Review: “Influenced Love” by Shellee Marie

Series: Black Beauty in Love #1

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐✨

Steam: 🔥🔥🔥

Release Date: February 12th, 2022

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After a scandal threatens her reputation, popular beauty influencer, Alivia Fae, attempts to distract her followers by polling them to pick her date. When they pair her up with a fellow influencer, Moe Gava, he takes notice and asks her out. Unfortunately, she soon realizes he’s not as desirable as he seems online.

Despite her disinterest, when it’s suggested that she and Moe start a fake dating relationship, to keep up engagement with their fans, she begrudgingly agrees. As the plan unfolds, she begins to grow closer to his low-key assistant, Travis. Leading her to re-evaluate what she truly wants to influence her life—love.

Shellee Marie’s debut novel is the first book in her Black Beauty in Love series and is perfect for fans of Amy Lea and Alisha Rai.

 

As a makeup influencer, Alivia has amassed a pretty large following and while she’s not celebrity famous, she gets enough attention. So, when she has an incident at her famous best friend’s wedding, the tabloids and gossip blogs spin it in to show that she’s in love with him and heartbroken that he’s marrying someone else. However, the truth is far less exciting. In order to keep the hounds off her back, she decides to venture into a fake relationship with a handsome and sexy fitness influencer. Except…she finds herself drawn to Travis, the assistant to her fake boyfriend, and things get a little complicated.

I really liked the premise of this book and I appreciate the author reaching out to me to read an ARC. I am a huge fan of fake dating, so I was really looking forward to seeing how this one would play out. There’s a lot of moving parts and at certain points, I got a little lost. While yes there is romance, I feel like Alivia’s relationship with Travis doesn’t take off till much later in the story. It is most definitely a slow burn and there’s a lot of confusion and back and forth before these characters get anywhere close to having their relationship,

I liked Moe quite a bit, despite him not actually having that big a role to play. And I definitely enjoyed seeing the side of social media influencers and how that world works. One of my favourite things about the book was Alivia’s dedication and focus on recommending products and brands that are suitable for the Black community and how much attention and detail goes into talking about these things. Her influencer world was pretty well thought out and put together in the book and I appreciated that a lot. 

While Alivia and Travis are the main couple of the story, I didn’t feel very invested in them. I liked their friendship and the banter, but Travis didn’t come across as a strong enough lead. I feel like we spent more time with Dan or Moe to build a connection with Alivia than we did with Travis. And I would have liked to see more of the man that eventually wins Alivia’s heart.

Easy and light, Influenced Love is a fun read. There are some hilarious moments and some moments where you might feel secondhand embarrassment, but all good books have those pieces. I’ll definitely keep an eye out for more books from Shellee!

Thanks to Shellee Marie for generously providing me with an advance copy. I am voluntarily leaving an honest review.

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