The rules of (fake) engagement . . .
Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she's sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren't enough eclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper - or the fact that he just told her mother that they're engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.
Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah's date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay "just friends," and make Leah's family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off. But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah's decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren't going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he's for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.
While the pacing was a bit uneven as the scenes with Leah and Sam seem to fly along
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 4 Story 4
I had read the ARC of this title prior to receiving the AudioBook copy for review: and the opportunity to compare and contrast the two was too exciting to ignore. Leah is far too busy to worry about her ex dumping her, she’s working hard to make her bakery a success and everything that doesn’t have anything to do with the bottom line is not important. Until her best friend Val suggests a night out to forget the business and stress for just a while. Self-confident and bold, Val is everything Leah isn’t quite: and she doesn’t have that little voice telling her she’s not ‘quite right’.
After a dare where Leah approaches Sam, she’s not shocked to think he’s disinterested in her because she’s not thin enough. After all, it’s a constant refrain from her mother. But, when Sam, in a moment of helping to deliver a wedding cake also helps Leah by announcing that she is, in fact, more than good enough to marry, in fact, they are engaged.
Together – these two are adorable: dialogue is clever and funny, Sam is a real softie and thinks Leah is great, he just can’t figure out how to prove it to her. The scrambling to cover their tracks with this ‘pretend’ engagement is taking away his opportunity to speak from his heart. On the other hand, Leah had had years of berating and belittling behavior from her mother, and those little negative voices have done a real number on her confidence. The budding relationship with Sam is something she enjoys, they are developing a real friendship, but she doesn’t dare hope for more.
Violet Strong’s narration was a highlight in the story: she became each character without overworking voices, and her ability to navigate the dialogue was clever. Pauses for laughs or emotional moments, a slight adjustment to moments when Leah’s thoughts are predominant, and her ability to give each character a distinct and clear voice was wonderful.
Overall, while I wished that Leah had been able to accept Sam’s belief and interest in her far earlier, I understood her hesitancy, and couldn’t help but like her all the more for it. While the pacing was a bit uneven as the scenes with Leah and Sam seem to fly along beautifully, the story was clever and solid, and above all funny.
I received an AudioBook copy of the title from Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.