The Problem With Perfect

A totally feelgood, fake-fake boyfriend queer romcom that will make you smile

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Pub Date 11 May 2023 | Archive Date 7 Apr 2023

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When style is everything, will Ethan learn that true beauty is on the inside?

Chase Myles can throw together a swinging dinner party or redecorate an entire townhouse with jaw-dropping elegance. Followers scroll his Insta and see effortless workouts, exotic travel, and an adoring boyfriend. The world believes Chase is a style icon. The world is mistaken.

Ethan Wells is actually the one who knows what to wear, what to eat and how to do it but he’s happy staying behind the scenes producing their hit LGBTQ show Myles of Style. When Chase walks off set just before the Pride live TV show that will make or break Ethan’s career, Ethan thinks it’s just another tantrum… until Chase’s Instagram shows him partying hard in Abu Dhabi.

Out of options, Ethan drives up to rural New York to convince Chase’s estranged twin, Beau, to pass him off as Chase for a week, but Ethan finds a hairy, rugged mountain man who couldn’t be more different from his social butterfly, influencer brother.

Can Ethan transform Beau into the star of the show and fool his bosses and Chase’s followers? And when Beau turns out to be kind, romantic and everything that Chase is not, does he really want Chase back, anyway?

A gorgeously uplifting queer romance that is a love letter to NYC, featuring a fake-fake boyfriend, opposites attract and a vintage convertible full of elderly drag queens, don’t miss the feelgood read of 2023! Fans of Casey McQuiston, Boyfriend Material and Beth O’Leary will love this.

When style is everything, will Ethan learn that true beauty is on the inside?

Chase Myles can throw together a swinging dinner party or redecorate an entire townhouse with jaw-dropping elegance...

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ISBN 9781804363287
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Average rating from 125 members

Featured Reviews

Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for allowing me to read an arc of this book.

I wasn’t sure at first if I would get on with this book as the first few pages over used names to know end, but thankfully that stopped after the first chapter and I ended up enjoying it and read it in a day.

While the writing wasn’t fantastic, the representation is where this book really shone for me. Not only is their a Black trans woman with a wife and child, there’s also a two nonbinary characters, middle aged drag queens and my personal favourite moment was when Beau introduced Ethan to his friend who ran a vegan hot dog stand which she had made completely accessible for her wheelchair. It might have been a small moment but it was wonderful to me to have a disabled person shown as any able bodied person would be, as a friend and business owner and not as someone who needs babying or talked down to.

The overall story was enjoyable and I loved seeing the relationship between Ethan and Beau evolve and see Ethan’s journey back to himself.

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What a gorgeous, gorgeous book. A funny, warm and touching novel that explored behinds the scenes on a TV Show. Yes, at base level it’s a lovely gay romance- but underneath that it’s full of deeper meaning- found family, workplace personas and unresolved traumas are all handled with care and warmth. Highly recommend- and I’d love to see a Fire Island set sequel

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Ethan is an uber intense lifestyle producer for s gay television streaming production company. He discovered Chase Myles because Chase would appeal to the majority, as an out, handsome gay man. The trouble is, Ethan created a bit of a monster and Chase becomes demanding, and prima-donna'ish. When Chase goes missing Ethan finds himself in a bit of a pickle, as Ethan's success and a future promotion is banking on chase. They even have everyone fooled believing they are dating - for the cameras. Then Ethan remembers Chase has an identical twin brother Beau who might come in handy. Ethan sets about convincing Beau to moonlight as Chase which is where things start to go awry because now THEY have to pretend to be dating, and Ethan finds out Beau is nothing at all like Chase .... which is a really, really good thing.

The Problem With Perfect is a fun, quirky MM rom-com. I had imaginings of Queer Eye with Ethan the quintessential man about town in New York, and Chase a hairy, alternate, meditative type who has everyone wondering what's going on with Chase. I enjoyed the way Beau challenged Ethan intellectually (in ways Chase doesn't) and confronts Ethan's need for everything to be perfect, presentable, and preened. Ethan was surrounded by such a colourful group of friends and family, and I enjoyed his balancing this while yearning for someone to call his own. Beau was simply too good to be true I have to say, but it's a rom-com so I'll take him. He was just the balance to Ethan's high maintenance, the relaxed-zen vibe to Ethan's intensity. I didn't feel like the chemistry was overwhelming, but more a comfort level between the two of them, but this might be because any loving scenes occur off the page. It's sweet, a bit Priscilla Queen of the Desert vibes as well with the case of drag queens.

A really enjoyable read.

Thanks to Hera and Netgalley fo the digital copy of this book to read and review.

