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Book Review-Strictly Business by Ruth Cardello

by | May 24, 2022 | Book Reviews | 4 comments

This review may contain spoilers, so fair warning, upon reading the review.

About The Book

Lies and attraction abound when a savvy businessman posing as his twin and an oil baron’s niece battle over a family farm in this steamy romance from New York Times bestselling author Ruth Cardello.

I just found out I have an identical twin. Wasn’t looking for one. Would have preferred to not have one, but here we are. We have nothing in common. I was adopted by a successful businessman who raised me to see life as a game and gave me the skills to win it. Him? He is about to lose his family’s farm. You heard me—farm.

Lucky for him, I’m a firm believer that when it comes to family, no one goes to battle alone. I’m in. I’ve switched lives with him and will use every business trick I know to save his farm.

However, my initial plan did not take into account a drop-dead gorgeous oil rep or the secrets I uncover about my brother. And worst of all, I’m starting to like the farm and all its inhabitants. I can’t stop thinking about that oil rep. This will definitely take longer to resolve than anticipated.

It takes more strength to risk letting someone in thankeepiing everyone at a distance.

My Review

First Impressions

I received a gift box from the author who reached out to me and sent me the physical copy of Ruth Cardello. I was so pleased to be sent this, and it made me so happy and it was full of goodies. I was more than excited to grab this one up, this is one of my favorite contemporary authors, and I am a bit biased as her books got me back into contemporary romance. Her books will always deliver for me and I absolutely adored Strictly Business. It was such a delight to read and it just had everything that I love in a small town romance. It was a bit different, and it definitely have Ruth Cardello’s flair for writing that is always so delightful to read and she had me laughing all over the place and with just the right touch of heat to deliver a strong solid romance. While its not a perfect book, it was such a beautiful distraction.


Our story starts our with our hero, Jesse who is a twin. He runs a profitable business and is working with NASA, but then his twin comes to him and asks him to do a trading place in their lives for a short time. Jesse loves his brother and family is everything to him, and agrees. But working on a farm is not his dream and he is out of his element. Then he meets the gorgeous oil representative who is trying to get the farm to sell….Crystal. Crystal is a professional taste tester and works at a company where they attempt to refine flavors to be more palatable but then her uncle approaches her to work a side job for him and try to convince a farmer to sell to him. Her side job isn’t as simple as her uncle made it sound. Because when she meets the farmer Jesse, she is shocked by the level of attraction that she feels toward him. Jesse and Crystal are working for opposing parties in this venture, and they know a romance entanglement is a dangerous because if they get involved they risk betraying their families and those they care about the most. But as Jesse and Crystal explore their relationship, they know what they have is real and is worth fighting for…

What I Loved

Strictly Business was a superb read that I fell head over heels in love with. First off, we have this wonderful setting of a coastal farm with all the awkward farm animals that need some extra love and attention. Then we have a bit of a enemies to lovers/Grumpy-Sunshine trope that add some unique twists to the mix. And to top that off, we have twins switching places and not being the most honest to their ladies. This is definitely packed with characters that are completely out of their element, and learning to adapt to changed environments while finding love along the way. This book was amusing from beginning to end. I have always been endeared by the wit that Ruth Cardello places in her stories, and its no different for Strictly Business and I adored seeing the way that the growth of their relationship form. There is a bit of back and forth, but it didn’t bother me too much like it normally would. I believe the style of the way its written, is what kept me engaged and wanted to see what would be the catalyst of Jessie and Crystal coming together. It was intriguing to see their chemistry and their attempts at dating. Their chemistry is off the charts and I really was charmed by the mix of blindfolds and food that are blended into the romance. I was smiling the whole way through these moments that added a country like charm to the story. There is a level of human feeling in this story and It was so easy to become invested in the story and what it conveys. The ending of the story was perfection and I can’t wait for the twin’s book because he is in for a fight for his girl.

What I Struggled With

Not many aspects I had a hard time, the pacing felt a bit off for me. I might have had too high of an expectation on this maybe? I am not sure because I never struggle with this author, or it definitely could have been my mood as well as I have become such a mood reader of late. But once I got to the second half of the story, it really pulled me into the story.

Overall View

I found Strictly Business to be a delightful mix of sexy and wit, its a story guaranteed to knock your socks off. The romance will endear you into laughs, swoons and small smexy moments to win your heart! A WHIRLWIND OF A ROMANCE

Title: Strictly Business

Author: Ruth Cardello

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Format: Trade Paperback

Source: Author

Length: 267 Pages

Amazon| Goodreads| StoryGraph| Literal Club

Book Evaluation

Storytelling Quality: 4

Story Itself: 4.25

Character Development: 4

Writing Style: 4.5

World Building 4

Feels + The Romantic Heart 4.25

Pacing 4

Plot 4

Cover Art 4

Ending 4.5

Book Ratings

Overall Rating of the Book

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Steam Level

Simmering—soft warm touches and light intimacy

Warm- a medium level of sexual tension, a balance of sexual and emotional intimacy, lighter on the details in the sexual moments.

Steamin’ up the room -the sexual content is more explicit in the language and tone, heavier amount of sexual scenes.

Blazing fire to the building-The prime focus is the sex scenes, scorching hot, and could burn one. Less focus on the emotional intimacy to the relationship.

Series Order

The Switch Series

Strictly Business-Pub 2022 #1 in the Series

Out of Love-Pub 2022 #2 in the Series

About The Author

Ruth Cardello hit the NYTs and USA Today for the first time back in 2012. Millions of sales are evidence that her books are akin to potato chips, addictive from the first one. She has created a multi-series billionaire world with a combination of escapism and realism that has gained her a faithful following of readers.

Ruth Cardello was born the youngest of 11 children in a small city in northern Rhode Island. She spent her young adult years moving as far away as she could from her large extended family. She lived in Boston, Paris, Orlando, New York–then came full circle and moved back to New England. She now happily lives one town over from the one she was born in. For her, family trumped the warmer weather and international scene.

She was an educator for 20 years, the last 11 as a kindergarten teacher. When her school district began cutting jobs, Ruth turned a serious eye toward her second love- writing and has never been happier. When she’s not writing, you can find her chasing her children around her small farm or connecting with her readers online.

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  1. anovelglimpse

    How fun to be sent some goodies to go with the book!

  2. Sophia Rose

    How fun that she sent you the gift box to brighten your day. I love it that they are both out of their element and representing others. I’ll have to give it a try at some point.

  3. Stephanie

    This sounds like it would be a fun read! I always enjoy books where people switch places and it causes them to wind up in lots of hilarious situations. Plus, add some spicy romance in there and it would be a hit!

  4. Ann Lorz

    Sounds like you really enjoyed it. I love a goody box.


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