Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, College Romance
Also by this author: Baking Me Crazy (Donner Bakery #1), Batter of Wits (Donner Bakery, #5)
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Every action has a consequence, and Claire Ward knows it. And yet, even knowing that her decision to swap places with her identical twin sister, Lia, for a night could be disastrous, she still does it.
Because it will give her an evening with the man she’s been crushing on for years, Lia’s best friend, Finn.
Miss Straight A Student has thought through all the angles, and knows the risk is worth it. And everything would have been fine, if Finn had been the one to show up at her door.
But it wasn’t.
Bauer Davis— Finn’s half brother and his exact opposite in just about every definable category is the one waiting for her instead. A professional snowboarder, Bauer is covered in ink, full of attitude, and has a chip on his shoulder the size of Mt. Olympus. The kind of bad boy that Claire has never been attracted to before.
Now the good girl is with the wrong brother for a night, and when the consequence is that they have to pretend to be together for an event, it’s nothing she could have predicted. But maybe, just maybe, what makes Bauer so bad, is exactly what Claire needs.
Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it doesn’t influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way.
I went into Faked with little to no knowledge of what, exactly, I was reading. I accepted the ARC because I’ve enjoyed Karla Sorensen’s books in the past, especially Baking Me Crazy, so I was already very curious about where this one was going. No harm no foul, considering I thought it was a standalone read. It didn’t take long for me to realize that it was actually part of the Ward Family standalone series, a spinoff of the original Washington Wolves series. But having no prior experience with either of the series, I hardly noticed! So it can definitely be read as a standalone :)
Faked follows Claire, as her twin sister Lia convinces her to do a twin-swap at a charity event, escorted by Finn, Lia’s best friend of eight years. Claire eventually agrees, seeing this as the prime opportunity to see if her little crush on Finn is something worth investing time in, or just something that can be brushed aside as fruitless. But it’s Finn’s older brother Bauer who knocks on her door and escorts her to the event.
“Bauer, you stubborn pain in my ass,” she whispered. “Pretty, pretty please with sugar on top, will you kiss-“
Even when I pick a book blind, without reading the blurb, I have taste 👌🏻 A twin-swap, dislike-to-love, fake dating, there’s-only-one-bed, forced proximity story? HALLAH. There are some really fantastic tropes to work through in this one, which is like catnip for me! I really am struggling with my review for this one, because I thoroughly enjoyed myself, but it felt a bit under-developed in some places, where I think the story could have been improved.
First up, Bauer. He may have an interesting name (that took me a while to get used to), but he definitely stole the show for me. This is definitely an opposites-attract kind of story, because Claire is gearing up to start a Masters Program in Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health and genuinely enjoys learning, and Bauer is very much the *bad boy* professional snowboarder who bartends when he’s not on the slopes, and the black sheep of his family. I loved how Bauer brought out that spontaneous and carefree side of Claire, and also how she got him to open up and show his vulnerabilities. Claire psycho-analyzing things was quite a good add-on :)
“You’re a closet sweetheart, Bauer.”
“I am no such thing,” I replied, completely affronted. “No one has ever called me such a terrible name.” I was a badass, thank you very much.
It was a very sweet story, and I loved the bond the two of them developed. But the charity event (and the ensuing fake dating scenario) should have been scenes full of tension and heat! Claire opened the door, pretending to be Lia, and got the other brother instead of the one she wanted. It should have been fun and banter-y, but instead, the execution did feel a bit lukewarm. But despite the fact that the tropes themselves weren’t executed to expectation, their relationship shone through anyway.
It managed to be a light, sweet, romantic, playful story, and I loved reading it! Plus the family ties just made me 🥺 The Ward family is large, but they only helped contribute to the loving and playful overall atmosphere of the story. I’m thinking I should go back and read the first book of this spin-off, Focused, and then check out the Washington Wolves series!!
Other books you may enjoy…
Do you enjoy forced proximity romances? What about the “there’s only one bed” trope? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!