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The Problem With Perfect is a terrific novel! I loved it! So maybe it isn't perfect, but the enjoyment it gave me was quite satisfying. The author creates a scenario where a pretty boy takes off, leaving the TV show he is working on without its star. Cleverly, author Philip William Stover creates an identical twin to take the place of his brother. We now see two wildly different "identical" twins and the fun begins. The story is warm and affectionate and includes lots of diverse characters. Count me in for the sequel!
Thanks NetGalley for the ARC.

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Thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an arc of this book. Below is my honest review.

Ethan is the executive producer on the show, Myles of Style, starring the utterly clueless Chase Myles. He has no real skills beyond his good looks and always throws a tantrum on every shoot. After a particularly bad fight at filming, Chase storms off right before the big pride parade. Livestreams, multiple segments, and even a ribbon cutting are in peril. Ethan needs the parade to go well so he can get a huge promotion. After going to Chase’s apartment, Ethan realized that Chase wasn’t really stressed out … he was just selfish. He left to go have fun in Miami. What is Ethan to do? Insert Beau, Chase’s twin with whom Chase had a falling out many years ago. Beau filling in for Chase is a brilliant idea, right? It isn’t like Beau is in deep debt or anything. Or, you know, of the gruff mountain man variety who lives completely off the grid. Not a problem in sight … not one.

This was really cute. Beau was awesome. I wish I knew more about the mountain man version of him. However, everything we did learn kept me interested and engaged. He kept impressing me with things he did and knows. Chase was a great “villain” whose selfishness and lack of awareness knows no bounds. The side characters (here’s looking at you Uncle Clams and the trope you instigated) were fun to get to know. Ethan was probably my least favorite character. He could have been a bit more likable. He wasn’t terrible, but clueless in his own way. The end was worth it though.

There were some super fun scenes in the book. One of which was the quintessential makeover scene. Some of the products “Chase” had to promote were hilarious.

If the synopsis seems like something you’d like … then definitely go for it! You won’t be disappointed.

CW: death of parents off page (accident, cancer), panic attack on and off page, family falling out described on page.

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This is the pride holiday hallmark movie of a book we need and deserve - it's sweet and fun, with lots of heart and leaves you with a warm, happy feeling and hopeful for things to come. The plot beats are well-worn and predictable, like a favorite blanket, and truly let the characters shine for it. Stereotypes are addressed and flipped on their heads (except for Chase, who always kind of remains a dingbat), the whole cast feels naturally diverse and supportive and loving, and the issues Ethan and Beau tackle really help flesh out their characters and show how well they balance each other and help each other grow. The author mentions at the end that he'd classify this as kiki-fiction, and that feels perfectly accurate to me, full of queer characters helping each other through issues and helping them live authentically. This book was exactly what I needed and I will definitely be reading it again.

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This book - a funny, sweet, & heartwarming queer rom com - put the biggest smile on my face. The Problem with Perfect by Philip William Stover opens with Ethan Wells in crisis: Chase Myles, the vapid, shallow star of their gay lifestyle show Myles of Style, has gone to Miami after throwing a fit on set, and won't be returning in time to film crucial content. Faced with losing the job he's worked so hard for, Ethan heads up state to track down Chase's identical twin brother Beau - a man Ethan barely knew existed.

Beau is the opposite of Chase: besides looking like a mountain man, he's also thoughtful, kind, and about as anti-materialistic as they come. Beau doesn't want to help Ethan out, until Ethan says not only will it help relieve some of Beau's debt, it will also really piss off Chase. That's reward enough, and the two head to NYC.

Chase's brief Miami trip turns into an indefinite trip to Abu Dhabi, and Beau is conscripted to replace Chase full time for a month, to get them through the Pride Parade, which Myles of Style will be live-streaming for the first time. The one twist Ethan is reluctant to tell Beau about is that he and Chase also had a fake engagement (to appear like a stable gay couple to appease the network). Beau must now be fake-Chase AND Ethan's fake-boyfriend.

As expected, as Ethan and Beau work closely together, the chemistry mounts and hijinks ensue. I will be honest that towards the end of the book, some of the drama got a little too melodramatic for me, but when all was said and done, I really enjoyed this one. Highly recommend for anyone looking for a HEA for two really great male characters.

Thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC.

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So, at the beginning it really felt like Ethan was more of a caricature of a gay man in NYC rather than realistic, and Chase even more so. Ethan became whole and complex and I loved him very quickly but I never understood or believed Chase and I also had some issues with Chase and Beau's backstory/reconnection. I did honestly love the story though, and I flew through it. Highly recommend!

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(3.5 stars!)

A queer rom-com, for fans of Boyfriend Material, The Problem With Perfect feels fresh, relatable, and fun!

