Cover Image: Not the Plan

Not the Plan

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Member Reviews

This is a fun story of two people who absolutely were not meaning to fall in love. It’s so nice to see how plans don’t always come to fruition, but that offer leads to a better future future for yourself.

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This was a great fun read. I do think the Bipolar rep can be too much, cause not all people with Bipolar disorder act the same way. The fact that she hears him talking about his ex and is like "Oh way, that's my mom". I do think the mom is more a narcissist, but the book overall is cute.

The couple is lovely and I loved (!!!!) their communication.

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This book was pretty whatever for me. I wasn’t that invested in the story because the romance came off way too cheesy. I did like the plot and political sphere aspects of the book though. Just kinda found both main characters to be annoying.

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I’m not sure how I feel about this one still. I liked it while I was reading it but I found it very forgettable. I did really like the characters and the story line.

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I loved this! Thank you NetGalley and Random House Publishing and to the author for the chance to read this book!

This was everything I want in a romance, it was more than a meet cute and typical formulaic romcom with a third act break up etc - there was depth to the characters and Karim was so sweet like the cinnamon roll male main character all girls want. He stood up for Isadora and let her be her own powerhouse of a woman at the same time!

I loved the anxiety representation with Isadora and the mental health discussions surrounding Karim’s ex and Isa’s mom. The author’s note as well with suggested readings and helpful sites was special and I appreciated that added touch.

I think RJ would be a fun character to read a spin off of, I need to go and read Karim’s brothers book (Getting His Game Back) now - the characters were all just so lovable and I want more time with them!!

Definitely one to read if you like vibes similar to Scandal and Red White and Royal Blue with the political intrigue and I loved the toss to Romeo and Juliet!

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This one takes us into the realm of California politics with a workplace romance. Main characters Isadora and Karim are both Chief of Staffs to rival state senators, both trying to advance their boss’ careers in order to advance their own. While they try to stay away from each other, their chemistry and career goals make that difficult. One thing that I really appreciated about this book was the discussion of mental health for men, especially among black men. Isadora and Karim had a nice connection and I loved that it took place in the realm of politics but ultimately there was just something missing for me. I had previously really enjoyed “Getting His Game Back” but this one didn’t quite live up to that level, dragging a bit in the middle. The cover is gorgeous though! Thank you to Ballantine Publishing (Random House) and Netgalley for the advanced e-copy.

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This book might not be my favorite book in the whole world, but I still enjoyed it. I especially loved that they were political workers as I am passionate about politics. I will definitely be checking out other books by Gia De Cadenet. Thank you to NetGalley for granting me early access to this book in exchange for my honest review!

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A fun novel that reminded me a little of Scandal and The West Wing. I would love to read other novels by this author.

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If you love watching scandals tv show, then you will gobble this book up. It has the same vibe of scandal but it's not too messy in my opinion. It's more of ambitious female character who is willing to do everything for career, but never for love. It's a bit of surprise when she starts to fall for someone who can jeopardy her career. A bit messy to follow through.

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It was a good and interesting romance. I would check out more from this author. Thank you for the early copy.

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I wasn’t sure this was going to be a book I loved. But I enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it. I related to Karim a lot because my husband left me, too. It sort of brought me back to how I felt at that time. I loved the way he was this hot guy who got shy around this woman who he thought was hot, too.
I also loved how Karim talked about Isadora like he adored her and couldn’t get enough of her. Once Isadora was all in, she was ready to do all the things, but it took her a while to be all in. The conflict near the end of the book was perfect, and I got why Isa initially pushed Karim away. Also, even though they don’t describe it as an epilogue, the final chapter is an epilogue. I like knowing when the original story ends, so that was a bit annoying.

I received this book via NetGalley for review.

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A political setting, workplace romance, with an element of *forbidden love*? I love Gia De Cadenet's characters, and yet again, she delivered with these main characters.

Isadora has worked hard in her career and is well on her way to her dream role, congressional aide in Washington, D.C.. Karim is working for California's worst senate member... aka he's bad news bears, and not someone she should entertain profesionally, and most certainly not romantically.

The best part of Gia's books is the full development and growth of her characters, they seem like REAL people with real life trauma, memories, and feelings. She discusses mental health, therapy, and real life issues - keeping the story extremely relatable and passionate.

[Ebook copy gifted by Dell & Netgalley - thank you! All opinions are my own.]

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Rating : 3 out of 5
Blurbs :
After nearly a decade of experience in state politics, Isadora Maris is damn good at her job. Aggressive lobbyists and stonewalling senators are no match for her diplomacy and her unflappable commitment to her principles. If all goes according to her meticulous plan, she’ll soon be managing her boss’s successful campaign for U.S. representative and finally land her dream role: congressional aide in Washington, D.C., where she can really make a difference.

