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BOOK REVIEW: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

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

Synopsis:

Single mom Jess Davis is a data and statistics wizard, but no amount of number crunching can convince her to step back into the dating world. After all, her father was never around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before her daughter was even born. Jess holds her loved ones close but working constantly to stay afloat is hard...and lonely.

But then Jess hears about GeneticAlly, a buzzy new DNA-based matchmaking company that’s predicted to change dating forever. Finding a soulmate through DNA? The reliability of numbers: This Jess understands.

At least she thought she did, until her test shows an unheard-of 98 percent compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Peña. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Peña. The stuck-up, stubborn man is without a doubt not her soulmate. But GeneticAlly has a proposition: Get ‘to know him and we’ll pay you. Jess—who is barely making ends meet—is in no position to turn it down, despite her skepticism about the project and her dislike for River. As the pair are dragged from one event to the next as the “Diamond” pairing that could launch GeneticAlly’s valuation sky-high, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist—and the science behind a soulmate—than she thought.

Review:

The Soulmate Equation is a book that romance readers should not miss!  If you love moments that give you butterflies, characters that feel like your friends and a story that plays out like a movie, then definitely add this one to your tbr!  This story swept me away and easily landed on my favorites list!

He reached up, running a hand through his hair. “Biological compatibility is independent of whether or not we like each other.”
A horrified laugh ripped out of her. “Is that the company slogan or your best pickup line?”

I loved Jess Davis right away.  She was a single mom who was barely struggling to stay afloat.  Thankfully her life was filled with caring grandparents, an inquisitive and sweet daughter and a romance writing bestie that was like a sister to her.  After submitting her test on a whim, to a dating company called GeneticAlly that matched people through their DNA, Jess found herself in uncharted waters.

Do you actually believe our result could be real? That we could be soulmates? she wanted to ask, but the words felt too enormous to push past her lips.

Jess’s results came back with an unheard 98% match with the founder Dr. River Peña.  River was a guy she saw in passing at the local coffee shop.  He was handsome but he definitely gave off cold vibes.  There was no way they could be that compatible!  But when GeneticAlly made Jess a monetary proposition she couldn’t afford to pass, she pushed her pride aside and started spending more time with River.

Fizzy’s voice glimmered with wonder: “What did you do to him?”
“We did not—”
“He’s smil—”
“I know,” Jess snapped. “It’s weird. Shut up.”
She did not shut up: “When you two actually—”
Leaning in, Jess hissed: “Shhh!”

While Jess had a huge heart, was responsible, focused and logical, River was such an unknown.  He came across as such a cold asshole, albeit a smart one since he was the founder and top scientist at GeneticAlly.  So those that love guys who have a gruff, brooding exterior, you’re going to fall hard for River!  He was dark, mysterious and when he showed that he could have a conversation lol and that there was a heart in there, I was obsessed!

“I’d suspect most people comment on your eyes,” he said quietly, running a fingertip across her collarbone. “That startling, bright blue.”
Surely he could feel her heart scaling her windpipe. He didn’t seem to remember there was anyone else in the room.
“But I prefer your mouth.”
“You do?” Jess managed.
“I do,” he said, and bent, kissing her forehead. “You don’t give those smiles away for free.”

Jess and River had a connection and chemistry that came so easily.  Sparks flared when they were just talking to even when they were at public events for his company *fans face*.  Their build up was deliciously seductive and their interactions were smile and laugh inducing.  The steamy scenes weren’t overly descriptive, but still a lot of fun.  But in the back of Jess’ mind she knew that River had a lot of money to make if their relationship bloomed and that she had a daughter to think about and protect.

Unraveled and bare, Jess knew in her bones that he was her ninety-eight.
“I wanted to see you.”

Jess is easily one of my favorite heroines and River is definitely being added to my book boyfriend list!  And I have to say, I’m not one for books with kids, which is funny since I have two of my own that I love lol.  But Juno, Jess’s daughter, was one of my favorite side characters ever.  Watching her and River interact, OH MY HEART!  I fell for him even harder.

“I want to be here to bring you coffee. I want to take you out to dinner and order the same food and hear you recite the odds that we would have met. I want to hate-attend fancy social events together.” Jess laughed, a surprised burst of sound, and his tone softened. “I want you to call me for help—without an apology already on the tip of your tongue. I want to feel like I can kiss you again by your car at the end of the night.” He swallowed. “I want you in my bed.”

The Soulmate Equation captured my heart so easily!  With characters that shined so brightly and a story-line that was a ton of fun, I’ve already read this book twice so far.  Seriously lol.  I wanted to go through the laughter, sighing, heartfelt moments and tears all over again and it was just as fabulous the second time around!

“You have to admit you don’t look at Dr. River Peña and think, ‘Now, there’s a romantic soul.’ ”
“No,” Fizz conceded, “but I do look at him and think, ‘I bet he’s got a fantastic penis.’ Did you see the size of his hands? He could carry me by the head, like a basketball.”
A throat cleared, and they looked up to find River Peña standing not two feet away. “Well, you two sure didn’t waste any time.”
Jess’s stomach fell through the floor, and the words creaked out of her: “Oh shit.”
“Did you hear what I just said?” Fizzy asked.
He let out a slow, controlled exhale. He’d totally heard. “Hear what?” he managed, finally.
Fizzy stood, pulling Jess up with her. “Excellent.” She gave River a dainty curtsy. “Take us away.”

PS I loved Jess’ bestie Fizzy!  She was absolutely hilarious and had such a way with words.  I loved how she was such a good friend and supported and cheered Jess on.  And the fact that she wrote down things, to use in her stories, that played out between Jess and River had me laughing so hard!

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! ♥

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