Romantic Comedy Recap 9.14.18
Another great month of romantic comedies. I read some wonderful YA rom-coms and have written extensively about my love for To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Since I started reading romance earlier this year, I have heard great things about Jennifer Crusie, specifically her novel Bet Me. I also picked up The Good Luck Charm and Christina Lauren’s newest release Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. All three were delightful contemporary rom-coms.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie is an older contemporary, published in 2004. Min Dobbs and Cal Morrissey have no interest in dating one another, and only agree to one drink because of a bet that Cal makes with Min’s ex-boyfriend, David. David bets that Cal, quite the ladies’ man, cannot get Min into bed in one month; David is sure that Min won’t put out because they dated for two months and never had sex. But Min overhears the bet and decides to go along with it because she needs a date to her sister’s wedding in one month, plus Cal is rather good-looking. But despite Cal and Min having no interest in one another, they begin to spend a lot of time with each other, and their chemistry is crazy intense. I know a lot of people rave about this book and recommend it as a good gateway to contemporary romance, but this one just had a little too much going on for me. Min has two best friends, and Cal has two best friends. Their groups overlap and even begin dating and hooking up with each other. Min’s sister is getting married and is really stressed, and her mother is really not great. Cal’s family has way too many issues to count. Plus Min’s ex-boyfriend David and Cal’s ex-girlfriend Cynthia work together to break up Cal and Min. All of this did not leave a lot of one-on-one quality time with Min and Cal, whom I adored, but there was so much else going on that I felt their scenes were few and far between. I understand why it’s a classic in the genre because Min is a smart, capable, plus-sized heroine, and Cal is such a sweetheart, even though he’s supposedly a player. I will say that the buildup for Min and Cal was certainly worth it; I just could have done without Min’s super nagging mother. Seriously. If she made one more comment about Min’s weight, I was going to come through the book and throttle her. But if you’re looking for a fun and sweet classic contemporary rom-com, definitely give Bet Me a try!
The Good Luck Charm is Helena Hunting’s latest release. I have not read any of her other books, but she has a fairly popular hockey series. Lilah and Ethan were childhood best friends, then high school sweethearts, but have not seen each other in eight years. Ethan was drafted into the NHL and broke up with Lilah (over the phone!) because he didn’t think it was fair to have her completely uproot her life just for him. But now Lilah is newly divorced and runs into Ethan at the hospital where she works because his father had a stroke. He is moving back home because he’s been traded to Minnesota’s hockey team. Lilah is very reluctant to spend time with Ethan, but Ethan wants to be friends. That lasts for about two pages before they embark on a full-fledged relationship. I was a little thrown at first by how quickly Lilah and Ethan got together, but the real angst comes when Lilah loses herself in Ethan and begins to struggle to keep up with her schoolwork that would get her into her dream nursing program. Ethan is so excited that they’re back together and wants Lilah to come to practice and all his games. When his previously floundering career starts to take off again, he refers to Lilah as his good luck charm, which Lilah does not take well. I really enjoyed the premise of The Good Luck Charm, but I think the execution was a little wonky. But I do love a good second chance story, and this was a fun one.
Christina Lauren’s latest book, Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, was just released, and this is definitely one of my favorites of theirs (Beautiful Player still remains at the top!). Josh Im and Hazel Bradford knew each other in college, but haven’t seen each other in ten years. Until Hazel’s new best friend Emily invites both of them to a party at her house. Emily is actually Josh’s sister, but Hazel never made the connection because she only knew Emily with her married name. Hazel has always felt a strong connection to Josh, but Josh is much more interested in becoming friends now than he ever was in college. As Josh finds out his girlfriend (what kind of name is Tabby?) has been cheating on him, Hazel becomes his go-to person to cheer him up, talk to, and just spend time with. The two become fast best friends and even roommates for a few weeks when Hazel’s apartment floods. They quickly decide to do double blind dates on Friday nights, yet every date they are more interested in one another than they are in their dates. When one drunken night leads to sex, Josh and Hazel have to figure out where they stand and how they feel about one another. I absolutely adored Josh and Hazel; the two truly could not be more different, but they deeply cared for one another. Hazel is a hot mess with the biggest heart; Josh is stable and calm. Hazel is a third grade teacher, while Josh owns his own physical therapy practice. I also really enjoyed the bits of Korean culture that we saw with Josh’s family. The epilogue was a tad much, but of all the Christina Lauren books I’ve read, Josh and Hazel are up there with Will and Hanna. High praise indeed!
Since my last rom-com recap, I’ve finished all of Sarah MacLean’s historical romances; they are amazing. And while I like historicals, there are only so many dukes and earls. Contemporaries have more flexibility. These three were all fun, but Christina Lauren remains one of my favorites. Their characters’ banter is just the best. I cannot wait for their next book, My Favorite Half-Night Stand, in December.
What are your favorite contemporary romances?