Title: Broadway Beans
Author: Karen Cimms
Publisher: Lone Sparrow Press
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance
Release Date: January 29, 2019
Aiden Winchester: Call it self-preservation, but I need to get out of Hollywood. My heart’s just been shredded by my longtime girlfriend. Worse yet, we have to pretend we’re still America’s sweethearts until after our next picture is released. With the next six months looking more like American Horror Story than a Lifetime channel love story, I’m heading east to make my stage debut.
Broadway, here I come.
Franky Marchesi: I love my close-knit Italian family. I’d probably love them a lot more if they weren’t in my face all the time. So when my best friend begs me to move into her Upper West Side brownstone—rent free—to take care of her new pup whenever she travels, I’d be crazy to say no. But while my living expenses are covered, I still need to make some money if I’m ever going to save enough for college. So with a little luck and no experience, I land a job as a barista at Broadway Beans, a coffee shop in the theater district. But on my first day, I almost kill the hottest guy I’ve ever seen. With a latte. Who knew making over-priced coffee could be so difficult? It’s a hell of a great way to meet someone though.
A modern-day “Moonstruck,” BROADWAY BEANS is a friends-to-lovers romantic comedy.
This was a fun book to read. The opening scene, with Franky tossing her brother’s laundry, including his prize Mets championship tshirt, out the window sets the tone for the book in the best way. She is tiny, loud, frustrated with her parents’ old-fashioned views of a daughter’s role, and fed up with being overworked and underpaid in her family’s deli while dreaming of going to college to become a kindergarten teacher. When her best friend Erika asks Franky to move in with her, Franky resists at first but then when she has a really bad day in the deli, she quits and takes Erika up on her offer. She still has to earn money if she’s going to pay for school, though, so she gets a job at Broadway Beans, a coffee shop in the theater district.
Aiden is a Hollywood star fed up with being known for eye candy and nothing more. He has his agent get him a role in a serious Broadway play so he can grow as an actor and get on the radar for better roles. The rest of the cast isn’t very welcoming, though, and he struggles like he never did on a movie set. He meets Franky in the coffee shop, and they strike up a tenuous friendship that eventually grows into more.
This was a really good book. Some parts were a little cliched, but overall it was an original take on the movie star/everyday girl romance story. Franky was great. She was brash and fiery and didn’t let him get away with anything. And I loved her Nonna! That character was subtle perfection. Aiden was a good guy, too. Having grown up in the Hollywood life, he could be a little out of touch with normal life, but he was a quick learner. The Aiden from the first couple chapters was a much different Aiden than the one of the end of the book. Both characters grew as people over the course of this book.
One thing that I didn’t really like, though, was Franky’s reaction to the climatic event at the gala they attended “not-together.” She knew all about the contract clause requiring Aiden and his costar ex girlfriend to appear publicly as a couple for six months after filming, and she knew that his manager released old photos and frequently made it seem like they were still together, even though they hadn’t seen each other since Aiden broke up with her. So I don’t get why Franky would believe the announcement was real, without even questioning it or talking to Aiden for clarification.
Overall, this is a really enjoyable book. it’s definitely worth one-clicking.
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It was nearly two o’clock when we stopped in front of an Italian deli. The entire
scene looked like a movie set. Kids played in the street. Old women in black
coats and kerchiefs waited on a bench in front of a bus stop. A group of
teenagers hung out on the street corner, wearing flat-brimmed baseball caps and
blasting hip-hop music until a woman opened a window from the second story of a
nearby building and threatened to call the cops. And all this in temperatures that had my nose at a near-constant drip and my blood turning to slush.
The driver opened his door to step out, but Franky was already out of the car.
“Don’t sweat it,” I said, patting him on the shoulder. “Thanks for catching my signal
“No problem, sir. What time would you like me to return?”
I didn’t have a clue. Dinner with my parents was usually an hour tops if I could help
it. But I already knew Franky’s family was nothing like mine. “I don’t know. Let’s say around six. If it will be any earlier or later, I’ll call. Otherwise, meet us here.”
I slid across the seat and joined Franky on the sidewalk.
“Now listen.” She squinted up at me, her eyes lit by the sun, reflecting the richest
dark chocolate and a kaleidoscope of greens and golds. “I texted my mother
already to let her know you were coming. I told her we were friends but because
you’re a guy, they’re going to jump to conclusions. My dad will probably give
you the stink eye and look threatening. My brother will say something stupid
because he can’t help himself. My mother will ask you a million questions. And
my nonna will say something wildly inappropriate, but since she only speaks
Italian, you won’t even realize it.” She hoisted her bag over her shoulder and
tucked a curl behind her ear. “And that’s a heads-up for who I know will be
here. There can be any number of aunts, uncles, or cousins showing up to
dinner. My Uncle Al and Aunt Pip will probably be here with their kids. They
live at the end of the block. And probably my Uncle Gae.”
She waved her hand. “No. Gae. Gaetano. But everyone calls him Gae.” She moved in closer, as if there were a chance someone on the street might hear what she was about to say.
“Uncle Gae has a couple of little . . . quirks. From the war. He has a nervous tic, so he might look like he’s winking at you, but he’s not. It’s pretty obvious, especially if he’s nervous or irritated. He tends to yank his shoulder up when he does it. Just don’t stare at him. It makes him angry, and when he gets angry, he starts to turn in these little half-circles.” She began to demonstrate, turning first one way and then the other. With a limp, which she’d failed to mention.
I couldn’thelp it. I laughed. She had to be pulling my leg, from the foul-mouthed
grandmother to the shell-shocked uncle. She stopped spinning and glared at me.
“You think it’s funny my Uncle Gae was hurt fighting Mussolini?”
“Mussolini? You have an uncle old enough to have fought in World War II?”
“Great-uncle. He’s my nonna’s oldest brother.”
Had I always been such a jerk, or was it something that unveiled itself only in cold
weather? It seemed that since I’d arrived in New York, I was saying and doing
the stupidest things. I swallowed and schooled my face to look remorseful. “I’m sorry. I would never laugh at a war hero.”
“Hero?” The way she looked at me, you’d think I’d shoved my foot farther down my throat. “Who said anything about being a hero? He was trying to save wine casks near Bologna when Allied artillery fire blew up the building where they were stored.
He’s an idiot. But he’s family.”
She gave me a baleful stare and shook her head.
A window opened overhead and an attractive older woman leaned out. “Francesca! You gonna stand there all day or are you coming inside? You want we should starve waiting for you?”
With her hand shielding her eyes, Franky hollered back. “We’re coming! Jeez.” She could be very loud for such a little girl. “You ready?” she asked, squinting up at me.
“Honestly, I’m not sure.” I glanced overhead as the window snapped shut with a bang.
“You’ll be fine. Just don’t let them get you all flustered. If they spot any weakness,
that’s when they’re most likely to attack.”
is a contemporary romance writer, editor, and music lover. She was born and
raised in New Jersey and still thinks of the Garden State as home. She began
her career at an early age rewriting the endings to her favorite books. It was
a mostly unsuccessful endeavor, but she likes to think she invented fanfiction.
married to her favorite lead guitar player. Her children enjoy tormenting her
with countless pranks because they love her, or so they say. She currently
lives in Northeast Pennsylvania, although her heart is usually in Maine.