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A Review A REVIEWS A+ Review Contemporary Romance

Joint Review: The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Publisher: TKA Distribution
Where did you get the book: Purchased
Release date: Out now

Women have been known to lament, “Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.” For Johnny Smith, the problem is, “Always a Best Man, never a groom.” At age 33, housepainter Johnny has been Best Man eight times. The ultimate man’s man, Johnny loves the Mets, the Jets, his weekly poker game, and the hula girl lamp that hangs over his basement pool table. Johnny has the instant affection of nearly every man he meets, but one thing he doesn’t have is a woman to share his life with, and he wants that desperately. When Johnny meets District Attorney Helen Troy, he decides to renounce his bro-magnet ways in order to impress her. With the aid and advice of his friends and family, soon he’s transforming his wardrobe, buying throw pillows, ditching the hula girl lamp, getting a cat and even changing his name to the more mature-sounding John. And through it all, he’s pretending to have no interest in sports, which Helen claims to abhor. As things heat up with Helen, the questions arise: Will Johnny finally get the girl? And, if he’s successful in that pursuit, who will he be now that he’s no longer really himself? THE BRO-MAGNET is a rollicking comedic novel about what one man is willing to give up for the sake of love.

*blurb from Goodreads*

Lou: This is a book that I would never have chosen to read for a number of reasons. One: The cover. Yes, I’m a cover-snob but looking at that cover I would have thought the book would be about people playing pool. In my normal book browsing habits, I would not have noticed it. Two: I rarely read out of my genre comfort zones. And having a book from a male POV that’s not strictly a romance is somewhat alien to me. And three: I’m not a huge fan of humour books because very often I don’t find the humour funny. And therefore, makes me feel as if my funny bone is missing. But I did pick this book up because of the recommendation from Jane at Dear Author. So bought it I did, read it I did, and loved it I did. I.loved.this.book. It had me smiling from the get go and I was happily snorting away in laughter because the hero, Johnny, manages to be endearing and so bro-male at the same time. And the situations he gets himself into were hilarious.

Has: Oh I feel the same way! I wouldn’t have picked this up because of that cover which I don’t think really reflects the tone of the book, and I am leery of the idea of the male POV especially with the comedy element. Humorous books can be really subjective and the few I’ve read didn’t work for me. But I was so glad I listened to the recs by Lou and Jane. This book was a pure gem of hilariousness. The hero was wonderfully engaging and likeable, and he felt so real, and any wariness I had dissipated because once I read that opening passage I was lost into the fun. I rarely laugh out loud let alone giggle throughout a whole book, but I did with The Bro-Magnet.

Lou: He was so endearing because he always ended up getting things wrong, and always saying the wrong thing. When the book first starts (and it’s told in 1st narrative), Johnny tells us about how he was a disappointment to women even since his mother, and how she looked at him in surprise when he was born because he wasn’t a girl, and then she abruptly died. When you think of it, it’s quite sad but it’s oh so humorous at the same time. Then Johnny takes you through to his childhood briefly. The bra-snapping incident was so funny because yes, it happened when I was in school. I think nearly every girl has had her bra snapped by annoying boys as kids. Here’s the bra-snapping quote because even though it’s a immature stunt played by a immature boy, there’s so much humour in the writing.

“Alice Knox has the nicest breasts of any girl in our class. Hell, the nicest breasts of any girl in the whole school – throw in seventh and eighth grades, because those are some amazing world-class breasts!

Which is why, as she receives her tray with a salad on it and I reach for my own orange tray with one hand, I reach out the other hand, place one finger under the suddenly blinding white bra strap that’s peeking out from beneath her pink tank and snap it.

Snap.

Which is almost immediately followed by…

Slap.

Oh yeah, and that’s almost immediately followed by Alice dumping her tray over my head.
And that is immediately followed by Alice seething, “I hate you, Smith,” before helping herself to a fresh tray.”

Has: I think this is why it was so appealing. It had the male POV done so realistically and with humour but it conveyed the family and friendship dynamic so well too. His interactions with his father and aunt felt so real and full of chemistry and I adored his best friend who was a lesbian and was just as woeful with her experiences with women. This was a fantastic book that really delved into the male psyche and how they viewed the opposite sex as well romance.

