Thursday, November 22, 2018

In a Nutshell: The Romance Edition


In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

My Favorite Half-Night Stand
Christina Lauren
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
By the New York Times bestselling author who “hilariously depicts modern dating” (Us Weekly), My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a laugh-out-loud romp through online dating and its many, many fails.

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.

Perfect for fans of Roxanne and She’s the Man, Christina Lauren’s latest romantic comedy is full of mistaken identities, hijinks, and a classic love story with a modern twist. Funny and fresh, you’ll want to swipe right on My Favorite Half-Night Stand.
Millie was just "one of the boys", and she loved her band of merry men. But, after a half-night stand with Reid and a group promise to online date together, things got messy when Millie masqueraded as one of Reid's digital suitors.
  • Pro: This book was billed as a rom-com, and it delivered tons of laughs for me. The characters were so fun and quirky, and their musings and antics kept me in stitches. 
  • Pro: Speaking of musings, there were these conversations about dating and dating apps, which was hilarious. It was definitely a fun look at how dating has evolved in our digital age. 
  • Pro: I was shipping Millie and Reid at 7%. I always love to see a romance built on a strong foundation of friendship, and Millie and Reid had that. They had an ease with each other, that I envied, and they always seemed to enjoy their time together. I had no problem envisioning this turning to more. 
  • Pro: This friend group was awesome! These were my people. There were so many nerdy, science people in one place, I know I could sit down with them, and have the best time. You could see that they were more like family, and their dynamic was simply fantastic. 
  • Pro: I am always a fan of dual POVs, but CLo upped the game by adding in amusing group messages, texts, and some really heartfelt letters. I loved the way they utilized the additional media, and thought they incorporated it well into the story.  
  • Pro: I have seen some negative things about Millie, but I adored her. I felt like this was more a story about her, than anything else. She was emotionally stunted, and it was through her friendship with this boisterous group, that she grew, and was able to start her healing process. She was the character I shed tears for. Just thinking about her act of atonement is bringing tears to my eyes right now. 
Overall:  A great rom-com, which explored friendship, family, love, intimacy, which produced lots of laughs, but also some happy tears.


Best of Luck
Kate Clayborn
Series: Change of a Lifetime, #3
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Kensington
Rating:  4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Winning the lottery is the biggest ticket to freedom Greer Hawthorne’s ever had. Until her best friend’s brother comes to town . . .

Greer Hawthorne’s winning lottery ticket doesn’t just bring her wealth, it also means her chance at a long-postponed education. She’s finally on the cusp of proving to her big, overprotective family that she’s independent—until a careless mistake jeopardizes her plan to graduate. Lucky for her, there’s someone in town who may be able to help . . .

Alex Averin plans to show up for his sister’s wedding, then quickly get back to his job as a world-renowned photojournalist. But when gorgeous, good-hearted Greer needs an assist with a photography project, he’s powerless to say no. Showing Greer his professional passion ignites a new one, and rouses instincts in Alex he thought he’d long set aside.

Can a ceaseless wanderer find a stopping place alongside a woman determined to set out on her own . . . or are Alex and Greer both pushing their luck too far?
Both Alex and Greer were slightly broken and running from their past. They found great comfort in each other, but will that be enough to heal their wounds?
  • Pro: I. Love. Greer. She was probably the biggest mystery of the group, because she was quieter, but I got to know her, layer by layer in this book, and she was one special woman. She was fierce and I wanted her to get everything she set her eyes on - the degree, her freedom, I wanted it all for her, because she deserved it. 
  • Pro: Greer's family was fantastic! From their Hollywood homage names to their over-involvement in Greer's life, this colorful group captured my heart. But, I mostly, I appreciated how much love they shared with each other. 
  • Pro: Alex was so complicated, and it was wonderful to be there with him, as he worked out his issues and his needs. I especially liked seeing him connecting to others, and recognizing these connections as a good thing. I think it was an important step for him towards his recovery, and oh! How I wanted him to heal. 
  • Pro: I am a terrible photographer, but I was captivated by that part of the story. Clayborn did such a wonderful job taking us on shoots, and, at times, I felt like I was looking through the viewfinder myself. 
  • Pro: I appreciated the way the mental health and chronic health issues were addressed. It was done in a positive and sensitive manner, and most importantly, without stigma. 
  • Pro: Watching Alex and Greer's romance blossom and blaze was a special treat. They had chemistry and connection, and also understood the other's needs. They were beautiful together. 
Overall: I am sad to see this series end, because each book was wonderful, but at least I can say it went out on a high note. I am eagerly anticipating reading more from Clayborn in the future.



The Accidental Beauty Queen
Teri Wilson
Series: n/a
Age/Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Gallery Books
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
In this charming romantic comedy perfect for fans of Meg Cabot and Sophie Kinsella, critically acclaimed author Teri Wilson shows us that sometimes being pushed out of your comfort zone leads you to the ultimate prize.

Charlotte Gorman loves her job as an elementary school librarian, and is content to experience life through the pages of her books. Which couldn’t be more opposite from her identical twin sister. Ginny, an Instagram-famous beauty pageant contestant, has been chasing a crown since she was old enough to enunciate the words world peace, and she’s not giving up until she gets the title of Miss American Treasure. And Ginny’s refusing to do it alone this time.

