I loved so much about this book the discussion on immigration, an asian american main character, healthy talks of power imbalances, breaking stigmas of poverty, the guy love interest having an eating disorder, andBut I just felt like the love interest was hard to root for I constantly kept asking myself should I be feeling empathy and I don t think that s a very good sign, especially when such a baseline of the story is built off power dynamics Also, this entire story was just so u I loved so much about this book the discussion on immigration, an asian american main character, healthy talks of power imbalances, breaking stigmas of poverty, the guy love interest having an eating disorder, andBut I just felt like the love interest was hard to root for I constantly kept asking myself should I be feeling empathy and I don t think that s a very good sign, especially when such a baseline of the story is built off power dynamics Also, this entire story was just so unrealistic Like, I truly did enjoy so many aspects, but I could never be fully immersed because I was just unable to suspend my disbelief in such a way every other chapter but especially by the end I still think this was a good read, just made a tad bit dated as well, but I am excited to carry on with book two for the book club And again, there was a lot of good within these pages, I just felt unable to connect for many of them Content and Trigger Warnings for disordered eating, racism challenged , talk of being cheating on in the past, loss of a loved one in the past, drug use, and heart attacks Youtube Instagram Twitter Blog Spotify Twitch Buddy read with Lea 3,5 Exchanging Stars Tina is a student who works hard everyday of her life just to make ends meet and be able to keep studying Her dream is study hard in college, then find a good job that allows her to pay her parent s bills and never have to worry about money again Blake works in his father company since he s a teenager, his father is a self made billionaire who wants to pass the company to Blake One day during class Tina and Blake start fighting over poverty and after that Blake makes her 3,5 Exchanging Stars Tina is a student who works hard everyday of her life just to make ends meet and be able to keep studying Her dream is study hard in college, then find a good job that allows her to pay her parent s bills and never have to worry about money again Blake works in his father company since he s a teenager, his father is a self made billionaire who wants to pass the company to Blake One day during class Tina and Blake start fighting over poverty and after that Blake makes her deal For six weeks they will trade lives and each one will find out the reality of the other Blake will find out that isn t easy having to worry every second if the money will be enough for food Tina will find that sometimes things aren t what it seems and not everything that glitters is gold And together they will find out why people say opposites attract This was a sweet and kind of refreshing NA There wasn t that immature drama or excessive angst It had a slow rhythm and the story developed slowly and gave time to the characters really know each other The writing was good and it was an engaging reading but there s something missing For me it lacked spark between the heroes, I didn t felt any butterflies and that isn t my intention when I m reading a romance Somewhere around the middle I felt myself becoming bored and thinking that if the book was never going to end However, it is a nice story with a refreshing plot and you should give it a try Rating 3,5 Stars Characters Development The good thing about Tina and Blake is they were really mature for a NA book They weren t whinny and everything and everyone weren t against They were both very adult and work their asses off I liked them individual characters The problem Absolutely no chemistry Most of the times I fell like they were best friends an in the little times that they clearly weren t best friends, something was missing Seriously, I feltconnection between Blake and his father and Tina and her mother than between those two, and they were supposed to be the center of this story Steam Meh Sensible Subjects view spoiler No hide spoiler Love Triangle view spoiler No hide spoiler Cheating view spoiler No hide spoiler HEA view spoiler Yes hide spoiler 4 stars This was such a refreshing NA romance Though there s the overused billionaire trope, there were so many other aspects to this story that made me go yes, this genre needsof that These characters were ethnically diverse, the billionaire hero was so down to earth, the heroine a smart and sassy chick, their banter was top notch, and even though they both had a lot of baggage, I never felt like any of it was contrived or put in for drama s sake They re genuine characters and I cou 4 stars This was such a refreshing NA romance Though there s the overused billionaire trope, there were so many other aspects to this story that made me go yes, this genre needsof that These characters were ethnically diverse, the billionaire hero was so down to earth, the heroine a smart and sassy chick, their banter was top notch, and even though they both had a lot of baggage, I never felt like any of it was contrived or put in for drama s sake They re genuine characters and I could really relate to them, especially the heroine Tina Not to mention the side characters were all so amazing but at the same time they didn t overshadow the main characters either But what I loved the most about this book is that it s just smart Nowadays, most of the angst and conflict in NA romances stems from cheating, love triangle, sex, making each other jealous, miscommunication, blah blah, and I mean give me something new Something fresh Some real drama And oh boy, this book delivered on that part From the intellectual sparring between Tina and Blake to the very real life struggles