ENEMIES YA CONTEMPORARY : It All Comes Back to You Review  

Summary (from the publisher):

56304328After Kiran Noorani’s mom died, Kiran vowed to keep her dad and sister, Amira, close. Then out of the blue, Amira announces that she’s dating someone and might move cross-country with him. Kiran is thrown.

Deen Malik is thrilled that his older brother, Faisal, has found a great girlfriend, even if it’s getting serious quickly. Maybe now their parents’ focus will shift off Deen, who feels intense pressure to be the perfect son.

When Deen and Kiran come fact to face, they silently agree to keep their past a secret. Four years ago–before Amira and Faisal met–Kiran and Deen dated. But Deen ghosted Kiran with no explanation. Kiran will stop at nothing to find out what happened, and Deen will do anything, even if it means sabotaging his brother’s relationship, to keep her from reaching the truth. Though the chemistry between Kiran and Deen is undeniable, can either of them take down their walls?

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

You might know that I haven’t been reaching for YA as frequently this year as I have in the past, BUT the YA books I have read this year have been super fantastic reads, including Farah Naz Rishi’s It All Comes Back to You. This is one of the strongest YA books I’ve read in 2021, following former couple Deen and Kiran as they watch their brother and sister respectively get engaged to one another. Deen has never explained why he ghosted Kiran three years ago around the time Kiran’s mother was diagnosed with ALS and his family unexpectedly moved from Philadelphia to New Jersey. Three years later, Kiran’s sister, Amira, and Deen’s brother, Faisal, are now engaged and Kiran is willing to do nearly anything to break the couple apart by figuring out Faisal’s hidden past, much to Deen’s dismay. My reading pace has definitely developed over the past two years, but I binged It All Comes Back to You in about two sittings because I couldn’t put it down! 

It All Comes Back to You is split between Kiran and Deen’s present day perspectives, their texts from their relationship three years before, and their chats from an online game they both play together (unbeknownst to them due to their nicknames/usernames). I think it’s easy to put It All Comes Back to You in the enemies-to-lovers category (or lovers-to-enemies-back-to-something-else category) because Deen and Kiran still have chemistry years later, but this book doesn’t scream romance and I mean that in the best way possible because I loved the direction of the story! Without being too spoilery, I loved the ending of the book for not focusing on the romance. Kiran and Deen’s progression throughout the book felt right – I do think the reveal about Faisal’s past was a tad predictable, but the conclusion made up for it. Throughout, Kiran is really about trying to figure out what went wrong with her & Deen years ago (and yes, maybe getting some revenge through figuring out the secret him & Faisal are hiding from her sister), while Deen wants to earn back Kiran’s trust while protecting his brother.

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CONTEMPORARY & ELIN HILDERBRAND READS: August & September Mini Reviews 

One last semi-August mini review round up! Today, I’m going to be sharing mini reviews a few more books that I read towards the end of August and the first few of my September reads. This is my first week at work and while I am really excited about my job (I’m teaching middle school English) & like being back in a work routine, I am definitely going to miss my summer days spent reading, especially since I know that I won’t be reading as much in September as I did in August. As was the theme of my summer reading, today I have a few contemporary fiction reads and yes, 4 Elin Hilderbrand books, to recap. 

Seven Days in June by Tia Williams – Seven Days in June is THE romance book that has taken over my bookish feeds over the past few months. I knew the book featured two Black protagonists, but I didn’t know much else going into it. A few book recommendation sources have recommended this one if you’re in a book hangover after reading Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You, and while I think fans of that book will still enjoy Seven Days in June, Seven Days in June has much more serious and darker tone (and doesn’t have the whole older woman dating a younger celebrity synopsis). Seven Days in June follows two famous Black authors, Eva & Shane, who are both connected by their past in high school (warnings for drug and alcohol abuse and self harm). I really liked Tia William’s writing style and the writing plot lines surround Eva and Shane’s careers. Eva also has an autoimmune disorder that largely affects her lifestyle, which was overall something I haven’t read in a book before. My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

