Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.
Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper. And in real life he shows promise, too. He would be perfect, if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is “engaged”; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. She can either stay engaged online or fall in love in real life.
Hannah Orenstein is the author of Playing with Matches and Love at First Like, and is the senior dating editor at Elite Daily. Previously, she was a writer and editor at Seventeen.com. She lives in Brooklyn.
Oh, boy. Where do I start? Perhaps in thanking the publisher for sending me a free review copy, but it only goes downhill from there.
Apparently in 2019, we’re taking manipulative scam artists and making it into a rom-com. This book's premise was promising: after seeing her ex got engaged, Eliza accidentally posts a fake engagement announcement to the Instagram account she controls as the CEO/founder of her own jewelry store, but then the post ends up inspiring a lot of business at a time when she desperately needs it, so she wants to find a fake boyfriend to continue the farce and be able to make rent. Charming, right? Not at all. The way the author executed this was TERRIBLE because the main character exploited her accident so much that she was manipulative and scamming, all while being praised by her peers and never being discovered. This review will contain minor spoilers.
Beause its' a romance book, I'll address the glaring problem first: the relationships in this book were just pure horseshit. There's a 2012 era love triangle, which I thought was absurd and unneeded and just dumb. The first man she begins to date because she sees him as a potential fake groom is Blake, and I just feel SO bad for this dude. He did NOT get the justice he deserved in this book for being mistreated so badly. First of all, their chemistry was so lacking. She seemed to feel more for her ex than she did for Blake, even while sleeping with him. Simultaneously, Eliza meets Raj, who is a bartender across the street from her whom she immediately lets in on her secret, and over the course of the book, he develops feelings for her, yada yada yada. All you need to care about is that he knew about her plan since day one and was, stupidly and unforgivably, supportive.
A big gripe I have is that the entire premise of this book is implausible, and even a basic editor should have seen red flags at some of the things the author was trying to sell to the reader:
- Eliza's Instagram that she posts the fake announcement on is an account that is both for business and for her personal life. Like, she follows her ex on that account. It seems so unprofessional. - She is offered a free wedding and a wedding dress almost immediately in exchange for promotion. - All of this happens when she has 100k or less. - When Eliza tells Raj about the fake wedding, Raj thinks it’s a great plan and compliments her for “having balls.” Soo... am I the only one who finds her REALLY shitty??? - Everyone she tells about her plan, including her sister/business parter, best friend, and family, is on her side and sympathizes with her
The main reason why I could not stand Eliza as a narrator is because she didn't just let things unfold naturally and take an accident to her advantage before her Instagram traffic slowed down. No, she purposefully sought out people to give her attention, strung along a man without telling him in order to keep up the farce, and generally should just be thrown in jail because of how corrupt, heartless, and manipulative she is. I stopped rooting for her by page 50 and was actually hoping she would be discovered and shunned because her messy lies weren't cute or quirky at all. There's so many scenes where she acts like a piece of shit that I took notes every time she digs herself deeper into being a scam artist who's only greedy for more followers and sales at the risk of hurting others:
- Eliza REQUESTS an interview with Elle magazine on her fake engagement (future whitney here to say that it goes FAR beyond this. In her desperation, she requests SO much free shit like photographers, a cake, a spot on a reality tv show, a new york times article about her wedding, youtube vlog spotlight, a podcast episode, AND A FREE HONEYMOON. At this point it's not even being a businesswoman, it's taking advantage of people. She deserves to go on one of those pages shaming influencers for emailing companies to try and get free shit.) - Every time mainstream news breaks about her fake engagement, she reposts it to all her social media, including personal accounts, making all of her friends and family believe she's actually engaged - She accepts a fake wedding without telling Blake - She uses Blake to post pictures of their newly-budding relationship without his consent, all while sleeping with him, in order to still be able to show Instagram that she actually has a man - She makes her coworker lie and say that she doesn't run the account to keep up her lies with Blake longer just in case he were to ask - Eliza is constantly framing her life for more attention; instead of appreciating little moments, she stops to take a pic for Instagram; she poses for photos with ppl bc they have a huge following and she wants clout - This is the worst and most hurtful one. She lies and tells Blake she is in love with him just to create an excuse to leave an event where people are beginning to recognize her and question her engagement. At this point, it’s a fake dating trope, but the guy isn’t in on it. It just reads like a middle school prank where she’s pretending to ask him out when she clearly doesn't care about hurting him. - She lied to her parents that she loves him and is happy to get married to him when clearly she feels lukewarm about him - Even her sister she runs the jewelry shop with wants her to fake marry because she wants the money. Both business owners are so phony; their business deserves to fail if the only way they can think to make money is to lie and cheat - Eliza eventually apologizes to Blake for lying to him, but still asks for him to participate in the fake wedding. It basically cancels out that she would feel sorry at all if she still wants to use him. - The guy (both of them!!!) end up being okay with the wedding too, so now they’re BOTH scam artists. Like WHAT!!!! - She and her entire family have the audacity to be proud of her for having the business to succeed after she literally used companies for THOUSANDS of dollars to use their services for free, when really she wasn't even getting legally married and only did it for attention.
