As 2022 comes to a close, I’m celebrating my 20 favorite romance novels of the year, and Honestly, I’m Totally Faking It is one of those books that came out of nowhere for me. Typically, I’m either anticipating a release myself or I get a recommendation and put it on my TBR for “sometime.” With this book, however, I got a rec, read the blurb, and immediately jumped in with no other details. That helped make it such an immersive experience, and I loved seeing how everything unfolded without any expectations. It’s hysterical some moments and poignant in others, so this unique book easily won me over. Here’s hoping we get more from this new-to-me author in 2023!
You’ll find my original review and some quotes from the book below!
There’s just something so absolutely delicious about peeling back the layers of a prickly grump, figuring out what makes him tick and finding that gooey marshmallow center hiding beneath his beautiful but thorny exterior. And that is where this playful grumpy/sunshine romance shines! This one came on my radar out of nowhere, so I went in with zero expectations and no idea what kind of vibe I’d find once I started turning the pages. But it gripped me almost immediately, with a relatable heroine, a great meet cute, and an exceedingly memorable scene that sparks the fake relationship dynamic. I snort-laughed, I swooned, and I savored the slow burn to SIZZLE romance that kept me hooked to every page. The slow build in intimacy and balance between laugh out loud moments, tender interactions, and pure chemistry made this such a nuanced and engaging read. We only get the heroine’s perspective, and I loved unraveling the mystery that is our curmudgeonly hero. This couple was GREAT together, and I devoured it at a rapid pace. I loved it!
The story follows Rach, a woman who is endlessly upbeat, even though nothing seems to be going her way. So when she accepts an assignment as the assistant to a difficult boss sight unseen, Rach is optimistic that it will lead to good things. Unfortunately, her first interaction with her new boss does not go as expected… at all. After she accidentally flashes millions of people on live TV, Rach’s new boss publicly claims that she’s his girlfriend. As a politician with a reputation to uphold, it’s the only reasonable explanation for why a woman would be walking around his home in her birthday suit. The real reason is a little more complicated, lol, but Rach soon finds herself taking on the role of fake girlfriend. Spending time with Pres allows her to discover that his bark is much worse than his bite, and there’s actually a funny, nerdy man lurking beneath the surface. But Rach knows that Pres would never accept her as a real partner if he knew the full story, so the only relationship they can have is of the fake variety.
The blurb only scratches the surface, there is a whole lot to love about this book. It’s like all of my favorite tropes were mixed together to make the perfect recipe for romance – strangers with a unique meet cute, grumpy/sunshine, opposites attract, fake dating, and a complicated office dynamic. All major wins for me. I loved trying to figure Pres out, and Rach was such a great heroine that I didn’t mind being in her headspace the whole time. I also loved that the story was more complex than it might seem on the surface. It’s got that fun cover and a hysterical first act, which made me think it would be pure rom com. But as the story progressed, the intimate moments shone, and there were some deeper themes that developed along the way. We see how these two very different people have had similar experiences that have shaped them into the people they are today, and they both just want to feel like enough on their own. That’s one of the things that I loved about Pres the most – he was constantly building Rach up, nurturing her self-esteem and becoming a better man in the process. Not that he wasn’t already secretly a sweetheart, but they really brought out the best sides of each other. Their chemistry was also SO good, and I was surprised by just how spicy this gets – in a good way! It put me through my paces emotionally, with everything from laugh out loud comedy to heartache and tension that I felt through the pages. I was completely invested in their relationship, and that made this one of the easiest 5-star ratings I’ve given in awhile.
Rach is a down-on-her-luck, happy-go-lucky kind of lady … Sure, she may be an assistant to personal assistants, crashing on her ex-boyfriend’s couch, and have a whole secret past, but mostly, things are great.
- Meets Pres — an aspiring politician, certified Capricorn, and a definitely “unlikable” dude (He knows, he had a poll done on it), and
- Accidentally goes viral at the same time. (The internet is calling it “Boobgate.”)
His PR person says they should capitalize on the fame. Pres only wants to win an election. And Rach, well, she really just wants to keep her job.
Now she must decide if she can be herself and get the guy, too, or if faking it until you make it is all it’s cracked up to be…
About the Author:
Amanda Gambill is an award-winning public relations professional and writer. After a five-year career at one of the top PR agencies in the Southeast, she left to start her own content marketing agency and publish a novel.
When she isn’t writing (and even when she is), she can be found with a cup of black coffee in her hand.
She graduated with a degree in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University, and lives in Nashville with her boyfriend, Robert, and cat, Crema.
Follow her on Instagram at @byamandagambill!
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