Friday Fun Review: “The Unhoneymooners” by Christina Lauren

The UnhoneymoonersThe Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Premise Olive, the unlucky-in-life twin, prepares for her sister Ami’s—luckiest girl in the world—wedding, in which the best man is the groom’s brother Ethan. And boy, does he hate Olive! Turns out Olive’s luck begins to change, when everyone gets food poisoning at the wedding except Olive and Ethan. But then Ami pushes Olive to take her non-refundable honeymoon…with Ethan. Yikes.

The story/The characters
I loved Olive and Ethan! This is the enemies-to-lovers fake-marriage tropes done right! There’s just enough weirdness, hate, attraction, and clumsiness, and it happens at the right times to keep the story moving. I was concerned there wouldn’t be enough story to get through all the days of the honeymoon, but I shouldn’t have worried. And the post-honeymoon ending didn’t feel rushed either—great pacing!
CLo is so great with dialogue, and they don’t disappoint here. This is what makes their characters so real and “pinch-able” (so lovely you want to pinch their cheeks).

Olive and Ami are Mexican-American and their family plays an ever-present role in the book. Thank you, Christina Lauren for not hitting us over the head with stereotype. Here, I think the cultural portrayal is well-done. I can almost smell the cooking and feel the familial love while reading it!

This is a great chick-lit/women’s fiction novel with all the romantic feels we love. It checks all the boxes of an entertaining feel-good novel.

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BONUS Friday Fun Review: “Fix Her Up” by Tessa Bailey

Fix Her Up (Hot and Hammered, #1)Fix Her Up by Tessa Bailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some background on why I read this now: I’ve been drafting my latest #romanticcomedy which now includes a racy scene for me as an author. The cover has been done for a couple of months now, and it came out looking illustrated, and very chick-lit looking. When I trialed the cover, mentions of Fix Her Up came up in comments. I remembered that people were shocked by the racy prose in Fix Her Up when they thought they were picking up a sweet RomCom from the cover. I had to get this one off my TBR list to compare. So, I was already warned about the heat level.

About the Story/the characters: Since I already knew about the heat level, it allowed me to move past the sexy parts to really see the story, which was very entertaining. I loved this new spin on a heroine finding her place in the world and a hero, trying to break out of his mold. The fake romance trope is cute and well done here to up the sexual tension. There are a lot of funny parts, crazy antics that you could see happening on screen–the For Us meeting that went out of control, throwing lo mien on Travis, the clown birthday parties. All cute, funny, original spin on #romcom tropes.

Travis is written so true to form, baseball player drummed out of the league due to injury, not finding anywhere to fit in and wanting to just be left alone. This is really his story, as I see the most change in him.

Georgie sees herself as she could be, but when no one else does, she realizes she has to prove it to others. Her family times, especially that dinner where they were all together made me cringe. It reminded me a lot of Me Before You and how Louisa’s family constantly puts her down or ignores her.

With all the characters, but especially Travis and the guys, I kept getting a Southern rural vibe, probably because that’s what I know (I grew up there), but still. I did not get The Hamptons/Long Island/ wherever they were. I got Backwoods Carolinas where Braves’ baseball plays on TV all summer long, guys call grown women “baby girl,” and people know each other and are always in each other’s business. Small town antics are small town antics everywhere, I guess.

So back to the sexy parts:Yes, this is hotter than most cutesy romcoms, but it’s not anything to be shocked about. (Also, most popular cutesy romcoms are YA if you think about it–read: Netflix). Unless you’re all about the Hallmark channel heat level for your romantic comedies. I would say it’s more dirty talk than dirty action. If you’re not into open-door sex or filthy mouths or sexual play, then yep you will be shocked here. If you like Penny Reid and Sierra Simone, you’re going to wonder what all the fuss is about.

The one thing I didn’t like is the manwhore/virginal girl trope. It annoys me so much in general. Here, I think it has a bigger purpose than just a trope for the sexy parts, so I tolerated it. It’s part of how people see them and how they see each other, so it kind of works.

Overall this was a funny, entertaining read. And though I may subtitle mine “A Dirty Romantic Comedy” both mine and Bailey’s are tame compared to some I’ve read. Lesson here: Don’t judge a book solely by it’s cover. But do be drawn in by it.

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