If you can suspend your disbelief, this book might read as a fun escapade as a woman who got herself into trouble and keeps digging herself deeper. The reasons I gave this 1 star rather than none are meager: first, it was really addicting; and second, the subplot about women supporting women as business owners was really sweet. Otherwise, I found it to be totally contrived and unrealistic, and the main character deserved all some kind of hardship that came upon her due to her lies and greed, but she was never punished for her actions other than Blake being mad at her. Eliza is TERRIBLY selfish and greedy with no redeeming qualities. She truly behaves like a young teenager who cannot comprehend that her actions have consequences. I cannot believe she exploited so many people just to get sales, then was actually proud of herself, and none of the people who were in on it shut her down.
This book could potentially work better as literary fiction with a purposefully unlikable main character, but it was just impossible to root for her in a romance setting. She was awful, and the author just kept trying to sell it to the reader as a trait that could be redeemable. At the end of the day, this is not a romance book. It's a book about a woman who is obsessed with her job and would do anything--including lying and stealing--to keep it afloat. I don't know why this is being sold as romance because Eliza clearly is only with men because she has an agenda for followers and sales.
The twist of the knife was that this book ends by her and her love interest going on a free honeymoon in Europe, signifying that they will never come clean about their lies and feel no guilt in using other people and companies, as long as they're having fun and their followers are rising. This book has a disgusting moral and despicable characters, and the author tries to package it in a way that makes them seem human and relatable when really they're just awful. I highly recommend skipping this one, and now I'm leaning toward unhauling her first book because this one was so weak and inspired so much hate.
Ugh, yikes. I was looking SO forward to this book, but it was just.. so bad. We were definitely supposed to sympathize with the main character, but she does nothing but lie and scheme to get her way and it was absolutely infuriating to read from her perspective. Also, unsurprising given the circumstances tbh, she had zero chemistry with either of the love interests. This just really did not work for me. Womp x234798324234
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for my honest review.
There seem to be more and more books coming out about social media and this one sounded so cute! An accidental engagement announcement? How was our main character going to deal with that one?
Eliza owns a jewelry shop with her sister and she has everything she's wanted. Except The One. And when her long-time ex-boyfriend gets engaged, Eliza is feeling lower than ever. To cheer herself up, she creates a fake instagram post announcing her engagement. But when Eliza wakes up the next morning, she realizes she accidentally posted that announcement...and now everyone thinks she's engaged. Eliza goes to make everything clear, until she sees how well the business is suddenly doing...because of her post. Can Eliza really find a man to be her fiancé? Or will she have to give up the charade and risk her business?
In the beginning, this book sounded like such a good idea. I thought Eliza would find a guy to pose as a fiancé and actually fall in love. Instead, I found myself not really liking Eliza and how selfish she was. Most of this book was her trying to get this guy, Blake, to fall in love with her, even though she wasn't really into him. She spent the whole time saying how she felt bad and how she knew that she didn't really like him, she just liked the idea of being married to him. And that was pretty much the plot. There weren't really that many interesting moments and I was bored most of the time.
I didn't really like Eliza, so it felt to me that she didn't even really change at all throughout the book. There was no growth to her character and I didn't like how other characters just kind of gave way to her throughout the book. The end felt too rushed and it didn't feel realistic at all.
Overall, this was a huge miss for me. I didn't like the main character and the book was more boring than anything else.
What it's about: Eliza co-owns a jewelry store with her sister Sophie in Brooklyn named Brooklyn Jewels. One night, full of emotions and too much alcohol, she ends up accidentally posting a picture of herself with an engagement ring onto their Instagram page, which just so happens to have thousands of followers. As the likes, new followers, and sales roll in she needs to decide if she is going to acknowledge the mistake or use it to her advantage - I think you can guess which option she chooses. On her hunt to find a fake fiancé she steps on a lot of toes but may just find real love in the process.
