Title: The Love Study
Author: Kris Ripper
Length: 336 pages
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Imprint: Carina Press (Carina Adores)
On-Sale: September 29, 2020
Format: Trade Paperback (also available in eBook and audiobook formats)
What happens when the search for the perfect date goes perfectly wrong? Don’t miss this charming romantic comedy from critically acclaimed author Kris Ripper.
Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.
And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.
When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.
The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.
Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.
Buy The Love Study by Kris Ripper:
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-love-study-kris-ripper/1136749440
“I don’t date people,” Sidney said.
I hid my disappointment relief by forcing a laugh. “Oh, me neither. Mostly. Well. Not for a long time. Like…” I focused on the gentle sweep of their hair back from their face as if it would introduce a new topic of conversation. It didn’t.
“See, that sentence seemed like it was going to be followed by another thought.”
“Um, sorry, I realized I was basically spilling my guts to a stranger. You are totally not obligated to listen to me ramble. Only my oldest friends are contractually bound to deal with me being a hot mess.” Cue self-deprecating smile.
“You don’t seem like a hot mess to me and I don’t feel obligated. What were you going to say?”
What the hell. “Just, for a long time my not-dating policy worked? But lately it’s kind of getting…old. I’ve thinking maybe I should…at least try again. With the dating thing.” I wrinkled my nose. “Then I think that’s a horrible idea because oh my god where do you even start? Apps? Bars? I have no idea where people meet to date instead of hook up.”
Their eyes were light brown behind their red-framed glasses and I felt a bit exposed under their gaze, like maybe the glasses had a filter that could read my thoughts. Right when I was starting to shift uncomfortably, they cleared their throat. “I have an idea. It might be a bit obscene, though.”
I batted my eyelashes at them. “I enjoy the obscene.”
“Would you be interested in coming on my YouTube channel? It’s an advice show. I do one livestream and one pre-taped show each week.”
“An interview would be cool, but what if we did a series? You could come on once a week and talk about your recent dating adventures. I could find you the dates if you wanted, since you’d be supplying me with content.” Now their hands sort of danced in explanation. “And if you’re trying to get back into the dating thing anyway, maybe it’s two birds with one stone.”
My brain flooded with words and images—everything from danger, Will Robinson to a vision of Sidney and I shaking hands for the camera at an awards show where we’d just won for “Spectacular Advances in Dating Advice”—but I couldn’t seem to speak.
“Yeah, you’re right, it’s a terrible idea.” Their eyebrows were now a straight line behind their red frames. “Excuse my shameless desire to exploit your emotional turmoil for views.”
“Oh, no, I didn’t…I didn’t think that at all. I mean, I guess yes on the exploiting thing, but that doesn’t bother me. I was more…processing.”
“If it makes it any less gross, if I dated, I would absolutely mine my dating experiences for views.” They frowned. “Okay, no, that doesn’t make it less gross. Sorry. This is a nonideal first impression.”
“I like your glasses,” I blurted. “Just, that was my first impression. Well, actually I thought, Those better not be fucking fashion glasses, and then when I saw they weren’t I was impressed. They look really good on you. Not everyone can pull off red frames.”
“Oh. Um.” They straightened their shoulders. “Thank you.”
OMG, this was such a fun read!
The characters of The Love Study–Declan and Sidney especially, though the rest of the OGMFers too–are such a wonderfully quirky bunch. I loved that their idea of a bachelorette party was a slumber party with their entire friends group, and every time they all got together on the page their camaraderie shone through in everything they did (though it is more than a little uncool that they constantly bring up the fact that Dec left his fiance at the altar three years ago–especially when that fiance is one of them). There’s a teaser for Oliver’s book at the end, and I am here for it–I can’t wait to spend more time with this bunch! Is it May 25 yet? 😉
But back to The Love Study…
The premise behind the plot–that dating is hard, and queer dating has its own challenges on top of that, so Sidney’s going to help Dec navigate his way through it with their YouTube advice show–was a bit gimmicky, but fun. It was very quickly obvious to everyone *except* Dec and Sidney that they were the ones who should really be going on dates, though honestly that part was resolved a bit faster than I was expecting. Which was fun, but then it gave Dec extra time for his commitment-phobe, I-am-clearly-broken-because-I-left-my-boyfriend-at-the-altar-so-I’ll-just-hurt-them-too self to slowly build up to a massive freak out.
Which he does. In spectacular fashion.
Luckily, this is a romance with a guaranteed HEA (it’s right there in the Carina Adores promo materials!) and Sidney, being an advice giver-outer by (at least one of their) profession(s), ends up taking him back without making themselves into a doormat, and a delightful HEA is had by all.
Well, is had by Dec and Sidney, and the other friends who are already paired up when the story starts, at least. Which brings us back to Oliver (May 2021!) and Mason (the ex-fiance who’d better be getting a book too–I assume sometime after that?)…and here I am, counting the days… 😉
Rating: 4 stars / A-
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
About the author:
Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and zir pronouns are ze/zir. Kris shares a converted garage with a kid, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.
Carina Adores is home to highly romantic contemporary love stories featuring beloved romance tropes, where LGBTQ+ characters find their happily-ever-afters.
A new Carina Adores title is available each month in trade paperback, ebook and audiobook formats.
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