Review: It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard by Christina Hovland (Mile High Heat #1)


Note: An advance reader copy (ARC) was provided by the author via Wordsmith Publicity.

Confession time: I read my very first Christina Hovland book a couple of weeks ago. I know, I know. What the heck is wrong with me? Welp, it took me coming across her Mommy Wars series on Kindle Unlimited for me to realize this was the same set of books that I was itching to read a couple of years ago. The covers were adorable and the blurbs piqued my curiosity. The first book was a suggested read, and I was surprised that not only was it in KU, but so were the two other books. The other thing that captured my attention was that the planned fourth book, Everything's Fine, Emmaline, in that series was now a series starter! And that's how we got to where we are at present: reading and reviewing It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard, numero uno in Hovland's brand spankin' new Mile High Heat romantic comedy series again set in the author's home state of Colorado.

Returning to Denver was meant to be a fresh start for Emmaline Eaton and her daughter, Fiona, after her divorce from her ex-husband, who was a high-profile lawyer in California. It also meant being closer to family--the same family who know all about her penchant for getting herself into, umm, unique situations, with the most recent one involving an unmentionable burning beyond her control. (Un)luckily for her, a neighbor checks out to see if she's okay--and Em finds herself checking him out. How could she not, considering Ethan Greene was gorgeous, had an Aussie accent, and was a well-known celebrity chef. He was also a single father to a daughter of his own, Annie--a daughter who has taken it upon herself to find him a girlfriend and herself a potential mother. He's desperate to avoid the unwanted advances, and the woman who isn't interested in him is the perfect solution to his #DateMyCelebrityDad problems. After all, Em owes him. Right?

This series starter was a fun read, one filled with fake dating fun between the main characters, Emmaline and Ethan, a bit of innocent matchmaking among their daughters and her friends, and some interesting dynamics within Em's family. I'm not a huge fan of the fake dating trope, mainly because the romances I've read that have employed it tended to follow the same pattern. In the case of It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard, the author was able to entertaining touches, making it easier for me to not only enjoy the story and characters, but to remain invested throughout. Em and Ethan, along with their daughters, Fiona and Annie, respectively, made for an endearing family in the making. I'm giving this first Mile High Heat novel an easy four stars, and I cannot for even more.

Release Date: 23 June 2023

Date Read: 18 June 2023

Learn more about Christina Hovland.

Purchase It Doesn't Have to Be This Hard on Amazon | Apple Books | B&N | Kobo.

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