The Wedding Party by Jasmine Guillory (The Wedding Date #3)

the wedding party

 

official blurb
Maddie and Theo have two things in common: 1. Alexa is their best friend 2. They hate each other. After an “Oops, we made a mistake” kiss, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, Maddie and Theo both share bridal party responsibilities that require more interaction with each other than they’re comfortable with. Underneath the sharp barbs they toss at each other is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. It builds until they find themselves sneaking off together to release some tension when Alexa isn’t looking. But as with any engagement with a nemesis, there are unspoken rules that must be abided by. First and foremost, don’t fall in love.

my blurb!
An enemies to lovers romance featuring some old favorite characters from The Wedding Date and The Proposal.

4 out of 5                                                            🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
Do you know one of my favorite things about reading romance novels?  I love when I find myself smil-reading.  You know, just randomly sitting in a public place with a smile on my face because I’m enjoying the book/dialogue so much? In this particular book, I found myself smile reading easily by chapter two.  Suffice to say I was very much excited to read the rest of the book!
One of my favorite quotes in the book? “That was an excellent engagement present. He’d only brought champagne and general anxiety.”  Haha!  Made you smile read, huh?
I read this book really quickly and enjoyed every minute of it.  It was basically a sequel to The Wedding Date (even though The Proposal was the book sandwiched in between these two) because there was so much character overlap between the two books. The timeline between all three books overlapped a lot, and it made it all really fun to read!

Ready for me to break down the steam level?  It did get up to a 3 steam level- not all of the book was at this level- some of the sex scenes feature closed-door sex scenes.  But it should be noted that it did go up to a three at some point in the book.

what i didn't like
Full disclosure I skimmed a few scenes at work bc I wanted to read their relationship so badly!  For this reason I couldn’t give it five stars – it’s good that I was invested and wanted to move forward but bad that I could skim a few sections and really not miss out on anything in the book.

while reading you should
Do: discover what makes you an old soul. (For me it’s DVRing jeopardy.  Don’t judge!)
Eat: homemade guacamole
Drink: your favorite mixed drink!

Ps. If you love this series- keep your eyes peeled for Royal Holiday (book #4 for this series!) coming out October 1!

arc review

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Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

twice in a blue moon

 

official blurb
Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak. During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good. Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

my blurb!
Two people who fell in love when things were a little less complicated, run into each other again – feeling the brunt of all kinds of complications.

5 out of 5

 🔥🔥🔥 out of 5 steam level

what i liked
Wow! I cannot believe I actually read a second chance romance that I liked! If I could describe the look of absolute shock on my face while I’m writing this I would try to… but I can’t so you’ll just have to believe me.  Not sure what a second chance romance is? Well, it is the trope where you fall in love once with someone and there’s some sort of miscommunication or backstabbing that occurs… then years later you fall in love again. I always hate it! One day in DecemberLove and other words… It’s just not my thing! Yet here I am reading this book and loving it!
This book was funny, but the storyline was really strong. I very much enjoyed both of the main characters and would even be interested in reading a novella with some of the side characters. Tate’s mother, for instance, would be really interesting to read about!
This did have some steam but I would still recommend it to people who like a really low steam romance novel. There were multiple sex scenes in it that weren’t close door, but they were not very descriptive either. (I almost tried to rate this a 2 steam level but consulted my friendly steam rating in my sidebar here and decided it HAD to be a three).  Definitely on the lower end of seam levels for a Christina Lauren novel! [If you haven’t read my review of the unhoneymooners, check that out too because it has a very low steam level and is great for newbie romance readers!]
This book took place in Northern California.  My old stomping grounds!!! I wish that they would have mentioned specifically where in northern California this book took place, because I love to picture a specific place. I was imagining something kind of like Big Sur, but I would have loved to have a point of reference for that! Regardless the book does get points for even mentioning northern California!

what i didn't like
Literally the only thing I did not like about this book was that it needed an epilogue very badly. Very badly. Not even necessarily an epilogue but maybe just one last chapter. I actually thought that maybe they forgot a chapter in my advanced readers copy…that’s how much it needed it! I know it’s hard to believe I would still rate this at 5 starts but I’m hopeful that they will put an epilogue into the finished book. There is some major vengeance/sass/wit needed in the final chapter, that specifically has to be channeled toward the character who deserves it! Without that chapter the book is missing something… I still loved it, I read it over 48 hours and enjoyed every minute of it! But Christina and Lauren – if you’re reading this, please add a final chapter!

while reading you should
Do: reminisce about your dreams when you were in high school/ college.  (I’m personally not a fan of longing for the road not traveled- but who says you can’t try to get back into an old passion! …I’m talking about a hobby here not a person! haha)
Eat:  Strawberries… make a crepe, put them on a pancake, eat them on their own!
Listen to: playlist I created for this book on Spotify!

arc review

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My Favorite Half – Night Stand by Christina Lauren

my favorite half night stand.PNG

 

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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