by Jackie Lau
Series: Kwan Sisters #1
Also in this series: Mr. Hotshot CEO
Publication Date: May 22, 2018
I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
I'm a pretty simple guy. When I'm not writing a science fiction novel, I'm watching a good movie or reading a book. Alone. I like my reclusive life. That is, until my only friend asks for a favor—pretend to be his baby sister's boyfriend on a couples' getaway. Her ex is going to be there and she needs me as a buffer.
I should have said no, but Naomi is bubbly, energetic, and beautiful. She also means everything to her brother. But now, our fake romance is starting to feel all too real, and I find myself stuck between the promise I made to my friend and risking my heart to the one woman who might actually get me…
Can I just say I love this title? It’s exactly what this book is about, and this book, like the title, is refreshingly straightforward about what you’re getting. This is a trope bonanza – best friend’s sister, fake relationship, forced proximity and opposites attract. It’s also unbelievably adorable and relatively low-angst. One big caveat – it’s told in first-person present tense POV. It’s not my favorite POV, but I think it worked well for the story. Also, there’s donuts, delicious donuts with rainbow sprinkles. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
Naomi’s looking forward to a beach house party with her friends for the long Canada Day weekend, but there’s just one problem: her ex – and his new girlfriend – is going to be there. The breakup was six months ago, and Naomi swears she’s over it, but things still feel awkward. Obviously, the only solution is to bring along a fake boyfriend, and she bets her brother knows just the right guy…
“From the time I was young, my parents thought I was a bit of a freak. Why didn’t I see my friends more often? Why did I spend so much time at the library? Why did I keep locking myself in my room with an enormous ‘Keep Out’ sign on the door?”
Will is, well, like the title says, grumpy. He’s an introverted science fiction writer, and like most introverts, he needs plenty of alone time to recharge, something his family can’t seem to wrap their brains around. They keep trying to force him to go on big family vacations, and he keeps using any excuse he can find to put them off. It’s not just his family, though, as his last girlfriend seemed fine at the start and then, as they settled in to a relationship, started trying to change him to be more social and extroverted. So, the idea of going to a house party full of strangers is Will’s idea of hell, but for Naomi? Well, he’ll do it. Of course, things start going downhill before they even get to the beach house, and when they arrive, it seems Naomi’s ex intends to spend the whole weekend sucking face with the new girlfriend.
“Actually, I have a vague recollection of calling him my ‘real boyfriend’ last night, but I can’t remember what he said. He probably thought I was just kidding around because I was drunk.
Apparently, I’m quite smart when I’ve been drinking.”
Both Naomi and Will have had relationship issues with not being “enough” for the other person. As she spends time fake dating Will, Naomi realizes that she spent her entire relationship with her ex trying to be exactly like him – agreeing with him on everything and suppressing any part of her personality that didn’t fit with his. Will’s the exact opposite, in that he’s happy with who he is but everyone else seems to want to change him. As the weekend progresses, their fake relationship begins to feel more and more like something that could survive past the end of their vacation, if they both can give it a chance. I liked how the forced exposure to the contrast of Will and her ex-boyfriend forced Naomi to realize what had gone wrong in their relationship – or, honestly, what had been wrong from the start.
Overall, I gobbled this book up in a day, much like one of the vanilla dip donuts with sprinkles. It’s fun and sweet, and I think it’d be a great summer read. It’s a good start to the series about a Chinese-Canadian family, and I’m am definitely looking forward to the next one!