Booklovers Podcast: 5 Fantastic Fake Dating Romances to Read Now

Booklovers Podcast: 5 Fantastic Fake Dating Romances to Read Now

Andrea: Welcome to the Clermont county libraries book lovers podcast. I’m Andrea and I’m joined by Laura and Kasey. And for this episode, it’s an offshoot of our previous one.

We’re going to talk about the trope of fake relationships, fake dating. And we’re excited to kick it off with Kasey, who knows a ton about this subject in romance books.

Fake dating trope explained

Andrea: Ready, Kasey? Do you want to share your first book?

Kasey: Sure. So fake relationship is a popular trope in romance for people who have a need for a date. Something similar to The Duke and I, where they’re in a fake relationship or have an “agreement” that they’re going to be married to increase Daphne’s desirability.

With fake relationships, two people could be like, I need a date for a wedding so that my family doesn’t rip on me. It’s one of my favorite tropes.

5 romance books with the fake dating trope

Book cover for Written in the stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
Written in the Stars by
Alexandria Bellefleur

Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

My first pick is actually an LGBTQ title. It is called Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur. And this book is on hoopla as an eAudiobook or Ohio Digital Library as an eBook or eAudiobook.

About Written in the Stars

The book is about Darcy. She’s a buttoned-up actuary who isn’t super fun, but she has a really great relationship with her brother and he thinks that he’s going to do her a favor and set her up on a blind date.

And so he does, with someone he’s in business with named Elle who is an astrologer. Which is pretty much the opposite of an actuary.

She tells her brother that the date went great, even though it was a disaster and she’s trying to not hurt her brother’s feelings. She goes to Elle and is like if you could just date me through the holidays to make him feel better about him trying to help me find a relationship, that would be great.

And Elle was like, sure, but my family is terrible. So, I need you to go to family functions with me so they don’t think I’m a failure.

Enjoyable

And then lots of cute stuff happens. It’s an adorable book and they end up falling in love – spoiler alert! But it’s a romance, so we’re expecting a happily ever after, but it was a really fun read.

I enjoyed it a lot and the characters are really great. And there was a lot of character development throughout, especially with Darcy who was kind of straight-laced and no fun, but definitely recommend that one.

Andrea: Sounds good.

Laura: Yeah, it sounds like a lot of fun.

Show notes reminder

Andrea: Reminder that all the titles that we will share in this podcast will be available on clermontlibrary.org in the show notes.

Book cover for The Love con by Seressia Glass
The Love Con by Seressia Glass

The Love Con by Seressia Glass

Laura: All right. My first book is The Love Con by Seressia Glass. Kenya is a plus-size black woman in a reality competition called Cosplay or No Way.

About The Love Con

The final challenge is to create an iconic duo costume with the help of a partner and in a moment of onscreen panic, when the challenge is announced, Kenya names, her best friend and Thor look-alike Cam as her partner. This comes as a surprise to everybody because they are not in fact dating.

So luckily Cam is entirely on board with playing her fake boyfriend because he’s hoping to convince her to be his real-life girlfriend once the competition is over.

Why The Love Con is enjoyable

They were a very adorable couple and I loved them super hard. Kenya was relatable and authentic. As a white woman, I can’t speak to the constant microaggressions that are in the book, but as a plus-size woman, I can certainly identify with that part of the experience because the other people in the contest are not plus size and she got insulted a lot.

Cinnamon roll defined

Cam was the perfect cinnamon roll. He was ready to defend Kenya. I hear you laughing, Andrea, but sometimes the cinnamon roll is a legit description. Kasey, back me up on this is a legit romance description of a hero who is warm and gooey.

Andrea: And I love it, but I think it’s, if you read this, you know it, but again, for those who don’t read it, they might be tickled by that.

Laura: It is funny, but who would not want a cinnamon roll?

For fans of Talia Hibbert
Take a Hint, Dani Brown
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

Andrea: I mean, I had to look up the cover because it’s been requested in Hoopla and it has a really fun cover. It reminds me of the book I was just reading, which is Take a Hint, Dani Brown, where she’s being held on the cover of that book. But it’s similar artwork.

Laura: I think if you’re a Take a Hint, Dani Brown fan, you’d like The Love Con. They feel similar.  

It’s a super-fast-paced, very readable book with very likable and relatable characters. There are great supporting characters. It’s a dual point of view so you get Cam and Kenya’s takes. You also get close proximity, diverse cast, strong woman.

I think if you are a fan of Denise Williams or Jasmine Guillory, you’d totally eat this up.

Andrea: Sounds good.

Laura: Yeah, I really loved it. I can’t wait to read more of her books.

book cover for The Unhoneymooners
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

Andrea: Great. All right. Back to Kasey. What else do you have?

Kasey: Okay. So another one that I really loved is called The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. She’s a very popular romance writer.

This one you can get in print and audiobook format in the library, and it’s also available as an eBook and eAudiobook through Ohio Digital Library/Libby. So lots of opportunities to read this if you’re interested.

About The Unhoneymooners

This book is about Olive and she has a twin.

Olive is extremely unlucky.  She just lost her job. Her twin sister’s getting married and she feels like she’s never going to be happy like her sister is.

She goes to her sister’s wedding and everyone but Olive and the best man, Ethan, eat from a seafood buffet and get violently ill.

Olive and Ethan, who really, really hate each other, decide to take her sister and her new husband’s honeymoon together.

