Review: Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Most men can’t handle Hazel. With the energy of a toddler and the mouth of a sailor, they’re often too timid to recognize her heart of gold. New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (RoomiesBeautiful Bastard) tells the story of two people who are definitely not dating, no matter how often they end up in bed together.

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 received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review. 

Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating will be available September 4, 2018. 

I’ve had some mixed reviews with the Christina Lauren books I’ve read so I’m never really sure what to expect when I pick one up. However, I do know that there will be some addicting writing that will make the book hard to put down and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was exactly that.

Hazel. I’m having a hard time deciding on my feelings towards her. Since I have recently been binging old New Girl episodes on Netflix, I’m going to compare her to Season 1 Jess. They really leaned into the whole “adorkable” angle and sometimes she was a little unbearable. In later seasons she was still quirky, but in a more endearing way. In some parts of this book Hazel was kind of aggressively quirky in a Season 1 Jess kind of way. But in others, she was just a little odd and cute. I didn’t find her character all that consistent throughout the story. Even though she often stated that she knew she was a lot to handle and she wasn’t going to change for anybody, I also got the feeling that she felt kind of sorry for herself about it and wished she could? There were times I felt like she was trying to be different for the sake of being different. Then there were other times where she seemed pretty normal. As you can see, I still feel a little conflicted about it. Overall, I think she could be a little unbearable at times, but I mostly enjoyed her.

I was a much bigger fan of Josh. He was so funny and sweet and I just adored him. I liked how protective he was of Hazel. Even though he could come off uptight about a lot of things, he seemed to be the perfect amount of laid back to be able to go with the flow with Hazel. I liked his relationship with his sister and his parents, as well. We get a little bit of information on Korean culture from him, but I would’ve liked a little more.

I’m a fan of the Friends-to-More trope so I shipped Josh and Hazel. However, I wish it would’ve taken a little longer for them to really fall for each other. We get both their POVs which means we find out basically right away that Hazel has always had a thing for Josh and then Josh pretty quickly starts to like her, too. However, they both think they’re wrong for each other and they’re both unsure how the other feels and by getting both POVs it kind of takes away all the tension. It just kind of made me annoyed with both of them. There were still some really cute and romantic scenes, though (and several graphic scenes I could’ve done without, but I’m sure other readers will appreciate).

Overall, I enjoyed Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating. It was cute, funny, and I shipped the romance. However, Hazel was kind of hard to take at times and there wasn’t a moment where I didn’t know exactly what was going to happen next. While the story utilized one of my favorite romantic tropes, Friends-to-More, it also employs one of my least favorites (I’m not going to say which since it’s too spoiler-y) and I have to say that dampened my overall enjoyment a bit. I do definitely recommend this one to Romance fans, though, especially Christina Lauren fans.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3.5 Stars

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Reviewing the Unreviewed: July 2018

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Lies You Never Told Me by Jennifer Donaldson. Read July 1-3. 3 Stars. 

This wasn’t bad, but it didn’t live up to the hype for me. I developed a theory about how the two storylines were connected fairly early on and it ended up being right. When that was finally revealed to be true I kept expecting something else shocking or twisty to happen at the end of the book, but nothing did. So I guess if you didn’t figure it out early it would appear as a fun twist, but it was just kind of ho hum for me. I did like the different POVs, though, and I really liked Gabe, even though he frustrated me many times.

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Sirens (Aidan Waits Thriller #1) by Joseph Knox. July 4-6. 4 Stars. 

This book is dark and kind of messed up, but I really enjoyed it. Short chapters and a fast pace made it a pretty quick read. I wavered a little bit with what to rate it because I found myself sometimes not really understanding what was going on and the writing seemed a little scattered at times. However, I liked that Knox was able to take a rather cliched storyline (addict/kind of dirty cop main character, drugs, murder, etc.) into something that really did seem unique. I thought the mystery was pretty well done and it kept my interest the whole time. I’m definitely looking forward to more from this series.

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My Plain Jane (The Lady Janies #2) by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. Read June 27-July 7. 2 Stars. 

I am so disappointed!!! My Lady Jane is one of my absolute favorite books and I have been looking forward to My Plain Jane for so long. Unfortunately it just fell so short of my expectations. The humor that I loved in the previous book felt so forced here. This book got a couple of chuckles out of me, but much more eye-rolling. I also didn’t love the Jane Eyre-Ghostbusters mash-up. I felt like the story really dragged and it did not keep my attention. I actually read two other books in the time it took me to finish this one. I had originally really liked the idea of having Charlotte Bronte and Jane Eyre both be characters, but I didn’t end up liking either of them. Alexander was probably my favorite POV of the three, but I didn’t really care that much about him either. I’m just overall really underwhelmed and disappointed with this one.

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Catch Him if You Can (Accidentally Yours #2) by Jennifer Shirk. Read July 19-21. 4 Stars. 

This book was so cute! After reading a number of mysteries/thrillers lately I was really in the mood for something light and sweet and Catch Him If You Can was exactly what I needed. I found myself smiling through the whole book. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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I Knew You Were trouble (Oxford #4) by Lauren Layne. Read July 22-23. 3.5 Stars.

This wasn’t my favorite Lauren Layne book, but it was still enjoyable. I liked Nick. Taylor took awhile to grow on me, but she wasn’t bad. I was looking for something light and quick to read and this was perfect for that.

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Hard Sell (21 Wall Street #2) by Lauren Layne. Read July 27-28. 4 Stars.

I love both Fake Relationship and Hate-to-Love stories and this book utilized both. Full review to come closer to release date. 

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Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren. Read July 28-29. 3.5 Stars.

I’ve had some mixed reviews with the Christina Lauren books I’ve read so I’m never really sure what to expect when I pick one up. However, I do know that there will be some addicting writing that will make the book hard to put down and Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating was exactly that. Full review to come closer to release date.