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Ratings & Reviews for

The Boy Toy

5 stars
214 (9%)
4 stars
793 (35%)
3 stars
885 (39%)
2 stars
270 (12%)
1 star
68 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 421 reviews
Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,309 reviews44.1k followers
July 5, 2021
I’m feeling a deja vu right now! One week ago I read Ties that tether, a woman is forced to marry with a man from own culture and she attends blind dates with candidates but later she has one night stand with a charming white guy and her growing attraction to him puts her inappropriate situation: she needs to choose between her heart and family’s wishes to draw her future path. (Both books’ covers have some resemblances made me think they share the same illustrator.)

At this book: our heroine is suffering from similar predicament. But of course there are remarkable differences about her story. First of all: she already obeyed her family’s wishes and unhappily married with an Indian man and happily divorced from him.

Other difference is as I mentioned before, heroine’s the mother side of ancestors are Indian. Her world is already torn between two cultures: her father is white American and Indian side of her family are really unreasonable about Samira’s love life choices.

Samira is in her mid thirties and her one night stand , 10 years younger hot Aussie boy toy Rory is her new customer who hired her as dialect coach.

Samira is still under pressure of her family’s demands to force her to remarry with a man from her cultural background but even though there is 10 years age difference, she cannot help herself to attract to Rory who is a stuntman and who’s dreaming to be a movie star but his speech problems push him back to reach his dreams.

As Samira professionally helps him, bringing out his bottled up emotions. As he starts opening up about his true feelings, they become closer and form a beautiful bounding. I have to admit I loved both of the characters. Especially Rory is so much likable, honest, sincere book boyfriend. I even thought to give five stars to this story because of rooting for him so passionately. He’s truly amazing!

Emotional depth of the story and the sweet, pure romance between the characters made me love this book more.

The plot line can have some similarities with other books but the story’s progression and the well developed, heart stealing characters and poignant conclusion of the story without so much unnecessary angst and drama made this book unique. (I also enjoyed the age difference part! )

Overall: Easy, quick, entertaining, heartwarming reading for me! I highly recommend to feel good book fans and romcom lovers.
Special thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing for sharing this sweet ARC with me in exchange my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Angelica.
814 reviews1,154 followers
March 20, 2021
Well, this is disappointing.

I wanted to love this book. I always want to love the books I read. It's why I read them, obviously. Unfortunately, some books just don't do it for me. And this one definitely didn't even come close to doing it for me.

My main problem with this book is that despite being a romance novel, there is very little romance. The two characters spend 85% of their time together simply having sex. The last 15% of the time is spent between flirting and texting and getting to know the most basic information about each other. They know nothing substantial of the other. Their entire relationship is based on mutual, purely physical attraction. And that would be fine, except that the novel tries to tell us that they are in love and I don't buy it! 

Another problem was that the book felt dramatic for the sake of drama.  It was a romance novel where romance takes the very back seat to a lot of family and community drama. A lot of the drama is related to pregnancy, which bothered me because I hate it when pregnancy causes and solves all the problems in a story. Stories like that tend to imply that to be complete and to be happy as a woman, you must have a child.

Now to the characters. I didn't love them.

Samira was ok. I honestly don't have much to say about her. I didn't hate or love her.

Rory was also, technically, fine. I don't for a second believe that he was in love, but I already talked about that.  His stutter was presented as a problem but he barely stuttered in the entire novel, and no one noticed when he did. His fear of talking on TV was glossed over and easily overcome. And yes, I know that he struggled with stuttering as a kid and that it certainly affected him on a deep emotional level. But we don't actively see him struggle, we are just told that he does. We weren't even shown his progression with the dialect coach, we are just told that it happens. This lack of showing wouldn't have been an issue if a part of the plot, in the form of his development and apprehension of relationships, didn't stem from how he felt about his stuttering.  

I also don't have much to say about the side characters. Manish was written specifically to be likable, but I found him a bit annoying. I felt bad for Pia, but should probably see a relationship counselor. Kushi, Samira's mom, was ok, I suppose. Rory's dad didn't suddenly deserve redemption.