While I didn't agree with a lot of choices Eliza makes, I still really loved this book. It made me laugh, cry, and exclaim out loud more times than I can count on two hands. This was my first time reading a romcom in book form, and what a wonderful experience it was. This was also my first time reading a book by Orenstein and I absolutely loved her writing, plus I can definitely see this being turned into a movie. It was cute, but it also has a lot of substance which I really appreciated. A lot of people probably won't be a huge fan of Eliza, but I still found myself rooting for her in the end (along with feeling sorry for those she had hurt).
The chapters are super short, and I was able to fly through Love at First Like in one sitting. I wanted to find out what would happen, but at the same time never wanted the story to end. This is something I consider a necessity in a romcom whether it be in movie or book format, so I think Orenstein killed it.
Love at First Like is such a perfect book for this digital age, and the social media aspect was on the money. It was also what I would consider a perfect pool read!
Song/s the book brought to mind: A mix of 2 Souls on Fire by Bebe Rexha featuring Quavo and All That Glitters by Earl (amazing song and artist).
Final Thought: If you are looking for a read that is warm and fuzzy while also being deliciously scandalous then Love at First Like is the book for you! The book was sexy without being too cheesy or crude and it was just so much fun to read. I can't wait to read Playing with Matches to see how it compares, and I will for sure be watching for all books forthcoming from Orenstein!
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
This book was a colossal waste of time. And by that, I mean, that ever since it came out in 2019, I've been trying to find it easily and locally without having to buy it. Obviously, I haven't been searching for it everyday, but occasionally, I would peruse my tbr shelf and stumble upon this book again and think to myself, oh yeah! I really want to read that!
Well, silly fucking me for not reading the blurb more carefully. Silly fucking me for not paying attention to the plethora of negative reviews. Silly fucking me for falling for the title and like, the first line of the blurb.
Silly fucking me for perusing my tbr shelf, yet again, and deciding, fuck it, I'll get this book.
Which POV do you guys want this time? Let's do third. (Obviously, major major major spoilers ahead, folks).
Meet Eliza. Your friendly neighborhood jewelry store owner. She owns the lovely shop, Brooklyn Jewels, with her older sister, who is a happily married lesbian, desperately trying to get pregnant.
Eliza is on a horrible date at a bar when to top it all off, she sees that her old ex-boyfriend is now engaged to someone else. Her ex-boyfriend! Who was allergic to monogamy! She commiserates with the cute bartender Raj before heading back home to her sad and lonely life. Sometimes to make herself feel better, she takes pictures of herself wearing one of the engagement rings in her store and makes a draft of an Instagram post with it on. After drinking some wine, she chooses a gaudy ring to do her Instagram ritual and goes to bed.
Alas, when she wakes up, her sister alerts her with the dire news: Eliza accidentally posted the picture! To her 100,000 followers! But wait. Is that a bump in sales she sees? Are the pieces selling? This is crazy! She gained so many followers!
What if . . . and this is just a hypothetical . . . what if she just continued this ruse for longer?
She lets her sister, parents, and best friend know that this was all a mistake, but she convinces them that maintaining the ruse might be beneficial for the business. Her best friend Carmen decides that she will help Eliza find a groom using Tinder, where Carmen works. She organizes a meetup sort of thing at a local bar where a bunch of eligible bachelors come to essentially audition to be Eliza's husband. They're not really panning out, but she accidentally stumbles upon a handsome man Blake who just happens to be there.
Blake, understandably confused, inquires about the audition appearing to happen. Eliza endearingly lies and says that she's looking for a date to her relative's wedding. Blake cannot make it this weekend, but he asks her if she'd like to go out some time? Seeing as he's the owner of a stunningly nice watch company, she hastily agrees.
Their first date is, well, lackluster. Eliza feels no chemistry, there are awkward lulls in the conversation, she doesn't feel comfortable, and to top it all off, she rebuffs his kiss.
She goes home.
But, oh no! The rent for the space they lease is going up. Way, way up. She has to keep this marriage ruse going to boost sales. She's getting so many press opportunities, and let's not forget about the sponsorship deals. She's offered a free wedding space (what in the actual fuck?), a free wedding dress, so many free things. (literally, how?) Of course, she says yes! I mean, does she even have a groom in mind? No. But what a silly little thing to worry about.
Oh, of course, Blake! The guy she could not give three less shits about. She boldly asks to come over, and as soon as she's there, she says, "I like you." Spoiler alert: she does not. They have sex. Albeit a little awkwardly. With all the awkward pauses and weird lulls in the conversation. (Does this sound familiar?)
