Saturday, October 26, 2019

Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Sam Brandis was Tate Jones’s first: Her first love. Her first everything. Including her first heartbreak.

During a whirlwind two-week vacation abroad, Sam and Tate fell for each other in only the way that first loves do: sharing all of their hopes, dreams, and deepest secrets along the way. Sam was the first, and only, person that Tate—the long-lost daughter of one of the world’s biggest film stars—ever revealed her identity to. So when it became clear her trust was misplaced, her world shattered for good.

Fourteen years later, Tate, now an up-and-coming actress, only thinks about her first love every once in a blue moon. When she steps onto the set of her first big break, he’s the last person she expects to see. Yet here Sam is, the same charming, confident man she knew, but even more alluring than she remembered. Forced to confront the man who betrayed her, Tate must ask herself if it’s possible to do the wrong thing for the right reason… and whether “once in a lifetime” can come around twice.

With Christina Lauren’s signature “beautifully written and remarkably compelling” (Sarah J. Maas, New York Times bestselling author) prose and perfect for fans of Emily Giffin and Jennifer Weiner, Twice in a Blue Moon is an unforgettable and moving novel of young love and second chances.

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Unhoneymooners and the “delectable, moving” (Entertainment Weekly) My Favorite Half-Night Stand comes a modern love story about what happens when your first love reenters your life when you least expect it...
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"I don’t know why people think permanent denial is better than temporary disappointment.”
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I had really high expectations for Twice in a Blue Moon after reading and loving the last few books written by this duo. Unfortunately, the story was mostly disappointing.

My first complaint would be the character's ages. Tate and Sam meet when they are 18 and 21 respectively, and then fourteen years pass before the story picks back up. However, Tate and Sam still act like they did when they were together in London. It was like they never grew up, which was really weird since now they're both in their 30's. Whenever something happened, I had to remind myself that they were waaaay older, because their actions and responses felt immature for their current ages. I wish we'd seen some really obvious character growth, but it just wasn't there.

Additionally, Tate's relationship with her father really bothered me. She claims to be her own person now, but still lets him impact how she feels about herself. The guy has done nothing to earn her respect or her love, yet she freely gives him both. It didn't make sense that she was intimated by him, especially after being very successful herself. I also found it hard to believe that she would let him lie about their past together without calling him on his bullshit (very intricate and excessive lies). I don't know how PR and all that jazz works, but the man was selfish and shouldn't've gotten away with so much.

At the end of the book, I thought there would finally be a confrontation between Tate and her father, or we'd see more confidence and conviction from our leading lady. Sadly, while the ending implies Tate is going to "set the record straight," we don't actually see any of that. A lot of the story was left unresolved, and I wish the authors had written an epilogue or something that addressed all of the loose ends. There were serious issues that needed to be discussed before the book's conclusion.

I felt like the characters in Twice in a Blue Moon lacked authenticity and believability. The book takes place on the set of a movie being filmed, but I never felt like I was fully there for the experience. I was always an outsider looking in, and I want to feel like I'm a part of the story. Honestly, it was a quick read once I sat down and told myself I was going to finish the book, but I didn't feel compelled to pick it up. The before period was probably more interesting than the after, but things progressed slowly throughout the entire book.

The initial friendship and subsequent relationship between Tate and Sam was really sweet. I was completely swept up in their London romance, despite knowing it wasn't going to end well (it's in the synopsis). They were adorable together and so clearly in love, so the lack of communication for fourteen years wasn't entirely believable. I felt like the Sam from before would have reached out, despite the reasons he gives later on for not doing so. It felt out of character for him. “But then I touch you, and it’s like every fantasy I ever had coming true.” Instead of giving Tate the benefit of the doubt, he opted to play the villain in their story.

A bookish pet peeve: miscommunication plays a role in this one. Tate overhears something and makes assumptions, but doesn't think to ask Sam about it.

I did enjoy most of the secondary characters, although I wish they'd had larger roles. It would've been nice to see something happen with Charlie and Nick, or even Trey and someone on set. Maybe if the four of them had spent more time together? I don't know. It was like we were stuck on an endless loop with Tate. The stuff with her father, and then everything with Sam... we just went in circles. I also don't think Tate should have been so blindsided. What she found surprising was ridiculously obvious and sadly predictable. In the end, Twice in a Blue Moon wasn't a terrible read, but I did expect more going into it.