This book did have some good parts. I'm here for all the racially diverse romance novels. I liked seeing a male lead with a speech impediment, although I didn't like the fact that the issue is mostly talked about rather than shown. And I liked that the author showed so much of Samira's Indian heritage.

Still, I didn't love this book. Hopefully, you do, but I don't really recommend it.

**I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.**
Profile Image for Christy.
3,918 reviews33k followers
January 19, 2021
3.5 stars

I was expecting this book to be light and fun based on the cover, but it went much deeper than I thought. This was my first book by Nicola Marsh and I enjoyed it a lot. I especially loved the representation of but I've got to be honest, I really hated how . The hero was fantastic and I really felt his struggles. I loved to hear how that was own voices for the author and how much she could relate to the hero. The heroine made some choices I wasn't happy with towards the end, but overall it was a good read for me and I would definitely check out more by this author in the future.

Audio book source: Libby (library borrow)
Story Rating: 3.5 stars
Narrators: Shiloh Gray and Nathaniel Black
Narration Rating: 4 stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance (fyi has 10 year age gap- older woman)
Length: 9 hours and 25 minutes
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books1,044 followers
August 10, 2020
Samira is a physical therapist who returns to Australia to help her cousin launch her business, a health center. She’d left and moved to LA twelve years earlier after a painful divorce that she partially blamed her meddlesome Indian mother for. As soon as she returns, her mother starts pushing her toward an Indian doctor. Now that her American-born father is dead, Samira has no one to run interference between her and her matchmaking mom.

Samira has what she thinks is going to be a one-night stand with an Australian man a decade younger than her who makes his living as a stunt man. Doing stunts means he doesn’t have to deliver any lines, and no one needs to know about all the hours Rory spent working with speech therapists to get his stutter under control.

There was one major thing you could foresee happening, and there could have been more tension, but I liked Samira and Rory and Samira’s mom. Most of the tension was actually between Samira and her cousin, and some between Samira and Rory that was cleared up fairly quickly. I liked that Samira being mistreated by her first Indian husband made it so falling in love did seem like a legitimate risk to her. Rory also had legitimate reasons for not getting serious.

Also, reading this really made me crave Indian food because Samira’s mom is always making lots of delicious dishes.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES NOVEMBER 17, 2020.
Profile Image for Berit Talks Books.
2,024 reviews15.7k followers
January 2, 2021
Loved loved loved it! Nicola Marsh warmed my heart with this fun feel-good story. Samira has returned to Australia to help her cousin start her business after a decade away. Samira has spent the last 10 years in LA working as a physical therapist and avoiding the cultural expectations of her mother. Mom was not thrilled after Samira divorced the Indian man the family had set her up with. But now she is back and what better way to kick off her homecoming then with a one night fling with a hot Australian man 10 years her junior? No one needs to find out... right? Well that’s what Samira thinks until Rory walks in two her office the very next day. Rory is a stunt man who has consistently avoided talking rolls because he has a speech impediment. But now his agent has found the perfect part for him so he agrees to speech therapy not knowing that his one night fling was going to be his therapist. Oopsie! 🙊

I loved both Samira and Rory so much in this story! they were both just such likable authentic people that you’d love to have as friends. now of course Samira‘s mom was not thrilled with the situation, but she really had a big heart and loved her daughter. It kind of broke my heart that they had spent so many years apart, if they had only had a true talk about this. The book was less angsty and more steamy then I was anticipating, but I was good with that! this was just a great story filled with amazing characters and yummy food. 😋

*** Big thank you to Berkley for my gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own. ***
Profile Image for Stacee.
2,740 reviews712 followers
November 9, 2020
This one sounded like a lot of fun, so I was eager to jump into a new-to-me author.

I liked Samira and Rory. They're both good people who are looking to be their own people. Both are smart and loyal and maybe looking for a little acceptance (even if it's in different ways.) Together they have instant chemistry. I loved Samira's cousin and mom and couldn't get enough of the food descriptions.

