Public radio co-hosts navigate mixed signals in Rachel Lynn Solomon’s sparkling romantic comedy debut.
Shay Goldstein has been a producer at her Seattle public radio station for nearly a decade, and she can’t imagine working anywhere else. But lately it’s been a constant clash between her and her newest colleague, Dominic Yun, who’s fresh off a journalism master’s program and convinced he knows everything about public radio.
When the struggling station needs a new concept, Shay proposes a show that her boss green-lights with excitement. On The Ex Talk, two exes will deliver relationship advice live, on air. Their boss decides Shay and Dominic are the perfect co-hosts, given how much they already despise each other. Neither loves the idea of lying to listeners, but it’s this or unemployment. Their audience gets invested fast, and it’s not long before The Ex Talk becomes a must-listen in Seattle and climbs podcast charts.
As the show gets bigger, so does their deception, especially when Shay and Dominic start to fall for each other. In an industry that values truth, getting caught could mean the end of more than just their careers.
Title : The Ex Talk
Author : Rachel Lynn Solomon
Format : eARC/audio
Narrator : Emily Ellet
Page Count : 336/9 hours
Genre : contemporary romance
Publisher : Berkley/Books On Tape
Release Date : January 26, 2021
Reviewer : Hollis/Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .25/ ★ ★ ★ .5
Hollis’ 4.25 star review
I’ve had an ARC of this on my kindle for so long. Why did I put off reading this? Why.
I am eating Tater Tots with my former nemesis in a dive bar at eleven o’clock on a Monday night. My life has ceased to make sense.
If you’re looking for a hate/dislike style enemies-to-lovers contemporary romance set in the workplace to fill the hole created by stories like The Hating Game, while still very much being its own thing, you should absolutely pick this one up. Because this is such a unique concept, too, outside of that specfic flavour. You’ve heard of fake dating. But have you heard of fake exes?
I’m scrolling back to the beginning of his photos when tragedy strikes. My hand slips on my laptop and I accidentally hit the like button. On a really old photo of him and his ex-girlfriend. The only rational solution is to set myself and my laptop on fire.
It may have taken a chapter or two for me to sink my teeth into this but once I started flipping pages, I couldn’t stop. I devoured this. Parts of this had me outright howling with laughter and once the romance kicked in, hoo boy. Hi. Yes. More of that.
“You have CDs?“
“Old car. That’s all it can handle.”
“Besides, then she can act all hashtag retro.“
“I hate that CDs are retro.”
Solomon’s banter is so solid, the dynamic between these two lead characters so fun and a little flipped when you think of standard gender stereotypes, and all the little generational/age gap jokes were just hysterical (she’s just about thirty, he’s early twenties). Plus I’m not sure I have ever read a story set around public radio so that was really fun as a setting and we got little transcript bits, twitter feeds, and more to spice it all up and I always love that, too.
“It’s ridiculous that there’s no cat lady equivalent for guys. Fucking misogyny.”
“Sounds like a very gentle superhero.“
Honestly the only thing I didn’t like was the public display/grand gesture/grovel (it’s not a spoiler, this is a romance, of course this happens) but I generally hate these big moments so I’m not really surprised I didn’t quite get on with it here, either. But that’s a very personal thing. Not really my jam.
I highly recommend this if you’re looking for a snappy, delicious, hilarious, sweet, sexy, and very fun time. And considering the year we’ve just had? We could all do with this. But this also touches on grief, on finding your way even if you think you have it all figured out, the trials of adulthood, and more. Pick this one up. I’ll definitely be trawling through Solomon’s backlist (though, just for information purposes, she’s been strictly YA up until this point) and I am so very excited for her next release. Whatever it might be.
** I received an ARC from the author in a giveaway (thank you!) and was under no obligation to review. **
Micky’s 3.5 star review
Easy listening (there’s a pun in there)
Annoyance to admiration
The Ex Talk was all easy listening with cuteness and an engaging plot. It didn’t blow me away but it certainly entertained me for a number of days while I listened. I feel like I haven’t read/listened to a book set around radio before and so that context was fresh and fun.
These MCs were all petty annoyance with one another and it felt for good reason on Shay’s front. Dominic loved lauding his masters degree and came in sweeping through an organisation built on subtle misogyny. While that wasn’t Dominic’s fault as such, it understandably got Shay wound up.
When these two found themselves hosting a show together, it was such a rush listening to their evolving confidence issues, a show that built to success but on shaky foundations but most of all, their chemistry. I did love these two together.
I think this is a perfect holiday/weekend read that isn’t taxing and will leave you satisfied. It had a great culmination and finshed on a strong point. The narration was good throughout.