Thursday, September 13, 2018

Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren

Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating by Christina Lauren
Release Date - September 4, 2018
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  309 pages
My Rating - 4/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Hazel Camille Bradford knows she’s a lot to take—and frankly, most men aren’t up to the challenge. If her army of pets and thrill for the absurd don’t send them running, her lack of filter means she’ll say exactly the wrong thing in a delicate moment. Their loss. She’s a good soul in search of honest fun.

Josh Im has known Hazel since college, where her zany playfulness proved completely incompatible with his mellow restraint. From the first night they met—when she gracelessly threw up on his shoes—to when she sent him an unintelligible email while in a post-surgical haze, Josh has always thought of Hazel more as a spectacle than a peer. But now, ten years later, after a cheating girlfriend has turned his life upside down, going out with Hazel is a breath of fresh air.

Not that Josh and Hazel date. At least, not each other. Because setting each other up on progressively terrible double blind dates means there’s nothing between them...right?
I've sang the praises of many of the books by Christina Lauren. They consistently offer up romance novels that read like drinking champagne. They have bubbly, fizzy quality to them that feels effortless when you are reading them. Josh and Hazel's Guide To Not Dating is no exception to this. They've once again offered up an incredibly enjoyable read that will leave you smiling.

Hazel is the type of girl who dances like nobody is watching. She is whimsical and quirky. She would almost be a manic pixie dream girl if Christina Lauren hadn't infused her with so much more than these surface observations. She is acutely aware, mostly because it is what she's been told before, that she is A LOT to handle but refreshingly refuses to change. She likes who she is and that makes her someone you immediately love. Hazel is the kind of friend that is the life of the party but also the shoulder to cry on when you need it. She is much more complex than you might think based on the surface and that is exactly what her character works.

Josh Im is your standard romance novel love interest. He's kind, caring, patient, and entirely charmed by Hazel. I found Hazel much more interesting than Josh but he balances her in a way that makes their romance feel inevitable. I appreciated the focus his family bond had within the story. It is a part of his upbringing and culture and it just seemed to fit his character. He radiates goodness and that is hard not to love.

The friendship first element of the romance is something that always works for me, but especially works well here. They slowly fall in love with each other as the story progresses even if there was an instant spark there. Josh's steadiness and Hazel's playfulness just combine into this really sweet connection. It's one of my favourite relationships that Christina Lauren has written.

This book is, in my opinion, one of the more humour filled books that Christina Lauren has written. The disastrous double dates are not only a great way to inject some humour into the story but they also, perhaps surprisingly, deepen the romance being told.

Many people expect a Christina Lauren book to have some pretty sexy scenes. Those are found within the pages of these novel, but it also feels pretty restrained. It is more in line with Roomies where the story has the heavier focus than the sex scenes that do pop up. I think there is a really good balance to this story as a result.

If you're looking for a charming friends to more romance I highly recommend this one. It's got all of the elements that a romance reader could want and more. I, as always, eagerly anticipate whatever Christina Lauren writes next and whatever new couple they are going to make us love next.

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