The Bromance Book Club was a bit of a dark horse read for me – I didn’t expect to love the book as much as I did. Needless to say, when I found out a sequel was coming, I was over the moon excited (especially when I found out it would be focused on the overly cocky Mack). My expectations were high, and fortunately, Undercover Bromance definitely lived up to its predecessor – in fact, it might even be better than The Bromance Book Club.
Braden Mack thinks reading romance novels makes him an expert in love, but he’ll soon discover that real life is better than fiction.
Liv Papandreas has a dream job as a sous chef at Nashville’s hottest restaurant. Too bad the celebrity chef owner is less than charming behind kitchen doors. After she catches him harassing a young hostess, she confronts him and gets fired. Liv vows revenge, but she’ll need assistance to take on the powerful chef.
Unfortunately, that means turning to Braden Mack. When Liv’s blackballed from the restaurant scene, the charismatic nightclub entrepreneur offers to help expose her ex-boss, but she is suspicious of his motives. He’ll need to call in reinforcements: the Bromance Book Club.
Inspired by the romantic suspense novel they’re reading, the book club assists Liv in setting up a sting operation to take down the chef. But they’re just as eager to help Mack figure out the way to Liv’s heart… even though she’s determined to squelch the sparks between them before she gets burned.
The core of this story is one of a woman taking down misogyny and male oppression – specifically the serial sexual assaulter celebrity chef she used to work for. Needless to say, this type of plot is the kind that contains darker issues (like rape, sexual harassment, and general sexual assault) – and Undercover Bromance tackled each of these serious topics with surprising deftness and gravitas. I was really impressed by how the story treated the chef’s victims and their choice to come forward or not.
What I like about this author is that she holds her own characters responsible for their actions. For example, in this book, Liv almost ruins a friendship with an old friend due to her brash judgements. She had to reconcile with how judgmental she was in order to get her life (and friendships) back on track. It’s this kind of self-reflection and growth that made the characters in Undercover Bromance so enjoyable and realistic.
In terms of the romance – it was one of my favorite enemies-to-lovers plots of the year. Mack, a serial selfish asshole, causes Liv to lose her job at the very beginning of the book. After she decided to take down her ex-boss, she reluctantly teams up with Mack to use his resources in her quest. Through their ongoing partnership, they slowly begin to fall for each other in a very organic way – leading to a couple that is arguably even better than the one from the first book. It was also really nice to get to read about the bromance book club and their ongoing shenanigans, as well as to get updates about the couple from the first book.
Undercover Bromance was a worthy successor of The Bromance Book Club. It tackled serious issues, had a great enemies-to-lovers romance, and an excellent revenge plot. It pretty much ticked all of my boxes, and I think I loved it even more than the first book. If you haven’t read The Bromance Book Club, check out my review here. 5/5