It Started With A List by Tinia Monford
Title: It Started With A List
Author: Tinia Monford
Rating: ★★★★ (4/5)
Description: A BUCKET LIST. THE POPULAR GUY. A LONER. WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
Time’s up for Vassa Blackwell.
With her college graduation looming, Vassa reflects on the past four years. After a devastating betrayal from her closest friend leaves her ostracized, she trusts no one. Now she is mega disappointed. No wacky misadventures, no drunken nights, and no regrettable mistakes that you can NEVER tell your parents. Work and class, class and work. That’s it. College is supposed to be the best years of your life… Right?
Vassa feels as though she’s cheated herself out of a full college experience. Notable with romance and boys and stuff. So, she makes a college bucket list. Then the worse thing ever happens. Her list falls into the hands of Lazarus Gilbert. King of the baseball team, sworn enemy (in her opinion), and her annoying upstairs neighbor. He thinks he’s found something fun to do. She thinks she’s in trouble. That’s until she discovers there’s more to Lazarus than he lets on…
With the pressures of post-college decisions and failing classes, can they complete the bucket list before the semester runs out? Are Vassa and Lazarus just too different to get along? Will they both come out winners in the end, or will she retreat to her safety-zone? Is it too late for her to learn to live and let live, and let love enter her heart?
* I received my copy of It Started With A List by Tinia Montford from Xpresso Tours, but all opinions are my own and are in no way impacted by this.
Trigger Warnings: Depression, Anxiety, References to Self Harm, and Suicide.
It Started With A List is a debut contemporary romance written by Tinia Montford. The book is set to be published on January 25, 2022 as a new standalone. It follows Vassa and Lazarus' relationship in a college setting as graduation approaches that really works for the intended storyline.
I think the premise of It Started With A List relies almost entirely on the concept of opposites attract and damn does it do it well. Specifically, it takes the sometimes predictable aspects of the new adult romance niche and breathes life into them. The book shines amongst what could be considered the most 'basic' of genre tropes. There's no better example of the reverse grumpy-sunshine trope than you'll find in this book along with, my personal favorite, is the slowburn romance that spans the course of the narrative.
Aside from the trope laden reliance of the plot that outshines it’s fictional competitors, two words that immediately come to mind while reading are fun and adorable in many respects. The entertaining story holds its own and manages to standout even for those who are veterans to these kind of genre-specific stories. But, keeping that in mind, to suggest It Started With A Lie is only these things is a massive over simplification of what is an overall great book.
At its heart, It Started With A List is a modern-day inclusive telling. With its diverse cast of characters, the book is exactly what the genre needs more of in this day and age.
Tinia Montfort is definitely an author to keep your eyes on in the future.
Tinia (TUH-NIA) Montford is a Pisces who’s a sap for romance, especially when there’s (tons of) kissing. Loves eighties sitcoms and will consume anything with chocolate. She graduated from the University of San Francisco with a degree in English and Graphic Design. She is a world traveler having climbed a volcano in Nicaragua, scaled Angkor Wat in the blistering sun, and roamed the Acropolis of Athens. Oh, she also dabbles in short stories occasionally. If you can’t catch her writing, you can bet she’s overindulging on poke bowls, listening to the same four songs, or chilling with her adorbs doggie. She is currently pursuing her MFA in Fiction.
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