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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 😊.

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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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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?

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.

AHHHHHH I LOVED THIS SO MUCH. Seriously by now I have come to the conclusion that these two literally cannot write a book that I will not like. They just keep getting better and better and at this very moment I can’t decide which one is my favorite between this and Love and Other Words. Either way it doesn’t really matter. You really should go out and read every single one of their books because I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

But at the end of the day,” she says, and puts her hand outside the open window, letting the wind pass through her fingers, “being myself is enough. I’m enough.”

I think I’ve actually figured out why I love their books so much, too. It’s because no matter how different and diverse the characters are, you will ALWAYS be able to find something relatable in each book. In this book is was a few little things. The first is that Hazel has a dog named Winnie that she treats like her baby. I ALSO have a dog named Winnie who is my first baby and I love her with all of my soul, lol. It just made me happy to see that someone else (even a fictional character) loves their Winnie as much as I love mine. The second thing is how Hazel knew and accepted that she could be a lot to handle, and also knew that she was never going to settle with being with someone who couldn’t handle that, or would want to change her. Now, I’m much more of an introvert but my ~thing~ or ~quirk~ is that I am obsessed with reading. Duh. I know most of you can related but seriously, if I find a book (especially a series) with a story and characters that I love, I go all in. I follow the author on every social media platform possible. I endlessly scroll GR, Twitter, and Tumblr trying to find related posts. I talk about them…A LOT. In previous relationships my boyfriend’s basically just didn’t care. I get that a lot of people just don’t like to read but they wouldn’t even really listen to me blabber on about my fandoms. My husband though has always been a different story. He may technically not care about the books either, but he cares about my interests. He cares that I care so deeply about these books and these characters and he listens to me when I just have to tell him about how I am basically over here pulling my hair out, waiting for the next Sarah J Maas book to come out. That turned into a pretty long winded paragraph but what I wanted to get across is that the characters in all of these books are so real and relatable and they make you feel like you’re home when you’re reading about them. I love it.

“But I was right?” She’s breathless, hair wild and face flushed and how has nobody seen how crazy and fucking amazing she is?
I decide right there to make sure somebody does.
“Yeah, Haze. You were.”

Another thing I loved about this book was Josh in general but also the tidbits we get about his Korean heritage. I don’t know much about it myself but I enjoyed seeing their Korean names and reading about all of the yummy food they were eating—it really made me want to visit the one Korean restaurant where I love. Seriously though, I thought the progression of Josh and Hazel’s relationship was great. From their awkward run-ins in college, to their budding best friendship to falling in love, ugh I got all of feels. AND the best part is obviously that even though Josh knew that Hazel could be a little crazy, a little wild, he never once wanted her to change. I loved how even when they started their double dates they would look over at one another when weird stuff happened and just know what the other was thinking. It was magical.

Drunk giggly Josh is my favorite, but drunk confident Josh is my new religion.

Somehow, too, even though this books was full of typical romantic tropes, it seemed different to me. We saw them go from friends to lovers, we saw them drunkenly have (super hot)  sex and then try to pretend that it didn’t change their relationship, we saw them trying to set each other up while remaining “friends” and finally we saw them both falling in love with each other while not being sure if the other one felt the same way. It didn’t matter though. At all. That’s how you know you’re reading a damn good story.

He smiles, but it’s not a smile I’ve ever seen before. It’s a dangerous smile; he’s a movie villain, the seductive one, the one who robs you but fucks you real good first.

By now this has turned into a super long review and I don’t even care. I have read so many romances by now that it’s so refreshing when I find one that makes me feel this way. The ending too is just pure magic. Part of it is actually a well-used trope too but I didn’t want to give it away. Usually I don’t like when books go there either but in this one I loved it. GAHH. Believe me, you do not want to miss out on Josh and Hazel.

“Are you listening?”
“Barely.”
“You are perfect for me.”

A star is born inside my rib cage. “I am?”
He nods, pinning me with his attention. “You are.”

**Huge thanks to Gallery Books and NetGalley for sending me an eARC!♥

Aaaaaand here’s one last quote that had me dying with laughter that I thought I’d leave you all with…..lol
Sasha’s also left her hair down…I’ve never seen it all, and it completely freaks me out. It’s really long—as in several inches past her butt long—and with her window down for most of the drive, her hair ended up crawling all over me. When I closed my eyes to try no to freak out about it, it wasn’t any better; it was like being pushed in a wheelchair through a room full of cobwebs. I can now definitively check the no box regarding hair fetish.

BOOK REVIEW – Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

BOOK REVIEW – Love and Other Words by Christina LaurenLove and Other Words by Christina Lauren
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The heart may hide, but it never forgets.

The first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly teen friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco reading books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

It never occurred to me that love could be anything other than all-consuming. Even as a child, I knew I never wanted anything less.

WELL, WELL, WELL. Another freakin home run by these lovely ladies. I honestly had no idea that they had come out with another book until a few days ago when I was browsing Amazon, desperate for a book to read. I gave birth to my daughter TWO weeks ago today (!!!) but instead of having all this time at home to read, I seem to be a little preoccupied (lol go figure). However, when I came across this and read the synopsis, I knew that this would be the book to get me back on track….Surprise, surprise I read it in a day.

He’s my person. He’s always been my person. My best friend, my confidant, probably the love of my life. And I’ve spend the last eleven years being angry and self-righteous. But at the end of the day, he tore a hole in us, and fate ripped it wide open.

It’s a story of the past and present lives of Macy and Elliot. How they met and eventually would fall in love—to the present where we find out they haven’t talked or even seen each other in about ten years. They bump into each other in a random coffee shop and the rest of the chapters in the present are about them slowly reconnecting.

“You had to have known that I’d been here, waiting.” 

There were two major aspects to this book that I loved, especially because they were executed perfectly: the boy next door/ friends-to-lovers tropes and the flashback chapters. There have been so many romances that I’ve read with flashbacks that have been done horribly wrong. Either there just isn’t enough substance to them and I’ve felt like I have been left in the dark OR the major point of conflict in the past that leads to why the couple is having problems in the present is a stupid misunderstanding that I can’t believe is realistic in any way. That was not the case here. Without giving anything away, I found that Macy’s reason for getting the hell out of dodge when she did was entirely reasonable (even if it was heartbreaking and I wish for Elliot’s sake that it hadn’t taken that long for them to talk about it). I also just was obsessed with those past chapters in general. Ugh. I mean come on, how could I NOT fall in love with these characters who fell in love over READING. In a cute little nook. Packed with books. And they always ask each other what their favorite word is every time they meet up. I HOPE MY DAUGHTER FALLS IN LOVE LIKE THAT. I would literally die lol. 

I did also love the present chapters too, don’t get me wrong. It was so wonderful seeing these too reconnect after all those years. Macy is actually engaged to another man, too, but of course Elliot never crosses any lines and there isn’t any cheating. Basically, the two realize that it’s pointless being with other people when they can only give a fraction of themselves over. Macy struggles with it a little more because she’s seen her father lose her mother and how much pain that caused him. She doesn’t know if she can handle any more heartbreak in her life so she decides an easy, comfortable relationship is something she’d rather be a part of. That is, until she sees Elliot again…

I don’t know what else to do, so I simply mouth the word Yes. Yes, I’m yours. Yes, I’m ready. Yes, I love you.

Seriously, please read this book. It’s such a sweet story of two young people that are soul mates who have connected over books and words and who find their way back to each other even after tragedy rips them apart. I really think it would be impossible to be disappointed.

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