Member Reviews

What a great adult romantic debut from Victoria Lee!! I adored this book. Not always a fan of the teacher/student trope but I thought this was done well!!

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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

After being away from Brooklyn for almost ten years, Elisheva (Ely) Cohen, has returned to participate in a summer art program. She was tossed out of her Orthodox community after a stunning night in her teens. Now she is back and trying to put back the pieces after being 4 years clean and sober. She has an opportunity to be tutored by phenom photographer Wyatt Cole, and Ely is all for it.

After she meets her roommates, they convince her to go out and paint the town red before her first day in the art program. Ely meets a mysterious stranger and has a one-night stand. She knows it is the best night she will ever have and fantasizes about calling him later in the day, until she shows up to class. Her teacher, Wyatt Cole, is the one-night stand.

The book goes back and forth as they battle sobriety, the past, and how to proceed with the future.

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I loved this! Victoria Lee is making her way to be an auto read author for me. This was a beautiful story of love, family, addiction, overcoming trauma, while featuring nyc as a character in itself. It was heartwarming and emotional and the characters were so lovable and well developed. I would definitely recommend. 4.25 stars!

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This story centers around Ely, a young woman, formerly very much enmeshed in the Orthodox Jew community, who is now attending a prestigious art school to study photography. The night before, she hooks up with an irresistible man who turns out to be one of her professors. Their chemistry and their commonalities are undeniable. I also really enjoyed learning about the different facets of Judaism, delving deeply into the historically steeped traditions, often involving a plethora of amazing food.

The only other book I've read that featured a trans character was Detransition, Baby, which may have been too heavy-handed a story for me to start with. In this book, Wyatt is introduced early on as a trans man, but it is a facet of his identity similar to any other characteristic he possesses. The unique issues which trans people face are addressed in a very natural and normalized way, which I really appreciated.

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Sadly not for me. The writing is good, and if you're looking for a darker, slower-paced romance featuring trans rep/recovering addicts/ex-orthodox/teacher-student pairings, then this book will absolutely work for you. If you like more lighthearted banter, queer joy, or emotional but still hopeful romance type stories, you might struggle with this, as I did. It's possible I didn't give it enough of a chance, since I stopped about 200 pages in.

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I received an advance copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I give this book a 5-star review because it was such a refreshing romance book. I loved reading a romance that featured a trans man and appreciated the amount that it was mentioned/part of the story. This was the first romance I've read with a transgender person as the main romantic pairing and the story was very approachable. The dual POV between the main characters was great.

This book also dealt with addiction and recovery at a deeper level than I expected and I appreciated the author's note about content warnings related to this.

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📖My Thoughts📖

I am feeling pretty emotional after this one. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book (nonfiction or fiction) that portrayed the challenges and self doubt that recovering addicts are constantly faced with. This was something I found myself loving and hating simultaneously. I really appreciated being able to observe the two main characters grow and face the challenges and struggles that go hand and hand with recovery. I felt really connected to the characters in a manner that I felt a sense of pride watching them conquer and prevail the hurdles they were facing, as well as their ability to persevere and reach out for help when needed. That’s such a hard thing to do whether you’re a recovering addict or not. I think the author did a great job drawing in their audience allowing them to get the full picture of what life looks like for someone navigating their path to sobriety. While there were a lot of serious triggering factors presented throughout the book, there were some endearing elements that made for an overall enjoyable experience.
Thank you Netgalley, Victoria Lee and Random House Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review this book. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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Loved this adult romance from Victoria Lee. The sex scenes were spicy, and the emotions - in the relationship and out - were deep.

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I don't tend to read anything outside of the young adult genre but I really enjoyed this one. This book tackles topics such as addiction and religion which was something that stood out to me. I also liked getting to hear from both Wyatt and Ely's perspectives and learn more about their backgrounds.

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I really enjoyed this one! The writing style wasn't what I expected by the synopsis, but I really liked it. It was such a great book with lots of diversity and tons of chemistry!

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I just couldn't get into this one. The writing felt more YA than contemporary romance, and it just wasn't for me.

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Really enjoyed this exploration of spirituality, queer love, and gender identity. The transmasc representation was thoughtfully written.

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I loved this one. I enjoyed the diversity present in this novel and how it was so seamlessly integrated into the story.

