Book Review: Rent to Be by Sonia Hartl

The Blurb:

Isla Jane is living the millennial nightmare. She’s got a shiny new MBA and no way to pay for it, thanks to her dead-end entry-level job, and nowhere to live, thanks to her miserable salary. Going home to her parents is not possible, but for once Isla’s brother may be her saving grace. He’s out of town on business for a month, meaning the guest room in his condo is blissfully empty.

Or so Isla thinks, until she runs into Cade Greenley, her brother’s best friend—who’s crashing there while his own condo is undergoing renovations. When a desperate plan to sleep under her desk miraculously turns into a house-sitting job for one of the big bosses at her office, Isla is certain her luck has turned—with no one, Cade included, the wiser. It’s a perfect solution—until Cade catches her sunbathing at a mansion that is definitely not hers, and she admits she’s house-sitting because she can’t afford rent.

The pair strike a deal—Cade will keep Isla’s secret from her overbearing parents if she agrees to pose as his girlfriend at a few upcoming corporate events. The fun and friendly vibe of his office is a surprise compared to hers, but the biggest shock is that each “date” with Cade feels less and less fake. Suddenly she’s looking forward to every minute they spend together while the chemistry between them sizzles. As Isla’s house-sitting scheme begins to unravel, she’ll have to face the fact that her biggest lie of all is the one she’s telling herself: that she’s not falling in love with Cade.

My Rating: ★★★

My Review:

Normally one of my favourite genres, I have been quite disappointed in the contemporary romances I have been reading lately, with no exception being made for this title. While Rent to Be made for quick and easy reading, I didn’t gel with the main characters the way I had hoped and so the whole novel fell flat.

I loved that Cade and Isla had known each other as children and the snippets of shared history throughout the book were lovely – Rainbow Bear – but I kinda just wanted them to grow up. Especially Isla… girlfriend you are not stuck. Fix your attitude and fix your life!

While Cade seemed like a nice enough guy, as the male lead in a romance I wanted him to be more. More dreamy, more steamy…less awkward and WAAAAY less talkative in the bedroom.

I enjoyed the secondary characters probably more than the primary ones, but again wanted more.

The friendship between Isla and Neeta started out in an interesting way but then just faded into the background with the introduction of Isla’s brother. Cade’s bosses, lovely as they were, entered the story as part of the ‘fake dating’ trope just to leave again without any real impact on the story. Isla’s parents also played bit roles but didn’t feel all that connected to the storyline either – their role merely a outlet for Isla’s angst and blame for why she couldn’t get her life together. Again girlfriend…you are a grown up or at least you should be!

All that said, this book might be something that you would enjoy. For me, however, it lacked both dimension and direction, earning it only 2.5 stars (bumped up to three because I don’t know how to do half stars).

With thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for this advanced copy in return for an honest review.

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