Summer Reread: Faking It, Jennifer Crusie

faking it

Grade: A

Doing it at: 26%

Catnip: Beta Hero; Grifters; Deep Dark Secrets; Fast Talkers; Strong Female Lead; Frenching

Shame Scale: No shame, Faking It has so much real plot

Fantasy Cast: David Walton; Martine McCutcheon circa Love Actually

What do we taste like: Vodka and disaster

Book Description:

Meet the Goodnights, a respectable family who run a respectable art gallery-and have for generations. There’s Gwen, the matriarch who likes to escape reality, Eve the oldest daughter who has a slight identity problem (she has two), Nadine, the granddaughter who’s ready to follow in the family footsteps as soon as she can find a set that isn’t leading off a cliff. And lastly, Matilda, the youngest daughter, has inherited the secret locked down in the basement of the Goodnight Gallery, the secret she’s willing to do almost anything to keep, even break into a house in the dead of night to steal back her past.

THE RISKS ARE INTOXICATING.
Meet the Dempseys, or at least meet Davy, a reformed con man who’s just been ripped off for a cool three million by his financial manager, who then gallantly turned it over to Clea Lewis, the most beautiful sociopath Davy ever slept with. Davy wants the money back, but more than that he’ll do anything to keep Clea from winning, including break into her house in the dead of night to steal back his future.

AND IF YOU’RE REALLY GOOD AT THEM, THEY BOTH PAY OFF.
One collision in a closet later, Tilda and Davy reluctantly join forces to combat Clea, suspicious art collectors, a disgruntled heir, and an exasperated hitman, all the while coping with a mutant dachshund, a juke box stuck in the sixties, questionable sex, and the growing realization that they can’t turn their backs on the people they were meant to be…or the people they were born to love.


I love Jennifer Crusie’s books, she has really intricate plots with tons of side characters and excellent dialog. Her book boys are always really dreamy and her girls are smart, sassy ladies I’d like to be friends with. Faking It was the first book of hers I ever read, and a dozen years later it is still my favorite. I picked up my paperback copy at the Walgreens by my apartment in Las Vegas; I worked one am to nine am and would stop on my way home every day to buy juice, muffins in cellophane, and cheap magazines and paperbacks with my tip money. This was the ideal life, and I think I devoured Faking It in under 48 hours. When I opened it to reread I found a two dollar bill being used as a book mark — I really need to search all the books from my waitressing days, they might be full of money.

If you haven’t read any Crusie, Faking It is a good one to start with, even though Welcome to Temptation comes first and introduces Davy via his sister Sophie’s story; I like Temptation (and Phin!) but you know I think reading books in order is for L7 squares. Crusie does tons of movie and song mentions in her books, Faking It has a jukebox playing in the background, so I made a playlist. Start it while reading this review and then listen to the whole thing when you go find and read this book.

Matilda Veronica Goodnight (Tilda) is making a living painting recreations of famous paintings on people’s walls. Its lucrative, she’s great at it, she hates it. Her dad spent years teaching her to paint in the style of famous painters, Tilda can fake anything. Her family relies on her to hold everything together and to be the sensible drab one within their cast of colorful characters, so she does. She paints the murals, lives above the family gallery, and tries to help pay off their mortgages. Tilda can’t even have good sex because she’s afraid if she lets herself go she’ll blurt out all her deep dark secrets during orgasm. The only problem is that her niece — precocious, adorable Nadine — just sold one of her secrets for $1000 bucks, and now Tilda has to get it back before her neat, boring little world explodes. Which is how she ends up in a dark closet wearing a ridiculous satin kimono jacket and making out with Davy Dempsey.

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Manwhore, by Katy Evans

Manwhore

Grade: A

Doing it at: 59%

Catnip: Billionaires; Undercover Lover; Frenching; Yacht Sex; Swooning; Star Reporter; Cliffhanger

Shame Scale: Cover and title all scream sex book, and it’s a sex book. Nothing overly shame-y about this one though – it’s well written, great plot. Medium shame.

