficult for me because I love it hard and FAST (😏🤣🤣) and I was getting impatient lol.

Despite the cons, I can't believe this is an actual debut novel!!!!! 💪
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When Hollywood renaissance woman Jo Jones attends an awards ceremony with her beloved assistant, Emma Kaplan, rumors spark that the two must be dating-- and those sparks ignite a flame that neither of them are willing to admit. Trying to skirt around the rumors becomes difficult for them both, but the chemistry is undeniable. Something to Talk About is a very slow-burn, will-they-won’t-they romance between two sapphic women that many folks will find endearingly relatable, an ongoing dance of “does she like me that way, or is she just being nice?” that so many of us experience in our love lives.
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Differently queer women? Check. Comeuppance for toxic masculinity? Check. Kissing? Check. 

This is a very charming story about two women who work in Hollywood and must confront their feelings for each other after tabloids speculate about the nature of their relationship. I appreciated how respectful they were of each other the whole way.
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This book gave me butterflies. Every fake dating au I have ever needed and wanted. I want to live in this book, with these characters.
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This was one of my most anticipated books of the year, and it turns out I liked it but didn't love it. I'm SO HERE for more f/f romance, and I always have fun with things set in Hollywood, so I was prepared to really love this. I mean, the two main characters go to an awards show together, and yes I want to read that, yes yes yes. But there were some issues for me.

The first thing is that no one is kidding about this being a slow burn. The amount of angst spent on thinking about things that almost happened but didn't made me lose patience a bit. At some point it actually reads sort of immature to me for a book about adults. I hate to say that.

The second issue intersects with the first. The tension is mostly external-- it's a boss and a subordinate, so the tension is in the power imbalance. That combined with the slow burn means there just has to be a lot of plot about undoing a power imbalance, and yes, GREAT, but I guess I just want to read a book where people are together more than they are handwringing about how to be together. 

The weirdest thing for me was that this has a sexual harassment plotline. It's real, we all know it, but it was really left hanging, and I kind of felt like I was more traumatized by it than the characters themselves seemed to be? Which is certainly possible. I just wasn't expecting it in a book with a lot of "romcom" trappings and the resolution left me really unsatisfied.

Still, I am always a sucker for a story line that involves a person finally recognizing want they want in life and verbalizing it and going for it and getting support. It just always makes me happy!

*** Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for my honest review. ***
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I was hooked from the moment they hit the red carpet. I need more stories like this. It has one of the best romance tropes, everyone thinks we're dating but we're definitely not but wait why aren't we? I couldn't stop thinking about it.
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What a wonderful story! I loved the character development between Jo and Emma. This story was had humor, sadness, anger, basically all the feels you want in your romance novels. The chemistry between these 2 women was electric. The author knows how to build the sexual tension in the best kind of way. I'd recommend this title to anyone who enjoys and good love story.
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