After months of teasers through her “Sample Sundays” feature, Christina C. Jones released her latest, The Lies:The Lies We Tell About Love, Life, and Everything in Between, on March 30. I’ve been a fan since discovering Jones last year, and her newest boasts the same drama spliced with hot sex and humor as her other books.
The characters in The Lies aren’t new; they were actually introduced in The Truth: His Side, Her Side, and The Truth About Falling in Love. Brandi is a single mom who’s raising a teenager while still struggling to love again after rejection from her son’s father. Ex-ball player Kyle has an back-and-forth cycle with his son’s mother that he just can’t seem to shake. The two have always had a flirtatious rapport, but never acted on it … until now.
I was amused to watch Brandi and Kyle’s non-relationship evolve from snarky comments on Instagram to a genuine care for each other as people. They’ve got amazing chemistry, but don’t seem to want to grow beyond meetings in their bedroom. It’s stress inducing to see if they let it materialize to anything beyond that! Luckily, the story itself is full of drama. Kyle’s baby mama, Audrey, never seems to know exactly what she wants from him … except to argue. Brandi won’t put aside her bitterness to allow her son’s father, Scott, to be the dad he wasn’t for the first decade of their son’s life. I loved how Brandi and Kyle actually serve as devil’s advocates for their co-parents. Their perspectives from the other side allows them to check the other on how they perceive the actions of their kid’s other parent.
What I appreciated most about The Lies is the skill with which Jones tackles two sensitive topics – mental health and disability. It’s clear early on that Brandi struggles with her mental health. She tries to manage the pressure of being a single mother, a nonexistent love life, and doubts about her self-worth, but there are definitely days where she struggles to literally get out of bed. I felt Jones hit the nail on the head in how she portrayed each character’s response to this; while all were supportive, the reader saw the gamut of . On the other hand, Kyle’s son, KJ, is deaf. Although there isn’t an explanation for his hearing loss, the reader does get to see how his family and friends adapted to his new needs. Jones subtly weaves their experiences into the story in a way that shows day-to-day life. While they are important pieces of the plot and characters’ experiences, it’s not trivialized or sensationalized.
I read this in one sitting, and loved every second. I absolutely recommend it for fans of romance that aren’t about a cliche, neatly packaged “happily ever after.” The Lies is a stand-alone novel, so you’re likely to enjoy it, even if you haven’t read The Truth yet.