Tell Me Something Tuesday: May 23, 2023 – Favorite Tropes

Posted May 23, 2023 by Jen in TMST Tags: ,

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May 23rd: Which tropes do you enjoy the most?

My absolute favorite trope is Fake Relationship! There is something about pretending to be together or being stuck in a marriage of convenience that brings two people closer together for all the right reasons. Here are a list of a few of my favorites from the past couple years.

First Comes Like by Alisha Rai (2021, Avon) REVIEW

Book Cover of First Comes Like by Alisha RaiJia Ahmed is a Southern CA based internet influencer sharing makeup and beauty tips. For the past year, she thinks she’s been DM’ing with Dev Dixit, an Indian film star from an influential Bollywood family. Dev Dixit has long lived in the shadow of his famous grandfather and brother, and now that they’ve both passed, he’s decided to relocate to America with his niece and uncle. He can inherit his grandfather’s fortune if he marries before his next birthday. When the beautiful Jia approaches Dev, he’s shocked to find out she thinks he’s been messaging her. In an effort to discover the truth and make amends to Jia, the pair decides to “fake date.”

Ms. Rai knocks it out of the park with First Comes Like. I simply adored Jia and Dev, finding their quick but genuine romance heartwarming. While their relationship starts under false pretenses, they are honest with one another. Dev and Jia feel an immediate connection, and I appreciate that Jia questions her feelings because of a year spent talking with a fake Dev. I absolutely love that Dev and Jia are respectful of their respective traditions, while trying to find their own way together.

Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron (2021, Forever Publishing) REVIEW

Book cover of Accidentally Engaged by Farah HeronReena Manji, the middle child in a successful real estate development Muslim family, hates her job and gets annoyed with her parents’ unending parade of eligible Muslim men for her to marry. When Nadim moves in across the hall, Reena tries to avoid him since he is an employee of her father and yet another man her parents want her to consider marrying. One night after a few drinks, they make a video to enter a FoodTV cooking show contest for couples and make it past the first round. Seeing this as a way to get into her dream school, Reena and Nadim continue the charade while trying to hide their budding friendship from her family.

Accidentally Engaged is a wonderful, touching romance that hits all the right notes. The pressures of family expectations and to succeed are overwhelming, and the ways Reena finds to deal with it aren’t always healthy. She hides the truth from most, yet with Nadim, she finds solace and can be herself. The more time they banter and flirt, the closer they become, and the emotional weight from the intimacy of filming as a couple confuses things. With so much baggage hanging around both characters, there are many bumps on their journey to HEA. Accidentally Engaged explores all of Reena’s dark corners, allowing Reena to face her fears, learn, and grow. I enjoyed her journey of self-discovery and growth as much as watching her budding romance unfurl. Accidentally Engaged is a beautiful story about breaking through expectations and lies to grow and find love. 

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée by Annika Martin (2020, Self-Published) REVIEW

book cover of The Billionaire's Fake Fiancée by Annika MartinTabitha owns her own mobile hair styling business, and for the past two years, she’s cut Rex’s hair at his office every Friday evening. She loves pushing his buttons, and while he’s a bit uptight, she’s been crushing on him since the start. Rex O’Rourke is a major financial player; when he talks, every body listens. He’s trying to win over the biggest account of his career, but in order to do so, he must spend two weeks on Gail Driscoll’s private yacht with his fiancée. The only problem? He isn’t engaged. Even though Tabitha is the antithesis of his ideal wife, she’ll make do for a fake fiancée.

The Billionaire’s Fake Fiancée is a delightful and riotous rom-com. I adore Ms. Martin’s quirky, lovable characters. Tabitha loves her soap operas and views life through a lens that is shaded by the drama and treachery of famous characters like Stephano DiMera (Days of Our Lives) and Dorian Lord (One Life to Live). She knows how things always go down with fake relationships, and she tries to fight her feelings. It’s like she sees a train wreck about to happen, she tries to stop it by holding up a stop sign, but can’t prevent it. Rex changes slowly. He knows Tabitha is different, yet he wants to ignore the weird feelings she stirs within him. He can’t help but admire Tabitha, and he loves to push her buttons. They are full of energy and passion. They balance one another and together make an unstoppable team.

What the Hex by Jessica Clare (2023, Berkley) REVIEW

Book cover of What the Hex by Jessica ClareWillem is a warlock who has been banned from having a familiar and is stuck doing small spells while hiding out from a previous master. Penny, Secretary for the Society of Familiars, is facing a grim future of never being selected to work with a witch. But when mutual friends put them together for some illegal, under-the-table magic, sparks fly. Due to the secret nature of their relationship, they pretend to date and be in love.

What the Hex is the second book in the delightful Hex series. The pair is like oil and water when they first meet. I love that they find a kinship and each trusts the other fairly quickly. This allows the pair to join forces against a common foe. Playing lovers while keeping a secret and growing into close friends, brings romantic feelings to the surface. The story is filled with humor and cartoonish villains. It is campy and a lot of fun. But despite the silliness, both characters experience some hefty emotions and process previous turmoil. I enjoy the balance of the light and more serious moments.

The Love Con by Seressia Glass (2021, Berkley) REVIEW

Book cover of The Love Con by Seressia GlassKenya is in the finals for a chance to win $100,000 and work for a major motion picture with her cosplay designs. She surprises herself and everyone else when she announces on live TV that her best friend Cameron is not only going to be her cosplay partner for the final round, but that he’s also her boyfriend. Now Kenya and Cam have only four weeks to turn out two impressive costumes while convincing everyone they are in love.

I love love love fake relationship stories, and The Love Con is a wonderful one! Cam and Kenya have always been close, knowing one another for half of their lives, living together, always being there for each other. Transitioning to a fake couple is easy, especially since Cam has wanted a real relationship with Kenya for as long as he can remember. The pair is so adorable as they explore what it means to be more than friends. I love how they work so well together and how incredibly encouraging they are for each other. I love the little acts of love and support each provides the other. I love that neither belittles the other’s fears and concerns. Regardless of the fake start, they are a genuine couple right from the start because of their history. They both want more, and I love that they talk things through at each step. 

What about you? Tell Me Something and leave a comment!