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BOOK REVIEW: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: In a Holidaze by Christina LaurenIn a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

One Christmas wish, two brothers, and a lifetime of hope are on the line for hapless Maelyn Jones in In a Holidaze, the quintessential holiday romantic novel by Christina Lauren, the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.

But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.

The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.

Jam-packed with yuletide cheer, an unforgettable cast of characters, and Christina Lauren’s trademark “downright hilarious” (Helen Hoang, author of The Bride Test) hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Review:

In a Holidaze was brimming with Christmas cheer, family, laughter and love!  From that first chapter I felt like I was watching a movie.  It all played out so vividly in my head.  So I couldn’t help but gasp, laugh out loud and fall madly in love with this book.  If you’re looking for a fun Christmas story that has romance in the pages, then definitely add this one to your tbr!

What am I doing with my life? Please. I want…
I’m not even sure how to finish the sentence. I want to be happy, and I’m petrified that the path I’m on now is going to leave me bored and alone.
So I ask the universe, simply: Can you show me what will make me happy?

Every single Christmas, Mae’s family got together with her parent’s college best friends and their families.  They celebrated the holidays together in the mountains and were so close knit.  They loved each other deeply and had so many rituals and activities that they looked forward to each year.  Except this year…..Mae messed up big time. And with it looking like this would be their last time together, Mae’s heart was bleeding.  But then, her whole life got turned upside down and inside out.  With a touch of magic, that reminded me of Groundhogs Day, I had absolutely no clue what was going to happen next!

The display says that today is December 20. But this morning was December 26.
“Wow.” I lean back, looking around. Panic presses in at the edges of my vision, turning the world black and fuzzy.
Breathe, Mae.

I loved Maelyn Jones, aka Mae, right away.  She was resilient, caring, and followed her heart.  It was so easy to feel everything right along with her.  So when life got crazy, I more than understood why she lost it.  Seriously, what in the world was going on?!  How many times would she have to repeat certain moments?  And while I felt her anguish and suffering, I couldn’t help but laugh throughout this whole ordeal.  They were so many hilarious moments!

I want to capture this moment. I want to put it in a snow globe and be able to see it just like this, forever.

The romance in this story was slow and addictive.  And I found myself falling in love right along with them.  Well technically Mae already had loved Andrew forever, but you’ll see what I mean.  Andrew had been friends with Mae practically his whole life.  He always saw her as a friend, but with magic or was it fate intervening, I kept my fingers crossed he’d start to see her in another light.  You guys, Andrew was most definitely book boyfriend material!  He was sexy, patient, thoughtful, sweet and kind.  And I loved how he always paid attention to Mae.

His eyes sparkle, and sensation zips up my spine. I swear he’s never looked at me like this, like he’s seeing me for the first time.

With sledding, picking out a Christmas tree, making snow critters, mistletoe and more, I loved all of the Christmas festivities in the pages!   It added to the fun of how the story played out and I kept finding myself smiling and laughing out loud.  On top of Mae and Andrew, we had their families, another family and then Benny.  I loved, loved, loved Benny!  He was their parent’s best friend who gave me this Cheech and Chong mixed with Mr Rogers persona lol!  Bennie warmed my heart and made me feel like Mae was safe. He was someone she could trust and confide in during these crazy times thank goodness.

His breath comes out warm against my neck, voice shaking: “It never occurred to me that you might be mine.”

It was so easy to fall in love with these characters and their story!  And it ended with an epilogue that had all of my hopes and dreams swirled together. Seriously.  It was that fabulous!  So if you’re looking for a Christmas story, or a romance that will make you smile, laugh and fall in love then definitely pick this one up!  I’m so glad I did!

Going still, he breathes in uneven bursts against my neck. “I’ve loved you my whole life, but this new thing…” He sucks in a deep breath. “It’s amazing and scary.”

PS I actually went into this book with NO knowledge at all, besides my co-blogger Arielle saying it was a must read. The hold at my library was 13 weeks out and I was number 17 on the wait list lol. I was emotionally not in a great place at all, so when I got a notice that Chelsea, my other co-blogger, gifted me this book, I cried all the happy tears and started it right away! *All the Christmas hugs Chelsea‘s way, I love you!*

BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina LaurenThe Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author behind the “joyful, warm, touching” (Jasmine Guillory, New York Times bestselling author) The Unhoneymooners comes a delightfully charming love story about what happens when two assistants tasked with keeping a rocky relationship from explosion start to feel sparks of their own.

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

From the “hilariously zany and heartfelt” (Booklist) Christina Lauren comes a romantic comedy that proves if it’s broke, you might as well fix it.

Review

So.

This was a solid romance with a solid story line and solid characters. That being said, I didn’t LOVE it. I am SO bummed out to be saying that and it’s another reason why I wanted to put this review off until later. The last few Christina Lauren books have not left me obsessed and it breaks my heart. I feel like their actual writing is so solid and still has me laughing and shivering with all the ~feels~ so often but there’s just something missing that I can’t quite put my finger on.