TV producer, Ethan Wells, finds himself in a pickle when his show star Chase goes on an unplanned adventure, leaving Ethan in a bind and a tv schedule up in disarray. When Ethan is able to convince Chase's twin brother to leave his yurt in the middle of nowhere and take over his brother's socialite lifestyle, he soon realizes maybe Chase isn't wrong to want to leave his seemingly picture perfect life.

While I found the writing a bit repetitive and simple at time, I really enjoyed this read!

What I Loved:
- The main characters. I loved Ethan. He is funny but understandably frustrating. Yes, he's a neurotic control freak, but he's been through so much and loves people so deeply and just wants to be somebody and live a life others will think is worthy. And even if that's problematic, it's relatable. Beau comes into his life on a fluke but it's clearly the perfect time to show up and show Ethan the authentic life he could be living! Beau is introspective and self aware and has also clearly been through a lot. His characterization is a little too matter of fact sometimes, but he's layered and more than hot mountain main. I grew to love both of them so much!
-The side characters. A black trans woman best friend living her most authentic life. Middle aged drag queens acting as the voices of reason. An assistant who's entire being is totally hilarious "Tina has cried every day since the day I hired her". Hysterical! This cast of found family was PERFECTION!
-The pop culture reference. The social commentary on social media and sponsorships. And moments that's make you laugh out loud!

Is this a ground breaking read? No, but it's a simply fun rom-com that shows us there's no one perfect way to be and the only way we should want to be is the one that feels the most authentic and makes us the most happy and that's something I can get behind and know readers of all kind will appreciate.

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Three and a half stars.

Ethan Wells has been producing a lifestyle tv show Myles of Style hosted by an openly gay presenter, Chase Myles. Ethan is the brains and the flair of the operation, Chase is the pretty front-man, I was going to say nice but dim, but he isn't very nice, in fact he's a complete diva and very unprofessional. The studio also likes the idea of Chase and Ethan as a couple so the two of them have been fake dating for years, even though Chase is sleeping with other men left right and centre. When Chase swans off to a party in Miami when the team have time-critical social media pictures and content to film and post Ethan can see his longed-for promotion slipping out of his reach. With no time to fly to Miami and drag Chase back, Ethan decides to try to persuade Chase's identical twin brother, who lives in the wilds of rural New York, to step and take the shots.

Chase's brother Beau is nothing like Chase, intelligent, thoughtful, kind, mindful, oh and he looks like the wild man of Borneo, although that's easily fixed. The trouble is, on set no-one can understand how 'Chase' is no longer throwing tantrums on a daily basis and suddenly remembers the names of all the crew members. But when Chase decides to fly off to Abu Dhabi with a film producer he met in Miami will Beau be able to pull off a longer deception? And what will happen when Chase eventually returns?

Literature and films are mildly obsessed by identical twins/doppelgangers. Just think of The Parent Trap, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Man in The Iron Mask, or Dave. So the idea of a look-alike or twin being nicer than the original is not a new one. But if you enjoy that sort of thing (which I do) then this is a fun take on the theme.

I think my grading would have been higher if Beau hadn't been so dargone perfect, he felt too good to be true. Even his big bad secret was truly nothing of the kind. And in contrast, Ethan seemed to be the one who had to change himself, it's interesting that this is often a complaint I make about hetero romances, it is always the woman who has the faults and has to change - maybe its just something that writers lean into more heavily on the protagonist rather than their love interest? Anyway, it did make me wonder what Beau found to like about Ethan when he was (apparently) so bossy and needed everything to be perfect. But a minor gripe, otherwise it was a fun read.

I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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This was a fun, sweet read. Although it was filled with many cliches, I loved how the book was unapologetically queer. Ethan wasn’t the most likable character in the world, but he felt very real and ended up having quite a lot of depth to him and loved seeing his journey unfold, especially the connection between him and Beau. I do wish the ending was more fleshed out (I felt things ended a bit too abruptly) but overall, I enjoyed this one.

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Thank you for the digital review copy, Hera Books.

Fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. This book was a lot of fun!

