Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book Review: "The Real Thing" (Sugar Lake #1) by Melissa Foster + GIVEAWAY

The Real Thing (Sugar Lake #1)  Melissa Foster
Date finished: October 17, 2017
Date published: September 5, 2017
ISBN: 9781542045810
Genre: Romance (Contemporary)
Source: Goodreads Giveaway

You might enjoy this book if you like: Second chance romances, sassy narratives, fake fiance romances

Bakery owner Willow Dalton’s friendship with Zane Walker has always been a bit complicated. Now a scrumptiously hot A-list actor, Zane’s always had a reputation as player. He’s arrogant, and he’s definitely not boyfriend material. Sure, he did Willow a favor by agreeing to take her virginity before college, but is that reason enough to go along with a fake engagement a decade later—even if it comes with a real diamond ring?

Zane should have known better. Nothing involving Willow has ever been easy. Still, he knows her better than anyone, and becoming America’s hottest new leading man means cleaning up his reputation. An “engagement” to curvy, sass-mouthed Willow is the perfect PR move . . . provided no one gets hurt. 

Now Zane and Willow’s little white lie has turned into an irresistible recipe for sweet temptation. And soon no one will be able to tell the difference between their fake engagement or the real thing—including them. 

My Thoughts:
It is frequently difficult for me to start with a new romance author.  I have my favorites, which usually keep me busy enough, and I have this thing that I have to start series with the first book and I am sometimes so overwhelmed by existing series that I just can't start them.  Melissa Foster is one of those authors that I had seen come up in my recommendations and thought that I really should try, but just never got around to it.  Then, I won a copy of this book--which fortunately was the first in a series (otherwise I would have gone back to read all the previous books first, because I am THAT person)--and decided to give it a try.

The best thing about this novel for me were the characters.  As it is the first in the series, the cast seems to be bigger than the story itself actually needs.  However, since it is setting up a series, I have no problem with this (if this were a standalone, I'd feel differently).  Willow and Zane are both likable characters and their witty repartee was entertaining and engaging.  The supporting cast, as I said, is large, but still distinct.  I never felt like I was mixing up characters or forgetting who was who.  These characters were developed enough that I am interested in reading their stories down the line, but not so much that they eclipse Willow and Zane's story.

While I enjoyed Willow and Zane's story, I found it problematic in parts.  I did get the feels from their growing attachment to each other, which is always a win for me in romance novels.  However, I felt the structure was a bit weak.  There was no great conflict between the two characters and the 11th hour conflict that does occur is small stakes (and the "resolution" for it is downright silly).  I tend to prefer more meat in the area when it comes to my love stories, although it didn't stop me from continuing to think about Willow and Zane after I had finished reading.

So while this was not a completely successful read for me, I enjoyed it enough to recommend it to others.  I also plan to read more by Melissa Foster and am anxiously waiting for the second Sugar Lake novel to hit my Kindle.

I won an electronic copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.  I was encouraged, but not required, to write an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

In addition to winning a kindle copy of this book, I also received a print copy from my Send Me Swooning box.  That means I have a copy to giveaway to one of my readers!  This giveaway is open to readers in the US and will run through November 14, 2017.  Good luck!

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