2.5 star, adult

Review: Would You Rather by Allison Ashley

Noah and Mia have always been best friends, and their friendship is the most important thing to them. Life is going great for Noah and he’s up for a promotion in a job he loves. But Mia’s life is on hold as she awaits a kidney transplant. She’s stuck in a dead-end job and, never wanting to be a burden, has sworn off all romance. So when the chance of a lifetime comes to go back to school and pursue her dream, it’s especially painful to pass up. She can’t quit her job or she’ll lose the medical insurance she so desperately needs.

To support her, Noah suggests they get married—in name only—so she can study full-time and still keep the insurance. It’s a risk to both of them, with jobs, health and hearts on the line, and they’ll need to convince suspicious coworkers and nosy roommates that they’re the real deal. But if they can let go of all the baggage holding them back, they might realize that they would rather be together forever.

Overall Recommendation:

Would You Rather was filled with the romantic tropes many of us adore, best friends to lovers and fake dating. But with underlying traumas both protagonists, but mainly Mia, had to individually overcome, the pining was less cute and more grating as I read. For a highly anticipated read for me, I unfortunately was left disappointed even with the happy ending I expected. The plot was everything I could hope for, but its execution just didn’t work for me.

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4.5 star, adult

Review: The Cheat Sheet by Sarah Adams

Is it ever too late to leave the friend-zone?

Hi, my name is Bree Camden, and I’m hopelessly in love with my best friend and star quarterback Nathan Donelson (so is half of America, judging by the tabloids and how much the guy dates). The first step is admitting, right? Except, I can never admit it to him because he clearly doesn’t see me that way, and the last thing I want is for things to get weird between us.

Nothing but good old-fashioned, no-touching-the-sexiest-man-alive, platonic friendship for us! Everything is exactly how I like it! Yes. Good. (I’m not crying, I’m just peeling an onion.)

Our friendship is going swimmingly until I accidentally spill my beans to a reporter over too much tequila, and now the world seems to think me and Nathan belong together. Oh, and did I mention we have to date publicly for three weeks until after the Super Bowl because we signed a contract with…oops, forgot I can’t tell anyone about that!

Bottom line is, now my best friend is smudging all the lines and acting very un-platonic, and I’m just trying to keep my body from bursting into flames every time he touches me.

How am I going to make it through three weeks of fake dating Nathan without anything changing between us? Especially when it almost-sort-a-kinda seems like he’s fighting for a completely different outcome?

Send help.
XO Bree

If any of you know me, just one fact about me, it’s that I absolutely adore the best friends to lovers trope. It’s such a niche romance trope that I’ve hardly come across it. But I LOVE all the angst that comes with such a hard transition from platonic relationship to something different. More often than not, this is accompanied by the excruciating angst that comes with unrequited feelings. Does this make me a masochist that I particularly enjoy such angst? Yes? Maybe?

The Cheat Sheet does this trope very well. It’s pretty much 300+ pages of unrequited feelings from Bree. And from Nathan. Did I mention this book is all about lack of communication between the love interests?

Bree was an amazing protagonist to follow. She’s confident in her standing in Nathan’s life even when the women he dated got jealous of her closeness to him, regardless that nothing romantic ever occurred between them. She’s kind and super empathetic when it came to teaching ballet to youth who may not be able to afford such lessons normally. She didn’t let life take away her ambitions when a tragic accident made her change her life’s trajectory. She was never insecure when it came to Nathan’s feelings for her, or what she thought they were. Hey, if I had a bestie who loved everybody but me, I may not handle such constant rejection as well as Bree did.

Nathan, meanwhile, wasn’t too bad of a catch himself. I normally don’t love sports stories. I’m not very much into any particular sport myself so this world just doesn’t fascinate me. Regardless that Nathan was a well-known football player and that this book contains perhaps 65% football-related storylines, I felt this element helped frame more of Nathan’s character which in turn helped me understand him more. He was adorable with the way he freaked out over Bree’s lack of romantic interest in him. If there ever was a need for the comedy in the romantic-comedy, it can definitely be found among some big football players trying to map out a PG-13 plan to get the girl to fall for her best friend.

The story flowed well, although I was taken aback by the dual POVs. Don’t let the synopsis fool you into thinking it’s only Bree’s feelings to concern yourselves with. Also deceiving is how far along the book gets before the fake dating trope enters the picture. It’s not right at the beginning but I felt this made more sense because it allowed us to understand Bree and Nathan’s history and dynamic before throwing them into the deep end of unknown relationship territory.

The one half-star docked off comes from the sheer length. The book isn’t long, but nearer to the end, I do feel the miscommunication about their reciprocated(!!) feelings was getting a little tiring. Just tell each other you like one another, I wanted to shout at them both. I mean, this may be the angst getting to me at this point. Maybe this is a good sign if that’s what the author intended? All I can say is, I was totally invested in seeing them figure things out. The end may be a little rushed for some, but I think it worked for their particular story.

Do I think this story will be for everyone? I guess that depends on how much you like this kind of romantic angst with its tensions but lots of communication issues. This is weirdly my favorite trope so if you’re like me (a niche weirdo), then you’re in luck because Bree and Nathan have got a story to tell.

Overall Recommendation:

The Cheat Sheet is a charming story about unrequited love between best friends – or rather, miscommunicated and very much requited love between our leads. It’s a cute and fairly digestible contemporary that’s perfect for a lazy afternoon to put you in the feels as we root for the leads to finally get their communication fixed. I certainly read it in one sitting like this! The best friends to lovers trope may not be as common or popular but this TikTok sensation blew up for a reason and I can confidently say it was well earned.

3.5 star, YA

ARC Review: Take Me Home Tonight by Morgan Matson

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off meets Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist in this romp through the city that never sleeps from the New York Times bestselling author of Since You’ve Been Gone, Morgan Matson.

Two girls. One night. Zero phones.

Kat and Stevie—best friends, theater kids, polar opposites—have snuck away from the suburbs to spend a night in New York City. They have it all planned out. They’ll see a play, eat at the city’s hottest restaurant, and have the best. Night. Ever. What could go wrong?

Well. Kind of a lot?

They’re barely off the train before they’re dealing with destroyed phones, family drama, and unexpected Pomeranians. Over the next few hours, they’ll have to grapple with old flames, terrible theater, and unhelpful cab drivers. But there are also cute boys to kiss, parties to crash, dry cleaning to deliver (don’t ask), and the world’s best museum to explore.

Over the course of a wild night in the city that never sleeps, both Kat and Stevie will get a wake-up call about their friendship, their choices…and finally discover what they really want for their future. 

That is, assuming they can make it to Grand Central before the clock strikes midnight.

**Take Me Home Tonight comes out May 4, 2021!**

Thank you Netgalley and Simon Schuster Canada for this copy in exchange for an honest review

Let me first start off by saying, “phew, what a wild ride!” this book truly was. It took a little warming up to at first but by the end of the night, it was like we went down a very long journey with each girl. Take Me Home Tonight lives up to the Ferris Bueller theme as besties Stevie and Kat journey into the heart of the city on their own with hardly a soul knowing where they were up to. This is a story about friendship (the best of kinds), facing what is holding you back, and being able to grow from these things instead of letting it tear you back down. While it may focus on two teenage girls, I do think the themes here teach a great lesson for any age.

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