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3.5 stars
This was a fun and enjoyable read with incredible characters. Ethan is intense and driven but still so full of love and life and Beau is charming and calm and exactly what Ethan needs. The book, given that it's written with Ethan's perspective, gives the reader such a good understanding of Ethan's perspective and his complexities - it is abundantly clear that Ethan is someone who at heart, tries to do good but over the years has become lost in business and busyness of his job. Ethan definitely has flaws and there were at least a few moments where I just wanted to whack him over the head because of his decisions, but his flaws were very relatable and made me like Ethan even more. Beau I understood less of since we just didn't get too much of his internal dialogue, but he was perfect for Ethan. The author did such a fantastic job of building a relationship between the two characters and showing their journey - I had no doubts about why they loved each other at all.
Some places that I thought could be improved were:
- the ending felt a little bit rushed - I love epilogues and would have loved to read a little bit more toward the end. There were definitely other parts of the book that could have been cut to make space since length can be a real issue. Also, Beau's talk with Chase and the parade etc. was so rushed and took away from the solid ending that I would have wanted.
- the secondary (tertiary?) cast members - it felt like none of them were really introduced super well? I still didn't quite understand the deal with Keegan and Chase or some of the other cast. The complications that Beau faced with Chase's relationships with everyone are definitely important, but I felt a bit like Beau having been dropped into someone else's life out of context with a bunch of people you don't know or understand. Beau and Ethan's relationship was so well developed and it was fantastic, but I think some work on the secondary/tertiary cast could have been done to make it clear who everyone is and make them memorable. I also loved Clams and Amnesia and would have loved to see more of them.
- Seeing more of Beau's internal thoughts in some way would have been so nice. It felt like I got to understand Ethan so well, and I would have loved to have some of that understanding for Beau too.

Overall, it was a delightful read that was fun and lighthearted, but with some important messages in it. I recommend it to anyone wanting to read a light, feel-good romcom.

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Thank you Hera Books and NetGalley for this eARC, these opinions are my own. I really enjoyed this love story! Ethan is into fashion, high end eating, etc. and wanted to pursue it but was not good in front of the camera, then he meets Chase, a very handsome man. He’ll look great on camera and he loves it. It’s a perfect match, but years later the two can barely get along for their show and Ethan is wondering why he got into this in the first place. Then Chase runs off and if Ethan doesn’t do something he’ll lose all the hard work he put in. Enter Beau, Chase’s estranged twin brother, with a little sprucing he’ll look just like Chase and no one will know the difference. But with a strong attitude, a warming personality, and good looks, can they pull off the switcheroo? And what if Ethan starts to develop more then a working relationship? I enjoyed that Ethan was a complex character he had gotten more involved with the show and his trajectory towards a high position that he hadn’t spent any time looking and whether he liked it or not. This also led to him putting up with objectionable things as a means to an end! I enjoyed the slow burn between Ethan and Beau and how Beau made Ethan really reflect on himself! And Ethan helped Beau come back to who he was! The only thing o would say is there were some slow parts that got bogged down in details but overall I enjoyed the book and would highly recommend it! Can’t wait to read it again!

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The Problem With Perfect was a fun and adorable read that had The Charm Offensive vibes. I really loved the relationship between Beau and Ethan. The side characters were hilarious and I would read a whole novel with Ethan's found family taking center stage. Also, I need to know more about the trio of drag queens that Ethan's Uncle Clams is a member of!

This was a fast read that had all the hallmarks of a good rom-com. I will definitely be on the look out for more from this author!

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Very cute and clever, but there needed to be a final lovemaking scene. Nothing too raunchy, but a romance needs that climax. Good enough, and nice to read a gay romance written by a gay man.

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Funny and charming. I loved all of the behind-the-scenes stuff and the writing was very funny. Ethan is a bit dry so if you if you don't like your humor sharp this might sting. Loved Uncle Clams and the senior drag queens.

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This book made my heart sing. If you’re a fan of rom-coms and makeovers…if you have a soft spot for Cyrano and Cinderella…if you believe that perfection has no place in love…then this book will probably make your heart sing, too.

Ethan produces a popular TV show called Myles of Style and the host, Chase Myles, is a nightmare. A gorgeous nightmare, but a temperamental, pain-in-the-ass-who-needs-a-babysitter nightmare nonetheless. Through a delicious and delightful set of circumstances, Chase goes rogue and Ethan needs Chase’s mountain-man-esque twin brother, Beau, to fill in for him. What Ethan is not banking on is that Beau is a gorgeous nightmare in his own evolved, insightful, inspirational way, and he wakes up something inside Ethan that Ethan didn’t quite know was asleep.

The author expertly creates the self-indulgent world of aspirational TV content, walking the line between the ridiculous and the sublime. But he endows Ethan with an impressively vast store of knowledge about everything from beauty and style to history and politics that makes it clear Ethan is destined for bigger and better—or perhaps just more fulfilling—endeavors than producing a show designed to make people feel endlessly bad about themselves so they’ll buy the products made by the show’s sponsors. While this book is very, very funny—with lines like, “It’s a combination energy drink and personal lubricant,” that will make you laugh out loud—it’s also a lovely call to arms with regard to self-acceptance and authenticity in the face of external pressure, values we can all stand to be reminded of on a regular basis. In other words, don’t bother with perfect—contentment and true love lie in being as real as you can possibly stand.

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I always love a good lighthearted queer rom-com.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for the ARC!

