Technically Faking by Robin HaleTechnically Faking by Robin Hale is a sweet fauxmance with a large side of rich girl/poor girl running in the background.

Iris Sparks is on top of her world. She knows what she wants and she does what it takes to get it. It’s made her the CEO of her own tech company, with the hottest new app available. But being the boss hasn’t made her many friends, and her Board of Directors is looking to put someone friendlier, easier to work with, in her position. She knows what that really means – easier to control. The Board vote will happen in three weeks, and she’s looking for a way to derail it. Her assistant has the perfect solution – make her more approachable.

Amber Kowalczyk is struggling to keep her head above the surface in her life. She’s used her smarts to create a social media empire in order to influence public opinion, and she has the metrics to show that her methods work. But a rent increase is in her near future, and she needs to figure out how to cover it. A chance encounter with Silicon Valley’s grumpiest CEO leads to a post of said CEO with one of Amber’s signature witticisms captioning it. After it goes viral, Amber is summoned to a secret meeting with the subject of her post, Iris Sparks.

Sparks and her assistant have come up with the perfect idea to rehabilitate Iris’s image, and they need Amber to make it work. All Amber needs to do is pretend to date Iris Sparks and make social media posts about their developing relationship. If the public connects Iris to her app, and falls in love with her based on Amber’s posts, there’s no way the Board can get rid of the face of the company, right? What could go wrong?

The Characters

Iris Sparks is a driven woman, with a single-minded focus: succeed in business on her own to prove her father wrong. She’s built her company on her own, finding and securing her own funding instead of borrowing from Daddy. She has a lot of quirks that could be considered close to OCD: an adherence to a strict schedule, an obsessive need to control her environment, and an intolerance for stupidity that has alienated quite a few people, including the Board of Directors. But she never thought they’d remove her as head of her own company. After all, she’s the one who developed their signature app. She IS SparkSignal. It’s interesting to see her experiencing all the emotions she previously eschewed, and her confusion and indecision about what to do about them is endearing and frustrating at the same time.

Amber Kowalczyk could be considered driven too. Her parents saved their meager money to put her brother through college since he was ‘the smart one,’ and more likely to succeed. Amber was ‘the pretty one,’ and should use her looks to find a successful man to marry. Fat chance! She’s used her own wits and savvy knowledge of social media to carve out her own measure of success. It isn’t making her much money now, but she’s on the verge of becoming the person to turn to for social media marketing campaigns. She’s spunky, fiesty, and doesn’t take crap from anybody. At the same time, there’s a hidden well of insecurity that sometimes sneaks up on her to take her legs out from under her when she least expects it.

The Writing Style

This book is a quick read, with a style of writing that keeps pages turning. The story moves quickly; they only have three weeks until the vote, after all, but it doesn’t feel rushed. More like being swept up and along with two fast-paced individuals. The story is written in first person, with the point of view switching between Iris and Amber in alternating chapters. Sometimes I have a problem with this type of pov switch, but in this case, I enjoyed the view into each character’s head, to see what they were thinking and feeling.

The Pros

I love the fake relationship trope, and this one does it without a lot of angst between the two characters. It was heartwarming and satisfying to be along for the ride as the fake embraces and awkward dates became easier and something more for both. And I’ve always liked the powerful successful woman who becomes a little befuddled on the personal level, and this book gave us that in spades. I also liked the ending, and the way it was a little unexpected as far as results go, but more realistic.

The Cons

There aren’t many cons to put here. If you don’t like the tropes I’ve outlined, you should pass on the book. Also, as I said in the previous section, the ending wasn’t quite what I expected, so some may take issue with that, although I didn’t.

The Conclusion

If fake romances are your thing, buy this book. If rich, powerful woman meets poor feisty woman is your thing, buy this book. This is an excellent addition to anyone’s library.

Excerpt from Technically Faking by Robin Hale

“The post you made – we think that’s likely to be a successful angle of attack for our current purposes,” Carrie said.

“For your current purposes.” I needed to stop repeating her. It wasn’t doing me any favors in that room. “What’s the goal of the campaign?”

Carrie’s lips parted but Spark’s voice was the one to answer. “Confidential, for now.”

I grimaced. Perfect. “I can’t design a campaign if I don’t know what I’m working toward. I wouldn’t know how to measure its effectiveness.”

“Your last post did the trick,” Spark said. “And you weren’t even trying.”

I looked helplessly between Carrie and Spark, twin looks of icy determination on their faces. I had the distinct sense that I was missing something extremely important.

“So you want me to… what? Make Ms. Spark the internet’s girlfriend? A… sex symbol?” If the entire contract was going to be like this, I’d decline it. I didn’t need a client who had mysterious expectations I wasn’t allowed to know. No matter how much money they were promising. And the ‘internet’s girlfriend’? That was a tall order. It required the sort of cross-segment coordination I had never tried to pull off. And it also tended to backfire in spectacular ways.

“No, Ms. Kowalczyk,” Carrie said, shaking her head and obviously trying to soothe me. “I want you to make Ms. Spark your girlfriend.”

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