Title: 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.
Title: 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!
We all have those tropes that make picking up a certain book a no-brainer. In the honor of Valentine’s Day, I decided to talk about all the romance tropes that I absolutely love in a book. If I detect a hint of any of these in a synopsis, you can bet I’ll be adding that book to my TBR. I’m also really mad because as I was writing this post, I was drawing some serious blanks and could not recall any books that featured a lot of these tropes. I need to go back and reread every book I’ve ever had and take notes.
ENEMIES TO LOVERS
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: hate-to-love romances are my bread and butter. There are so many great aspects to this trope: the heated arguments, the palpable angst, the sexual tension, the mixed feelings. Honestly, just give me two characters that hate each other and hint at an attraction and I’ll be good to go.
Favorite Examples: Cardan + Jude from The Cruel Prince, Eelyn + Fiske from Sky in the Deep, Magnus + Cleo from Falling Kingdoms, Matthias + Nina from Six of Crows, Anthony + Kate from The Viscount Who Loved Me
CHILDHOOD FRIENDS TO LOVERS
The next best thing to hate-to-lovers, is having two people who have know each other for forever and then eventually develop feelings – or better yet, discover the feelings have been there all along. I love everything about it: the history between them, the inside jokes, the established friendship, the moments of jealousy before they realize their feelings.
Favorite Examples: Malyen + Alina from Shadow and Bone, Eril-Fane + Azareen from Strange the Dreamer, Elliot + Macy from Love and Other Words,Jay + Violet from The Body Finder
THERE’S ONLY ONE BED
You know this trope. The protagonist and love interest encounter a situation where they need to stay in a room with only one bed which – to my great delight – they end up sharing. Every time this happens in a book, I turn into giddy, squealing schoolgirl. I don’t know how this trope originated, but I would like to personally thank each and every author that’s ever utilized it. Bonus points if they hate each other. Extra bonus points if they end up cuddling by morning or the male love interest wakes up with a bit of a situation, ya know what I’m saying 😉
Favorite Examples:All of them. (but no seriously, I’m drawing a huge blank and cannot think of a single book with this trope even though I’ve read it so many times. If anyone can think of any specific YA books in which this happens, please comment below and put me out of my misery 😭)
I love me a good fake relationship, especially when the characters need to make it believable and act in love: hold hands, snuggling up, kissing. I know it’s probably redundant at this point, but the trope is even better when they don’t even really like each other at the beginning.
Favorite Examples: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Rogue Not Taken, Roomies
KISSING TO HIDE IN PLAIN SIGHT
Ah, the infamous “the bad guys are looking for us, let’s kiss so they look the other way!” Or when two characters are in disguise and have to kiss to keep up the ruse. Classic. I love this trope, particularly because it always happens before either of the characters admit to any feelings. And also because kissing, duh.
Favorite Examples: Angelfall, Lady Helen and the Dark Days Pact, The Devil’s Thief, Rebel of the Sands
HUDDLING TOGETHER FOR SURVIVAL
This is such a good trope, and one that sometimes allows for our beloved characters to strip down in a totally nonsexual way and then cuddle for warmth (or survival). I think I like it so much, because usually they end up falling asleep in each other’s arms, and then it becomes very reminiscent to the whole “there’s only bed” trope which we have all learned by now is one of my favorites.
Favorite Examples: Grave Mercy, The Hunger Games, The White Stag,
SHARING A HORSE
I’m total and complete trash for this trope. Like, in every fantasy story where there is some kind of horse riding going on, I always pray that some kind of situation arises in which the main character and the love interest have to share a horse for the duration of the rest of the journey. Whether they end up riding in front or in back, doesn’t matter it makes me swoon so hard.
Favorite Examples: Each and every time it happens.
Are any of these tropes you enjoy reading? What are some of your favorite romance tropes? Or what are some tropes in romance you cannot stand to read? Let me know in the comments and let’s chat!
It’s a new year, and the same (mostly) me! I have to admit, I really did not expect to have read as many books as I did this month. I starting nursing school this month, and I knew going into this semester that it was going to be hard and that I was going to be b u s y. And while it is tough and I do have a lot of work, I’m really proud of the way I’ve been managing my time, leaving myself a few hours a week to read. I might not be able to blog as often, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to continue the trend the rest of the semester!