Plot wise, it was just okay for me. At about halfway, there's an obvious turn into a plot device that I don't care for, so it was a bit of bummer (and something that likely would have kept me from requesting this book.) I will say that I loved seeing the older woman/younger man trope and Rory's stutter was something that I had never read before. I especially loved the scenes of him and the kids.

Overall, I did want to see the MCs get their HEA; unfortunately, I don't think this will be a story that sticks in my head.

**Huge thanks to Berkley for providing the arc free of charge**
Profile Image for Kelly.
1,312 reviews502 followers
November 24, 2020
The Boy Toy was an easy, entertaining romance following a woman in her mid-thirties, Samira. Her father is white and American while her mother and her side of the family is Indian. She feels a bit of pressure from them to marry and find a nice Indian boy. However, after marrying and divorcing one of those "nice Indian boys" she doesn't want to do the same mistake twice and she just wants to have a bit of fun right now.

Now comes in Rory, a younger man (about ten years difference) who's clearly happy to have a one-night-stand with a beautiful older woman. The thing is, he's about to seek professional help for his speech problems and dun dun dun, of course, he has an appointment with Samira.

Overall, I really liked the different rep in this book and like I said, this was pretty quick and easy to read and I enjoyed it.

(Thank you for letting me read and review an ARC via Netgalley)
Profile Image for Rakisha.
475 reviews22 followers
July 13, 2020
As a 47-year-old single woman of color, I appreciate reading a sexy romance with an older heroine finding love and having a healthy sex life. Love, dating, and sex doesn't stop at age 30! It was refreshing to read a romance featuring a May-December romance where the "December" is an accomplished woman. The hero wasn't perfect. He had a stutter and the heroine suffered with infertility. Nicola Marsh did an excellent job of weaving these challenges throughout the story while providing us with a sexy romance with characters we don't normally get to see. I am already recommending this book to my romance reading colleagues and friends. I will definitely be purchasing this is a customer and encouraging my library system to purchase it for the collection. (And to do a virtual book club around it!)
Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,254 followers
November 5, 2020
3.5 Making Choices Stars
* * * 1/2 Spoiler Free-A Quick Review
There have been more multicultural stories happening in novels, TV, and Films. The more out there, the more exposure and understanding of different cultures happen. In The Boy Toy, we have 37-year-old Samira Broderick. a woman who had an American white father and an Indian mother growing up in Australia.

In keeping with the Indian culture, Samira followed her mother's guidance and married the "Nice Indian Boy.
Unfortunately, the union was not good, he cheated, and she divorced after trying for it to work. She moved to Los Angeles and has been working as a physical therapist.

Now Samira is back for the next 6 months to assist her sister with her new health business. This is a time for her to maybe have a little fun and that happens when she meets and beds Rory, a 27-year-old stuntman. He is not Indian and when the mother starts again for Samira to look for an Indian man, complications happen.

What was supposed to be fun, starts to be so much more. Rory is a good guy who has his own challenges. Together, they make a couple who will have to see if things will come together against all odds. There were sweet times and a full look at how two people will need to dig deep and decide what is important.

The Boy Toy by Nicola Marsh The Boy Toy

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Wendy.
482 reviews
November 3, 2020
Thank you to Berkley Romance and Netgalley for a gifted copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

This one felt very similar to Ties that Tether which I read recently. We've got a heroine who has a lot of pressure from her single mother to choose a husband from her own culture and she ends up having a fling with a White man, risking alienation from her mom and the other Indian aunties. It's a fast paced book that's really cute and steamy but also covers alot of serious topics such as infertility and speech impediment. I'm hoping for a follow up featuring Manny!
Profile Image for Becca.
52 reviews20 followers
August 13, 2021
Scroll to see Angelica's review, she says it all best. Very disappointed in this book.
Profile Image for Danielle (Life of a Literary Nerd).
1,226 reviews257 followers
December 1, 2020
Fun, quick read perfect for summer. I thought Sam and Rory had great chemistry and I loved the strong family story surround Sam's return home and how strong her Indian heritage and cultural surrounds her. And I've never seen a character with a stutter before, so I really loved seeing Rory's perspective and strength.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for RateTheRomance.
828 reviews120 followers
March 21, 2021
This book was just okay for me. I loved the Older Woman-Younger Man trope and I loved the glimpse into a different culture and the dynamics and expectations that come along with that.

