by Enni Amanda
Series: Love New Zealand #3
Publisher: Lumi Publishing
Publication Date: April 1, 2022
Source: Book Sirens
I received this book for free from Book Sirens in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.My rating:
She lives on the other side of the world. He doesn’t go beyond the corner store.
TV producer Mia is torn between her work ambition and passion for songwriting. Facing a huge career choice, she embarks on a round-the-world trip to find answers. Soul searching turns into a nightmare when she’s robbed. Stuck in New Zealand with only a guitar on her back, she calls the one local she can think of: an editor she once hired via email.
Izzy spends his days in his basement, working on an ambitious film project. His family wants him back on the dating scene, but Izzy prefers imaginary realms to real people. He’ll join the living when he’s reached his creative goals. Probably.
When Izzy’s solitude is crashed by a woman in trouble, he can’t resist the call to help. Having a fleeting visitor gives him an idea – a fake relationship with Mia will get his family off his back. In return, he’ll be a good host (nothing more) and show her New Zealand is not a crime-infested hellhole. He’ll just have to ignore the instant attraction and creative sparks that fly when they're in the same room, or boat, or… cave.
Their chance encounter changes everything, but how could it ever work? Mia’s whole life waits for her in Helsinki, while Izzy struggles to leave his basement. They’re night and day. Unworkable.
Opposites attract, but how far would you go for love?
Much like the cover, this is a super cute book with a lot of New Zealand flavor and even a little bit of fake dating. While this is the third in a series, it’s the first I’ve read, and it worked fine as a standalone.
After traveling the world, New Zealand is Mia’s last stop before returning home to her native Finland. But when her luggage – including her passport and all her money – gets stolen, she reaches out to the only person she knows there, an editor she collaborated with on a work project. Though he doesn’t know her well, Izzy feels responsible for changing Mia’s opinion about his country, and he can’t deny he feels a spark with her as well. Between unexpected family interventions, late night music listening sessions, and a very flirty parrot, though, they realize there just might be something worth exploring between them. But Mia’s heading back to Finland and all of Izzy’s family is in New Zealand.
“What do you mean?”
“Well, you didn’t say what you prayed about, but that sounds like an answer.”
Mia huffed in disbelief. “Are you suggesting I prayed for God to beam up all my stuff? Like some sort of reverse rapture?”
Mia and Izzy couldn’t be further opposites. Mia’s petite and has a reputation of being an ice queen at work. Her boyfriend’s offered her the job of a lifetime – according to him – as the media relations person for his new startup. It has the chance to make her a ton of money and jumpstart her career, but she put off making the decision in favor of traveling around the world. But at nearly the end of her trip, she’s no closer to clarity. Enter a thief, a lost phone, and a frantic message to Izzy. Izzy’s a big, bearded guy with a lot of bulk from working out at his home gym. While he’s also usually quite busy with his editing work, especially the work he does for a suicide prevention non-profit, he doesn’t neglect his own passion project, an animated film he’s written and is painstakingly animating himself. Izzy’s not the social type, preferring to stay holed up in his basement work area, having groceries delivered and only really spending time with his family and his roommate. Picking up Mia is a definite outlier in his life, as is taking her around shopping to replenish what she’s lost. Rather than an ice queen, he thinks of her as a garden fairy, something magical and almost other-wordly. For her part, Mia doesn’t find Izzy’s introversion to be a problem, and in fact she quite admires how he’s followed his own creative path.
Together, the two of them are quite cute, and for opposites, they fit very well together. They’re both interested in music, and while playing the guitar is a usual relaxation technique for Izzy, for Mia it’s something that she’s considered a guilty pleasure, not “real” work. Finding her way back to enjoying it for enjoyment’s sake leads to quite a bit about the transformative power of music. I liked the glimpses of summer in New Zealand, from the plants and animals to Izzy’s family culture. As for cons, I think I would’ve liked the fake dating aspect to be played up a bit more. It was one of the more enjoyable bits of the book for me. The pacing also felt a bit off at times, a little too meandering for me.
Overall, I’d give this 3.5 stars, rounded up to four. It’s cute, fun, and a quick read, and I think I’ll keep this author in mind for the next time I want something like that!