Review: My So-Called (Love) Life by A.L. Michael

Publication Date: February 9, 2015

Tigerlily James is so over men and dating. She's started a Misery Dinner club with her friends, where they get together once a month and rant about their love lives, or lack thereof. No one can really blame Tigerlily though. After all, her fiancé dumped her. On Valentine's day.

Fueled by margaritas, she lives without romance, just the way she likes it. Until her ex-fiancé's wedding invitation comes. Suddenly Tig needs to act like she has it all together and hasn't spent the last several month treating men like target practice.

That's when she meets Ollie, the gorgeous man who offers to be the solution to her problems. Nothing could go wrong with having a fake boyfriend. No strings, no sex, no heartbreak. No problem, right?

Rating: 5 out of 5.

First off, can we all agree that this cover is really nice? Yes? Yes? Okay? Good.

This is the first contemporary review book that I've given 5 stars to this year! I've only rated one other contemporary book as 5 stars on Goodreads, but my actual rating of it had been 4.5. This though, oh this book was definitely a 5 star book for me and I'm not really one to just give out 5 stars for contemporary books.

See, I'm really picky about romance, because I'm one of those weird people who likes it to not only be swoon-worthy, but also to be realistic enough that it could actually happen. I mean, what's the point of reading a romantic contemporary if it can't actually happen to you? Are you then supposed to spend your time dreaming that something entirely impossible will become reality for you? I'm not sure you any of you guys out there, but I like to think that the romantic situations in contemporary books are actually possible, that they could happen to someone out there. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that everything will work out like they do in books, but hey, if the same situation happens, at least you know it's realistic enough.

A large part of why I enjoyed the book so much was because of the relationship between Ollie and Tig. Not in the way you're thinking though. This wasn't so much about the romance, or lack thereof, between them, but the way they got along. They were very relaxed around each other and found it easy to bounce their sarcastic humor off each other, making everything seem effortless. Combining that with the dry, sarcastic humor of the British, which I love, I found Ollie and Tig's relationship to feel very comfortable and very familiar. I could relate to that easy nature on more than one account, and it felt nice to actually be able to relate to some aspect of a romantic contemporary.

There's quite a bit of food mentioned throughout the book, so if you're someone who gets hungry just by reading about food, I'd suggest having something to snack on while you read, because at some point, you're going to wish that you could eat what the characters are eating.

There was something in the book that didn't bother me as much as it normally would, which surprised me. I'm not going to tell you exactly what it is, but if you've been following my blog and reviews for awhile now, you should be able to figure it out.

One thing that I did really like about the book was its perspective on heartbreak. Tig started the Misery Dinners after being dumped by her fiancé, and so she's going through a process of recovery from that. Along-side her are two other friends who are also going through heartbreak of their own. Each of them deals with it differently and each of them sees heartbreak in a different perspective. I thought it was really great that the author gave us these different looks into how different people deal with the same concept. It's not like what other fictional works tell us, where women sit around and eat nothing but ice cream out of the tub and re-watch The Notebook while accumulating a mountain of tissues next to them. No, this is something that I could see actually happening and something far more realistic than eating all that ice cream and not having a massive grocery bill and getting sick afterwards. I think that the author provided great insight into how some women actually deal with heartbreak, and I think that guys reading this book could actually learn something about women and our emotional processing. Okay, that sounded weird, but hopefully you get what I mean.

When it came to the ending, I was actually a bit worried that there wasn't enough time or pages left in the book to wrap things up. In fact, I felt like the ending was a bit rushed, but I can understand why the author wrote it that way. There's a quality of anticipation when it comes to this book, and the author did not fail to deliver an ending that was both satisfactory and well though-out. There were no unresolved storylines, everything made sense, and I was left with a feeling of happiness and satisfaction. Also, I stayed up until about 1AM just to find out what the author was going to do with these characters.

I loved Tigerlily. She was so easy-going, in her own way, and had such a calming effect on me when I read about her. She was fun, bubbly enough, smart, witty, headstrong, and all the characteristics that I love in a main character. Okay, maybe not in all main characters, but she did fit my idea of what the perfect main character of a contemporary should be like. And I loved the way she handled things in her life as the book progressed. Everything she did was incredibly natural and didn't feel like the author forced it to happen. It was simple and organic.

Okay, I have to admit that my reasons for liking Ollie might be based off one too many personal preferences. Firstly, I have this thing about fictional guys named Ollie or Oliver. I mean, Oliver Queen from Arrow (on the CW), Oliver from The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith, and Ollie the beautiful white shepherd dog from Legend by Marie Lu. These are all characters that I love. So when the main guy's name turned out to be Ollie, I immediately knew that I was going to like him. Secondly, Ollie has a very calm yet energetic presence about him, and he is a great mix of confidence, cockiness, sarcasm, wit, and overall attractiveness. Why is this a personal preference that I'm biased toward? Well, let's just say that I'm good friends with more than one guy who is like this, and we've get along really well. On top of that, Ollie was actually a really great character. He brought Tig out of her shell and was able to make the reading journey highly enjoyable with his little quips and actions.

5 stars and highly recommended to every one of you! Yes, even if you're a guy, I think that this is something interesting enough that you could read. It offers a unique insight into women that most of us hate admitting, and it can actually be helpful if you want to figure out how some women think after getting their heart broken. 

I really can't say enough good things about this! You should all pick it up and give it a shot!

Thank you to NetGalley for hosting this on your site. Thank you also to Carina UK for approving my request to read this in exchange for an honest review.

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