My Favorite Half – Night Stand by Christina Lauren

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official blurb
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single. So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic. But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship…but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.

my blurb!
A frelationship goes awry when someone isn’t able to own up to their feelings.

4 out of 5

what i liked
Do you love a frelationship? Because I do.  What’s a frelationship, you ask?  Well it’s a made up word that is basically a friendship that is dysfunctional and basically functions as a relationship but either one or both members of duo don’t realize it.
Reid is so likable that it almost makes Millie less likable.  I know that’s kind of insane but I was rooting for Reid so hard, that Millie getting in her own way made me mad bc I was team Reid!
The writers (remember how I mentioned in my Dating You, Hating You review that Christian Lauren is a pen name for an author duo?) did an AMAZING job writing a friend group.  I mean, I loved it.  At first it might feel a little complicated because there are a lot of people to remember, but you get over that pretty quickly and by the end, each member of the crew has their own distinct personalities.
I recommend reading this book as an actual book and not an e-book (although I haven’t actually seen the e-book formatting) because there are some chat, text, and email communications that are formatted really well in the book and actually help you distinguish between different members of the friend group.
The ending was great- no spoilers but I personally appreciated the way it wrapped up.
This book was such a fast read for me. I would be excited to read it when I got in bed, but I would make myself put it down by 10pm so that I could get some good sleep time in.  Okay, fine, 1030pm! Sheesh!  I read it in 3 sittings and easily could have done it in one or two if I had the time.

what i didn't like
I hate characters who constantly get in their own way.  While I didn’t hate Millie, I needed her to mature faster than she did.
There were a couple of sex scenes in this book. The first one is SO steamy!!!! Then the next few- almost no steam!  I wish it would have been more consistent.  If it stayed steamy, I would’ve adjusted my review accordingly- and if it had less steam the whole time I would’ve done the same.  As is, it messes with who you can recommend the book too because the beginning is so much steamier than the rest of the book.

while reading you should
Do: take interest in someone else’s passions.  You’ll learn something just because the other person is so excited to talk about it!
Listen to: You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift
Eat: pizza

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The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie

official blurb
Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs to have a fiancée in order to capture his dream job, and Daisy is game to play the role. But something funny happens on their way to the altar that changes everything. Now, with the midnight hour approaching, will Daisy lose her prince, or will opposites not only attract but live happily ever after?

my blurb!
A straight laced, typical truth teller decides to deceive everyone with a fake fiance.

3 out of 5

what i liked
I love a story like this. I love a good plot of pretending to be boyfriend and girlfriend- I mean YESSSSS! (Hello, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before).
There were a lot of supporting characters that I really liked.  Chickie (worst name ever) was a fun character to read about.  She was complex in her own way.
I liked Daisy! She was quirky and fun and I loved how she attracted other people to her by being kind.  In case you didn’t know, Kind is the New Classy.
Lincoln’s name.  It was a shame he went by Linc with everyone – the nickname is fine, but Lincoln is so much better!

what i didn't like
Daisy had a few oddities about her character that I just didn’t buy into.  I couldn’t picture her at all.  Was she like a gypsy?  I don’t understand what the author was trying to do with her as a character- one time teacher, storyteller, liar, eccentric dresser, messy, broken things all over her house, but most of all a painter?  I just didn’t buy it all, what can I say?
I wasn’t obsessed with getting through this story.  I just didn’t read it and think, “EEEEEKK! I can’t wait for them to get together!” Even though the storyline is exactly my type!

while reading you should
Watch: A cinderella story
Listen to: Cinderella by Play
Eat: Casserole

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Office Christmas Party by Aimee Duffy

official blurb
Natalie Taylor and Dean Fletcher are serial Christmas party crashers. But when they start crashing the same parties, the mittens are off! As much as she loves Christmas, after her mother’s death, events planner Nat can’t face the jolly season anymore. So to get her festive hit she crashes everyone else’s party. It’s a sweet gig, until she meets her competition, tech empire millionaire, Dean, under the mistletoe…! When it comes to relationships, Dean doesn’t do serious—being left at the altar will do that to a guy. So when he meets feisty Nat, the first woman in ten years to pique his interest, he’s tempted to break his one-night rule…just for the holidays! Nat and Dean might get more than they bargained for in their stockings this Christmas!

my blurb!
A book with an I-hate-you omg, wait I’m in love with you – trope.

