Man Card by Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby | Release Day Review + Excerpt

Publisher: self-pubbed
Release Date: January 15, 2018 (TODAY!)
Source of my copy: author
Series: Man Hands #2
My Rating:

Nothing ventured, nothing banged...

I still don't know how it happened. One minute I was arguing with my arrogant competitor--our usual trash-talk over who deserves the larger commission. But somehow I went from throwing down to kneeling down...
It can never happen again. I don't even like Braht. He's too slick. He's a manipulating mansplaining party boy in preppy clothes.
So why can't I get him out of my head?

There are two things I know without question. One: Ash and I are destined for each other. Two: never trust a man with a unibrow.
Ash is my missing my piece. She's the sweet cream to my gourmet espresso. And nothing gets me going faster than her contempt for me. They don't call her the Ashkicker for nothing.
Eventually I'll win her over...if my past doesn't ruin everything first.

The one thing I'll take away from Man Card is Braht. Braht, Braht, BRAHT. He was entertaining AF, but he's also the reason I couldn't give Man Card a four stars. 🙈

I have not read the previous book in Sarina Bowen and Tanya Eby's standalone rom-com series. I was told that our heroine Ashley "Ash" Power and Sebastian "Braht" Braht got caught hooking up in the pantry in the last chapter of Man Hands. But, really, you don't have to read Man Hands to enjoy Man Card, unless you want to know how prominent secondary characters Brynn (one of Ash's besties) and Tom (Braht's bestie) got together. I kinda of wish I did, but alas, I didn't have time to pick up. 😭

Having hooked up in Man Hands, Ash gets the sexual tingles every time she sees Braht. But, she also has antagonistic feelings toward Braht because he's her rival at work--they're both work for the same real estate company and the rivalry only intensifies when Braht was transferred to Ash's branch office. They try to one-up each other by pulling pranks on each other, all the while Ash is trying to curb her crush on Braht and Braht is trying to convince Ash to take him and his brahtwurst for another ride.

Okay, to be honest, I struggled with the first 40%-ish of Man Card and that's because I had a hard time picture Braht as a romance hero. For the first 40% I was seriously picturing Braht as Austin Scarlett from Project Runway and I was halfway convinced he might be batting for the same team. He uses terms like "nom noms" and "adorable", he "gallops" instead of walk, all his favorite movies are rom-coms (see excerpt below), he gets his eyebrows done, he gets mani-pedis, he feels right at home during girls night and doing homemade facials--basically, he's more high-maintenance than even Ash. I just couldn't take him seriously because he was just sooo metrosexual with a capital M-E-T-R-O-S-E-X-U-A-L. It was only when we learn more of his background and what happened with his family and his struggles that made me reconsider him a little bit.

Don't get me wrong, I like Braht. Like I said, he was entertaining as fuck and he's perfect best friend material because I can watch all my favorite rom-com movies with him. But, in terms of hero material he's just not my cup of tea. I like my manly men, salt of the earth types. I mean I like my billionaire CEOs too, and let's be real, they're probably as high maintenance as Braht, but their metrosexual-ness isn't so in-your-face like Braht's and I can still pretend all they need is soap and water to be sexy. I do have to say that Braht is memorable--the last hero (from a romance novel) that made such an impression on me (for completly different reasons) was Keane Morgan from Lauren Rowe's Ball Peen Hammer.

As for Ash, she's a perfect match to Braht. She's slightly bossy to Braht's cuddly-ness. Braht is quite flamboyant, and he could've easily overtaken the story, but Ash stood on her own. I found her character interesting, and really, the mystery of her ex-husband was what kept me reading when Braht got a little too much. I really liked how she called him out on his metro-ness, and it's hilarious how Braht always had the perfect explanation to reclaim his man card. He's still not my kind of hero, but he definitely earned the "hero" title in the end. I love Ash's friendship with Brynn and Sadie. The three of them are hilarious together. And I love Ash's relationship with her parents--I've mentioned in previous reviews that family love is my favorite thing in books because they just give me the warm and fuzzies and I got that here with Ash and her parents.

Things did get a little silly, and I can't picture two top real estate agents acting the way Ash and Braht did but it's fiction and I just went with it and had a great time. Man Card is a rom-com that emphasizes the COM. The style of humor did grow on me and I was chuckling and outright laughing by the end. The humor is somewhat similar to Helena Hunting's Pucked series without all the beaver stuff. So, if you like a strong dose of humor in your romance reads, I definitely suggest you pick up Man Card.

“Name your other favorite movies,” I challenge Braht.

“All of them?” He chugs his margarita.

“Hmm. Top ten? Top five?”

“That’s totally easy,” he says. Somehow I’ve gotten closer to him on the floor. When he sits back, I actually snuggle in beside him. He’s wearing a ridiculously soft shirt that feels good against my skin. And I watch with fascination as he ticks off the names of films on his fingers. “When Harry Met Sally. The Devil Wears Prada. Roman Holiday. Clueless. And Working Girl.”

I burst out laughing. I can’t help it. “Those are all chick flicks. You should just hand over your man card right now.”

“Not a chance.” Braht’s expression grows intense. “In the first place, I gave you a very thorough demonstration of my man card last week. I don’t remember hearing any complaints.”

I swallow hard, because this is certainly true.

“And secondly, you’re looking at this all backward.”

“I…am?” And why can’t I look away? He has the most beautiful, intelligent eyes.

“Yeah, you are,” he whispers. “It’s the guy who has a firm grip on his man card that can hold your purse. He’s not afraid to be seen with that Tory Burch you like to carry—nice color, by the way. He’ll free up your hands because he likes your hands, and he remembers all the terrific things you can use them for.”

“Oh,” I say slowly. Now my fingers itch to reach out for him. I have to make fists with both hands so I won’t do it.

“Furthermore, he’s not afraid to quote Working Girl. Because Joan Cusack is a genius. And who wouldn’t want to say Melanie Griffith’s best line out loud?”

I can’t help saying it with him, and together we sound like the world’s horniest Greek chorus: “I have a head for business and a body for sin.

Sin sounds pretty good right now, actually. But Braht’s not done with his speech. “Any man who tells you that chick flicks are for pussies can’t be any good in bed. Because that man does not speak the language of women. He doesn’t know that a little luxury can erase a shitty day of worrying about your ex…”

Braht takes my hand in his and begins to massage it. He has a great technique, applying gentle pressure between each joint. I relax just a little bit more against him.

“…That man doesn’t speak the language because he’s afraid of sounding like a girl. But fuck that noise, honey bear. If a man doesn’t have the vocabulary to describe a satin teddy with peekaboo lace and mother-of-pearl snaps at the crotch, he can’t buy it for you and then strategically ask you to wear it. He can’t plan ahead to blow your mind sometime by lifting your skirt somewhere semi-public and dangerous. And he can’t get down on his knees and kiss that lace and then pop open those snaps while you bite your own hand to keep from screaming when you climax.” Braht takes a deep breath and lets it out in one hot gust. “Fuck. What was the point of this speech?”

“Um…” My voice is hoarse, and my face is suddenly very hot. Let’s not even mention my nipples. “Man cards, I think.” But I’m not sure, because everything tingles.

“Right,” he says with a sigh. “Still got mine. Shall we watch Working Girl next?”

“Okay,” I breathe, sinking a little further into his comforting embrace.
Sarina Bowen: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Tanya Eby: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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