It's okay that she doesn't like Blake. He seems like a suitable match. She could grow to love him, right? And he doesn't have Instagram, which is perfect since he won't know about the fact that she has entirely lied about having a fiancee. Now all she has to do is convince him to marry her by October, which is in a few months (of course, her wedding date has already been booked).
This is just Eliza being a savvy businesswoman. She goes back to her local bar to drown her sorrows and talks comfortably with the cute bartender Raj. She eats food with her best friend Carmen. She listens to her sister's troubles with IVF. All while figuring out how to deal with the fact that she doesn't like Blake, but it's okay, right? Since she can grow to love him?
He asks her to a charity gala. She meets all of his friends, and no, she's not really comfortable there, but this is the life she wanted, right? The high-society life? A person recognizes her and nudges toward Blake to ask if he's the mysterious groom (Eliza has been keeping the groom's identity under wraps), and in dire turmoil, Eliza sweeps Blake outside to avoid having to answer anyone.
Blake is, as always, understandably confused by her sudden rush to take him outside in the middle of the gala, and though they've only known each other for a few weeks, she blurts out, "I'm falling in love with you."
Spoiler alert: she is not.
But wait! Blake admits that he is falling in love with her as well (how in the fuck??).
They continue their relationship. They're doing all the right things. She picks out a wedding dress with her sister and Carmen. He doesn't know that he's marrying her. She goes wedding cake tasting with Raj. Blake still doesn't know that he's marrying her. She continues to post on Instagram about a wedding that is possibly not happening. Meanwhile, the financial situation is getting more and more dire. Her sister needs more money to pay for IVF, and well, Eliza is at a loss. This ruse has to continue. Look at how much the sales are being boosted!
They meet each other's families. Everything's going a little fast, isn't it? And sure, it leaves a bad taste in her mouth whenever she says I love you, but that's normal to feel, right? They'll be a power couple. They're right for each other.
Blake decides that he's going to propose. He takes her on a yacht (a special surprise since Eliza's parents own a boating shop), but lo and behold, she forgot to tell him an important fact: she gets viciously seasick. Of course, in a proper relationship, they would have talked about this beforehand, but Eliza knows that in the rush of things, it's okay that it slipped her mind. He proposes. She nervously says yes. She throws up because she's seasick.
Of course, that isn't an omen or anything. But good. She has one month til the wedding she has already planned. Time to convince him to agree with the choices she's already made. Oh, look at this wedding venue that magically had a cancellation for October 19! Who's going to pay for it? Hahaha, my parents will, yep, that's right, my parents, I'm not lying.
Oh, a dress? Got one right here! I'm just super speedy, yep! Photographer, caterer, all of that other stuff? Don't you worry about a thing!
Of course, they'll be spending the rest of their lives together, so it doesn't matter that their wedding is a little quick, right?
Ugh, fine. She can't take it anymore. It's weighing on her. He deserves to know the truth.
Blake: What in the fuck, Eliza? You just used me to create a wedding? Eliza: Well, I'm sure I could actually grow to love you. Blake: Get out.
She cries. She goes to her local bar to drown her sorrows. Oh, wait. Raj. The cute bartender. They've hung out a few times. They feel comfortable with each other. How did she not realize that they have a massive crush on each other? Everything is so simple with him. He organizes a party for her after she breaks up with Blake. He takes care of her by giving her free drinks. When they watch TV together, it's so comfortable.
Obviously, Raj is the one.
But Blake. She makes an offer to him. Would he fake marry her? A business proposal, if you will? A partnership in ways more important than romantic?
He says he'll think about it.
Meanwhile, she thinks about Raj. How could she not see it? The 3.7 times they hung out were so comfortable. There were no awkward silences or weird lulls in the conversation. This is, of course, the foremost way of judging the potential of a romantic relationship. Raj, the exceptionally good man, offers to fake marry her while they start real dating.
And, so, a few days before the wedding, she actually finds herself with a groom. They get married. They go on a honeymoon. The end.
Do you want to know the actual most unrealistic thing about this book? The fact that Raj's parents, an Indian couple who had an arranged marriage, wouldn't blink twice about showing up to their son's wedding that he invited them to a few days ago. My dude. Show me a set of Indian parents like this, and I will gladly pay you $30,000.
Anyway, to sum up why I didn't like this book: Eliza is actually a truly terrible person. Fake marriage tropes are cute because it's obviously fake, and both parties consent to the fake marriage. Then they real fall in love. Eliza here sucks. And then mysteriously realizes she's in love with the bartender who we see like, four times. Obviously, no redeeming points here.
