Updated: Jan 18
by Lorelei Parker
Published by Kensington Publishing Corporation
In life, as in gaming, there's a way around every obstacle . . .
To pitch her new role-playing game at a European conference, developer Sierra Reid needs to overcome her terror of public speaking. What better practice than competing in a local bar's diary slam, regaling an audience with old journal entries about her completely humiliating college crush on gorgeous Tristan Spencer? Until the moderator says, "Next up, Tristan Spencer . . ." Sierra is mortified, but Tristan is flattered. Caught up in memories of her decade-old obsession as they reconnect, Sierra tries to dismiss her growing qualms about him. But it's not so easy to ignore her deepening friendship with Alfie, the cute, supportive bar owner. She and Alfie were college classmates too, and little by little, Sierra is starting to wonder if she's been focusing her moves on the wrong target all along, misreading every player's motivations. Maybe the only winning strategy is to start playing by her heart . . .
RATED: 18+ CATEGORY: MOOD:
Steamy Rom-Com Feel Good
Crushing It is definitely an all around, feel good, romantic comedy. The story was actually ... kind of original, which is a breath of fresh air in the romance genre. All the video game references were awesome. The story was great. My only two problems plot wise, was that I didn't truly get into it until 40% into the book, which is way too long in my opinion, and it was predictable. Once I did get to a point where I was invested in the story (specifically when our main protagonist started to develop feelings for Alfie), I couldn't put it down. Even though I knew what revelations we would get in the last few chapters, I wanted to know how they resolved it.
The characters in this book are very down to earth, and relatable, in my opinion. Sierra is a successful video game programmer, who has a lot of passion for her field. She is scarred from an embarrassing moment in her life, when a prank is played on her during a presentation, and now she has a crippling fear of public speaking, which gets in the way of her presenting her own game at Gamescon. In order to get over her fear, her best friend enrolls her in a contest at a local bar, that requires you to get on stage and read an embarrassing journal entry from your diary. This is where she meets our two potential love interests: her biggest crush in college, Tristan, and Alfie, who had the biggest crush on her in college. Both men complete opposites of one another. It's quick to see who is the perfect one for her. Alfie is probably on my most adorkable character list. Very easy to fall for.
Crushing It, while predictable and the set up is more drawn out than I like, was a super cute, quick read. It's a book that makes you reflect on change. How people change as they grow up, and how they don't. Makes you think about consequences to particular actions. All the while using fun video game references that will make the geek in your smile.
Crushing It comes out on June 30th, 2020.
Top 3 Favorite Moments
Alfie's journal entry of Sierra seeing him
Alfie walking Sierra home
Alfie and Sierra discovering they are each others Mario Kart rivals
Alfie visiting Sierra's yoga class
Their first kiss
Alfie running all the way to Sierra's house in the middle of the night because she wished he was there
Sierra and Alfie's dancing, and the hot sex up against the wall
Sierra telling Tristan that she is part-owner of the company
Sierra and Alfie telling each other they loved one another
Sierra getting to present her game
Where to Buy:
Reynold: "Thank you, Sierra. That was ..."
Reynold: "That was not great."
Alfie: "She was right about the concentration of potential friends. I've never been more immersed, and yet somehow, once again I've become invisible. I wonder if Ms. Maxwell reads these journals. I ought to pay her for the free therapy. I don't usually speak this many words. Why speak when people don't hear me?" I've grown used to the solitude, and honestly, I prefer my own company to bad company. I never disappoint myself."
A smile crossed Alfie's face
Alfie: "But today, I saw a girl, and I thought she saw me. She has a certain style, like she moves in another dimension, and I thought, maybe she's different enough she might see the world I inhabit. I walked toward her, though walking isn't exactly the right verb. It was like being drawn by a magnet. I was mesmerized by her spirit. I approached her to introduce myself, but she stumbled. I bent to help her up, and she glanced at me Her eyes held infinite depths of perception, and I thought she saw into my soul. I thought we'd formed a connection. I opened my mouth to say hi, but then she looked away. I picked up her notebook and handed it to her, catching her attention for another fleeting moment as she stood and hesitated. In that moment, I could have said anything. I wish I'd just said hi. But she turned to take a seat, and she didn't see me, so I didn't speak, and she didn't hear me. I resolved to try another day."
Bryce: "My mom caught me masturbating today."
My drink sprayed from my lips, and I frantically snatched up a napkin to blot up the liquid dribbling down my chin onto my dress.
Bryce: "It was my fault. I hadn't locked the door and she walked in. The look on her face will haunt me until I'm in my grace. When I'm older, this will be the day I will tell my therapist about. And I did. I told all of them."
Sierra: "I'm still sorry, and I wish I would have said hello."
His smile returned
Alfie: "You thought I was mad?"
Sierra: "Yeah. And I couldn't stand making you mad because - "
He tilted his head, looking both amused and confused.
Sierra: "Well. Because I think you might be the nicest person I've ever met."
Alfie: "Oh. The nicest, eh. Not the prettiest?"
I snorted at his reference to my journal from the week before
Sierra: "You want to be the prettiest?"
Alfie: "Just kidding."
Sierra: "There's nothing pretty about you, Alfie."
He double blinked.
Alfie: "Okay. That was honest."
Sierra: "Well, maybe your eyes."
Alfie: "My eyes? I guess I'll take it."
Sierra: "Nope. Alfie, you're not pretty at all. You're not pretty. You're gorgeous."
Alfie: " 'So what's your real name, anyway?' I could say anything, but I don't want to be a fiction to her. 'Alfie,' I say, and I wait for her to cringe. But she tilts her head, considering, and her smile grows ever so slowly, like she's testing out a new flavor and has decided she likes it.
