by Stella Weaver
Published by Smartypants Romance
Release Date: October 15th 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary Romance, Humor, LGBTQ+, M/M, Romance
Format Read: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
Steven Thompson had a bad year. A string of mean, kinky (the alarming kind, not the good kind), and crazy dating debacles combined with a boss who appears to be experiencing male-prenatal-psychosis means Steven’s stress levels are high. They’re so high, he’s decided to quit dating and focus instead solely on his job.
Until he meets Dr. Ken Miles.
Doctor Ken Miles is having a fantastic year. His hard work is paying off in a big way... professionally. But his social life? Not so much.
Until he meets Steven Thompson.
Steven isn’t so sure about Dr. Miles, but Ken is one hundred percent certain about Mr. Thompson. And even though both men know full well that the key to getting what you want out of life is hard work, they can’t seem to make them—together—work.
Will they ever get on the same page? Or just keep sticking to the same old script?
'Sticking to the Script' is a full-length contemporary romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is book #2 in the Cipher Office series, Knitting in the City World, Penny Reid Book Universe.
I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This is it people. If Steph gave us one ‘ten star for the year’ I would cash in that chip for this book this very minute. And there’s still a quarter of 2019 to go.
Full disclosure – I have a history with this story and the super gorgeous author who wrote it. In 2016 I did my first NaNoWrimo (and won, woohoo!), there was a small support group of participants (established authors, aspiring authors, and hobby wordsmiths like me) of this crazy challenge who came from the Penny Reid Readers Group on Facebook. And for a month we slogged away and wrote the words, including Stella Weaver. I sort of knew who she was from the reader group, and she was always supportive, and just generally lovely. But she didn’t share much on what she was working on, past it was a Penny Reid fanfiction. And then she shared a couple of chapters of her WIP and I was completely captured by her words.
In early 2017 she released her complete fanfiction to the world. And people, it was brilliant. It was one of my favourite reads for the whole yeah. I even messaged her, annoyed her with my gushing, and forced friendship on her. This was fanfiction and I was totally enthralled. I rec’d that fanfiction like it was nobody’s business.*
Fast forward two and a half years (including mentions in Penny Reid’s ‘Marriage of Inconvenience’ that turned Steven and Ken from fanfiction into canon) and we’re here. I looked up the original message I sent Stella and I am having those exact same feelings all over again and more because, here’s a secret, this version is even better!
This woman can write, it’s expressive, fluid, joyful, funny, soulful, authentic, poignant and brilliant.
For those Penny Reid fans out there, and I know there’s a lot of you, this book perfectly slots into the Knitting in the City universe. And on its own, it’s just a brilliant little gem of a book.
I don’t think anyone who knows this series would have paired Steven Thompson and Dr. Ken Miles (DKM). But it works. Stella took two established characters, and made them her own while being totally respectful and authentic to the source material. Getting to know both men is a joy. They’re likeable characters from the start, both wanting the same thing, and realizing they can get that with each other. Granted, one took a little longer to figure it out than the other.
But beware, Ken Miles will slay you with his words. He’s always dropping little one-liners that just melt your heart. The other facets of Ken that Stella has created have given us such a rich and wonderful character – from the stiff not-Nico from Penny’s ‘Friends without Benefits’ – that’s he slotted himself as one of all time favourites. His whole family is a lot of fun to read too.
And this book is so smart. I’m in awe that Stella could weave factoids, trivia, science, popular culture altogether and not just sort have a messy pile of stuff that could overwhelm her readers. And she also includes drama, jokes, Wally the dog who seems to belong to everyone at Cipher, characters from other Cipher books, romance, a grumpy boss, and chemistry you can almost touch. It’s a lot to piece together but everything is handled with the same precision and skill as a surgeon with a scalpel.
I’m excited for what this new, indie-press ‘Smartypants Romance’ will give us. There are 11 other Penny Reid ‘canon’ books releasing with Stella’s over two months, by a variety of debut and established authors. And if Stella is the standard, I’m going to be lost in those books for a little while.
I cannot wait for more.
* the fanfiction on Wattpad is no longer available. You don’t need it. Trust me.
New Zealand born and bred. Likes to read or Netflix, sometimes both at the same time.