She drags Charlotte to the pageant as a good luck charm, but the winning plan quickly goes awry when Ginny has a terrible, face-altering allergic reaction the night before the pageant, and Charlotte suddenly finds herself in a switcheroo the twins haven’t successfully pulled off in decades.

Woefully unprepared for the glittery world of hair extensions, false eyelashes, and push-up bras, Charlotte is mortified at every unstable step in her sky-high stilettos. But as she discovers there’s more to her fellow contestants than just wanting a sparkly crown, Charlotte realizes she has a whole new motivation for winning.
My love for Hallmark movies is no secret, and when I saw that Teri Wilson had been involved with several particularly wonderful Hallmark films, I knew I had to read this book. I was expecting something light and fun, but still sweet and thoughtful, and Wilson more than met my expectations.
  • Pro: I loved Charlotte. She was a bookish, nerdy librarian. How could I NOT love her? 
  • Pro: The exploration of sibling relationships is something I always enjoy, and this one was made that much more interesting by involving identical twin sisters and a really BIG secret, that was hampering their relationship. 
  • Pro: Grey was such a wonderful and swoony hero. Not only was he a billionaire, but he was also a literature lover. I was as dazzled by him as Charlotte was when he spoke Darcy to her. 
  • Pro: I am telling you, the pageant scenes gave me this awesome Miss Congeniality vibe. They were fun, and I liked that Charlotte started to see this world in a different, more positive way. I loved the sisterhood side of the pageant Wilson exposed, and I always like seeing women supporting women. 
  • Pro: This was quite a journey for Charlotte. She not only learned a lot about pageants and her sister, but she learned a lot about herself, and I really enjoyed getting to see her evolve over the course of the story. 
  • Pro: There were all these little things that delighted me in this book. From butter beer to Buttercup, the adorable French Bulldog, I found all these little touches that added to my enjoyment. 
Overall:  This book was sweet and charming, as well as hilarious and heartwarming. I smiled, I laughed, I shed some tears, and in the end, I was left with a smile on my face and a full heart. 


** ARCs received in exchange for honest reviews.

Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!

20 comments:

  1. I am so so pleased the Accidental Beauty Queen is as wonderful as I hoped! YAY!

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    1. Once I found out the author was also a Hallmark movie writer, I knew I had made a good decision, when I opted to read it. So fun, sweet, and touching too.

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  2. All of these books sound like they are right up my alley! I have been hearing a lot about Christina Lauren lately and I think that it is time to check out My Favourite Half-Night Stand. I'm glad that you enjoyed all of these. :)

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    1. CLo have been churning out books this year, and if you like rom-coms with zany heroines, I think you would enjoy them. Loved both Josh and Hazel and Half-Night. Autoboyography is probably still my favorite, but it's a different kind of story.

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  3. I need to read more Christina Lauren. I'm on the wait list for Josh & Hazel at the library because I was too overloaded with ARCs I had to complete when it was available to me and I passed. I could kick myself now, but I am getting the audio version so I'm happy about that. I love Hallmark movies, too!! I'll have to check out The Accidental Beauty Queen! :)

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    1. I LOVED Josh and Hazel! I had read CLo's older books, but my love affair with them definitely started with Autoboyography. I am a big fan of the books they have been putting out in the past two years. Beauty Queen was fun and sweet, and I laughed a lot.

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  4. I can't wait to read The Accidental Beauty Queen, it sounds so so cute. I love the twin aspect and the pageant stuff sounds so fun.

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    1. It was so fun, and the relationship between the sisters is explored quite a bit. They learned a lot from their beauty experience.

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  5. I adored Josh & Hazel but really disliked Half-Night Stand :-((((

    The other two sound cute.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Huh. I thought they had a similar vibe. I know some people were not fans fo the cat fishing thing, but I was ok with it. I think if that is an obstacle for a reader, it would ruin the whole story. I was more about the friendship, and it was so much fun. Sorry it didn't work for you.

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  6. I have My Favorite Half-Night Stand on hold at the library!

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    1. I hope you like it! It seems not everyone is a fan of the cat fishing storyline, but it was all the other stuff that won my heart.

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  7. I've had my eye on Accidental Beauty Queen for a while because it sounded funny, so I'm glad to hear you found it hilarious. My Favorite Half-Night Stand has had me intrigued as well, mainly because of the title and because I've really wanted to try Christina Lauren's books. Both of these are going on my TBR now!

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    1. Beauty Queen was so cute and fun. I hope you get a chance to read. People are of two camps when it comes to Half-Night, but I loved it, loved Josh & Hazel, Autoboyography, and Love & Other Words too.

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  8. My Favorite Half-Night Stand sounds hilarious, and I'm always sold at a memorable friend group!

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    1. I loved Half-Night, but some people struggled with the cat fishing part of the storyline, which I was ok with, because it was justified and there were consequences and there was so many other wonderful things to love.

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  9. A great post! <3
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  10. Great reviews Sam! I did have some problems with Mellie, but I still enjoyed the book a lot. It's not my favorite, but it's definitely not my least favorite either. I've never heard of the Chance of a Lifetime series before, but it sounds really cute. Just added the first book to goodreads. :) I had a ton of fun with The Accidental Beauty Queen! I can't believe I forgot about when Grey spoke Darcy to her...ah!!

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    1. All three books in the Chance of a Lifetime series were great. So well worth my time. Beauty Queen was tons of fun, and I would love to see it adapted for Hallmark.

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