JLR welcomes Liz Blue to the blog for a special guest review of Anna Zabo’s newest release! Liz can be found spreading #filthfairy magic on Twitter as @pb_reader or sharing more book thoughts on Goodreads, so be sure to check her out!
Also to check out: the AWESOME Takeover series audiobook giveaway we have for you! Scroll to the bottom to find out more… you won’t want to miss this one!
Due Diligence, by Anna Zabo
Series: Takeover, Book 3
Publisher: Intermix (Berkely/NAL)
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
After Fazil Kurt breaks up with his girlfriend, a business trip to Seattle offers some much-needed time away. Sent by S.R. Anderson Consulting, Fazil is there to help audit Singularity Storage, a company they are trying to save. His first discovery is intriguing to say the least: One of Singularity’s engineers is Todd Douglas, Fazil’s first love.
He knows better than to get personally involved on a job like this. Back in high school, Todd broke Fazil’s heart more times than he could count, but both men have grown so much since then—and Fazil never could say no to Todd…
Todd Douglas was Fazil Kurt’s first love and first boyfriend. Their breakup and subsequent 15 years apart were the result of what seem to be a WHOLE lot of poor communication. Ordinarily, that’s super annoying to me. It’s annoying in adults. Fazil and Todd were teenagers when they fell in love and broke one another’s hearts; I can live with that. I like that they immediately reconnected and addressed nearly all of the issues of their youth.
This book is told in alternating points of view and thank goodness. Each man could easily be perceived as an arrogant ass on his own. The truth is, they both were super insecure teens who managed to hurt one another repeatedly. The story doesn’t flash back to their youth so much as they each think about their experiences.
The conflicts here are external and internal. The immediate and obvious problem is Fazil lives in Pittsburgh and Todd lives in Seattle. This issue is the one that irked me, and I repeatedly made notes in my ereader “Todd is an ass”. This shouldn’t have been complicated for a host of (spoilery) reasons, and yet Todd kind of sucked. Fazil doesn’t do the best job of making his feelings known, but Todd’s “it will be THIS way” attitude was overwhelming for him. It felt like Fazil was slipping into teenage patterns that wouldn’t be true to his “we met as adults” relationships.
The external problems stem from Todd’s racist and homophobic co-workers. Fazil and his colleague Eli (from Just Business (Takeover #2)) are at Todd’s company to fix some stuff. That’s what they do. Unfortunately, Todd’s horrible co-workers refuse to respect Jewish, Muslim, queer, brown people. Frankly, I would have liked to see the whole company burn down by about 70% in, and I was sorely disappointed by that at the end. The outcomes there were far too familiar with the way corporations work.
So Fazil is a Turkish Muslim, and he’s bisexual. I loved that so hard. He’s a defensive bisexual, and that just hits my current reader happy place. He doesn’t pretend like everyone understands, and he doesn’t accept when people see him as gay or straight when he’s dating someone of the same or not gender. Two of my fave Fazil moments are:
“There’s a couple more letter in LGBTQ than just G.”
“Being bisexual means you’re just faking it one way or the other and you should just make up your mind.”
While the potential exists for this to be preachy on many levels, I didn’t feel that. Fazil’s reactions felt like an authentic amount of having to defend his sexuality. To me, as a white reader, the racism and reactions were heartbreakingly accurate as well.
The book did break my heart at times. I wished for more communication though, and I could have done with a bit more clarity on some of the things Fazil and Todd fought so much about as teens. There’s a lot of talk about the break-ups and make-ups of their youth as well as cheating, but I was genuinely confused by where some of that stemmed from. The vagueness and lack of addressing some of the big issues came back around to the black moment near the end, and I found that a bit forced.
All around, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it for strong emotions and rekindled first love.
Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.
She has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. She also has a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.
Purchase Due Diligence from:
I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Anna will be doing a separate giveaway as part of the Due Diligence blog tour, but we have a special giveaway today just for JLR readers!
We’re giving away TWO audiobooks: Takeover and Just Business! For those of you in the US, this means you’ll get the physical box set of the audiobook with the super sexy covers shown here. (Don’t get me wrong, I love the ebook covers, but these are SO GORGEOUS amirite?) Overseas folks will receive the book through Audible.com.
So how do you enter? Easy! Click the link below to find the Rafflecopter form. You get entries for doing awesome things like tweeting about the Due Diligence release, following Anna on twitter, and checking out her Facebook group. And leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite quote from any of Anna’s books to get even more entries! (If you haven’t read anything by Anna yet, just tell us why you’re excited to give them a try.) Contest ends 6/26 at 11:59pm EST.