This book is about Carey, who at first is seemingly just an assistant to the HGTV-esque couple, Melissa and Rusty Tripp. Think Chip and Joanna Gaines but with a super fucked up and toxic relationship that is hidden from the general public. Carey is Melissa’s go-to for everything while our main guy/ grump, James, has become the equivalent to Rusty. Carey and James haven’t interacted a whole lot before now but all of those interactions have been a bit stilted. James thinks he’s above it all because he was originally hired under the impression that he’d be in an engineering position so he’s been kind of a know-it-all to Carey.

When certain things come to light RIGHT before the couple is supposed to go on a book tour for their brand new book on their “successful marriage,” Carey and James are forced to come along. As with any group of people who is forced together under shitty situations, the two begin to get to know each other better and commiserate with one another and well….you can really guess where their relationship goes from there.

I think the something that didn’t quite appeal to me was that so much of the book was about how shitty Melissa and Rusty’s relationship was and how abusive their relationship was to Carey. I mean, on one hand, that’s a HUGE part of Carey’s life and why certain parts of her are like they are but…..I guess I would have just like more James and Carey??? I don’t know, I really don’t lol.

One thing I *did* like was seeing Carey’s life with focal dystonia. I had honestly never heard of that before and having books include characters with issues like these just really opens my eyes to how many things different people struggle with on a daily basis that you might not know anything about! With Carey, it impacted something that she loved doing, something that was part of her job. Other than a VERY mild case of anxiety SOMETIMES, I really have no problems to worry about on a daily basis. I definitely take that for granted (as I’m sure a lot of other people do too) so seeing these characters is really important for everyone.

Overall I DID enjoy this and I will always and forever read anything these ladies put out. I know there will be plenty of people that fall madly in love with this book and these characters—especially James’s grumpy ass, lol.


Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for allowing me to read an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

BOOK REVIEW: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina LaurenTwice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling duo behind The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a poignant romance that follows two people who fall in love during a life-changing overseas vacation—only for the truth to change everything once they return home.

As an adventurous send-off to her childhood, eighteen-year-old Tate Jones travels with her grandmother from their small town in Northern California to London. But the vacation of a lifetime is wonderfully derailed by the appearance of two charming Vermont farmers: grandfather Luther and his handsome grandson Sam.

Sam and Tate fall hard and fast. For two glorious weeks, the couple share their hopes, dreams, and secrets. Sam admits he suspects his grandfather is dying and that this could be the last trip they take together, and Tate reveals that she is the hidden daughter of one of the biggest film stars in the world—a secret she’s never told anyone before.

But when Tate is exposed by a crush of cameras and reporters, she knows she's been betrayed by the one person she thought she could trust. She is forced to decide whether she will return to her quiet life or embrace being in the public eye. So when Sam reappears in her world more than a decade later, can Tate forgive the past and rekindle the passion they shared on their magical trip abroad? And does she even want to?

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

Review:

The range of what these two can write about and make me love, somehow still surprises me every time I open up one of their new books. Their more erotic stuff (Wild Seasons and Beautiful series), their romantic comedies (Josh and Hazel, Half-Night Stand, etc.), and their more…poignant (?) novels (Love and Other Words and now this one) have all stuck out to me as being some of my favorite romances of all time for different reasons. While there were a few parts of this one that didn’t make me feel a 100% full-on, typical Arielle obsession, there is no doubt that I felt these words deep in my bones. There are (as always) quite a few quotes that I highlighted the crap out of because I know even just reading those few specific lines over again will have my heart racing.

I’ll been that there will be some people that will say that the romance between Sam and Tate during their brief time in London at the beginning of the book wasn’t believable and I will strongly disagree. I am and always have and will be a die-hard romantic. I’d like to think that I do, in fact, believe in a variation of love at first sight. I think that it’s entirely possible to meet someone for the very first time and have a ~sense~ about them that tells you that they are special. It can be a bone deep connection that you can’t shake..a feeling that your entire life as you know it has changed by this chance meeting. That’s how I feel about how Tate and Sam met. They saw each other, spent time together, talking, and they indeed felt that pull to one another that only happens between certain people. I personally loved that first part and it reminded me a lot of Gayle Foreman’s Just One Day duology.

The story ten fast forwards to about 15 years after their week in London. After the press is alerted to who Tate really is, in a whirlwind of events she is now an actress, just as famous as her father. The two are starring in their very first movie together and they are filming on a beautiful farm in northern California. In an….interesting….turn of events, the screen writer for this film that Tate has grown to love so dearly is, yeah you guessed it, Sam. They have not seen nor heard from one another in FIFTEEN YEARS so it’s a pretty big shock to Tate to say the least. Obviously the rest of the book is about the two of them trying to wade through the ocean of feelings and hurt that lay between them.

The one thing I didn’t like about this book, kind of spoiler alert, was that they didn’t get back together until very near the end of the book. I mean….in real life it’s obviously super realistic for them to have taken a long amount of time to heal their respective wounds before they could reconnect but damn…I selfishly just wanted more time with them actually together as an actual couple lol. It just slightly dimmed the story and knocked off a star for me but that still doesn’t mean I didn’t like the book. I mean when they got back together that first time the writing gave me goosebumps and took my breath away. It was incredible.

