Cover Image: Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating

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Member Reviews

Thanks to netgalley, gallery books and Christina Lauren for my #arc of # joshandhazelsguidetonotdating

I was SUPER excited to receive a copy of this book because after really liking #loveandotherwords I needed another friends to lovers book in my life.

Hazel met Josh at a college party where she promptly threw up on his shoes. Hazel is the eccentric one who intimidates men and Josh is the total opposite mellow one. Who would think after their disastrous meeting and other subsequent equally disastrous bump ins they would meet at a bbq, 10 years later, and become friends. Now Hazel and Josh are fighting their attraction for each other and going on double dates. Will Hazel and Josh stop denying their attraction for each other?

I really liked this one. It’s a opposites attract friends to lover theme going on. I’ll admit it was very predictable but I loved the characters. Josh was a great hero understanding and sweet and Hazel was just unapologetically herself and I loved her. I was a little sad that it wasn’t longer since I needed a little more. I definitely recommend this one. Get ready for this super fun light read. Add it to your tbr pile this ones set to be released on Sept 4th (I’ll happily remind you guys of this one)

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Please note: I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Opposites attract in this cute, steamy adult romance.

Considering my hate for the Beautiful Bastards series, I'm shocked to admit Christina Lauren is now one of my auto buy authors. When I saw this book available on NetGalley, I snatched it up quickly.

This novel is the perfect blend of friendship and romance. Josh and Hazel are two very different people. Josh is quiet and reserved, while Hazel is zany and eccentric. When these two characters collide, they form a solid bond filled with support, laughter, and love. The evolution of their friendship to romance is sweet and earned. I am thrilled to read more novels where the friendship between the main characters is just as important as the romance. We can have both, people! The secondary characters, plot, and setting are just as cute as the romance. The ending took me by surprise, but in the best way possible.

tl;dr A novel with the perfect blend of friendship and romance between two unlikely characters.

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Josh and Hazel are apparently undateable together—that much power-writing duo Christina Lauren wants to bring across. But the irony is that they are never better matched despite their opposite ways, as the story trundles on. Both go on blind double dates (mostly disasters), get on as good friends (loads of banter and nonsense talk), then finally realise that they do actually belong together.

After having quite a good time with a few of this duo’s books, jumping into Lauren’s ‘Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating’ was something I eagerly did…that is, until the very first chapter caught me out with the antics of a female protagonist I had a bad feeling about.

There’s no other way for me to say this, but I simply found Hazel cringe-worthy. At least, there’s the part where the adorable, bumbling fool kind of woman would probably find purchase with many readers because it’s so obvious how flawed she is. Unfortunately, she simply read like a protagonist who couldn’t grow up and stayed that way so as to become as a plot device mirroring the loud, clueless millennial—as reported about with derision in the newspapers these days—who stumbles over everything and says whatever her mouth decides to say without engaging her brain.

But unlike Bridget Jones, she appears fully formed, owns her quirks, and pretty much heads the movement for how women should be themselves (and proud of it for going through men, not wanting commitment) without changing for anyone…which is a good thing right?

Um.

For me, it was too much, too hard, too affected because it felt like the authors were trying too hard to make her the kind of woman who’s just like a commitment-phobic male protagonist unable to hold a relationship. Written as larger than life because it’s fiction and drawn up so deliberately like a character in a sitcom or as a mirror of this kind of male hero, Hazel simply made me sigh in resignation and not in a good way.

Unlike the usual style of Lauren’s that compelled me to read what this writing duo has done so far—the first person narrative, the huge touch of the insane in this romcom—this book started as a rough ride for me, oddly so because of its very lighthearted feel that just didn’t leave me clutching my sides in laughter. It did get somewhat better as Josh and Hazel find their groove together first as good friends, but I couldn’t really hold an interest in a book where the protagonists obliquely get closer together while dating others.

In short, it’s a story that will appeal to many, but it isn’t one for me.

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➳Quirkiness, fun double dates, sexy times that became unexpected, everything combined together to bring two individuals that are beyond different but definitely meant to be...

➳When one starts reading a romance novel by my favorite duo Christina Lauren, one should know that you will forever love the story no matter what. When one reads romance stories, you expect a trope to take into place. No matter what, this new stand-alone filled with fun adventures between two best friends, has every retrospective of uniqueness when hitting the pitcher at the exact spot of loving Josh and Hazel. To me, maybe I say this because my love for Christina and Lauren is immense, but I am down-right honest about my reviews. This novel will knock you off your feet when it comes down to the laughter that comes out of you when Hazel does something that is beyond endearing and juvenile way.

➳This story basically revolves itself around the idea and actions of Josh and Hazel becoming best friends after some "awkward" college moments and finding out that Hazel's best friend, Emily, is Josh's sister, who is married to Dave, the principle and the boss of Hazel in her new job at a new elementary school as she teaches the third grade. After becoming best friends, Hazel and Josh decide to start setting up double dates with individuals they know, for each other. At first it all starts wonderfully because they both have fun with the partners they end up choosing for each other. But it gets to a point where the sexual chemistry between Josh and Hazel, the unexpected status of being roommates, and one drunken night, they change the tables to wanting to become more than best friends.

➳There is a sudden and unexpected love towards Hazel and her persona. Her vibrancy, her enthusiasm, all her quirks that makes her such a unique individual that has taken everything in her empowering personality to admire herself and not care what others thing about her, is what truly captivates the reader to wanting to read more, CRAVE that kind of writing that Christina and Lauren always seem to specialize in. That's what makes Josh admire Hazel. Her love towards him as his initially best friend is indeed swoon worthy. And as a rom-com, one never goes wrong with loving all the adventures these two encounter and go through.

➳Overall, I am beyond glad that I had the chance to read this book this time around. It definitely brightened my mood and I will definitely be reading this beauty again. Thank you to Gallery books for letting me enjoy this romance novel that had me itching for more love of Christina Lauren. If you are looking for something sweet, exciting, and enthusiastic, then this novel is the ideal one for you.

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I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating: 4.5 stars

This novel reads very differently from the other Christina Lauren books I've read. It's still sexy but in a witty, madcap good romantic comedy sort of way. Both Hazel and Josh are great characters: they are funny, real, endearing and flawed. Hazel is a "free spirit" a ball of unique, frenetic energy that can't be contained. It's lovely to have a character who owns her quirks and is unapologetic for who she is. Josh, to some extent, is Hazel's opposite: he's calm, stoic, maybe a little up-tight at times, but he has a great deal of heart--he accepts and loves Hazel for who she is and recognizes that she brings a little extra spice to his life.

Hazel and Josh first meet during college, but never really know each other very well--though most of their college encounters are... memorable, at least. Flash forward seven years and Hazel and Josh reconnect at an end-of-year bbq at the home of Hazel's best friend, Emily, who just happens to be Josh's sister (who knew!). Hazel is now a 3rd-grade teacher moving to a new school for the coming academic year--the school where Emily teaches and Emily's husband is the principal. As Josh recovers from a difficult break-up, he and Hazel fall into a close, loving friendship that both swear will never be anything more.

Most of the first half of the novel focuses on this friendship in which each person tries to help the other--including setting each other up and going on blind, double dates. There are hints that the two are growing closer, but it's nice that the relationship never really gets all angsty and weird. The ending is a bit of a surprise, but not an unwelcome one.

With some amazing lines including a description of Hazel in which Josh is "getting Ms. Frizzle vibes" and a scene where Josh compares being subjected to a date's long, windblown hair as being "pushed in a wheelchair through a room of cobwebs," this is a light-hearted romantic read sure to bring a smile to your face.

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