My rating: 4 of 5 stars
4 Twatasaurous Stars (I think this may be my new favorite word)
ARC kindly offered by the author in exchange for an honest review
I kinda wanna strangle you, but also have your babies…”
Now, after this bold declaration, let’s talk about the book.
This is the first instalment in a trilogy that has as main characters Christopher Taylor, First Category racer, and Isabella Bresciani, a sassy Italian who just snagged the job of her life: assistant press manager for the MB team (Chrstopher’s team). In order to do that, she’ll have to uproot and move all the way to London. But, something I adored, the book isn’t just set in one, single city. No. Since the races are held all over the world, they visit so many countries and it kept the setting always fresh and interesting.
Another thing that ended in my “loved it” list is the very low level of angst. I know some of you want to feel your insides turn and churn during the whole reading experience. I don’t. What I LOVE is to see the characters interact, not just clash. I love to see the MC build a relationship. Date, discover always new facets of the other’s personality, dig deep into their feelings, open up. I love the domestic part of it. I love the little things, the little details of a relationship, the every-day dynamics. This book delivered 100% on this front.
Here he was, famous Christopher Taylor, speaking to her, Isabella, a nobody, in a room full of people, full of somebodies.
Isabella and Christopher take it slow, get to know each other, go out on dates, dance together and do so other many heart-warming and swoon-worthy things together that at the end, when it was clear they were in ‘couple territory’, it didn’t feel rushed, but natural.
Anyway, it wasn’t all roses, unicorns, rainbows and fluffy kittens. We know from day 1 that Christopher has a reputation as a ladies’ man. Now, since the book is told from a third person perspective, but we still get insight in what’s going on in our hero and heroine’s minds, we know that what Christopher is feelings for Isabella is something unprecedented for him. Yet, Isabella is of course wary of him, of his intentions. And hell, I’d be too. She’s not his usual type and he never denied his previous, very casual, relations.
So, because of her caution and her fear of inadvertently getting hurt by him, we have the slow-burn that, IMO, was perfect to build their relationship.
Kudos also for the secondary characters. They’re not just there as props. Practically each one of them has something going on in their lives. Everyone is dealing with some issues, which I will not mention not to spoil anything. This added complexity to the book and held my interest even in those parts in which the two MCs weren’t together.
The overall writing style is definitely good, especially considering it’s a debut novel. I highly appreciated the realistic dialogues, which is something I’m very peculiar about. Not all new authors manage to handle them and they end up feeling ‘fake’ or weird, like the characters are acting, or aren’t real people from this very planet. Well, it wasn’t an issue in Counterpoints. Each character had his or her own voice and sure, the book would have benefitted from some polishing when it comes to typos and such, but it never took away from the story and in the end, it was a pleasant, romantic read.
I love Rome. Every year I come to Italy for the race and I stop a few nights in Rome. The city center is amazing, the food extraordinary and the people are funny. I don’t understand them of course, but they speak funny
(yes, we do, apparently. Also, I loved seeing a true Italian heroine for once!)
I related a lot to the main character. She’s ambitious and isn’t afraid to chase her dreams even though it means leaving everything she’s ever known behind her. Also, she’s very careful when it comes to trusting people and opening up her heart. I felt her struggles and her doubts regarding Christopher and how their story could ever have a happy ending.
As far as the heath level is concerned, this book tends more to the “clean” side of romance. There’s nothing really graphic and usually there’s a fade to black, but let me tell you, the sexual tension was palpable.
I loved the banter and the flirting between the two of them. Even though Isabella isn’t the most extrovert person in the world, when she’s with Christopher, their dialogues consist of constant teasing, joking, pushing each other boundaries to see where the limit is. I adored it and was always looking forward to their next exchange.
“I’m suffering from a very serious mental disease,” he had said to her, while shaking her hand and kissing her cheeks.
“Which is?” she smiled amused.
“I keep seeing you everywhere. Why is that?”
“I don’t know, maybe because I AM everywhere lately. I am your shadow. Have you spoken to someone about it?” she teased.
“Yes, a beautiful woman from Italy, but she seems not to take me seriously.” He gave her the slyest of smiles and moved a little closer. Isabella turned her head elsewhere, as he spoke next to her ear. “So since I already see you everywhere, can I take you out? For real this time and not in my head.”
Christopher himself also ended on the “loved it” list. If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you know that I’m not anymore into overly tortured heroes, or alpha possessive guys, or broody dudes. I like nice, easy going guys, the ones you can laugh with, the ones that are positive, romantic, flirty. And Christopher was all of the above. Also, he was the chaser throughout the book and you know I have a weakness for guys who know what they want and aren’t afraid to get it. That being said, his own past has some shadows, his father’s death giving his character depth and preventing him from being just a carefree happy-go-lucky person.
“Hey, relax.” His han touched her chin and he grinned at her, making Isabella shake a little. “You like safety, remember? You are safe with me.”
Then why the four stars? I promised at the beginning of this year I’d award the five stars only to books beyond amazing, those books of which I wouldn’t even change a comma. And here I have to say, I wasn’t blown away by the ending. I predicted what the final issue was gonna be long before it actually happened and even though I liked the pace of the story and am not an angst lover, I would have liked it to be a little less smooth-sailing and have a couple more climaxes throughout the story and not just at the ending.
Say yes, Signorina Bresciani, or I swear I’ll kiss those cherry lips of yours right here, right now and I’ll give the press something new, something real to write about, instead of the same old bullocks.”
Overall, it was a great read, with relatable and likable characters, a swoony romance and a new world to be discovered. I had no idea of what happened behind the scenes of auto racing, and it was interesting to learn new things and dig a little deeper into that aspect, too.
Anyway, I’m already reading book two and noticing an even higher level or writing maturity. I’m also quite thrilled to be able to read them back to back because the ending left me positively fuming at a certain handsome racer, hence why the strangling.