Saturday, 27 February 2016

#CBR8 Book 25: "Wicked Sexy Liar" and "Not-Joe's Not-So-Short Story" by Christina Lauren

Page count: 439 pages
Wicked Sexy Liar: 5 stars
Not Joe's Not-So-Short Story: 3 stars

First of all, I have to once again thank the wonderful Mrs. Julien for getting me the Target special edition paperback of this book and sending it to me with a veritable feast of Junior Mints, just so I could get to read Not-Joe's story, which wasn't included in the e-book version of the book. The Junior Mints were a lovely bonus, and I now have to be very strong and not gorge myself on all of them in one weekend.

London has a graphic design degree, but as she has her own place in San Diego and a flatmate she adores, she doesn't feel a pressing urge to be throwing herself into a competitive job market. She's quite happy surfing by day and bar tending by night, doing the occasional job to slowly build her portfolio. Having been burned more than once by cheaters, she's very wary about dating anyone at all, although seeing all her current friends disgustingly happy in couples, the loneliness is starting to smart and she can't help but feel like a seventh wheel. So when she meets the gorgeous and charming Luke at the bar where she works, she knows she shouldn't go home with him, but does anyway. Determined to keep things casual between them, she doesn't really expect to see him again.

Luke loved deeply and long, but broke up with his girlfriend Mia four years ago. Since then, he's been looking for the opposite of commitment and has become a bit of a player. Hooking up with London (whose name he mishears when they are introduced and as a result he calls her Logan for the entirety of their first night together) wasn't supposed to be anything more than a bit of fun, but he quickly realises that he wants to see this woman again and he doesn't really like how correct she is in her surface assessment of him as unreliable, a bit douchey and prone to one night stands. Unfortunately, he can't deny that he has a lot of dumb bro friends, that his phone is full of random women's numbers and that on a given day he gets a ridiculous number of propositions. He has played the field rather epically since his break-up with his first love and now he needs to figure out how to change his ways and convince the woman he wants to become deeply committed to that he's worth her trust, time and affection.

His job is not made easier once London puts two and two together and discovers that he is her friend Mia's ex. Not having many close friendships, London is terrified of ruining the ones she has with Mia, Harlow and Lola and will certainly not continue seeing Luke if either of them has a problem with it, no matter how short of breath she gets when she sees him or her heart beats faster around him. Luke has his work cut out for him, but thrives on challenges and is determined to win the fair London, even if it takes a while.

I was a lot more excited about the prospect of finally discovering slacker philosopher Not-Joe's real name than about the prospect of London and Luke's romance. As it turns out, his bonus story is more of an extended epilogue to the four other romances than a romance in its own right, but it does bring about closure for a few of the characters and takes the whole series full circle in a satisfying way. Having read it, I never need to think of it again, but I'm still glad I got the bonus story as well as the main book.

Having low to no expectations can turn out very well indeed. I agree with Mrs. Julien that this is clearly the best of the Wild Seasons series, and probably the only book in the series that I don't have a single thing to quibble about. I loved Luke and London, separately and apart. I loved seeing the previous couples as supporting characters and meeting new supporting players who were important to London and Luke. Her boss, Fred, is great. The car fund jar where she gets a dollar every time someone refers to her dimples (and it happens a lot) was a great touch. Luke's sister Margot was amazing and I adored their very close and honest relationship and how they didn't let the other one get away with anything. The entirety of Luke's family were great and his grandma had me howling with laughter.

Having now finished this entire series, I really will have no choice but to start reading Christina Lauren's other books, because their brand of sexy, light-hearted romance is incredibly moreish and I can't wait to see what they write next.  I'm very glad that I was wrong about this book and it gave me several hours of laughs, happy sighs and contented reading pleasure.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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