FORMAT/INFO: Calamity will be published on November 14th, 2023 by Bramble Romance. It is 320 pages long and is told in first person from the POV of Temperance. It will be available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.
OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Temperance Reed thought she had found love: then she found out the captain was two-timing her with the ship intern. Determined to be rid of him and to forge a new path for herself and the rest of the crew, Temperance makes the impulsive decision to buy the ship from the captain and send him on his way. Now she’s drowning in debt while saddled with a ship that has seen better days. So when the powerful (and ruthless) Escajeda family reaches out with a seemingly simple job with a payday that’s astronomical, Temperance can’t afford to say no, even if she knows there’s a trick somewhere. Confirming her suspicions is the fact they insist that their son Arcadio join her on the mission as security. As the mission turns deadly and secrets are revealed, Temperance soon has her hands full just keeping herself and her crew alive…which is why it’s a very inconvenient time to be falling for someone who may not have her ship’s interests at heart.
Calamity is a fun and breezy sci-fi adventure romance. It’s full of action, keeping you on your toes as Temperance and her crew deal with everything from natural hazards to dangerous mercenaries. The ride falls into that popcorn lane of entertainment, just slightly over the top (in a good way) as our hero discovers what is truly happening on this planet she’s been sent to explore. I plowed through the book in a few days, having a perfectly pleasant time, if never elevating beyond that.
The romance, however, was a bit rote, and that might come down to personal preference of how romance is delivered in a capital R Romance novel. The beats of a classic structure are here: characters meet and dislike each other based on their assumptions, characters realize they were wrong, characters hook up/fall in love. But those beats just didn’t feel earned on a relationship level. The driving factor here is almost all physical attraction (with a healthy number of comments about the male love interest’s god-like physique), with the process of growing to know each other much more of a secondary component. While I’m certainly here for the spicy culmination, I find it much more satisfying if I’m emotionally invested in the characters.
This all compounds to make a male love interest that feels perfect, but somewhat hollow. As Temperance is a first person POV character, she feels more real and fleshed out, full of insecurities as well as strengths. Arcadio on the other hand, seems to check a lot of boxes of Perfect Boyfriend (thoughtful, respects Temperance’s authority as Captain, abs for days) but at the same time doesn’t have the same force of personality as Temperance.
CONCLUSION: Now, I have to acknowledge that some of the joy of the Romance genre is embracing the predictability and formula of the ride to the happy ending. If you’re looking for that in a sci-fi adventure wrapper, then you’ll probably have a great time with Calamity! While I personally just wished for a little more time developing the bond between the two leads, I wouldn’t hesitate at all to recommend this to someone looking for a book to escape with.