Monday, October 1, 2018

Book Review: "My Favorite Half-Night Stand" by Christina Lauren

It's crazy...less than a year ago, I had never heard of Christina Lauren or read any of their books. Last November I read Autoboyography and fell madly in love with it (see my review). Earlier this year I read Love and Other Words (see my review), just to see if my infatuation with them was a fluke. (Spoiler alert: it wasn't.)

About two weeks ago I read their latest book, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating (see my review), and had visions of pacing myself until December, when their newest book was due to be released. But when I saw My Favorite Half-Night Stand available on NetGalley, you bet I pounced, and I was thrilled to be approved nearly instantaneously. And wouldn't you know it? Once again, the duo has struck gold, capturing my heart with another book...and I guess lengthening my wait for the next one. Damn.

The only woman in her group of best friends, Millie Morris is truly one of the guys. She and all of her friends are super-smart professors; her specialty just happens to be serial killers—female serial killers, in fact. Millie can drink her guy friends under the table, throw multiple double entendres into a sentence without blinking, and is more than happy to play video games and stuff her face alongside her friends any night of the week.

Of all of her guy friends, Millie is probably closest to neuroscientist Reid Campbell. They've always had that half-flirty, half-brother-and-sister thing down pat, and they both feel happiest in each other's company. So it's almost no surprise when a night of celebratory drinking ends up with the two of them in bed, enjoying a few hot rounds of sex before agreeing they're better off keeping their relationship platonic—and keeping their wild half-night stand a secret from the rest of the guys.

When a university event becomes a black-tie gala, all five of them are determined to find dates. Millie and the guys agree to try an online dating site, but as is typical with their friendship, Millie winds up creating all of her friends' profiles, yet draws a blank when she goes to write her own. Opening up has never been easy for her, so while her friends start to find potential matches, she mostly hears from creeps sending dick pics or inquiring about her bra size.

After getting ribbed by the guys for her failure, she decides to create a second profile, yet for this one she calls herself "Catherine." The very act of creating a fictional persona is freeing for Millie, she can suddenly be more playful, more emotionally open, more honest than she can be in real life. When she and Reid "match" online, she tries to provide enough clues so he will realize it's her, but at the same time, she encourages their online conversations until they grow deeper.

The more Millie (as Catherine) corresponds with Reid, the more interested he becomes, yet at the same time, Reid is trying to figure out what Millie wants from their real-life relationship. But for some reason, Millie can't open up and be vulnerable with Reid the way she can as Catherine. She wants Reid for real but she can't give him everything he wants, yet she knows there's only a matter of time before her dishonesty destroys their friendship for good.

"Does it matter if you do the wrong thing for the right reason?"

My Favorite Half-Night Stand is a fun, sexy, emotional, thought-provoking look at male-female friendships and how hard it can be to allow yourself to be totally vulnerable with someone you care about. I loved the way Lauren twisted the gender roles in this book, yet the characters' actions and emotions seemed totally true to who they are. I was totally invested in this story from start to finish, and I wished I could hang out with this group of friends, because they seemed like a lot of fun!

As with most of the other books of theirs I've read so far, there's nothing particularly surprising or earth-shattering in this book, but I loved it all the same. I wanted to know what was going to happen to these characters. I wanted to root for them and sometimes I wanted to shake some sense into them. There are some big issues at play here, as well as some genuinely loving friendships and some hot sex to boot.

The more I read of Lauren's books, the more I love them. They're just tremendously enjoyable reads that hit all of my emotions but don't manipulate them too badly. Pick one up and hopefully you'll become a fan, too! (Oh, and please don't make me wait too long for your next book!)

NetGalley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books provided me an advance copy of the book in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making this available!

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