Book Review

Book Review: The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 368 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 18th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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. Raised by her grandparents–who now help raise her seven-year-old daughter, Juno–Jess has been left behind too often to feel comfortable letting anyone in. After all, her father’s never been around, her hard-partying mother disappeared when she was six, and her ex decided he wasn’t “father material” before Juno 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% compatibility with another subject in the database: GeneticAlly’s founder, Dr. River Pena. This is one number she can’t wrap her head around, because she already knows Dr. Pena. 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 make GeneticAlly a mint in stock prices, Jess begins to realize that there might be more to the scientist–and the science behind a soulmate–than she thought.

Funny, warm, and full of heart, The Soulmate Equation proves that the delicate balance between fate and choice can never be calculated.

A NEW FAV.

My love of CL books goes up and down. But I can easily say this is one of my top favorites of their books. I adored this one y’all. So if you’ve been hesitant too, I think this one is worth checking out.

I love the unique plot. I honestly don’t know how believable it is (genetics/romance/etc.) but that didn’t bother me one bit. I thought it would actually be pretty cool if something like the DNADuo was available. It was incredibly nerdy listening to Jess and River discuss statistics and genetics and I loved it. As someone who is allergic to math, I didn’t quite follow everything, but that doesn’t take away from the story.

River was such a cinnamon roll!! Oh goodness, just the sweetest. I love the dates he and Jess went on and the clear chemistry between them. Then his relationship with Jess’s daughter, Juno, was ADORABLE. I love a great single parent story and this one is it. I also thought Jess’s friendship with Fizzy was perfect. They were truly best friends and I couldn’t get enough of the support that went both ways between them. Fizzy was hilarious and brought such a great vibe to the book.

One aspect in most romances is that final conflict, which can bust a book or make a book. You can kind of assume what’s going to happen in this story, and even when it did I wanted to keep reading because I still HAD TO KNOW what was going to happen next. I thought the drama was a nice touch and that there was an honest conversation and acknowledgement of wrong doing in the end. I love how Jess and River came back together for their relationship, regardless of what had happened.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: kisses to open and closed door scenes (brief, this is a lower steam CL book)
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a loved one with a substance abuse problem

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: October 6th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

A SWEET HOLIDAY READ.

Really enjoyed this one y’all. A quick read. Perfect atmosphere for the holiday’s and I was invested in the romance.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about the magical realism aspect of it, but it worked so well here! I love the way it was incorporated and that it didn’t over take the story. It fit the nature of the magical sense that the holiday’s always bring about. Mae even made me laugh a few times because of the reoccurrences until she figured things out.

Mae was a fun character to follow. I liked her determined nature and her willingness to help everyone around her. She was incredibly focused on keeping their family traditions alive, and I love how the book allowed her some growth into acknowledging sometimes things need to change.

Her relationship with Andrew was cute! A childhood friends type romance that caught on fire quick. This is one the lower steam side for CL books (which is what I like so I was all for). I’m not sure I was that into the conflict, but the resolution was incredibly sweet. I think if you’re a general fan of Christina Lauren books you’ll enjoy this one too.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some throughout
  • Romance: kisses / heated make-outs; a few medium detailed love scenes

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 308 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: March 24th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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…

I FEEL LETDOWN.

I’ve been a big fan of Christina Lauren as of late. I haven’t read all of their books, but most of their newer contemporaries. I was excited for this one, but I have been letdown. This was not a gem.

My biggest gripe was that the focus was way too much on Melissa and Rusty. So much so I feel like their arguing and battles between each other completely overshadowed the story about James and Carey. I felt like James and Carey were hardly even there!

The handful of times they were alone, I was loving those snippets. They were cute, I could feel the chemistry and vibe between them, and everything was fine and dandy. With the focus on other things it forced their relationship to appear fast and without much lead up. One scene we’re throwing out a bit of a frenemies vibe. Then we’re having a hot make-out in a pool, then sex, then break-up, then back together. It was disjointed and hardly gave me a chance to appreciate the stellar characters they were.

I really did enjoy Carey and James. I thought Carey was resilient, brilliant, and a genuinely nice person who wanted what was best for others (and sometimes forgot to think of herself). James was trying to overcome a poor situation, clearly handsome, and easy to talk to. They both worked really well together I loved their open and honest conversations.

I’m still here for reading Christina Lauren books. I know not every book by every author will always be a hit. I’m looking forward to what the plan on writing next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs; a few mild detailed love scenes
  • Violence: arguing resulting in items being thrown at another person; an accidental fire
  • Trigger warnings: a cheating spouse

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Contemporary romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: December 4th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

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.

AMUSING.

What a quick, cute, simple read. I’ve had this one sitting on my TBR stack for awhile and in interest of clearing out some of those books picked up an audio version from my library to read it (which I highly recommend, I enjoyed the audio book!).

One of the things I loved was that there was a guy’s perspective in this book. We got to see the story from Reid’s point-of-view and I felt that help me understand him and Millie more. Millie’s group of friends were funny, a bit ridiculous, and caring all rolled together. I laughed at their text/IM interactions and the amusing charade of everyone using a dating site together.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel about Half-Night Stand starting off with a half-night. I’m not a fan of too steamy books and these scenes were definitely a bit much for me. While that bothered me a bit, it didn’t take away from the story and especially the clear chemistry between Reid and Millie. I actually really liked this friends to lovers trope and how the catfishing issue worked out too. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I’m not a fan of lying online like that (who is?), but I thought it allowed for some great character development in Millie. She went to him, honestly apologized, and was able to have a constructive conversation about her inability to let other people in. It made me appreciate her character all the more.

The setting was perfect. I love the idea of professor friends hanging out and the older ages of the group (late 20’s, early 30’s). All-in-all this was a great Christina Lauren pick and I’m enjoying slowly going through their backlist, while keeping up with their new releases.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses/make-outs; three very detailed/explicit love scenes
  • Trigger warnings: loss of a parent at a young age, coping with a parent with dementia

Instagram || Goodreads