1 out of 5

what i didn't like
I was really excited to stumble upon this book because I thought it would be perfect for my blog theme of “romance yourself through the holidays,” but alas, this book was a no- go for me.
I didn’t like the chemistry of the characters! I think that it was supposed to be written like the characters were in some kind of Jimmy Kimmel- esq prank war.  But it seemed like they were actually crazy below the belt pranks which somehow resulted in the main characters obsession with ripping each others clothes off.  And somehow the characters developed a deep bond  that they couldn’t help but abandon their anti- relationship ways…. What?! Nope, I don’t believe it.
I didn’t actually finish this book but got about 2/3 of the way through before saying to myself- why am I reading this when I don’t like it?

what i liked
There are two characters in this book whose storylines intersect that you don’t realize at the very beginning of the book- but do understand pretty quickly… maybe 100 pages or so into it.  I liked that little plot element to it. (I know I’m being vague, but no spoilers here!)

while reading you should
Eat: fresh-baked desserts
Wear: a fancy cocktail dress
Do: crash a christmas party

when to read
The Christmas season!

if you would like to buy
click here.

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Charlie All Night by Jennifer Crusie

official blurb
Dumped by her boyfriend and demoted from WBBB’s prime-time spot, radio producer Allie McGuffey has nowhere to go but up. She plans to make her comeback by turning temporary DJ Charlie Tenniel into a household name. And if he’s willing to help cure her breakup blues with a rebound fling, that’s an added bonus. Charlie just wants to kick back, play good tunes and eat Chinese food. He’s not interested in becoming famous. But he is interested in Allie. And after all, what harm is a little chemistry between friends?  But suddenly their one-night stand has become a four-week addiction. Night after night on the airwaves, his voice seduces her…and all the other women in town. He’s a hit. It looks as if Charlie’s solved all Allie’s problems…except one. What is she going to do when he leaves?

my blurb!
A romance novel where coworkers attempt to not be attracted to each other.

2.75 out of 5

what i liked
I liked the world of a radio show. I’ve never really read about that life before, in fact I’ve never even thought about the people who work for the radio because… well I never listen to the radio.  Does anyone still listen to the radio?  I love anything about producers, I’m really into learning about their jobs, it’s always intriguing to me. (Remember that semi trashy tv show- UnReal?  I remember being like- woah THAT’s what producers do?  And then also the Newsroom [hollar Aaron Sorkin fans!} when I was like- dang you produce that segment! Do it!)

what i didn't like
I’ve read 2 of her books and they’re setup basically the same way.  As far as a shady ex-boyfriend trying to undermine a relationship and trying to get back with the main character. I’m not into that at all. In both books that just wasn’t my favorite part of the plot and I felt like it could’ve been left out.  But are we reading romance novels for the plot? haha

Overall, I liked this book less than Bet Me and less than The Wedding Date but I read it easily enough.

while reading you should
Listen: to the radio!
Eat: Chinese food
Watch: The Newsroom

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

 

Are you interested in reading this book with your book club or having a “The Hating Game” themed party?  Check out my companion post to this review in Books & Baking.

official blurb

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome. 2) A person’s undoing 3) Joshua Templeman. Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude. Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.

my blurb!
The perfect romance novel with love to hate you and hate to love you feelings screaming out of every page.

