Quote-tastic New Release Review | More Than Friends by Jody Holford

More Than Friends by Jody Holford | Kendrick Place #1
Contemporary Romance
Published on December 5th, 2016
ARC from Netgalley

more-than-friends

 

Book Blurb: 

Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.

Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.

| Quote-tastic Book Review |

A fake relationship to appease the parents is one of my favorite tropes. I think it’s best when done the way it was in More Than Friends, where it’s one best friend stepping up to the plate helping the other. I just love it when there’s been unknown attraction there all along, be it unknown on just one side, or both. Here it was on Owen’s side. Gabby is aware of her full-on lovefest for Owen, and she is wondering just how in the heck she’s going to make it through the holidays with her heart intact. It’s not long before you see that this is Gabby’s way – she is constantly stuck in her head, and with the guilt she’s carrying around from a long-ago event ending in the loss of her parents, it’s no wonder. (This is mentioned right at the beginning of the story – no spoiler here.) Gabby and Owen both had easy-going sides, but there were certain things they were each high-strung about, and Owen’s propensity for neatness but being surrounded by Gabby’s haphazard nature made me chuckle more than once.

“You do a really good impression of a jealous boyfriend, O. Please don’t pretend to break up with me. I promise I’ll stop not-flirting with the non-mobster if you’ll just–”

Her words were cut off by Owen’s lips smashing against hers with a quiet demand that had her pressing into him. Maybe melting was a better word, because she felt like she was absorbing right into his own body. His hand on her waist clenched, tightening as his mouth slanted across hers. He stole her breath, literally. But she was happy to give it up if it meant getting to kiss him. Good Lord. Where does a self-professed shy geek learn to kiss like this? Just when she’d have liked to wrap both arms around him, and maybe even her legs, he pulled back.

Breathing heavily, he kept his forehead on hers. “Not everything is pretend, Gabby. Some things are serious.”

The entire premise is Owen being uncomfortable around the crowds of people his family spend holiday events with, so he creates a fake girlfriend to bow out of the festivities. But Owen is in for a big surprise when his family insists on visiting and meeting his gal. It takes a bit of coaxing to enlist Gabby, as she doesn’t want to participate in anything involving deception or lies. Gabby agrees, but becomes even more uneasy when she realizes how caring Owen’s family is, and how much they love him. While Owen starts to fall for Gabby quickly, it doesn’t feel quick. There seems to be a bit of a slow build here as Owen and Gabby are both at a tug of war with their emotions about wanting each other, but also wanting to keep their friendship. I loved their back and forth and how seeing how much they cared for each other, and it was refreshing to read about a hero who didn’t constantly have legions of lovers form his past being brought up. Give me the geeky, lesser experienced man any day. Owen started to see his family differently with Gabby’s urging, and it was a testament to how much he cared for Gabby that he really took in what she said and thought about it. The dynamic in the apartment building they lived in was fantastic; some of my favorite scenes were Gabby and/or Owen with other tenants. My only issue with this book was how forthcoming Gabby was with Owen’s family. It felt a bit too forced at times, and it just didn’t feel real. Aside from that – the cover! GAH! Did the person who picked it out even read the book? Where were Owen’s glasses?!??!? And did they know that one of the characters was vehemently opposed to going ice skating? I will say, though, it kept in spirit of the book, as it was a fun, cute read. But points off for lack of accuracy.

Her bedroom door opened and shut quickly. Owen stood against the door, hair slightly disheveled, a wary look in his eyes. Oh, God. She didn’t need him in her bedroom. She needed five minutes away from him before she spent the night with him. Was that too much to ask? She wished she had the equivalent of a hazmat suit. Someone should invent that. Put this on and the lust you feel for your best friend will go unnoticed. Likewise, the sexy scent of his soap will not seep into your skin.

I thought More Than Friends was an adorable Christmas read, and it’s a book I’d reread every year during the holidays. This was an afternoon well spent, and I’d recommend it if you’re looking for something to warm your heart this season. I know I’m looking forward to the next book in the series!

| Rating |

3-5-stars

The ‘Quote-tastic’ review meme is brought to you by Anna from Herding Cats & Burning Soup. This is a meme she posts on Mondays, and I’m excited to jump in on this again today and share some of my favorite quotes from More Than Friends!

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