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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
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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
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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 😊.

View all my reviews

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: Amazon
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.

The fact that I have been able to read THREE new books by Christina Lauren (and fall in love with each) just this year makes my heart incredibly happy.   And, the fact that I was able to get Chelsea to read both of their newest books (and also love them) makes me even happier!  Once again, the main couple was very easy to fall in love with along with their group of friends. Oh. My. Gosh. I adore when a book or series has a group of secondary characters that you end up loving just as much as the main characters. Ed, Chris, and Alex were so funny and likeable that I wouldn’t have minded if each of them had gotten their own book, tbh! Along those lines, can we just talk about how amazing the banter was in this book (and let’s face it—is in all of their books)?! I was cackling out loud to myself on multiple occasions. My husband kept having to ask me why and then I would annoy him by saying “oh nothing, just this book I’m reading.” Sorryyyyyy, Kyle! lol

The only thing that had me initially worried was the trope of one of the MCs lying about ~something~ and then the fallout that is sure to follow when the truth comes out (I’ve read a few where the MC gets pregnant and doesn’t tell the guy about it right away, or a few others that were similar and deal with weird online secrets). Depending on how big the blowup is, and how it’s resolved really impacts my view of the book drastically. It if isn’t handled well, it could take what was a five star book down to a three. It’s happened enough before that when I run into a book that has a similar situation, I get extremely nervous.

Judging by my rating I’m sure it’s pretty obvious that I was okay with how things panned out. Millie got herself into a bit of a tricky situation but it was one that was understandable. Her mom died when she was fairly young so she basically had to help raise her sister. Because her father kind of withdrew and she had to mature a lot faster than any child should, she got used to suppressing her feelings. She kept them deep inside because who was she going to tell her problems to? Not her barely-keeping-afloat dad or baby sister that’s for sure. All of those years of keeping quiet led to an adult who still couldn’t talking about feelings. After she made her profile in IRL she found that she could suddenly express things that she had never been able to before, ironically enough, in real life. Of course by the end of the book she learns from her mistake and has her HEA. OF COURSE. And Reid. BBF material x100.

~Also, you better believe I have a TON of quotes to add later on.

Huge thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

BOOK REVIEW: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina LaurenJosh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?

“I know I’m like Pig-Pen in Charlie Brown, and I have chaos around me, but it’s like he doesn’t even care. He doesn’t need me to change or pretend to be someone else. He’s my person. He’s my best friend.”

I always love the possibility of a new favorite book, a new favorite author. It’s like, how did I never pick up a book by this person (these people), thank GOD I finally have found them and now it will save me from the spiral of depression that comes when you finish all the books your favorite authors write. And, while this was addicting, to say the least, it didn’t enrapture me like I had hoped.

Mom drops another piece of muffin.
“Knock it off, you’re ruining her.”
“She’s named Winnie the Poodle,” Mom reminds me. “Already ruined.”

I mean, sure, it was so cute. And it was so funny. And Hazel-Hazel is literally my best friend. She’s quirky, kind, she gets excited and attached wayyyy too easily (Ummm…this is me. I meet someone and then I’m like…maybe we’ll be besties?), and she doesn’t have a judgmental bone in her body. For once, and I’m shocked to say this, it’s not about the male lead. I loved this book because of them as a whole, but I OBSESSED about Hazel.

The way Emily describes it: when I meet someone I love, I become an octopus and wind my tentacles around their heart, tighter and tighter until they can’t deny they love me just the same.

This hasn’t happened in…like…forever? I liked Josh. I really did. But he never tipped the scale for me. Not completely. Wait, okay, this is coming out all wrong because Josh was a precious cinnamon roll. No, he just-maybe I’m not obsessing over him as much because Hazel was just so awesome. And maybe, just maybe, I didn’t love the pre-Josh and Hazel. Her utter loyalty and single-handed dedication to him, her idolization, adoration, and tendency to deem him perfect, and him seeing her as a quirky hippie sort that he could never date (And never in a mean way did he say this). I don’t know? He was never mean, nor cruel, to her. But I guess it made me sad. And I think that theme lasted a little longer than I wanted it to.

“I think we’re going to be best friends.” At my bewildered silence, she reaches up and ruffles my hair. “I live in Portland, you live in Portland. You have a girlfriend and I have a huge assortment of Netflix series backlogged. We both hate the word ‘glans.’ I know and love your sister. She loves me. This is the perfect setup for boy-girl bestship: I’ve already been unbearable near you, which makes it impossible to scare you away.”
Quickly swallowing a sip of water, I protest, “I’m afraid you’re going to try.”

