Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars
I can treat this trip like an actual vacation on a tropical island. Yes, it’s with my nemesis, but still, I’ll take it.”– Christina Lauren, “The Unhoneymooners”
The co-author duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings have come together to write another swoon-worthy, romantic comedy title that I think many readers will enjoy immensely!
I for one will always recommend their work towards anyone looking for a funny, romantic, witty, easy going beach read, but lately for me it seems like their books aren’t getting that extra oomph factor that I felt in their Beautiful Bastard series. I still enjoy their books, don’t get me wrong, but it just doesn’t seem like their standalone titles coming out now measure up as much to me.
This title is a great addition to anyone who likes the hate to love, enemies to lovers, fake relationships story tropes, and while it’s not the greatest story involving these kinds of storyline, it’s still a lot of fun to read!
What It’s About:
Olive Torres is a twin sister to Ami and while her sister is in better shape, always wins contests and giveaways, and is getting married to a gorgeous guy; basically Ami seems to have all the luck in the world…Olive does not. On the day of her sister’s wedding, Olive is forced to spend time with her arch-nemesis, Ethan Thomas, who is also the best man and older brother to the groom.
Like they always do, they bicker and get on each other’s nerves, but when disaster strikes and the whole wedding ends up getting violently ill at the reception (Yes, this includes the Bride and Groom), they have an unusual task before them…go on the honeymoon together!. Ami won the whole trip through entering her name countless times into a drawing, it’s non refundable and not able to be rescheduled, so with her luck seemingly about to change, Olive and Ethan unwillingly go to Maui together instead of the bride and groom.
They both expect the absolute worst to happen, and it definitely starts out pretty rough, but when more craziness ensues, and they have to pretend to be happy newlyweds in order to not tip off the other guests and the hotel staff, they just might discover that there might have been some hidden, unrequited feelings beneath all that anger and frustration…
What I Liked:
- It Takes Place in Minnesota! Being a native Minnesotan myself, I enjoyed the fact that this story took place in the Twin Cities whenever Olive and Ethan weren’t over in Maui. It gave me a little spark whenever Loring Park, Edina, Dinkytown and other known locations are mentioned because in my head, I’m like: “OMG, I’ve been there! I know exactly where they are! I live here!!” It’s also a little refreshing that it took place in places that are always used in books; like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago or San Francisco. Switch it up on the locations and settings of contemporary books, authors!
- The Massage Table Scene! I’m just going to leave that there for you to ponder about, so read the book to find out more!
- The Boat-Bathroom Scene! Another iconic scene within the story like the one above, but for entirely different reasons! Basically, if anyone’s seen The Proposal with Ryan Reynolds and Sandra Bullock, get back to me when you’ve read this bathroom scene!
- The Ongoing Theme of Luck! The idea of people being lucky or having luck on your side and how it affects your outlook on the world shows up quite a lot in this book. I personally related to Olive a lot on this level because like her, I constantly believe I am unlucky in all aspects of my life, and so I’m a Debbie Downer a lot of the time because I feel like the universe or fate or whatever is against me…um actually bitch, I prefer the term “Rita Realist.”
- The Family Dynamics! Olive comes from an extremely large Mexican-American family, and some of the scenes of how much they’re willing to do for each other, how far they go to take care of each other and show their love & support was pure fluff and so heartwarming, so adorable that it became one of the highlights of the book for me!
What I Didn’t Like:
- Really? They’re Each Other’s Worst Enemies?…What I mean about this is that at the beginning of the story, when Ethan and Olive are still in the “hater” phase of their story, it honestly didn’t feel like they actually hated each other all that much. Sure, they were usually annoyed at each other while both trying to rile each other up, but it felt like the back and forths between them could’ve gone further, or have been more dramatic and over the top. It felt more like they were just an old married couple who just had to say some comment on everything the other did, or it was just plain old foreplay and neither one really even realized it until they are trapped in a honeymoon suite in Maui together. The backstory of their rivalry also felt a little weak to me, to be honest. It didn’t feel like something that would cause such a tense relationship over the years, and then to have her completely forgive him right away when he screws up again…It just didn’t add up to me.
Christina Lauren continues to put out another story that is hilarious, fun, easy-going, and lighthearted rom-com of a book that fans of the romance genre will soak in like a 99 cent Mai Tai 😉
I recommend the title to anyone who wants to read a fake relationship, enemies to lovers story trope that has plenty of awkward, laugh inducing moments with a quirky, clumsy heroine and a cynical, aloof guy who turns out to be amazing with a huge heart of gold!
I still wanted a little more from the authors; this title is good, but still not their greatest in my opinion. I feel like they just need to stop playing it safe and really go somewhere, you know? Drive it home and really just go wilder with it. Despite my subtle disappointment, I did enjoy this book of theirs, and will continue to read their stories until my wish is granted!
Side note: If they ever make this into a movie, PLEASE cast Gina Rodriguez to play Olive and maybe someone like Sebastian Stan to play Ethan…I will accept nothing else!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell