A few weeks ago, I saw this “new” marketing technique being used by several authors who promote their books on Twitter. I called it the “list a bunch of tropes then add a link for purchase or pre-order” method, but I was sure it had a slicker and more established name.
I haven’t been able to find a definitive term for it, but after listening to book-friends talk, it sounds like the technique is based on An Archive of Our Own (AO3) tags. I visit a different story-sharing site for erotica, and I’ve got to tell you, I love tags like these. It seems like the author chooses their own tags (much like the tags we have on our blogposts are also chosen by each Lady). Some tags are extremely unhelpful and niche – I think they are mostly some weird combo of words that allow the authors to find their own stories again. But other tags are very effective at helping me find things that I’m going to like in the huge, slushy pile of internet that is Literotica.
At any rate, Mimi Grace: If you are reading, your tags worked! I had some problems setting up a pre-order from Amazon.co.jp for Along for the Ride, but I put a reminder in my Google Calendar to try again after the publication date, and I finally bought the book last week.
Dear Readers, it’s a lot of fun! It lives up to the cute cover, and all the tags Mimi put on it. Sexy #romcom? Yes! The sexy bits are well-written and gave me those lovely, fizzy feelings that I like to see in a romance.
While I wouldn’t call them plain-Jane sex scenes, the reader does not need to negotiate kink or sex-guilt – nice foreplay and descriptive PIV.
The road trip takes up the first third of the story – two people, trapped in a moving van with their past selves. Mimi knocks this out of the park – the tension was real and reasonable, and they learned enough to give each other another chance. They run into a creepy gas station, and swindlers in the small town their van breaks down outside of, but they survive these obstacles as a team.
As for our POV characters, Jason is an uptight dentist. If you are into astrology, you might think, “Virgo!” after a chapter or two. Jolene is a free-spirited public relations account manager who has toned down her past self to become someone who is passionate and effective at her job. She loves her work. They got off on the wrong foot at Jolene’s sister’s wedding, and everything rings true – their initial antagonism and fears, and the way they start to trust each other.
The book is smoothly written, and the plot twists delight and entertain. I will say, the last plot twist doesn’t seem as polished as the rest of the book. There’s a complicated Deus Ex Machina involving the bad guy’s father that wasn’t as satisfying as it could be. However, at that point, I was completely invested in these two, and just skimmed over the plot holes to get to the happily ever after, which was happy, indeed. There was a very good Dark Moment of the Soul that made me stop and think: she’s really lost everything, hasn’t she? The plot bones were there; and the reconciliation of our hero and heroine was lovely.
Our blog readers who know me may be expecting ghosts, spaceships or temporal disturbances, but there was no woo-woo in this book. It’s a straight romance, and a fine example of the genre. If you are looking for something light and fun and really well done, here you go.
Along for the Ride is Mimi Grace’s debut book, and came out on July 16, 2019. Here is her blog.