Cover Image: The Love Con

The Love Con

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

4.5 stars -- The vibes on this one are so  ✨wholesome✨which is just what I've needed recently. That is not to say that this is a "closed door" type book, but just that this is a book filled with well meaning people who you understand why they are doing what they are doing and the majority of them are incredibly well meaning. So the resulting tension isn't from "oh is this person is being a jerk;" it is more that they are collaboratively working together to transition from a platonic friendship relationship to a romantic one. There were a few moments of stiffness in the writing that kept it from being a full 5 stars, but other than that- this just made me smile. Recommended for fans of SPOILER ALERT last year!

CW: racial microagressions; fatphobia
Was this review helpful?
This book has a promising premise but unfortunately it wasn't executed super well. I liked the cosplay elements and thought the author did a great job portraying Kenya dealing with microaggressions because of her race and size but I thought the relationship she had with Cam went from friends fake dating to real lovers with hardly any of that delicious tension you'd expect to see in that situation and the stakes of her deal with her parents didn't feel realistic. Why is she bound to do what they want if she loses the show if she's a grown woman living and paying rent on her own? I also wished we spent more time on the reality show rather than just having them film at home for so long (what was the audience even watching for these weeks between live episodes?) - it could have been fun to be more in the spirit of the competition between Kenya and the other finalist.
Was this review helpful?
I was super excited about this book, but unfortunately couldn't finish it. I felt like the very obvious 'they both like each other, but won't communicate' trope ruined my interest fairly early and I couldn't compel myself to keep going.
Was this review helpful?
Actual rating: 4.5 stars. I loved this book! I loved the two main characters, Kenya and Cam. I loved how strong Kenya was as a person, but still had breaking points. Cam was just a sweet 'lil cinnamon roll. My only complaint was the spicy scene(s). There was really only one love scene, but there was a lot of insinuated sexy time. After so much build up to the initial love scene, when it finally happened it felt rushed and not nearly long enough for my liking. After that, there wasn't really any others. Maybe I've just been reading too much smut (yes, yes I have), but this had so much sexy potential!
Was this review helpful?
The Love Con is my first book by this author, but after reading it I look forward to more from her!

The characters in this book were both fun and full of heart (my favorite kind of character) and I adored their friendship and the way they work to support each other through thick and thin. My only major frustration with this book was Kenya’s family. It felt a little like whiplash. I wasn’t prepared for the way they treated her and their lack of support for her goals or how they tried to direct her life.

This was a fun contemporary interpretation of the “fake relationship” trope!
Was this review helpful?
I didn't feel a connection between the characters, no chemistry. It was just an ok read. Others might feel differently and really connect with the characters. I did not.
Was this review helpful?
You didn't know you needed this book, but now you do! This book hits a sweet spot with geek culture, romance, reality TV and gives a Black woman the chance to shine in all of those genres. Our hero and heroine are a sweet couple who already loved each other, even before they had to pretend to be a couple. Honestly? The hero is almost too good to be true, but sometimes we want to read about a completely Good Man. So while there are some issues with parental approval and following your dreams, it is a very sweet love story and a story about being brave about who you are and what you want out of your own life.
Was this review helpful?
Loved the characters, their chemistry and the cosplay competition as a setting/conflict here. What a unique a pleasant read.
Was this review helpful?
What a fun contemporary interpretation of the “fake relationship” trope!  The existing friendship and attraction offered a fun short-cut for the trope to play out and the backdrop of the cosplay competition was a great foil for the plot progression.  I really enjoyed how the author handled expressing what it is like to exist in a “socially unacceptable” body and all the microaggressions that come with it.  While I am not in a position to comment on how the book represented this in terms of race, as a fat woman who is also partnered with someone conventionally attractive and successful, Glass 100% nailed the utter meltdown this seems to create in thin, conventionally pretty people.  Add in the fandom references and this was a funny, engaging, intelligent, emotionally compelling, and sometimes steamy, read.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVED THIS BOOK A LOT!!! LIKE, SO MUCH!! Honestly, anyone who's ever been into fandom or cosplay should buy it and read it and then buy another copy in case the first falls apart. I cannot wait for the fandom/romance community to welcome this amazing baby-they are going to FREAK in the best possible way! It has all my fave tropes (friends-to-lovers, fake-dating, mutual pining, opposites attract), it's deliciously steamy, it made me crave gummy worms, and it made me fall in love with KenCam. A truly hilarious romcom that also deals with how women, BIPOC, and most of all women of color can be mistreated and marginalized in fannish environments. Basically: a perfect read, 900 stars out of 5, would recommend to anyone, Kenya is my best friend now.
Was this review helpful?
I received an E-arc in exchange for an honest review. 

