I received this book for free from Berkley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Wedding Date by Jasmine Guillory
Published by Berkley Books on January 30th 2018
Barnes & Noble
A groomsman and his last-minute guest are about to discover if a fake date can go the distance in a fun and flirty debut novel.
Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she gets stuck with in an elevator is something Alexa Monroe wouldn't normally do. But there's something about Drew Nichols that's too hard to resist.
On the eve of his ex's wedding festivities, Drew is minus a plus one. Until a power outage strands him with the perfect candidate for a fake girlfriend...
After Alexa and Drew have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew has to fly back to Los Angeles and his job as a pediatric surgeon, and Alexa heads home to Berkeley, where she's the mayor's chief of staff. Too bad they can't stop thinking about the other...
They're just two high-powered professionals on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century--or closing the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want...
This book has been getting a lot pre-release buzz, and after reading it, I can certainly see why. This book was an absolute delight to read. Sexy, charming, and just so, so sweet.
Alexa and Drew meet when they end up stuck in a hotel elevator. Somehow, by the time the elevator gets moving again, Alexa has agreed to be Drew’s date to his ex’s wedding that weekend. Not just the wedding, but also the rehearsal dinner, since Drew is a groomsman. Yes, he’s a groomsman at the wedding of his ex-girlfriend and one of his best friends. Because of everyone’s history, he knows he’ll be under a spotlight, so he really, really doesn’t want to go alone and manages to charm Alexa into going with him as his fake girlfriend.
Fake relationships are difficult to pull off well, but Jasmine Guillory manages to do it here. Drew and Alexa actually manage to do it right – they stick as close to the actual events as possible so their story is mostly true. They constantly check in with each other to make sure that everything is okay, and neither of them is uncomfortable with anything. They pay attention to what’s happening and have each other’s backs when questions come up or they’re expected to know something that they don’t. And they only do the fake relationship for the wedding events. Once the wedding weekend is over, the relationship becomes real and they leave the pretense behind.
Realizing they want to continue seeing each other, though, is the easy part. Actually making it happen is more difficult. Drew and Alexa have some things to work out. He lives in LA, she lives in Berkeley, and they both have careers they’re passionate about. They both want this relationship to work, though, and they’re willing to do what they need to in order for that to happen. It’s easy enough in the beginning; the flight from LAX to SFO is only about 90 minutes and it’s not prohibitively expensive, but eventually the distance and the stress starts to wear on them, and the cracks in their relationship become obvious.
I loved this book. Loved, loved, loved it. I loved Alexa and Drew, and all of the side characters. Drew’s best friend Carlos is the main character of the next book, and I can’t wait to get his story. Drew had some issues with jealousy, and he had a tendency to jump to (usually incorrect) conclusions without any evidence to support his position. Alexa struggled with her own insecurities, especially when she saw that all of Drew’s exes (and we meet several) were all tall, stick-thin blondes while she’s a short black woman with curves and hips and breasts. There are several cringe-worthy encounters with the casual racism she deals with every day, and I thought that they way Jasmine Guillory had Alexa fall back on her history in politics and diplomacy to deal with these assholes was perfect. I had no problem believing that a woman who’s built a career out of smiling and being polite even in completely shitty situations would be able to hold her own the way Alexa did.
And we haven’t even talked about that gorgeous cover yet, but holy moly. That cover is beautiful.
So why 4 stars instead of 5? There were some pacing issues with the second half of the book. There are a lot of repetitive scenes involving travel, and Alexa and Drew spending time together and feeling insecure in their relationship. After such a great first half, it was a little disappointing, though certainly not enough to ruin the experience of this book. A lot of the issues they each had could have been cleared up with a conversation, which generally frustrates me, but it seemed in line with Alexa and Drew’s personalities to hold back and stew in their own thoughts instead of having those conversations.
But don’t take that to mean that I didn’t love every minute of reading this book, because I absolutely did. I loved it, I’ve told everyone I know who reads romance to read this book, and several people who don’t read romance. And now I’ll tell you – go read this book immediately! You won’t regret it.