Small Change, by Roan Parrish
Series: Small Change, Book One
Release Date: June 1, 2017
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.
Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.
When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.
Small Change is the first book in a series that will include M/F and M/M romances.
Content Warning for:
Depression (Secondary Character)
Mention of Attempted Suicide (Secondary Character)
Surprisingly for me, I didn’t love the book. Until now all of the author’s books were 5 star reads and favourites of mine, but Small Change sadly couldn’t live up to my expectations. Which isn’t to say it’s a bad book (as you can see from my rating) but I wish it would have been better. There are some aspects here that I really loved, some that I didn’t like, and others that I am quite conflicted about.
I am delighted that the female/male relationship was awesome. There are no stereotypical gender roles regarding both Ginger and Christopher which is very important to me. I can’t even tell you how much I appreciated this. Some books fall back into weird gender dynamics once the couple has sex but this was also not the case here. I enjoyed their sexual encounters a lot, because they were really hot and also realistic.
Ginger’s bisexuality is another aspect of the book that I loved. It’s written in a very natural way—as opposed to being forced unto the page for representation’s sake—and I also liked that her identity wasn’t limited to being interested in both men and women, but that her whole identity is queer.
Ginger is a likeable character despite all her faults—or maybe because of them—but I didn’t quite fall in love with her. Christopher, on the other hand, is a character who is very easy to love. He’s hot (red hair, freckles, tall) and kind and very charming. However, I think that if it weren’t for his brother Jude’s side story and depression and it’s influence on Christopher, he would be kinda flat and boring and too perfect. Maybe we will see more of Jude in future books but for the moment he felt more like an addition to the story to complement Christopher, like his purpose for existing was to give Christopher more depth.
The book rather appears as an assortment of intermingling different parts, more like a puzzle that is made to fit and not necessarily fitting in the first place. There is the couple’s (mostly Ginger’s) individual journey, dealing with mental illness of a loved one, and the critique of sexism and misogyny (in the tattoo industry) that was too preachy in the execution for my taste. Actually, what I think is that this story is a bit forced. Like the author wanted to write about Ginger (because, clearly, she rocks), but then realised there wasn’t enough to write her story, so things needed to fill the hole.
Additionally, this book was really too long and slow. I was bored—not the whole time—but again and again. There were many details, long paragraphs, and I realise that this is kinda the author’s style and that it didn’t bother me at all in her other books. I believe it’s because I found the story itself lacking and the language less magical. The spark and wonder was missing for me.
But I haven’t mentioned some other stuff that was pretty cool. While the book is written from Ginger’s point of view, I really loved that we could read Christopher’s charming mails to Jude, thus getting to know him and his thoughts a little better.
I also thought that there was no unnecessary angst which is how I like it. I also really appreciated that I didn’t have to witness a family meeting with Ginger’s mentally abusive family, and conflicts between Ginger and Christopher were solved in a satisfactory manner and not overly dramatic. Usually, that is. What Ginger said to Christopher in their ‘big fight’ didn’t even make sense and was really hurtful and I really wasn’t a fan, but that’s how fights go, especially if fear and anxiety are involved.
While Small Change wasn’t as good as I had hoped and while I do have lots of complaints it seems, it’s still a good book and read-worthy. Especially if you’re looking for great representation of a bisexual woman, then you should definitely check it out.
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
She is represented by Courtney Miller-Callihan of Handspun Literary Agency.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.