Today I’m bringing you a romance reviews part two! If you missed Part One, this is a new series where I’m reviewing romance books in mini reviews. I read these mostly before bed to de-compress, so I thought this is a way to share my favorites and be loss pressure!
If I Never Met You
When her partner of over a decade suddenly ends things, Laurie is left reeling—not only because they work at the same law firm and she has to see him every day. Her once perfect life is in shambles and the thought of dating again in the age of Tinder is nothing short of horrifying. When news of her ex’s pregnant girlfriend hits the office grapevine, taking the humiliation lying down is not an option. Then a chance encounter in a broken-down elevator with the office playboy opens up a new possibility.
Jamie Carter doesn’t believe in love, but he needs a respectable, steady girlfriend to impress their bosses. Laurie wants a hot new man to give the rumor mill something else to talk about. It’s the perfect proposition: a fauxmance played out on social media, with strategically staged photographs and a specific end date in mind. With the plan hatched, Laurie and Jamie begin to flaunt their new couple status, to the astonishment—and jealousy—of their friends and colleagues. But there’s a fine line between pretending to be in love and actually falling for your charming, handsome fake boyfriend…
Let me be clear, the fake dating trope is my favorite. Well I also love enemies to lovers, but fake dating makes my top three for sure. If I Never Met You combines that with revenge – a dish served best cold. While there’s sizzling chemistry between them, plus I really felt for Laurie’s situation. As someone who has been in a long term relationship, I always wonder what would happen if I was thrown back into the dating world. It’s a terrifying thought.
What I loved the most about If I Never Met You was the way Laurie navigates the toxic sexism and mostly male lawyer world. Not only in the ways that the men in her life feel like they need to step in, to protect her, but also because of the work atmosphere. I also loved McFarlane talks a little bit about how Laurie subconsciously allowed her ex’s career to shine, to help him rise on the career ladder, without doing that for herself. All the little ways in which we realize we’ve censored ourselves.
Another thing I loved was how much If I Never Met You stresses the importance of female friendship, not only with Laurie, but also her mother. The ways that romantic relationships can take center stage, be something we orbit around, but that the friendships are equally, or more important. Not only as a grounding relationship, but people who have your back through thick and thin. The ending seemed a little rushed, considering the pacing of the beginning of the book, but ultimately If I Never Met You was a charming book full of my favorite tropes.
Girl Gone Viral
In Alisha Rai’s second novel in her Modern Love series, a live-tweet event goes viral for a camera-shy ex-model, shoving her into the spotlight—and into the arms of the bodyguard she’d been pining for.
OMG! Wouldn’t it be adorable if he’s her soulmate???
I don’t see any wedding rings
Breaking: #CafeBae and #CuteCafeGirl went to the bathroom AT THE SAME TIME!!!
One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for…
With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…
TW: panic attacks, PTSD, social anxiety
I couldn’t stop reading Girl Gone Viral. In 2019 I was a huge fan of The Right Swipe and so as soon as I heard about this companion novel, I knew I had to get my hands on it. Girl Gone Viral asks us about our sense of privacy in the our age of viral tweets, live streams, and meet cutes. Sure some people need to have a story, a happy ending, but at what cost? What I loved most about Girl Gone Viral is that I can’t pick which MC I loved most!
There’s Katrina’s immense compassion and her love of cooking. Then there’s Jas’ dealing with his PTSD and his inability to let people in. In their own ways, they’re each scarred by their past and can they become better together? Can they be each a source of each other’s support? I loved that from the beginning you could feel the romantic tension and it only built until I was staying up late to finish Girl Gone Viral.
Girl Gone Viral is a dual POV story that allows each character to truly shine. I loved how Girl Gone Viral delivers not only swoon worthy scenes, but also ones that are heart wrenchingly poignant. Our fears of rejection, having to deal with toxic parents, and being afraid of opening up. This is only my second Alisha Rai book, but consider me a fan.