Friday, March 10, 2023

Faking It With the Grump by Kate O’Keeffe: Book Review

  *Book received for consideration. All thoughts are my own.

He’s grumpy, boring, and thinks it’s okay to wear a suit and tie to a smalltown bar full of lumberjacks. But when I kiss him? Let’s just say I wasn’t expecting THAT.

It's one thing to be dumped by the huge Hollywood star you thought you were going to marry. It’s quite another to move back to the small town you're both from.

As a booby prize for being shown the door by Dex Ryder, everyone is trying to set me up with their son, their nephew, or their long-lost cousin’s gardener. Either that or they’re throwing me pitying looks that say, “You’re a big loser.”

I’m not going to put up with their patronizing sympathy anymore.

So, when I spot new-guy-in-town Christopher Young, I set out to make him mine. Or you know, pretend to make him mine. I’m still in a horrible funk over Dex, and Christopher is an uptight grump. Not exactly my type.

The fact that despite appearances, he’s gorgeous and doing weird things to my blood pressure doesn't mean a thing.


Not. A. Thing.

Hunter’s Creek, population next to nothing, is the reason I work all the time. I’m solely focused on buying the town’s lumber mill so I can go back to NYC and get my big promotion. This small town is a means to an end. Nothing more.

That is until the prettiest girl I've ever seen superglues her lips to mine in an unexpected and very public way. She’s not the kind of woman I usually go for with her boho dress and ankle boots, but that kiss…

I’m disappointed when she comes up for air and tells me it’s all for show. But if Harper Cole wants me to be her fake boyfriend while I'm here in town, who am I to turn her down? Being attached to a local might ingratiate me to the townsfolk and make my job that much the easier.

After all, dating Harper can only be make believe. Not when my entire future is at stake.

Faking It With The Grump is a grumpy-sunshine, opposites attract, fake relationship romance set in the small town of Hunter's Creek, Washington. It's the first book in the new Second Chance Café series. Each book follows a different sister's love story and can be read as a standalone novel or as part of a series.

USA TODAY Bestselling Author Kate O'Keeffe writes exactly what she loves to read: laugh-out-loud romantic comedies with swoon-worthy heroes and gorgeous feel-good happily ever afters. She lives and loves in beautiful Hawke's Bay, New Zealand with her family and two scruffy dogs. When she's not penning her latest story, Kate can be found hiking up hills (slowly), traveling to different countries, and eating chocolate. A lot of it.

Visit to sign up to her newsletter and you'll receive a FREE romcom.

Fake dating. Grumpy/Sunshine. Small town, Hallmark-like setting. These are some of my favorite tropes to see in a romantic comedy lately, and Faking It With the Grump has them all rolled into one fantastically swoon-worthy package! 

I love a Hallmark love story. You know, a big city guy meets a small town girl... so on and so forth. This book very much had that same type of storyline, right down to the letter... and acknowledged that and even poked a little fun at that fact very early on in an inner dialogue with Christopher that certainly had me grinning as I read. While it's a story that may seem familiar in many ways in that sense, it was done wonderfully and felt unique in its delivery. There were several moments that had me laughing out loud, and I loved the chemistry between Christopher and Harper right from the start. While I loved the POVs of both characters, this might be one of the few that I've read that I found myself enjoying HIS more than hers. I think for me this was because Christopher seems a bit more socially awkward (even perhaps a bit socially anxious) than an actual grump as the title suggests, which is something I can very much relate to. 

This is a closed-door romantic comedy--- loads of attraction and some chemistry-filled kissing moments, but nothing beyond that, There was no language. 

The last chapter gave a small glimpse at what is to come next in this new series, and it certainly had me looking forward to that. I cannot wait for book two! If you enjoy fake dating and a small-town setting in your RomComs, this is certainly one to check out. 


  1. Fabulous review! I do love sunshine/grump, and of course, ROMCOMS!

  2. thank you for your review. Oh my goodness, this sounds like such a fun book. What could go wrong with pretending, right? LOL I need to read this one now.


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