DNF Review: Fake Fiance by Ilsa Madden-Mills

DNF December Review Blitz — Day #5: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

Synopsis for Fake Fiance (from Goodreads):
Fake engaged to the hottest quarterback in the country? SCORE.

They say nothing compares to your first kiss,
But our first kiss was orchestrated for an audience.
Our second kiss . . . that one was REAL.
He cradled my face like he was terrified he’d f*ck it up.
He stared into my eyes until the air buzzed.
Soft and slow, full of sighs and little laughs,
He inhaled me like I was the finest Belgian chocolate,
And he’d never get another piece.
A nip of his teeth, his hand at my waist . . .
And I was lost.
I forgot he was paying me to be his fake fiancée.
I forgot we weren’t REAL.
Our kiss was pure magic, and before you laugh and say those kinds of kisses don’t exist,
Then you’ve never touched lips with Max Kent, the hottest quarterback in college history.

Three months. Two hearts. One fake engagement.
Then he took my all.


Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 6, 2017
Source & Format: Own–eBook

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Fake Fiancé at 50% (start of Chapter 21). Find out why below…


Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was looking for a quick read to wet my palate before I started reading some ARCs I had to get to. This one has been sitting on my Kindle for forever and I love a good fake romance trope so it seemed like a great choice.

In the past, I have usually had good experiences with with Ilsa Madden-Mills’ work; however, that hasn’t been the case lately. I was optimistic that this would be the one to get me out of that funk.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery of Sunny’s Past–

I liked that Sunny wasn’t an open book to the reader. You could kinda put the clues together but you always knew that there was a little bit more to the story with her past.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Extremely Long Inner Monologues–

When an entire paragraph fills up the entire screen on my eReader (and I don’t have the font supersized by any means), I find my attention waning. My word! These inner monologues dragged on. I would be midway and forget what we were even talking about. I almost felt like it was an intentional way just to prove some weird point that you could make a paragraph so freaking long. I thought I was DAYS into this book, but then I would see I still had miles to go and I just felt myself getting defeated.

–Lack of Chemistry–

There is 0 chemistry for me with these two. I suppose in a way their romance is a slow burn since they are doing a bit of a showmance with their fake relationship. But I don’t really sense the underlying tension or passion between these two. Why does Max like Sunny besides her good looks? And does Sunny like Max as a person or just as someone who can help her out of a rough spot?

–Max’s “Being Sexy” Attempts–

I don’t think it helps that I could not stand the way Max talked to Sunny sometimes. I think it’s supposed to be sexy (like he has confidence and knows what he wants) but it comes across as ick considering their showmance isn’t romantic at all by that point.

–Why Did it Morph into Fake “Fiancé”?–

These two start off with a “let’s pretend we are dating to get people off our backs” and then it randomly morphs into “let’s pretend we are engaged!”. Like I understand why it looks good for Max’s angle but I think we could have just stuck the course with the fake dating…though I know it doesn’t have the same ring to it for a title.

Will I Finish It?

Considering I quit when I was halfway through, nope. It was painful for me. I did wait 2 full days before deciding to DNF it because I had invested so much time into it and why not just finish it out. But it wasn’t going to happen.

My Rating: DNF


I think this might be my last attempt at reading an Ilsa Madden-Mills novel. It’s such a shame because I really loved her earlier works. But I’ve DNF’d my last 3 novels from her or have given the books so-so rating.

Read if You Like: fake romances, quarterback heroes
Avoid if You: want more passion/chemistry


Have you read this? Should I return to this book? Leave a comment!

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