Cover Image: Ten Rules for Faking It

Ten Rules for Faking It

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Everly made it really hard for me to love this book. She was a frustrating character to understand and it made her hard to like, which is problematic when she is the main character of the book. She held everyone to impossibly high standards, there was never going to be any pleasing her. Unfortunately she was the downfall of this book for me.
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Ten Rules for Faking It
Sophie Sullivan
St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 2020, 320 pages
Contemporary Rom-Com
Provided by Pub via NetGalley

These illustrated covers are here to stay, I guess, so I will have to get used to them. I will say, the title of the book is typically the main event on these covers, which I really like. Also, when they portray characters from the story they attempt to do them the way the author describes them to some degree. And this one uses my blue! That’s always a plus.

This book hasn’t gotten great reviews, which I read before I read the book. So, I was a bit leary about reading it. But, it was time and I was committed. Initially, it was a little bit difficult to get involved because the first scene in the book is so chaotic, plus the main character has severe anxiety disorder associated with social gatherings (more than 2 people). It is explosive and hard to keep track of who’s saying what. Once I got into the book and was more comfortable with the characters, I went back and re-read that first scene and it made so much more sense.

The main love story was so sweet and innocent and strung out over the whole book. The dating games were well done, too. There were so many volatile relationships in this story. I can see how these people ended up the way they were. There were also some extremely strong friendships here, the kind that last a lifetime.

The author’s treatment of anxiety disorder was outstanding. The busyness of her mind, the overthinking of situations, the caution, and fear, as well as the physical symptoms that go along with it. It’s easy to describe the physical ones, but to write how busy a mind is as it spirals into a panic attack outside a restaurant…that was amazing. I found myself needing a cool drink and a few minute’s break after that. And the list-making was wonderful! Totally recommended!
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Not your average love story. There's a much deeper element to it also as there is a deep dive into the main character's anxiety at play which is another element to the book which gives it depth! Would recommend!!
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This romance goes so much deeper. Sophie Sullivan nailed so many ways that anxiety can stifle your life. That inner dialog that Everly has throughout is so very real. It is such an amazing feeling to see a part of yourself on the page. The friendship between Stacey and Everly is not to be overlooked either. The kind of friend that loves you, even with the flaws, is absolutely priceless. Chris and all his baggage is no less heavy than Everly's and that is all that it takes to put them in a stalemate before anything gets started. Ten rules is all heart and a must read!
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It was perfectly fine but I somehow couldn't fully enjoy or like it. I've read so many romances at this point that this feels like another version of the same thing. The circumstances were different, yes. But it starts with a woman who has a really bad day and makes rules for herself, to have a better life. There's a love interest who secretly likes her. The woman goes through growth as she goes on dates and puts herself out.

If I read this a couple of years back, or even last year, I would have enjoyed it. But now I just need.. more from romance books.

The one thing I really liked was the anxiety rep in this book. Other than that, everything was meh.
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**3.5 Stars**

Everly tried to surprise her boyfriend the morning of her birthday only to find him in bed with another woman. When she gets to the radio station she works at, she had no idea her friend/DJ had her live on air ranting about her ex and men in general. To save the station from her outburst, Everly needs to participate in her own dating challenge and let listeners vote on who moves on. The only problem is that the guys she really wants is off limits.

I will gladly admit that I adored all the pop culture TV references for all the things I love (Veronica Mars, Friends...just to name the top 2).

Chris was such a sweetie, so caring and patient, I really adored him and his level of care for Everly. He never pushed her or judged her and was basically the ideal man. I really enjoyed the slow burn relationship, where the characters got the chance to know each other (Chris knowing Everly way more than she seemed to know/understand him) as friends before there was ever any romantic effort made. And when I say slow, I mean it, the real romance doesn't start until basically right at the end. Chris was a main character/narrator, but I feel like he was not the star of the book, that would be Everly and her mental health.

