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It's A Steal, by Arden O'Keefe: Release Day Review

It's A Steal by Arden O'Keefe Release Day Review

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Book Info

About the Author
Arden O’Keefe has several passions and reading is one of them. It is through reading the works of several loved authors that O’Keefe was inspired to craft out some personal creations.
Publication Date
July 27, 2020
Available Formats
Kindle, KU
Edric Wilcher has realized growing up that there are simply two things in this world he can never imagine his life without—music and coffee. This is the reason why he chooses the life of a famous rock star—at least, famous in his own small town, and then, goes ahead and opens up Rockstar’s Hideout Café. Every morning he serves his regulars and has a nice, long chat with them before they go back to their daily routine. His charms work wonders on them. Thanks to the good genes bestowed upon him, he doesn’t look half bad. So, it strikes him as odd that this new customer who walks in that morning carrying a heap of books doesn’t seem to even spare him a second glance.

“Coffee” is what he orders and Ed goes out of his way to make him feel special. But the redheaded nerd—okay, a cute nerd, probably cutest he’s seen in his life—just leaves with his books, leaving even the muffin-on-the-house completely untouched. The mystery surrounding this guy gets the best of Ed and when he finds a book left behind by this customer, he can’t help follow the trail to see him just one more time. Even if it is to get a name.

Dean Harrett has somehow misplaced the one thing that was supposed to help him out of his current problems—and that thing is not a cheesy, romance novel. What matters to him the most is what he’s kept in the book—the perfect plan that can make or break his future. And that book has gone now. Only if he can remember where he’s last seen that book…

Of course! The café, where that annoying barista just wouldn’t leave him alone so he had to leave.

But now Dean has to get back there and look for himself before anyone can lay their hands on it. He doesn’t even want to think about the worst-case scenario of someone finding out what he is up to. But this only means he will have to face the annoying, but handsome barista again. Ugh

Editor review

1 review
Cutest Meet-Cute!
 POV: 3rd person, dual POV
 Genre: Contemporary, LGBT, Romance, Hacking

 It's A Steal is a super-cute romance between a geek and a rock star. A tad disjointed in places, it blends the romance of a coffee shop meet-cute with the dangerous work of deep-web hacking. O'Keefe's debut comes with great potential and marks them as a budding author to keep your eye on.

 Edric is a coffee-shop owner and the lead singer in a popular local rock band. Dean is a geek whose nose has been so deeply stuck in his books that his world had shattered around him, leaving his future unclear. When they come together, it's the most sugary sweet meet-cute imaginable, especially when Dean doesn't even notice the hunky Ed flirting with him. Bonding over a lost book – with distinct Fifty Shades vibes – they find fate leading them back together. Despite Dean's financial crisis, and Ed's disapproving family, they manage to find an intense chemistry building from day one.

 For a debut novel, it was written really well. I had some issues with some clunky phrasing, a few info dumps that hampered the flow a little. Sometimes the word choices left the language coming across as stilted and uncomfortable, e.g. at one point, Dean's POV contains “one of those dashingly hot bad boys, who could steal one's heart” which is a bit too historical for his age/personality, and sometimes the lack of contractions (converting do not into don't) left it a touch awkward. There were a few events I'd liked to have seen in more detail – Dean and Ed's first walk, as they got to know each other; and the family conversation between Ed and his mother – which would have added an extra understanding to some events. I think they got a bit lost in translation by only being talked about passively and not shown.

 Personally, I wasn't comfortable with Ed's family. Nora mentions Ed is the one making things awful, despite the picture being painted that they've been unsupportive and homophobic. I felt distinctly uncomfortable with Nora's rampage. The use of a guilt trip to force Ed to apologise for something that was never his fault, and Nora saying she'd forgiven him – I'm not sure if it's for coming out, or for being gay – left me wishing Ed would see how toxic they were and hoping he'd run. Fast.

 However, the story had a distinct rom-com, cutesy, meet-cute vibe with a comfortable dose of mystery surrounding Dean's financial situation. Though he was falling madly in love, there was always the recognition that it might not last, if his plans failed and he had to move away.
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