Cover Image: The Spanish Love Deception

The Spanish Love Deception

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!!”
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.]
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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.
Was this review helpful?
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!
Was this review helpful?
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
Was this review helpful?
Elena Armas’ debut romance The Spanish Love Deception, has been getting a lot of attention. I’ve seen the cover on social media a lot and it recently won the Goodreads Choice Award for Best Debut. I hate not liking a book, but I did not like it and now I have to write a bad review.

Before I requested it on NetGalley, I had seen a few reviews calling it a Hating Game knock off. I read a lot of genre books. I don’t have a problem with derivative, or “knock off”. Some of my favorite books are variations on a theme, or derivative, or knock offs, depending on your perspective. That’s what genre does. So, I don’t have a problem with The Spanish Love Deception being a knock off of The Hating Game. The combination of workplace romance, enemies to lovers, and fake dating is not uncommon and can be quite fun. I have a problem with the way it’s a knock off of The Hating Game.

What Armas misses in her variation on The Hating Game theme, is that Lucy and Josh are equals in all things. They are equally invested in the games they play, they are equally competent at their jobs, and they are equally dorky. They rescue each other.

Lina and Aaron are not both willing participants in their rivalry. Aramas tells us that Lina and Aaron are equals, but that isn’t what we see on page. Worse, she tells us Lina is bright and competent, but shows her as a mess:

1.  Aaron offended Lina during his first days at the company where they both work and got on her blacklist. Fine, except when she gives other examples of people on her blacklist, she uses celebrities. I like a good celebrity grudge, but the hate we have for celebrities just isn’t on the same level as someone who harmed us personally. As soon as Lina started talking about Zayne Malik, I stopped taking her grudge seriously. She’s just being a jerk to Aaron. Other than one mild dig, we only ever see Aaron try to be helpful, making Lina’s behavior look petty and small.

2.  We hear about Lina being competent, but on page she endlessly embarrasses her self. Aaron is constantly coming to her rescue. I won’t innumerate all the ways, but the first third of the book was one cringe after another. I don’t love cringe, and I really don’t love a character who is supposed to be a competent professional woman be shown as a series of missteps, pratfalls and bad decisions. Not only does Aaron appear to be more generous and gracious, in comparison, he is a more competent human being.

There was one plot line that made it hard for me to appreciate the perfection of Aaron. SPOILERS: During a meeting of department heads, Lina is assigned to do a task outside of her expertise and it’s heavily implied that she’s given the task because she is the only woman in the group. When she pushes back on the assignment, none of her colleagues, including Aaron, support her. One colleague, Gerald, is clearly rude and condescending to Lina, doubling down on the implied sexism. (Gerald is the also the only character in the book consistently described as fat. Make of that what you will.) Aaron leaves without challenging Gerald’s behavior which Gerald, unsurprisingly, takes as approval. Later, Aaron shows up to help Lina do the work but first, he tells her that he didn’t think she was the kind of person who wanted other to people to fight her battles for her and that he didn’t think she was a whiner. What? WHAT? I don’t know what Armas is doing here, but there is a lot of space between silence and threatening to fire someone where Aaron could have supported his colleague. Instead, it becomes another instance of Lina being incompetent and Aaron riding to the rescue.  There is a later incident where Aaron does attempt to fight Lina’s battles for her and his anger that she won’t join him falls rather flat when just a few weeks earlier he had accepted Gerald’s misogyny in silence.  End spoilers.

What Armas does well is the emotions and the romantic words. If you want the emotional sugar high, The Spanish Love Deception delivers. But it left me with a headache and a queasy feeling in my stomach.

Content Warnings: crash dieting, the only character consistently described as fat is also the worst antagonist, workplace misogyny, off page parental death, on page parent with terminal cancer.

Thank you to NetGalley and Atria books for the advance reader copy. My opinions are my own.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve been hearing about this book for weeks. A lot of people are fawning over it. I read the synopsis and thought it would be a fun and enjoyable romance………..I was SO WRONG. Did I get the same book people are raving about? Because this novel actually upset me. 

Catalina works at a New York City tech company that provides engineering consultations to other companies. Is she an engineer? A project manager? At five chapters in I don’t even know ( which is a problem) but she seems to have a high level position, She begins her day by ignoring a colleague, and using another colleague as a go-between, even though the colleague she’s ignoring is standing right there. Folks, that’s what my middle school students do because they’re children. Working professionals treating each other like that in the office? Absolutely unacceptable, and it only gets worse from there. 

She attends a meeting where she is given a task that is completely beyond her professional scope, and when she brings this up, her coworkers treat her with derision, sexism, and possibly even racism. She thinks it but doesn’t call them out on it like she should. This is a woman who is apparently in her thirties, and doesn’t hesitate to tell her coworker that she doesn’t need or like him, and that he needs to leave her alone. Now why wouldn’t she bring this toxic (and illegal! Hello lawsuit!) environment up with her direct supervisor and demand that it be taken care of? This is why human resource departments exist. Companies don’t want to get sued over this crap. If her boss won’t fix the situation, she needs to document things, quit, and perhaps seek legal advice. Engineers (I think that’s what she is?) are in high demand, and again, workplace harassment is illegal. Speaking of which…….