Fantasy Cast: Matt Bomer, Carey Mulligan

What Do We Taste Like?: Toothpaste and coffee

Book Description:

Is it possible to expose Chicago’s hottest player–without getting played?

This is the story I’ve been waiting for all my life, and its name is Malcolm Kyle Preston Logan Saint. Don’t be fooled by that last name though. There’s nothing holy about the man except the hell his parties raise. The hottest entrepreneur Chicago has ever known, he’s a man’s man with too much money to spend and too many women vying for his attention.

Mysterious. Privileged. Legendary. His entire life he’s been surrounded by the press as they dig for tidbits to see if his fairytale life is for real or all mirrors and social media lies. Since he hit the scene, his secrets have been his and his alone to keep. And that’s where I come in.

Assigned to investigate Saint and reveal his elusive personality, I’m determined to make him the story that will change my career.

But I never imagined he would change my life. Bit by bit, I start to wonder if I’m the one discovering him…or if he’s uncovering me.

What happens when the man they call Saint, makes you want to sin?


Mary: I loved Katy Evan’s REAL series. Overprotective, testosterone-heavy, buck-rowdy MMA fighter? Catnip city. Do yourself the favor. I’ve wanted to read Manwhore for so long, but I have this big giant pile of books to read, you know? I try to stick to a budget and buy books when they’re on sale, but this one has been holding firm at $7.99, taunting me. Fortunately, it was one of the books I snatched up during the Great Book Buying Spree of June 2015, when I impulse purchased a buttload of books because I was stressed at work and had $100 on a prepaid visa card that my husband didn’t know about. And man, I’m glad I waited to read it, because it ends with a cliffhanger I actually cared about, and when I finished it, I only had to wait a week for the sequel.

Cleone: Your book buying spree coincided with my book buying spree, and I think the family library got 20 new books that we’d been long term coveting. Immediately after finishing Manwhore I one a.m. text messaged Mary to ensure that we had the sequel to this pre-ordered. I’m not a cliffhanger fan but this one has me hooked.

M: Rachel is a reporter at a print magazine that’s struggling financially. They’ve been laying off loads of employees, when Rachel’s boss gives her an assignment that she thinks could revive the magazine. She wants Rachel to cozy up to the city’s favorite billionaire bachelor, Malcolm Saint – hottest name of all time btw- and answer some of the questions people have about him. She doesn’t come right out and say it, but the assignment is basically to fuck him and find out his secrets. Rachel has a brief moral debate over it, but then jumps at the chance to write something big and gain an audience so she can finally talk about things that are meaningful to her.

C: I don’t know what the OSHA standards are for asking your employees to open their legs for a story, but lets just roll with this.

M: Also, he’s insanely hot and known for fucking the brains out of half the city’s brainless bitches, so lets be real, it’s not like her boss assigned her latrine duty. “Sure, I *guess* I could fall on that ‘sword’…”

Rachel manages to get an interview with Saint, by pretending she’s interested in his new social media start up. Except they give her almost no notice, and she’s in the middle of a charity painting project when she gets the message. She races to Saint’s office, in paint covered overalls, and they have a meet-cute in his office when she attempts to act like a professional journalist, and he spends the whole time stifling laughter. It’s a total disaster, looking a little hopeless for Rachel’s big important assignment. Except this is a romance, and we know better.

C: Saint is either so distracted by her outfit, or worried about her getting red paint on his furniture, that he gives her one of his shirts to put on, and this is when my swoon-o-meter amped up to high.

They then have another interview where she gets not nearly enough information and it seems like Saint is quietly laughing at her the whole time again.

M: Rachel figures third time’s the charm, so she puts on her hottest dress, talks her way into an invite at a club party Saint is throwing, and sets out to stalk some manwhore. When she find’s Saint, he’s already got two skanks (we hate them) on his lap, but he swats them away and beckons her over.

C: They’re just run of the mill club skanks, Rachel is SPECIAL.