Also, what was the fucking point of the novel? Was it a romance between her and Raj? Was it a romance between her and Blake? Was it just a character study into a really shitty person?
Hope this review brought you some enjoyment! Wishing you all more success in your romantic endeavors than these unfortunate characters. And I'm out.
DNF at 33%. I really wanted to like this book, but it just wasn't for me. The writing wasn't bad, but the story was far-fetched and the main character was AWFUL. She was so shallow and selfish and she had zero self-awareness. I think that there will probably be a lot of people that can overlook those things and enjoy this, but I'm not one of them.
I knew this book would be different based on the blurb but I honestly just couldn’t believe how far the heroine would go to continue the engagement facade. It didn’t feel right and I felt bad for the unsuspecting guy.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get into the writing or the story.
First of all, please congratulate me for reading a book on my Netgalley backlist! Go me! Second, congratulate me again for reading a book based on a premise I despise: sitting on a throne of lies! :)
When Eliza discovers via Instagram that her last serious ex-boyfriend, Holden is engaged, she flips out. Despite the fact that she runs a successful business, Brooklyn Jewelers, with her sister, Sophie, Eliza feels as if she's lost the breakup--and life--when Holden gets engaged first. After all, she's still single. To console herself, she takes out some of the jewelry store pieces and snaps some insta-worthy shots of them on her left (ring) finger. This process is accompanied with a little alcohol to soothe the loss. Everything seems fine until she wakes up in the morning and realizes she's posted a shot to the store's page--and it's basically gone viral. From there, Eliza makes the perfectly rational (??!!) decision to pretend she's engaged and line up a free wedding and honeymoon to drum up business for Brooklyn Jewelers. All she needs now is a groom.
"My wedding is exactly six months from tomorrow. All I have to do now is find the groom."
I have no idea why I picked this book, I'm guessing it was a Netgalley widget, because I really really hate books based on lies like this. It truly makes me nervous and on edge. I almost didn't keep reading, but I decided to give it a shot. And I will grudgingly admit that Eliza grew on me, okay? If you aren't as bothered by me by the "throne of lies" concept, you might enjoy this book. And if you are into Instagram and jewelry, you could even love it.
Some pluses... Eliza has a lesbian sister. Sure, it's token lesbian representation, but at least it's there. Eliza pines for a man, but she's also a strong businesswoman and her business is very important to her (so much that she'd go along with this harebrained scheme to keep it). She and her sister are running a fairly successful storefront in New York. They admit part of that is because they received an inheritance, but Eliza also puts a lot of work into it. That's cool.
Some negatives... a lot of the dilemmas and plot points come across as very flat and one dimensional. Oh no, suddenly the rent is being raised, heightening the stakes in Eliza's fake wedding scheme?! Her sister's health insurance no longer covers IVF, so she needs more money to have a baby with her wife? You don't say, etc. At times, the plot feels like a trainwreck, where you know something horrible is going to happen, but you just can't look away. Eliza is determined that she's getting married--no matter the cost to anyone. The book stressed me out a lot. (Just tell people the truth!)
Still, much like a Hallmark movie, I found myself invested. I knew how it would probably all wind up, but I was weirdly captivated by it all. The Instagram heavy scenes, Eliza's dramatics, the looming wedding date. Somehow it worked in the end. It was crazy and ridiculous, but oh well. 3 stars.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Atria Books in return for an honest review.
No, no, no, no. Ugh this book. I thought this book was going to be a cute rom-com about this girl who accidentally posted a photo of a ring on her engagement finger on Instagram, and then spent the whole book trying tell her followers that she wasn't getting married. BOY WAS I WRONG. The protagonist in this book was the biggest liar I've ever seen within a story before, and I couldn't believe that everyone went along with her string of lies! This book is ENTIRELY unrealistic, and I kept listening and reading because I thought FOR SURE the author would turn this story around. Nope. No one in their right minds would accidentally post a photo, and then try and recruit a guy to marry them within 6 months all for a free wedding, and some publicity for their jewelry store. And then A BIG EYE roll for who she does end up with. UGHGHHGHGHG.
I wanted to read this because I loved Head Over Heels. This one was good, I love the authors writing style! It’s easy and flows so perfectly, I laughed out loud so many times. This book centers around Eliza who owns a hip jewelry store in Brooklyn. She’s obsessed with social media and uses it to her advantage when she sees her ex post about his engagement. The main character did get a little annoying at times but overall I liked this one. Can’t wait to read Hannah’s first book Playin with Matches!