Everly on the other hand was a much tougher character. She deals with a very high level of anxiety, causing panic attacks and her having issues in almost every social situation (she was triggered almost at every encounter)- and she was fully aware of her issue yet never thought to seek out help or treatment. Her life was so restricted and at times painful, yet she just accepted it as it was and did not really try to find better ways to cope. Keep in mind that I have never had anxiety or experienced a panic attack so I do not know how real this was, it felt painful as an observer to experience second hand and I really wanted to help her even though she at times thought her reactions were totally normal. But she did have one of the best female friendships I have read in a while and I shipped these two ladies!
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**2.5-stars rounded up**

Everly Dean is a producer of a radio show, working alongside her best friend, Stacey, the DJ. On Everly's 30th-birthday, she catches her boyfriend, Simon, with another woman. Not a great way to start a day. Arriving at work, she proceeds to rant to Stacey about it. Unfortunately, the microphone was on and now all of their listeners know of the problems with Everly's love life.

Trying to spin a negative into a positive, Everly agrees to participate in a Bachelorette-style dating show hosted by the station. Their numbers have been struggling and it may boost their ratings just enough to keep them going. This is a really tough sell for Everly. She suffers from severe social anxiety, so even the thought of going out on a series of random dates with a bunch of strangers causes her to hyperventilate.

Her cute boss, Chris, the one who doesn't seem to like her at all, thinks it is a great idea though; as does Stacey. She'll give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen? As it turns out, the dates aren't too bad, but Everly can't stop thinking about her boss.

Alternating between Chris and Everly's perspective, the Reader gets a front row seat to all of their pinings, doubts and insecurities, as an adorable friendship develops. The first half of this book, I was pretty into it. I liked the characters and although not super romance heavy, I enjoyed reading about their friendships and issues.

Everly's anxieties were relatable and I thought she was doing a great job getting outside of her comfort zone and working at lowering her walls. I really liked Chris as well. He was in a difficult position. His father owns the radio station, but he didn't want any of the employees to know. He wanted to be judged on his own merit, not because of the fact that his father is super rich.

Chis has a huge crush on Everly, but doesn't feel like he is in a position to make a move considering he is her boss. That makes sense. I get that.

Everything was going along nicely, but then somewhere around the 80% mark, it just went off the rails for me.

It got beyond frustrating. I actually started to get angry with the characters Everly ended up turning into one of my least favorite characters ever. She was so rigid. Holding everyone to these impossibly high standards. It was so freaking aggravating.

It was like she had never made a mistake before. She's a 30-year old woman, judging people based upon decisions they made when they were 20-freaking years old.

I don't know, something about that just rubbed me the wrong way. I couldn't get over that distaste once it was in my head and the rest of the story suffered for it. I rounded up to 3-stars, because I feel like this has the workings to be a good story, and if you don't have the same issues with Everly that I did, this could work for you. Unfortunately, it just wasn't a great fit for me.

I did adore Chris though. He deserves better, in my opinion, than the end of this book.

Also, although this didn't have an impact on my rating, I know for a lot of Romance Readers it might, there is zero steam in this story. There is more steam in a Hallmark movie than in this book, so if that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere.

Thank you so much to the publisher, St. Martin's Griffin, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. I do appreciate the opportunity to provide my opinion. While this didn't knock it out of the park for me, I would definitely try more from Sophie Sullivan.
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My heart skipped a beat every time Chris is thinking about Everly. I think it's a slow realization for Everly on how much she is attracted to Chris but Chris has been in love with her for the entire time he's known her. There is so much sweet and heartbreaking about that. He refuses to give her false expectations as he plans to leave soon. I loved their slow burn romance and this book kept me interested right up until the end. I definitely recommend it. 

I received this ARC from NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review*
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The beginning of this book was so boring. I tried picking it up several times with no luck.  I may just not have been the right audience for this specific title.
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Everly Dean has always had bad luck on her birthdays, but her 30th may be the worst - she stopped by her boyfriend's house early in the morning and caught him in bed with his assistant, then when she arrived at the studio of her radio station her best friend Stacey accidentally was live while Everly ranted about her cheating boyfriend to thousands of listeners across LA. Oooof.

