Published by Entangled Publishing. LLC (Amara) on 30th May 2022
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I’ve got ninety-nine problems and my brother’s snarky, smart-mouthed best friend Sam is tangled up in every last one of them.
When it comes to firefighter Sam O’Shea, absence—and a regime of tactical avoidance—has been working for me just fiiiine. But when the audition of a lifetime falls in my pathetically broke lap, and he’s the only one who can help me land the job, I’m willing to make a deal with the devil if it means I can kickstart my career as a narrator for audio books.
The problem? We’d have to actually do the job. Together. And then we’re told it’s for an erotic romance. Narrating steamy lines in a tiny studio with a man who lights a fire under your skin? An occupational hazard. Accidentally inciting a town scandal when your erotic audiobook clips wind up on the radio? A crisis. And falling for the one man I promised my brother—and my heart—I wouldn’t touch?
There’s a lot going on in ‘Talk Flirty to Me’—much more than just a broke, down-on-her-luck Piper Bellini returning home and meeting a teenage ex- who’s suddenly the key in reviving her career as a voice actor.
In fact, ‘Talk Flirty to Me’ reads like a whirlwind of activity with one new thing stacked on top of another—with the horrifyingly large Bellini family taking centre space in the story. And with the number of events happening, it just seems obvious that everything is inevitably going to fall over like a house of cards…which it predictably does towards the second half of the book, with Sam and Piper being in the centre of the hurricane.
Yet as fun as it was at times, there were elements that seemed far-fetched, ridiculous (the extra, extra large family that’s still growing was just one I couldn’t get past) and frustrating (character-wise) which had the characters behave more like hormonal teens than mature adults. There was also much talk and action revolving around the past dictating one’s present actions and thoughts and for much of the story, the inability to move past it is what’s shown and reiterated.
In the case of characters, where Sam was overreaching, ambitious and earnest in all his pursuits, Piper seemed too cowardly and too soft in going for what she wanted in backtracking (and hiding too often behind sarcasm) too many times for me to like her enough. Having her actions explained away as being ‘self-sacrificial’ simply emphasised what I’d hoped to see more but never did: a lion-hearted sort of bravery that just didn’t materialise at all, because she tucked tail, pushed away and ran at every turn despite what her inner monologues seemed to say. That her behaviour was still largely regulated and governed by a teen breakup nearly a decade ago also felt somewhat petty and immature.
I’m still glad I picked this one up, or that I took a chance with this fun, very confident but very chaotic run of things by Livy Hart. What stood out were the snark of the supporting characters and several the outlandish set-pieces that were smart showcases of comedic timing—things that sort of helped outweigh and outpace the frustrations detailed above that I thought bogged the writing down a bit otherwise.