One of the hardest things for me to do is to give a fair review to a book that has a heroine with such an ugly personality. The writing was actually really good and the story was entertaining up to a certain point. My low rating is because we have such a flawed main character who does not redeem herself by the end and the lack of a love story.
Eliza was essentially a liar. That's the basis of this whole convoluted story. She was also manipulative and went to great extents to make sure her lies were not exposed. I'm talking setting a date for the wedding, getting a dress, booking a venue and freaking cake testing! All with no groom in sight! At first, honestly it was hilarious. As a bookstagrammer I could definitely relate to her little obsession with Instagram but her need to keep her "following" and ultimately save her small business started to cross some ethical lines.
Blake was the poor guy who got trapped in Eliza's plan. I won't go into details but her behaviour was nothing short of despicable. She had zero cares for his feelings and treated him like an object to be used in her great plan. He eventually uncovers her deception but this woman had NO REMORSE! I think that's what really made me dislike this book. You can have a flawed heroine. I mean we're people and we all make mistakes but you have to redeem your character. At least in my opinion. Otherwise you just have a book with a heroine that everyone hates.
After all of that, there is no love story. There is sex mind you, but no real love story. As the blurb insinuates, there is another guy. Yeah... I'm not sure what that was about but I won't spoil it for you. This is not a love triangle though. I gave 2 stars because I was at least entertained enough to finish reading but I honestly got angry by the end. When I realized Eliza was a truly horrible character, I wanted her world to fall apart but then she ended up getting her own personal happy ending. It's never a good thing when you hate that the heroine ends up happy but try it out for yourself. You may have a different opinion.
Oh social media, how we love thee and loathe thee all at the same time. It's all swipes and likes until someone accidentally posts a fake engagement!
I LOVED Playing with Matches, so I immediately knew I needed this book! Hanna Orenstein has a way of making me fully escape reality and get compulsively sucked into her books! The stories she writes are fresh, and funny, and full of wit and charm. ALTHOUGH, Eliza frustrated me to no end in this story with her ridiculous shenanigans, I charged through this story like a social media director on Follow Friday.... and found it to be a fun summer read for sure!
When Eliza accidentally posts a ring selfie on Instagram... a ring on THAT finger... to her jewelry stores 100K followers, there's just a tiny bit of a problem. She doesn't even have a boyfriend. Whoopsie.
But the likes start pouring in and sales at the store are booming, and the money issues and worries her and her sister have of potentially losing the shop, just might be over. So, Eliza does what any sane human would do.... keep up the ruse, plan a wedding, and find a fake fiance. Easy enough right?!?
With a silly and fun story line of love, ambition and family, this modern rom-com quenched my thirst for an absurdly charming character in Eliza and her ridiculous idea that just might save her shop - all while faking what could be the most romantic love story of her life.
I laughed, I yelled, I giggled. It was so much fun to read.
Okay. I'm pretty sure this main character is the most selfish, manipulative, duplicitous, and unethical character I've come across ever. I think she might be a straight up sociopath. And a peek at the end of the book tells me she is definitely NOT going to get the comeuppance she deserves, so I'm not finishing it.
Having loved Hannah Orenstein's debut, Playing with Matches, I was extremely excited to check out Love at First Like from the very first moment I heard about it. While, I enjoyed Love at First Like, I have to say, it didn't have the same charm for me as Matches.
Eliza Roth was hard working enough to be able to open a jewelry store with her sister, Sophie, at a young age. The latest struggle for the sisters is keeping the store afloat with rising rent costs in NYC. When Eliza instagrams herself wearing one of Brooklyn Jewel's rings, her followers assume she is engaged and when Eliza sees a spike in sales a result, she doesn't correct this notion. The issue at hand? Eliza is single.
While the plot was fun, it was Eliza's determination to succeed at any cost that really turned me off. She didn't care about who she hurt (dating men just so she could get married and fulfill her instagram post) and what toes she had to step on to make it happen. I'm a single working woman in NYC with a strong career drive (I work in finance and hold my own against the toughest of co-workers) and I just can't get behind a woman taking advantage of people's love and feelings to garner success.
Since I loved Orenstein's debut, I am going to chalk this one up to a fluke for me and I will be looking for what she writes next with an open mind.
Thank you to Atria for an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.
The setup and the characters are all so unlikable and I'm having a hard time rooting for anybody. Also: I had a sneaking suspicion that the guy mentioned in the blurb wasn't the one she ends up with. I end-read and yep I was right. If you're going to have a freaking love triangle, at least name both people in the blurb so I know who to root for! So annoying.
