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

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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

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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

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Monthly Wrap-Up

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2020

Y’all. This month started out so great, then I got really sick for a few weeks (NOT COVID, don’t worry y’all) and the last half just plummeted. I’m not in an awful book slump where I can’t even get myself to read a few pages a day.

I know its not a huge ordeal to stop reading for a bit, and this too shall pass, but it’s still weird not reading so many books. I’m focusing solely on the ARCs I’ve already received and titles that I’ve already pre-ordered so I can try to at least keep up with those.

I dd manage 17 books in the first chunk of April, and some good titles at that!

My favorites this month were: King of the South, Dark Skies, Voyager, Elantris and a A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder.

My least favorites were: The Kingdom of Back, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird and The Honey-Don’t List.

  • King of the South (Belgrave Dynasty #1) by Calia Reed – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] Dark Skies (Dark Shores #2) by Danielle L. Jensen – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn – (☆☆☆)
  • Elantris (Elantris #1) by Brandon Sanderson – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – (☆☆☆)
  • Imagine Me (Shatter Me #6) by Tahereh Mafi – (☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • My Favorite Half-Night Stand by Christina Lauren – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Empty Grave (Lockwood & Co. #5) by Jonathan Stroud – (☆☆☆☆)
  • Voyager (Outlander #3) by Diana Gabaldon – (☆☆☆☆☆)
  • [ARC] Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab – (☆☆☆☆)
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder #1) by Holly Jackson – (☆☆☆☆ 1/2)
  • The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver – (☆☆☆)
  • Moment of Truth by Kasie West – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund – (☆☆☆☆)
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren – (☆☆ 1/2)
  • [ARC] The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, Alaska #1) by Sarah Morgenthaler – (☆☆☆☆)
  • You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle – (☆☆☆)

There we have it! My reads for April. Were any of these books you read too? See some favorites? Lets talk in the comments!

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