ARCHENEMIES:Honestly, not much happened as far as the plot in this book. I really wish this series had remained a duology, because this just felt like a filler between the first and third books. I did enjoy the twists and turns towards the end, especially that cliffhanger! However, the story didn’t really feel like it was moving towards anything. ★★★★
TOUCH OF GOLD: This book fell really flat for me. There was hardly any worldbuilding and I couldn’t bring myself to care about any of the characters. Not to mention, there was not just one, but two instances of insta-love. The book was pretty romance-heavy, and since I didn’t particular enjoy either of the love interests, it couldn’t make up for the lacking plot. I almost DNF’d this a few times but forced myself to finish it. I kept thinking about how badly I just wanted this to be over the entire time I was reading. ★★
ECHO NORTH: The was such a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. The book completely blew my expectations out of the water. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job in taking the original elements of the fairytales in which the book was inspired by, and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly. ARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. [review]★★★★★
DARK OF THE WEST: This book has an extremely fascinating premise. The best way to describe it would be YA fantasy meets World War II. The story is full of political intrigue, nonstop action, romance, family drama, and interesting characters. The prologue does an excellent job of pulling the reader into the book and promising a story in which not everything is what it seems. However, while I really enjoy books that have plots that are complex and multidimensional, I was confused about what was going on for a good portion of the book. There are so many different conflicts and it took me a very long time to figure out who was fighting who and why. ARC provided by the publisher. [review]★★★
THE WICKED KING: I waited an entire year for this book and I was not disappointed in the least. There was so much political machinations going on and I loved every second of this book. And the development between Jude and Cardan had me screaming. By the way, that ending that slayed us all? I have a feeling things are not what they seem. There will be no ARCs of The Queen of Nothing, so we will all have to suffer together. ★★★★★
UNDYING: This was a really good sequel and conclusion to the story. The thing that I missed the most while reading this was that the setting was no longer on an alien planet in space. I really missed the Indiana Jones vibes from the first book. However, there was a lot of adventuring and action in this book, we were introduced to a some fun new characters, and I loved all the interactions between Mia and Jules. ★★★½
CROWN OF FEATHERS:This is probably my biggest disappointment of the year thus far. I had been looking forward to this book for so long. The premise of the book and the phoenix riding aspects is really cool and interesting, but for some reason I just wasn’t that into it. The beginning was slower to pick up, but once it gets to the middle the action really starts to get going. Girl Pretending to be Boy is one of my favorite tropes, and that was one part of the book that I actually did really enjoy and though was well-done. ARC provided by the publisher. ★★★
STAIN: This book blew me away. It was a hauntingly beautiful fairytale unlike any other. The dark, gothic elements and vivid descriptions made this such an atmospheric read. There were so many clever intricacies to the plot and the small details were woven together so carefully and in a way that made this a really well-constructed book. I also loved the theme of a rose gaining thorns in regards to Lyra’s character growth throughout the story. [review] ★★★★½
WARRIOR OF THE WILD: This book was so much fun to read. It was action-packed, fast-paced adventure with a loveable, fierce warrior girl as the star of the novel. The action starts from the first page, and doesn’t let up until the last. Rasmira was such a wonderful heroine and I enjoyed reading through her point of view so very much. In addition to our protagonist, we also are introduced to two side characters, Iric and Soren, and I loved the interactions between those two boys and Rasmira. The book has an important and inspiring message of overcoming adversity and growing into the person you want to be, regardless of what others believe of you.ARC provided by the publisher. ★★★★★
THE KINGDOM OF COPPER:One of the fears of reading a sequel to a book that quickly became such a favorite, is that the second one won’t live up to the enjoyment of the first. I am here to tell you that there is nothing to worry about: this was an impressive second installment full of all the same wonderful things that made The City of Brass one of my favorite books. The story has everything I love in a book: political intrigue, complex characters, and mesmerizing writing. The characters I loved so much in the first book are back, and I continue to adore all three of them, despite any mistakes they might be making (looking at you, Dara). A truly unforgettable story, and impossible to put down. ARC provided by the publisher. ★★★★½
ROOMIES: I always fear there is going to come a time when a Christina Lauren book won’t live up to my expectations. Thankfully, that time is not now. This 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. Fake dating/marriage is a trope that I absolutely love to read and it was executed perfectly! ★★★★★
The end of the year is approaching fast, and if you’re like me, there are still a whole lot of books left on the TBR from this year that haven’t been read yet! November was a bit of slower month for me, reading-wise, due mostly to the fact that I was on vacation for two weeks. I had anticipated catching up on my TBR while I was gone, but I’m not one to sit around do nothing, so vacations usually aren’t as relaxing as they sound, as I’m always finding things to do! I also went to YALLFest a couple of weeks ago, and I had so much fun!! I met so many great people, made some new friends, and got a ton of books and ARCs, including a couple highly-anticipated upcoming releases that I was desperate for!