So yes, overall, I would definitely recommend this one. As always. Just know it’s not like the last few light-hearted ones they have written!

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: The Unhoneymooners by Christina LaurenThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of... lucky.

Review:

It PHYSICALLY pains me to say that this is not in the running for one of my favorite Christina Lauren books. You better believe that I had been stalking NetGalley for the last few weeks, hoping to see this cover pop up. I was SO excited to find out that I was approved on the first day in YEARS that I had a snow day, too. I loved Olive and Ethan and when I first read the synopsis about this being a hate-to-love featuring a pretend marriage…mmmm…I figured this would be a recipe for perfection.

That wasn’t exactly the case. Overall this book was still good and I still laughed out loud many, many times. I mean during a good chunk I was actually rocking my daughter, trying to get her down for a nap, and it was getting physically hard to hold in my laughter and not wake her up haha. I loved reading about their time in Hawaii together.  The banter and their chemistry was great as always.  The only part about this book that caused me to pause and knock off a star..maybe a star and a half, was purely a personal preference thing. It was a situation towards the end involving “the conflict” between Olive and Ethan..and even Olive’s sister..that really rubbed me the wrong way. View Spoiler »This similar type of situation bothers me in every romance though, so there’s a good chance that it won’t affect a lot of people’s views on the book overall. Like I said, still a hilarious, sexy, finish-in-a-day because of the addictive writing kind of book…it just wasn’t meant for me like most of their other ones!

Also, random side note–I am obsessed with this cover.  Even though it wasn’t one of my top favorites I think I still need to buy it to brighten up my bookshelves at home, lol.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and Gallery Books for this eARC that was given in exchange for an honest review! ♥

BOOK REVIEW: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina LaurenMy Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From the New York Times bestselling author that “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly) comes a sexy romantic comedy about online dating, and its many, many fails.

With a world-famous speaker at their university, Millie Morris and her four woefully single male colleagues make a pact that they’ll all find dates. Unfortunately, Millie has more success helping them make matches online than she does navigating the onslaught of lewd pics in her own feed. But when she creates a fictional name for a new account, Millie finds herself vying for the online attention of a man she sees every day in the flesh.

 

**ARC received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review-And, also, they were very strict about not using quotes without seeing finished publication so, sadly, I cannot post any! Sorry!**

Christina Lauren is a new author for me, so each book is like some new discovery, just waiting to be explored. I was lucky enough to read an early copy of this with my friend and blog mate, and we both just loved it to pieces. I recently read her book Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and while I really related to the main character and loved the book to pieces, it didn’t jump to immediate everlasting love, for me. What it did do, however, is awaken a new kind of hunger for this author and the addicting type of writing she (they) can accomplish. And, because of this hunger, I found an absolute and total winner in this fun little read.

I absolutely fell head over heels for Reid, the guy in this one, whereas in her other book, it was Hazel that hooked me and kept me going. The chemistry between Reid and Millie just flew off the charts, and I adored how they were best friends first and explored their, ahem, needs after. But what happens when pushed to find dates for an event through a dating app, even though the heat is through the roof between these two, secretly?

I can willingly admit that I needed more drama in Josh and Hazel-and perhaps that makes me a monster that I can’t just enjoy a happy book with just a light smidge of angst instead of a full out oh-my-gosh-when-is-he-going-to-find-outi’mgoingtodie. I just love that feeling. I mean, obviously I hate that in real life, so why do I love it so in books? Well, it came full force here and I LOVED how it wasn’t just brushed under the rug. I loved Reid. I loved his pure heart. I loved everything about how he slowly fell for Millie…even as he fell for a girl online he hadn’t met…that was, in fact, Millie, too.

A tangled web they weave, slowly falling for one another, but in different ways that could alter their friendship forever. Reid isn’t all innocent, talking to other women on the app as well as falling for his best friend, but I’d say he’s a lot less at fault-but that’s for you to decide.

With an awesome group of friends surrounding them (I loved them all!), you can’t help but to love this story with its quick wit and friendly humor. But Ed, as a secondary character, really stood out to me as the most-sincere, loyal, and just an all around sweet and tender-hearted guy looking for love. I found that he made my heart beat with all the most wonderful feels, right beneath Reid and Millie.

Honestly, this review has been really hard to write, because I don’t want to say too much and ruin the whole plot-but I also wanted to stress just how much I love this angst, this drama, this I’m-falling-for-my-friend deep and emotional roller-coaster. I just…I loved it, and I loved how deeply I fell for it. But, to be fair, I am OBSESSED with online romance/’I don’t know who it is but the other person does’ romances. I’m actually a rabid fan of them and it’s been forever since I read a good one…so what an amazing, surprising new favorite for me.

I can’t wait to purchase this for my bookshelf when it comes out and I think many fans of this author duo will really like it. To those who haven’t read anything by her yet? It’s definitely a fun one and I highly recommend it-though, I may be biased because this trope duo is a favorite of mine 😊.

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