Cover Image: The Spanish Love Deception

The Spanish Love Deception

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Member Reviews

The Spanish Love Deception was an emotional journey from start to finish - certain parts had my laughing, others getting ready-eyed, and even others swooning a little. Lina and Aaron were amazing together and complemented each other so well, and their slow-build chemistry was perfection.  It was enemies to lovers “lite”, which I actually prefer because actual hate to love is always tougher for me to believe. If you love a great slow-build romance, definitely pick this one up! 
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, Atria Books, for the advanced copy of this book. I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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I LOVE a long-winded romance because it can give you the slowest burn and the deepest feels. I have never been weak-in-the-knees about coffee shop banter before but OK. I have been ENTRAPPED. This romance serves up fake dating, workplace enemies-to-lovers, only one bed, sunshine & grump, and a cinnamon roll that's pretending he's not. There's even a charity bachelor auction to get your heart racing.

I'll admit for the first hundred pages I wasn't convinced. The back-and-forth about Catalina needing a date for her sister's wedding didn't draw me in right away. I retroactively understood the urgency once we reached Spain and saw the situation, learned her history. BUT all it took to completely rattle me and make me a believer was one fake date. The tension was sublime, and it unfurled through the rest of the story to great effect. Aka I was freaking out and very invested.

So there was some rough-around-the-edges pacing, but it didn't ultimately detract from my enjoyment. I will be delighted to pick up more books from this author and see what else she has to throw at me.
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The first 80% of this book is a super slow burn romance. It was cute, funny and addicting. The last 20% was super spicy. I skipped pages and it was still going. But! With that said I still enjoyed it. It’s just not a book for the faint of heart, and not for young teens.
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I think this book is overhyped per TikTok.  It’s not the worst, just not nearly as spicy, well written, or unique of a plot or characters as it is being promoted,  If you liked How to Fail at Flirting and wanted something with less drama and spice, this might be an ok rec
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i really enjoyed getting to read this book early. it was so much fun and such a sweet little romance. it made me feel good and that's something i really enjoy in my books. a lovely escape!
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This book was so sweet! An excellent new edition to the enemies to lovers canon. The characters are well-drawn and very fun to fall in love with! The pacing was perfect, the plot was a delight, and I wish I could go back and read it for the first time again.
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Not gonna lie, I definitely wasn't sure about the hype at first but I am SOLD. Perfect tension throughout, a man so obviously in love it hurts, and a relationship arc that makes me want to die in all the best ways. PHENOMENAL!
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2 stars

I wanted to like this but the writing style was overly descriptive for my taste. The book could be about a third shorter - maybe even half as long. The blue of Aaron's eyes was literally mentioned at least 100 times (yes, I searched the file) Some of the phrases made zero sense. For example, a smile was described as "wide and furtive". The Merriam Webster online dictionary defines furtive as "done in a quiet and secretive way to avoid being noticed ". How on earth can a wide smile be furtive? The two terms contradict each other and make no sense. This was just one of the many confusing and conflicting phrases I highlighted. 

I did like how the author addressed sexism in the workplace and the double standard that is imposed on women in the workplace, especially in STEM fields.

I always appreciate the opportunity to read an advance copy, even if the book isn't my "cup of tea". Thank you NetGalley and Atria Books for the chance to read this digital ARC in return for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book! Definitely had Hating Game/workplace enemies-to-lovers vibes. There were definite points that lagged during some of the dialogue (especially in the beginning) but overall- characters had a lot of chemistry, definitely a spicy romance novel many are sure to enjoy.
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The Spanish Love Deception was a cute, fun debut.. I struggled to engage in the beginning .Things we’re a little slow going and the chapters were longer than I would normally prefer.. However once things picked up, I found the story funny and entertaining. I enjoyed the tension and chemistry between Lina and Aaron and loved the setting. While this wasn’t my favorite read, I enjoyed the writing and look forward to reading more work by Armas.