16 comments:

  1. It's always doubly disappointing when you don't care for a book when you had previously enjoyed the author's work. This book wouod have bothered me thanks for sharing your thoughts. πŸ‘✨

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    1. Truth! I've really enjoyed most of their books, so it was a bummer when this one didn't work out. I enjoyed it overall, but there were a few things that really bugged me.

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  2. I liked it. The first part of the book was stronger for me, than the second part, but I was happy that these two finally got their HEA.

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    1. I also thought the first half of the book was stronger. I felt more connected to the characters and what was happening in their lives. I think for me, it never felt like fourteen years had passed. They seemed to be exactly the same, despite all of their accomplishments and milestones. I'm also not convinced they got the HEA, since what happened at the end will likely impact their relationship for a long, long time. I really wanted Tate to confront her father and what he did, but we don't get to see any of that.

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  3. Sorry to hear you didn't like it as much as you'd hoped you would.

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    1. Eh, it happens! I still love this author duo and look forward to reading whatever they write next. :)

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  4. That's one of the reasons why I stopped reading new adult, it's always big on miscommunication and there's only so much patience you can have for people who don't speak to one another like adults. You can bang like rabbits but can't hold a damn conversation? Sounds like this could have done without it as well, romances don't need drama. Sorry this one didn't work too well for you Linds but brilliant review darling!

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    1. This one went from being a solid YA book, to a not-so-solid Adult Romance. The characters remained the same throughout the book, which was weird since they were 18 and 21 at the start, and then in their 30's when it ended. I feel like there should have been some serious character growth after a fourteen-year gap.

      They didn't really bang like rabbits in this one, haha. She lost her virginity to him, but there's not much romance once their older (not until the very end, and it's brief). If they had actually talked when they met again (instead of Tate sticking her fingers in her ears and refusing to listen), I think they would've been able to develop a stronger relationship. Instead, it takes them entirely too long to actually talk to one another.

      It was good overall, but I would have enjoyed it more if the characters had acted their ages and communicated instead of making assumptions.

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  5. I've been seeing a lot of mixed reviews on this one, it's kind of disappointing!

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    1. I know! I always look forward to new books by this duo, so it's a bummer when they don't work out. I think this one and Roomies are the only two of their books (that I've read), that haven't really worked for me.

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  6. A lot of things to be frustrated about in this novel, but I'm still looking forward to reading it. I heard this isn't one of their best, so keeping my expectations low, for sure.

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    1. After reading Josh & Hazel and The Unhoneymooners, it was hard not to go into this one with high expectations! Have you read Roomies? It had a similar vibe. I hope you enjoy this one more than I did! The first part of the book was wonderful. :)

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  7. I haven't read anything by these authors but the niggles and frustrations that you mentioned having with this book would also annoy me too. Why didn't their editor or beta readers pick these things up? *sigh* Oh well looks like they'd better prepare themselves for a flop.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lindsi. x

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    1. They've written some really amazing books! You should try Autoboyography, Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, or The Unhoneymooners! I really loved and enjoyed all three. This one just missed the mark for me, but that happens. :)

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  8. I liked this more than you but it definitely wasn’t my favorite by CLo. I thought the first third (in the past) was stronger than the present day section. Tate’s relationship with her father was a real stumbling block for me. As a successful, independent woman in her 30’s why was she so desperate for her father’s approval? I loved several of the secondary characters and obviously the HEA but I really, really wanted an epilogue. Too much was left unknown.

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    1. Yes! Young Tate was preferable to Adult Tate. She just didn't feel like a woman in her 30's, you know? Like you said, she's successful and independent, yet her father is able to impact her life so strongly. I wish she's stood up for herself more, and hadn't let him control how she felt about herself. She lived without him for 18 years, and now she cares what he thinks? Even though he's a tool? Charlie and Nick were great! I wish we'd seen more interaction from them as a group. <3 Yep -- way too much was left unsaid at the end. She NEEDED to have a confrontation with her father before the story stopped.

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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless