By the Book (Meant to Be Series) Book Review

The haters to lovers trope is one that had been used many times, by many authors, in many different ways. The figurative beauty of this well-known narrative arc is its ability to be dynamic and uniquely moldable to a new perspective.

By the Book is the second book in the Meant to Be Series. Written by Jasmine Guillory and published in May, it is essentially a modern-day rom-com version of Beauty and The Beast. For the last three years, Isabelle has been working at her NYC-based publishing company, hoping to be noticed by her manager. In her mid-twenties, she is one of the few African American employees and starting to become disillusioned.

While on a work trip to California, she finally seizes upon an opportunity to get the appreciation she deserves. Beau is a well-known author who has been radio silent on the status of his manuscript. She decides to try to talk to him in person. When Isabelle finally meets Beau, she discovers that his reputation of being impersonal and hard-headed is not too far off from reality.

Getting Beau to open up is a bigger task than Isabelle initially expected it to be. But as they spend time together, both Beau and Isabelle learn that each of them is lost in their own way and may find what they are looking for in one another.

This book had me at hello. It was delicious, romantic, funny, and held me by the lapels from beginning to end. Guillory holds tight to the Disney narrative while remaking it in her own image. I loved Isabelle’s spunkiness, Intelligence, and drive. Beau, as the leading man, has his own troubles, making him relatable and enough of an asshole to challenge both the reader and his future other half.

Do I recommend it? Of course.

By the Book (Meant to Be Series) is available wherever books are sold.

Beauty And The Beast Ballroom GIF by Disney - Find & Share on GIPHY

The Wedding Date Book Review

A wedding is a joyous event. But for someone who is single, there can be one of two reactions. The first reaction is the excitement of meeting new people and perhaps meeting one’s own future romantic partner. The second reaction can be utter dread, a reminder of one singleness.

In Jasmine Guillory’s 2018 novel, The Wedding Date, Alexa and Drew meet in the the most ordinary of places: an elevator. When the power briefly goes out in the hotel they are staying in, Drew asks Alexa the oddest of questions: would she pretend to be his girlfriend at his ex’s wedding?

What starts as a pretend relationship builds first into a physical relationship and then something more. But Drew lives in Los Angeles and Alexa lives in Berkeley. Can they make this relationship work or will it end up as a relationship that was simply not meant to be?

I’ve read quite a few romance novels in my time. There problem with some romance novels is that the love story feels fake and the conflict feels forced. Thankfully, that is not the case with this book. I loved the story. I loved how funny, saucy, sexy and romantic the story is. I also loved how real Drew and Alexa felt.

I absolutely recommend it.

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