This was a cute, relatively short novella. that I read in under an hour. The setup revolves around the two main characters meeting at a gaming convention where there is a meet…somewhat disaster in the parking lot where one cuts off the other to get a spot in a crowded lot. Of course, a few minutes later the two windup at the same gaming table where they begin to flirt over a game of Carcassone.
So, I love board games and I recognized every game and rule the author mentioned in this book so I automatically loved that aspect. I can never get enough of board games and geek culture in books – even if I don’t know anything about what the book is talking about. There is an Alexis Hall book all about video games that I adore and I am so not that kind of gamer.
A few things that didn’t work for me about the book – the word smirk was definitely overused to the point I was starting to notice it way too much. And there seemed to be a subplot with a guy who wasn’t happy with the queer flirting happening in front of him that was almost but not quite resolved. The resolution was there, right in grasp it seemed but the follow through didn’t quite get there for me. But those are very minor quibbles in an overall cute book.
What I did like is that one of the main characters is a trans man and the way this is handled is really well done. There’s no big reveal, no gasp of shock, it’s just stated as part of the character and revealed to the other MC in a way that felt true to both characters. I appreciate books that do this more and more and handle trans characters this way – as normal and a part of everyday life, because they are, and the more books and authors that normalize this, I feel that it can only help readers to see them this way in real life. Trans people and characters deserve an HEA and that is what I enjoyed the most about this book.
Rating: 3 Stars
Title: No Rulebook for Flirting
Author: Laura Bailo
Release Date: February 10, 2018