REVIEW: The Friend Zone – Abby Jimenez

42785825Title: The Friend Zone
Author: Abby Jimenez
Rating: ★★★★

What I expected upon picking up The Friend Zone was a light-hearted, fluffy contemporary romance perfect for summer. And while the book delivered with the romance, angst, and humor, it also contained a layer of emotional complexity that was unexpected in the best way.

I’ll admit, I was pretty hesitant reading upon reading the first quarter of the book. The beginning of the story features some very grey-area cheating, which is not my cup of tea. However, I was thankful that that particular conflict was resolved early on in the book, allowing me to then fully immerse myself in the story and the characters.

A large focus of the story was on Kristen and her infertility issues, and I think Abby Jimenez did an very excellent job with the subject. Kristen was a great character and it’s impossible not to root for her – even when she’s being extremely stubborn! It was easy to understand her reservations and struggles, but still want her to take a chance on a the person she loves.

Other than the grey-area cheating at the beginning, there were a couple other things that kept me from fully loving this book. Josh constantly compares Kristen to other women, repeatedly saying things along the lines of how she’s “not like other girls” and she’s a “cool girl.” I really don’t appreciate when the heroine of the story is show in a positive light by bringing down other women in comparison. The other thing that bothered me is probably going to sound super nitpicky but YOU CANNOT USE A DEFIBRILLATOR WHEN SOMEONE IS FLATLINING!!! This is a huge misconception perpetuated by all the medical drama shows. Stop this nonsense. The paddles are used for when the heartbeat is dangerously out of rhythm, not when there is an absent of a heartbeat. This honestly made me so irate.

The ending took me by surprise. The best way I could describe the events of the last few chapters would be bittersweet. There is a particular part of the story that is emotional and heartbreaking. The epilogue was the perfect ending and helped balance the heartache. Overall, I was really impressed by this debut and would recommend The Friend Zone to anyone looking for a moving, captivating read!

REVIEW: The Unhoneymooners – Christina Lauren (ARC)

42201431Title: The Unhoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★½

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

As I’ve said in previous reviews, no one writes contemporary romances quite like the amazing duo of Christina Lauren. I read the synopsis once and immediately requested the book and I’m so extremely thankful I was approved. The Unhoneymooners was like reading my own romantic fantasies come to life: hate-to-love romance, fake dating trope, and a dream vacation to Hawaii. 

Everytime I pick up a CLo book, there are a few things I expect to find within the pages: a quirky, relatable heroine, witty banter, scenes that make me laugh out loud (or at least snort unattractively), and a swoon-worthy love interest. And thankfully, The Unhoneymooners checked all those boxes. The only reason I did not give this book five stars, was that it was surprisingly light on the tension/angst, especially considering the plot literally revolves around two characters who hate each other, pretending to be in love. 

The Unhoneymooners is a seriously fun and lighthearted read, perfect for the summer! This book is perfect for fans of The Proposal, The Hating Game, or Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Christina Lauren know how to write contemporary romance and it shows with every book they write.

REVIEW: Roomies – Christina Lauren

34466910Title: Roomies
Author: Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★★

I always worry that one of these days I’ll read a CLo book that doesn’t live up to my expectations. This is not that day. I wanted a fun, contemporary romance with a smidge of sexiness and and once again these authors delivered on all aspects.

“Crushes are the worst, but in hindsight a crush from afar seems so much easier than this. I should stick to making up stories in my head and watching from a distance like a reasonable creeper.”

I don’t know how they do it, but it seems like in every CLo book I read, there’s a heroine with whom I can relate to. And the fact that I can always connect with the main character on some level makes their books so much more enjoyable. Roomies was a witty, heartwarming, delightful book that I didn’t want to put down. The “fake marriage” trope was executed perfectly and it was so lovely to watch the relationship between Holland and Calvin slowly develop over time. And speaking of Calvin, from the first few chapters he had me turning into a puddle of goo. Holland Bakker is one lucky gal: she gets a handsome, wholesome, adorable Irish man as her husband – that’s the dream (or at least it’s mine).

Roomies had the whole package when it comes to what I look for in a contemporary romance: relatable heroine, witty writing, great dialogue between characters, steamy scenes, and a love interest I wish I could pull forth from the pages. This was such a fun and charming book and I always highly recommend Christina Lauren’s books! 

REVIEW: The Hating Game – Sally Thorne

25883848Title: The Hating Game
Author: Sally Thorne
Rating: ★★★★★

“Here’s a fact. Hating someone is exhausting. Each pulse of blood in my veins takes me closer to death. I waste these ending minutes with someone who genuinely despises me.”

“I have a theory. Hating someone feels disturbingly similar to being in love with them.”

If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m complete trash for a love-to-hate relationship and witty banter. The Hating Game was everything I never knew I needed in my life, and I wish I could go back in time and slap myself every time I saw this book on my TBR but skipped over it to read something else. 

“But you kissed me. Why would you do that?”
“I needed to test a theory I’ve had for a while. And you really, really kissed me back.”

The Hating Game had all my favorite tropes for both a romantic comedy and a romance novel. It also had a few little twists to those tropes that were absolutely amazing and really added to my enjoyment. The highlight of the book were the characters themselves. I didn’t have a lot in common with Lucy (other than her inability to say no to others at work), and in fact we seemed to be opposites in a lot a ways (right down to our heights), but she was such a fantastic protagonist. She’s quirky, sweet, smart, and hard-working. Then there’s Josh. At first, he comes across as an arrogant – albeit very good looking – pain in Lucy’s ass, but as the story continued, we see the layers to Josh peel back and oh boy. World, I have new book boyfriend and his name is Joshua Templeman. The fact that he had insecurities and was self-conscious about himself and his body was so refreshing for a male lead in a romance book. He wasn’t full of himself and had a more reserved personality, and yet still had an air of confidence that was totally sexy. 

“He’s looking at me with fierce tenderness in his eyes. Eyes like he loves me. Now I know I must be dreaming.”

I now understand all the high praises and great reviews I’ve seen about this book, because it deserves all it. I devoured this. The Hating Game is now one of my favorite contemporary romance novels and I can’t wait to read more from Sally Thorne.