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Welp, this one is a wee bit of a bummer. Not that three stars is b a d, she says, endlessly into the void that is her own guilt complex. Ahem. But. Yeah, I definitely through this would wow me a lot more than it did.
This is the Wibbroka duo’s first adult romance so, hey, it’s basically like a debut, so I definitely won’t shy away from picking up their next attempt (please tell me there’s a next attempt) and it certainly won’t put me off their YA titles. But the epic spark and chemistry I expected.. well, it fizzled. Right as the couple got together.
These two writers, once darlings, have split after two books together. Four years have passed and with another book still on contract, and some pressure from Katrina’s fiancée (spoiler, I hated him, and you’re supposed to), not to mention how the buzz might inspire more sales for Nathan’s recent solo offering which.. didn’t flop but is not flying off the shelves, they reunite.
Untangling what went wrong, experiencing their tension, the struggle to fake being friends, even as they slowly become friendly again, the whole dynamic was great. But when we find out what sent them in opposite directions — by the way, we get flashbacks through the story — well. I had feelings. And then when these two finally worked it all out and their relationship changed.. I was.. not underwhelmed but. I was whelmed.
I was really into the concept of this, I enjoyed some the post-working-it-out conflict and unresolved angst of it all, and I especially enjoyed watching these two characters’ method for co-authoring (could it be how the authors themselves right? curious!), but between the fiancée, the letdown of the aforementioned reveals and romance, it just kinda went sideways on me. Part of this could be my expectations, I was hyped for this, but the other part I don’t think is me. So. Make of that what you will!
My first book I’ve read by the author duo, Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka, their writing was beautiful, telling the tale between the protagonists of The Roughest Draft who also happen to be two authors writing a book together.
Taking on a dual timeframe that slowly reveals what truly happened between the writing team, Katrina and Nathan that led to their professional break up; they are pressured to join forces again and fulfill their publishing contract to write their final book. The slow burn romance between them was perfect and it was a pleasure to read their parallel lives, dual POV and dual timelines that added such a wonderful uniqueness than other stories that I have read in the past that have attempted the same method.
The only issue I had was I felt the middle could have been edited down a bit because the pace of the story dragged at times. But other than that, this is a great memorable romance novel.
Thank you Berkley for the arc. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Bear with me, as my own words are going to be completely inadequate for this review. This book *enchanted* me. My mind is completely consumed by the beautiful writing that this book held. Each word was deliberately picked and each sentence meticulously crafted. I am in awe at the completely immersive reading experience The Roughest Draft provided for me. I don't know what else to say. Pre-order it. Anticipate it's arrival. Cuddle up and be prepared to be enraptured with Emily and Austin's prose.
I am joining the ranks of other reviewers I've seen on here that are tempted to gatekeep this novel, to keep it secret and keep it safe, because I do not think I can handle people disagreeing with my thoughts. But this book is meant to be read and I hope everyone is able to enjoy the brilliance, wit and care that went into this story! Thank you Emily & Austin for writing this beautiful story . These new to me authors are definitely on my radar now!
Read this if you enjoy: ✨ forced proximity ✨ tension and angst for days (years?) ✨ beautiful writing ✨ Beach Read meets Daisy Jones & the Six ✨ insights into coauthoring ✨ Editing scenes that feel like academic foreplay ✨ Learning new words (inchoate? obfuscation?)
"Forever is about reaching into the future, into years far away and unknowable. Always is about every second of every day. It's as far reaching as forever, it just starts sooner."
This book. This is why I read. For the absolute delight and privilege of discovering a magnificent story and being swept up into it's wonderfully crafted world. The Roughest Draft was my first book from this writing duo and it certainly won't be my last. I loved every single moment of reading Katrina and Nathan's story. They both felt like real people: nuanced, complex and human. It was so lovely to read. Props to Emily and Austin because the writing throughout The Roughest Draft is truly remarkable. I can't wait for their next book!