However, this book felt very disjointed.

These two characters have almost no interactions BESIDES hot sex hook-ups. And then, suddenly, they are in love. I just wish there had been more time spent together without sex to create the relationship and love dynamic.

Also, pretty much everyone in this book (besides the lead female character) is a total a$$hole. Yes, even the male lead is kind of a dick. These two "fall in love" without knowing anything about each other including the female lead (who works in speech therapy) having NO IDEA the man she is having sex with then dating then falling in love with has a stutter. He literally stutters multiple times in front of her and she has no idea....? It all felt so improbable.

These characters had mad-hot sexual chemistry, but nothing else. In the end, this book just didn't work for me.

TRIGGERS: Infertility, cheating ex,
parent abandonment, stutter, preemie/nicu baby
FEELS-O-METER: 3/5 *covered some tough topics

Profile Image for Kim C.
70 reviews1 follower
August 27, 2020
Consider me being really entertained and attached to the characters and the story.

Samira, is a 37 year old Indian-American Physical therapist who moved back to Australia from LA. She fled Melbourne after a fall out with her mom and ex husband. Rory, is a 27 year old Australian stuntman/tv personality who was described as a Chris Hemsworth look-alike. Did that fact make me swoon over Rory? Definitely yes! Chris is my absolute ultimate tv crush so that’s why his character is a total snatch! He is not the perfect male lead but his imperfection (something i dont want to spoil you with) made him even more lovable and i appreciate the author's note in explaining why she included this in Rory's character. The book felt very personal and i understood why, after reading the author's note.

First part in, you’ll be treated with some really steamy woop woop (romance) scene. Boy did this make me utterly dazed! I like that both our character’s background were not perfect. Their past experiences hinders in the way of them not falling irrevocably inlove with one another. And I like how that got resolved. There was also spotlights on the relationship between Samira and her mom Kushi, Rory and his father Garth. As I mentioned before that both our protagonist's were flawed and dealing with a life-long pain/grudge between their family, it made the book well-rounded. The inclusion family dynamic makes this novel a complex read and at times even relatable. I’m so elated with the multicultural romance and was pining for them to make the right choices and to choose one another despite the odds. 

Overall, i was glad to have read this one and will for sure pick up Nicola Marsh's future books! Thanks to Berkley and Netgalley for providing this e-galley.
Profile Image for Grapie Deltaco.
628 reviews1,261 followers
July 2, 2021
This book wasn't for me but I'm sure it's for somebody.

I wasn't expecting to see Samira's relationship with her mixed race identity to hold so much importance to the overall plot. I knew it would be significant but the author definitely prioritized telling her story, as an Anglo-Indian woman, by having it intertwined into every chapter from Samira's perspective and it was an interesting perspective with the characters being from Australia as an added layer to it all.

It felt like we, the reader, needed to be told there was chemistry instead of feeling it radiate from the two naturally. I'm also not a fan of pregnancy plotlines, the dated texting language, or the insta-lovey feel.

I did, however, appreciate the realistic panics and mistakes that come from adults being thrown out of their element. I think a lot of the reactions to conflicts were flawed in a very human way.

Content warnings: Fertility struggles, explicit sexual content, off-page death of a parent
Profile Image for Sarah Louise.
824 reviews390 followers
November 17, 2020
I received a copy from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for review

After five years in LA working as a physiotherapist, Samira is back in Australia on a six month contract. Reacquainted with her overbearing mother, Samira still feels a lingering resentment after an arranged marriage ended in devastation.

