3 Romance Books For Your Summer Reading List – The Unhoneymooners, The Flatshare & The Bride Test {Mini Book Reviews}

3 romance books for your 2019 summer reading list
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Hi everybody! Last month I was in a romance novel mood, so I binged on a few recent romance releases and what do you know, I liked them all and had enough feelings to write reviews again for the first time in forever. All of these felt very summery to me, like the perfect read whether you’re lying on the beach and enjoying the sun or keeping it cool and chilling at home in the AC!

Here we go, I present to you 3 mini book reviews:

The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary
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Title: The Flatshare
Author: Beth O’Leary
Publisher: Quercus
Release Date: April 18th, 2019
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Contemporary – Romance

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My rating in stars:
 5 stars
My rating in words: New all-time favorite!

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window… 

MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):

Overall

I listened to this on audio and I must admit I almost DNF’ed it, just because I couldn’t understand a word the narrator for Leon was saying at first. Maybe it was the slight Irish accent combined with the fact that I’m not a native English speaker, but I just couldn’t understand at first. Luckily, I got used to it, and after a few chapters I had no issues anymore. And am I glad I did, because this became one of my favorite books ever! It had the cutest romance that grew through notes before the two characters ever even met in person (be still my heart), hilarious scenes, but also dealt with some heavier topics such as emotional abuse and gaslighting. One of THE romances of 2019, highly recommend to all!

What I liked
  • The original plot. I mean, two people sharing a flat (and a bed), but never seeing eachother because one works during the day, and the other during the night? So much fun, so much possibility! And yet, you walk into this thinking you know what to expect and you still get so much more.
  • The slow-burn, post-it notes romance. I’m a sucker for penpal/texting kind of romances, so a romance where two characters fall in love over post-it notes? YES PLEASE. The notes were the perfect mix of real, cute and funny. They perfectly built up the anticipation for when Tiffy and Leon finally meet in real life.
  • The characters. I fell in love with both Tiffy and Leon quite quickly. Tiffy is quirky and funny, even though she is suffering greatly because of a past relationship. I love all the scenes we got of her at work, which just seemed so perfectly Tiffy. Leon is quiet and caring and is suffering as well since he has a brother who is wrongfully imprisoned and he’s doing everything he can to get him out. I also loved his work scenes since seeing him work as a palliative nurse made you feel both the weight of what he’s doing but also how much of a caring person he is.
  • The perfect mix of funny and serious. I loved how this book felt like a light read that had hilarious scenes that have you laughing out loud for minutes on end (the scene where Tiffy and Leon finally meer for example), but also tackles serious issues like emotional abuse.
  • The side characters. I think I fell in love with this entire cast of characters. From Ricky, Leon’s brother, to Tiffy’s friends, Gerty, Mo and Rachel. They really made the book stand out.
What I didn’t like

Uhh. Nothing. This was amazing.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

‘”Look,’ he says, ‘have you ever looked forward to reading a book so much you can’t actually start it?’”

“Being nice is a good thing. You can be strong and nice. You don’t have to be one or the other.”

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The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
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Title: The Unhoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 14th, 2019
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Contemporary – Romance

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My rating in stars:
 4,5 stars
My rating in words: Loved it!

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):

Overall

I love Christina Lauren’s writing and I love a good enemies-to-lovers story, so this book felt like it was written just for me. And I loved every minute of it. The Hawaiian setting, the premise, the characters, the banter, the chemistry, the shenanigans,… I also loved that it didn’t go exactly the way I thought it would, which was awesome. I don’t even want to spoil too much of it, just read and find out for yourself!

What I liked
  • Enemies-to-lovers AND fake dating trope. I will never get enough of these tropes, okay? Never. Ever. NEVER! Two enemies ending up on a honeymoon together, having to pretend they’re happy newlyweds = a dream come true for me.
  • The banter is fire. Don’t give me the polite, hate-eachother-but-try-to-stand-eachother-for-politeness-sake banter. Give me the sassy, snarky, one-upping-eachother-at-all-times banter. While still being funny, of course. The Unhoneymooners delivers that perfectly.
  • The setting is perfection. I mean, it takes places in freaking Hawaii. I want to go on a honeymoon in Hawaii (I already had my honeymoon and it was great, don’t get me wrong. But it wasn’t freaking Hawaii). The setting was gorgeous and so vividly described it was like watching a movie. 
  • The humor. The Unhoneymooners is definitely rom-com material. Ok, the situations Olive and Ethan get themselves into are slightly over the top. You have be able to suspend disbelief a bit while reading it, but you won’t mind because the shenanigans they get into are so hilarious.
  • Body-positivity! Olive has curves and is not going to let anybody judge her for it!
What I didn’t like
  • The romance could have been just a tad slower-burn for me. It wasn’t instant or anything, but it could have lasted a few chapters longer, you know?
  • Ethan’s reaction to his brother’s actions. So frustrating.

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“When I signed up for this honeymoon, I had no idea it would involve so much nudity.”

“Ethan, I’m a terrible liar.”
“Really? You hid it so well.”
“It’s never been my strength, okay? Those of us who aren’t summoned by the Dark Mark consider honesty to be a virtue.”