The Rehearsals by Annette Christie – Everyone knows that I’m up for any book about weddings, which led me to Annette Christie’s debut, The Rehearsals. This contemporary read follows college sweethearts Megan and Tom & their disastrous rehearsal dinner before their wedding. After a mega fight, Megan and Tom wake up on the morning of their wedding, only to become stuck in a Groundhog Day-type loop where they repeat the day of the rehearsal dinner again. The time-loop premise totally worked for me in this one, having loved exploring the what-ifs in Tom and Megan’s relationship and their relationship development through the repeated days. I totally admit that I have a love-hate relationship with the ending. I wanted more closure but also I sometimes like a what’s next kind of ending (trying to avoid spoilers). My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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FAVORITE MEMOIR: Between Two Kingdoms

91R97HtjQ7LSummary (from the publisher): In the summer after graduating from college, Suleika Jaouad was preparing, as they say in commencement speeches, to enter “the real world”. She had fallen in love and moved to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a war correspondent. The real world she found, however, would take her into a very different kind of conflict zone.

It started with an itch—first on her feet, then up her legs, like a thousand invisible mosquito bites. Next came the exhaustion, and the six-hour naps that only deepened her fatigue. Then a trip to the doctor and, a few weeks shy of her twenty-third birthday, a diagnosis: leukemia, with a 35 percent chance of survival. Just like that, the life she had imagined for herself had gone up in flames. By the time Jaouad flew home to New York, she had lost her job, her apartment, and her independence. She would spend much of the next four years in a hospital bed, fighting for her life and chronicling the saga in a column for The New York Times.

When Jaouad finally walked out of the cancer ward—after three and a half years of chemo, a clinical trial, and a bone marrow transplant—she was, according to the doctors, cured. But as she would soon learn, a cure is not where the work of healing ends; it’s where it begins. She had spent the past 1,500 days in desperate pursuit of one goal—to survive. And now that she’d done so, she realized that she had no idea how to live.

How would she reenter the world and live again? How could she reclaim what had been lost? Jaouad embarked—with her new best friend, Oscar, a scruffy terrier mutt—on a 100-day, 15,000-mile road trip across the country. She set out to meet some of the strangers who had written to her during her years in the hospital: a teenage girl in Florida also recovering from cancer; a teacher in California grieving the death of her son; a death-row inmate in Texas who’d spent his own years confined to a room. What she learned on this trip is that the divide between sick and well is porous, that the vast majority of us will travel back and forth between these realms throughout our lives. Between Two Kingdoms is a profound chronicle of survivorship and a fierce, tender, and inspiring exploration of what it means to begin again.

 

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

As a growing nonfiction and memoir reader, Suleika Jaouad’s memoir, Between Two Kingdoms, had been on my radar and I finally added it to my TBR after reading a glowing review in Book Page a few weeks ago. I picked up a copy somewhat randomly one weekend and I’m really convinced that I read this book at the absolute right time. The book is told in two parts, the first following Suleika Jaouad’s leukemia diagnosis in her early twenties, when she had just recently graduated from Princeton and was starting her first full time job and relationship in Paris. The book then details her diagnosis and treatment, her relationship with her boyfriend and family, her column for The New York Times based on being a young adult with cancer,  and her life overall throughout. The second half of the book then transitions into Suleika’s recovery, in which she decided to complete a 1,500 mile road trip with her dog visiting the many people she had connected with over her treatment. 

I connected to Suleika Jaouad’s story so much and her messages surrounding life and relationships because I am now 23 and just beginning my career, which again was when Jaouad was diagnosed with cancer. I think this book is excellent for all readers of ages and different experiences, but I definitely want my fellow recent college graduates to read this one, as she has so many relatable and really eye-opening messages surrounding being in your twenties and careers and relationships, obviously through a very unique and honestly somber perspective as she grapples with a life-threatening disease in her twenties. 

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God Spare the Girls Review

813d-SD26NLSummary (from the publisher): A mesmerizing debut novel set in northern Texas about two sisters who discover a dark secret about their father, the head pastor of an evangelical megachurch, that upends their lives and community—a coming-of-age story of family, identity, and the delicate line between faith and deception.

