Thursday, 21 March 2013

Book Review: Faking It by Diane Alberts

Title: Faking It
Author: Diane Alberts
Release Date: 11 March 2013
Number of pages: 147 pages
Publisher: Entangled Publishing (Indulgence)
Source: ebook provided by the publisher
Purchasing Info: Goodreads, Author's Website, Amazon, Read an excerpt

Grade: 2.5 stars

Novellus malus!
Goodreads appetizer: Derek Rory never meant to propose to his best friend's little sister. But when her boss tells a family-oriented investor he's Stephanie's fiancé, Derek can either play along or let her get fired. He's hardly one to turn away from a damsel in distress. If only that damsel wasn't adorable and sexy with a laugh that could melt any cold business mogul’s heart.

When a business proposal becomes a marriage proposal, Stephanie Miller tries to keep it strictly boardroom. But when things get hot under the table, it's all they can do to stay apart. As the tangle of lies drags them deeper into the underhanded world of business politics, Stephanie finds herself in over her head—not just with her job, but with her "fiancé." His eyes are cold, but his kisses light her on fire. If she's not careful, she'll end up faking her way into a real romance.

My Thoughts: I loved Try Me by Diane Alberts and when I saw that her new release Faking It combined two of my favourite tropes (faked engagement + brother's best friend falling for the little sister of said brother) I was really excited, but sadly Faking It wasn't such a hit for me, and trust me it was no fault of the hero.

Derek was quite a complex and three-dimensional hero. At first glance he is the tall, dark and handsome brooding type of billionaire gentleman hero, but step by step as Stephanie got closer to him she unravelled layers of him that weren't apparent at first (his problematic relationship with his father and his refusal of his Hispanic origin, etc.).

Although Derek was a hero I was interested in learning more about, I had a couple of problems with Faking It. The first one being the reason/situation that prompts the fake engagement. Sure, it is a difficult trope to pull off in contemporary romances as it is quite challenging finding a reason that would justify faking an engagement in modern times, and in my opinion the one that Diane Alberts provided us with (the heroine's boss ordering her to lie or else she would lose her job) just didn't cut it. It was so far-fetched, so ridiculous that it was utterly unbelievable and it derailed the story for me.

The second main problem I had was the heroine herself. I get that Stephanie having three older brothers who have constantly cherished and protected her has a huge independence streak (or rather talks about not needing anyone yet through her actions she doesn't prove that is necessarily true...), but I found her stubborn tantrums childish and unreasonable most of the time - and it seems I wasn't the only one since Derek said:

She clenched her fists. “That’s just it, though. I don’t need or want your help. This is something I have to do alone.” A muscle in his jaw ticked.
“There’s nothing wrong with a second pair of eyes to provide a fresh perspective. It’s a small thing, but you’re too stubborn to see that. You’d rather fall flat on your ass than let me help you.” 

Being a very independent and autonomous person I didn't think Stephanie's big rants and fights were warranted, especially since Derek didn't want to put her in a cage but give her wings, he wanted just to ease her struggles, because when you love someone you want to help, which doesn't necessarily mean to do things in their stead just offer support wherever you can:

“I helped you because I couldn’t not help you. Don’t you understand that?”
“No. I don’t.”
“I helped you because I care about you too much to stand by and watch you struggle.”

But Stephanie didn't seem to understand that. Come to think of it, although Stephanie is passionate about her project and helping the poor, she came across as quite a selfish and egocentric person (she even realizes that when she tells her brother she wasn't there for him when his fiancée died and he was grieving for her). I couldn't come to like her even though I tried and that made it quite impossible for me to root for her HEA. To be completely frank, I didn't care much about her, I found her frustrating and very irritating.

And a small additional complaint: there was neither talk nor mention of protected safe sex. Neither Derek or Stephanie asked the other if they were taking care of protection nor did Diane Alberts just mention that one of them reached for a condom. Unprotected sex and immature approach of (=avoidance of discussing or even considering) this topic is my pet peeve and despite a steamy love scene I couldn't forget that who knows what health/pregnancy issues they were risking.

Verdict: Although Diane Alberts' writing style is enjoyable as always, and Derek was an interesting crush-worthy hero, sadly it was not enough to redeem Faking It. I had some major issues with Faking It due to which I just couldn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked. The relationship, the blossoming of the romance between Derek and Stephanie was the saving grace because neither the initial set up of the faked engagement nor the big crisis fight between them was credible, they just felt forced, improbable and thus absurd. Although despite combining two of my favourite tropes Faking It was a miss for me, due to Diane Alberts' flowing storytelling I can't wait to read more of her stories.

Plot: 5/10
Characters: 6/10
Writing: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Cover: 6/10 - not a fan of this cover. The hero looks too young and the heroine has too much make up on.

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