This is the third Robin Hale book I’ve read this year and I think I’m seriously developing a crush. I’m never sure what to expect – her first book was a superhero (actually more of a super-villain) story, the second was a paranormal romance and the latest is a fauxmance. Regardless of the genre, Ms. Hale’s writing and characters create a fabulously fun and entertaining read. Her books just make me happy.
There’s no question that Iris Spark is brilliant, driven, abrasive and definitely not a people person. She’s also facing mutiny as the Board is trying to push her out of the company she built from the ground up and replace her with a more personable and controllable CEO. When the result of a coffee mishap goes viral, Iris decides that a social media campaign to humanize her in the eyes of the public may help forestall the Board’s decision. Enter Amber Kowalczyk, a successful social media consultant, and the two craft a campaign where they will fake date to increase Iris’s public likability complete with selfies, hashtags, livestreaming video games and karoake. This is all about the characters with very little drama or intrigue getting in way of the silly, fun and wonderfully endearing story. A well done fauxmance is a beautiful thing.
Ms. Hale creates some of the most delightful and captivating characters – with the story alternating between Iris and Amber’s POV, you get into both their heads. Their interactions with a cast of well-developed supporting characters rounds them out and provides further insights into both characters. Iris is ridiculously confident and arrogant, but there’s a streak of vulnerability under it all as she realizes she lacks social finesse and keeps herself isolated from most people. Amber, on the other hand, is charismatic and charming – open and optimistic but also with her own self-doubts, she’s the perfect foil for Iris’s reticence. There’s a great balance between the two – both on the professional and the romantic level. I really loved both characters; and, when you get them together there’s a magical connection and chemistry as the staged flirtation transforms into deeper feelings.
One thing that did irk me is the repetitive use descriptors like “the blonde” or “the brunette” – nobody mentally refers to a person they know as “the brunette” in their mental musings.
Overall – I really enjoyed this one. Ms. Hale is becoming a go-to author when I’m in a reading funk and need a sweet, funny romance that will leave a big grin on my face.