The Love Con follows Kenya as she competes for 100k in a cosplay competition. During the final challenge it is revealed that she needs to create an iconic pair costume with a partner.  Her best friend Cam is just the person for the job. In order to win over the fans, Cam and Kenya agree to fake date….but is it really fake?

Let me tell you, I was so excited to get this book. A black female lead? Yes please
A plus size black female lead? Even better
A plus size black female cosplaying lead? Yessssss
A plus size black female cosplaying lead in a reality tv setting? Eifuuroeoskdjrejsjdjudj (translation really freaking excited)

A plus size black female cosplaying lead in a reality tv setting with some fake dating? Dead…I’m simply dead.

While I anticipated this being a 5 star read for me, it ended up being a 3/3.5.  

Let’s start with what I liked. In addition to all the things mentioned above that drew me in, I loved that this book delved into what it’s like being 1. A black/plus sized cosplayer and how they are often criticized when they cosplay characters of different races and/or sizes.  2. Being a black woman on a reality tv show setting and how often times people try to push the narrative that they only make it on for the sole purpose on checking a diversity box and not based on their talent and own merits.  As well as how  these reality/competition shows can stereotype their female poc contestants as the angry black female. 3. Being a plus size black woman dating a conventionally attractive white man and how man people can’t wrap their heads around it. 

Where this book lost me is how the fake dating was handled. It is important for me to make clear, it was not done poorly, it’s just a preference. When I read fake dating, I love the tension that comes with friends who didn’t realize their feelings for each other, slowly begin to realize them as time passes by however, in this book it’s made clear from chapter two that they both already had feelings for each other. So I lost that tension that I love so much with fake dating. 

Additionally, I was hoping to see more of the competition.  While we see a lot of the filming of Cam and Kenya, we don’t necessarily get that competitive spirit of seeing other competitors. I get why the author did it this way, it was just something I was looking forward to seeing more of.  

Also, there were some things in this book that didn’t seem realistic to me. Cam and Kenya’s story was that they started dating just before she left for the competition and yet they felt the need to prove they were a real couple by sharing a room. You’d think it’d be perfect acceptable for two people who just started dating to have their own space. It seemed like it was just used as a way for them to share a bed.  The other thing that was off putting was the sexual innuendos. Don’t get me wrong. I love sexual innuendos but what got me here is that they seemed to do them for the sake of the filming and tv show. But this reality tv show is probably a family reality tv show so it didn’t seem realistic that the crew would even air that or let it fly? I’d preferred that the sexual innuendos happened in the downtime’s when they weren’t filming. That would seem more believable. I could be overthinking all of this though.

 Lastly, I felt like some of the narrative was too repetitive and the same line would be used again and again to express Kenya stress/feelings/worries, so that could have done with some mixing up.  

Overall, I would definitely still recommend this book. It had a lot of important conversations and all though certain things didn’t work for me, I know this book will probably work for a lot of other people.
Was this review helpful?
There have been so many fandom-centric romance novels coming out recently, and this is another charmer for sure! If you're into cosplay or even geek fandom, this is a book you're going to want to pick up. It's fun, sweet, sexy, and FUNNY, and pulled off the childhood friends-to-lovers dynamic in a way that felt true to the characters' relationship and their very intense history together. Plus, as someone who's lived in Atlanta for the last several years, I'm always excited to see more books set here too. Fake dating + sharing a bed + reality competition environment (which I very much enjoyed)! My one quibble was that the parents had so much concern about Kenya and Cameron and then came around over the course of a single conversation, but it was a minor issue that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of the novel.

content notes: racist microaggressions against heroine

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
KK graduated from college with a degree in engineering, and her parents do not like the fact that she is not working to showcase that degree. But KK loves what she does -- designing cosplay costumes. In fact, she is so into cosplaying that she helped her best, best friend, Cameron, open up his own business doing just that. So, when she receives the opportunity to show off her skills in a cosplay battle to win $100,000 as a cosplay designer, she jumps at the chance. However, when put on the spot to choose her partner in the battle -- she knows Cameron is the person! Then she insinuates (on LIVE TV) that she and Cameron are romantic partners -- uh oh -- was that a Freudian slip?! Cute romance with a bunch of conflict!
Was this review helpful?
THE LOVE CON is the first book I’ve read by Seressia Glass and it definitely isn’t the last!

Synopsis: Kenya’s a plus-size, Black woman on a reality competition, Cosplay or No Way. The final challenge is to create an iconic duo with the help of a partner. In a moment of onscreen panic, Kenya names her BFF and Thor lookalike, Cam, as her partner. Luckily, Cam is entirely onboard with playing her fake BF because he’s hoping to convince her to be his actual girlfriend once the competition is over. But can they keep up the cosplay of a couple to their friends, coworkers, and Kenya’s parents?And what happens when the cameras are off?

This contemporary romance was SO good! I loved Kenya and Cam as a couple so hard!