You’ll love this book if you’re into:

🤫 the fake dating trope
👠 Wizard of Oz references
💅 a delightful trio of elderly drag queens

Content warnings: homophobia, panic attack, car accident (off page), death of parents (off page)

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We land into the world of Chase Myles. Sophisticated, elegant, perfect. Chase who can show you how to pack the perfect beach bag or how to style your home. Host of "Myles of Style" he is the hot, young thing on the LGBTQ+ scene.

Except Chase isn't those things, Ethan is. Chase is actually a temperamental man child who walks off set mid filming and a few weeks before NYC Pride festival.

Ethan, producer & brainchild of "Myles of Style", is in a bind. But remembers Myles has an equally handsome twin brother, if somewhat off grid & wild. This is where the real story begins.

Beau is the opposite of Chase and maybe he's exactly what Ethan needs to remind him that perfect isn't achievable. This is a real fun book that reminds its readers that no one is perfect, embrace the messy & never be afraid to be yourself. The main characters are fleshed out & there's no side stories and side drama that don't overtake from the main one but round it off nicely.

It's a very typical romcom with its misunderstandings, no straightforward talking & third act drama between the two protagonists but you know what, that's exactly what I signed up for!

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4.25/5 stars! The premise of this book sounded quirky and fun and I was excited to read this queer contemporary romance. Overall, it was an enjoyable read. Beau was a breath of fresh air and I appreciated his authenticity to himself. Ethan was a bit harder to get behind early on. He felt like a control freak who cared more about results than the costs. But, as the story developed, and as Beau showed him there was a different way to live, I appreciated seeing him grow and them grow together—a sweet contemporary romance.

I received an advance review copy for free through NetGalley, and I am leaving this review voluntarily

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NOTE TO READERS: make sure you read the synopsis before you start this book. I forgot to refresh my memory, and almost DNFed within the first chapter because Chase Myles is one of the most unlikeable characters I've ever met. Beau Myles on the other hand...*swoon.* And luckily for you (and me) this book is all about "Beau" and Ethan's story, not Chase. Whew.

I really enjoyed this one. It reminded me a little too much of the movie Bros at times (laid back love interest + high strung anxious main character, with the plot revolving around an upcoming massive pride event that our MC is in charge of making happen), but luckily for me far less depressing than that movie, so it receives a higher rating than Bros. I really enjoyed Beaus character, and the side characters in this book are phenomenal and lovable.

One thing that Beau continuously points out throughout the book is that Ethan has kind of lost his sense of identity to Chase Myles' tv show. And unfortunately this is true to the extent that, by the end of the book, I still didn't really feel like I knew the true Ethan. I would've liked to see his character development fleshed out a bit more, and his transformation begin sooner.

All in all, a fun queer rom com that I think would make the perfect summer beach read.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC.

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A celebration of queer love, Pride, and living your best life—with a realistic view on how corporations try to co-opt those things for their own gains.

Beau is a brilliant character, I love him so much and the story really hits its stride when we're introduced to him. His compassion and the kindheartedness he works so hard to cultivate in himself and everyone around him is just wonderful.

Ethan's character development is great too, although he leaves it very close to the wire to resolve the escalating tensions building throughout the book! I'm not going to lie, I got a little stressed in the last few chapters.

But never fear, the book delivers on the happy ending it promises, incorporating all of the threads that are woven through the story. I especially loved the happily ever after epilogue.

The supporting characters are all amazing, and the book is a joy to read. If you like Boyfriend Material and The Charm Offensive, you'll love this book.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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That was very unexpected in a way.

Ethan is the producer of the lifestyle program for the LGBT+ community, starring Chase Myles. Chase is a true diva. He rebels and takes time off from his busy schedule. Ethan somehow avoids a heart attack and comes up with an idea to substitute Chase with his twin brother. Show is saved.Life is good again, but... is it? As you can guess, Beau is the complete opposite of his brother so perfectionist producer and introvert have to learn how to cooperate.. Will they manage?

This book if full of positive energy and smart message. I enjoyed it a lot, however I am a little disappointed that there was not that much of a romance. And because of that the ending feels a little bit undeserved because i couldn't feel the chemistry, it was there just way not enough for my liking. But if you put all romance aside, than you will be surprised. I was not expecting such an uplifting story about life and what you might want from it.

A beautiful story about people who lost their way and are facing the reality.

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I enjoyed this book. The characters were quirky and entertaining. Being yourself and loving your found family are what we all strive for. I hope we get to see more of Ethan, Beau and the Giblet triplets in the future.

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From start to finish, The Problem With Perfect was an absolute gem of a story.

The characters had me laughing out loud throughout the story, the relationships that were built and tested felt like relationships that could exist outside of a piece of fiction, and the picture it painted of New York City had me terribly missing my favorite city in the world.

