Boyfriend or Bust (Jia’s review)

Title: Boyfriend or Bust
Author: Claire Castle
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: August 11th 2018
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance
Page Count: 231
Reviewed by: Jia
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.75 stars out of 5


When Carson Turner’s ex-boyfriend unexpectedly invites him to his destination wedding and presumes he’ll be there alone, Carson panics and invents a fake boyfriend to accompany him. That’s what happens when your greatest flaw seems to be to talk first and think later.

How can Sam Bixton say no to his little sister’s request for him to go to Greece with her best friend, who he’s only admired from afar? Who would turn down fun in the sun with the one guy that’s always been off-limits?

Carson and Sam have a lot to learn about each other, and very little time to do it. Will they succeed in convincing Carson’s ex that they’re devoted boyfriends, or is it all about to go bust…

This is a tough book for me to rate simply because I wanted to like the book, but I found it to be uneven in terms of the quality of writing, the plot felt weak but also their behavior. What I did like was Sloan and her friendship with Carson, how sweet and solid the relationship between Sam and Carson turned out to become and the book had some fun and sweet moments.

Both Carson and Sam felt way too sensitive (easily brought to tears) and while Carson was very, very insecure in the beginning, Sam came off as an arrogant jerk before he met Carson. They had a good connection from the start though. In the beginning Carson was swinging from insecure, thinking Sam couldn’t want him, to confident, flirting and kissing his thumb, within seconds of reading and back again, and it through me off. Hugo, the ex and his fiancé were despicable characters and there weren’t any redeeming qualities in them. It felt as if the characters were either black or white, good or bad, with no grey in between.

There were some grammar mistakes that I hope they caught before the final copy and the writing felt rather choppy in some parts of the first half and there were details in the story which could have been left out since it didn’t do much for the story. The narrative is first person, alternating between our two protagonists, Carson and Sam. Since the voice of the narrator felt the same for both, I had to go back and check or wait until the text gave it away several times.

In the beginning I also had some misunderstanding and confusion due to the timeline and the way it was written. In some parts I didn’t know if it was the same day or days later, or even what time of the day. They fell asleep and woke up later. Later apparently meaning they slept the whole night.

I also found their behaviour strange when they had planned on watching a movie but went to bed (separately, him on the couch) instead. They were going to wait for pizza (45 minutes) and Carson says he’ll read while they wait. When the pizza comes however then they’ll watch a movie. This is just weird and not good manners to me. You are over at someone you are attracted to’s place while you’re still getting to know each other and you choose to read? Really?

Then it’s the matter of the plot. The conflict and the motivation of Carson to act like he did felt weak: disliking the ex so much why spend so much money to fly to Greece and even have to pay for the hotel themselves, when he doesn’t really want go? Hugo gave them some comments on facebook, that seemed to do the trick anyway. Wouldn’t it have been better to just go on a vacation by themselves instead? They can reach the same result by being together without spending money to see someone he doesn’t want to be around.

Besides most of the book is relationship building after the initial awkwardness and insecureness and although Carson told himself they were only faking it, it never felt like they were fake. This book could have been a lot shorter to keep my interest, but for those who like reading about two merely getting to know each other it might be fine.

This was not a book for me but it might be for you if you don’t mind these issues. I’m sorry because I really wanted to like this one. The ending was good and I liked how there was no unnecessary drama.

Buy Link Amazon Global Author Link GoodReads More Author Reviews

Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Boyfriend or Bust provided by the author in exchange of an honest review.


Reading, to me, is as close to an addiction as one can come without crossing the line… completely. I read a lot, and many different genres.
I’d love to hear if my reviews helped you, so feel free to comment :)

Please comment! We'd love to hear from you.