With her mother still meddling in her love life, hoping to see her daughter marry a respectable Indian man, I enjoyed seeing them communicate and reestablish their relationship. And oh my! The descriptions of mouthwatering Indian food deserves praise of its own.

Thirty-seven, divorced, and dealing with fertility issues, I love seeing a woman like Samira represented in romance. After a fateful spilled drink persuades Samira to trust her instincts and spend a night with Rory, the ten years younger, charming Chris Hemsworth look-alike, their passionate (and steamy!) connection comes with a surprise.

With a tendency to distance himself from others, Rory’s quiet, lone wolf persona is the reality of years of hidden, built insecurities due to his stutter. Preferring his isolated work as a stuntman, I loved seeing his fears challenged in both his relationship with Samira and his career in television.

I can’t leave this review without the mention of Manish, the absolutely dreamy doctor Samira’s mother strives to set her up with throughout the story. He was wonderful (I may have been secretly rooting for him)! And what a pleasant surprise to discover he’ll be getting his own book! I can’t wait.
Profile Image for Christine.
148 reviews
December 23, 2020
"Guilt for not being woman enough to keep her husband. Guilt for not producing the babies he wanted. Guilt for intrinsically blaming her mother for it all and driving a wedge between them because of it."

If you're a fan of the typically contemporary romance with perfect people, then this is the book for you.

There is nothing wrong with the story. It is just that it's about two perfect people dealing with a few issues.

Our protagonist, Samria, is heading back home to act as a consultant for her cousin's practice. While she arrives, she is welcomed with her mother's bickering regarding her lack of a husband. Already having been married, the mention of marriage creates a rift between the mother and daughter, with Samria wanting her mother to keep out of her love life and her mother not wanting her daughter to be alone.

At first, believing it was a rom-com, the book started as an emotionally heavy read. Samira is going through a rough divorce because of her "inability" to get pregnant. The book does appear lighthearted once Rory enters the picture. However, Rory also has parental issues with his father being distant. The characters seem to be unnerved by their parent's previous actions. But the characters sit their parents down to talk, it appears that their years of torment are over, but nothing signifies completion. For example, Samria's mother arranged her first marriage, which ended in divorce. Samria has been blaming the divorce on her mother for years and tells Kushi, her mother, that her failed marriage was Kushi's fault. Afterward, her mother apologizes, and then in the next few chapters, her mother introduces her to a doctor. It was as if Samria never told her mother that her arranged marriage had tormented her psyche. Nope, her mother just disregarded that and felt the need to help her daughter find a new man. With Rory, he sits his father down and questions him about his mother. In this conversation, his father reveals so much, and Rory is nonchalant and decides he needs to speed more time with his father.

It's hard to review this book. It feels like a typical contemporary romance story. Despite the character's "flaws," the main protagonists are near perfect. There is nothing wrong with Samria. The only "issue" with her is her blaming Kushi, her mother, for her divorce. Rory introduced with, "A deep Chris Hemsworth voice, low and resonant…and the kind of jaw and cheekbones that channeled Chris." and his only "flaw" is his speech impediment. Rory is perfect, but his speech impediment has left him feeling insecure for years and looked down on by his father.

The only ridiculous part of this entire story is Samria telling Rory that she will marry another man because he is culturally acceptable. A lie that is created to keep Rory from quitting his job. It was a ridiculous lie.

In the end, the book was a decent read that does sprinkle in a few emotional moments. It is hard to overlook the perfect characters with "flaws." But, they are struggling with their issues, disregarded issues. Instead, the author decides to focus on anything else. This is a book that leaves a reader yearning for more character development.

Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for allowing me to read this e-book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Janae.
427 reviews26 followers
September 25, 2020
What I thought I was getting with this read:
What I actually got:
▪️steamy, lustful interaction
▪️strong female
▪️again gap relationship
▪️Aussie stuntman
▪️vast hunger from mentions of Indian foods
▪️not a fast-paced story, but quite a story nonetheless.

All around. Not a bad story. 3.5 rounded up.

