Book Review, Books, Romance

Review of The Magnolia Chronicles: Adventures in Modern Dating by Kate Canterbary

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5 of 5 funny and relatable stars

I can tell how good a book is by how many times I use the highlight feature on my Kindle. For this book, I highlighted 32 passages. 32! I think it’s probably a record! And these were just the passages that resonated with me. If I also highlighted all the times that this book made me laugh out loud, that number would be much higher.

I’ve only read a few of Kate Canterbary’s books, and I’ve enjoyed them all, but I think this is my favorite so far. It was originally released in her newsletter as a serial, but I have zero patience, so I waited until it was released as an entire book before I read it. I am currently in the same boat as Magnolia was at the beginning of the book: trying to find a good man. As she says at one point, “It shouldn’t be this difficult.” And yet, it is! Every woman (and man) has their dating horror stories, and many of Magnolia’s made me laugh out loud, and others made me cringe while also being grateful I haven’t had to deal with the men she that had!

Of course, the story delves a bit into the fantasy realm, when she finds not one, but TWO good men to date, and they are are ok with her dating both of them at the same time. (But I guess that’s why we read, to escape reality! 🙂 ) I don’t hold this against her, though, because given the opportunity, I’m sure I’d do the same thing!

The book is so cleverly written (many chapters begin with the words “my date was…” ), and so funny, (“The weekend rolled around but I forgot all about baking. It was probably a blessing in disguise since my sweet breads only rose about half of the time. That seemed like a fair statement on my ability to function as an adult too: fifty percent meeting expectations, fifty percent blobbing around like thick, doughy uselessness.”) and so relatable (“dating was draining my soul.”)

I also enjoy that her books are based in Boston, unlike so many stories that take place in New York. Don’t get me wrong, I love NYC, but the change in venue is refreshing. There’s just something so fun about a woman who has a tiny dog named Gronk! I’ve read some other reviews, and one problem some readers had with it is the lack of actual sexy times, which KC is VERY good at writing. I don’t think this book suffered from their omission, but I was surprised by it.

I am looking forward to reading it again, and I’ve also been inspired to read the rest of the Walsh series. (I’ve only read the first one, Underneath It All, and part of the second, The Space Between, as well as a separate standalone, Coastal Elite, which is actually the KC book that started it all for me!)

Buy The Magnolia Chronicles

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Books, Romance

Review of “My Favorite Half-Night Stand” by Christina Lauren

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5 of 5 virtual stars

“I have never read anything like this.”

I say the same thing every time I finish a book by Christina Lauren.

I said it about Roomies. I said it about Beautiful Stranger. I said it about Love and Other Words.

It’s a pattern.

The premise of Half-Night Stand may be familiar to you: two people, who have been friends for years, realize that they’re in love with each other.

I have read some terrific Friends-to-Lovers books:

Head Over Heels by Serena Bell

Truth or Beard by Penny Reid

Some Sort of Crazy by Melanie Harlow

But I have never read a FtoL book like this.

The main characters are Millie and Reid. And Ed. And Alex. And Chris. A friend group that includes four guys and one girl. At first, I thought, oh no, I’ll never keep track of that many main characters. But I did!

Chris has it all together.

Alex is a player.

Ed is a 30-year-old kid who only has beer in his fridge, and answers the door in his bathrobe. (Ed is my spirit animal!)

Reid is loyal, and hard-working, and passionate.

And then there’s Millie. She’s quirky, and closed off, and not comfortable talking about her feelings. (Millie. Is. Me!)

These five friends are generally satisfied with their lives. They have jobs that they enjoy, they have a group of good friends, they have a comfortable routine. The shenanigans begin when one of them decides that they should bring a “plus-one” to an upcoming event, and figure the best way to find one is by using a dating app. This is very relevant to today’s environment, as it seems to be the only way to find a partner in this day and age. (I love that this book delves into this topic, as I’ve had some experience with online dating in the past few months, and I haven’t found many books that even bring it up as an option! People in books seem to meet other people “the old-fashioned way.”)

Each of the friends has a different experience with the dating app, called IRL. When Millie is matched with one of her best friends, she starts to look at her relationship with that friend in a different light.

I always see something new when I read Christina Lauren book. We see the group text conversations among the gang, each accompanied by an icon of each character. I’m a very visual person, so it helped my brain to have a picture to connect with each member of the friend group. This is unique, and fun, and very Christina Lauren.

With every CL book I read, I fall more in love with the style of this writing duo. They are clever, the sexy times are steamy, and they always make me cry at some point. If you haven’t read a Christina Lauren book yet, please pick one up and be sure to tell me what you think!!

Buy My Favorite Half-Night Stand on Amazon