both characters had with their families and worries about their future to their collaboration about creative products in Blake s Cyclone company, all of it just really worked for me This is a book that picked at my brain, made me think, and at the same time got me emotionally invested as well I like books that engage both my mind and my heart, so this one was a winner.The basis of the story is that both Blake and Tina agree to trade lives for a semester, with Tina getting Blake s car, income, house, and company duties and Blake getting Tina s shack living quarters and uhCongratulations You have 15.22 There s also about nine pounds of rice leftLOL Anyways, I just want to reassure you this is not your typical rich guy falls for poor girl romance The reasoning behind their switch is actually pretty deep andthoughtful than I expected And even though he s labeled as a billionaire, Blake is a far cry from what you d expect from men of this category He s not an arrogant, cocky bastard who feels the need to act like a jerk and love BDSM he s what I call a REAL guy Someone who has issues and struggles through life just like we all do, and doesn t throw his weight around just because he s wealthy Same goes for Tina She s one of the most candid and blunt heroines I ve ever read about And her whip smart attitude and quick reflexes are just laugh out loud hilarious.There s an underlying attraction between the two, but it isn t until they switch lives and the semester progresses that their feelings really grow, even though they agreed that after all of it is over, everything would go back to normal.This is the only part I had an issue with the romance is weak and there s definitely a strong connection between the two, but because there was just so much going on in the background, that bond didn t get a chance to manifest and develop However, I very much enjoyed the antics from the side characters like Blake s dad and Tina s mom, and whenever these two were together, I felt the connection, so this wasn t too big of a problem for meYou ve never been invisible to me I saw you the first day we crossed paths, and I ve been seeing you ever sinceI also have to mention that the author really did her research I m Chinese, and though I loved that this heroine was too, I was also a little nervous that anything culture related would be butchered It s safe to say that wasn t the case Tina s interactions with her family made me nostalgic and think of how I would have some of the same conversations with my parents and siblings I also really loved reading about Blake s relationship with his dad Their father son bond made me laugh like crazy but also tugged at my heartstrings For a seasoned historical romance author s first NA novel, I am pretty impressed Even with the romance being a little weak, this character driven story was highly entertaining and a fresh take on billionaire romances It s definitely a book I d recommend if you re in the mood for some non generic fun Trade Me is the first book in the Cyclone series and can be read as a standalone There will be another book following this couple, though it s totally optional as this book ends quite nicely relationship wise Book 2 will be about Tina s best friend Maria and considering her past, her book might prove to be evendiverse and intriguing than this first one ARC provided by Victory Editing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Try trading lives with me You couldn t manage it, not for two weeksTina Chen I have to play it safe.Juggling her studies, work and family leaves Tina time for little else She keeps her head down and her thoughts to herself Until one day billionaire Blake makes a comment in class about poverty Yeah, like he d know all about it.Blake Reynolds I have a problem.Blake s father is a self made billionaire Blake has been working for Cyclone since a teenager Going away to college, he hopes fTry trading lives with me You couldn t manage it, not for two weeksTina Chen I have to play it safe.Juggling her studies, work and family leaves Tina time for little else She keeps her head down and her thoughts to herself Until one day billionaire Blake makes a comment in class about poverty Yeah, like he d know all about it.Blake Reynolds I have a problem.Blake s father is a self made billionaire Blake has been working for Cyclone since a teenager Going away to college, he hopes for some breathing space from his father, that will allow him to work out his problem.No one can ever say that Ms Milan can t write She shows here in her first foray into the new adult contemporary genre, the same depth of research, and layered writing that she does in her historicals This is not a dark or gritty read, but delivers a level of intellectual angst rarely seen in new adult romances There is no insta love lust, lightning bolts on first meeting, or electric currents between their eyeballsalthough they re both aware of each other Though Tina in some ways does conform to the n a heroine type, Blake is not your standard jock or alpha, nor is he the dreaded billionaire playboy Going by the blurb, I thought this would be muchlighthearted than it is Told in first person from Blake and Tina s points of view, both the hero and heroine though, and many of the secondary characters had major issues I almost felt overwhelmed just reading about the responsibilities and problems that weighed so heavily on the young shoulders of these main characters.I had no major issues with this book at all Both Blake and Tina are easy to like Blake s father, despite his foul mouthed, impatient, overbearing ways was a devoted and loving father, I totally got Tina s mother, not.so.much There is no cliffhanger this ends on a hopeful note Their story continues in the following books Hold Me and Find Me I d really like some answers about view spoiler Blake s mother hide spoiler The next in the series, Hold Me features Maria, Tina s