Everly's boss Chris doesn't seem to like her at all, but he's excited to have Everly leverage the awkward moment into more media attention for the struggling radio group by going on dates with listeners and allowing the station's fans to vote for her final picks. Buuut while working together on the project Everly & Chris start to become closer, and Everly wonders if she really wants any of the guys she is actually dating..

This was a super fun romance that kept me laughing. Everly had a lot of social and generalized anxiety and Chris helped her through it, which is always a lovely addition to a story.
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Cute workplace romance..(if there is such a thing <smile>)  Great character development.  Well written
Thanks NetGalley for the ARC!
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I really enjoyed this book! From the representation of a female MC that struggles with anxiety, to the way the male MC was just completely understanding and accepted her whole-heartedly, this was a lovable romcom with just the right amount of seriousness. 

As I have seen others say, I do agree that the severity of Everly's anxiety disorder, while nice to see represented, should have been handled by seeing a professional therapist or counselor. While it's a step toward improving the narrative around anxiety disorders and neurotypical characters, it may also be harmful to some who are already nervous about seeing someone and being treated professionally. This would have been a great step toward normalizing not only the disorder but also the treatment, which is the part many people shy away from due to the stigma. 

Aside from that issue, I still really enjoyed Everly and Chris, and I would love to see more about his brothers and Stacey!
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Meh sums up my experience with this book.  TEN RULES FOR FAKING IT by Sophia Sullivan did not entertain me and I had a difficult time finishing it.

The book was written well and I did enjoy the friendship between Everly and Stacey, perhaps Stacey was the only thing that kept me reading though even her story fell short of my expectations.

The meat of the book should have been Everly and Chris’ romance but the slow burn was exhausting and not romantic at all.  Their attraction was boring, their connection non-existent and there was really no romance.

Everly’s social anxiety resonated with me as I could relate to it but it was all I could relate to and it wasn’t enough to invest me in the story. 

That said, this book definitely has an audience just not me. I tend to read more psychological thriller and occasionally pick up a romance for the ease of reading. This one was not easy for me but I do believe it would be the escape a book gives for many readers.
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This felt a bit like a movie--a heroine with an anxiety problem, a cheating ex, a boss secretly in love with her, and a radio station contest based on the Bachelor. Would anything like this happen in real life? Probably not, but when has that ever been a romance book criterion? It was a fast read, and I really couldn't put it down. I thought there might be a bit more on the dating contest candidates, but since it was alternating POV with the hero, there was already quite a lot going on in the story.

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for the opportunity to review a digital ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.
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I will treasure this book ALWAYS! The book you never knew you needed or saw coming! Everly shares so many of the insecurities so many of us have. It holds her back from opportunities and from forming relationships with meaning. Everly embarks on a journey of self discovery, abiding by a set of rules she has created for herself. The entire time she is dating men and trying to put herself out there, she's forming a relationship with her boss Chris which is EVERYTHING on her list. In the end both Chris and Everly lead eachother into standing up for what they are passionate about and getting what they want, which among MANY things is eachother. I was lucky enough to recieve this book through netgalley to read and review for my honest opinion. I can't wait to buy this and have it on my shelf. A MUST HAVE!
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Thank you to the publisher for my review copy.  All opinions are my own.
Well, that was delightful.  I have found my protagonist.  Bless Everyly....she is my people.  This was absolutely a fun, G rated Rom Com.  I personally enjoyed every minute of it.  Cute story.  Great premise.  Finishing with great writing.  I will highly recommend it.
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My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️
Content Rating: 16+
Genre: Romance, Contemporary, Fiction, Chick Lit 
Published: December 29, 2020, by St. Martin's Griffin

Ten Rules for Faking It is Sophie Sullivan's rom-com debut novel. However, she is an experienced writer of cozy mysteries, contemporary romance, and sports romances and writes under the name Jody Holford. Ten Rules for Faking It is the first book I have read of Sophie Sullivan, and to be honest, I expected this book to be better than it was. My initial rating was 2.5 stars, but I rounded up because The Rules for Faking It was her first attempt at a rom-com. 