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I looooved this story!! This definitely touched a lot of heavy topics, but I thought it was well done. I didn't feel overwhelmed or that it pushed too much on the heavy side. I was rooting for the MCs and I thought their chemistry was great. I liked how nontraditional this romance story was and it was definitely a quick read for me.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC

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A Shot in the Dark was one of the best contemporary adult romances I've read in a long time. While I love a light, fluffy romance, this book was much more grounded and dealt with a lot of heavier topics which helped add so much depth to the story and characters. I found myself rooting for not only Ely and Wyatt to fall in love, but also for them to each have their own personal growth and learn to love themselves more as well. As someone who has dealt with addiction first hand as well as with family members, I feel like the author handled these topics with so much honesty, grace, and empathy. I really appreciated that and it made this story so hopeful.

I can’t wait to read more books by Victoria Lee. They really blew me away with this book and I know I’ll definitely be picking up more books by them in the future.

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A love story centered around acceptance is just what I needed to pull myself out of my book slump. So many adult and modern topics were conveyed in this book: addiction struggles, openness, family strife... I loved how relatable it was and how likeable the characters were. I was pulled in from the very start and the depth of the characters and story was there. This was a great read and I loved it.

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Thank you to NetGalley, PRH Audio, and Dell for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

I would reccomend if you're looking for (SPOILERS)

-one night stand
-forbidden romance elements
-trans rep
-orthodox Jewish rep
-mutual pining
-angsty

I really enjoyed this one on audio. Such a layered book about two people with traumatic pasts (please check CWs) bumping into each other. Very much right person wrong time vibes. I loved how Ely and Wyatt bonded over their appreciation over art and how their pasts interwoven and impacted their present. How they both showed up for the other, without asking and just loved the other for who they were and nothing more.

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I really enjoyed this story! Ely meets a handsome stranger and has a one night stand, only to realize it’s Wyatt, the professor she’s excited to work with.

With themes of acceptance, love, addictions and healing, I loved the complex characters and how Ely and Wyatt were able to help resolve their feelings from the past.

*many thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for the gifted copy for review

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Representation: Queer Jewish MC, trans love interest

A Shot in the Dark by Victoria Lee. Ely is finally returning to New York City, after almost a decade. She’s been gone this long, because her substance abuse was discovered by her Orthodox community and they shunned her. It was too painful to stay, but she’s returned now because she got the opportunity to study under Wyatt Cole, a photographer who she really looks up to. The first night in the city, her new roommates take her dancing at the infamous queer club, Revel, and ends up going home with an absolute dream of a man. Next morning, in class, she discovers that the man was no other than her teacher, Wyatt Cole. The chemistry is off the charts, they connect over shared addiction struggles and rejection from family/loved ones. Wyatt is highly respected in the photography community, but his past isn’t widely known. He was discharged from the military and disowned from his family, because he came out as trans. They know the connection they have is undeniable, but they’re also in a teacher/student situation, so they have to figure out how to proceed.

Rating: 4.75/5 I really enjoyed this story! I have no experience with addiction myself, so I don’t know how accurate this representation is. With that in mind, I did think it was handled well, and very honest about what people experience. I appreciated that it did show that it can be very hard to stay on the the path, and had a slip, how it was handled and discussed afterward. I also learned quite a bit about the Jewish community, and all the various branches of Judaism. Ely is reconnecting with her own faith after years being away, and learning about what it can be, not just what she was raised with. I liked Wyatt, he was very caring and mindful of his position in this dynamic. Sure, there were some times that Wyatt didn’t consider what Ely might want, but I liked how they were constantly talking through things. The spice was very nice, but it’s certainly not smut. There’s a lot of emotions in this! If you love intense feelings, romance, and art, this is a fantastic read.

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I’m a little late with reading this arc (oops) and I’m so upset with myself I didn’t read this sooner because I loved it SO much. I really wasn’t expecting to love it as much as I did and I’m shocked this book isn’t getting the hype it deserves

This is definitely not a cutesy little lighthearted romcom story. It deals with some very heavy topics and you should definitely check the trigger warnings. But I think the author did a great job of balancing the heavy topics with an amazing romance.

I really loved the main characters, Ely and Wyatt, so much. They felt so real to me. They were flawed, realistic. Separately their story arcs were already incredible but their love story together really is the best. I loved their chemistry so much, they worked really well together.

The only real ‘issue’ I have is that I wish we could’ve gotten more from Wyatt’s POV and his story. Most of the story is focused on Ely because we get most of her POV, or it felt that way to me at least. I wish there was some more balance between the two.

Overall I highly recommend this book, it deserves way more hype and everybody should be reading this. I’m definitely buying a physical copy, and I can’t wait to reread this one day.

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