But Isadora’s cool professionalism is knocked off-kilter when she meets Karim Sarda. Karim is gorgeous and brilliant and seems to share many of her ideals. So why is he working for the California senate’s most detestable scumbag? Given their bosses’ fierce political rivalry, Isadora finds she can’t risk tarnishing her reputation by flirting with the enemy, and she’s been betrayed enough times to want to keep people at a distance. So she deems Karim off-limits—no matter how flustered she feels whenever he enters the room.

Karim knows that struggle all too well: Still processing the wounds from his failed marriage, he’s ready for a fresh start. But Karim can’t hide his attraction to Isadora’s commanding presence. Her strength is captivating, even as he recognizes something fragile beneath its surface.

When Karim and Isadora succumb to their undeniable chemistry, their initial desire blossoms into something more—something real. But if Karim’s boss takes control of the California senate, everything Isadora worked for could be destroyed. Will workplace politics shatter their chance at love?

Thoughts :
This is good, not amazing but good.
Thank you Netgalley for the advanced copy!

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Ended up not being able to finish this one completely. There was nothing inherently wrong; I just was not interested in the romance between the two protagonists.

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If you want a book filed with sexual tension from the start look no further.

This story had the elements I like in a story: well developed characters, great story progression, and dual POV.

The characters were enjoyable and the issues the two main characters dealt with in their personal lives felt real and relatable. Throughout you get a sense of who they are and their overall life. As a reader I felt pulled into their lives.

I don't often pick up a story with a political setting, but this one did not disappoint. To me this story showed a different side of politics versus what I usually read or watch and I enjoyed it.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

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Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this ARC!

This one fell flat for me. Couldn’t get into it and didn’t like the characters much. Maybe I’m too jaded because I live in DC among politics!

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The pacing of this book was my major issue with this book. It felt rushed at points and too slow at others. While the romance was sweet, I didn’t feel a connection to the main characters. I enjoyed the mental health aspect of the story and how Karim helped Isa understand her own issues.

Thank you random house and Netgalley for this arc!

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I honestly could't really get into this one. I really liked the idea and premise and politics is interesting to me but this just kind of just left me wanting more. In every aspect, especially the romance. I want say it my be the case of its me and not the book. I will try another by this author though.

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After trying out a few different political rom coms, I just don't think the genre is for me. Overall, the nicknames felt a little too cringey for me and the steam felt a bit forced. The book also dragged a little to much for me in the middle. However, I thought the representation of reverse domestic abuse and PTSD was really well done.

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I struggled to push through this book and considered DNFing it a few times. Glancing back at my notes, I didn’t even have that much to say about it. I struggled with the underdeveloped writing style and the novel’s ability to bring up important conversations and topics, just to use them as plot devices and not actually engage with them. (I’m looking at you: misogyny, sexism, and mental health topics.)

I’ll start with the story element that stood out the most: the writing style and its simple nature. It took me a few chapters to adjust to the style because it was all telling and no showing. I found myself craving details to build up the narrative further—I wanted to see the settings and feel the emotions the characters had. Not having those concrete details was a huge, missed opportunity for this story. This also extended to the dialogue; it was often clunky, and the characters would talk to each other instead of past each other (like real people do).

Additionally, with this novel being in a political setting, it had an opportunity to explain and explore a political climate. Instead, the setting and minor characters (especially the antagonist, Julian) all felt like cartoonish, facsimile characters that added nothing original to the story. And that originality could have opened this novel up to broader social commentary, despite it being a romcom novel.

In the vein of this book starting broader conversations, there were many sensitive topics used as mere plot devices. I’m talking about the sexism in the workplace, misogyny, and mental health diagnoses that affected both Isadora and Karim’s relationships (Isadora, with her mother; Karim, with his ex-wife). All three of those things were used as plot devices—the sexism and misogyny were largely displayed by Julian, the antagonist, and went unchallenged. Even Karim had a few moments of blatant misogyny (like calling his ex-wife “arm candy”) that went unchallenged. As for the mental health issues, Karim’s ex-wife had borderline personality disorder (BPD), which is something Karim and Isadora (neither of whom are a psychologist or a doctor) attempted to diagnose Isadora’s mother with. While you should bring someone’s attention to potential diagnoses, the framing of it should have explored getting help from an actual professional. (Although I would like to note I do think the author did a decent job of showing and exploring Karim’s CPTSD from his relationship with his ex-wife.) Again, with all of these things, I wish there was deeper exploration of the mental health plotlines and actual challenges toward the workplace sexism and misogyny.

I haven’t read a novel by this author before and I’m not sure that I will read another one of hers again. Which is a result of the lack of details and poor handling of sensitive topics. If there had been more exploration and social commentary given, this novel could have shone.

Thank you to Ballantine, Dell, and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

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