It’s a mini review! I’m clearing out my review queue of all the books I can’t seem to convince myself to finish, for one reason or another. That doesn’t mean these are negative reviews, it simply means that something isn’t compelling me to keep reading at the moment. Maybe I’ll go back to them another day, maybe I won’t!
How far did I get? 130 pages, which is less than halfway through this nearly 400-page rom com.
Why did I stop? It was just becoming clear that this new-to-me author is not a good fit for me. I read all heat levels, from super spicy to closed door, but this felt particularly chaste. There were also some religious references, including the characters praying at the dinner table. So the heat was turned ALL the way down, without much (any?) sexual tension. I need that to feel the chemistry, and this was lacking in that department. Pair that with a heroine who is SO self-deprecating that it grated on me, and this started to lose its luster. This size 12ish heroine kept referring to how unattractive the hero must find her, and his responses kept sounding like, “yeah, she’s average, but that’s refreshing.” Little things started piling up, and the long length started to feel like it would never end.
Was I enjoying it initially? Yeah, the meet cute was original, while still feeling tropey and fun. The cover is adorable, and that title is so freaking punny. The tropes are right up my alley, so it had all the ingredients of a great read. I also thought the hero was super sweet (he loves his grandma! Reformed bad boy!), and strangers to lovers who find themselves in a fake relationship is chef’s kiss for me. So there was a lot working in its favor, which is why it’s so disappointing that it didn’t work out.
Would I finish this? No. I’d be willing to give the storyline another shot, but I’m confident that there are more religious and weight references that are just going to drive me crazy. I read the first 130 pages in one sitting, and I simply didn’t have a desire to pick it back up when I was done for the day. Maybe if it was shorter? Still probably a no.
Who would I recommend this to? Sweet romance readers who like no/very low heat rom coms that play up the tropes. Fake relationship fans. I’d consider this lower heat than a Sarah Adams or Emma St. Clair rom com, which both include sexual tension.
A chance meeting. A hunky hockey player. A fake romance.
Hardly an ordinary day in the life of Poppy Hart.
My days usually consist of agonizing over my failing restaurant, worrying about my mountain of debt and nursing my broken heart.
Everything changes when I bump into a man in the coffee shop and claim him as my new boyfriend. To my absolute horror, he turns out to be hockey’s most renowned bad boy, Dallas Burke. To my absolute delight, he goes along with my story.
When his no-nonsense manager and meddling grandmother jump in the picture, they see a win-win solution for my failing restaurant and Dallas’s less-than-stellar reputation.
A full-fledged fake romance complete with contract negotiations, pretend dates and phony PDA.
But as I get to know the real Dallas Burke, who is not the man the press says he is, it becomes clear that if this isn’t real. . . someone better tell it to my heart.
About the Author:
Courtney Walsh is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of sixteen novels. She writes small town romance and women’s fiction while juggling the performing arts studio and youth theatre she owns and runs with her husband. Courtney is a Carol award winner and Christy Award finalist who has also written two craft books and several full-length musicals. She lives in Illinois with her husband and three children and a sometimes naughty Bernedoodle named Luna.
Connect with Courtney online at her website (courtneywalshwrites.com) or on any of these social media platforms:
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