Part of me really does want to rate this as 5 stars, because there are so many great moments in it. I loved the representation of our heroine, a woman whose tics have made her feel self conscious and less than, as well as the depiction of our hero, a sweet, vulnerable guy with insecurities of his own. They make for an honest and real couple – even though I didn’t always agree with their actions. The writing is solid and the tone remains light yet heartfelt, making this the kind of read that’s easy to get lost in. There were a few minor things that bugged me, but I sincerely enjoyed it overall.
The story follows Hollyn, a woman with Tourette’s who prefers to stay behind the scenes. She is a reviewer who has built up quite an audience, but she’s done it all while keeping her anonymity intact. In real life, Hollyn is not the confident, outgoing woman she seems to be in her reviews – she’s awkward, insecure, and generally unwilling to interact with others. When the new guy at her office, Jasper, tries to strike up a conversation, their initial meeting doesn’t go as planned. They start off on the wrong foot, but slowly get to know each other better. And while neither one is in the right mindset for a relationship, that doesn’t mean there isn’t attraction between them.
It’s been awhile since I’ve read anything by this author, so I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but this was a very satisfying read. It reads like a rom com but has serious undertones, and I loved the complexity of the characters. Both Hollyn and Jasper are extremely likable, though they each have things they struggle with. It’s a slow burn that builds along the way, and our couple remains the focal point throughout. For me, the back half is what loses this a star. I always struggle with characters who think they can keep feelings out of the equation, especially when they’re clearly already involved. The subplot revolving around Hollyn’s best friend also distracted from the romance, though I can see why it was included – it adds a touch of nuance to the relationship that’s important, but I can’t say that I particularly enjoyed it. Overall, this was very solid and a great start to a new series. I received an early copy via NetGalley and am voluntarily leaving a review of this slow burn romance.
A beautifully emotional and unforgettably steamy new contemporary romance from New York Times and USA Today bestseller Roni Loren
Everyone knows Miz Poppy, the vibrant reviewer whose commentary brightens the New Orleans nightlife. But no one knows Hollyn Tate, the real face behind the media star…or the anxiety that keeps her isolated. All her life, Hollyn’s tried to hide her true self behind an online facade, but when her boss tells her she needs to reveal the truth to the world or lose her job, she’s forced to rely on an unexpected source to help face her fears.
Enter Jasper Deares: actor, newly minted fake boyfriend, and way, way out of her league. Hollyn thinks Jasper must be joking when he offers private lessons to help overcome her fears. Getting up on a stage? Hello, worst nightmare. But Jasper’s infectious charm has her saying yes despite herself. They’re only supposed to be playing a few improv games, but as the lessons run longer and the lines grow blurrier, Hollyn can’t help but wonder if she’s acting at all…or if a relationship with Jasper might help give her the confidence she needs to say yes to every imperfect part of herself.
The series continues in July!
Yes & I Love You reads as a standalone, but it introduces us to the heroine of the followup, and I’m looking forward to her story! She has a true crime podcast, and I’m betting her backstory will be pretty complicated. What if You & Me releases in July!
About the Author:
Roni Loren is a two-time RITA Award winner and a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She wrote her first romance novel at age fifteen when she discovered writing about boys was way easier than talking to them. Since then, her flirting skills haven’t improved, but she hopes her storytelling has. She holds a master’s degree in social work and spent years as a mental-health counselor but now writes full time from Dallas, where she puts her characters on the therapy couch instead.
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