Title: Trade Me
Author: Courtney Milan
Series: Cyclone, book 1
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Source: Review copy from publisher
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.
It’s not secret I love Courtney Milan’s historical romance books. She is my to-go author when I’m in the mood for historical romance and I think I have read every single one of her books. Saying I was intrigued when I saw she was writing a new adult series is the understatement of the year. I wonder if she could pull it off and write as a good NA as she writes HR. I’m glad to say she nailed the NA genre.
Tina Chen arrived to the US from China when she was just a child. Her family escaped China after her father was incarcerated and tortured for his beliefs. Tina knows the meaning of hardships and has been living on the poverty edge since she can remember. Tina studies and works to pay her bills and help her family.
On of those days when everything is going wrong for Tina she comes to class to a discussion about people who uses food stamps. This discussion is lead by Blake Reynolds. Blake is the son of Adam Reynolds, owner of Cyclone Technology and one of the richest men in the world. After Tina gives Blake and the class her piece of mind Blake apologizes to her, to which Tina tells him if they were to trade lives he couldn’t manage to live like her for two weeks.
What Tina doesn’t know is that Blake is in need of a change. Since he can remember he has been working for his father and the pressure of following his steps is taking a toll on him. What better way to disconnect from his reality than to trade lives with Tina, even if it’s only for couple of weeks.
When I read the term billionaire in a book the first things that comes to my mind are playboy and arrogant. That’s not the case with Blake, he’s very down to earth and he is conscious that he had it easier than most. He is far from a playboy, he is more like a geeky cute guy.
Since Blake can remember he has worked for his father and his company. As a toddler in TV commercials and later on more involved in the different projects the company has produced. His father wants him to take over his job and has been grooming him for that day. Even though Blake loves his father and the company, taking over his father’s role is not what he wants to do with his life and the pressure of denying his father is getting to him.
The only thing Tina wants in her life is to have a good and stable job where she earns enough money to pay bills, save some money and be able to help her family. That has been her goal her whole life; for that reason she studies and works hard.
Due to her circumstances Tina has to grow up too fast and has too many responsibilities on her shoulders.
Tina doesn’t understand why a man like Blake can be interested in her. She doesn’t think she’s any special or very beautiful and she knows he could have any girl he wants; so why her?
I loved Blake, I liked how real he was and how determined he was to earn Tina’s love and respect.
I didn’t love Tina, but I liked her. I liked her strength and how firmness of purpose she was. I only wish she would have been less insecure and believe in her worth a bit more.
Their relationship moves slowly and with some setbacks because Tina puts many stops to it. My problem with this was that at the end I was more invested in them as individuals than as a couple. Although I liked them together I think they were missing some spark.
There were two things I really loved about this book, one of them was the diversity in the characters and the other the supporting characters, in special Blake’s father, Adam, and Tina’s father, Mr. Chen.
Another character that really shined was Tina’s best friend, Maria. I really liked her as a friend and as a person. I liked that Courtney Milan gave an opportunity to a character like her. I can’t say much without giving spoilers away, let’s just say I’m dying to get my hands on next book, Hold Me, which will be Maria’s story. Hold Me will be release at the end of this year.
The end is not a cliffhanger, but one of hope of good things to come. Blake and Tina are in a good place but things are just starting for them. Luckily for us readers, Milan is planning to write the continuation of their story in the third book in the series, Find Me. Find Me will also have Adam’s point of view.
Trade Me is not your usual NA book; it doesn’t have unnecessary angst, the characters are mature and the issues they deal with are very real. Trade Me is what NA should be.
I recommend Trade Me to NA, contemporary romance and Courtney Milan’s fans.
My Verdict: 4 ½ Paws
Other books in the series
Hold Me (Late 2015)
Find Me (TBA)
Other reviews Goodreads