Blog Tour Book Review: Is This for Real? by Kathy Strobos

I’m pleased to have a review today for Is This For Real? by Kathy Strobos, a fun friends-to-lovers contemporary romance. Let’s check it out!

About the Book:

Title: Is This for Real?

Author: Kathy Strobos

Series: New York Friendships

Page Length: 364

Publication Date: Dec. 20, 2021

Synopsis: An opposites attract, friends-to-lovers, slow burn, fake dating romantic comedy

Love is all fun and games until somebody gets hurt. Usually me. I admit it, I’m a relationship-recluse. Ironic, given that I write romantic comedies. So, I’m on a sabbatical from dating.

Which is why fake dating my best friend Rory is foolproof. Rory suggested it because he needed a date for work functions. And I can use our experiences as fodder for my romcom novel. Plus, my sister doesn’t know it’s not real and she is thrilled that I’m not walling myself off emotionally. Her words, not mine. But I do wish she would stop saying that she always suspected there was something more between me and Rory. She should realize that we’ve been friends forever so I’m immune to his appeal.

We would never work. Rory is such a romantic; he still believes in that perfect love similar to his parents’ marriage. My parents fought bitterly. So, we are better off as friends. I can’t risk losing our friendship, even if this might be my chance—before his ex-girlfriend wins him back.

Those flickers of attraction? Easily extinguished by cold water reality—like a two-mile hike in drenching rain over sand with wheelie luggage.

But our relationship is not sticking to the plot—or is it? 

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Is this for Real? is a cute contemporary romance with several tropes I enjoy. A friends-to-lovers, fake-dating romance, the story follows Penelope and Rory, long-time friends who pretend to date so his client’s wife won’t hit on him and so Penelope can convince another friend she’s no longer in love with him. However, when Penelope and Rory’s fake romance starts to feel real, will they admit their feelings for each other are more than platonic?

Penelope is such a cute heroine. She’s is a romance novelist who has had her fair share of rejection, and Rory (love this!) is her biggest supporter and fan. Penelope also designs miniatures and has a blog about her dollhouse and the characters in it, characters who resemble her and the people in her life, particularly the men. It’s so cute and quirky and fun, and I love that Penelope is so determined to make a success of herself and follow her dreams no matter what the naysayers say.

Penelope and Rory have a wonderful friends-to-lovers romance. Old college friends, they have a strong foundation and they both value their relationship. It’s clear from the beginning that they care for each other very much and that they have a pretty special relationship. I love how their story progresses and how they slowly build toward a romantic relationship. Of course, their relationship is not without its problems, especially considering they are only pretending to date and the lines between reality and illusion blur many times for them. Add troublesome exes and meddlesome family into the mix, and Penelope and Rory have a bit to confront and resolve if they want to take that next step in their relationship.

I though this was a cute rom-com with relatable characters and a fun romance. The integration of Penelope’s novel-in-progress, as well as her ongoing plot for her miniatures, whose lives resemble Penelope’s and her friends, are fun additions to the story, and Penelope’s journey to become a published writer is interesting. I do wish some of the characters and relationships were a bit more developed, but overall it was an entertaining read. Special thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


About the Author:

Kathy Strobos is a writer living in New York City with her husband and two children, amid a growing collection of books, toys and dollhouses. She grew up in New York City and graduated from Stuyvesant High School, Harvard-Radcliffe University magna cum laude, and Columbia Law School. She spent two semesters abroad at the Universiteit van Amsterdam. She previously worked as a lawyer. She left law to pursue her dream of writing fiction full-time and getting in shape. She is still working on getting in shape.

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