Series: Cyclone #1
Author: Courtney Milan
Pages: 337 (Kindle)
Release Date: January 19, 2015
Purchase: Amazon•TBD (affiliate link)
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 Systems. But when he makes an offhand 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.
Trade Me has a lot going on in it, but it’s all fantastic! It has an opposites attract, fake relationship turned real Romance and a swapped lives plot! On top of many other wonderful and interesting themes. Tina is poor, putting herself through college, and partially supporting her family. Blake is a billionaire, heir to even more billions, and under pressure to take over his father’s company. After a classroom debate, Blake proposes that he and Tina switch lives for the semester. She’ll no longer have to stress about money, and he gets a break from his business duties. They both get more than they bargained for.
What I loved most about Trade Me was that Tina and Blake are pretty “normal” people. Yes, Blake is a multi-billionaire and has no concept of money, but he’s a nice guy and works hard. They both have their problems, but there’s not much angst. They’re relatable and feel real. There’s no magic cure for anything that they’re going through, but they do the best that they can. I’m not going to say what exactly each of them are going through, because those were interesting reveals and explained so much about why they are the way they are. And both of them are super smart! And not just in a superficial way! We’re not just simply told that they get good grades and all that. Tina blows my mind at times with the stuff she says to Blake’s father!
Of course, Trade Me has a steamy romance! Tina and Blake pretend to be dating so that she can get access to some awesome prototypes to help her with the launch script she’s working on for Blake. Her mother is convinced that the two are dating despite their protests. One thing leads to another, and there is kissing! And sexy times! And feelings! There is a bit of a random break up thrown in there, but I loved the way the aftermath was handled! It was such a fun twist and a great way to tie in all of the technology aspects of the story.
Trade Me was simply great! This might sound cliche, but it’s unlike any New Adult Romance that I’ve read before. I loved how it explored socio-economic differences, and cultural differences (Tina’s family escaped persecution in China), the law, technology, and family dynamics. It seems like a lot, but it all worked together very nicely.