Beau and Ethan slowly morph into #couplegoals in The Problem With Perfect, a book I wish I could read again for the first time.

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Sometimes, I'm just in the mood for a diverse rom-com and I'm so happy to say that 'The Problem With Perfect' delivered exactly that. It might not be perfect - sometimes the writing was a little off for me - but it was such a cute, enjoyable read that I didn't mind at all. Ethan & Beau had me grinning at my Kindle several times and by the end I was in love! Definitely recommend for anyone looking for a queer, Hallmark-esque type of read!

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This was a fun light romcom. I enjoyed the characters who were really well developed and jumped off the page. The romance was sweet and nice to read.
Would recommend this to friends!

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You know it's a good beginning when you'd rather get back to reading than work.
You know it's a good book when you stay up until 1am to finish it.

I'm not at all a fan of fake dating but this book managed to make it not as manipulative. I very much enjoyed the main characters.

Because of the themes of perfection, anxiety, and male romance, I would recommend this title for readers who enjoyed "Paris Daillencourt is about to crumble" by Alexis Hall.

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CW: parental abandonment (recounted), homomisia, divorce, death of a parent, car accident (recounted), breast cancer (recounted), panic attacks, acrophobia (fear of heights)

I would like to thank NetGalley and Hera Books for providing me with a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

After the star of Myles of Styles, Chase, abandons the show just a few weeks before Pride, producer Ethan Wells has to scramble to figure out how to keep up with the show’s commitments before summer hiatus. When Ethan discovers that Chase has a twin brother, Beau, he convinces him to pose as Chase until the annual Pride parade. Over time, Ethan learns how Beau is a perfect opposite to Chase and that maybe everything doesn’t have to be perfect in his own pursuit of happiness.

The Problem with Perfect is a really cute book that’s a good summer read. It’s a really interesting take on the fake dating trope and that drew me into the book right away. Stover has something really special in this book and I do appreciate the overall message that Stover wants to get across in The Problem with Perfect. From the good character dynamics to Beau and Ethan’s relationship, there’s a lot to appreciate with this book.

If you’re looking for a Pride-themed rom-com that gives off the same feels as a rom-com on the Hallmark Channel or are looking for a book that blends fake dating and doppelgangers, you’re going to like The Problem with Perfect.

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I’ve been in a bit of reading slump lately: I’ve found a lot of the story’s being sent to me are similar in nature and just didn’t pull me in the way they used to. I was beginning to worry my journey with books was reaching an end…then this fell in my lap. What a delight this book was! Cheesy, but just the right amount of cheesy to make you root for the characters, even the overbearing and controlling Ethan because the author takes time to make sure you understand his behavior and his choices behind his actions. Beau though!!! Can I marry a fictional character? I’m obsessed with Beau. Beautiful, kind, and caring Beau has been dealt a crappy hand and still is a shining ray of light. Set the the scenery of a “Queer Eye” type of show (when I read Chase I kinda get Antoni vibes) and the inner workings of what goes on behind the scenes makes the slow build romance worth the wait. A lovely read and a much needed jump in my current reads!

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I enjoyed this story a lot. It held my interest from the start all the to the HEA. It's worth reading.

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Fake Dating and Celebrity are two of my favorite tropes, so this quirky rom-com with a fake-fake dating twist of a fictional lifestyle celebrity and producer was speaking my language.

Ethan is the head producer of popular ‘Myles of Style’, a popular gay lifestyle show - teaching how to be perfect. The perfect party hosting, perfect cocktail, perfect exercise routine. However the host, Chase Myles is the worst human being. When he quits mid-production to go to a circuit party in Miami… Ethan doesn’t have many options to keep the show on track before their breakout LIVE Pride Broadcast.

Enter estranged identical twin brother Beau who is the complete opposite of Chase. Ethan drives upstate and begs him to fill in and pretend to be his brother. Not just for the show/promos, but also as Ethan’s fake-fake-boyfriend - Chase and he’s been pretending as the perfect-gay couple for network executives and sponsors.

𝙏𝙝𝙚 𝙋𝙧𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙚𝙢 𝙒𝙞𝙩𝙝 𝙋𝙚𝙧𝙛𝙚𝙘𝙩 by Philip William Stover (2023)
Out on May 11th - ★★★.5

This was an enjoyable read and had plenty of LOL moments. The writing was a bit simple and repetitive, but didn’t distract. The side characters really made it for me - Uncle Clams and Amnesia especially were hilarious.
This is not a spicy book, which IMO would have upped the my rating and the relationship development between Ethan and Beau.

The message of the story is to be true to yourself - no need to be “perfect” if you’re being yourself. Always a worthy goal to remind ourselves of all the time.