M: Saint’s friends Tahoe and Callan are getting a bit flirty with her, when SAINT CALLS DIBS. This shouldn’t be as hot as it was, but I promise you, it was one of the hottest romance lines ever. Fucking swoon.

“Apparently there’s a dress code – Saint had to drop his tail and horns at the door,” Callan jokes as a waiter sets a drink before me.

“Oh yes.” I tug the hem of my skirt self-consciously. “I had to drop half my dress.”

“Did you now?” Tahoe asks.

“T.”

One word, one letter, from Malcom.

“Yeah, Saint?” Tahoe returns, lifting his eyebrows.

“Dibs.”

C: Mary sent me the dibs screenshot before I started reading (I was finishing up another book for our super fun Summer ReReads that are coming up!), and I didn’t think it was that hot until I read it in context. Saint is written a lot more three dimensionally than some other billionaire playboys we’ve read about ::coughGreycough:: and I was already worried about the inevitable explosion when he discovered Rachel was writing about him personally and  not about his business ventures.

C: Saint calls “dibs” but then sends Rachel home in his car, he doesn’t think she’s up for the kind of debauchery that he and his friends will be getting up to that night. Which is a pretty astute observation, Rachel’s only had two sexual partners and has never been in a long term romantic relationship. She doesn’t want to fall in love and risk getting her heart broken. But it is proving harder and harder to resist Saint’s full-court-press advances as she keeps putting herself in his circle — you know for “research,” and the next time she meets up at a club with him there’s extremely hot second base action in a private room at the club. Private make out rooms at clubs are such a billionaire perk, amiright?

M: They end up making out on her couch, but Rachel’s roommate Gina comes home and cockblocks, and Rachel sends Saint off with some frenching, and strangely enough, I’m not sure I’ve every actually heard “frenched” used in a romance before? Plus ten points for reminding me about frenching, Ms. Evans.

I adored Rachel’s roomates.

“What was that?”

“He was saying goodbye.”

“I’m Gina, remember. Your best friend. I can tell when you’re lying. Were you guys… sleeping together on the couch like some item?”

“I had a few drinks. So did he. We had that… thing. I’m beyond… not think well.”

“Okay. ‘Cause we know deep down he’s Lucifer, right? The Arch Douche himself? We don’t sleep with the bastard, we do not drop our walls!”

C: Evans did a wonderful job writing those female friendships in ways that rang true. Her friends give her shit, don’t let her lie to them or herself, and really support her even when she’s being an idiot. This is what friendship is like in real life. I bet the author has great bitches in her crew.

As Rachel and Saint’s relationship deepens, Saint is the first to open himself up and seek a higher level of commitment. Rachel is still trying to maintain the pretense that she is going to write this big expose about him and that the mind shattering sex they’re having all over his house and yacht is just sex.

M: Oh and that yacht? Is called The Toy. Could you be any hotter, Malcolm Saint?

C: The sex is good in this one, guys. There is a dibs call back that had me all texting Mary and fanning myself. Saint’s manwhoring has paid off and Rachel is not immune to his skills. Saint is also just extremely sweet:

“Shut up, asshole. I’ve got this pocket on lockdown.” Malcolm crosses to my couch and drops beside me, reaches out and kisses my temple, his whisper low and husky so that only I can hear, “This Hershey’s Kiss, all mine.”

M: Really really good. There was lots, but not too much, and it was descriptive, but not overwrought. Just the hottest. It was the sex I basically wish I was having.

When things got emotional between the two, Rachel became consumed with self loathing for all her duplicity. I started to dread the fall out I knew was coming.

C: By the time they’ve both obviously fallen hard for each other the secret explosion is imminent. Things implode and it made my heart hurt, I was super attached to these characters. And then we got the GD cliffhanger. I spent the next four days glad that I didn’t have to wait a year to (hopefully) get an HEA for these two.

“I’ve fallen completely in love. Spectacularly so. If you want a front seat for the debacle, I’m sure there’ll be blood.”

Check it out on Amazon: