Review: Summer of Irreverence by Cathrine Goldstein

Originally drawn in by the stunning cover, I was thrilled to read Summer of Irreverence. Thank you to the publisher, The Wild Rose Press, for the free digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

Within the first two pages, however, I was already cringing at cliché descriptions tiny women twirling blonde hair “absentmindedly”. Afraid this is what the rest of the novel would have in store, I put down the book and didn’t pick it back up for a week.

Huge. Mistake.

“And because I have never before encountered someone who seems so irreverent.”
“Is that what this is?”
“Yes. My summer of Irreverence. Goodness knows, I need it. All I ever do is play by the rules.”

It Gets (Way) Better

The story itself was a very fun and fast read. I literally laughed and cried and laughed again. I finished the whole thing in one evening. Seriously, stick this one out; the beginning is a little rough but the rest is so, so good. Shoutout to the nonpartisan Donald Trump reference.

The novel felt like a cross between Marley & Me and a very soft 50 Shades. A veterinary surgeon meets a man with an aging dog, you know it’s going to make you cry.

Heavy Clichés and Awkward Writing

Okay, the writing stays mediocre throughout the book. Here are a few of the major things that irked me:

  • Ellipses running rampant
  • Redundancies like “It wasn’t like they were on a marriage reality show, and Malcome was choosing the woman he was planning to marry.”
  • Paradoxes like “Feeling her heart perform a fairly common occurrence that was entirely new to her.”
  • “No one, ever, truly understood.” Really? I thought these characters were in their late 20s and 30s, not their teens.


Steamy Romance

While this book is advertised as an adult romance, it definitely blurs the lines between romance and erotica. There’s more than one detailed sex scene, but the scenes never seem forced or unnecessary; they work for the plot. The sex scenes are particularly important because the two characters only meet under the premise of having a one night stand.

Heteronormative in Your Face

I have pretty low expectations for diversity in a short novel about a straight, white couple but the writer really throws heteronormativity in the reader’s face. In the story, Summer has only had bland sex with bland men, so it totally makes sense that she’s looking for someone with more dominant traits for her crazy summer.

What doesn’t make sense is why every chapter there was a line just like this:

“A man who wanted to be a man – and who wanted to treat her like a woman.”

Summer wants “to be had” i.e. dominated. That is an appropriate way to describe the situation. Not by repeatedly referencing the characters genders. She does not want to be treated like a woman. Being a woman is not directly tied to sexual preferences. What about women who prefer to be the dominant one in bed? What about women who are asexual? What about women who like women? That doesn’t even touch on women who may be biologically so but identify as male or gender fluid.

Summer of Irreverence loses one star to in-your-face heteronormativity and awkward writing in spite of a fantastic plot that was fun to read.




Straight-laced, veterinary surgeon, Summer Wynters is ready to break the rules. And who better to summer of irreverencebreak them with than the most irreverent of all men, mega rock star Malcolm Angel? With one last summer free from work obligations, Summer moves to New York City, and at the coaxing of her friend, pretends to be a model so she can spend one wild night with Malcolm.

Rock star, Malcolm Angel, tortured by a dark past, may be the poet laureate of romance, but he, like science-minded Summer, has never believed in romantic love. How could he? With his history, he doesn’t deserve to be loved.

When Summer’s honesty, kindness, and exuberance for life changes his perspective, the two discover they are in deeper than either dreamed possible. But when Malcolm discovers Summer’s been perpetuating a lie, will he forgive her? Even if forgiveness is possible, can a man immune to love teach someone else to believe in it?

What have you read that turned out way better than you expected?

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