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Friend-Zoned (Friend-Zoned #1), by Belle Aurora



Nikolai Leokov never thought he’d fall in love with the only girl he’s ever befriended. 

Valentina Tomic has issues with commitment after the ultimate betrayal. 

When Tina decides to make broody Nik’s day better, she never thought she would end up friends with the hard man. 

Nik has never had a woman be so affectionate to him without expecting something in return. 

Nik and Tina cordially invite you to read Friend-zoned. 

A story of friendship, humour and love.


Well I was a little disappointed with this one.

After reading Willing Captive, I was very excited to read Friend-Zoned. I thought I’d find the same little something there was in Willing Captive that made it so good for me, but alas, it wasn’t there.

I love stories about two people becoming friends even though they totally want each other and the little dance they do around each other. The whole “I want you, but we’re friends so I can’t really do anything about it but I can’t stand to see you with other people so I’ll just go ahead and kiss you and see what happens”, even though it’s a very been-there, read-that topic, it works for me. So Friend-Zoned seemed like the perfect book for me at the time. And I guess it could have been if the writing had been different. Before picking this book, I read some quotes from it and I liked a number of them. It’s usually a good sign and can be a criteria of selection for me. And when I read the quote without their context, they made me want to read the book. But then, when I read the same quotes in the book, I couldn’t believe how completely different they turned out to be. Some of then felt like a very sweet and swoony thing to read but then when you read it in the book, it was too intense a thing to say in the situation it was said in.

For example, Tina is a very good baker, but she doesn’t own a bakery, and when someone (this someone being a group of guys she met just a few days ago) ask her why it is so, here’s what she says:

“When I bake for someone, I give them a little part of myself. It’s like giving someone a part of my heart every time.” 
I look up thoughtfully and shrug. 
“I don’t know if I like the idea of people buying pieces of me. They are mine to give away when I feel like it. And that makes them special.” 

I don’t know but to me it felt like a very big deal over giving a bunch of guys some cupcakes. Now here they are, basically eating a piece of her heart…..that’s intense to me.

I felt like I was thrown into La-La Land with this book. I mean, people can’t possibly be this chirpy! Our main character is the epitome of positive attitude in every situation. But it wasn’t just the main characters that felt off to me. Everything in this book did. The dialogues felt forced or…..I don’t know, just not realistic, the way the characters thought, the way they acted. It was just very strange to read and at times it was so unrealistic it made me roll my eyes. Like the moment Tina meets Nik’s family and the minute they see her, it’s like she’s this angel who has come to save Nik. They act like she is already married to him and they’re all a big, happy family where everyone has its place and is accepted because they are such wonderful human beings. I mean, give me a break! In what world do people act like that?

One thing that really got old real fast was the fact that every time Tina thought something, she said it right after. It doesn’t seem like much here, but when it happens three times in one page, it gets very annoying. There is no need to tell us what she is going to say right before she says it. It just made the writing very redundant.

And then, there was the sad stuff in the book. It was supposed to make the story and characters, hum, more human I guess, but that too felt off to me. Not the sad things but how the characters talked about it and dealt with it. It was just very clumsy.  Basically, I didn’t believe in this story. It was too much. It was like looking at the world with pink-tainted glasses.

And to top it off, the juicy bits did nothing for me. Again, I couldn’t put my finger on what exactly went wrong there but there was too much sweetness going on and not enough “throw me on the bed and have your wicked way with me” action. It was the kind of fluffy and sweet that makes me gag.

I hope I’m not being too harsh here and if I am, it’s more by accident than intent, but I expected more from this book and can’t quite understand how it turned out to be so different from the other book I read by Belle Aurora. It’s almost like some other writer wrote it.

I don’t really understand what happened here because the writing in Willing Captive got me hooked, but here it felt like Belle Aurora was trying too hard to make it funny and quirky and ended up writing in a way that felt like reading the story from the point of view of a 5 year old girl stuck in the body of a woman. I couldn’t bring myself to believe in this story even though I tried.


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