Book Review

Book Review: My Phony Valentine (Holidays with Hart #1) by Courtney Walsh

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 373 pages
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: February 8th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A chance meeting. A hunky hockey player. A fake romance.
Hardly an ordinary day in the life of Poppy Hart.

My days usually consist of agonizing over my failing restaurant, worrying about my mountain of debt and nursing my broken heart.

Everything changes when I bump into a man in the coffee shop and claim him as my new boyfriend. To my absolute horror, he turns out to be hockey’s most renowned bad boy, Dallas Burke. To my absolute delight, he goes along with my story.

When his no-nonsense manager and meddling grandmother jump in the picture, they see a win-win solution for my failing restaurant and Dallas’s less-than-stellar reputation.

A full-fledged fake romance complete with contract negotiations, pretend dates and phony PDA.

But as I get to know the real Dallas Burke, who is not the man the press says he is, it becomes clear that if this isn’t real. . . someone better tell it to my heart.


Well this was just real dang sweet. If you’re looking for low angst, closed door, reformed bad boys and hockey? Read this. Easy.

I liked a lot of this book, more-so the second half. There was good chemistry between Poppy and Dallas and there were some prime moments that I am ALWAYS here for (protective heroes are my jam). I truly thought they got along well and I liked the fake dating aspects too. AND that they both were vocal about their wants and needs as well. There’s a very light hearted vibe to this that made me feel good and I love books that do that.

There’s some tiny tidbits here and there I didn’t love. I don’t love gossip-type magazine chapters. I really can’t stand mean girl side characters. And the grand gesture at the end left me with a little bit of second hand embarrassment (and didn’t fit the MMC’s character throughout the book).

Besides those small things I like the fluttery butterfly feeling this book gives. They’re some GREAT kissing scenes and I officially want to go on a binge read of all things sports romance. I loooove when I can find a closed door sports romance.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Sports Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: incarcerated parent, car accident

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