3,5-4/5 ⭐️ 
What I enjoyed; 
🇪🇸 Enemies-to-lovers
🇪🇸 Fake dating 
🇪🇸 Slow-burn romance
🇪🇸 🔥🔥 

Thank you NetGalley, and the author for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.
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I can't say enough great things about this book. I typically don't read books in the romance genre, but this novel was impossible to put down. It's witty, fun, and engaging. The story does start off really slowly and doesn't really pick up until Lina's first (unofficial) date with Aaron. However, the tension between the two main characters is off the charts! One of the most PERFECT slow-burn romances I've ever had the pleasure to read about. So cinematic and I instantly loved the concept of Lina and Aaron ending up together. Even though they are so different, somehow they work. While most of the plot points are hardly realistic, this book is a much-needed escape from the real world. I couldn't help but root for Lina and understand some of her hesitations when it came to dating. If BookTok recommends this book to you - do yourself a favor and read it now!
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Whoa! Why do I think my favorite genre is mystery/thrillers instead of cozy romances? This book will be one of my favorites of the year — and it was so deserving of the 2021 Goodreads Choice Debut Novel of the Year and a very worthy close runner-up in the romance category. After a bunch of downer thrillers, I realized I needed lighter fare and a different genre. My book club is usually good for expanding my genre choices, but even though the majority of the members have 6 or more children (I’m in Utah) they shy away from romance novels (we’re back to uplifting refugee stories…). 

You can’t help but root for Catalina and Aaron. Lina desperately needs a date for a family wedding back in Spain and co-worker Aaron offers to be that person — but after two years of a tense working relationship, Lina cannot fathom why he even made the offer. And their fragile work situation is changing further: he’s been promoted to be her boss soon. The story is from Lina’s stubborn POV, but there are always hints that there’s a depth to a different Aaron — and it was a wonderful, swooning journey to find out. As soon as this book is released in paperback in February, I’ll be buying copies for girlfriends (and, oooooh, maybe making it my book club choice when it’s my turn to host). 

5 stars! Looking forward to Elena Armas’ next book! Thanks to Atria Books for my now beloved copy.

Literary Pet Peeve Checklist:
Green Eyes (only 2% of the real world, yet it seems like 90% of all fictional females): YES Best friend Rosie has the wide green eyes that get wider as Lina spills the beans about Aaron to her.
Horticultural Faux Pas (plants out of season or growing zones, like daffodils in autumn or bougainvillea in Alaska): NO I was expecting some landscape lushness in Spain (I know the wedding in a greener part of Spain), but nothing was out of place.
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This book was such a blast. I loved every character (except Gerald 🙄) & thought the plot moved at a nice pace. My only critique would be to have a more gradual shift in Aaron with how he acts towards Lina. It seemed like from the minute they landed in Spain he was 100% ready to be honest with her and I would have liked to see more of a journey from “playing by the rules of the deal” to small moments to “Lina how could you be so blind!!”
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One of my favorite books of 2021.
This debut novel by Elena Armas was the perfect romantic comedy. 
Catalina, desperately needs a date for her sisters wedding in Spain. With no one to ask or take, her work nemesis offers to go as her date. Who would have though that who Catalina thought was the most robotic and heartless human, would turn out to show the most pure and devoted love for her at the end?!
Sweet, loving and definitely steamy, the Spanish love deception delivers a great story that will make you swoon and laugh out loud at the same time.
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I'll start off my review by saying that I know that this is a really discussed book, especially in the BookTok and Bookstagram communities, and enemies-to-lovers/workplace romance/fake dating seem to be tropes that are really popular in the contemporary romance genre at the moment. For me, I just really didn't enjoy reading this book. I found Lina incredibly naive and irritating (on nearly every page where Aaron was involved, she described his physical appearance! Every time. The words "tall" or "big" or "blue eyes" were repeated SO OFTEN it gave me a headache from rolling my eyes) and Aaron a little creepy. The premise of Lina needing to take a fake date/boyfriend to her sister's wedding, and Aaron being incredibly pushy about being the only guy who she could take? WHAT? Of course, he's head over heels for her, so that *totally* makes it okay. NO! This is not a healthy relationship! I think it's really difficult to get enemies-to-lovers to feel natural. You'd likely run away or try to not interact with someone you hate. I don't think you'd ever get to the point of fake dating them.

