I’m Reading: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas

Catalina Martín has a problem. When she discovered that her newly-engaged ex would be best man at her sister’s wedding in Spain, she may have accidently let slip that she would be bringing a date. Not just a date, though, a boyfriend. A handsome, charming, non-existent boyfriend. It was that or showing up single (again) and playing the poor pitiful sad girl (again.)

As W-Day draws near, Catalina must consider taking the offer of a date from the last man on earth she would willingly spend time with. Her fellow engineer Aaron is a humorless, soulless asshole who lives to make her miserable. It’s out of the question. She doesn’t even know why he offered, except maybe to mess with her. Why would a man who hates her guts want to fly to Spain to pretend to be her boyfriend?

And why, as the sparks fly and his touch lights up her body, does it feel less and less like pretend?

The Spanish Love Deception is everything I’m looking for in a feel-good, enemies-to-lovers romcom. It’s witty, quirky, and steamy. The characters are sharp, the secondary story meaningful, and the sexual tension is through the roof. The writing craft is solid, and while I would describe it as The Proposal meets The Hating Game meets telenovelas, the voice, the heart, and the nicely balanced classic romance tropes makes this book a phenomenon all its own.

(Minor spoiler alert)

My one complaint about this book is that Aaron joins the company after Lina, in the same role, yet he is being promoted ahead of her. The author isn’t shy about other elements of workplace discrimination, but this doesn’t even seem to show up on the characters’ radars. If she’s a highly competent engineer and team leader who has been there longer, why wasn’t she considered for the promotion? A company would normally post the position internally and interview applicants, not just pluck someone from the team arbitrarily to promote. Why would HR allow this, and why doesn’t Catalina fight it, or at least resent it? If Aaron is simply better for the job, I feel that the author needed to sell me on it more. I feel like this should have been caught by beta readers, at least.

***End Spoiler Alert***

But that is me being SUPER PICKY about an otherwise great book that I got very invested in reading. The rest of the story is solid. We get some of my absolute favorite romance tropes (Fake relationship feels all too real! Then grumpy one is soft for the sunshine one! and THERE’S ONLY ONE BED!). The romance is swoon-worthy, and the characters are real people you want to spend more time with.

This amazing debut goes on my re-read list, and I’m eagerly awaiting the chance to read more from Elena Armas!

Visit the author online at https://www.authorelenaarmas.com/

I’m Reading: The Simple Wild by K.A. Tucker

Calla Fletcher is pure city girl. A banking analyst and aspiring social media influencer in Toronto, her life is all about fancy coffee and high fashion. Then she gets the call. Her estranged biological father, an Alaska bush pilot and small airline owner, is sick. Calla must decide if she wants this chance to repair things with the man she thinks abandoned her and her mother long ago. Venturing into the wild frontier of Bangor, she learns that their history is more complicated than she’d ever imagined. She doesn’t belong here, but the Alaskan tundra has its appeal, as does the surly young pilot who works for her dad and seems to hate everything about Calla. More than anyone, Calla knows better than to fall in love with a bush pilot. In the end, the sky cowboys always break your heart.

This was a delightful, well-rounded contemporary romance. The delicious enemies-to-lovers trope, the heartbreaking complexity of family, and the beautiful natural setting come together in a book I couldn’t put down. The side-characters were well-developed, and Bangor became a place I want to explore in as many sequels as the author wants to give me. The author manages to capture the bleak hardness of the wilderness, and the struggles of those who live there, without sacrificing its beauty and charms. If I had one complaint, I’d say the romantic tension felt slightly rushed, but the writing craft is so strong it didn’t hurt the story a bit. After finishing The Simple Wild, I’m ready to blow most of my book budget on Tucker’s other works!

Read an excerpt, find ordering options, and see the author’s other work at https://www.katuckerbooks.com. Remember to check your local library, and encourage them to stock the authors you enjoy!

Content warnings for this book are below, and may include spoilers. If you ever have questions about the contents of books I’ve reviewed, please reach out to me via the contact form, or on Twitter at @JoGeekly. I’m always happy to help you decide if a book I’ve enjoyed is safe for you to enjoy as well!


Content warning: The story contains multiple depictions and descriptions of parent death, cancer, divorce, and parent estrangement. We also see characters experiencing fear of flying, and depictions and references to plane crashes.

I’ve added this and many other books to Does the Dog Die, a crowdsourced website that lists common trauma triggers in media content.