Title: Faking It
Author: J.D. Hollyfield
Series: UnReal #1
Release Date: January 30, 2016
Fake it till you make it.
That’s Lexi Hall, the wild socialite’s motto for how to live life.
Single and allergic to commitment, Lexi is having the time of her life. Or is she? With a new promotion at the art gallery, and her colorful lifestyle as bright as ever, she swears she has no interest in slowing down. When Lexi receives a phone call that can change her career, she pounces on the opportunity. But what this outgoing diva doesn’t plan for is her new client, the closed off, secluded artist, Hunter James. Fighting to draw the line between work and pleasure, it’s up to Lexi to figure out how to balance her fake life for something real.
Hunter James is an artist without a muse. Lacking the beauty in his life that he craves, his art is beginning to suffer. Unfortunately for the mysterious artist, a past mistake also tarnishes his trust in women. Forced to take a meeting with an art gallery dealer, he accepts knowing he’ll turn her down. He turns them all down. But what he doesn’t anticipate is for the seductive bombshell to turn his world upside down. As his body and mind come alive, he vows to stop at nothing to have her on his canvas and in his bed.
As Lexi’s life begins to brighten with the promise of something beautiful, can she stop faking it and find a reason to make it real? Or will Hunter’s past replace their light with darkness?
Faking It was my first novel by J.D. Hollyfield and it definitely left an impression. This sexy romantic comedy had a great balance of sweet and sassy, serving up Hunter and Lexi’s story with sarcasm and steam. I knew I was in for a wild ride from the very first page and J.D. Hollyfield delivered just that. Hunter and Lexi’s journey was certainly unconventional, jumping from first meeting to nudity in no time (but not in the way you’d expect). Hunter instantly intrigued me. His shut-in lifestyle made him a riddle I wanted to solve and his reaction to Lexi only furthered that desire. They had an immediate chemistry that leant itself to some serious tension and plenty of heated exchanges before boiling over into an uncontrollable passion that made me blush. J.D. Hollyfield has a unique voice and she isn’t afraid to let it loose. Faking It is a dose of filthy fun with a side of emotional whiplash that only hints at the possibilities ahead of this author.
“Taking my chin in-between his fingers he turns my head, lifting it to just the perfect angle so I stare right into his eyes. And it’s in that moment that I feel a spark. That feeling that something strange is happening between us.”
My biggest issue with this book was the character development. While Hunter was a hermit, avoiding social situations and people in general until Lexi forced him out of his self-imposed isolation, he was also a domineering alpha. While this definitely made for a yummy hero, I never really got a handle on Hunter’s personality and that kept me from fully connecting with him. Lexi, on the other hand, had a very distinctive personality. She came across as wild and carefree with an underlying insecurity that reared its head in her oftentimes-childish behavior. Honestly, this character just wasn’t for me. I couldn’t get myself to feel for her, even as we got to know her a little more. Her voice was too much at times and the humor felt forced. Had this character been given more depth I think it would have helped balance out her extreme personality but as the character remained relatively superficial, I just couldn’t get there with Lexi.
“You’ve done something to me, Lexi. Woken me up. Given me life. I was never truly living, and the moment I set eyes on you I felt it. The pull. The urge to take you and make you completely mine.”
Admittedly, Faking It took some time for me to get into. The story moved slowly and I’d even go so far as to say that there were portions of this book that didn’t seem to move the story forward at all. The majority of the action and drama was concentrated into the end of the novel and I definitely think the story would have benefited from having that part of the timeline expanded, as it was for me, the most enjoyable part of the story. One of the highlights of the book was Chrissy. As far as best friends go, she’s the real deal. She made me grin with her good-natured teasing and warmed my heart with her unwavering support, not to mention there was that fiercely protective side that came out and made me want to high five her. Chrissy was the hidden gem of this story. J.D. Hollyfield’s writing definitely has a ton of potential. Faking It was sprinkled with moments of emotional honesty that left my heart hopeful and there was plenty of quote-worthy prose to enjoy. I look forward to seeing this author continue to grow and develop her craft in the future.
I’m going to be honest – this is a really difficult review for me to write and I’m not sure where to start, especially because I value honesty but attempt to not be negative. Faking It by J.D. Hollyfield is a story about the insta-love between Hunter and Lexi. These two characters were presented as being night and day but with the common ground they did have, were able to click. It was definitely a quick read, perfect for a weekend of escaping reality.
“I know there is something wrong about this offer, yet wickedly tempting all the same.”
Lexi, honestly, frustrated me for a good portion of the novel. Her inner monologue was daft and left me rolling my eyes often. Also, in instances where I think the author was going for humor, she ended up falling flat. Rather than coming across as a serious business woman, Lexi sounded immature and petty, which was the opposite of every thought she was verbalizing. However, I could appreciate the notion that she wears a mask to the world. I think all people at one time or another “fake it ‘till they make it” and could relate to her on that level. Furthermore, I didn’t completely understand the hero. He spoke of being recluse and private, yet he was domineering and so bold. The junction of those personality traits just didn’t work in the delivery for me. I would have liked to have seen Hollyfield extend the action of the last quarter and elongate the timeline of the couple being together. The first portion of the novel felt like a continuous moment of waiting for the other shoe to drop.
“I put a paintbrush in my hand and I felt free. Capable of anything. I lost myself in a moment, a muse, a script, and I just painted.”
The thing I loved most about this novel, is that regardless of the insta-love factor, the chemistry between these two could certainly be felt. The build-up of angst and sexual tension worked perfectly to get readers’ appetites aching for that big explosive moment. Also, I am in LOVE with Lexi’s best friend. She was a little firecracker who made me smile whenever she was in the scene. This was my first novel by J.D. Hollyfield, but I’m definitely curious to see what else she can produce. Though it wasn’t a favorite for me, I have no doubt that other people will get a kick out of Lexi and the crazy things she does for love!
Add to Goodreads