Luke Nolan has led The Hope congregation for over a decade, while his wife and daughters patiently uphold what it means to live righteously. Made famous by a viral sermon on purity co-written with his eldest daughter, Abigail, Luke is the prototype of a modern preacher: tall, handsome, a spellbinding speaker. But his youngest daughter Caroline has started to notice the cracks in their comfortable life. She is certain that her perfect, pristine sister is about to marry the wrong man—and Caroline has slid into sin with a boy she’s known her entire life, wondering why God would care so much about her virginity anyway.

When it comes to light, six weeks before Abigail’s wedding, that Luke has been having an affair with another woman, the entire Nolan family falls into a tailspin. Caroline seizes the opportunity to be alone with her sister. The two girls flee to the ranch they inherited from their maternal grandmother, far removed from the embarrassing drama of their parents and the prying eyes of the community. But with the date of Abigail’s wedding fast approaching, the sisters will have to make a hard decision about which familial bonds are worth protecting.

An intimate coming-of-age story and a modern woman’s read, God Spare the Girls lays bare the rabid love of sisterhood and asks what we owe our communities, our families, and ourselves.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

God Spare the Girls was one of my most anticipated summer 2021 releases, especially since I really enjoy books about religion & faith and what happens when someone questions what they’ve grown up with. I really enjoyed Meghan MacLean Weir’s The Book of Essie a few years ago and I am SO highly anticipating Erin Hahn’s upcoming release, Never Saw You Coming.  God Spare the Girls is told in a somewhat similar vein to The Book of Essie, as God Spare the Girls follows the daughters, Caroline & Abigail, of a megachurch pastor who is known for his sermons and stance on purity. When their father is caught in an affair, Caroline and Abigail escape to their family’s ranch to hide away from the talk of the church community and reconcile with the scandal and their religious beliefs. Abigail is about to be married and is the unofficial mascot of their church, having co-written many of her father’s sermons, while Caroline doesn’t know what her role is in the church and their family and has been sneaking around with a boy. 

God Spare the Girls is a coming-of-age story set against faith. While Abigail is very much a woman of the church and has fulfilled all expectations as the daughter of a pastor, Caroline wants out of their small Texan community and questions the guidelines they’ve been raised with. Although I overall liked reading God Spare the Girls, I have to admit that I thought this book was going to be much more scandalous and I was ultimately disappointed with the ending. 

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MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE ROMANCE: The Dating Plan Review

9780593100585Summary (from the publisher): Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiance.

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago…

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

Sara Desai’s The Marriage Game was an unexpected contemporary romance favorite of mine in 2020, so I was really excited to get my hands-on the companion novel, The Dating Plan. The Dating Plan follows Layla’s cousin & assistant from book #1, Daisy, a software engineer whose company needs capital to save them from going under & is always receiving pressure from her family to finally great married.  At a tech convention, Daisy runs into venture capitalist & the guy who never showed up to prom, Liam, who recently has inherited his late grandfather’s distillery under 1 condition: he has to get married before his birthday that is two months away. Daisy & Liam agree to a marriage of convenience to get their families off their backs and to help each other with their careers, while encountering the feelings they had for each other years ago. I also have to give a mini shout-out to the cover-designer(s) of this series, as The Marriage Game and The Dating Plan have some of the best illustrated covers in the contemporary romance world! 

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WWII & HOLOCAUST MEMOIR: Do Not Disclose Review

41YPW2p3e8SSummary (from the publisher): Leora, a juvenile court judge, wife, mother, and daughter, is caught in the routine of work, taking care of her family and aging parents. But she’s also a second-generation Holocaustsurvivor. It’s an identity she didn’t understand was hers until she accidentally discovered a secret file of handwritten notes addressed to her father. A further discovery of a seemingly random WWII postcard in a thrift store sets her on a collision course with the past in this lyrical memoir about secrets hidden within secrets, both present-day and buried deep within wartime Europe.

