A very unseasonal pick for this week’s BotW – the weather here is cold and often wet, the pavements near my house are a sludge of fallen leaves and I’ve had to retire my in-between season wardrobe and admit that it’s actually winter. And yet here I am recommending a book mostly set on a tropical island vacation. I know. But not everyone wants to read winter books at this time of year – and if you’re not the sort of person that might impulse book a hot weather holiday if you read a book set on the beach at this time (and maybe if you are and you’re ok with that!) then this is such a great read. And yes I know, I’m repeating authors – I’ll get to that later.
Olive thinks she’s unlucky – she’s just lost her job and nothing ever seems to go right for er. Her identical twin sister on the other hand is so luck she’s financed her wedding by winning contests. Great for her – but not for Olive who is going to have to spend the day with Ami’s new brother-in-law, who is best man and also Olive’s sworn enemy. But when Ethan and Olive are the only people who don’t go down with food poisoning at the reception, suddenly they’re off on Ami’s nontransferrable all-expenses paid contest prize honeymoon. Surely they can pretend to get along for a week’s free vacation? But Olive’s bad luck seems to have followed her to the holiday – because she runs into her future boss who now thinks she’s married and suddenly the stakes got a bit higher. And Olive is starting to think that maybe she doesn’t hate Ethan as much as she thought she did…
If you’ve been reading long enough to remember my Historical Romance Tropes post you’ll know that fake relationships are one of my favourites. Also on that list – although not talked about in that post – are forced proximity (stuck somewhere with no escape – often deployed in christmas novels where people get snowed in) and enemies to lovers (i hate you, I hate you, I hate you, wait why do I want to stroke your hair?*). And this does pretty much everything you would want a forced proximity, enemies to lovers, fake relationship romantic comedy to do. And it is very much a comedy at times. There are some laugh out loud funny moments here. I did have some doubts at various points if it would be able to wrap everything up in a satisfactory manner** but actually it all played out rather nicely. It did all wrap up very quickly at the end, as romances often do, but the epilogue sort of made up for it.
I have been a bit hit and miss with Christina Lauren at times – although this is the second time they’ve been a BotW pick in just over a month, so I can see that you might not believe me – but this is the most fun of all their romances that I’ve read. Aside from Autoboygraphy (which I loved, but which is YA) I’ve had problems with some of their heros – I hated Carter in Dating You/Hating You and never really believed that he realised exactly how much of a jerk he had been. To be fair, I also hated the pranks in that book because they were incredibly petty and unprofessional and I like competency porn from my heros and heroines. I chalked that up in my review to not my tropes – but when the stars align and they are writing in my wheelhouse, they can be absolutely spectacular. The trouble then for me is working out which of their novels will be my thing. I’m hopeful that Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating may be one I like – so I’m going to try that next.
My copy of The Unhoneymooners came from the library, but it’s available now on Kindle and Kobo. It’s not out in the UK in paperback until May next year (which may be why the ebooks are so expensive – £9.99 at time of writing) so you won’t be able to get it in a UK bookshop yet (although you could preorder) but Book Depository seem to have copies, and you should be fine in the US.
*thank you Sarah Wendell
** mostly related to the reasons why the two of them had initially not got on and about one part of Ethan’s character to say more about either of these would be a spoiler.