Review: Managed by Kristen Callihan

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: November 14, 2016
Publisher: Plain Jane Books
Source: Reviewer Purchase

Synopsis from Goodreads:
It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

Ronnie’s Review

I’ve maybe read 3 books post November 8th, and Kristen Callihan’s Managed is one of them. Again, this book wasn’t on the schedule, but I bought it and was immediately drawn in. (Sorry review book, you’ll get your turn. ) Anyways, I was taken out of my negative head space and bought into the world of rockstars and their minions. Honestly, I’m not that big of a rock star fan, it’s not a trope or story that I particularly like or am drawn to… and Managed actually focuses on the band’s manager, Gabriel Scott, aka Scottie, and their newest hire, photographer turned social media expert, Sophie Darling.

Callihan excels at banter, but I had a little trouble with the beginning of the book. Sophie is upgraded to first class with her flight to her interview and it’s there she encounters Gabriel Scott. “Scottie” as nicknamed by his friends, is cold, standoffish and hot. Sophie is not put off by how chilly Scottie’s demeanor is, and succeeds in making him relax a little during the flight, but the reader can see how ill at ease he is with the flight, and Sophie “forcing” herself to cuddle up to him during the flight to calm him down didn’t sit very well with me. I’m not generally a fan of anyone forcing their attentions on anyone, even if to distract them and take their mind off whatever is making them panic. Had this been reversed, someone would call this assault and not think twice. Just because it’s a female doing this to a reserved guy, I still felt uncomfortable at where this lead, despite the fun dialogue and interaction between the two main characters.

That being said, I’ve liked Callihan’s books in the past, so I was willing to go on faith that I would enjoy the book after the beginning and I mostly did. There is some conflict that happens within the beginning chapters, and it’s addressed right up front, so there’s no big misunderstanding at the end. Well, that’s a bit of a stretch. Some of it does come up again… but on the whole, it didn’t kill the book.

A cold, reserved hero is kind of my jam, and Gabriel fits the mold perfectly. He has his reasons, but he’s not without humor and can laugh at himself when the situation calls for it. Mostly. Sophie is a great heroine, willing to laugh at herself, admit her mistakes and move forward with her life as best she can. She’s attracted to Gabriel, but feels awkward and doesn’t want to make him uncomfortable – so she settles for being his pal. And this works for a time, the friendship is built up, although you know the attraction underlays their working together.

The sequel bait is easily set up in these books, but I enjoy the band’s interactions with each other. There’s a deep fondness and affection for one another that comes through in the dialogue and actions of the members. Watching them hassle Scottie about his feelings for Sophie were one of the highlights of the books, and giving each other grief over past actions is something that friends and coworkers often do.

Sophie and Gabriel experience intimacy but don’t actually become intimate with each other until well past halfway into the book. I liked this, I thought it built up the romance and it made more sense, given that they work together and were loathe to start something that wouldn’t end well. She’s much more courageous than he is, and he’s drawn to her for many reasons. Her attraction to him didn’t make more sense until you got past his crusty exterior.  Despite my discomfort with the beginning, and the predictable, somewhat trite ending, I enjoyed this book immensely. It made me smile, and forget my surroundings for a few hours… and I desperately needed that.

Rating: 4.0 Stars = B

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