There are quite a few trigger topics mentioned in this story. Parental loss, infertility, and divorce.

Thank you @berkleyromance and @netgalley for an advanced copy of this story in exchange for my honest opinions.
Profile Image for Meredith Schorr.
Author 15 books551 followers
October 31, 2020
I wasn't sure I was going to love this book since I usually prefer a slower physical burn, but the relationship between Rory and Samira won me over because both characters were so likeable and felt very "real." The stakes keeping the couple apart weren't too high, but also didn't feel contrived - it was a nice balance. Rory was a dream hero, but there were times I actually preferred Manny! I'm thrilled the author is writing a story for him because he was totally charming and worthy of his own love story!

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my complimentary ARC. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Sarah.
744 reviews44 followers
April 21, 2021
This was a really lovely, sweet and steamy audiobook! Loved the representation of different cultures and that the hero is a stutterer. I can’t wait to read more books from Nicola Marsh.
Profile Image for Simply Love Book Reviews.
7,013 reviews835 followers
November 18, 2020
3.5 stars

I love a good age gap read and found The Boy Toy interesting for that and also the culture aspect of the book. The author did a good job creating interesting characters but the storyline needed something more. Infertility was the overall thread of the book and could be a trigger for some. I felt this overtook the romance between Samira and Rory.

Samira is a successful therapist who has found her way back home. I loved reading about the Indian culture and food! I loved the descriptions of colors and smells. The relationship with her mom is a bit strained but they are working their way to heal.

I liked her determination and drive. She was a women who knew what she wanted but she also held on to traditions of her culture.

Rory had a take charge personality initially but this self-assured trait didn’t last long. He seemed to cower when I wanted him to fight.

He didn’t have a good relationship with his father and because of this I felt he had a chip on his shoulder. He never opened up to Samira throughout the novel. I felt like I never got to know his true personality. I also didn’t understand why Rory had to live in poverty to support an organization. I’m sure Samira and Pia could have worked with the clinic to help this cause as it affected Rory.

The ending was sweet and exactly what I was looking for for this couple. It was a much needed HEA for this couple.

Review copy provided for a voluntary review.
18 reviews
January 23, 2021
Despite the name, this book has alot of depth into the characters. Truly love the cultural aspect that played into this YA.
Profile Image for Hannah Bergstrom de Leon.
508 reviews4 followers
October 26, 2022
I do love a quick and fun romance and if it’s set in Australia, even better! This was my first foray into Nicola Marsh’s writing and as a modern romance author she did not disappoint. About once or twice a year I go on a romance novel binge and Marsh has kicked off my fall 2022 binge. This fast, fun and lighthearted tale of a one night stand that turned into so much more was a joy to read. The characters were down to earth, decent human beings who happened upon each other and found joy in their interactions and eventually love.

Marsh does a great job of representation from point of views, to cultures, generations and even physical and emotional obstacles; she paints her characters with a humanity that is charming and endearing. Romance novels for me are usually about two things:
1) Do I like the characters?
2) Does the story keep me wanting to read?

I know, I don’t have the highest standards ever when it comes to romance, but Marsh created characters I liked, was rooting for and I wanted to find out how it all worked out in the end. She did her job as an author and I would definitely read more of her work.

This is a fun, quick and steamy modern romance that takes you to Australia. What do you have to lose?

