Two romances in one review! I am trying to catch up on book reviews so I thought I’d put these two in one post. Let’s take a look at Husband Material by Emily Belden and The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Twenty-nine-year-old Charlotte Rosen has a secret: she’s a widow. Ever since the fateful day that leveled her world, Charlotte has worked hard to move forward. Great job at a hot social media analytics company? Check. Roommate with no knowledge of her past? Check. Adorable dog? Check. All the while, she’s faithfully data-crunched her way through life, calculating the probability of risk—so she can avoid it.
Yet Charlotte’s algorithms could never have predicted that her late husband’s ashes would land squarely on her doorstep five years later. Stunned but determined, Charlotte sets out to find meaning in this sudden twist of fate, even if that includes facing her perfectly coiffed, and perfectly difficult, ex-mother-in-law—and her husband’s best friend, who seems to become a fixture at her side whether she likes it or not.
But soon a shocking secret surfaces, forcing Charlotte to answer questions she never knew to ask and to consider the possibility of forgiveness. And when a chance at new love arises, she’ll have to decide once and for all whether to follow the numbers or trust her heart.
Charlotte is all about the algorithm. She could probably fix Instagram. She has her life planned like it’s one of the programs on her computer. She is in control. Well…that is until her husband’s (Decker) ashes show up at her door!! The mausoleum the ashes were at burned down and they sent them to her. And since no one in her life even knew she was a widow, she has some explaining to do.
But that is not the only part of her past that’s come back into her life. She also runs into her husband’s best friend, Brian. Decker’s mother is desperate for the ashes and tries to get Brian to talk to Charlotte about it. That ultimately backfires (Charlotte refuses to give them up), but Brian doesn’t just go away. She keeps meeting with him and their budding friendship turns into something more.
Charlotte also has to deal with how she’s been using her roommate to stay inside the box she created for herself after her husband died. She’s barely dealt with her emotions and she chose her roommate specifically because she knew she wouldn’t ask any questions. It also doesn’t help that she’s been hiding her true self from the people she works with.
This was a really interesting story, especially for a romance. It was about Charlotte’s past relationship with Decker, her life after, and how she needed to deal with her past and present. I really enjoyed her character. She had a lot of things to work through and did so in a very real, slightly panicked way which I always appreciate lol.
That being said, Brian…he could be an asshole at times. There’s a point where he wants Charlotte to make a decision about where she’s going to store the urn. He finds a place that would be available in a couple of months. When she doesn’t make the decision in a couple of days, he becomes upset and almost belligerent. And it’s never really addressed, even after it turns out he is keeping a HUGE secret from her. His behavior and faults are kind of swept under the rug, while Charlotte’s faults are examined and she ends up addressing them. For the most part he doesn’t address his.
I am giving Husband Material by Emily Belden 3.5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed Charlotte’s growth and how we got to see her past and how it informed what was going on in her life in the present. Brian wasn’t the romantic male I wanted, but that’s nothing new. lol he’s no Mr. Darcy. If you’re looking for an emotional but also fun romance, you should give this one a shot.
Husband Material comes out December 30, 2019
Thank you to NetGalley and Graydon House for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.
Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.
Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.
What do you do when everyone at your twin sister’s wedding (including your sister and her new husband) gets physically sick at the reception except for you and the best man? The answer is simple. You go on their honeymoon trip instead and you let the best man come along too. Oh, did I mention that you and the best man can’t stand each other? That is the premise of The Unhoneymooners. Olive goes on her twin sister’s (Ami) honeymoon with the groom’s brother and best man, Ethan.
For the most part, this book went exactly how I expected it to (although, unfortunately no forced bed-sharing. COME ON! give me what I crave lol). But that’s not a negative. I read this because I wanted some enemies to lovers goodness and that is certainly what this is. Olive and Ethan begin the trip thinking they are going to have a good time but…separately.
But when Olive sees her future boss at the spa and tells him she is on her own honeymoon, things get tricky. She has to run back to their hotel room and tell Ethan that they now must pretend to be married. Ethan agrees but only if he can sleep in the big bed.
It goes great and then they go back to being on their own until Ethan sees his ex-girlfriend at the resort. Cue Olive and Ethan pretending to be newlyweds again!
After that, they keep spending time together. They go diving, get drunk, and eventually express their feelings for one another. It turns out their dislike for each other was a big misunderstanding from the start.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any conflict. As they spend time together, it slowly starts to seem like the man (Dane) her twin sister just married is not who he says he is. This makes it very awkward for Olive once they return to their normal lives. Does she tell her sister what she suspects?
For the most part, this was a fun romance. Olive and Ethan definitely have chemistry. Olive was more interesting/compelling to me than Ethan but that might just be because she is the narrator of the book. I loved reading about the adventures they went on during their vacation. It almost felt like I was in Hawaii with them (I wish).
Ok, time for the parts I wasn’t so happy with. Once Olive begins suspecting Dane of being unfaithful to her sister, she goes to both Ethan and Ami with her evidence. But instead of considering her evidence and taking her seriously, they completely dismiss her.
Look. I get it. Dane is Ethan’s brother and Ami’s new husband. Neither of them want to believe that he is a bad guy. But the way they push Olive out of their lives felt wrong. They should trust that Olive is smart enough to know when something is up but instead, they blame her suspicions on her tendency towards negative thinking. It felt like borderline gaslighting.
Can’t I just have a fluffy romance where the main character doesn’t have to prove herself to the people she loves??
Overall, I enjoyed The Unhoneyhooners. It was fun to see how the relationship between Olive and Ethan developed. And I *might* have cackled during the scene where all of Dane’s secrets come out. I am giving The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren 3 out of 5 stars. If you’re looking for a fun summer romance, this might be one you want to check out.
The Unhoneymooners comes out May 14, 2019.
Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for the free eARC in exchange for my honest review.