best friend, and that one will definitely make interesting reading given Maria s background.If you don t like or have never read new adult romances, I d say give this one a go If you are a fan of Ms Milan s historicals, but don t read contemporaries, I think this would be your chance to step outside your comfort zone If you re after a smart, nuanced read that doesn t follow the tropes of the usual new adult romances, this one s for you Steam 2.5 3 ARC courtesy of Courtney Milan via NetGalley If you can accept a rather unrealistic premise, you ll soon find out that Trade me is a fantastic addition to the New Adult genre, without any of its regular fucked ups slut shaming, stalkers, assholes, lack of diversity, giant dicks and their it s not gonna fit GASPBoth MCs are endearing and well rounded, making it very easy to root for them you have Tina, a Chinese American student who refuses to lose her freedom and whose sarcasm is perfection and then Blake, a rich, smart hei If you can accept a rather unrealistic premise, you ll soon find out that Trade me is a fantastic addition to the New Adult genre, without any of its regular fucked ups slut shaming, stalkers, assholes, lack of diversity, giant dicks and their it s not gonna fit GASPBoth MCs are endearing and well rounded, making it very easy to root for them you have Tina, a Chinese American student who refuses to lose her freedom and whose sarcasm is perfection and then Blake, a rich, smart heir who is struggling with an eating disorder, crushed under the weight of expectations I loved them both, dearly Recommended Forof my reviews, please visit 4 stars This had the makings of being a 5 star read for me until I hit the last 20% or so But this is still so much better than what is currently saturating the New Adult market out there And Courtney Milan can definitely write NA contemporary as well as she does HR She has always had a distinctive voice, and it definitely shined in this book Tina Chen is a struggling college student who s trying to keep her head above water despite myriad familial responsibilities that stop her from enjoyin 4 stars This had the makings of being a 5 star read for me until I hit the last 20% or so But this is still so much better than what is currently saturating the New Adult market out there And Courtney Milan can definitely write NA contemporary as well as she does HR She has always had a distinctive voice, and it definitely shined in this book Tina Chen is a struggling college student who s trying to keep her head above water despite myriad familial responsibilities that stop her from enjoying her life Blake Reynolds is the son of a billionaire, a wunderkid who enrolled himself in college despite his father s protests Both of them had an interesting backstories This is where Milan s writing shined the brightest Tina and Blake are well drawn characters I was shown the nuances of their personalities, the dynamics of their relationship with family and friends bit by bit and layer by layer It made reading fun and easy when there s no clunky prose to impede it I liked Tina She wasn t always likable but her struggles were relatable to me Her being Asian is just a bonus to me Her complicated relationship with her family was terrifyingly familiar to me because I live it everyday I don t know if it s a cultural thing or it s just my family but reading it made me nostalgic Blake isn t your run of the mill NA hero No way He s smart, funny and an all around good guy I love his relationship with his dad The Darth Vader reference made me laugh Again, I wasn t just told about how loving their relationship is, I was shown how loving their relationship is While that aspect gave me the fuzzies, these characters are very flawed Noneso than Blake s father Seriously, I don t know whether to give this guy the father of the year award or the shittiest father award Either way, I love his character So why not 5 Well, as much as I loved the writing and the characters, the romance was a bit of a let down It s not that they are not romantic or anything, it s just that they are so good and capable individually that it wouldn t matter if they stay together or not They ll survive anyway Simply put, I wasn t as invested in their romance as I was in them individually And since this is a romance book, I m kind of bummed that their love didn t feel epic to me But I am holding out hope that it s going to turn epic in the next installments because I needed epic Call me old fashioned but I just needed that in my romance books A copy was provided by Courtney Milan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I wanted to love this book because I love how realistic it is with its representation and romantic scenes And it was really steamy and had a good build up to the characters relationship, but the entire plot surrounding it was SO messy The actual plot of this book is nothing like the synopsis The two main character supposedly trade places to get a taste of each other s lives, but we quickly see that we re only meant to care about Blake and his daddy issues and whether or not the poor privileg I wanted to love this book because I love how realistic it is with its representation and romantic scenes And it was really steamy and had a good build up to the characters relationship, but the entire plot surrounding it was SO messy The actual plot of this book is nothing like the synopsis The two main character supposedly trade places to get a taste of each other s lives, but we quickly see that we re only meant to care about Blake and his daddy issues and whether or not the poor privileged boy can take over his father s company I loved the representation of a male character with an eating disorder, but it felt side lined as a character trait and not necessarily something that was integral to the story and it was completely forgotten about by the end of the book The last quarter of the book is