'I like Alfie. You should keep it.'
'Why?' I ask.
'It's sweet, like you. It makes me feel like I could trust you.'"
Sierra: "So. Earlier when you mentioned you'd considered taking the name Parzival ..."
Alfie: "Yeah. Funny you should mention that."
Sierra: "Why? Is it because that's your use name when you play Mario Kart?"
His eyes widened
Alfie: "Have you seen me online?"
I gestured to the screen that showed my profile.
Sierra: "I'm Asuna."
He leaned in closed, a breath away
Alfie: "I'm using tilt control."
I burst out laughing. It was the stupidest of all the possible phrases available, and one I'd never had a reason to use.
Sierra: "Go easy on me."
Alfie: "I'm a little nervous."
Sierra: "Don't be. You wanna play?"
Alfie: "Hell, yeah.:
He shook his head, laughing.
Alfie: "Asuna. Wow. My racing rival in the flesh."
Sierra: "What were you going to say before Aida came down?"
Alfie: "Oh. I was thinking about what you said earlier tonight."
Alfie: "When you said I should have told that girl I liked her."
Alfie: "And I do."
A blush crept up the side of his cheek, and he turned to go.
Alfie: "What's wrong?"
I shook my head
Sierra: "Nothing. Just. You have beautiful eyes."
Sierra: "I always wanted blue eyes."
Alfie: "I hear that a lot. But it's not something I can control, so I'm not sure why it's that big a deal. You never hear anyone gush over how cute my elbows are."
Sierra: "You have cute elbows."
Alfie: "Have you noticed my neck?"
Sierra: "You have a very pretty neck."
Alfie: "At last, she thinks I'm pretty."
I rolled my eyes.
Sierra: "I told you. You're better than pretty."
Alfie: "You think I'm an extrovert?"
Sierra: "You like being around people."
Alfie: "I thought I would. It's why I wanted to make this contest a continuing event. I though maybe if I got some regulars, I'd start to make friends."
Sierra: "Is it working?"
Alfie: "I'm, here with you, aren't I?"
Alfie: "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"
Sierra: "Right now? Go to Germany to present our demo."
Alfie: "So, what's stopping you?"
Sierra: "Reynold. And my own brain."
Alfie: "I have confidence you'll make it happen."
Sierra: "What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?"
Alfie: "I guess I set myself up for that."
I nudged his foot with mine
Alfie: "If I knew I couldn't fail?"
He scooted closer
Alfie: "I'd kiss you."
I leaned closer
Sierra: "I have confidence you'll make it happen."
I placed my hand on his cheek where I'd been wanting to feel his skin, so soft. He closed his eyes, and I traced my finger down to his chin.
Sierra: "What's stopping you?"
Alfie: "I guess it still feels like I'm invisible."
I slipped my hand into his
Sierra: "I admit I got caught up in the idea of Tristan, but I only want to be right here. Next to you."
I touched his cheek
Sierra: "I see you, Alfie Jordan."
Alfie: "I have always seen you, Sierra Reid."
When I woke up around two, I flipped on my Mario Kart to find Alfie racing. I was no longer satisfied talking via the presets, so I FaceTimed him.
When he answered, I said
Sierra: "Go easy on me."
Alfie: "You're kidding. You've been crushing me."
Sierra: "I've been crushing on you. I wish you were here."
Alfie: "I want to spend time with you and get to know you, okay?"
Sierra: "You'r nothing like what I expected. And I want to know you, too, but it this a wait until marriage thing?"
Alfie: "No. Not at all."
He laughed with an adorable wince.
Alfie: "Maybe I want to see where we stand after we've survived our first fight. What happen when you're no longer charmed by the newness of me? When I do something to piss you off? I just want to trust each other first. You deserve that. I don't even know your favorite color."
Sierra: "My favorite color's blue. My favorite Zelda game is Majora's Mask. I prefer autumn to spring."
He fell back farther into his chair, eyes closed.
Alfie: "Keep going."
Sierra: "I thought you were cute the first night I saw you at the bar a couple of weeks ago, and you're the first boy I've ever known who made me feel calm instead of anxious."
Sierra: "Can I touch you now?"
He sighed, but not in exasperation, more like in anticipation.
Alfie: "Touch me where?"
I placed my finger on the side of his neck at the opening of his collar.
Sierra: "Right here. You have a beautiful neck, Alfie."
Dragging my fingernail along his skin, I teased his collarbone, and he let his head fall to the side
Alfie: "That feels nice."
Sierra: "Yes. You do."
I looked into his eyes.
Sierra: "Would you kiss me at least?"
We both leaned in and he gently pressed his lips to mine.
Zane: "Damn. That was an autopsy."
Bryce: "You can stop murdering the boy. He's already dead."
Aida: "Just ready for this demon to be out of me. Sorry, I mean, this beautiful, blessed demon. Who we love very much."
Sierra: "I'm worried I fucked everything up long ago, when I didn't even know ... when I hadn't figured out who I was or what I wanted. Who I needed."
His eyes widened
Alfie: "Who you needed?"
Sierra: "Who I need. I don't know what I was thinking that night. I can't begin to fathom why I even liked Tristan when you were right there. I was missing out on an amazing person. But I can see that now. Alfie, I am so sorry."
More than once in my life, I'd let Tristan's flashy good looks distract me from Alfie's more subtle light. Tristan was like the sun blotting out the north star that was Alfie. But the north star was constant, and the sun would always set.
Sierra: "You're so cute after I've had my way with you."
Aida: "Wook at how pwecious him is."
I looked at Marco
Sierra: "What have they done with Aida?"
She glared at me
Aida: "Shut up."
Sierra: "There she is."
Sierra: "Good job, you two. You did it."
Marco: "Aida did it."