Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1) by Tessa Bailey
Publication Date: June 11th, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Georgette Castle’s family runs the best home renovation business in town, but she picked balloons instead of blueprints and they haven’t taken her seriously since. Frankly, she’s over it. Georgie loves planning children’s birthday parties and making people laugh, just not at her own expense. She’s determined to fix herself up into a Woman of the World... whatever that means.
Phase one: new framework for her business (a website from this decade, perhaps?)
Phase two: a gut-reno on her wardrobe (fyi, leggings are pants.)
Phase three: updates to her exterior (do people still wax?)
Phase four: put herself on the market (and stop crushing on Travis Ford!)
Living her best life means facing the truth: Georgie hasn’t been on a date since, well, ever. Nobody’s asking the town clown out for a night of hot sex, that’s for sure. Maybe if people think she’s having a steamy love affair, they’ll acknowledge she’s not just the “little sister” who paints faces for a living. And who better to help demolish that image than the resident sports star and tabloid favorite?
Travis Ford was major league baseball’s hottest rookie when an injury ended his career. Now he’s flipping houses to keep busy and trying to forget his glory days. But he can’t even cross the street without someone recapping his greatest hits. Or making a joke about his… bat. And then there's Georgie, his best friend’s sister, who is not a kid anymore. When she proposes a wild scheme—that they pretend to date, to shock her family and help him land a new job—he agrees. What’s the harm? It’s not like it’s real. But the girl Travis used to tease is now a funny, full-of-life woman and there’s nothing fake about how much he wants her...
I have quite a few thoughts on this one and it has taken me a bit of time to sit on it and digest but I would say this was a middle of the road read for me. It was entertaining but didn’t ‘wow’ me and also is not without it’s cringe moments.
Ok, so to start things off, I want to let you know that this book isn’t exactly what I would consider a rom-com. The two main characters are both super flawed and dealing with a lot including abandonment issues. I didn’t find myself laughing or having that effervescent squeal of joy that usually comes from a rom-com so I don’t fully agree with the blurb from Lauren Layne on the back cover where she proclaims it is “Romantic comedy perfection”.
Now, when I say that these characters are flawed and that this book has major cringe moments, it really has to do with the mentality of Georgie and Travis. Both are dealing with always being passed over and not taken seriously and both want to prove that they can be mature adults so they fake a relationship to get the benefits of how it would make them appear to others: secure, independent, grown-up and ‘family-friendly’. This premise could totally work in a rom-com setting, I mean, we see it all the time right? Well where this differs is the fact that Georgie has been in love with Travis since they were kids. He is 28 now and she is 23 but his internal dialog will NOT shut up about the fact that he sees her as a kid still and that he has conflicting feeling about so much that is directly linked to that fact and he even gives her the nickname “baby girl”. If they both treated each other like adults, I wouldn’t have felt quite so uncomfortable with the relationship but as it is, it felt like an adult taking advantage of a young girl. It just didn’t sit right.
I was able to enjoy things more from Georgie’s POV because she had solid reasons for her choices and I could agree with them aside from her keeping the very big secret of her actually being in love with Travis. I liked seeing her grow as a character and come into her own as it felt like she took (mostly) the right steps. She does also have a She’s All That moment that really kicks things into high gear which I could have done without. It was basically the catalyst for everything and I wish that it was just done as an empowerment moment for Georgie and not so obviously causing a reaction from Travis.
Flawed and damaged characters don’t deter me from a read, I find it gives things more depth which I did appreciate… aside from the cringe factor of child-like treatment/thoughts of an adult. I know there’s a mental barrier to overcome when you see a friend from childhood all grown up but this was a big sticking point for me. Another point I feel needs to be made is the sexuality in the book. I’m all for some smut but I’d like to warn that there are some things that I would consider triggers for some people such as aggressive male dominance, explicit scenes, possessiveness and borderline mind games. To Bailey’s credit though, she made it pretty clear that the dominance during the sex scenes was consensual.
With all of that being said, I did enjoy reading this story but don’t think I will be continuing the series that will be following the side characters.