Book stats: Read time - 6h 17min Reading sessions - 8
I had high exceptions for this book and it did not disappoint. The plot is about Katrina and Nathan, famous co-authors, who decided to stop writing together four years ago for unknown reasons. However, because of the contract with their publishing company, they now have to meet each other again to write a new novel. The plot is set in Florida, which makes it a perfect summer read! This is a romance novel whose main focus is on the relationship of the characters and the way their writing and their personal life intertwine. This book made me smile all the way through and laugh oftentimes. It is a really cute romance, the chemistry of the characters is amazing. They understand and complete each other so well! They are still sad and emotional moments, as well as tension between the characters, but it makes the story even more real. Nathan and Katrina are relatable, especially in their struggles. However, I did find some downfalls to the story. I was expecting a huge reason for the two authors to not talk to each other and was a little disappointed, even though their points of view are valid and understandable. I did find the story a bit dragging, especially bait halfway through the book, but overall this book was very easy to read and I quite enjoyed the writing style. The two main characters were well developed, contrary to Chris, Katrina’s fiancé. Chris is depicted as a very unlikeable, egocentric and narcissistic character who is only driven by money and power, which, to me, was a little bit much. I however really enjoyed the fact that this story is a slow burn. Even if it is an « open door » romance novel, the intimacy did not take over the story, which I appreciated. Overall, this book was very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a summer romance to read!
I read this entire book but lacked enjoyment while doing so. I kept waiting for there to be some kind of twist that would move the plot away from its inevitable conclusion, even briefly, but it was just a very linear, predictable plotline. I didn't particularly like any of the characters. I was annoyed by their immature decisions and responses to feelings and situations. There was very little romance in this book and it was hard to feel any spark or excitement for the characters. We are hit VERY hard with their writing process which adds to the drag. I really expected to like this book and was disappointed.
This is one of the rare books where I feel like I do need the option of adding .5 stars to a review because, in actuality, this was a 2.5 for me. I don't know if the enemies to lovers trope is just really not for me or the men in these romance novels are actually somewhat toxic, but once I got halfway through this the appeal of Nathan's character had dissipated for me.
The set-up is great, & I was solidly hooked for a full 50% of this book, but the more flashbacks we had to their previous "friendship" the more I was like "was this ever working out?" I really liked Katrina as a character, & I related to her struggles a lot, but I don't know if I was sold on Nathan as her perfect match. I know they were work partners & their disagreements were supposed to be a result of that, but I wasn't feeling the love that was supposed to be behind those arguments.
It's possible that the romance genre just isn't for me (the only 2 that I've liked so far are People We Meet On Vacation & Red, White, & Royal Blue) but I'd love to see more genuinely kind male leads in the genre. I think the stoic, emotionally-distant male lead who can't express his feelings thing has been done to death & I'm frankly over it. There are more love stories to tell, & they don't all involve that character.
All that being said, I would have given this 2.5 stars if I could. Definitely not unreadable, but if I'm not sold on your main couple in a romance novel then frankly I'm not sure why I'm here.
🤓📚𝗕𝗢𝗢𝗞 𝗥𝗘𝗩𝗜𝗘𝗪📚 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗥𝗼𝘂𝗴𝗵𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝗗𝗿𝗮𝗳𝘁 𝗯𝘆 @austins_b 𝗞𝗮𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗮 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗵𝗮𝗻 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗯𝗮𝗰𝗸 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝘁𝗼 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗼 𝗰𝗼𝗺𝗽𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗽𝘂𝗯𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁. 𝗧𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝘄𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲 𝗮 𝗯𝗲𝘀𝘁 𝘀𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗿 𝗯𝗲𝗳𝗼𝗿𝗲 𝗯𝘂𝘁 𝗵𝗮𝘃𝗲𝗻'𝘁 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗻 𝘁𝗼𝗴𝗲𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗿 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿 𝘀𝗶𝗻𝗰𝗲. 𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘆 𝗽𝘂𝘁 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝗶𝗿 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀...𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝘂𝗿𝗿𝗲𝗻𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝗲𝗹𝗶𝗻𝗴𝘀 𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗱𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝘄𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗮𝗴𝗮𝗶𝗻? 𝗪𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗞𝗮𝘁𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗮 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝘆 𝗶𝗻 𝗮 𝗿𝗲𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗹𝗮𝗰𝗸𝘀 𝘁𝗿𝘂𝗲 𝗹𝗼𝘃𝗲 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗽𝗮𝘀𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻? 🤐 𝗡𝗼 𝘀𝗽𝗼𝗶𝗹𝗲𝗿𝘀 𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲. 𝗙𝗮𝘃𝗼𝗿𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗾𝘂𝗼𝘁𝗲𝘀: "Once you have your dreams, all you have left is the chance to lose them.” “I learned sometimes relationships don’t die. They just don’t grow. Kept from sunlight, from nourishment.” “Because in the end the best part of a love story isn’t having it. It’s getting to keep writing it.”
I did not enjoy this story, but the scenery and images were a redeeming point. I only stuck with it to see how it ended. Its a story about writers writing and in denial about their feelings for each other. Nathan is the only character I found likeable, except for him putting up with Katrina's whining. There were pages and pages of "feelings" when a paragraph could gave summed it up. There were some odd word choices, too many analogies, and the physical interactions were confusing.