Romance Mini Reviews: Fake Dating

As I am mostly reading romance at the moment but really not feeling up to writing proper reviews for that genre, I have decided to start mini reviews, organized by theme or trope. Starting with my absolute favourite: fake dating. I am not quite sure why I am loving that trope so much but I think it has to do with the fact that it makes the story so very obviously divorced from reality that it becomes easier for me to suspend my disbelief (which seems an odd thing to struggle with as somebody who usually reads mostly spec-fic).

25750546Act Like It by Lucy Parker

Published by Carina Press, 2015

This book combines many things I apparently love in romance novels: fake dating, enemies to lovers, hilarious banter, a grumpy male character, a lovely female character, and theatre. Lainey and Richard are starring in a West End play together – and cannot stand each other. They are mostly forced into a fake relationship by their management because ticket sales are down due to Richard being a bit of a knobhead in public (and in private and everywhere in fact). The book works for me because he is not a total ass and she is funny and not a pushover. I loved Lainey’s relationship with her family and I love how Richard actually makes a effort to be nicer. There is very little miscommunication and they both are honest with each other; which I love.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: attempted sexual assault, suicide (in the past), death of a sibling (in the past), cancer (in the past)

39854434Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey

Published by Avon, 2019

I have been on a serious Tessa Bailey binge and I have figured out that I like her books most when they are less angsty and more fun. This one is a lot of fun. While I am personally not partial to the “in love with my big brother’s best friend”, I do love fake dating and quirky heroines. Here Georgie and Travis start fake dating: for him it’s a way of bettering his image so that he has the chance of some kind of important baseball job (I know nothing about baseball), for her it’s a way of making people see her as a grown-up for once plus she has been in love with Travis most of her life (that surely will not blow up in her face at all). I thought this was absolutely lovely; I enjoyed the relationship and their banter, I love how they inspire each other to believe more in themselves, and Georgie’s women’s club was brilliant. I did think the ending was seriously over the top, but still, as a whole this was well worth the read.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: none? (the main character works as a clown, in case that is somebody’s phobia; I would wish to know if the main character worked with spiders so I am mentioning this)

45183911._sy475_Faking Ms. Right by Claire Kingsley

Published by Always Have, 2019

This was the book that made it very obvious to me that I enjoy the trope. It does a few things I am not always happy with but I still enjoyed it a whole lot due to the wonderful fake dating element. Here Shepherd is fake dating his personal assistant Everly because his (gold-digging) ex-girlfriend is dating his father (it doesn’t reeeally make that much sense in the book either). Everly is wonderfully sunny and super competent and her group of friends are similarly wonderful and totally made the book for me. I am not a big fan of super rich dudes in romance novels but this time it did work for me – mostly because Shepherd doesn’t really use his wealth to win Everly – which is something that always makes me cringe. They are believable as a couple and the whole book was a lot of fun.

4 out of 5 stars

Content warning: none that I can remember.

14 thoughts on “Romance Mini Reviews: Fake Dating

  1. Reviewing romances by trope is a great idea! I don’t read a ton of romance, but I think partially that comes down to not knowing how to find what I like within the genre, so I find these mini-reviews helpful. I think I’ll add Fix Her Up to my list to try!
    Also I lol’d at the clown content warning, but then totally understood what you meant about wanting a spider warning. 😆

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t have all that much to say about romances but I still want to talk about them in some form.
      I have since read or dnfed three more fake dating romances, so maybe I’ll never get around to reviewing another trope.
      I felt a bit weird including the content warning but then again, people have phobias and clown phobia doesn’t seem super rare. I am just trying to be thorough (it is difficult!)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Content warnings are tough! I was never sure either what should be included or not and mostly gave up on using them as a result, although I should really get back into the habit. I’m always afraid of spoiling anything, but in the end I think any books that use sensitive subject matter as spoilers are probably doing something wrong anyway.

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      2. They are so difficult to do right! But as I have things I would like to be warned about beforehand, I figured I should do my best to include trigger warnings. Especially because they aren’t as easy to find for adult books as they are for YA books.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is a good point! I don’t often pay much attention to them, but now that you mention it I would agree they seem more prevalent in YA. That seems odd, as YA readers are not necessarily more sensitive to content than adults? Content sensitivity doesn’t seem like anything you would “grow out of,” so it does seem like there should be a more equal balance. I should make more of an effort again myself!

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      4. I think it has more to do with the discourse in the YA online world. I think content warnings are a good thing but also really difficult to do correctly.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I am pleased to report that Overdrive has a copy of Act Like It, though it has an 8 week wait time but I finally went ahead and put a hold on it. Fake dating is just the best, and I also deal with romance better when it’s obviously a fantasy and not trying to be super true to life. (Also, I HATE the ‘in love with my brother’s best friend’ trope and I don’t even know why it annoys me so much.)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get annoyed at it because it frames the woman in relationship to the men in her life and sex as something shameful you shouldn’t be doing to women when you know the men in their lives.
      And yay, Act Like It! I’m really looking forward to your thoughts!

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