Not Quite Dating by Catherine Bybee was a fun, fast read. Not gonna lie to my readers: I chose it solely for the Q factor. Needed one to fill the spot in the alphabet bloggery, and I wanted a book available on Kindle Unlimited. I wasn’t thrilled with the tame cover, which makes the novel appear to be about some prairie girl looking for Mr. Right in a country church, but when you desperately need a Q, you can’t be so picky.
First, the cover is deceptive. No idea why it was chosen since it’s all wrong for the book. The story takes place out in Ontario, CA, and features a hot Texas cowboy trying to seduce a California waitress. There is a lot of drinking and a lot of kissing and a ton of chemistry. It’s not a tame romance novel.
Second, it has a crazy, twisty plot semi-snitched from Taming of the Shrew. Jessica isn’t a shrew ~ she’s super sweet and kind ~ but she is looking for a rich man and won’t consider dating “poor” Jack when he hits on her after showing up in her diner in dusty clothes and driving a beat-up truck. He decides not to tell her who he really is, instead opting to become her friend and “help” her find her dream guy.
Third, though the HEA ending is a given, the path there is not, and the navigation is unpredictable. Side characters are clearly set up for spin-offs of their own, which is a good thing in my book.
The only issue I had with NQD (besides the cover) was that too much suspension of disbelief was required. I’ve always enjoyed the concept of disguised identity romance novels, but they do seem to work better when set in Ye Days of Olde. It’s just not reasonable that people aren’t going to google stuff. And if you have a heroine who doesn’t question outlandish gifts and obvious ridic things, she begins to seem stupid, which is no good.
But here I am, a person who is totally immersed in a show featuring dragons, complaining that some silly woman believed her crappy car burnt up at the Toyota repair shop so they’re gifting her a brand new SUV. Maybe if a dragon had been involved… 🐉 🔥😂