Title: Love on My Mind
Author: Tracey Livesay
Rating: Could Be Better
Genre/Category: Contemporary, Romance, Geeks/Nerds, Autism, Interracial Romance
Release Date: 7/12/2016
Publisher: Avon (Impulse Imprint)
Order Here: AMAZON (KINDLE)
There’s a lot to love about Tracy Livesay’s Avon Impulse debut book Love on My Mind. Unfortunately, there’s also a lot of stuff that made my head tilt and my eyes narrow.
First of all, was the anti-sex worker rhetoric really necessary as a part of Chelsea’s backstory?
Short answer? No.
Long answer? Hell no.
I started Love on My Mind with a ton of optimism. After all, you rarely find interracial geek/nerd romances and I’m always excited to give a new(to me) author a shot.
However, within first chapter, the reveal that Chelsea’s mom was a sex worker and how it was handled was so demeaning and dehumanizing that I wanted to scream. Add to that how the real reason Chelsea has no life (sexual or social) is because she works herself to the bone so she won’t be anything like her mother and well…
I almost put the book right down and never picked up up again because there is never a good reason to use sex worker shaming in a story unless your goal is to frame it as wrong and dehumanizing. Padding your character’s backstory by making sex workers like her mom seem low down and dirty is wrong and it is disrespectful to sex workers.
But I decided, after a few minutes of fussing, that I was going to finish this book even if it meant I’d write a grouchy review afterwards.
And I did find things that I liked about it. I liked that Adam wasn’t an alpha male asshole (y’all know how I feel about those) and that all of the characters were very realistic on most levels. The attraction between Adam and Chelsea was cute and their sex scenes were sexy.
That brings me to my next problem with the book though: the whole time Adam and Chelsea are knocking boots, he has no idea that she was hired to be a secret PR person for him. None. So she lies to him continuously, even after he expresses his feelings about how he hates liars.
Even after they had sex.
On top of the consent issues I’m seeing when I squint, I just thought the angle was really predictable. Of course Adam was going to find out about Chelsea’s subterfuge and get mad before inevitably realizing that they need each other because they love each other.
Also: It took almost half of the book before Adam’s autism was revealed. Of course, while reading the book I was like “Oh hey, his character does a lot of stuff that I do” but I have been watching a lot of the Big Bang Theory lately and I am so over autistic characters who aren’t really autistic so I assumed that that’s where things were going.
Halfway through the book, we got the big autism reveal. Adam’s mother left when he was a child because she couldn’t handle it. His fiance cheated on him and then dumped him after he told her.
Like… it’s hefty shit.
And I’m not sure how I feel about tying in autism to his traumas or how I feel about the way that Adam’s Asperger’s syndrome is talked about through the book.
I didn’t hate Love on My Mind, but I was and might always be, some level of uncomfortable with how their relationship played out and how CHelsea’s backstory really didn’t need to include a hefty dose of sex worker shaming (no one’s does), but I also really liked seeing a book where a nerdy type guy went after a Black woman and cherished her.
I think that I’ll give Livesay another chance because her writing is fun and I liked certain things about the way she writes romance dynamics, but this book? Well it’s not getting a reread any time soon because it absolutely could’ve been better.