Title: The Wedding Date
Summary: Agreeing to go to a wedding with a guy she just met is something Alexa Monroe would never normally do, but there’s something about Drew Nichols that’s too hard to resist. After they have more fun than they ever thought possible, Drew flies back to Los Angeles while Alexa heads home to Berkeley. The two high-powered professionals are on a collision course toward the long distance dating disaster of the century—unless they can close the gap between what they think they need and what they truly want.
Title: The Wedding Party
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Summary: After Maddie and Theo have an “oops, we made a mistake” night together, neither one can stop thinking about the other. With their mutual BFF Alexa’s wedding rapidly approaching, their shared bridal party responsibilities require more interaction than they’d like. Underneath the sharp barbs, though, is a simmering attraction that won’t fade. But as with any tryst, there’s an unspoken rule Maddie and Theo have to decide if they can follow: not falling in love.
Note: an eARC of The Wedding Party was acquired via NetGalley.
I had very high expectations that I would love Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Party, but when I started reading it, I was immediately spoiled for Guillory’s other novel, The Wedding Date—so much so that I traveled to a library with an available copy just so I could read it asap. But once I’d finished The Wedding Date, I read another book in lieu of The Wedding Party. And once I’d finished that book, I basically did everything else but read. Because The Wedding Party was so incredibly boring, repetitive, and I didn’t care about any of the characters. (Like, at all.)
I thought The Wedding Date was just okay, and I’m glad I read The Proposal first—because… would I have even wanted to continue with the series? Everything in The Wedding Date revolves around Drew and Alexa and their developing relationship; we certainly learn things, but it doesn’t really feel like that information is important except when it can be used to further develop Drew and Alexa in relation to one another. Any scene not featuring them together just becomes a countdown until they are together, chapters blurring into the other with only minor details changed. I’m sure I would have loved the book had I only known that Drew and Alexa eventually got engaged, but The Wedding Party had already spoiled the how-is-this-going-to-work-out fun of it all. Not even the off-the-charts chemistry between its leads could save The Wedding Date.
Which brings me to The Wedding Party. I tried, y’all, I really, really tried. I gave this book three separate reading sessions. I kept at it for a full 50%. I even told myself that it would only take an additional 90 minutes to finish and that wasn’t very much and maybe it would get better—but then I read for five minutes and couldn’t do it. Maddie and Theo felt like cardboard cutouts, I was never sold on how they were supposed to “hate” one another, didn’t particularly buy their half-hearted pleas that their relationship didn’t mean anything and they could definitively stop whenever they wanted to, and also never felt like they even had that much chemistry. Guillory relied heavily on characterization she’d provided in The Wedding Date—which is perfectly fine due to this book being a sequel—but I shouldn’t need background information to get the full picture. Guillory also does that thing where she’ll describe an event from one character’s perspective and then, one line break later, describe the same event from another’s (which btw I hate).
The one saving grace in both The Wedding Date and The Wedding Party was Carlos, who brought both zest and levity to otherwise dull books, and I was reminded how much I loved him and wanted more of him. I took one note while reading and it said ‘I really love Carlos ok’ and I guess my main takeaway from reading Jasmine Guillory books is that The Proposal is the only one you should care about.