5 out of 5

First let me tell you – this is a 5 out of 5 romance novel! It IS a romance novel filled with steamy scenes. So if you don’t like romance novels- even though it’s 5 out of 5 stars, this book isn’t for you.

what i liked
I LOVED the trope. The whole – I hate this person, oh snap I like this person thing. Very enjoyable to read for me. I like that storyline so much that without the steamy scenes, I would’ve added this book to required reading fiction.
I read this book in 24 hours. I was loving every minute of it.
I am BRAND NEW to the whole romance novel scene. In fact, this is my fourth ever romance novel. But in my limited experience I think it did everything a romance novel should do! Solid love trope? Check. Characters you want to fight for? Check. Steamy love scenes. Check. Wondering how the book with end the whole time? Check.
I loved Josh our main guy.  He’s smart and gorgeous and has a strong scheme game.
I loved Lucinda- shout out to the awesome name choice by the way- her perspective throughout the book was hilarious.  Her train of thought was scatterbrained, unreliable and true to herself.  She wore amazing red lipstick throughout the book and she definitely influenced me to up my lipstick game.
(Update: since writing this review I have gone back and reread this book bringing my total times read to THREE – and a half… okay I started it again last night – times!)
You guys, I enjoyed this book so much that I joined the authors facebook group – the Flamethrowers.  And I don’t even have a facebook account! That’s right, I used my husbands facebook account to join this romance novelists book club.  To say I am obsessed is an understatement.

what i didn't like

Nothing! I loved it!

when to read
Really, anytime because this is a required read. But especially when you’re in a rut at your job and want to be inspired to try more.

while reading you should
Eat: cake
Play: Paintball
Watch: the smurfs
Listen to: Breathe In by Frou Frou

if you would like to buy

Click here: The Hating Game: A Novel

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Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie

So I went to see Book Club this week and laughed the whole time.  For those of you who don’t scour the internet for movie previews as they come out- it’s like sex in the city for 70 year olds.  The women are in a lifelong book club and we join them as they pickup 50 Shades of Grey.   So now you’re reading this and thinking one of two things. Option 1: what took you so long to read 50 Shades? It’s been out forever and I’ve already read any review I’ll ever need to read about it.  Option 2: Wow I really don’t want to read anything about 50 Shades.  Sinners should keep their sin to themselves….  Well optioners, I did NOT read 50 Shades (sorry whoever authored that book!) But the movie did inspire me to pick up my second ever romance novel!

Being a newcomer to the romance genre, I will admit to slight embarrassment in reading the genre, slight naivety on what the genre can encompass and slight horror that I’m even admitting I knowingly read a romance novel and am writing a review about it!  Here’s the truth. I’ve kind of been reading them for a while.  Well not really but the YA contemporary world can definitely tip its toes into some sex scenes.  Now that I’ve read a book with adults, I feel like it’s been weird that I ever read them in YA.  Will I keep reading romance novels? I’m not sure. Will I review them if I read them? YES! Because who am I if I’m not honest about what I read?!  Professional blogging life be damned! (Oh, I’m not a professional blogger? A girl can dream, right?)

Shall we get down and dirty? (Hah! I couldn’t help myself there…)

official blurb
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes and keeps him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again. But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all—true love.

my blurb!
A “you suck but I kind of love you” storyline involving 30 year olds.

3 out of 5

Confession- after reading this book and starting the review, I still could NOT remember the title of this book. I kept thinking it was called You Bet. It’s not. But I think that would’ve been a better title.

what i liked
The characters names! Minerva and Calvin.  Uhm yes.  I know, you’re like- why would you like those names so much, you’re so weird. Yes I am. And also they are names I can easily pronounce that I haven’t repeatedly read in a book.
The friendships.  There were some solid friendships in the book! No girl bashing girl. The boys had a brotherhood bromance happening and the girls had a family friendship vibe that was enjoyable.
The real world family drama.  So it was definitely stereotyped but, I really felt the frustration of the kids and the parents and the sibling relational truths, so that’s in the plus column for me.

what i didn't like
David and Cynthia have a storyline that kept popping up throughout the book. It wasn’t needed.  I didn’t care about them at all, actually they were annoying.  But I for sure didn’t need that storyline to keep on trucking throughout the novel.
The cover of the book. It’s awful.  I read the whole book and i FINALLY saw what was on the cover. It is still awful.

while reading you should
Listen to: She by Elvis Costello (full disclosure I hate this song, but they reference it a million times throughout the book)
Watch: Runaway Bride
Eat: Donuts

if you would like to buy
Click here.

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