Thank you to Atria Books for providing me a digital ARC via NetGalley. I was super excited with all the hype around this book, and even though it ultimately wasn't for me, I know there are readers who will (and do!) love this story.
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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.

The Spanish Love Deception was a total bookstagram made me do it & I have so many thoughts.

Workplace enemies to lovers, grumpy & the sunshine, fake dating, there’s only one bed, this big romance is a trope feast.

Leads Lina Martín & Aaron Blackford do not get along, not since Aaron rebuffed Lina’s initial friendly overture & denounced her to their boss.

But thanks to a series of events—chief among them Lina’s desire to prove to family & friends & her old community that she has moved on from her last (& sole) devastating relationship—Lina agrees to Aaron’s offer to assist her in her fake dating ruse. Thus, they board a plane to Spain together to attend her sister’s wedding.

Filled with vibrant characters, featuring two well-meaning leads who simmer & simmer, & with narration that’s comfortable & warm (like a hug 🤗), The Spanish Love Deception reminds me in some ways of Mariana Zapata’s books.

The tension between leads is built up nicely, though the reasons behind Aaron’s behavior—basically his overall arc throughout the book—aren’t 100% believable to me. But still,  I enjoy him & his grunting, his starchy ways, & his romantic speeches very much. Maybe my fave thing about him is just how he reveals the things he’s picked up about Lina while they’ve been supposedly hating each other.

If you want a juicy, bright travel romance you might like this one. It feels a little too long for me—& I wanted to force the characters to admit they wanted to be together/would be together sooner 😆—but I can see why it’s been a booksta fave.

4 ⭐️. Out now.


CWs: Lina was vilified & slut shamed for a relationship she had with a former professor; she faces workplace misogyny & harassment; she diets so much that she collapses at work.


[ID: an ebook is on top of some pastel yellow, blue, purple, & pink pieces of crepe paper, all resting on open hardbacks.]
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It took me a while to get into this book as Lina was an extremely frustrating main character for the first 50% of the book. Aaron saved the day by being a star male protagonist and by 80% in I was hooked.
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I really enjoyed this book. The chemistry between Aaron and Catalina was toe curling and delicious. I loved meeting her family, and getting to know Aaron better. Could he be any more perfect? 
The steamy scenes between them were hot. 
I guess the one thing that sort of niggled at me, were the contractions in the dialogue. Thought there could've been a few more to help it flow better. But that was probably my only issue. 
I received an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I enjoyed this book! I really liked Aaron and how incredibly sweet he was, and I loved getting to know Lina's family and culture! I loved the Spanish phrases interspersed throughout the book as well.
A few things I struggled with were that Lina was so oblivious. She also got a bit annoying constantly worrying about Aaron being her boss. She just needed to talk to him. It also felt about 100-150 pages too long. 
All in all, I think that this book showed great promise for what will come from Elena Armas!
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Synopsis: Catalina has four weeks to find a fake boyfriend to bring to Spain to her sisters wedding. What she didn’t expect was for her work nemesis, Aaron, to volunteer to be her plus one. Being desperate, she agrees to Aaron’s proposal and he accompanies her for the weekend. As Catalina and Aaron open up to each other, the line of pretending to be love and falling in love starts to blur…

Thoughts: This has been on my TBR list since for a while. After it won the Goodreads 2021 award for best debut novel, I had to move it up on my list. Overall, I had a really positive reading experience. The main characters dynamic and chemistry felt so real, the build up was strong, I loved the destination setting and the last 50% was a nonstop page-turner. 

One star off because I felt like the beginning was kind of slow; the long chapters and monologues made me want to skim past the initial pages. I also found the enemies stance to be a little exaggerated for no real or mature reason. 

Read this if you like the following tropes:
☄️Office romance
☄️Enemies to lovers 
☄️One bed
☄️Fake dating
☄️Slow burn
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