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts

Over the past year or so, I’ve become a growing memoir reader. Having always been interested in learning about the Holocaust (I minored in Holocaust Studies in college & will now be teaching about the Holocaust as a huge part of my school’s ELA curriculum), I was instantly attracted to Leora Krygier’s new memoir, Do Not Disclose. Leora Krygier is a second-generation Holocaust survivor. I should perhaps should blame myself for misreading, but I went into Do Not Disclose thinking that the book would follow Leora Krygier diving into her father’s experience as a Holocaust survivor based on the synopsis. Instead, the book mostly follows Leora’s quest to connect with and figure out the story behind a WWII-era postcard written by a British solider. The book transitions between Leora’s investigation behind the soldier, A.T. Maynard, and personal anecdotes from her childhood leading up to her adulthood and a surprising family secret. That being said, Leora knows that her father is a Holocaust survivor, but when it comes to her family and their experience, the book more so focuses on the direction of their lives after the Holocaust. 

I really enjoyed learning about Leora’s family, specifically her parents’ immigration stories to Israel during the WWII era and then to the United States, her father’s Holocaust experience, and the affair. I wish the book focused more on Leora’s own family life – like Leora’s daughter and as Leora recognizes herself, it was easier for Leora to focus on the British solider’s story than her family’s own past and trauma. I found myself sometimes confused with Leora ‘connecting the dots’ in A.T. Maynard’s story, losing track of people & places key to that part of the story.

The book is a very fast read, and can be easily read in one siting. As I’ve learned from studying the Holocaust, it can be extremely difficult for survivors to open up about their experience, even demonstrated by Leora’s encounters with her father and his actions after the Holocaust, but I wanted more about his story and perhaps for Leora to write more about how her father’s experience affected his decisions and their family life. However, through Leora Krygier’s writing, it is clear, especially near the end of the book, that going through her family’s past was really difficult for Leora and she still struggles to understand the decisions made. 

I recommend Do No Disclose if you are a fan of books following hidden stories from the World War II era. The book provides an interesting portrait of the aftereffects & trauma of the Holocaust on Leora’s family. 

Do Not Disclose comes out on August 24th, 2021. 

This review is based on an advance reader copy provided by the publisher. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts & opinions. 

What are some of your favorite memoirs? What books have you enjoyed about the Holocaust and WWII? Is Do Not Disclose on your TBR? Share in the comments! 

Recent Reads & Currently Reading: August Review Round Up #2

I’m back with a mini review round up a little sooner than expected, but I wanted to try and stay up-to-date with my summer reading – even though I feel all over the place with reading right now between advance review copies for books coming out in the fall and some library books I have checked out. You know it’s bad when I’m balancing three books right now – I’m currently reading an ARC of Leora Krygier’s Do Not Disclose, Elin Hilderbrand’s Here’s to Us (I usually fly through her books but feeling meh about this one plot wise), and because I always need a contemporary romance, The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. 

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé’s Ace of Spades has gotten so much hype across my bookstagram & after being selected as the Bad on Paper Podcast August book pick, I knew I needed to check this YA thriller out. The book follows two Black teenagers at a private boarding school, Devon and Chiamaka, as a Gossip Girl-like anonymous texter called Aces starts to send out secrets about Devon and Chiamaka that threaten to ruin any college prospects and their reputations. I highly recommend going into this one knowing little as possible, but the book tackles some current conversations about racism and discrimination and had queer representation. My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary – After loving Beth O’Leary’s The Switch earlier this year, I wanted to get my hands on her 2021 release, The Road Trip, following two exes who are forced to road trip to a friend’s wedding in Scotland with Addie’s sister, Dylan’s best friend, and a wedding guest who needed a ride. It took me about halfway through The Road Trip to really get into it,  and I definitely liked the “then” parts about Addie and Dylan’s life before their break up then the actual road trip (although Addie had the BEST taste in road trip music). Similar to The Flatshare, The Road Trip has heavier themes (trigger warning for rape and mental health) compared to the book’s ‘lighthearted’ road trip premise. I loved Addie’s relationship with her sister, and I loved the one liners from Deb and Addie’s family at the end of some chapters, but I could NOT STAND Marcus throughout – I know he was going through his own battles, but I could not stand his selfishness and sabotage. My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

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10 SUMMER READS: July & August Review Round Up #1

As the avid summer reader that I am, I have been reading SO many books over the past three months, but I am SO not writing reviews as much as I am reading, oops. I have been reaching more for the full review format more than usual lately, but I am here today to share my thoughts I have books I have loved over the past few weeks, including a 2021 favorite, some really cute YA reads, and more beach reads. 