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Profile Image for Gail.
Author 28 books202 followers
September 14, 2021
Adorable story about a mixed-race Indian Australian and an Anglo boy who is 10 years younger, and how they meet in Melbourne and fall in love. He's in show biz despite the stutter he's mostly conquered. She's dealing with medical issues and a bad divorce. Plus her mom's determination to marry her off to a nice Indian doctor. I really liked it. Good read.
Profile Image for Crystal.
Author 73 books425 followers
July 3, 2020
I loved Rory from that first tossed wine. And Sam is just awesome. Both have so much from their past that they're dealing with, and their story is just beautiful. I loved it, and I also loved that while he's younger, it's only ten years, because I'm not a cougar lol! Can't wait to read more from this author!
Profile Image for Ann-marie .
851 reviews7 followers
July 7, 2020
My first foray with this author and boy(pun intended) I was not disappointed. Samira comes from two worlds, her mother who is Indian and a dad who is White American. Years ago she allowed her mother to arrange for her to have a "nice Indian marriage that ended up into a divorce. Fast forward a dozen years later she has returned to her home Australia for six months to help her cousin Pia with her Physical Therapist job. During a night at a bar she meets Rory a young white Australian built man who she becomes over a course of weeks smitten with. Samira has to face a mother and their Indian community who still wants her to be married to a "nice Indian man". We the audience get a clear view of how one's culture can wreak havoc in one life if they do not live up to their families heritage. I could feel Samira emotions as she tries to navigate being from and Indian background and at the same being Australian/American. I love the hero Rory he is so believable and honest about who he is and although not originally setting out for a relationship with Samira but making himself be available to her when she needed him. Arc from netgalley.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
568 reviews9 followers
January 4, 2021
This book wasn’t it. Another I would have DNF except since I don’t do that, I just get progressively more pissed off and skim to get it over with. Plus it was on so many recommendations/lists that I figured it would get better. Nope. There was just so much unnecessary and circular drama. The same thoughts and the same discussions can only happen so many times before it’s annoying.

And they go nowhere. Nothing is explored on any deep level, it’s all surface bullshit. Not sexy, not funny. If anything, the book made me hungry for Indian food. Lots of time devoted to that. I’m not mad about it.
Profile Image for Etta (Chonky Books Review).
968 reviews12 followers
November 6, 2020
An interracial romance mixed with the May-December storyline made for one entertaining read! It was satisfying to read about an accomplished older woman with a younger (also accomplished) man who both comes from completely different cultural worlds. They not only face issues like any other couple, but they have the age and culture differences to consider as well. One thing to note about this novel is there is a TON of delicious Indian food described and it will make you hungry no matter the time of day you’re ready!

Samira is a 37-year old physical therapist, who also specializes in dialect and speech therapy. She is originally from Los Angeles and has been living there for the last decade. She finds herself in her home city of Melbourne, Australia to help her cousin, Pia, launch her health center business. She now has to face her match-making mother who Samira still blames for being a part of her failed marriage to Samira’s ex-husband, Avi. As a divorced, single, childless, older woman, Samira is definitely feeling the cultural pressure, but she’s unsure that she wants to give in and become what her culture expects of her. The struggle between the traditional world on her Indian mother’s side and the more “modern” world on her, now deceased, American father’s side was well-balanced in this novel was really enjoyable to read about. It was well-written and very relatable, even if you don’t fit into this exact struggle.

Rory is a 27-year-old stuntman who has been facing the challenge of being in the acting world while having a stutter. He is determined to help set-up a speech therapy program for underprivileged children with the therapist that helped him in his youth. Unfortunately, stunt work doesn’t pay as well as the speaking roles so he decides it is time to finally speak on camera and is going to audition to host a new reality show in the Australian outback.

These two characters meet in a bar really early on in the novel and hook up during their first meeting. Throughout the story, they then have to try and navigate their feelings for each other as Samira is still planning on returning to Los Angeles when her six month stay ends. There are also the cultural backgrounds to consider as Samira knows her mother wants her to marry an Indian man and is determined to set her up with a handsome Indian ER doctor named Manish.

The two characters face a lot of obstacles, both individually and as a couple, that the author managed to balance well, even though, there was a lot to cover. Divorce, arranged marriages, and fertility issues are just some of the ones Samira faces while Rory faces having a stutter and his own family issue. I loved how both of them worked through everything and it was written in a very relatable manner as they each had to work towards self-acceptance of their flaws and where to set up their own boundaries. Their journeys weren’t perfect, but they were realistic, which gave the story another layer of fantastic-ness.