So, they’re like, we’re going to do things separately. We’re not going to spend any time together, but then she gets a call when she’s in the airport, that she has a new job. Who does she run into on this honeymoon vacation but her new boss. And he thinks that she’s newly married. So she convinces Ethan, remember they hate each other a lot, that they should pretend like they’re actually married on this vacation so she makes a good impression on her new boss.

Of course, they don’t actually hate one another.

What’s enjoyable about The Unhoneymooners

What I really loved about this book was it was so funny. I listened to the audiobook and just laughed and laughed. I always love a romance that makes me laugh. It was very funny, the shenanigans that they get into, when they are hating each other, are really funny. It was just an enjoyable book.

And Christina Lauren is actually two women that write together and their books are great. I loved every single one of them that I’ve read.

The Unhoneymooners is definitely a really good fake relationship book.

Andrea: It is, it’s a fun, a fun book that I listened to as well. And it was one of those books where I kept wanting to get back to my reading time so I could continue the story because it was just so infectious and fun to listen to.

Laura: I actually read it and it’s funny, and I really enjoyed it because it was a lot of fun. Perfect beach reading kind of a book.

Andrea: Right. I was going to say, I read it over the summer, so yeah.

Book cover for Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron

Laura: So my second book is Accidentally Engaged by Farah Herron.

About Accidentally Engaged

And it’s about Rena, who is the middle child of a very – perhaps overly-  involved Muslim family.

She works at a finance job that she hates. Which makes it all the more insulting when she gets laid off.

Her real passion is cooking, but she’s not sure if she wants to take that plunge and pivot to another career.

Her family wants her to marry a nice Muslim man that they’ve chosen, but she is most definitely not into that.

She comes home one night to discover that she has a new neighbor. He is a brown Captain America with a gorgeous British accent and tons of charm, which don’t, we all want a neighbor like that? And then she finds out that Nadeem is the good Muslim man she’s supposed to marry to help her family’s business.

She’s like absolutely not, but she can’t deny the fact that he is super dreamy.

They’re hanging out together one night and after one drink too many, they shoot a cooking video. And he enters it into a contest that she wanted to enter. Because the prize just happens to be a scholarship, to the very culinary school that she was thinking of going to, except that it’s super expensive and she doesn’t currently have a job.

The catch is the contest is about family cooks. So now Rena and Nadeem have to be faux engaged. Her family thinks that they’re really engaged until she says they’re not that they’re just pretending.

What’s enjoyable about Accidentally Engaged

This was a super fun book, with lots of laughing and the food descriptions – oh my! The food descriptions were absolutely mouthwatering. It was all about East Indian and African food and traditions, which was just a lot of fun.

if you are a fan of Sara Desai or Sonali Dev, I think this would be right up your alley.

Book cover for The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Andrea: Perfect. All right. Kasey, wrap us up with one more book.

Kasey: Okay. Well, my bonus pick was The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood. I read it on a whim because it was on the Lucky Day shelf at the library. I picked it up because I thought the cover was fun and it’s about women in STEM. All the buzz has been about this book in 2021.

About The Love Hypothesis

It’s been on some charts; it’s very well reviewed and it is about another woman named Olive.

She’s a PhD grad student working on a study related to pancreatic cancer diagnosis. She kisses a professor in the biology department because she wants her friend to go on a date with someone that she (Olive) had previously dated and he agrees to fake date her.

There’s a lot of cute stuff in this book. I read it and then I got the audiobook from Hoopla and I listened to it again just a few weeks ago. And it really made me laugh. Ali Hazelwood, it’s her debut book, I believe. And she has another one coming out in the summer that I’m very excited about called Love on the Brain.

Very funny to listen to, great writer. Definitely, all of her books are now on my must-read lists.

For Adam Driver fans

Laura: I read it too and if you’re an Adam driver fan, the male professor is based on him. And if you look at the cover, it even looks like him because I believe it was based on Star Wars, fan art. So should you be an Adam driver fan, this has some dreamy scenes that will make you happy.

Well received

Andrea: Yeah. And Kasey talked about it being Amazon’s top romance pick, nearly perfect ratings on Goodreads, and a book that was all over TikTok and Instagram.

So it’s an out-of-the-park book, and then the next one is done in the same artwork and just that illustration. You kind of think it’s leading toward a series so that’s exciting for readers like Kasey, who have that on their to-be-read lists.

Laura: Absolutely. Well, it’s nice to see something where not to harsh on other books, but the woman doesn’t own a bakery or interior design firm or a florist shop. It’s nice to see an actual scientist in a romance book.

Andrea: Right.

Laura: I mean, that made me happy.

Women in STEM in romance

Kasey: Yes. And the author herself is a scientist. So, everything felt true. Like when you were reading it, she definitely is very knowledgeable. And that really came through in the book and I really enjoyed it. I read it before it blew up, so that was fun to read it. And then I recommended it to a few people and then it blew up and I was like, yeah, this book that I love so much is becoming popular.

Andrea: And it’s funny, we had that book, we put it in the Lucky Day collection and when we did branch visits back in the fall, we saw it sitting on a lot of shelves. We’re like this book has so much buzz. It shouldn’t be sitting here and sure enough, the way it goes out to the guests.

So it’s great to see everyone loving the book.

Kasey: Absolutely.

In closing

Andrea: Well, thank you for joining us, listeners. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of our favorite books with the fake dating trope.

Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss an episode. You can find all the books we talked about in the catalog or in our digital collections via Libby, hoopla, or Freading.

Until next time reader, read on.

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