The Guncle by Steve Rowley – The Guncle is absolutely a must-read perfect for the summer – and let’s be honest, any point in the year. This book is absolutely worth all the hype it’s been getting, following an ex-sitcom star who takes in his niece and nephew for the summer when their mother (& Patrick’s best friend) passes away and their father enters rehab. When I say that I laughed out loud so many times while reading The Guncle, I seriously mean that I laughed over so many scenes and dialogue in this one – mostly over Grant and Patrick’s conversations and what was lost in translation.There is an emotional element to it with the loss of Grant and Maisie’s mother, but I loved the balance between the heart-warmness, heartbreak, and humor. My Rating: 5/5 Stars

It’s Kind of A Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morill – It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story was such a super cute YA read, following sixteen year old Beck who starts her first job in the pizza shop she was literally born in. This was a really fun & light read. I loved the atmosphere of the pizza shop & seeing Beck grow close with her work friends. My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Between You, Me, and the Honeybees by Amelia Diane Coombs – Between You, Me, and the Honeybees was another really cute & light YA read. The book follows recent high school graduate Josie, who wants to stay home & help run her family’s honey business instead of going away to college. Sidenote that I really like YA books that take place in the period between high school and the early college years. Josie also develops feelings for the son of the rival honey business and has to hide both her relationship & post grad plans away from her family. I devoured this book in under four hours, having loved the unique setting. The book also has great anxiety & mental health representation. My Rating: 4/5 Stars

From Scratch by Tembi Locke – Everyone knows that I’ve had so much wanderlust over the past year, thus looking for ways to travel through books. Enter Tembi Locke’s From Scratch, following her marriage to her Sicilian husband, Saro, and the years after Saro dies from cancer.  This book was really emotional, but I loved the storytelling, as Tembi Locke transitions between her relationship & marriage with Saro and the summers after spent in Sicily with her daughter and Saro’s mother. I had no idea until I followed Tembi Locke on Instagram that the book is currently being filmed for a Netflix TV show adaptation! My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

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FAVORITE ELIN HILDERBRAND BOOK: The Blue Bistro Review

8377676Summary (from the publisher): Adrienne Dealey has spent the past six years working for hotels in exotic resort towns. This summer she has decided to make Nantucket home. Left flat broke by her ex-boyfriend, she is desperate to earn some fast money. When the desirable Thatcher Smith, owner of Nantucket’s hottest restaurant, is the only one to offer her a job, she wonders if she can get by with no restaurant experience. Thatcher gives Adrienne a crash course in the business…and they share an instant attraction. But there is a mystery about their situation: what is it about Fiona, the Blue Bistro’s chef, that captures Thatcher’s attention again and again? And why does such a successful restaurant seem to be in its final season before closing its doors for good? Despite her uncertainty, Adrienne must decide whether to open her heart for the first time, or move on, as she always does.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

You probably know that I’ve been on an Elin Hilderbrand kick in 2021. It’s my reading goal over the next few years to read her entire backlist – I say a few years only because I feel like I’ll save her books for summer since they are the PERFECT summertime reads for their ‘summer on Nantucket’ setting (although I do plan on reading her Paradise and Winter series later this year) and she will be only publishing three more Nantucket books before her retirement. I read this recent article about her retirement and it kind’ve made me hopeful that we might still get more books from her, just not one every year or necessarily set on Nantucket? 

Elin Hilderbrand fangirling set aside, while I’ve read 11 of her books so far (I’m hoping to get at least two more this month), The Blue Bistro is by far my favorite out of all her books, with 28 Summers and Summer of ’69 at the #2 and 3 spots. The book follows Adrienne, who has spent most of her twenties working in hotels across the world and after another not-so great break-up, finds herself on Nantucket for the summer. Almost as soon as she arrives, Adrienne receives a job offer from a man named Thatcher, the co-owner of Nantucket’s best restaurant that will be closing its doors at the end of summer. Adrienne soon finds herself caught up in life at The Blue Bistro, a relationship with Thatcher, and figuring out the mystery behind the restaurant’s chef, Fiona, and the reason why The Blue Bistro will close at summer’s end. 