Also: is it just me or are all these protagonists in WF/chick-lit thoroughly selfish and mean in a way that doesn't seem redeemable? I've read like five this year and have hated all of them because of it. I'm not opposed to a selfish MC in the beginning, but the journey to become a better person is often not satisfactory to me.
I love Hannah Orenstein's debut book: Playing with Matches, so when I heard she will released another book. I am so excited 💕💕 and this book synopsis sound like another pretend lover story, which my favorite trope ever.
I love reading chick lit and romance novels and I kinda feel other author playing safe with the main characters are only using call/text/email. I understand why they do that, technology change so much and so fast, what trendy this year maybe will not relevant in the future so when I read the synopsis that Eliza as the main character using instagram. I overjoyed. Hurray! Instagram is one popular app and creating story about how this app impact someone's life is so cool and refreshing. Standing applause to Hannah Orenstein for being brave to come up and writing this kind story.
I also love how this story is great at capturing problems that 20 something can relate: Comparing our life with our friend through instagram, feeling left behind, chasing anything that ideal according to society, chasing dream versus being realistic dilemma, and listen to your head vs gut/body dilemma.
Furthermore, This book Page turner. I finished this book in one sitting!
Verdict: This book is amazing. I fell in love with the characters and the story had me on the edge of my seat. Would absolutely recommend it.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you Netgalley and Atria Books for giving me the chance to read and review this book early.
I won this book through a giveaway in exchange for an honest review.
This book wasn’t bad. The writing was good. It was a bit cheesy though. I laughed a few times. However, I don’t typically care for romance novels of any kind....with the exception of a few suspense/thriller romance combos. So my review might be a bit tainted.
Love at First Like entertained me from the beginning to the end, but I'm not sure how much I actually liked it.
Eliza Roth co-owns a jewelry shop in Brooklyn that's doing well but not well enough to survive a rent hike, so, when she accidentally posts a fake engagement post to her Instagram in response to an ex's engagement, she decides to pretend it's real. I'm pretty sure I've read or watched a few things with this set up, and I like it in theory, but it did not work for me in Love at First Like. The problem for me was the way Eliza leaned into it. She doesn't just fake it for the sake of not looking foolish: she accepts a free wedding, a free dress, a free honeymoon, and reaches out to get people to interview her about her upcoming wedding (just a couple months away), all without a boyfriend.
Realizing she will need to have a man at some point for this charade, she forces herself through a relationship with a guy she feels uncomfortable and vaguely bored around. She tells him she loves him, though she doesn't, and spurs his emotions along to get the proposal she needs. It's really distasteful, and, though I already didn't like Eliza, this definitely didn't help. I also thought Blake was altogether too forgiving about everything.
Actually, speaking of, EVERYONE was too forgiving and understanding about what Eliza was doing, which is a big part of why this admittedly unrealistic plot line didn't feel cute and silly in a rom-com way but thoroughly unbelievable. When Eliza tells bartender friend Raj what she's done, he thinks it's charming and encourages her in taking a risk. WHO WOULD EVER? Her parents accept it and, even more confusingly
I think most of us with an active Instagram account have done some crazy things for the perfect shot, I know my fellow bookstagrammers have pulled out a book in some wild places just for the gram (as I have too!) but Eliza takes things to a whole new level when she fakes an engagement for her followers. If this sounds slightly insane and borderline ridiculous it totally is, but meet Eliza, she’s the type of friend that we’ve all had who makes rash decisions and finds herself in awkward, albeit hilarious situations over and over again.
I adored the premise of this, faking any sort of relationship is always a fun trope for me and there were definitely some pretty funny scenes here, for sure. While I honestly didn’t love Eliza as a character she was entertaining as hell and although I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and shake her a few times, her unpredictability made this such a fun read and I really never knew what she would do next. There was also a great cast of secondary characters to balance out her craziness, I actually loved some of them so much that I have my fingers crossed that they may appear in a future book?!
Having now read two books from the author it’s safe for me to say that she truly knows how to write a highly entertaining story about modern dating. She captures the highs and lows and the struggles with social media all with humor and heart, I’m now a firm fan!
Love at First Like in three words: Amusing, Modern and Fun
I love fake relationship tropes. I was excited to read this story because it sounded so fun. But I couldn't get into the story and quickly disliked the story. The characters were flat and annoying. Eliza was ridiculous. The set-up for a fake relationship is so important and her reasons were didn't bring me to her side. It was a mistake to begin with but she used it to improve her business and wouldn't let go of it. When it was clear she needed to end the confusion, she kept hold. I didn't cheer for her. I didn't even know the guys that well. They were flat and I just didn't care about them. The cuteness of the story line was overshadowed by the stupidity of Eliza's actions.