***

I don’t know what feels more incongruous: the mental image of Hazel using a computer, or the idea that she used it to look me up. “You Googled me?”
She huffs out a little breath. “Don’t get an ego. I Googled you sometime between Googling beef Wellington and chicken coops.”

And, for instance, I didn’t love that they kept doing double date after double date. It was odd. But then…I also liked it?! IT’S THE DAMNDEST THING! I loved that it brought a sense of urgency and jealousy, of course, but then it lacked a fiery passion behind it that I sort of wanted to ignite. And I’m not one to read other reviews lately, and I especially didn’t for this one, but I DID, however, see that people didn’t like the trope at the end. I disagree. And you damn well know I’m going to say my piece, so settle down and get ready-I loved it. And here’s why: Too often this is a trope used at the beginning of a story to add unnecessary drama and, frankly, I find it either makes or breaks chemistry between the two MCs…more often than not, it’s not good. That’s how I feel, at least. But I can see how the end in this story could be used to further cement something between two characters and make it something more. For me? It was a win, and it didn’t deter me like it does when the trope is used early on.

Dinner parties at my apartment consist of paper plates, boxed wine, and the last three minutes before serving featuring me running around like a maniac because I burned the lasagna, insisting I DON’T NEED ANY HELP JUST SIT DOWN AND RELAX.

Though, I will say, I wanted more time with these two together. I do feel as though I wasn’t as satisfied as I tend to be when it’s a late get-together. Most times I don’t care, but here, I wanted and needed more.

JEEZ SHUT UP, CHELSEA. I swear I really enjoyed this book, borderline loved it! So I really need to be nicer lol. Okay. Here we go. Hm. I’m in a really good mood, yet I feel like being sour? I’ll list my favorite things then, since my brain won’t be nice (I’m so tired, guys. This move. UGH):

-Their adorable friendship. Like…adorable
-The way he ALWAYS defended her to other guys and those who looked down on her
-Their banter
-His AND her protectiveness and loyalty-it was through the roof
-Um, okay, the WAY SHE NAMED HER PETS AND PICKED THEM OUT LIKE ARE WE LONG LOST SISTERS? I am always weirding out the Petco people lol

“I can try to help?” “I’m deciding between a betta fish and a guinea pig.”

“I mean, that’s kind of a big difference?”

-The way Hazel never let anyone make her feel like she wasn’t enough, because she was

I’ll get a bit personal here. I think this hit home for me. I love my husband, I really do, but I feel this way ALL THE TIME-like, I am enough…but then sometimes I wonder. It takes me down a dark road I don’t want to explore, because we definitely have our issues and it breaks my heart to think that sometimes we maybe should have taken different paths. This is a dark moment thought, when I’m at my worst, but I’m thinking maybe this was one of my detachments from the book.

When I looked up at her, I’d expected her to be shattered by what he’d said. But instead, she looked at him pityingly, like she wanted to console him but knew it would be a wasted effort. Dad missed out on so much by not enjoying every second he had with her, and in the end, she was terribly disappointed that he was so dull. I learned a very important thing that day: my mom would never try to change for a man, and I wouldn’t, either.

I didn’t like thinking things about myself and comparing how I should be. So…yeah. I think maybe this largely effected the story and why I got so enraged on her behalf-I’ve been known to be messy and have my head in the clouds-and it was precious to see a Type-A accepting a messy, eccentric type.

-How Josh never wanted her to change, even at her quirkiest
-Josh’s jellyness!
-The, ahem, intimate scenes

Wow, these were through the roof sexy. They really resonated with me where most sex scenes in books don’t even make my heart or butterflies go crazy-but Josh, how he slowly began to fall in love with Hazel…and his vulnerable, but confident, advances. They stole my heart completely.

Yeah, so, those intimate scenes might be my favorite in the whole book, lol! Just sayin’…and I never feel that way.

Mom reaches up, running a muddy thumb along my jaw. “I get it, honey. I just want you to have the world. And if your world is Josh, then I want you to be brave and go after it.”
“Because you’re my mama.”
She nods. “Someday you’ll understand.”

So, if you’re an avid fan of this author, I think you’re in for a win. One of my besties said this was her best yet (a true fan, she is) and we’re about to read our ARC COPIES OF MY FAVORITE HALF NIGHT STAND by said author this weekend-so I’m hoping I join the obsessed train, because who doesn’t love finding new authors to be all obsessive about?!

******

I reallllly liked this book…but I LOVED My Favorite Half-Night Stand ARC better.

RTC!!!

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