Social commentary about corporatization of Pride and “perfect acceptable gay” were also good to see.

“𝘕𝘢𝘩, 𝘸𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘸𝘳𝘰𝘯𝘨 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘯? 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘤𝘵. 𝘠𝘰𝘶 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘣𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧.”

Thanks to Hera Books and NetGalley for a chance to early review this story in exchange for an honest review.

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I wasn’t very sure about this book at first, the characters were so unlikeable and it felt a bit like the author had a list of vocabulary words they needed to use but don’t give up because it ends up being a heartwarming little romance book.
Beau wins you over and then Ethan suddenly becomes human and they’re adorable together.
The drag queens steal the show, though. Team Uncle Clams.

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When a book makes you literally laugh out loud from reading it, you are on the right track. Not only does this book have diverse representation of multiple identities but each also has clear flaws that they work to overcome.
In many ways, I identify very strongly with Ethan, a perfectionist who must have control of everything, so watching him learn to let go and live in the moment with Beau brought me to tears.
Additionally, the author masterfully employs Pride and Prejudice-esque romance tropes with sidelong glanes and subtle touches that gave me butterflies. Love a good romance without the smut.
Overall, a very fun (and for me very personally introspective) read.

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I enjoyed this book. I didn’t really like the characters but the writing was great. I recommend. Well written funny romcom.

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Chase Myles, face of the lifestyle show Myles of Style, has just thrown another tantrum and selfishly skipped town. With Pride coming, as well as a slew of appearances and sponsor promos, this is Not A Good Time. Ethan - overworked executive producer and “boyfriend” for the optics - is once again left to clean up his mess. To get the promotion his bosses are dangling over him, he needs to smooth things over so well they don’t realize there ever was a wrinkle.

Luckily, Chase also has a publicly unknown identical twin brother, but Beau is living that wilderness life. Getting him looking and acting the part might be even harder than getting him to agree to stand in for Chase in the first place. But he gives his word to try - he’s desperate for the money, knowing it will upset his brother is a bonus.

This one requires some suspension of disbelief - Identical or not, they’ve been living apart and in such vastly different ways for so long the chances you could pass one off as the other would have to be so low. Still, I was so entertained I forgot to care if it was possible. There’s a reluctant makeover montage, hands on dance training, flirting over food, game night with frenemies, and of course a double fake relationship. 

This is not a spicy book. Like…there was only one bed. And he slept on the terrace. I’d have enjoyed a little more heat, but the book is So Sweet. Beau is constantly caring for everyone around him - using strategies he learned dealing with his own anxiety issues to help people he sees struggling. Including Ethan, who is always there for others, often at his own expense. 

The end is *chef’s kiss* great - I’d say perfect, but “perfect suggests there is only one way of doing it” and the moral of the story is *nobody* needs that kind of pressure. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Hera for the ARC!

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This book was really funny! Not a surprise, I've read a Stover book before and I loved it. Like the commentary on social media. The definition of a rom-com if you ask me; the right amount of humour, romance and fun.

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This was such a fun joyful read. The premise was a really unique and entertaining one and the relationship development between the two was a real pleasure to read

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I found The Problem with Perfect hilarious and endearing. Highly recommended! Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read an ARC.

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This is the third book I’ve read by Stover and I have to say that this was easily my favourite. This needs to be adapted into a screenplay. The world deserves to see this turned into a film, I’m looking at you, Netflix!

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this is a perfect summer romcom! Ethan and Beau have a great dynamic that evolves rapidly with every chapter, making it really exciting to read. there’s some great drama with the twin-swap thing and an added layer of fake dating with real feelings. it’s like…double fake dating due to the swap. it’s so so so good.

but what i really loved was the book’s message. it’s about the importance of being yourself. and Philip took it a step further and used it as a way to critique the idea that there’s a correct way to be gay. this book is full of queer people being the best version of themselves.

the story is fun, exciting, uplifting, and romantic. i had a blast reading it and i know you will too.

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Ethan has been consumed with his work, and while he hasn't noticed it, the work has changed. He had wanted a LGBTQ friendly program with Chase Myles, but when Chase leaves the country unannounced, Ethan needs a replacement to make the show work.

The characters were very well-drawn and I loved Ethan's family and friends, diverse members of the LGBTQ community. The story is uplifting and reminds the reader of what is truly important. Highly recommended.

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3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars!

Thank you Netgally for this eARC!

The Problem with Perfect follows Ethan, the creative mind behind the hit LQBTQ show Myles of Style. Ethan may be little uptight, but he is struggling to keep up appearances that everything is perfect with his fake boyfriend (and difficult to work with star of the show) Chase, all while trying to create a show that will advance his career in television.

