I am so weird about picking which book to read to start the yearly reading challenges. It makes me so nervous to pick out a book simply because I want to start the new year reading challenge with a book that I *hope* to love and rate highly.
I just feel like starting a reading challenge with a mediocre book (or a 2-read) is basically a recipe for disaster.
That is why I did not push myself to find time to reading during the month of January. I tried to make excuses and blame it on my studies (which is still partly true– being a law student is no joke!) but I could have made time to read if I really wanted to
but I did not.
However, I was not liking the way my Goodreads Reading Challenge was looking. All I could see whenever I log back on Goodreads is that I am “8 books behind” on the challenge, and have made zero progress so far. As a result, I was determined to get it over with and pick up a book to read and finish before February ends.
Which leads us to where we are now; with me having finished a book I thoroughly enjoyed (and rate pretty highly!), and to making my first book review blog post for 2022!
Paperback, 432 pages
Publication Date: May 14th 2019 by Piatkus
Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, 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.
This book was exactly what I needed to start the new year (and the new reading challenge!). I have to admit, I am not one who reads a lot of contemporary romance simply because I have very specific taste when it comes to the kind of tropes and plot elements that I like to see in a romance book. Romance, as a general concept, can be overplayed and sometimes predictable–
person A meets person B, they catch feelings for each other, then enters the conflict (usually miscommunication– insert eyeroll here), but they somehow manage to resolve it (by talking, which should’ve been the first course of action!) and then it’s happily ever after.
Now there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people, like a friend of mine in particular, loves cheesy, feel-good love stories that give you “all of the feels” and make you wish that you had found the love of your life by accidentally brushing fingers. Books like this make it so easy to forget about our own mundane lives, and experience love through someone else’s words. It’s a phenomenal thing that authors and books can emote such feelings by simply producing words on a page. I, on the other hand, need a little push to read a romance book. Most of the romance books that I have read lately where all recommendations from friends and people who know my reading tastes. I rarely go to a book store to pick-out a romance book off the shelf to bring home without it being one that has been suggested and raved about by friends.
That’s why I was so surprised that I wanted to read ‘The Unhoneymooners’ by Christina Lauren when I saw it on the shelf at Waterstones– the title was familiar so I read the blurb at the back of the book, thought about it, and took it straight to the counter to take home.
After spending an entire day with my eyes glued to the pages of this book, I can firmly say that I had made the right decision that day. In that very rare occasion, my instincts happen to be right. ‘The Unhoneymooners’ was such a refreshing take on the beloved enemies to lovers trope, coupled with witty banter and snark, and topped off with scenes that I had me grinning till my cheeks hurt. Christina Lauren is a great writer, and there’s just something about the way she wrote this book that made it seem like you were watching the scenes play out like a movie. It could be the balance between dialogue and imagery or the fact that the plot itself moved at a really good pace. It was not too fast, which I dreaded because I prefer a slow-burn love story when it comes to the enemies to lovers trope, but it also wasn’t slow enough to be relying on cliche scenes to move the story along.
I love how Olive and Ethan’s story did not end when the “honeymoon” ended. I had initially predicted that the characters would fall in love during their fake honeymoon and arrive on the plane back married for real, but I am glad that wasn’t the case. The characters were all really fun, including the secondary characters, and it was a treat to enjoy the main characters together and individually. Like any fiction book, there were some scenes and plot devices which were a bit “unrealistic” (of course they had to fake their marriage because her boss just so happened to be at the same resort) but that’s the fun in it, and I enjoyed this book despite the predictability of some scenes.
If you are looking for a book that is an easy, banter-filled romance to get into, then I would highly recommend this one. This book is perfect to read during this time of year, when the sun comes out a lot more often and we are all dreaming of our summer vacation (hopefully!) plans. This book was a great start to my 2022 Reading Challenge and I hope the rest of the books that I pick up throughout the year will be just as good…or even better!
Do you like the enemies-to-lovers trope? Any recommendations?
Let me know in the comments below!
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