Review: What I’m Looking For by Karen Grey

Posted June 18, 2020 by Jen in Rating B, Recent History/Nostalgic Fiction, Reviews, Romance Tags: , , ,

What I’m Looking For
Karen Grey
Rating: B/B-

What I’m Talking About:

Set in the Gen-X, larger-than-life 80s, What I’m Looking For is the story of two opposites navigating their way around societal norms and expectations. Kate is a successful financial analyst, a woman in a male-dominated field. Will is an actor, scorning financial success, yet unsure of how to fit in a world that expects him to be the bread winner. They believe from the start that they have no future, but their passion says otherwise. 

A good romance is ageless, regardless of the place and time, and Ms. Grey finds this with Will and Kate. While it took time for me to warm up to the pair, I found their complex connection worth the wait. Each has so much baggage that it takes time for them to recognize and properly deal with their own insecurities and pasts before moving forward. While some of their issues can be considered dated (it is the 1980’s), they are still fears that can resonate in today’s more “modern” era. Worries of abandonment or not being good enough didn’t go away with the progression of women’s rights and acceptance of beta males. The #metoo movement shows us that discrimination and harassment are still very much part of today’s world. So while sometimes the setting and actions felt out-of-place or dated, the underlying message is solid and the romance is strong.

I am a child of the 80s, so I jumped at the idea of a story set in that decade. What I’m Looking For is filled with 80s nostalgia and a few whimsical glimpses into the not-so-distant future. The book opens with a harsh reminder of what it was like in the workplace for women, especially in a male-dominated office. It made me think of movies like Working Girl or 9-to-5. At times I enjoyed the slang and sly references, realizing I must be old because I still use some of the catch phrases that were big back then. However, at times, the references felt out of place or forced, like name-dropping or all-to-obvious product placements. I am also not of fan of the “what ifs…” Like what if there was a way to look up people and see their pictures like the face books Harvard made… I’ve never been a fan of the cutsie coincidences told from the past about the future, so when Kate made observations like this, it rubbed me the wrong way.

Regardless of my small issues, I enjoyed the story and the characters. I loved Kate’s connection with best friend Alice. Their jogs and heart-to-hearts are sincere and timeless. I actually loved Kate’s friendship with her co-worker, Hot Steve. He is a great example of a stereotype that breaks the mold; both smarmy and genuine. And while they have a rough go of things, Will and Kate are a wonderful pair. Ms. Grey shares allows both their fears and affection to shine across the pages, giving What I’m Looking For a strong story and satisfying conclusion.

My Rating: B/B-  Liked it, but I had a few small issues; Recommend

About the Book:

Recipe for a Boston Classic Cocktail: one part finance geek, one part starving actor, two shots of stubborn and a healthy squeeze of passion. Shake well and serve in a vintage glass.

When Kate Bishop walks into Boston’s famous Bull and Finch pub, all she’s looking for is one guy from her investment firm that she can trust to have her back—a tall order. With a salesman at her side, maybe stage fright won’t paralyze her completely when she presents her meticulously prepared research to clients. And maybe she can save her job.

Romance is the last thing on her to-do list, but a meet-cute with a Shakespeare-quoting bartender has her speculating on the value of diversifying her life portfolio.

Will Talbot is not a fan of the slick financiers who cram into his bar after each day’s closing bell. With their calls for Harvey Wallbangers and their Hermès ties, they’re all the same.

Except for a certain beautiful, buttoned-up brunette with fire in her eyes and a storm in her heart. They’re totally wrong for each other. He should be focusing on his upcoming audition, not coaching Kate on how to act like she’s a bona fide member of the Gordon Gekko club.

Problem is, they can’t seem to stay away from each other.

The course of true love never did run smooth, but in this 1980’s sweet-and-sexy rom-com, returns on love can’t be measured on the S&P 500.

Release Date: June 23, 2020
Home Cooked Books
Boston Classics #1
Nostalgic Romance
paperback (283 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Author

Purchase Info:
Amazon (affiliate link)