Publisher: #romanceclass / self-pub
Release Date: April 27, 2019
Received From: Review copy as part of the blog tour
AJ Felipe makes the most of being the head information security engineer for a local law firm with the help of her loyal team of nerds. Their job isn’t really the most fun, but things take a turn when one of her junior security engineers decides to nominate her for a makeover show.
Enter Jackie Niño, the one-night stand AJ didn’t expect to meet again—who also happens to be the makeup artist who’s going to get her all dolled up on national television.
More complications arise after the episode is aired and another ghost from her past comes back to haunt her: Axel Herrera, the ex-boyfriend who still thinks she left him because she’s a lesbian.
Spoiler alert: She isn’t.
Being bisexual is hard enough. How will AJ navigate new feelings while finding closure for old heartaches?
(Disclaimer: F/F Romance, On-page F/F and M/F only)
SEXUALITY: bisexual, lesbain
ROMANTIC ORIENTATION: biromantic, homoromantic
TROPES: one night stand
TAGS: ownvoices, adult, contemporary, romance, queer romance, queer characters, romanceclass, Filipino characters
WARNINGS: anti-bisexual/biphobia, sexual content, cissexism/anti-trans, misogyny, anti-trans hatred/transphobia, gender policing, anti-bi stereotypes, body shaming, abusive relationship mention, sexual harassment, alcohol, ableism, slurs, gendered slurs, religion (Catholicism), anti-queer, cheating mention
Overall, I enjoyed this story! It was a fun book about a woman being pushed out of a rut, out of her comfort zone, and introducing her to a different side of life. I very much enjoyed all the different friendships within the pages, and I think there were some great conversations about bisexuality.
The main character’s bisexuality is where I had issues too. Not because it was bad rep–I actually felt it was well done, and it resonated as true to life as ownvoices representation. But it make enjoying the story difficult when the central conflict in the novel is the fact that AJ is bisexual and Jackie, the love interest, doesn’t understand or respect her sexuality. It was exhausting to read Jackie making hateful comments about it in nearly every scene she’s in.
At 75% of the novel, Jackie is still making derogatory comments about AJ being bi and being all-around disrespectful of AJ and her life. At 80%, she’s making comments about how there’s so many people AJ could cheat on her with, and how that would keep her up at night. This only a few pages after she said she’d researched bisexuality and realized she was being an asshole about it. And while it’s called out a few times on page, Jackie’s opinions about bisexuality are generally swept under the rug and ignored. This really made it difficult to root for the couple, and it made the “are you my girlfriend?” scene near the end painful and rushed, when it should’ve been cute.
Additionally, I don’t think the character of Axel was utilized very well. He pops in randomly, after AJ having mentioned her ex-boyfriend, and then after approximately two scenes, he’s never seen or heard from again. It’s clear he was being used to push AJ’s development along, as well as that of the romance, but it felt unnecessary by the end of the novel.
Chi Yu Rodriguez has many feelings. Sometimes these feelings find their way to paper in the form of short stories and fiction online. Sometimes they don’t come out at all and end up as unresolved sexual tension or terrible internal angst.
She prefers making imaginary people go through these feelings for her pleasure. Her muses hate her for it, and they repay her by being forever fickle.
She wrestles with them in her head everyday.