Roller Girl (Lake Lovelace #3) by Vanessa North.
Genre: Adult – Romance.
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Pub. Date: July 25, 2016.
Requested via NetGalley.
Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.
Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.
Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.
With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.
Personal Enjoyment: ●●●○○
Writing Style: ●●●○○
I requested this book via NetGalley for review. All opinions are my own.
I have been highly anticipating Roller Girl since I fell head-over-heels for its gorgeous cover. Even better that it promised a steamy F/F romance and an interesting premise. I’m not one for books centered around sports, but something about roller derby piques my interest and I was excited to see it on the page.
Let me start off by saying this book is super short. At 154 pages, I could have finished it in the span of an afternoon, but I was approved for review in May and wanted to post closer to the release date. From the very beginning, I felt the book was being rushed along. I wanted it to slow down, be a little more descriptive so I could better immerse myself in the story. Then, I wanted it to slow down to spend more time with the characters and in the world of the story– my biggest complaint, overall, was that there was not enough of this book.
There are so many side-characters who have rich and full histories, but instead of unpacking their stories along the way, it felt like each would unload their backstory on the main character within moments of meeting her. The cast is chock-full of queer characters of varying gender identities and sexualities. I would have liked an extra hundred pages just to get to know everyone on the team as well as Tina’s old high school friends, and I wish I could have spent some more time hanging out with them inside and outside of roller derby practice. I really felt rushed through each interaction, especially those with the love interest, Joe. Though Joe said and did all the right (or wrong, depending) things, scenes with her seemed to fast-forward until the kiss, or the sex, or the big fight that every couple has to have in a romance novel.
The only character I felt I really got to know was Tina, the main character, a transwoman, recently divorced, retired pro-athlete and personal trainer. I liked Tina. I liked how she interacted with the world and I liked how she wanted to believe the best of everyone. I liked how she stood up for herself and others, how she was confident in herself even when facing microaggressions because of her identity as a transwoman. Though this story was incredibly short, there was one scene where Tina meets a little nonbinary kid named Thomas that made me tear up something fierce.
While I was a little disappointed with this book, my only real complaint is that I didn’t have more of it. It was a cute story and one I would recommend you check out when it comes out on July 25 for an afternoon of F/F romance.