There is one “twist” in the novel that’s semi-predictable and takes up the last half of the book. It’s a very heart-warming storyline, but I wish that it happened a little later in the story and we could focus on the carefree fun between Samira and Rory before we go into any storyline that required more depth. I just wanted no-strings attached fun between them while they build their relationship more compared to them just immediately feeling comfortable with each other (while also having a crazy strong attraction to the other). As the story changes points of view between Rory and Samira, I would have preferred them to contemplate the nuances of what makes them a potentially great couple. Then, they could potentially slowly reveal these thoughts to the other throughout the novel. It’s just one thought; however, the story was great as-is, too. There’s no denying that these two greatly enjoy being with each other.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this story and found it to be an easy read with a lot of depth. I didn’t expect to have so many topics covered in this story and they were done well. The author managed to navigate everything a very relatable and heart-warming manner that made for a fantastic read. Based on the brief insight into her next novel, I will definitely be picking it up in the future to read. I’ve become a fan and cannot wait to see what happens next!

**Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this ARC to review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

My Blog: Chonky Books Review
Profile Image for Kimberly.
822 reviews92 followers
November 18, 2020
Thank you @netgalley for the review copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

The moment I saw this book, it caught my attention. Not only is the cover cute and playful, but the description had me hitting request super fast. After reading just a few pages, I knew I had made a good decision. I was expecting a story full of rich culture, steamy romance and forbidden love ... which there was plenty of. However, it turned out to be so much more. Marsh is a great storyteller, creating numerous well developed characters. I really enjoyed the mix of humor and seriousness that she carried throughout the book. She also tackled quite a few heavy topics: interracial relationships, infertility, cultural judgement, marital problems, pregnancy complications, challenging impairments and parental rifts. Reading her note at the end, she stated that she could relate to several of this issues which explained her connection and awareness of each. I especially admired the part where she shared how about her own stutter. I have a couple loved ones who have lived with this speech impediment. I could easily relate to many of the points that she brought up. It was refreshing to see a main character used to share about this topic. Typically you see this written off to a member of the cast who is shy, overly anxious or to make fun of their intelligence.

Samira was the perfect lead for this story. She was incredibly independent, sassy, successful and just so darn real. She had quite a few issues to work through surrounding some hard past experiences. I loved watching her knock down barriers and find her joy along the way. I love that she fell for a guy a decade younger. Her and Rory were perfect together and their new infatuation was very believable. Mannish was a wonderful side character. He constantly made me laugh. I would easily read a spin off featuring either him for Pia.

You can’t read this book without mentioning the cultural influences. Bollywood fantasies, meddlesome aunties, colorful saris were around every chapter. Best of all the aromatic descriptions of each and every dish or cup of chai was incredibly enticing. My husband and I love Indian food and I can’t tell you how many times I was sighing through a craving as the characters indulged in many of my favorites.

Nicola Marsh is a new-to-me author, but I would definitely read more from this well published, Australian in a heart beat.
Profile Image for TheEuphoricZat.
1,262 reviews43 followers
December 4, 2020
After a heartbreaking dissolution of her marriage, Samira is back home in Australia to help her cousin at her new practice. Samira is a 37-year-old with a great practice in LA and has used every opportunity to avoid going to visit her mother in Australia. Most of her fears come from the fact that revisiting only brings to the surface the failure she is in the sight of nosy Indian aunties and uncles. Also, she does not want her mother to be ostracized by the Indian community again. Since the last time, Samira was cheated on by her husband after he left to marry the young girl he had gotten pregnant. Samira has always felt sad because of her inability to get pregnant but at this point in her life, she has decided to just give up and live life to the fullest.
Which does not stop her mother from trying to set her up with any single Indian man on her radar.
On getting to Australia she goes to a bar where she meets Rory. Rory is an Australian stuntman (so essentially he is a walking sex god) who is trying to get into an acting role. Anyways they end up sending the night together and of course having extensive sexy sex. Anyways, soon they meet again only this time, she is to be his dialect coach.
I really enjoyed this book, and I thought it was well planned and paced. I do not want to give more spoilers
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