When Chase decides he would rather fly off to party then continue his show and social media obligations for the upcoming Pride events, Ethan has no choose but to try and convince Beau, Chase's estranged twin, to step up and help with a cover up.

This sweet and funny rom com was full of laughs and insta-attraction between our two MMCs. Ethan & Beau are polar opposites, and yet Ethan finds himself falling for his fake, fake boyfriend.

While I liked the overall story, I thought pacing was a bit off and wished for a bit more character development of Beau and Ethan. I loved the side characters and the representation of the queer community. It was interesting to get a take on the ins and outs of social media and television as well. Overall, it's a cute story worth checking out!

💫 Fake, fake dating
💫 Estranged Twins
💫 Rugged Lumberjack MMC
💫 Opposites attract
💫 Found Family
💫 insta-love / insta-lust

Releases May 11th!

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When TV star Chase disappears for a weekend, producer Ethan turns to Chase's identical twin Beau to fill in for the scheduled social media posts. Except mountain man Beau is nothing like his diva influencer brother. Applying a hair removal regime is simple enough—but as the weeks drag on, and Chase doesn't return, Ethan worries that the ruse will be discovered. With his job and his heart in jeopardy, will Ethan come to terms with what truly matters before he loses everything?

This entertaining romp is a smart and satisfying look at what success really means. It's less romance than humorous gay fiction with a romance subplot. The author describes it as "chick-lit featuring gay male protagonists," and that sounds about right to me. Sharply funny and insightful, it cuts through to what it really means to live your best life.

Thanks, NetGalley, for the ARC I received. This is my honest and voluntary review.

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I enjoyed this read! I needed a rom-com after some heavy fantasy books, and this one was a perfect selection. Plenty of laugh out loud moments, character growth, sweet-swoony romance, and hilarious secondary characters. I especially enjoyed the commentary on pink-washing by media and the true inclusivity of major brands. If you are in the mood for a queer low-spice rom-com, with faking dating/celebrity tropes, add this to your TBR today!

Thank you to NetGalley, Hera publishing, and the author for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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If you're looking for something in the spirit of "Boyfriend Material" and "Red, White, and Royal Blue," then "The Problem with Perfect" just might be your next favourite read.

When a tyrannical television host walks out on his hit lifestyle television series just days before Pride, he is secretly replaced by his estranged twin brother, who conveniently happens to have been living off-the-grid since their falling out.

Chaos and hilarity ensue, with a side of romance for good measure.

"The Problem with Perfect" is totally far-fetched, Like "The Parent Trap" meets "Morning Glory." But perhaps that's half the charm. And while the spice level is low, the awe-inducing moments are plentiful.

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A really enjoyable read, that started with a bit of soapy ridiculousness (the obnoxious reality star who has run out actually has a secret identical, practically perfect, twin!) But theb develops into a thoughtful examination of pinkwashing, the perils of respectability politics and the joy of letting go.

Ethan was a well written protagonist, fully rounded with his flaws evident, but also his underlying goodness which kept the reader invested. I really enjoyed the sweetness of his opening up Beau and the development of their relationship. However I did feel that Beau suffered a little from being almost *too* perfect, I could have done with a few more faults from him to give him a little more depth. Similarly Chase was a little too awful, altjough I appreciated a lot Ethan starting to accept how he had to accept some responsibility for the way Chase had found and dealt with fame.

Overall this was a fun and hopeful read, that I would recommend. Oh and it's also worth noting that it is a very low heat romance, with a couple of kisses only.

*Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the free ARC*

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Thank you NetGalley, Hera Books and Philip William Stover for providing me with an ARC for review of The Problem With Perfect. Available 11 May 2023!

This book really stood out to me among my recent reads. I was laughing and smiling throughout this book. I even had a tear run down my face on the train to work towards the end. Looking back I am not sure why I was crying but when you are vibing it, you are vibing it!

I think that this book was really well written and well paced. I appreciated how the plot was structured, it was really well sign posted for me from the beginning so I always knew where we were off to next and thinking about how this plan could unravel. I guess with all the sign posting comes the issue that this book is fairly predictable, but isn't that what we comfort read romcom's for???

The side characters in the book were beautiful, loved them! All of the side characters were great and all of them played a role in different places throughout the story. Clams and Amnesia take the cake for amazingness!

As the title would suggest, there is an undercurrent commentary on the issue with striving for and perpetuating perfection. I think that this is always an important message if just a bit too cheesy most of the time. But It is handled well in this story and isn't overdone. Focusing on 'outward facing' perfectionism within the queer community is something that still needs to be pushed into the light so I am here for it.

TL;DR - If you want a light hearted queer romcom then this is a fun read.

Will post to socials closer to the release date.

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