I really wanted to like it but I just didn't. Sad but true.
Thank you@atriabooks for the free copy of LOVE AT FIRST LIKE. This is available August 6th. . I picked this up when I needed something light and fun and it did the trick! Eliza is an absolute NUT and has some major growing up to do. She really will stop at nothing to get ahead. I felt bad for all the people that were collateral damage along the way. I must admit that I wasn’t entirely satisfied with how this one tied up but it was entertaining nonetheless. I also found it interesting to see the role that social media plays in people’s lives (personal and business).
Side note: Eliza was inspired by Anna Vadimovna Sorokina also known as Anna Sorokin, is a Russian-born fraudster. She moved to New York City in 2013 and created the fictitious identity of Anna Delvey, pretending to be a wealthy German heiress. In 2019, she was convicted of multiple counts of attempted grand larceny, theft of services, and larceny in the second degree for scamming New York hotels and wealthy acquaintances. Sorokin is incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility.
Entertaining, breezy and absolutely bonkers I give it 3.5 stars.
Eliza is a jerk and she has no remorse for being a total liar. I read 100 pages and I will not read the rest. She claims she feels guilty, but none of her behavior signifies any sort of guilt. She continues to manipulate Blake and exclaim he's perfect on paper though they don't have much chemistry.
Edelweiss and the Publisher granted this eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I can’t pinpoint the moment I changed; that’s not how people work. You turn molecule by molecule until suddenly, you’re a different person.
Lately, every book I read—or try to read—goes downhill very quickly as if it were on wheels and had schlepped an accelerator onto its back.
The dialogue was mediocre. At best, most lines were taken out of movie scripts written in the early 2000s—cringe? why, yes—and at times I felt like nothing was really being said at all. Even though Eliza got away with her nonsense words several times (I definitely would’ve said to her face, “You literally aren’t making any sense at all”). There was no chemistry in this book whatsoever, and with more than one suitor in the mix of potentials, it was so underwhelming and such a turn off to not even have witty banter. YOUNG ADULT HAS WITTY BANTER SO WTH. Ahem. Sorry.
Refocusing. The plot was a haphazard mess of convenience. First chunk of the book was enticing and set the foundation ground work with finely laid pebbles for a nice driveway or ornate statue...but then part two came along and built a dog house on top of the pebbles. I was confused and things no longer made sense. Why do we know more about Eliza being a dickhead? Why did strangers all of a sudden stop showing interest in her to the point of asking her who the hell her groom-to-be is and yet we are told her SNS is still vitally important?? Where did those online creepers go?? They were a significant plot point that lasted until the next one came around...even though they definitely—logically—should’ve existed until the big blowout day.
Why were we constantly TOLD things happened and how people felt? Emotions were told, actions were told, progress was told, communication between people was told even though dialogue could’ve worked just as well... I’m now even more confused as to what I read since so much of it was telling instead of writing as an illustration to help mentally visualize what is happening and how things look and who feels what and yatta chacha hoohoo. Why do I care about no one in this book? Why do the happy things in this book make me cringe?
And where is Carmen Sandiago?
The plot was messy and confusing. The dialogue was underwhelming and nonexistent. The romance was lackluster in chemistry or logic. The ending was cliche and unoriginal. The character growth was laughable.
I mean, I’ve read better YA than this? So I’m lost on how this is for adults? I just? What?
To each their own, absolutely. But...Nothing about Love at First Like stands out or makes a ravishing appearance. There’s a wooden shabby dog house built on picturesque pebble stone flooring. The potential here held the kind of excitement I usually only grasp from Anime or YA. But it fizzled and died out. If you know about Wolf Girl & Black Prince then you know how fun and snarky, outright ridiculous a story like this one could evolve into.
I didn’t bother reading the last chapter. That is how awfully bored and irritated I became with the characters, the silly nonsensical plot, terrible problematic romances, and the awful awful dialogue. I didn’t care to find out how her business went. That was the only plot point that kept rotating. Everything else conveniently disappeared, because God forbid something legitimate rolls up and decimates this book because of logic and reality. Ugh. Yet another pretty illustrated cover to deceive me.
Lastly, Eliza is the worstever. EVER.
I’m done. That was it. I don’t care to give any more time to this book.
Any quotes used in this review are subject to change prior to release date.