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Hearts On Fire Reviews

We read and review for the love and joy of books.

Con Riley – True Brit

True Brit - Con Riley

Reviewer: Vivian

Genre: MM Contemporary


Review: One word: Gamesmanship


Competition television... an interactive challenge or scripted show? The production team for BritPop! has a plan to maximize viewership and revenue. The first few rounds have gone exactly as planned. Underperforming, minority contestants seem to be falling by the wayside. Thing is, not all the contestants are ready to roll over.


It's a dog eat dog world. Everyone is selling something. A singer isn't just a voice. They're entertainers with an image, a story and in a visual media world the physical is a critical component. Boy does Pash sell it. Ed, not so much.


Pasha, his strategy is gaming the system. Milking and subtle sabotage if necessary to win. He will win.


Ed's strategy is earnestness--True blue, faithful all the way. He's not a front man, but he's driven to win this. He just has no clue what he's doing.


To be honest, I hate these programs on TV. I mean, I'm not a big television viewer to begin with, but the blatant marketing is a turnoff. Only one step up from infomercials and "reality TV", so why did I find the premise even vaguely interesting? Sure is fun to watch all the chess moves without the caterwauling and hype, but it was the quiet, sneak up on you romance that won me.


There is a delicate balance here that takes contentious components and manages to juggle and rearrange them without blowing them up in your face. There's race, religion, and patriotism which are highly relevant issues today that are adroitly handled, and never did it feel preachy or dogmatic; they were organic to the story as a whole.


There's a lot woven in that just makes each chapter fulfilling. Loved the fun twist in this GFY love story. The title made me smile once I got it, great word play. And the end, yeah, perfect without compromise. It's uplifting and romantic without being ridiculous. Oh, and since this is a Riley book, expect a few suckerpunches.


Overall, an unexpected and beautiful romance wrapped in a game of Stratego.


Favorite advice:

“But right now, Mr. Fuck-me-hardcore-on-my-first-date, you need to shut up and slow down. This isn’t a porno or a contest. It’s real life, and it’s better.”