Book Talk: Making Up – Lucy Parker

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Making Up – Lucy ParkerMaking Up by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #3
Published by Carina Press on May 28, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 335
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

Lucy Parker’s debut didn’t totally wow me, but it was great fun. From there, her books have just been getting better. Pretty Face is one of my favorite contemporary romances, even though it’s an age gap romance, which I usually super do not like. Making Up comes in second, but it’s still so very good.

Can we take a moment to appreciate the punniness of this title? Leo’s a make-up artist, but they’re also making up for ten years of being shits to each other because of a high school misunderstanding. (Pretty sure Brits don’t call it high school but my mind is blanking, so you know what I mean anyway.) I appreciate a good punny title. So much better than Pretty Face, which still makes me shudder, even though I love the book.

Leo and Trix have a Benedick and Beatrice flair to them, which may be intentional actually, given her name. When the story opens, he’s shown up unexpectedly to work for the show in which she’s an acrobat. They hate each other and angrily banter insults back in forth whenever they’re in range. It’s complete ship bait, except for the fact that the first couple chapters are a bit off somehow. Maybe it’s the fact that she’s covered in someone’s vomit during their first interaction? Or maybe it’s just waiting to find out why they hate each other.

Either way, after a couple of chapters, I got a better sense of who both Trix and Leo are, and I could not put the book down because shippy banter. The transition from hate to friendship/sex is a bit abrupt, but the transition from friendship to love is done incredibly well. One thing Parker does exceedingly well here is keep the banter going consistently while changing the tenor of it as their relationship shifts.

When you finally find out the source of their hatred, it’s hilariously anticlimactic, but I thought that worked actually. Hurts are so intense when you’re a teenager with your hormones going nuts and you’re basically a giant emotional nerve ending. It’s a classic case of masculine posturing combined with never clearing up a host of misunderstandings.

Though their continued loathing may seem a bit childish, the ship is saved by the way that they begin to communicate once they do get together. They’re not perfect at the communication thing, and they do fight, but the important thing is the way they deal with fights or miscommunication. They talk the situation out, the way that you have to in a healthy relationship. I really believe this couple could make it because of the way they’re learning to have healthy discussions, especially by the end.

Making Up is one of those relatively rare romances where the couple gets together very early, though Trix would throw up if you called them a couple, because they’re just “hanging out.” The biggest barrier between them and a successful relationship is Trix. Her self-esteem issues and fear of intimacy due to a prior emotionally abusive relationship are poised to ruin her career and her relationship with Leo if she cannot work through them.

I loved the portrayal of the affects of an emotionally abusive relationship, both in Trix and Leo’s sister. Trix’s ex had initially been the perfect boyfriend, until he began to tear her down, trying to separate her from everyone and everything she loves. She escaped, but her self-esteem is hanging by a thread. In Making Up, Trix is trying to find the person she once was inside herself and to understand how she could have let herself be treated that way. It’s beautifully done, and I love that she finally commits to therapy at the end of the book.

It’s also very clear that being with Leo does not magically fix her fear of committing to the wrong person or her lack of trust in herself. He is, however, a very good and understanding partner from the beginning. Usually I don’t like when one character mostly has their shit together and the other one’s struggling, but it worked here. Leo’s working on his relationship with his sister and trying to jumpstart his career, and I do love the way that others call him on his shit, particularly his jealousy. And you know I love the men who are romantic and emotional when the heroines have commitment issues. View Spoiler »

This series is delightful, and I’m super stoked for the next one, because The Austen Playbook. I mean, hello, made for me.

Tl;dr – Review in a GIFfy:

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