Review: With A Twist by Staci Hart

with-a-twistReviewed by Janell

This is billed as a romantic comedy, which it kind of is, until the end when it’s all schmoopy poetry and love talk.

Lily is a principal ballerina with the New York City ballet, which is awesome. The book doesn’t delve into too much ballet minutia (except for sewing ribbons onto shoes and scoring toe pads, which I had no idea because I never danced en pointe), but it’s seeped into Lily’s life and character. She goes to work; she dances; she goes to bed early, and when she hangs out at the bar with her friends, she drinks ice water. I really liked that she was settled into her lifestyle, and that no one gives her crap about it.

West is a grad student waiting to hear if he’s accepted into Columbia’s PhD program. He TAs an English Lit class, which involves a lot of grading papers. West and his roommate live down the hall from Lily and her roommate, and he’s her best friend. Oh, he also has a beard and a man bun, if you’re into that sort of thing.

These are two awesome, dedicated, stable people, so why haven’t they banged yet? Because, when they first met, West had a girlfriend, so Lily accepted West as a friend and then never reconsidered. She was focused on ballet, and didn’t have time for a relationship anyway. I liked that these two were genuine friends. They weren’t secretly lusting after each other, at least not consciously. Sometimes I find it repetitive and/or sad when one friend is hung up on another like that.

The conflict now is that Lily’s lifetime crush, Blane Motherf*****g Baker, has finally noticed her. Well, “noticed” is a delicate way of putting it. On the first page, Blane is nailing her from behind. Lily gets to experience what happens when the man of your dreams turns out not to be perfect. She gives him a second chance, then a third, because Blane is also a ballet dancer and, “dat ass.”

Meanwhile, West has his own friend with benefits situation going on with another TA. Like I said, he’s not pining.

What moves the plot along are the introductions to, and interactions with, the friends. Patrick is a tattoo artist pining after Rose, the bartender, Cooper is a playboy, and Maggie is West’s fresh-from-North Carolina sister. Also, Lily has a supermodel sister. There’s a wide range of jobs and economic success, but everyone seems content to just hang out, trash talk, and support each other. Ah, happy single adults in New York!

So, did I like it? Sure! It was fun and breezy, and all the friends are very close. There are deep thoughts about love and Shakespeare and dance. But West doesn’t even get an inkling of romance until after the 50% mark, and Lily doesn’t hear about it until 72%. After that, conflicts resolve pretty quickly, and then West and Lily spend a lot of time sharing their feelings and having sex without condoms because Lily trusts him even though they never even discussed STDs and that’s kind of stupid, Lily. Ahem. They’re set up to be the mature, stable, parental couple in the series to come, which is fine. I wasn’t exactly ignited by their chemistry, but I didn’t hate them.

Rating: B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

With a Twist
by Staci Hart
Release Date: July 16, 2015
Publisher: Promise Socks Publishing

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