Aaron, her “love” interest, is a creep! The man will not take no for an answer. Their conversations basically go like this: 

Her:  Leave me alone.
Him:  You need me.
Her:  Seriously, go away.
Him: But you need me. You have no one else.
Her: Go away!
Him: Nope. Still here. Because you need me. 
Her:  Aaaahhhhhh!!

Is this supposed to be witty, flirty banter? He has absolutely no respect for her boundaries. He doesn’t offer his help, he forces it on her. Except for when she actually needs it. Then he tells her to fight her own battles and stop whining. 

How are people loving this? To each their own and all that, but dysfunctional relationships are not romantic!
Was this review helpful?
I sped through this. It was a wonderful debut romance novel by a bookstagrammer I've been following for awhile now. Love-to-hate and fake dating tropes are a few of my favorites and this story did both well.

I can't wait to see what else the author writes!
Was this review helpful?
Oh my goodness this book is worth ALL of the hype and MORE! You've got the enemies to lovers and fake dating tropes in the same book together and I wasn't sure how that would play out but it was just what this book needed. 

Catalina and Aaron are both soooo stubborn. And they are complete opposites, personality wise, but reading how Catalina breaks through Aaron's shell and he begins to reveal different pieces of himself to her is pure perfection. And HIS RESPONSE to the questions that he's asked in Spain, oh my goodness my HEART. 

This is definitely a slow burn, so be aware of that, but stick it out and I promise it will be worth it! This book is a bit on the longer side but I wouldn't remove a single page of it. Kudos to Elena Armas for producing such a marvelous book! :)
Was this review helpful?
An enemies to lovers romance, filled with heated stares and magical chemistry between two opposite individuals who bring the best in each other for the better, and the worse... 

Right off the bat I just knew I was going to fall in love when diving into this magnificent novel. The cover, the synopsis, it being written but a humble and beautiful human being, it was a no brainer that my love would be immense for these characters. AND I WAS NOT WRONG! Aaron and Catalina, one of my favorite characters this year, have out done themselves with how much passion they have for each other. Whether it's the passion of their arguments, heated stares... my gosh those heated stares— heated stares from Aaron that make your panties (or boxers, to each it's own) melt in the best of ways— and that emotional connection that makes them compatible in all aspects. 

After months of working next to each other, but having mental doubts about each other Aaron makes the move when Lina aka Catalina needs a date to take to her sister's wedding. A wedding where her ex boyfriend will be because he is related to Lina's soon to be brother in law. Trying to find a date for her sister's wedding is not because of Daniel, her ex. But because she does not wish to go alone. Something in which Elena captured so perfectly for young women in our generation. Then comes Aaron, sweeping his cape and honoring Lina. When she least expects it, and also out of desperation— she agrees to Aaron's deal and makes the best out of it.

Once their walls come down, they both reveal a side to themselves that is unexpected to them but also the reader. Lina has doubts though, because the small physical and emotional touches coming from Aaron makes her question whether it's real, or just a facade to make their fake relationship look real in front of her Spaniard family. But Aaron is determined to make her trust him and believe him, instead of her dispose him. And after a three day vacation for her sister's wedding in Spain, and multiple dances and some glasses of wine, their physical attraction emerges in that small room with the small bed they have to share. and Aaron does not disappoint.

Obstacles come in the way as well, there is no doubt about that. After Lina's previous relationship, she knows that dealing with Aaron and have a strong relationship with him is something that is uncertain because of the impromptu change as per his new job title at their mutual job. But once again, Aaron does not give up and stays strong to be with Lina. He wants nothing more than to just be with her, absorb her aura and happiness that comes from being simply in her presence. And Lina must learn to let him in, to let him show her how much he truly cares about her.

Overall, this magnificent and beautifully written novel is truly one of a kind that will make the butterflies in your stomach flutter. Every stare, every touch, every kiss— is what makes Aaron Blackford one of a kind. And my sweet eyes are patiently waiting for the next novel... in which I got an inside scoop will be someone in this world! I am so proud of Elena Armas and what has accomplished. And I cannot wait to be part of her author career and have her as a true friend.
Was this review helpful?
This book has been all over social media, and for very good reason. It hits all the right notes... enemies to lovers, fake dating, broody love interest and angsty pining, strong woman holding her own in a male-dominated career field, and steam/dirty talk... oh my!

Catalina is single, happily. Until she needs a date for her sister's wedding back home in Spain. Then she needs to find a date, stat. When her coworker Aaron, who she strongly dislikes but is very attracted to, volunteers, she reluctantly agrees to a deal. He needs her to act as his date for a charity benefit, and he'll come home to Spain to be her fake boyfriend. But as they spend time together, Lina begins to see through Aaron's tough exterior to the gentle man below. Before she knows it, she's falling for him... but can she really let go and stop holding herself back long enough to really give them a shot at happily ever after?

If you loved The Hating Game, Shipped, or the Unhoneymooners... this one is for you!
Was this review helpful?
The Spanish Love Deception

Rating 4.5⭐️
Genre Romance

This book has been a bookstagram/TikTok sensation. After seeing it everywhere, I picked it up. I really enjoyed this one. My only complaint is I think it could have been condensed. It’s almost 500 pages! If you enjoy steamy romances and longer books don’t intimidate you, I would recommend this one!!

Review posted on Instagram and Goodreads

https://www.instagram.com/p/CXJtrs6PWCZ/
Was this review helpful?