Date Me Like You Mean It by R.S. Grey

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Original post from my IG @booksofthemuggleborn

•••

— BLURB —

I’m good at hiding my feelings.

Having to pretend I’m not in love with my best friend?

Pfft. That’s child’s play.

Here’s how I do it: I avert my eyes when he walks out of his room, shirtless in all his toned glory. I squash the butterflies that fill my stomach every time he slowly unfurls a dimpled smile. And, most importantly, I keep an arsenal of “personal massagers” in my bedside drawer. Wink.

Not to brag, but Aiden Smith isn’t hard to resist if you’ve been doing it for as long as I have. In fact, we might have continued as best friends forever if not for the fact that I needed him to play the part of my fake boyfriend.

Date me like you mean it, I told him. Nudge nudge. C’mon, just go along with a little lie, help a girl out, and then we can all return to life as we know it.

Except he veered from the plan.

He crossed the line.

Flirting with me when no one else was around? Pinning me down and kissing me like that? Okay, how exactly is taking off my bra part of the ruse, Aiden?!

I’d ask him about it if I could, but well…things got ugly and we’re not best friends anymore.

In fact, we’re the exact opposite.

Now, I have to play nice even though I want to crush his heart in the palm of my hand.

Pretending not to love Aiden was the easy part.

Pretending not to hate him?

Well…I might need a little more practice.

•••

— MY REVIEW —

Ahhhh. Grey has done it again! DMLYMI was deviously good! I obsess over a good secret crush, but what’s even better? A secret crush turn enemies to lovers. *evil laugh* muahaha! 🤭

Just the book I needed to escape the reality of adulting for a little while. Lol.

Grey has the inate ability to get you invested with the ever-so Grey trademark characters who seem to talk (and think) a mile a minute — those who’ve read her other books know what I’m talking about! Her characters are instantly lovable with their humorous ramblings and random thoughts that it’s hard not to get invested in their story right off the bat.

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DMLYMI has now been included in my list of fave books of Grey’s right along with The Allure of Dean Harper and Arrogant Devil. All of which had a similiar hate to love romance. What can I say? When it comes to this tried and true trope, Grey writes some of the best!

But question… this was supposed to be a romantic comedy, right? I read that correctly, yes? So why the hell did I blubber and get teary-eyed so many damn times throughout reading this book!!? 😢😅

I loved the concept of a secret crush in this storyline because it’s almost all from Maddie’s POV for at least the first half. As a reader, you get on this ride of unrequited love with her, the hopeless dream of having your best friend mirror back your feelings. I think that’s why I got so emotional reading this book. The further it developed, the more I felt for Maddie. You can’t help but sympathize with what she’s going through. I’m not going to lie — I was crushed by some of the scenes. If you cry just as easily as I do, make sure to have tissues nearby. You’re bound to get into a snotfest!

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It’s full of heart. There’s a sweet balance of friendship and love, good ol’ banter and game playing to keep things lively. It’s what will keep you anxious to see how things will play out between Maddie and Aiden. There’s no doubt they have zingy chemistry. You can feel the years of their bond leap off the pages.

Full of what-ifs, secrets, missed chances, and unexpected opportunities. Both Maddie and Aiden are forced to navigate through all the events in their lives and the consequences of their choices. Their journey is one of growth, pure determination and acceptance that things may not work out the way they hope or expect it to. At times it’s a bittersweet pill to swallow.

It’s a fictional story of a couple struggling to find a balance in their lives that can very well mirror any relationship real life.

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What I love about Grey’s books (and this one was no different) is that her characters are fairly relatable. The relationships and life experiences are some that many of us can relate to. Whilst I adore Maddie and her usual happy-go-lucky personality, I had hoped she had more backbone where Aiden was concerned, and that she followed through and executed her plans because I can’t help but think that would’ve been a real kicker!

Aiden doesn’t have as much of the spotlight that Maddie initially has when it comes to their perspective of things but it doesn’t mean he didn’t make an impact. Putting aside the good looks Grey has bestowed upon him, he’s charming, sweet as hell and is just a pure care bear at heart! I couldn’t really fault the guy. Yeah, I might have smacked my forehead and shook my head mumbling “no, no, no…” at a couple of things he does but it no way means he’s crossed off the book boyfriend list! Not happening!

I may not always agree with these characters’ actions but I can see how others may, or even be doing the same thing if they were ever in the same situation. Either way Grey always manages to put realism into her characters and their world, which I’ve always liked about her writing.

If you’re a fan of friends to lovers, hate to love, and secret crush romance storylines, then this will certainly be a treat for you folks! I enjoyed it immensely and there are parts of this book I’ve already reread multiple times over because they’re still reeling in my mind.

The steamy scenes are indeed hot, yet tasteful, and just enough to keep you swooning over their relationship. I’ll leave it at that. 😉

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Overall, a well-paced storytelling, developing easily enough in the first half of the book. Although in my opinion, it did pick up speed in the second half making it feel little rushed but not to a point where it’s off-putting. The ending is still as sweet as when the story started. It has a beautiful wrap up that’ll have you sighing in happy contentment. Nothing was left unanswered (at least from my point of view).

Another not-to-be missed standalone romance from Grey! An amazing journey of love, friendship and sacrifice. It’s mostly lighthearted with moments of fluttering-butterfly-induced nerves. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cruelly enjoy the banter, but secretly hope things will work out between Maddie and Aiden.

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Highly recommend for fellow romance readers to add this one to their TBR, asap!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

Thank you to R.S. Grey and Ink Slinger PR for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


•••

If you’re interested in more, make sure to check out my reviews for R.S. Grey’s other books. Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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