Lovelight Farms by B.K. Borison (2021)
In an effort to save her Christmas tree farm from financial ruin, Stella may have told a little white lie on a contest application - that she and best friend Luka were actually a couple. However, when they decide to go ahead with the fake relationship, it gives them the chance to explore feelings they've both hidden for years. While this wasn't a perfect read for me, it had a lot of really wonderful things going for it. I felt like there was a little too much going on at times, too many plot threads that weren't necessary. While I liked Stella's backstory and the history she and her mom had at the tree farm, the drama with her dad felt tacked on and the fact that it totally disappeared in the second half of the book made me think the book could have done without it completely. But, I loved a lot about this story - the fun secondary characters, the small-town setting, the relationship between Stella and Luka. Their close, touchy-feely friendship made the leap to romance so believable and natural. And Borison's writing is just amazing - so lush and detailed that I could picture each scene in my head as I was reading. Definitely a must-read for fake relationship and friends-to-lovers romance fans! 4 stars
Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker (2017)
When single mom and waitress Catherine saves the life of NHL star Brett Madden, she's worried about the attention it will bring to her life. But, her connection with Brett is overwhelming, and Catherine will have to decide what she wants. The author wrote this book as a sort of modern-day fairytale, and I can definitely see that in the story. Catherine and Brett are from two completely different walks of life, but their chemistry is undeniable. I really liked Catherine; she has not had an easy go of it for several years. A scandal during high school made her the subject of town gossip, and now she's trying to create a better life for her and her daughter. As a character, she was so well-rounded and I really rooted for her. Brett was a little less successful for me; he was just too perfect, but I can also see how he works well as the "prince" character. The pacing of the story felt off to me. I wanted more of Brett and Catherine's relationship, more of how they overcome their differences and outside forces together. A lot of time was spent just getting them to the point of being together. However, the writing was wonderful and I thought the story had a good mix of romance and drama. 4 stars
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