Bringing Down the House (ARC review) – On the stage of love

The following review is part of my being in the authors’ review team, which ensures that you can read it before the book comes out.

With all the talks of war and COVID, we seriously all need an escape and a place to feel good. Since my escape is books, I am reading a boatload! Although the book I just finished was a reread. This was after this awesome RomCom by A.R. Casella, I needed to continue to chuckle and laugh and feel the love. That’s how much I loved Bringing Down the House.

All right. This is how much I loved every single book of this series (and I know I still owe the last book a long review).

What? Isn’t Bringing Down the House the last? Technically, yes. It is when it comes to publication date, but it is, in fact, a prequel of the whole series, just like All the Luck You Need was a prequel to the Asheville Brewing series.

What the book is about

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Bringing Down the House

Series: Bad Luck Club, book 5

Author: A.R. Casella

Publisher: Laughing Heart Press

Date published: 10 March, 2022

Pages: 360


They should be a disaster in the making. Good thing they don’t believe in words like “should.”

People think I’m crazy…especially my ex-boyfriends. I prefer the term misunderstood. Still, there’s no denying I have a stunning ability to make bad decisions…like seducing the lead actor of the theater company where I just accepted a job.

An HR job

In my defense, Damien Mitchell is the most gorgeous man alive, and worse, he’s interesting. Besides, I’m ninety percent sure my new boss is up to something shady. Why should I behave if she won’t? I fully intend to find out what she’s doing, but in the meantime I’m reeled in by Damien. The thing is, it turns out he isn’t just a fantastic actor at a crappy theater. He’s—

Well, it’s his secret. But I promise it’s a good one. I’m going to help him with that and with saving the theater. Whether he wants me to or not.


I’m the only child of two rich narcissists. I’m used to being alone. I like it.

But Nicole’s not the kind of woman who can be kept at a distance, and to my surprise, I don’t want to stay away. She sets my blood on fire and pisses me off…and makes me feel alive in a way I’d previously only experienced onstage.

I tell her my secrets. I show her my scars. I let her in.

We’re both screwed up, so there’s every chance we’ll destroy each other, but she’s not the only one who’s prone to bad decisions.

My kind of crazy

Since I read the other books, I will only say this so I don’t spoil anyone’s fun: Nicole is an important part of each of the books and she is crazy. But a good kind of crazy.

My kind of crazy.

She’s one never to give to f@*ks about anything, has about no filter, and is quite shameless. But never with bad intentions.

Knowing her backstory in this book is an absolute treat for someone who has read the series. For those who haven’t, it’s the best way to get to know her, but also to get to know Damien, the man who has set her whole world and beliefs on fire.

I confess that her backstory, at times, broke my heart. However, it made me understand where she comes from and why she acts the way she does, and why only Damien, someone as broken as her, could have Nicole let her guard down.

I’ve known this woman just over a week, and she already has me believing in unicorns.


When insta-lust becomes real-time love

Nicole Ricci was a member of the original Bad Luck Club, which the Asheville Brewing readers have already discovered, but which is not important to have read unless you want to aww and laugh with meeting some of the characters again, and her mentor is Cal Reynolds, who gives her, as a challenge, to find “a more interesting job”.

That search brings her to the Forest Theater, where Leaf, the director with little creepy figurines on her desk, offers her an HR job. Because this opportunity offers her a more relaxing workload than her current job, also in HR, in a major toy factory, she gladly accept.

However, the job comes with a catch: she has to keep the actors busy, as in making sure they do not disturb Leaf with their demands, their fights, etc. Considering the little number of actors, it is still quite a small workload for Nicole, until she meets with the hottest guy she’s ever seen: dark skinned, grey-blue eyes, an electric smile, a body to die for… the works!

If Damien is as attracted to Nicole as she is to him, he still doesn’t know who she is and even when he does, the attraction is still very present between them and can very well become real-time love between two broken people with as much to give as they have to learn.

If loving Damien Mitchell is like tap-dancing off a cliff, give me those dancing shoes.


After all, it does take two broken halves to make a whole in their case, should they be willing to take that step.

Mysteries to solve

Bringing Down the House is not only Nicole’s and Damien’s love story, despite how good and hot it is (and it is). There are also two mysteries to solve, and since sleuthing is something that Nicole really likes doing, she jumps at the opportunity, especially when this one comes with a hot sidekick with grey-blue eyes and a body to die for.

The first mystery is the accumulation of little statuettes on Leaf’s desk at the theatre, and the director’s increasing agitation, she who was already quite a bit of a crackpot. But why the increasing anxiety and, consequently, the number of statuettes when Nicole is there to do the whole job with the upcoming play and dealing with the cast and crew?

The second mystery is one directly related to Damien’s family and leads to some more extremely good sleuthing on Nicole’s part. On Damien’s, too, but Nicole has a big part to play in it, albeit accidentally-on-purpose.

Now I understand!

That love for sleuthing on Nicole’s part is something that those who read the whole series are familiar with.

Reading this prequel really made me understand where it all came from, and why she is so good at it (and not only because of the costumes). And she is good at it!

On the stage of love

Nicole’s and Damien’s story really is a wonderful love story, with its array of excellent side characters, like the crunchy Gary, the characters we can’t help but dislike, and the habitués of both series, like Dottie and Josie, to name only them.

Giving up on love is easy to say, not so easy to do, when the right person marches onto the stage of your life.


My verdict

The perfect feel-good story, once again! A.R. Casella’s writing is absolutely brilliant and lets us feel the beat alongside the characters (and made me want to watch Grease again). For the laughs, for the love, for the sleuthing, for the hotness, for everything!

Five stars and a standing O!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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