Chapters: 19 posted, 10 read
Okay, so usually I'd try to start with the good, but I want to start with the things you can improve on first because this section is much shorter than all the good things your book did. Okay, so first off, your dialogue. It got better after the first four or so chapters, but especially in the first chapter, none of the characters sounded like real human beings, and it was definitely starting to get to me. It got a lot better when Aaliyah and Octavio started talking, but it's definitely something that deserves another go-around.
The other thing I think needs to be improved is your descriptions, both of the characters and of the settings. Most of the time, I didn't know where we were; this was especially common in the scenes between Aaliyah and Talon. Character descriptions got better as the story went on (the cafe scene between Octavio and Sierra is a good example of this), but the setting descriptions could definitely use some beefing up.
Now that I've gotten my daily dose of negativity, let's get onto the positives. I love love love Aaliyah and Octavio, and their romance is the definition of swoony. I was head over heels during every one of their interactions, and I loved their banter so much. You have a way with sexual tension that's so palpable and I think your most natural dialogue is when Aaliyah and Octavio are chatting. I especially loved the first model scene when Octavio informs Aaliyah that she's standing in front of the dais instead of on it.
Both Aaliyah and Octavio are very passionate and well-drawn characters, and I love their clear motivations. Aaliyah wants to keep her job (understandable) and Octavio doesn't trust PR firms, as he think they're con-men wanting to exploit his talent for profit (also understandable), and I can't wait to watch this come to a head. I loved Aaliyah's brashness versus Octavio's charm, and that Aaliyah never backs down or looses any of her bite. It's very well-done.
You also have a really good host of side-characters, from Talon, who's my fav, to Louis, who seems like a scum-bag but is still somehow likable?? I mean, that in and of itself is a really strong point. All of the characters are memorable, even down to Anna, the waitress at the coffee shop that's taking anthropology courses.
You have a great way of exposition. The never-have-I-ever game towards the beginning is a fine example, as is the one I just brought up between Octavio and Anna, in which we learn a bunch about Anna in a few, very natural sentences. It never feels weighed down or bloated or forced. This also translates to your writing. Your writing is great. It has a good flow to it, and it's very clean. Your writing is also very smart, which some very good one-liner pieces of advice, and a sprinkling of larger words that still fit into the prose naturally. It's a simple but effective writing-style, and perfect for romance.
The set-up is very strong. I like that it's set-up immediately and it makes a lot of sense.
The last thing I want to bring up is the subplots, and how well-handled they are. Octavio's lying ex, the thing between Aaliyah and Louis, all of it is fit very neatly into the main story, and it's all just really clean.
Overall, I only read ten chapters because I want to read the rest without having to read them critically. This is just a really solid romance and I wasn't expecting to get sucked in by Aaliyah and Octavio's romance. You've earned yourself a new reader!