Book Review: Fooling Around by Noelle Adams

I have such love for billionaire stories, but this one struck me as a little bit different. And it was. And it was amazing.

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I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A lonely woman is hired by a grumpy billionaire to be his assistant while he heals from a skiing accident. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Looking for Something
Julie has just lost her mother and has no idea what to do with her life. As an adult, she’s spent almost all of her time taking care of her parents, and while this made her happy, now she doesn’t know what to do. Eric is used to being in control, but when he breaks his leg in a skiing accident and knows he’s going to need assistance for a few months, he’s hard pressed to find an assistant that doesn’t annoy him…or walk out because he’s kind of a workaholic douche.

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Mostly Decent Proposal
In a world of coincidental meet cutes (which is almost every romance story ever), Julie and Eric get trapped in an elevator together. Julie automatically helps Eric be more comfortable, a habit from helping her parents out for so long, and he likes the way she does it without being overbearing. He decides he wants her to be his  assistant and offers her a million dollars if she can stick it out for 3 months. She has to think about it because she wasn’t super impressed with his behavior, but a million dollars is hard to ignore, so Julie accepts.

Sweet, No Sass
I loved Julie. She’s sweet and unassuming and shy. She’s an adult who’s never had an intense relationship and seems to blend into the background. She even dresses conservatively, except she has a thing for sexy lingerie (even though she’s pretty sure no one is ever going to see it). Even though Eric drives her nuts, she sticks around to help him, ignoring how mean he is to her and how his other staff seem fairly cold towards her. I also have major soft spots for lonely characters, and Julie is definitely lonely. She has a sister who invites her to live with her, but basically the sister just wants a live-in nanny for her kids and drove me absolutely nuts.

Grumpy McGrumpypants
Eric took a little getting used to. He was a jerk through most of the book. Even when he started softening towards Julie, he was still a jerk. His emotions and the way he treated her were constantly going hot and cold. When he was a good guy, he was super good, but he wasn’t always a good guy. The one thing I did like about Eric was how much he cared for his daughter, the product of a one night stand with a woman he didn’t love. He only gets to see her once in awhile, but it’s heartbreaking how much he worries about her, since she’s sick and the doctors can’t figure out what’s wrong. Moppet warning: the daughter is adorable and sweet and not at all bratty. I know this bugs some readers. I found her to be pretty adorable, but also conveniently awesome.

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The Romance Factor
The romance unfolds over a couple months. Julie doesn’t like Eric at first. Even when she realizes she’s attracted to him, she doesn’t find him to be a particularly pleasant person. But the development is part of what makes the romance so good, and seeing how they change each other was super sweet. Also, the conflict when Eric goes from being nice to a complete jerkhole and then realizes what a jerkhole he was is so full of feels. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Sweet and spicy, most of the sexy times involve Julie’s lingerie (which she thought no one would ever see) and Eric being on his back because his leg is in a cast. There’s also that “forbidden” aspect because Julie is Eric’s employee, though I felt that could easily be overlooked considering the situation and the consensual nature of things. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This was one of those books I had a really hard time putting down. There was definitely some sadness and conflict, but the complete adorableness of the romance hooked me, as did the fact that the characters seemed to learn about themselves along the way and came out of it better people.

Once Upon a Billionaire by Jessica Claire

I hit another one of my goals, which meant I got to reward myself with the 4th book in the Billionaire Boys Club series. Sadly, I don’t get to see it sitting on my shelf, since it’s not in print. However, I could still read the digital version, which I bought right away. Besides treating myself to the book, I also treated myself to a night of putting the other books I’m reading aside and diving into this one.

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One-Sentence Synopsis
A stuffy member of a small country’s royal family is appalled when the the temporary assistant hired to accompany him to his cousin’s wedding turns out to be a southern girl with no knowledge of proper etiquette or decor. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

The Good Stuff
This one currently stands as my 2nd favorite of the series. Griffin is a complete douche while Maylee (who we met in a previous book) is one of the sweetest people ever, as evidenced by the fact that people are drawn to her and seem to like to be around her. Except for Griffin, who can only focus on the fact that she has a southern accent and seemingly, no filter.

Unlike Reese in the previous book, Griffin has a reason for the way he is. Having been brought up to be proper in a royal family, he can’t quite let go of those teachings, even though he’s made an effort to get as far away from his family as possible. Also, he’s not a social person. He doesn’t like people and he doesn’t understand them. There were so many times that he said or did something he thought was nice, and yet didn’t realize how much it hurt Maylee.

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Maylee was so adorable. I loved her as the heroine, including her quirky ability to use folk healing to take away pain. It was a strange, magical element that fit into the story as a believable element. She was emotional, but it was nice to have an emotional heroine who was okay with crying when she was upset. She’s also hilarious. I couldn’t tell if she knew that Griffin was correcting her English and didn’t care or if she really didn’t know, but their dialog cracked me up.

Also, we get to see Gretchen and Hunter again, and though Gretchen comes off as a little obnoxious in this book, she’s also the one who calls Griffin out on being a dick, which maintains her likability quotient.

The Romance Factor
Maylee and Griffin take awhile to figure things out, but their journey there is so delightful and angsty. Every time Griffin messes up and Maylee gets sad, the feels just about about killed me. The thing is, Griffin messes up through pretty much the whole book, so while he learns, he learns very slowly. But he does learn, and by the end of the story, I was rooting for him, even if he was a major ass at the beginning. 5/5

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The Steam Factor
Interesting fact about this story…compared to the other books, there’s almost no sex. The previous books in this series were pretty hot and heavy, but in this one, besides a few moments of sexual tension, nothing even happens between the two of them until about three quarters of the way through. Actual intercourse only happens once. But because Clare can right sex scenes like a boss, she managed to put so much eroticism into those few scenes, that it still maintained high steam factor. 4/5

Final Thoughts
It’s so hard to finish one of these novels and then go back to other ones. This is another one I could have turned around and read again. I own the next one in the series, so once I get some of my list pared down, I think I’ll “treat” myself to reading that one so I’m ready to buy the last one in the series when I meet my next goal.