FURY:I loved this conclusion to the Menagerie series! For the most part, I thought it wrapped things up well. There were a few things, however, that I wish would have been different for the final book. A lot of questions were left unanswered and I think certain plot points needed to be fleshed out a bit more. Although I didn’t mind the bittersweet ending, it was almost a little too bitter, and since I’m a hopeless romantic, I truly wish there has been more of the romance and felt a little cheated. I’m also still unsure how I feel about the epilogue, and it has bothered me ever since. ★★★★½
THE HATING GAME: If you haven’t figured it out by now, I’m complete trash for a love-to-hate relationship and witty banter. This 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. The highlight of the book were the characters themselves; I thoroughly enjoyed reading about both Josh and Lucy and really enjoyed the evolution of their relationship. I now understand all the high praises I’ve seen about this book, because it deserves all it. [review] ★★★★★
THE GILDED WOLVES: I figured I would enjoy this because it’s Roshani Chokshi but I didn’t realize just how amazing it would be! The world created here can only be described as opulent and magical. Roshani has written such a unique story full of dark magic, thrilling adventures, and a diverse cast of compelling characters. From the mysteries and secrets, to the heists and plot twists, there is a lot of good stuff going on in this book. One of my favorite aspects was the interactions between the characters. There are a lot of different dynamics to love and each was written so beautifully and believably. The characters are truly the heart of this story and I can’t wait for everyone to meet them! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. [review]★★★★½
WINDWITCH: My first attempt at reading this when it was released nearly two years ago, I had to stop at about 15% of the way in. The pacing was so tedious and I was disappointed when I learned that some of the beloved characters weren’t going to be reunited during the course of the story. I’m proud of myself that I picked it up again and was able to finish it this time! There was a lot about this book that I didn’t enjoy: the slower pacing, the fact that Safi and Iseult don’t reunite and the absence of their sisterhood, the fact that Safi and Merik don’t reunite or interact, and the lack of action. I also hated that the story kind of hints towards a love triangle, because I am not here for it. The pacing and action does start to pick up towards the end, and the last part of the book begins to resemble everything I had loved about Truthwitch. ★★★½
REBEL OF THE SANDS: This was my second reading of the book, in anticipation of finally read the entire trilogy. I’m so glad I reread it, because I hardly remembered anything about it and because I enjoyed it so much better the second time around. I loved the world-building done in this book: Miraji is a Middle-Eastern inspired setting with Old-West aspects + magic. There is so much action and fun stuff happening here. We have amazing characters, a slow-burn romance, treks across the desserts, an abundance of princes, and a kick-butt heroine that I adore. This fast-paced book is full of plot twists and plenty of action. [review] ★★★★
TRAITOR TO THE THRONE: I’m thankful I was able to read this right after finishing Rebel of the Sands, because otherwise I think my experience would have been a lot different. This book focuses more on Amani and is a lot slower paced than the previous book. Instead of a plot filled with action and adventure, we get introduced to political intrigue and court machinations. Beloved characters from the first book – including Jin and their romance – are sadly missing for a good portion of this book, but there was so much happening that it never bothered me. A few new key characters are introduced and there were two that I absolutely loved getting to know: Rahim and Sam! The action starts to really build towards the last few chapters, and by the end we’re left with a big cliffhanger! [review] ★★★★
HERO AT THE FALL:This was such a thrilling and wonderful conclusion to the series! The fast-paced and action-filled plot returned, and now the stakes are raised. I was happy that Jin and Amani were together again in this one, because I love the way their relationship changed and grew over the course of these books. I also loved the relationships Amani had with all of the other characters, but especially her friendships with with Shazad, Amed and Sam. More of the book’s mythology was included, and I really enjoyed reading those bits of stories and their creativity. As much as I loved everything that went on, we also said goodbye to some characters, including one of my favorites. And while I liked the ending/epilogue, I do wish that a couple of the characters were given more a more satisfying conclusion to their stories. [review] ★★★★
A DANGEROUS COLLABORATION: This wasn’t my favorite in the series, but I really loved the setting! Veronica and Stoker find themselves in a remote island off the coast of Cornwall, in a possibly haunted castle, as the guests of Lord Malcolm. The entire plot/setting is very reminiscent of a murder mystery dinner and it was so very fun to read. The pace of this book was a bit slower than the others, and it took a while for it to really pick up. However as with all the other, it was full of thrilling adventures, witty conversations, sexual tension, and of course – murder and mayhem. And after years of waiting, we finally get a nudge in the right direction towards romance between Veronica and Stoker – and it was totally worth the wait! ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. [review] ★★★★
KINGDOM OF ASH AND BRIARS:I thought I would love this a lot more than what I actually did. I really liked the story, the writing, and the world-building. The fairytale retelling aspects were enjoyable and I thought they were creative and intriguing. However, even thought the story is told through first-person POV, I had trouble connecting with Bristal and felt disconnected from the story. And while I really liked the romance, there was an aspect of it that just felt kind of strange. ★★★½
THE DARK DAYS DECEIT:This was the conclusion to the Lady Helen series – a series that I absolutely love – and yet I was so disappointed while reading this. I’m going to attribute my lack of enthusiasm towards this book to my high expectations and longer than usually wait. The release date was pushed back nearly a year, so I had forgotten a lot of things that had happened in the previous book. The book felt like parts of it were drawn out too long, while other parts were rushed and didn’t make any sense. The three books build up towards a romance between Helen and Lord Carlston, and yet what we’re given at the end was such a letdown. The conclusion of both the plot and the romance were honestly really anti-climatic and I finished this book feeling saddened and unsatisfied. ★★★½
THE OTHER MISS BRIDGERTON: I haven’t enjoyed a Julia Quinn book this much since I first read The Viscount Who Loved Me. I had such a fun time reading this! There was so much that I loved about it, but I’m not ashamed to admit that the hate-to-love romance is what did me in. I have been disappointed that I haven’t really liked any of Quinn’s books other than The Viscount Who Loved Me, so I’m glad to find another favorite! ★★★★