Lou: Johnny is also a unreliable narrator. For those that don’t know what that means, a unreliable narrator is a narrator where the reader can’t tell for sure whether or not they are telling us truth, fact, or if it’s complete bollocks. But Johnny’s not unlikeable — never that. Since being a woman and all, I can’t tell if Johnny was portrayed realistically within a man’s psyche, but by god I had one hell of a time laughing. Johnny’s romance of Helen was so sweet, and you couldn’t help but root for him because despite how clueless he was, he really liked Helen. I did have a fearful moment in the beginning where I thought Alice would be his love interest. Alice was a bitch in all capital letters. Johnny was never mean to her, but she seemed to have a raging hard on for him all the time. But Johnny was never perfect either, and this is one of Has’ favourite quotes. It’s crude, but funny as hell. This quote is where Johnny is desperately trying to explain to Helen how he does not finds loopholes in court cases.

“So let me get this straight,” she says. “It’s not loopholes you have a thing for, it’s ice holes?”

“Oh, yes,” I say, “from when I was little and my dad used to take me ice fishing. Ever since he got MS and can’t get around as well anymore, I like to remember the times when we used to be together on the ice, sitting around the ice holes.”

Well, at least the part about him having MS is true.

“That’s sweet,” she says.

Hey, I’m on a roll here.

“Not only do I like ice holes,” I say, “but I like sinkholes.”

“Sinkholes?”

“I mean, I’d hate to get my truck stuck in one, but they’re so interesting, the way they just appear all of a sudden. And peepholes, I like those too.”

“Peepholes?”

“It is always good to see who’s on the other side of the door so you know whether you want to let them in or not. Oh, and blowholes – you know, whales. They should be saved.”

“So,” she says slowly, reviewing my case item by item, “you like ice holes, sinkholes, peepholes and blowholes?”

I nod.

“But not loopholes?”

I nod again.

Hole this, hole that – even when I’m determined not to just be myself, I’m such an asshole. I just can’t help it.

Has: I think the author captured that male POV but not all males will be like that, but I think because of the chemistry and the use of dialogue — which flowed really naturally as well sparkling with humour — it felt real. I think the idea of the how women and men think was realistically portrayed because it never really felt forced or resorted to cliches. And when it did, the author deftly challenged that. In a lot of ways, although this was a book that was about the mishap adventures of a guy trying to woo a woman despite having the crappiest luck ever because he was such a guy’s guy,  this is a book about relationships between friends and families. I loved how it explored different facets of that and in such a fun and entertaining way. Such as the fact his BFF was a lesbian and that he was brought up by his father and aunt. It never resorted to stereotypes.

Lou: It never did, and some of the incidents in the book were so far away from any typical male stereotypes. From Johnny totally get owned by a little kid who he’s buying a kitten from. That scene had me in stitches because the kid totally played him like a fool. Johnny did all of these ridiculous situations because it’s what he thought a woman would want, and what Helen would want. He was actually very sweet. And I thought Helen was just perfect for him because in the end, it wasn’t just Johnny that partook in some untruths to impress the other person. I would recommend and book push this book with no reservations. If you would like a funny book with a male POV with a cute romance, please go and read The Bro-Magnet. I don’t think you will be disappointed. I give this a resounding and well deserved smacking A+.

Has: OMG that scene was HILARIOUS. And the image of him with that cat leash — although the Barn Opera was my favourite because it was beyond ridiculous and the fact he was so blind-sighted by it LMAO. I love the feeling of a book that really takes you by surprise, although I did wish we had more at the end of the book, especially on the HEA because it felt so abrupt. But I highly recommend this book, it really shines with humour, joy and wit and I dare you not to laugh because this book will have you in giggling away! I give this a sparkling A

Kindle eBook

By Lou

One thing that Lou loves most is her HEA in romances.

4 replies on “Joint Review: The Bro-Magnet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted”

I love, love, love this book. It is so cute and funny and such an unexpected gem of a find. Thanks, bookpushers! I’d love to see more romances done from the guy’s POV.

@Heller: I would love to see this also because not once did I miss the heroine’s POV. I did so in a historical romance I reviewed a while back, so I definitely think it depends on how strong and likeable the narrator is.

@Sophia (FV): I loved the humour in this, and I’m so glad the author is writing a sequel!

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