Book Club: The Wedding Date and The Proposal
I recently discovered the amazingness that is Jasmine Guillory. Not only are her books romantic and realistic, they’re chock full of diverse characters and strong feminist women! I recently finished two of her books, The Wedding Date and The Proposal. She has a third book out with a fourth one coming. I’ll do a review on those when I get my hands on them and read it. For now, here is another double whammy review:
The Wedding date by Jasmine Guillory
I am not usually one for romance novels but the draw of this book was that it was recommended to me by my friends who knew I’d love it for its diverse cast of characters and a political main character. It’s true, Alexa, the female protagonist, is a black woman who works for Berkeley’s mayor and works on programs and initiatives to help the city’s at-risk youth. Who wouldn’t want to read about her love life?
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...
Related post: Book Club: After You and Still Me
I am not going to lie - I realllly liked this book! It was charming, warm, cute, and best of all, real. Alexa Monroe is a great heroine who actually reminds me of, well, me (but a more put-together and black version). She’s a smart lawyer working for the mayor of Berkeley (hello politically savvy lady!) who meets Dr. Drew Nichols, pediatrician, while trapped in an elevator. At the meet-cute, sparks fly, there’s clearly attraction there, and Drew asks if Alexa would possibly be available to go be his date to the wedding of his ex-girlfriend. She agrees and they concoct a story of how long they’ve known each other. There’s chemistry. They start a fling. It turns into more. They fall in love.
It sounds a bit formulaic, and perhaps it is. However where Jasmine Guillory shines is her ability to write characters who think and feel the exact same anxieties that most women should be able to relate to. She is also depicting an interracial relationship and all of the challenges that come with it (something I can relate to). Drew has to check his privilege and Guillory shows that scene in a way that not only feels real, but also feels empowering to both parties involved - Drew is empowered for knowing more and Alexa is empowered for being able to get through. Guillory also depicts explicit interactions of safe sex, which is something I think is very important (too much fictional works seem to forget that STDs exist). Finally, there’s a lot of references to local Bay area landmarks and restaurants which apparently are extremely accurate as the writer is from there.
I’m actually surprised how much I liked this book, considering that the genre isn’t one of my favorites. However, I think I’ve opened up more to romance books since reading the Me Before You trilogy. While those books were sad, The Wedding Date just felt almost too real at times and gave us a happy ending (spoiler alert). I think it was really good at depicting a modern romance that many of us could actually see ourselves in, even if we’re neither black nor white. I think there’s definitely something for everyone in this book and I recommend it to anyone in need of a cute beach read. I gave the book 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. Check it out.
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The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory
After enjoying The Wedding Date so much, I put myself on the waitlist for The Proposal which is Guillory’s second book. It promised a new diverse cast of characters and nods to her first book. I was hooked after the first chapter.
The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn't turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own...
When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people.
When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...
At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...
Related post: Book Club: The Sun is Also a Star
I want to first note that this book isn’t exactly a sequel to The Wedding Date, but more of a standalone companion book, if that makes sense? A completely different story centered around the best friend of Dr. Drew Nichols, Dr. Carlos Ibarra and his love interest, Nikole Paterson. Drew and Alexa make cameos in this book but you don’t need to read The Wedding Date to understand the story line of The Proposal.
Now that that’s out of the way, I have to say I realllly liked this book too!! Guillory is such a fun writer. This book was so readable and enjoyable!
The book starts with Nikole Paterson, a freelance journalist, at a Dodger’s game when her boyfriend of four months proposes via the Jumbotron (and writes her name incorrectly to boot). This was not the proposal Nik wanted. She doesn’t like big showy events (#canrelate), they hadn’t talked about getting married at all so she feels like this was so sudden, on top of which, she had been trying to break up with him due to his self-centeredness. She says no publicly and starts getting booed. Luckily, Dr. Carlos and his sister come to her rescue. They act like they’re old friends and usher her out of the stadium. Like in The Wedding Date, sparks fly between Carlos and Nik. Also like The Wedding Date, there is a VERY diverse cast of characters. Nik is a black woman. Carlos is Latino. Nik’s friends include a black lesbian actress and a Korean baker.
I really love that this book not only focuses on the Nik and Carlos’s romance, but also on their respective friendships, with each other and other people. Even though Nik’s friends are sideline characters, they’re never sidekicks - they have their own stories, struggles, and are fleshed out. Even though Guillory uses the same tropes and, like most romantic novels, the endings are predictable, she creates such lovable characters you really root for that I can’t even be mad about it.
I gave this book four out of five stars on Goodreads. It’s really good, I promise!