Sunday, June 16, 2013

ARC Review: Act like You Love Me by Cindi Madsen

Title: Act like You Love Me
Author:  Cindi Madsen
Publisher/Publication Date: Entangled Bliss, June 10, 2013
Format/Source: E-Galley, Publisher
Genre: Contemporary Romance

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What would you do for a second chance with your first crush? 

Brynn McAdams isn’t the awkward drama geek she was in high school—she’s grown up and confident, or at least she likes to think so. But when her old crush, the impossibly handsome and impossibly unattainable Sawyer Raines, comes back to town to direct her community play, Brynn finds herself determined to be someone other than the girl he doesn’t even recognize. Good thing she’s an excellent actress.

After his bad breakup in NYC, the last thing Sawyer wants is to get involved with another actress. But the glamorous and beautiful Brynn draws him in, even though as her director, he knows she’s off-limits. There’s just something about the woman that feels…familiar. Like home.

As Brynn’s lies start to snowball, she struggles to stop acting and come clean. But what if Sawyer is already falling for the fake Brynn, not the Brynn she truly is?


I was first introduced to Madsen’s work with her young adult novel All the Broken Pieces. I absolutely loved it, so of course I was eager to read Act like You Love Me. There is something about her writing style that just reels me in, and I instantly become immersed in the story.

Wow, Act like You Love Me is such a sweet romance novel that it’s sure to leave you smiling. It’s kind of unique, because it strays from the usual ex-high school sweetheart’s story where the hero and heroine are taking a second chance at love. In Act like You Love Me, the hero was a jock in high school and the heroine was a nerd. And yeah Sawyer was not so nice to Brynn in high school. The current story takes place years later, but he doesn’t remember her.  There is this tension between them and Sawyer doesn’t realize why Brynn is on this emotional rollercoaster. Some of the story pulled at my heartstrings because just when I felt that things were going to work out, it seemed that what I was rooting for was not going to happen so easy. Madsen’s descriptions of Brynn’s clumsiness and interests perfectly portrayed her awkwardness. And I absolutely love the fact that Sawyer was attracted to her uniqueness; although, he had a different viewpoint of her when he was young and in high school. It really causes you to think about how the importance of things changes with life experiences and as you age.

Madsen develops the best characters and effectively uses stream of consciousness. In this case the technique worked because it allowed me to understand the characters inner conflicts. It also provided insight regarding the personal growth of Sawyer and Brynn over time. It’s clear that Sawyer likes Brynn, but he doesn’t have a clue when it comes to verbal communication. He just spews out the wrong stuff—a bunch of blunders--and is dumbfounded by the reaction he gets. He often engages in deep thought while trying to convince himself that he is better off alone. As for Brynn, she’s a hopeless romantic who finds herself in a web of lies that led to questions about their relationship. She often has an inner debate regarding being herself or portraying herself as someone she’s not.  At times their internal monologue was a bit melodramatic and it added a nice touch of humor.

Overall, Act like You Love Me is a heartwarming story of two people who are opposites, but they love each other just the same. There were so many aspects of this story that I just loved, and I recommend this book to those who enjoy fun contemporary romance novels.

Rating 5/5

I received an e-galley of Act like You Love Me from the publisher for an unbiased review. Thank You.

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