Thursday, May 30, 2024

It Started at the Lake by Amanda P. Jones : Book Review

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

Fake dating my best friend’s cousin for the summer? Yes, please! No strings, no risks, no problems.


I’m on a man-ban. That’s right, no dating for me. Until my radar for picking morons gets fixed, I’m on a look-but-don’t-touch policy. During a summer vacation at my best friend’s lake house, her cousin Bennett comes up with the perfect plan. If we pretend we’re together, his meddling family will butt out of our love lives. But as we spend time with each other, my traitorous heart has other ideas. Like falling for the widower who’s completely off-limits. It’s just my luck that the one person I’d drop my restrictions for doesn’t want me for real.


I know I need to get back to living a full life, but it’s hard when guilt and grief are a constant cloud raining over me. Things are going as well as a first water skiing lesson—disastrous—until I meet Camille at Lake Lloyd. She’s the best candidate to help me get my family off of my back about dating again. Our scheme is going great until she hints she wants our relationship to be real. How do I make room in my broken heart for her? How do I cherish my past without messing up my future? But if I don’t try, I risk chasing away the one person who makes me feel alive. I have no clue what to do. Why is faking it so much easier? If only love came with a guarantee.

It Started at the Lake is a sweet with a sprinkling of heat romance featuring a best friend's cousin, fake dating, age gap, found family, rich/poor, and opposites attract tropes.

Amanda writes sweet romantic comedies and contemporary romance novels with love, laughter, and happily ever afters.

When not reading or writing (which is rare), Amanda loves to travel, camp, spend time with family and friends, and eat chocolate chip cookies—or any other excuse she can come up with to avoid doing housework. She lives in the Rocky Mountains with her husband and three children.

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Bennett and Camille absolutely won my heart! I think romances with a widowed character can be a really tough sell for me. I want to have that 'you're the one' feel... but I don't want it to take away from that first love either and I think finding that balance can be really tough. The way this one was handled felt like just that right balance and I absolutely adored it. Seeing Bennett learn to love again and to heal throughout the story made me root for his second chance at love all that much more. It was certainly an emotional read that had me reaching for the tissues, but it had a nice blend of humorous moments too that kept it from feeling too heavy overall. The chemistry between Bennett and Camille was fantastic, and I also loved the family banter throughout as well. I would absolutely love to see more stories with Bennett's family in the future... they were just so fun!

It Started at the Lake is a closed-door romance. There's a bit of innuendo and a lot of ogling, but nothing beyond kisses.

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