Published by Courtney Milan on January 19th 2015
Also by this author: Hold Me (Cyclone Book 2)
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Tina Chen just wants a degree and a job, so her parents never have to worry about making rent again. She has no time for Blake Reynolds, the sexy billionaire who stands to inherit Cyclone Technology. But when he makes an off-hand comment about what it means to be poor, she loses her cool and tells him he couldn’t last a month living her life.
To her shock, Blake offers her a trade: She’ll get his income, his house, his car. In exchange, he’ll work her hours and send money home to her family. No expectations; no future obligations.
But before long, they’re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together. No expectations might break Tina’s heart...but Blake’s secrets could ruin her life.
I’ve heard a lot of positive things about popular romance author Courtney Milan, so I’m happy that I finally got a chance to read one of her books. I’m not a fan of historical romances, so it’s good news for me that she wrote a contemporary New Adult story. Trade Me was a refreshing and diverse romance. I also really enjoy that Milan touches on social classes here, which is a subject that sadly isn’t touched on enough in NA. In general, I found the plot to be super unique and fascinating. I would definitely recommend it to romance fans!
Tina is an extremely poor college student who is doing her best to not only pay her college tuition, but also help provide for her family at the same time. Tina shares a class with billionaire Blake Reynolds, who makes a comment about being poor and using food stamps that immediately sets her off. She responds by saying he’d never be able to live her life. After this goes down, Blake surprisingly offers to trade lives with her for a whole month. This means trading jobs, houses, cars, the whole nine yards. Much to her dismay, Tina starts liking him more and more, but she doesn’t want the distraction, and he’s keeping secrets from everyone. Could this relationship actually work out in the end?
Though she drove me crazy towards the end of the book, I really liked Tina. She’s a strong woman who is completely selfless. She feels like she owes so much to her family so she does her best to provide for them anyway that she can. My favorite thing about Tina is that she doesn’t take crap from anyone. Once she meets Blake’s father Adam, who runs Cyclone Technology, she doesn’t accept his asshole behavior. I also enjoyed how proud she was of her Chinese culture. The annoying part came from her actions towards the end when she continues to reject a future with Blake. I get why she did it, but it was still just frustrating and a bit drawn out to me. All in all, she was a pretty solid and memorable protagonist.
Blake was an incredible love interest. As I already mentioned, his dad founded Cyclone Technology (think Apple pretty much) and Blake is set to take over for it in the future. He already has a pretty large role in the company as it is. From a very young age, Blake was always the face of the company. He starred in commercials that made his private relationship with his dad very public. Anyway, Blake decides that he needs a break from it all so he begins attending college. His reasons for trading lives with Tina are personal and have to do with the secret that he’s keeping. Not going to spoil anything but the secret wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. It took me by surprise, but I think that Milan handled it well. I really loved Blake and I loved how sure he was about Tina from pretty early on.
Blake and Tina make a seriously cute couple. In the beginning, they have to pretend to be a couple when they go meet his father in order for Tina to secure the fancy new watch that the company is planning on launching soon. So the chemistry between them is a very real thing from the start. Tina does her best to ignore the sparks between them because she wants this to be a business arrangement only. After the trade ends, she wants to cut off all ties with Blake. Though he doesn’t want this to happen, he agrees anyway to please Tina. As you can probably guess, she eventually stops pretending and they finally act on their feelings. I think they made a great couple because it was a slow building one. I felt like they moved at a reasonable pace, and I believed in their relationship completely.
This was a wonderful book and I’m really glad that I tried it out. I’m not a huge fan of stories that involve technology in anyway because a lot of it just goes over my head, but I was able to follow this plot easily. The book had it all: twists, secrets, fake relationship, class differences, diversity, awesome parental figures, memorable supporting characters, and obviously an amazing romance. If you’re not a big fan of tons of smut, you’ll probably like this one because it really doesn’t contain that many super steamy scenes. It has a few, but it doesn’t go into explicit details really. You should definitely read this incredible book before Tina’s friend Maria’s story comes out in July!