Book Review, Books, Christmas, netgalley, New Release, Romance

Book Review: In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren

5 out of 5 spectacularly seasonal stars

I never read blubs, especially from authors that I love, because I trust them to tell me a good story. In the case of Christina Lauren, I trust them to give me an excellent story, and this is exactly what I got with In a Holidaze.

Here’s the official description: “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 favourite place in the world – the snowy cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born. Mentally melting down as she drives away 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, everything goes black . . . When Mae gasps awake, she’s back on an airplane, beginning 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 hilarious hijinks, this swoon-worthy romantic read will make you believe in the power of wishes and the magic of the holidays.

Since I don’t read blurbs, I had no idea what I was getting into with In a Holidaze, but it ended up being precisely my cup of tea. It starts off with a normal holiday gathering, and all of a sudden, there’s time travel involved! This is also the story of two people who have known each other as friends their entire lives, and I love a couple with a complicated history! There is a big, wonderful cast of characters in addition to Maelyn and Andrew. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to keep track of who’s who in books like this, but these characters were so delightful. It was so fun getting to know them, and they were very easy to distinguish from one another.

Since the main character, Maelyn, bounces back in time and repeats the Christmas holidays over and over again, there is an element of suspense throughout the last half of the book, as you wait to find out if she’s going to lose everything she’s gained in the current go-round by ending back on the plane. I kept thinking “Don’t go back! Don’t go back!” and I will definitely not spoil it for you. But if you’ve read a Christina Lauren book before, you know that they can put you through a lot of heartache and drama and angst, but they don’t leave you there! I loved this book so much that I’m going to buy it on audio. I don’t always have time to reread a book, but there’s always time to listen to one!

Thanks to the Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Book Review, Books, netgalley, New Release, Uncategorized

Book Review! New Release! The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren

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3 of 5 disappointing stars

I am a huge fan of books by the writing duo known as Christina Lauren. Two of my favorite books of all time,  Love and Other Words, and Roomies were written by these ladies. I love these two books so much because they’re beautifully written and gut-wrenching and can make you laugh one page and cry the next. This means that I hold books by CL to a higher standard. Unfortunately, The Honey-Don’t List didn’t live up to those standards.

This story had a couple things going against it for me, through no fault of the authors. I’m not a fan of books about “famous” people: rock stars, movie stars, TV personalities. It’s just not my thing. I think a lot of the things in pop culture that fascinate most of our population are trite and shallow. I don’t care who dated who, or who cheated on who, or who was caught at the grocery store without makeup, or how many pounds so-and-so has put on. Secondly, I’m not obsessed with home improvement shows like a lot of people are. This book is about famous people on a home improvement show!

It was well-written, as all CL books are, but it lacked that gorgeous word play that can be found throughout many of their books, including the two favorites I mentioned earlier. I read this book on my iPad, and I hardly highlighted any phrases, which is the sign of a good book for me. I finished it just to finish it, not because I really cared that much about how it turned out. It definitely lacked the angst and conflict of an excellent CL story. There was a moment in Love and Other Words where I literally had to put the book down and go take a break for a few days. (The same thing happened with Dating-ish by Penny Reid.) This book had none of that. I don’t want that in every book I read, but usually there is a sense of urgency and drama in a CL book, and this time, there wasn’t.

By no means will this stop me from reading books by these great authors. But perhaps I should lower my expectations a bit for their next one, because I hate being disappointed that they’re not as good as my two favorites.

Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

The Honey-Don’t List releases on March 24 and you can find it here

Book Review, Books, netgalley, New Release, Romance

Review of Dating by the Book by Mary Ann Marlowe

Four out of five delightful stars

I really liked this book, from its nerdy references (Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter) to the discussion of the more historical literary works (Jane Eyre, Little Women) as well as the peek behind the scenes of an author’s life, it was fun to read and very well written. There was also a bit of a mystery to solve, which I will not spoil, but it definitely kept me guessing and kept me reading!

That being said, this book should be considered less of a romance and more of a fantasy. Maddie, the heroine, had four men vying for her attention. Four! I can barely get one to show any interest, so I just had to chalk that up as a fantastical plot device. However, this was my first book by this author, and I requested it from Netgalley because I liked the summary, so I knew what I was getting into! I just had to suspend my disbelief a little bit.

I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that Maddie has a bit of an online flirtation going on with a reviewer she knows as Silver Fox, and I loved this aspect of the story! I think the “flirty exchanges with an online stranger” storylines are super sexy and fun. If only real life online dating went as well as what I read in books!

I also love books that make me say, out loud, “oh wow…” and this one did. I’m looking forward to reading this author’s other books and I’d encourage you to give this one a try! Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Buy Dating by the Book on Amazon here

Books, netgalley, New Release, Romance, Uncategorized

Review of “The One You Fight For” (The Ones Who Got Away Book 3) by Roni Loren

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The One You Fight For is the third book in a very interesting and unique series. The stories revolve around a group of four women – Olivia, Rebecca, Taryn and Kincaid –  who are survivors of a school shooting. They come together ten years later, during the filming a documentary about the tragedy. The first book, The Ones Who Got Away, was very good, and the second book, The One You Can’t Forget, was even better. I was very excited to read this third installment.

The couple in this story has a giant obstacle in the way of them getting their Happily Ever After: Taryn’s little sister Nia was killed in the shooting, and Shaw’s brother Joseph was one of the shooters. Of course, when they first meet, neither of them knows who the other is. When they discover their shared history, it’s too late because an emotional connection has been made. The solution? Call it a temporary fling, (Sure, because that always turns out the way it’s supposed to!)

Even though this story deals with a very heavy subject, it is surprisingly sexy and often funny. It’s full of twists and turns, and has a great cast of characters. It starts off a bit slowly, because there’s quite a bit of background to get through before the action really starts. It’s worth hanging in there for, though, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series. Kincaid’s story is the only one left to tell, and I have a feeling Roni Loren saved the best for last!

Thanks to #netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.

Buy The One You Fight For on Amazon