Sunday, May 26, 2019

Book Review: "Twice in a Blue Moon" by Christina Lauren

I wish I could bottle the feelings I experience when I'm reading a book by Christina Lauren. First there's anticipation, as I've now read eight of their books, and I just love the way they tell a story. Then there's excitement, as the main characters encounter one another and begin the awkward dance of attraction and emotion, tinged with the reluctance of acknowledging their feelings.

Excitement gives way to complete emotional immersion, and I find myself rooting for the characters to find their happily ever after. Then, of course, there's satisfaction, which quickly gives way to sadness...because I realize I'll have to wait at least six months for their next book! (Boy, am I fortunate they've been giving us two books a year lately!)

Their newest book, Twice in a Blue Moon, has now become my favorite. There's a love story, of course, but it's coupled with complicated family issues and the added appeal of the entertainment world. It's ironic, too, that a book which in part takes place on a movie set is one of the books I'd most love to see adapted for the big or small screen!

Tate Jones and her grandmother are on a trip to London to celebrate Tate's 18th birthday and her impending departure for college. Apart from the early days of her childhood, Tate has lived with her mother and grandmother in a small Northern California town, where everyone knows everyone and tourists are plentiful in season. She's always longed for more, but since she bears a secret that the world would die to know—she's the long-lost daughter of a famous film actor—she has always had to live life quietly.

While Tate enjoys everything about London, early on in her trip she meets Sam Brandis, a handsome college student on a similar vacation with his grandfather, who raised him. Tate and Sam are drawn to each other immediately, and over the course of a few late nights spent talking (and more), they fall in love with each other. Tate gives Sam her heart, and at the same time, shares the secret of who her father is, and all of the facts and feelings she's kept hidden deep inside. Within a day or two, her truths are exposed for the world to see, and she never sees Sam again.

Fourteen years later, Tate has made a name for herself as an actress. She's been lucky professionally, but romantically, not so much. She is set to make a movie with her father for the very first time, a movie she believes might change the course of her career, and perhaps the dynamics of her relationship with her father. And when she steps on to the set, one of the first people she sees is the one who betrayed her trust all those years ago, leaving her life and heart in turmoil.

Twice in a Blue Moon is a story of whether love can withstand anything thrown in its path, and whether a second chance is really ever possible. It's a story of the complicated relationship between fathers and daughters, particularly when both are in a business where image is everything, as well as a story of the sacrifices parents are willing to make for their children. The book also explores the idea of whether there's really one true love out there for everyone, or whether you can find it in yourself to move on.

Christina Lauren's books are always full of humor, emotion, steamy sex, chemistry, and an immense amount of heart, and Twice in a Blue Moon is no exception. Most importantly, though, the way they tell a story (Christina Lauren is the pen name for the collaboration of two writers who are best friends) is so compelling that I can never seem to tear myself away, even though I know I might be left without one of their books for a while.

I can't recommend this or any of their other books enough. Love and Other Words was my favorite until now, mainly because, like this book, I tend to like love stories that have some emotional history to them. But every single one of their books that I've read have left me in awe of their talent and left me a little teary-eyed at the end.

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

This book will be published October 22, 2019.

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