The one thing that I did like about this book was the attempt to bring light to issues surrounding social anxiety, malignant relationships, and parents that overstep their boundaries. And I feel the author could have done so much more with this storyline. I also felt that there were conflicting aspects throughout this book that just didn't fit.

  I do not know how to categorize this book. Is it a slow burn or an insta-love romance?  I usually like both types of romances if they are believable. Unfortunately, this book was not likely. The pacing of this book was so slow that it teetered on being boring. I found myself skimming parts with the hope of getting to the meat of the story.

Let's start with the characters; Everly, our main character, has severe social anxiety. She produces a radio show with her best friend and deejay Stacey. Everly preferers to stay out of the limelight. On her thirtieth birthday, Everly finds her scumbag of a boyfriend in bed with another woman. Then she goes to work to tell her best friend Stacey what happened, and Stacey accidentally lets Everly tell the whole story over live radio.  From this incident comes the inception of a bachelorette style dating competition, with Everly being the centerpiece. I have trouble believing that anyone with social anxiety would agree to this. Throughout this book, there seems to be a theme where Stacey knows best what Everly needs and pushes her. Sorry, but a good friend would never participate in those types of behaviors.  

Chris Jensen is Everly's boss at the radio station. He has known Everly for a year and has had feelings for her since the moment he met her; ahh, that's insta-love in my book. But he did nothing about his feelings for a whole year; that's the slow burn aspect. And then boom, they both start to have feelings for each other. 
Chris was sent by his rich father to rework the radio station and make it successful. And by doing this, Chris proves his worth to his father. He claims to love Everly but is okay with putting her in uncomfortable situations throughout the book, but swoops in to pick up the pieces when she falls apart.

Unfortunately, I didn't love any of the characters. I felt they were underdeveloped and at times spoiled and whiney, mostly Chris and Stacey. I will give the author credit for her attempt at showing us what people with social anxiety deal with daily. As far as the writing went, it was just okay, but the plot line just didn't work for me to the point that I struggled to finish.   
*I kindly received this galley by way of NetGalley, publisher, and author. I was not contacted, asked, or required to leave a review. I received no compensation, financial or otherwise. I have voluntarily read this book, and this review is my honest opinion. *
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Ten Rules for Faking It is a great contemporary romance. We meet Everly Dean who continues her horrible birthday streak when she catches her lousy, cheating boyfriend in bed with another woman. To make matters worse, when she gets to work at the radio station, she spills the entire episode on air, LIVE!  What was a horribly embarrassing moment for Everly turns out to be the catalyst she needs to make drastic changes in her life and to possibly finding love. 

The fun, yet emotional story was sweet and romantic and I loved how slowly Everly and her boss fall for each other. I loved hearing their thoughts so we knew exactly how they were feeling. I especially liked how the author dealt with the issues of anxiety in such a thoughtful way. 

I would recommend this to my readers looking for a sweet, contemporary romance.
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This was quite enjoyable. I found that I felt empathy for her. She wasn't one that enjoyed being on front of things but behind the scenes until she was blasted and wow I felt the anxiety she felt. I so loved how everything came together and even though she still needed those moments, she still knew when she needed to be strong and wow did she do it and I was clapping when she gave that one, two punch especially with her ex. There was some funny moments and I really liked the relationship Everly had with her parents but I so totally agree with her when she told them that they needed to go to a specialist instead of putting her in the middle which is right. Then there was Chris, the boss, has a secret. Both characters become friends and then oh the fun begins. Though Everly's 30th birthday started with a bang, it sure went into a different direction with some fun moments.
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I really enjoyed this one. I also listened to the audio and found myself wanting to read it at all times. It was just so cute and good. I appreciated the anxiety representation and even though this one was a super slow burn, it kept me interested the whole time. Loved the ending.
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