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HOLLYWOOD MEETS FAKE DATING: While We Were Dating Review

51bDb0Bz9cL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Summary (from the publisher): Ben Stephens has never bothered with serious relationships. He has plenty of casual dates to keep him busy, family drama he’s trying to ignore and his advertising job to focus on. When Ben lands a huge ad campaign featuring movie star Anna Gardiner, however, it’s hard to keep it purely professional. Anna is not just gorgeous and sexy, she’s also down to earth and considerate, and he can’t help flirting a little…

Anna Gardiner is on a mission: to make herself a household name, and this ad campaign will be a great distraction while she waits to hear if she’s booked her next movie. However, she didn’t expect Ben Stephens to be her biggest distraction. She knows mixing business with pleasure never works out, but why not indulge in a harmless flirtation?

But their lighthearted banter takes a turn for the serious when Ben helps Anna in a family emergency, and they reveal truths about themselves to each other, truths they’ve barely shared with those closest to them.

When the opportunity comes to turn their real-life fling into something more for the Hollywood spotlight, will Ben be content to play the background role in Anna’s life and leave when the cameras stop rolling? Or could he be the leading man she needs to craft their own Hollywood ending?

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

I just started reading Jasmine Guillory’s Wedding Date companion series last year. This series is often recommended as a ‘starter series’ for readers who are just reading contemporary romance for the first time, & I’ve been dedicating some of my reading for the past year or so to catching up on ‘classic’ books in the genre. You might know that I’ve read this series a little bit out of order – I started with book #5, Party of Two, then read The Wedding Date (#1) ,The Wedding Party (#3), & Royal Holiday (#4), and now I just finished reading the latest installment, While Were Dating (sidenote that I feel like I basically know the premise and what happens in book #2/The Proposal at this point instead of reading – I may pick it up one day so I can actually say that I’ve read every book in the series). 

Rambling somewhat set aside, having read 5 out of the 6 books in this series, I can say that the most recent releases, Party of Two and While We Were Dating, are Jasmine Guillory’s strongest books. Her writing style has grown so much since the earlier books, the plots are both unique AND well executed while still including some classic romance tropes & a story arc that is true to each Wedding Date book (not to mention that both Party of Two & While We Were Dating are the two steamiest in the series.). If you have yet to read any of Jasmine Guillory’s books, I highly recommend reading these two.  And now on to focusing just on While We Were Dating

While We Were Dating follows Hollywood star, Anna, and ad executive, Ben (who is also the brother of Theo, book #3/The Wedding Party’s male lead). Ben and Anna hit it off on an ad campaign Anna is starring in & Ben is leading and when Anna has a family emergency, Ben helps her out big time & the two spend so much time getting know one another (both as individuals & in a romance sense, of course). When Anna’s manager encourages Anna to be in a relationship in hopes of gaining media attention that will help her land her biggest role yet, Anna and Ben take their chemistry into a fake relationship. 

While We Were Dating takes on two of my favorite tropes, workplace romance and fake dating, in such a refreshing way. I liked how Anna and Ben spend the first half of the book actually getting to know each other and then find themselves in a ‘fake’ relationship, since the two already have pretty strong feelings for one another. The book also feels really relevant and current, incorporating storylines surrounding therapy, anxiety, body image, race, and relationships that didn’t feel forced whatsoever. Similar to the other books in the series, While We Were Dating features Black protagonists (both Anna and Ben identify as Black) and on a lighter note, features so much food, which has become a fun hallmark of Jasmine Guillory’s books. I liked the cameos from characters in the other companion books – while yes, you’ll get a teeny bit spoiled with some of the relationship outcomes (this is a happily ever after type series), you don’t need to read the other books to read this one. 

I highly recommend reading While We Were Dating if you are craving a binge-worthy and well-written contemporary romance! I believe While We Were Dating is the last book in the Wedding Date series, & I’m really looking forward to seeing what Jasmine Guillory writes next! 

Have you read While We Were Dating? What is your favorite book in the Wedding Date series? Best contemporary romance you’ve read this summer? Share in the comments!