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Publisher's Summary

Ani wants just one night of abandon....

She's burned out from dealing with sexist crap, and with the hell of her grad program looming ahead of her, she just wants one night of nameless cosplay masquerade sex to blow off some steam. But even that goes wrong when the masks come off....

Abraham wants more than he ever expected....

He's usually been a short-term guy, but one night with Ani opens his eyes. He's shocked when she's the one to pull away, saying that with everything she's got going on, she has neither the time nor energy for a relationship.

Can this tough guy prove he has what it takes to care?

She doesn't need a defender: She needs a supporter, someone to help her pick up the slack in her life. He's been a fighter, not a nurturer, but he'll do whatever it takes to show her that what happened at Con shouldn't just stay at Con....

©2018 Cathy Yardley (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

What listeners say about What Happens at Con

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

romance tackling sexism

This book started out a four in the beginning, but it tackled so many subjects such as patriarchy, sexism, rape culture, workplace abuse/violence and toxic masculinty that I gave it a five since those are rarely tackled in romance. I loved that the heroine was of color(Indian-American and interfaith) as I didn't know that walking in. The horrible things women of color have to deal with pursuing their PHD's in STEM makes me understand why a lot of women don't go into it.

It was more a four sometimes since I wasn't excited about the narration(their voices were boring and didn't suit the characters)and the hero was just ok. I didn't love him, but his sexist behavior I found out was learned behavior, so I was glad she was helping him unlearn it.

Short read and my first by this author; I'm sure it wont be my last.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Sexy epidemiology with bonus screed on misogyny in my review. Cheers!

There’s a bit more angst in this installment than previous because plot points turn more on how Abraham handles his own casual misogyny than on than on how Ani deals with even more hostile misogyny from her professor. But it’s good. Stick around.

Two hot people meet while hungover & not at their best. Then they dress up to be even hotter and meet, masked, at a sex party. I was kinda surprised at Abraham’s suave meet-touch. It meant he has actually been trying not to be a jerk to women by the time “What Happens at Con” comes into the series.

There’s some opening misogyny with the transfer of professorial power then again at the gamers’ game night. Both types are impediments to success (of both individuals & institutions) because they block access of enthusiastic, qualified people and also put the burden on the overworked to prove malicious intent affected outcomes. But the thing is, outcome matters more than intent; the behaviors are toxic and must be changed. At first I thought Abraham was an odd choice to pick for the transformation into slightly woke feminist in training, but he worked out well since he at least had a notion that he’d been problematic. My slight issues include picking a guy who actively used a HeMan type decision matrix since his more deliberate choices of “manly things” is nearly as blatant as the maliciously bigoted prof. Even the more subtle guys were contributing to the misogynistic atmosphere; it happens even to women. anyway… He & the whole gaming company need to realize that they created & maintain fairly toxic work place, even going so far as to hire “that guy”. As someone who often learns better from seeing what *not* to do by observing people doing the bad things I do more extremely, I found the author’s choice of getting Abraham to witness his own behaviors, magnified by the prof & “that guy”, a great choice for clubbing him upside the head about unpacking his upbringing. My quibble is that these jerks could have hired another female coder but took on a toxic manboy instead. It got us a fresh bad example but it means they still think Tessa is an aberration, being good at coding, rather than a representative sample of whom they are still excluding despite CS being a field largely founded by women. The story’s main angst comes about because this crap is still very much happening and it’s very much a crap shoot for a woman to get any redress from the powers that be, who often keep the toxic person and permit large turnover of qualified people to keep the jerk for no good reason.
/screed

Despite my screed, the misogyny was handled pretty satisfactorily within the context of the story. It made for good character development and more contextual (& less irksomely random) plot furthering incidents than in previous books. There are glimpses of secondary characters, some less brief than others, but the gang’s all there for series fans. I’m pleased that the elements I like about the stories are getting stronger and the things I find irksome are diminished as the series goes on. Whew!

Steam; Medium. Some of the gang cosplay at a sex con. Most things con are discussed in abstract. This story, along with Game of Hearts do a better job than the earlier books an not having squirrelly notions of sex crop up between the main characters, which I always appreciate in late 20s sexually active adults. The main M/F pairing gets a good dose of instant chemistry that rang true for me so I enjoyed that spark. Consent was also handled well. Solidly well done relationship arc, for all A had to go a greater distance.

Narration: Nicely listenable dual narration. I’m still catching odd pronunciations here and there like cache was /Kash/ vs /ka-SHEA/, but they seem to have the PNW place names down now. This book’s volume played a tad louder than the last which is nice because it’s not maxing out my bluetooth speaker.

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Takes on gender roles and cultural indoctrination

I was initially really ick-ed by some of the phrasings, then I realized the point the author was making. I like it.

Particularly the point that realizing your past mistakes doesn't mean they'll disappear from conversation so you can stop feeling shame.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Points for addressing sexism!

I'm giving it extra points for addressing sexism, because that's something that is so rarely dealt with in books with even the slightest hint of romance. As a minority STEM graduate student, I liked that it dealt with institutional sexism in academia and that the problem wasn't reduced to being about the agency of individual women i.e they should work twice as hard, be less feminine etc to prove they can be "one of the guys". I also really liked that sexism was tackled within Ani and Abraham's relationship, that he wasn't given a free pass for how he treated Tessa in the past just because he's dating a woman in STEM now. That is even more rare, and something that is difficult to navigate IRL.

However, like some of the other books in this series, I just felt that there was a missed opportunity to give them a little bit more depth by developing the characters more and helping the readers really see life from their eyes. Like in this book, it would have been nice to be taken along through Abraham's unlearning of his sexist behaviour aside from a cursory mention of his military past and traditional family (and not just 'I like a girl now so its ok to bring her food') - I really didn't like him in the first book and still wasn't convinced of his transformation by the end of this book.

In the other books, the fact that the characters have loads of different ethnicities but they never really discuss it with their significant others felt like it was just a sprinkling of diversity without really wanting to get into it. To an extent the same goes for one of the characters who was bisexual, though that was handled a lot better. I'm not saying that the book has to tackle everything, but some of the stories were just a bit flat because of how superficial they came across.

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loved it

when I started the series, I knew each of the females has their unique quality. I couldn't wait to begin the next one on the series.

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Abraham

I didn't know if I would like Abraham as the feature character. I was not his biggest fan in Level Up, but he really grows and develops as a character in this book. the toxic nature of Ani's workplace was tough to endure with her, but that story made the book all the more enjoyable at the denouement.