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The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
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Title: The Bride Test
Author: Helen Hoang
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 7th, 2019
Standalone/Series: Standalone
Genre: Adult – Contemporary – Romance

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My rating in stars:
 4 stars
My rating in words: Really liked it

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:

Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.

As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.

With Esme’s time in the United States dwindling, Khai is forced to understand he’s been wrong all along. And there’s more than one way to love.

MY THOUGHTS (SPOILER-FREE):

Overall

The Kiss Quotient is one of my favorite books, so I was highly anticipating The Bride Test and the story of Khai. I love that this is another autistic character, written by an #ownvoices author. I can’t speak for the representation, but I felt Khai was so well fleshed out. I also adored Esme and their romance was the cutest. I laughed out loud at multiple occasions and I fell even more in love with Quan, Khai’s brother who we already met in The Kiss Quotient and is getting his own book! Overall though, I have to admit I like The Kiss Quotient just a smidge better.

What I liked
  • More on Khai and more #ownvoices autism rep. I loved The Kiss Quotient and it’s amazing autism representation and I love that we get more story around Khai, whom we already meet in that book. But what I especially love is that there is such a difference between Stella and Khai. It shows beautifully that autism isn’t just one thing, and there are so many differences. Both Stella and Khai are multi-dimensional, real characters that are far from stereotypical and I love that they get this amazing representation. Also, Khai is just the sweetest, most caring and I love that he got his own story.
  • Esme and her story. When I read the author’s note, I was shocked to find out that Esme was originally supposed to be a secondary character, there to get in the way of Khai’s romance with an American girl. But I’m so happy that she got her own story and her own POV. She became a full-fledged character, and I love that we got to see a poor Vietnamese immigrant get representation and be the star of her own story.
  • Brotherly love. We also met the character of Quan in The Kiss Quotient, but here he’s even more present, always there with the brotherly advice for Khai. I loved all their scenes togethe, especially the ‘morning-after’ scene, which was hilarious. So looking forward to his own book!
What I didn’t like
  • Miscommunication. I can’t help it, I get frustrated when the main conflict could be resolved so easily if only the characters talk to eachother. Also, the ending scheme kind of took me out of the story. It was a little over the top, but I guess it was kind of cinematic?

FAVORITE QUOTES:

“My heart works in a different way, but it’s yours.”

“She’d come to find him. No one ever looked for him. They all knew he wanted to be alone. Except is wasn’t always that way. Sometimes he was alone out of habit. Sometimes it took effort to distract himself from the growing emptiness inside.”

“He was ignoring everyone, including her, at this expensive wedding. So he could read a novel about alien demon things.”

“It wasn’t loneliness if it could be eradicated with work or a Netflix marathon or a good book. Real loneliness would stick with you all the time. Real loneliness would hurt you nonstop.”

Tell Me:
Have you read any of these yet?
What’s your favorite summer read?

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26 thoughts on “3 Romance Books For Your Summer Reading List – The Unhoneymooners, The Flatshare & The Bride Test {Mini Book Reviews}

  1. Mir @TBRandBeyond says:

    Both The Bride Test and The Unhoneymooners are on my TBR. I’ve heard nothing but amazing things for both. I had not heard of The Flatshare but will definitely be looking it up.
    Thank you for sharing, that all look like the perfect summer reads.

  2. Angela says:

    The Unhoneymooners reminded me of our Hawaiian honeymoon, so that was just one more reason for me to love it!

    I can’t wait to read The Flatshare!

  3. Raya@Rayasreads says:

    Amazing review! I personally enjoyed The Bride Test more than The Unhoneymooners. Like you, I was also affected by the author’s note by Helen Hoang. And I also pretty much feel the same about The Flatshare. Loved it!

  4. Amy P says:

    The Flatshare sounds sooo good! I haven’t read any of these books yet but I’ve added them all to my summer TBR pile. My favorite summer read so far is called “Behind the Glass” by Kristen Morgen (https://kristenmorgen.com/) and this definitely took care of my romance itch for the summer. It is a feel good read for the heart and soul and left me feeling hopeful about love (doesn’t happen often). The main character, Rebecca, isn’t some flighty romance obsessed damsel in distress which I also really liked about the book. She is intelligent and down to earth. The book is about the moral dilemma that would happen if you were with a wonderful person but met someone (by chance) that you connected with like no one else. Not only that, what if you kept seeing this person again and again? I definitely recommend this for anyone’s summer TBR pile because it’s well written, realistic, and I couldn’t put it down. Happy reading!

  5. Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! says:

    I’ve recently gotten into romance a lot, and I’m so surprised I haven’t heard of The Flatshare! I just requested it from my library. Thanks for the rec, it sounds amazing! I can’t wait to read all those post-it note scenes. 🙂

    I’ve read both the Unhoneymooners and The Bride Test. I completely agree with your reviews. I was so frustrated at Ethan’s reaction at the end of the book, and it definitely made me like his character less. Also, I hate it when miscommunication is the big conflict as well!
    Genni @ Ready, Set, Read! recently posted…10 Exceptional Summer ReadsMy Profile

    • Lindsey Habets says:

      Oh I hope you’ll enjoy The Flatshare!! Those post-it notes are amazing, I loved them 🙂
      Yeah that ending kind of made me mad at Ethan – usually I can sort of understand where they’re coming from, but this was just… ugh, seriously dude? Luckily the rest of the book was so much fun 🙂

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