Blurb: One minute, Katrina King’s enjoying an innocent conversation with a hot guy at a coffee shop; the next, a stranger has live-tweeted the entire episode with a romantic meet-cute spin and #CafeBae is the new hashtag-du-jour. The problem? Katrina craves a low-profile life, and going viral threatens the peaceful world she’s painstakingly built. Besides, #CafeBae isn’t the man she’s hungry for...
With the internet on the hunt for the identity of #CuteCafeGirl, Jas Singh, bodyguard, friend, and possessor of the most beautiful eyebrows Katrina’s ever seen, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to his family’s home. Alone in a remote setting with the object of her affections? It’s a recipe for romance. But after a long dating dry spell, Katrina isn’t sure she can trust her instincts when it comes to love—even if Jas’ every look says he wants to be more than just her bodyguard…
Review: I read The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai--book one in the Modern Love series--earlier this year. It was a surprisingly refreshing romance novel about a dating app developer who discovers that her rival, a fellow app developer, is also the man who ghosted her a while back. The unique writing style paired with the modern twist and the fresh voice of diversity (something that Rai has made a name for herself with) made for an entertaining read. So, when Girl Gone Viral became available for pre-release reading I jumped on it.
Readers met heroine Katrina in The Right Swipe and in Girl Gone Viral we finally get to delve deeper into her character. She is a beautiful former model turned wealthy widow who prefers staying inside the safety of her home to venturing out into the public, following a particularly nasty event in her past. I really loved that Rai was able to give us insight into how debilitating anxiety and panic attacks can be and that she didn't make the hero's presence alone a solution to them. Sex with a hot guy does not mean that all the heroine's problems fade away, at least not in the real world or Alisha Rai books.
Jas is the best type of hero. He's a body guard. Like, what is so sexy about that? I'm not really sure. Maybe that he'd die to protect her? That he's basically a stalker but legally allowed to be so (and she pays him to stalk her)? Anyway, body guards are hot. And Jas is such a serious, thoughtful, selfless guy that he was both amazing and infuriating at times. But I loved the way that Rai managed to make their relationship realistic by giving them little annoyances like that, rather than just making them fall into perfect love.
The outside pressure of 'going viral' is something we see happen every day, but we don't always realize that ramifications of it. Nor are we always thinking about other's privacy when we fall into stories like #CafeBae. I think that Rai tackled a really heavy subject and did it in a way that made us empathize with our heroine and take a hard look at the careless way we sometimes approach social media.
I did struggle a little in that Girl Gone Viral was a super slow-burn and those truly are not my thing, but that's a personal preference and not necessarily a valid criticism on the author. Still, I don't think that Rai is known for slow-burns, so I thought I'd mention it in case others, like me, tend to head more towards the insta-loves and extra spicy reads. It was a sweet read with lots of emotions, though.
All in all, Girl Gone Viral was a really unique look at twitter and hashtags and personal privacy, all wrapped up in a modern romance. Out now! Check out bookshop.org to support your local independent bookstore!