Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
M.E. Carter’s Weights of Wrath is the fourth book of the Cipher Office series under the Smartypants Romance world. This book is M.E. Carter’s third book. Like the first two books, this book is set in an exclusive gym called Weight Expectations. In book one, we met Carlos and Rian; in book two, we met Abel and Elliott, all characters who either frequent as customers or work at the gym. Prior to Weights of Wrath, we’ve met Carter’s hero, Joey. He’s a bit of a player and a pretty happy-go-lucky kind of fellow. He is also great friends with Abel. In book 2, we find out that he receives a text that tells him he might be a father. In Weights of Wrath, Carter introduces us to Joey’s baby mama, Rosalind aka Cherise, a stripper who engages in a one-night stand that ends in a surprise baby and Abel’s cousin. I think one of the things I’ve struggled with in Cutie and the Beast (the second book – Abel and Elliott) and this newest one is missing chemistry between her heroes and heroines. What happens is the greater motif or message of the story causes the romance to become tangential. On a scale of 5, the steam level is 1.5 to 2.0. Even then, the characters talk about their $ex life as a mediocre experience meant to sate the fire of their hormones. It’s so strange to read a romance that characterizes bedroom experiences in that manner.
Even more, Rosalind has an issue with being likable. If you’ve had children, you can easily commiserate with her. This book is really about the idea of parenthood and motherhood. Carter spends much of this book reminding us that Joey and Rosalind feel ill-equipped to care for a child. Rosalind’s experience is more poignant because she’s initially the antithesis of motherhood. However, as the story progresses and Rosalind experiences wisdom from both Elliott and Dinah, the caregiver team of Weight Expectations, the ultimate message about motherhood is divulged: what’s ever right for your child is “right.” It’s a good message, one that new moms should hear as they encounter the experiences of other mothers. However, in the scope of a romance, it overwhelms Joey and Rosalind’s journey. There is a mediocrity inherent to Weights of Wrath where nothing feels emotionally driven or empowering; it’s simply a tale about the struggles of becoming first-time parents when you’ve met each other through a one-night stand. This is probably realistic, but I think readers want a bit more fiction with their realism, and I’m not sure that M.E. Carter has done it here. As a hero, Joey is sweet and compassionate, if not a bit of a puppy dog, always happy, always amenable. It pairs well with Rosalind who is a firecracker with a bent towards pessimism. It is pure opposites attract without the delicious emotional tension of that trope.
Let me be clear: I didn’t put this book down, but it didn’t engage me in the way that I’ve come to expect with the Smartypants Romance books. M.E. Carter’s Weights of Wrath will aptly show you the challenges of becoming a mother, but its romance needs a bit more heft to it.
In love and romance,