My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Ever read a book with a character that aggravates you so much you want to reach through the pages and strangle them? Justin, the MC of Fail Seven Times, evoked those feelings in me. He actively works against everything he desperately wants, hurting the people closest to him in the process. His internal monologue acknowledges his shitty behavior while his mouth adds fuel to the fire. He even refers to himself as an asshole. ARGH! I’m frustrated all over again as I write this review.
Justin gets opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to be happy but pretends he isn’t satisfied unless he’s miserable. He’s cynical about romance and self-sabotages at every turn. His flaws are hammered into the reader’s head in every chapter. Honestly, it got kinda old and boring after a while.
I did appreciate the side plot involving the fictional artist and essayist, Enrico Hazeltine. Hazeltine is so well developed that I was certain he was a real person. (Google says otherwise.) Reading about Justin’s infatuation–obsession, really–with Hazeltine added an extra level of interest for me. I really enjoyed reading about his artwork and reading excerpts of his writing. I’d absolutely be interested in reading his story in-depth.
Justin and his partners eventually get their HEA, taking the longest route to get there. (Thanks, Justin.) I did enjoy the unconventional nature of their relationship. I also thoroughly enjoyed the wide range of diverse characters featured in this story.
There is some light BDSM featured in the story that should be noted, if that’s something of concern. Those scenes didn’t bother me at all.
TL;DR: While some of the story felt repetitive, there were several parts that had me hooked. The story has diverse characters and unconventional relationships, and is worth a read if you’re looking for something different in romance story.