Title: More Than Friends
Author: Jody Holford
Series: Kendrick Place #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: Short novel
Available: 5th Dec
Owen Burnett planned on a quiet, easygoing Christmas, hanging out with his best friend and neighbor, Gabby Michaelson. So when his mom pressures him to come home for the holidays, he tells a little white lie…that he’s spending the holidays with his new girlfriend. But when his family shows up unexpectedly, Owen pulls the best friend card and asks Gabby to play his fake girlfriend.
Gabby’s been hopelessly in love with her best friend Owen for what feels like forever, but playing his “fake” girlfriend when the entire boisterous Burnett clan visits is easier said than done. The more she tries to deny the attraction between them, the more obvious their chemistry becomes. But even though she’s not the only one feeling it, putting their friendship on the line is a risk she can’t take.
Source: ARC from Entangled: Bliss via NetGalley
I love a good friends-to-lovers romance, and this one is definitely in the good category. Owen and Gabby have been friends and neighbours for a couple of years, they know each other better than anyone else, but while Owen sees Gabby as his best friend, Gabby secretly wishes for a little bit more. Then comes the inconvenient lie, which naturally leads to unexpected chemistry and the rest is fairly guessable.
But that’s most of the fun with this sort of romance. It’s not a will-they-won’t-they read, but a when-will-they-give-in that often leaves you wondering how certain characters could be so blind. Namely, Owen. He’s a smart guy when he’s working, but he’s pretty clueless elsewhere and rather prone to taking good things for granted – be that the love of his boisterous family or the loyalty of his best friend.
Despite this, he’s still a likeable character, as is Gabby. They might be complete opposites, but their relationship works well. Especially as Gabby’s cheerful nature balances out Owen’s gruffness. It was also lovely to see how Owen’s lively family drew Gabby right in and gave her the kind of Christmas she’d been missing.
However, as cute and enjoyable as all this was, there’s also a strange subplot about the building they live in, the slacker caretaker and a mysterious other resident. I know this is a new series, so some other characters needed to be introduced, but the mystery aspect was a bit distracting and didn’t really lead anywhere – except away from the romance.
On the whole, though, this was fun, with a lovely shot of Christmas magic and an enjoyable romance. True, some of the reactions towards the end were a little more predictable than I might have liked, but overall I liked this. If you like friends-to-lovers tales then it’s likely you will too. I look forward to seeing where this series heads next.
More Than Friends is out December 5th.
Visit Jody Holford for more details.