Kenya was so relatable and authentic. As a white woman, I can’t speak about the constant microaggressions that Kenya experiences but I certainly found them believable. As a plus size woman, I can definitely identify with her experience. 

Cam was the perfect cinnamon roll - ready to defend Kenya but also understanding that she needed to be able to fight her own battles. The heat between them was steamy but believable and I loved all of the cuddling and caring they showed each other.

The cosplay parts were fascinating. I even wanted a little bit more about the fabrication process and I hope someone picks up on the idea of a cosplay competition because I need to see it!

I loved the alternating POV between Kenya and Cam. Yay for the supporting and supportive characters.

My one quibble was Kenya’s parents who seemed so harsh but then turned around so quickly that it didn’t feel authentic. But everything else - chef’s kiss! Fast-paced, quick read, steamy, diverse romance - loved it!
Was this review helpful?
I really enjoyed this book, the characters were nuanced and even though the plot went about how I thought it would, it was a fun read and explored the different relationship dynamics of each of the characters. I liked how it was written from both Kenya and Cam’s perspectives !
Was this review helpful?
Kenya Davenport has been looking for an opportunity to show the world - and her skeptical parents - that she's serious about creating cosplays. And now she's made it to the finals of a cosplay reality show and victory is in sight. All she has to do is create two more costumes: one for herself and one for her non-existent boyfriend. In response to a snarky comment from one of the show's judges, she claims her best friend, Cam, is her boyfriend. Now she just needs to convince him to play along so she can win the competition.

Cameron Lassiter has always had Kenya's back - he was even the one who told her to enter the competition - but hiding that he's already in love with her while pretending to be her boyfriend may be more than he can handle. All he needs is the chance to convince her that what they're faking can be real. But the cameras are rolling as Kenya comes home to Atlanta for the final stage of her project and too many things are getting in the way.

Seressia Glass's novel, The Love Con, is lovingly dedicated "To my fellow blerds: This one's for us". This book is multifaceted: romance, comedy, and cosplay primer. While the main focus is Kenya's work on the competition and her fake relationship with Cam, we also get some tense situations with her parents, who believe she should give up cosplay and use her engineering degree. The drama also ratchets up when Cam's ex-girlfriend gets involved. 

Glass's writing is clever and engaging. The long shared history of the main characters (friends since high school) also adds a lot of depth and intrigue to the relationship they're faking and the realizations they have about each other. I also appreciated Glass's inclusion of microaggressions, though I wished Kenya had more often been in a position to do something about them. All in all, I look forward to more from this author. By the last several chapters, it was hard to put the book down.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to Berkley Publishing Group and NetGalley for providing me with a free ARC in exchange for an unbiased review.

4.5/5 stars
Ohhh, I really enjoyed this one. I love quirky reality crafting shows like Making It, Full Bloom, and Blown Away so it was fun to read about a character participating in a show like that who does cosplay. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes drama as well as what’s going on in a participant’s head while they are competing. 
The characters in this book were both fun and full of heart (my favorite kind of character) and I adored their friendship and the way they work to support each other through thick and thin. My only major frustration with this book was Kenya’s family. It felt a little like whiplash. I wasn’t prepared for the way they treated her and their lack of support for her goals or how they tried to direct her life. Seressia Glass was a new author to me and I look forward to checking out other books by her.
Was this review helpful?
This was a great read from start to finish.... I didn't want it to end!  Kenya and Cam are a match made in heaven; it  just takes a while  for them to realize it!
Was this review helpful?
The cover immediately caught my interest. The characters made me root for them from the very beginning. And the story, the story was simply epic! I loved this book!
Was this review helpful?
The Love Con
	Seressia Glass
	Kenya and Cam
Kenya is a black woman in a cosplay reality TV show tournament. She has made it to the final round where they expect her and the other finalist to return home and create a duo costume with their significant other. But she doesn’t have a significant other. When they put her on the spot on national television she names her best friend Cam. But she is secretly in love with Cam. Cam is a white guy who has been her best friend since cosplaying in high school. He is now secretly in love with Kenya and jumps at the chance to be her pretend boyfriend, hoping that it might ease her into wanting him to be her real boyfriend at the end. Kenya is under so much stress: she is getting racist hate mail as well as pressure from other fat chicks and black women who expect her to represent all black women and fat chicks. As they work on the costumes and live together as fake partners it becomes harder and harder to keep their secret from one another but they feel they must. 
There are so many layers to this friends to lovers story. Kenya has to deal with many micro aggressions, her parents disapproval of her decision to follow her creativity rather than entering a STEM field, and a judge who has it out for her among other things. These are some determined protagonists and the reader will root for them at every new obstacle. Their love for one another is so beautifully portrayed. 
I would recommend this book to my patrons
Was this review helpful?