Saturday, June 15, 2024

Review & Giveaway - - A Love Like the Sun

A Love Like the Sun
by Riss M. Neilson
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 11, 2024
Reviewed by PJ

Laniah Thompson is a homebody who craves privacy. Issac Jordan is internet famous and spends his days followed by paparazzi. She runs a small business with her mom in her hometown. He runs an international brand.

And they’ve been best friends since childhood.

When Issac comes home to Providence for the first time in months and discovers Laniah’s dream is slipping out of reach as she and her mom struggle to pay the bills at Wildly Green, their natural hair store, she refuses to take a dime from him. And so, he does what any self-respecting best friend would do: tells the world they’re dating.

Suddenly business is booming, and Laniah agrees to his ridiculous plan to pretend to be lovers for the course of the summer. Just long enough to catch the eye of an investor and get her dream back on track, like she helped him do so many years ago, he reminds her.

Too soon, though, Laniah knows she’s playing with fire, because for as long as they’ve been friends there’s an undeniable pull they’ve never given in to. And as the lines between art and life—real and pretend—blur, it becomes harder and harder to see where friendship ends and something else begins....

Told over the course of three sizzling summer months, 
A Love Like the Sun is about shared history, those who make us our bravest selves, and love in its many forms.

PJ's Thoughts:

The author has penned a thoughtful and deeply emotional story about the journey from childhood best friends to adult soulmates. I loved the deep connection between Laniah and Issac. It's clear from the beginning how much these two mean to one another. Even though they are now living on opposite coasts they have maintained their friendship through geographical distance, life's challenges, and other relationships. 

When Laniah's business is tanking, Issac doesn't hesitate to jump in to help by lending his internet popularity to the cause with a fake-dating scheme. What happens next feels organic, relatable, and authentic to these characters. I understood Laniah's fears of changing their dynamic even though I felt it went on way too long. Can one person really be that oblivious? Issac's feelings came through loud and clear to me and I adored him for it. The deep, abiding love between these two was palpable. The brief flashbacks to various points in their friendship only solidified it. And, the slow transition from friends to lovers - with a few speed bumps along the way - convinced me these two would make it.

The challenges the author put in the paths of both Laniah and Issac gave the story depth and relatability. It was interesting to view all sides of Issac's rise to internet fame and I enjoyed watching him navigate the various aspects of it, especially when they impacted Laniah. And speaking of Laniah, there are many layers to this character which give her depth and flaws and relatability. In particular, a medical side story is one to which many women will be able to relate. It's an important issue that too many deal with.

While the story lagged in a few places, and at certain points I grew a bit weary of Laniah's insecurity, the writing, community of characters, Issac's steadfast support and love (did I mention I adored Issac?), plus Laniah's eventual growth kept me turning pages. A Love Like the Sun is a thought-provoking, heart-tugging, friends-to-lovers romance that I'm glad I read. 

Do you enjoy the friends-to-lovers trope?

What's your favorite romance trope?

Have you ever read a romance where the hero was an influencer? 

One person who posts a comment before 11:00 PM, June 17 will receive a print copy of A Love Like the Sun.

*U.S. only
*Must be 18
*Anonymous comments must include a name, screen name, or email in the comment to be included in the giveaway.


  1. I ADORE a friends-to-lovers romance. Like you, I get a bit impatient when the hesitation goes on for too long (just experienced that in another new book), but this one sounds worth the prolonged doubt. And I've never read a book where the male character was the influencer. Sounds interesting!

  2. Love reading friends to lovers, one of my favorite tropes! Have met a few influencers, but all small time, I think hoping to make it big. Sounds like a good read.

  3. I don't have a favorite trope

    Rose Ward

  4. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope! I have read books with a female influencer, but never the hero. The only one that comes close is Kate Meader's Insta Crush. Theo is a hockey player with a huge IG following. Thanks for the review, PJ!

  5. A trope I enjoy is finding mature love after a lifetime of hoping. I haven't read a romance about a hero influencer. I do enjoy friends to lovers very much as it is always enjoyable to read about the changes and their emotions. This novel sounds wonderful.

  6. I enjoy most tropes and friends to lovers is one of them. My favorite is the wounded hero/heroine. I don't believe I have read a story where the hero was an influencer recently.

  7. Another new to me author and I thank you. Have not read anything with an influencer as a lead character. I like the friends to lovers trope, or the enemies to lovers trope, or ....actually....the trope is not as important to me as the characters. It sounds as though this author has given us two characters who have always loved one another, but the love has changed and deepened and morphed into a new thing. Now doesn't that sound lovely? I just like well done stories with people I enjoy. I think I would enjoy getting to know Lanaih and Issac. That is what it's all about. Thanks for the review.

  8. Friends to lovers is my favorite trope but enjoy most of the other tropes too

  9. I'm a sucker for second chance romances, but I've enjoyed a lot of friends to lovers stories. This looks like an interesting take on the trope and seems to be a flip in roles as all of the books where one of the protagonist is an influencer, it's been a woman.