Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Book Review: "The Unhoneymooners" by Christina Lauren

So there I was, feeling a bit of withdrawal since it had been more than two months since I'd read a Christina Lauren book (I read four of their books in 2018, and one in 2017). Then, like a bolt out of the blue, I saw that NetGalley was offering advance copies of their newest book, The Unhoneymooners, and I literally pulled my car over into the first parking lot I saw and submitted my request. (True story. And I kept to my no NetGalley requests while driving rule.)

Of course, I was granted access to the title, and one day later? I devoured the book and will (kind of) patiently wait for their next one. (A long, long time ago I went to a book signing of John Grisham's for The Pelican Brief. I told him how much I liked the book and he said, "Man, Larry, I just finished this one. Slow down!") But once again, Christina Lauren doesn't disappoint, but gives me all the feels and leaves me giddy.

Olive and Ami are identical twins. As far as Olive is concerned, Ami has always been the lucky one, while Olive has recently been laid off from her job and had to move back in with her family when her roommate moved out. Plus, Olive's biggest achievement is getting stuck in an arcade claw machine when she was younger.

Ami is also lucky in love—she's about to marry Dane, who may be a little too frat bro-y for Olive's taste, but Olive is happy that her sister is happy. Ami has been able to put on her entire wedding and reception through contests and drawings (which explains the ridiculous, Skittle-green bridesmaid's dresses), but she's given Olive a number of tasks on the big day, most of which include interacting with Ethan, Dane's older brother—and Olive's nemesis since their first meeting took an ugly turn a few years ago.

"Too tall, too fit, too classically pretty. Never friendly, never trustworthy, never any fun. He puts on an innocent smile—innocent on the surface: a flash of teeth, a dimple, but in his eyes, it's all black-souled."

When Ethan and Olive are virtually the only two people not to contract food poisoning at the reception, Ami and Dane have a free honeymoon in Maui that is use-it-or-lose-it. Olive is certainly not going to let Ethan enjoy Maui by himself, so she agrees to go. They both figure there will be plenty of opportunities to enjoy the beautiful scenery—and lose the other. But when they realize they'll need to pretend to be giddy honeymooners for 10 days, it seems like a small price to pay for paradise, right?

When unexpected encounters with people from both of their lives force them to tear into their acting roles with greater passion, Olive starts to realize that she doesn't mind spending time with Ethan and pretending to be married to him. Maybe he's not as bad as she thought he was—and maybe she can't get enough of being with him. But what is real and what is an act? What will happen when they leave paradise and go home to Minnesota? Will they fall back into their antagonistic relationship?

The thing about Christina Lauren's books (other than terrific characters you root for, great emotions, humor, and hot sex) is that even though you probably can predict most of what will happen, you get so hooked on the story, and you're so charmed by it, that it doesn't really matter. Their books get me every time—like I said earlier, I get a little giddy, a little emotional, and I just want more.

If you're a fan of rom-coms, or just want a lighter book to divert you from brooding thrillers, Christina Lauren's books are just the ticket. Their book Love and Other Words made my list of the best books I read last year, while Roomies, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, and Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating were not far behind. (Plus, Autoboyography, one of their few YA books, is utterly AMAZING.)

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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