Drunk on Love Review

51SIbaX9OALSummary (from the publisher): Margot Noble needs some relief from the stress of running the family winery with her brother. Enter Luke: sexy, charming, and best of all in the too-small world of Napa, a stranger. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and Margot is delighted that she lucked into the perfect one-night stand she’ll never have to see again. That is, until the winery’s newest hire, Luke, walks in the next morning. Margot is determined to keep things purely professional, but when their every interaction reminds her of the attraction still bubbling between them, it proves to be much more challenging than she expects.

Luke Williams had it all, but when he quits his high-salary tech job in Silicon Valley in a blaze of burnout and moves back to Napa to help a friend, he realizes he doesn’t want to tell the world–or his mom–why he’s now working at a winery. His mom loves bragging about her successful son–how can he admit that the job she’s so proud of broke him? Luke has no idea what is next for him, but one thing is certain: he wants more from the incredibly smart and sexy woman he hooked up with–even after he learns she’s his new boss. But even if they can find a way to be together that wouldn’t be an ethical nightmare, would such a successful woman really want a tech-world dropout?

Set against a lush backdrop of Napa Valley wine country, nothing goes to your head as fast as a taste of love–even if it means changing all your plans.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars 

My Thoughts:

Jasmine Guillory is a contemporary romance staple. Her debut novel, The Wedding Date, is on so many ‘new-to-romance’ reading lists and I’ve personally loved the companion novels in the series, Party of Two and While We Were Dating. I also really enjoyed her installment in the Meant to Be series, By the Book, based on Beauty and the Beast. That being said, I was excited for her to venture into a new storytelling, as Drunk on Love is its own standalone novel (although I could foresee spin-offs featuring Margot’s brother, Elliot, and her best friend, Sydney??).

Drunk on Love is set in the Napa Valley and is told from the perspectives of Margot, a co-owner of a winery, and Luke, an ex-software engineer who has a one night stand with Margot…and then realizes that Margot is his boss when he starts working at the winery the next day, much to Margot’s shock. Margot is set on convincing her brother that she is as serious about the winery as he is and is trying to convince him to have a huge party to draw in new customers, so Luke doesn’t exactly help her cause. The two decide to hide their prior meeting from everyone, but their chemistry just can’t seem to keep the two away from one another. 

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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! 

HOLIDAY CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory

Summary (from the publisher): 

Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.

Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.

Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?

 

My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

You might know that I read The Wedding Date companion series way out of order. I started with the latest release & book #5, Party of Two, then went back to beginning and read book #1, The Wedding Date. Then, I skipped book #2, The Proposal (for now), and then jumped to book #3 and #4, The Wedding Party and Royal Holiday.  I can say that Jasmine Guillory’s storytelling gets stronger with each installment. I enjoyed The Wedding Date and The Wedding Party, but they just felt like they were missing something. I absolutely loved Party of Two and consider that to be my favorite in the series, but Royal Holiday was such a strong installment and is now a go-to holiday romance recommendation! 

Royal Holiday follows Maddie’s mom, Vivian, who joins her daughter on a Christmas work trip to England. Maddie, who appears in The Wedding Date and is the female lead in The Wedding Party, is styling the Duchess of England –  you better believe I had the IRL royals pictured in my head- for the holiday and has her mom accompany her on the trip. Vivian instantly has chemistry with Malcom, the private secretary of the Queen, and the two spend the holiday getting to know one another. With a new job on the line at home in California for Vivian and Malcom busy working for the royals, the two know this relationship can’t possibly work out, but dread the end of the time together. 

Based on friends’ reviews on Goodreads, I actually think I’m in the unpopular opinion category based on how much I enjoyed Royal Holiday! Royal Holiday is definitely a quiet read and doesn’t have a ton of action, but to me, it’s such a quintessential, cozy holiday read. I loved the England and royal setting, as Maddie and Vivian stay at one of the royals’ country estates. There’s scones, tea, horse-back riding, nights sitting by the fireplace, aka everything you could possibly want in a Christmas -themed read. Blame it on my current extreme wanderlust, but I also loved when the book transitioned to London. I loved escaping into holiday London and watching fireworks over the Thames. I’m someone who tends to like quiet and more character-driven reads, as long as I connect to the writing style, and I thought Royal Holiday was well-written. I loved Vivian’s charm, and her and Malcom’s flirting was so fun to read. Read More »

A POTENTIAL FAVORITE ROMANCE AUTHOR?: Party of Two Review

Summary (from the publisher):

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Party of Two follows Olivia, a lawyer who’s just relocated from NYC to LA to run her own law firm with her best friend, and Max, a California senator who spends his time between LA and DC. When Olivia first meets Max, she has no idea that he’s a politician, let alone one of the most eligible and attractive bachelors in DC. Olivia soon figures out who Max is and has to think about if she wants to date a politician, while Max considers what it would be like to finally have a partner. As Olivia and Max spend more time together, both have to consider what it means to put their relationship in the spotlight. I know, I know, some readers might want nothing to do with politics in their reads at that moment, but Party of Two doesn’t have political conversations every other second and it doesn’t feature an election, which was really refreshing because I feel like any contemporary book I read involving politics tends to take place during an election year. Read More »

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts: 

2020 has been the year of contemporary romance for me, which means that I finally had to pick up a Jasmine Guillory book! I went with Party of Two, the fifth book in The Wedding Date companion series. It was so unlike me to pick up a latter installment in a companion series, but I was really intrigued by the synopsis and heard rave reviews from other bloggers. I’m so glad I went with Party of Two because it is now one of my favorite contemporary romances of the year. My weeks are busy between internship, grad classes, and job duties but I still managed to read this one under 3 days. Okay, some homework and TV watching may have been set aside but it was SO worth it! 

Party of Two follows Olivia, a lawyer who’s just relocated from NYC to LA to run her own law firm with her best friend, and Max, a California senator who spends his time between LA and DC. When Olivia first meets Max, she has no idea that he’s a politician, let alone one of the most eligible and attractive bachelors in DC. Olivia soon figures out who Max is and has to think about if she wants to date a politician, while Max considers what it would be like to finally have a partner. As Olivia and Max spend more time together, both have to consider what it means to put their relationship in the spotlight. I know, I know, some readers might want nothing to do with politics in their reads at that moment, but Party of Two doesn’t have political conversations every other second and it doesn’t feature an election, which was really refreshing because I feel like any contemporary book I read involving politics tends to take place during an election year. Read More »