just random plot twists that don t relate to the story whatsoever Plus, the trajectory of the love story follows the cookie cutter mold of forbidden romance and wasn t intriguing at all.The first half of this was great, but the second half was so cheesy and unrealistic and messy that I was skim up until the acknowledgments page I think there s a solid basis for a story here, but it just focused on really random selections of these characters lives and didn t give us the full picture It felt so incomplete, and the original plot of the book just dove off a cliff and in came in random side plots instead that were never wrapped up adequately.The second book in this series is about a trans side character and i m 100% here for her so I m gonna try that out and hope the storyline doesn t dwindle like this one 2.5 STARSI m truly in the minority here with my rating The good with this book is that for a NA, it was refreshing because it lacked the excessive drama and overused angst often seen in that sub genre There was no insta love, the relationship between Tina and Blake was progressive and based onthan just lust My favorite thing was the interracial coupling in this book Tina is Chinese, Blake is Caucasian In reality this is not even something that warrants attention People of differen 2.5 STARSI m truly in the minority here with my rating The good with this book is that for a NA, it was refreshing because it lacked the excessive drama and overused angst often seen in that sub genre There was no insta love, the relationship between Tina and Blake was progressive and based onthan just lust My favorite thing was the interracial coupling in this book Tina is Chinese, Blake is Caucasian In reality this is not even something that warrants attention People of different backgrounds, cultures, races and creeds date and marry all the time But from my experience in romance novels, this isn t the case WHY It s a normal thing that should really be reflectedin books, come on Anyways, the reasons for the low rating The connection and chemistry between Tina and Blake wasn t very apparent for me I couldn t connect with them as the book went on In the beginning it was good, but as the story progressed something changed for me The middle into the last third was a bit boring and then the whole this can t go on dilemma felt forced and out of place Where as that issue was obvious in the first part of the book, as Tina and Blake gotimmersed in each other s lives it became a crutch and therefore lost its appeal The romance was there but again, it felt underdeveloped By the end I found myself no longer invested in Tina s and Blake s story although things end well And I m not interested in continuing the series I do plan on reading this author s HR s, I ve heard they re great Listening lengthhours,minutesTina 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 lifeTo 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 obligationsBut before long, they re trading not just lives, but secrets, kisses, and heated nights together No expectations might break Tina s heartbut Blake s secrets could ruin her life 4.5 Art Imitating Life Stars 1 2 Spoiler FreeWarning This review isabout my love of Courtney MilanThe brief review is I loved the book.I first learned of Courtney Milan because of The Siren and Tiffany Reisz I was new to Goodreads, Romance and Erotica In my looking around for things to read I had heard of this book The Siren which lead me to the review by Ms Milan which in turn led me to her The review made me just stop I l 4.5 Art Imitating Life Stars 1 2 Spoiler FreeWarning This review isabout my love of Courtney MilanThe brief review is I loved the book.I first learned of Courtney Milan because of The Siren and Tiffany Reisz I was new to Goodreads, Romance and Erotica In my looking around for things to read I had heard of this book The Siren which lead me to the review by Ms Milan which in turn led me to her The review made me just stop I loved every part of it how it told me about the book, the ideas put forth and so I looked into Ms Milan and her books The first one I read was The Governess Affair I was into historical and this worked on so many levels There was a scene to this day which was so sensual and sexy it can come to you in passing and make you just stop to consider it all over again The book wasthan just that scene though the way it addressed society and issues within the story was seamlessit all just worked So, I bring this up because, in this book, all of the research, attention to detail, and insight into the mind and human condition is here wrapped up in a story about economic and cultural differences, about insecurities and the impact of our parents with their personalities and life experiences All of these things color how we look at life, what we expect or want and what is thrust on usWe have two characters both very intelligent, both with extremely intense parenting and both from opposite economic status The blurb lays it out perfectly and we experience a story that was very raw in feelings but there were humor and care.The representation of both families was strong each was different yet the same in their love of their kids maybe demonstrated in another way but just as fierce.Each character went through their personal arc and came out the other end better and it was due to the relationship they had with the support and just being there had weight.There is just so much to the details of the story I could read this again and get so muchout of it and that goes back to it being a Courtney Milan book She addresses many questions about the story at the end giving us timelines and details which were informative, adding to the pleasure of the read She is just wired that way.This is a new series for her andis coming I will be ready A gifted copy was provided by Victory Editing via NetGalley for an honest review ForReviews, Free E books and Giveaways