Review: Givers (Upper Echelons Book One) by Casey Cox

Rating: 3.5🌈

Casey Cox is diving further into the billionaire romance trope with the first in Cox’s new Upper Eschelons series, Givers.

I’m a fan of this author from the Vet Shop Boys and thought I’d see what sort of perspective they’d bring to this popular contemporary romance trope.

There’s some good elements here with respect to the characters and their personalities that made for some interesting moments. I also enjoyed the You’ve Got Mail approach the author took with the dating app, something Cox admits to. It’s a charming ploy , and works here as well as it does on screen.

However, my thoughts after finishing the story is that every element, each neat aspect of the narrative I thought special or outside the usual plot line never got the attention of detail or was carried to its fullest potential that the author was capable of achieving.

Robbie Small (he’s also short in stature) is involved in the Wellness business (his company) , working out, and extremely conscious about diet. It relates back to a painful family history and his mother. This is an important part of his life and personality. It’s made him what he is today. Yet once it’s out in the story, it’s over. And this topic disappears completely.

This is a trend within the narrative. A storyline or aspect of one that may strike a reader as a compelling element is only partially put into use, and then discarded.

When both Dunlop and Robbie Small are matched up by the dating service we get an enjoyable, engaging conversation that adds to the anticipation for these men to share more of themselves and gain a deeper understanding. But that doesn’t happen. Spoiler alert. This element is stopped short.

The book actually contains a scene where Dunlop and Robbie go to meet a couple from another book (Heart Unbroken). It makes no sense if you haven’t read that story. And really, except for the author’s own need to include it so a brother can be yelled at twice, it’s hard to understand why it’s included here. The argument that the company and brother are “cold hearted” has been made satisfactorily.

It’s choices like that, extra page time that makes the book dense, less interesting, less focused on the characters and central themes of this story.

Dunlop wasn’t a character I was immediately drawn to. It took time to find any type of connection with him, unlike Robbie Smalls who was engaging and likable from the start.

The billionaire trope is , imo, a type of contemporary romance that’s harder to find a realistic connection with , so the author has to look deeper into the characters themselves for elements for readers to understand and be drawn to. I’m not sure Cox was able to find those elements and make us or at least me, care about the billionaires here. That’s a hard sell any day, but more so now.

So it’s a good romance. If you’re a fan of Cox or this trope, give it a try. Otherwise, check out the Vet Shop Boys! There’s a series I can recommend.

Upper Eschelons:

✓ Givers #1

◦ Takers #2 – Aug 7, 2023

Buy link:

Givers: MM Billionaire Romance (Upper Echelons Book 1)


I’m so bad at love, I’ve resorted to outsourcing it.

ALGRL is a next-level, algorithmic-based online dating service with a 97% guaranteed success rate! With odds like that, even I can’t mess it up. Right?

One thing I’m sure of—Dunlop Palmer is not the Mr. Forever I’m looking for.

He’s a billionaire alpha playboy. Filthy rich, criminally attractive, and 100% not settle-down material.

He irritates me from the moment we meet. He gets under my skin once we start working together. And he totally catches me off guard when I start catching glimpses of the real him.

Turns out, my first impressions of him were way off-base. There’s a lot more to Dunlop than meets the eye. And see? This is why I can’t be trusted when it comes to men.

I should be focused on the perfect guy I’ve been matched with online—hello, 97% success rate—and not the walking, talking, sex god of a disaster that is Dunlop.

Am I about to make another huge mistake?…

GIVERS is an opposites-attract billionaire MM romance with You’ve Got Mail rom-com vibes. It features an alpha billionaire who’s guarding his heart, online dating, a ginormous size difference, and a guaranteed happily ever after.

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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