By: Christina Lauren
Series: Wild Seasons, book 1
Publisher: Gallery Books
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Rating: 5 out of 5 starry Parisian stars -- I loved it!!!
Purchase: amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound | Book Depository
Synopsis: One-night stands are supposed to be with someone convenient, or wickedly persuasive, or regrettable. They aren’t supposed to be with someone like him.
But after a crazy Vegas weekend celebrating her college graduation—and terrified of the future path she knows is a cop-out—Mia Holland makes the wildest decision of her life: follow Ansel Guillaume—her sweet, filthy fling—to France for the summer and just…play.
When feelings begin to develop behind the provocative roles they take on, and their temporary masquerade adventures begin to feel real, Mia will have to decide if she belongs in the life she left because it was all wrong, or in the strange new one that seems worlds away.
I'll let you in on one of my biases, I don't mind sexy plot lines, but I do like them to be really well written. I want character development and plausible back-stories. I want a tension-filled plot line (and not just one sexy scene after another). I want a really well told story. Really, it's the same criteria I place on every story I read. But let's face it, a lot of NA/adult romances fall short of meeting that criteria, and I tend to yawn and count the number of repetitive words they use to describe what should be a hot moment (oh yes, I've been known to make notes on just that). As a result, I don't finish a lot of them and in fact, I kind of avoid them as much as possible. But then I find authors like Sarra Manning, Alice Clayton and yes, Christina Lauren, and I realize that I need to explore that category a little more.
Without any spoilers let me tell you what the dynamic duo that makes up Christina Lauren does right. Did you hear me sigh as I wrote that? They do so many, many things right. First you can tell from the first bit of dialogue that their cast of characters, both the the girls and the boys, are true, long-time friends. They've been through things together and experienced major, life changing moments. You can tell by their banter and the ease with which they assume their roles. I felt like I could completely identify with both sets of friends. But then, THEN, Christina and Lauren pick two of my absolute favorite (honestly, if they added a HotBoywithSword it would be all my favorite characters in one place) character types -- the quiet, good girl who takes a risk just once in her lifetime and the boy, oh dear BoywithaDimplySmile, who always does the right thing (well, on most days).
Just to keep it interesting there is the matter of a drunken weekend in Vegas where apparently a wedding (or three) took place and the fallout of that moment which begins a story so delicious with tension that I finished it one day. But, it's their writing that needs to be applauded because in what should be a sexy, little romp of a story there are these absolutely lovely moments (from chapter 11):
His kisses slow and tame until he's just pressing his smile to mine.
And (in chapter 20):
Hang in there, Lola says. Life is built of these little horrible moments and the giant expanses of awesome in between.I spent a lot of time nodding my head and just plain old swooning at one of the sweetest, most mixed-up couples I've read.
I love you, I reply. Because she's right. This summer was the most perfect stretch of awesome I've ever had.
And now to the matter of setting. Okay, I'm making a public plea to all authors (I'm looking at you Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman and yes, Christina Lauren) -- stop setting my favorite stories in Paris. Your descriptions of French pastries send me on a wild goose chase for the perfect crepe (Anna and the French Kiss), a summer of trying to perfect the fussy baking of macarons (Just One Day) and now for the sake of all the points at Weight Watchers, I am craving a pain au chocolat. And no, I can't have just any American chocolate croissant. I want the one that Ansel left on the kitchen counter for Mia along with an espresso. All kidding aside, Christina and Lauren's descriptions of Paris made me want to explore all the little neighborhoods and niches of that beautiful, ancient city.
If you're looking for the perfect beach read, one that will distract you from all the noisy kids kicking up sand everywhere, pick up Sweet Filthy Boy and be whisked away to Las Vegas and Paris with Mia and Ansel's gorgeous story of a love that maybe shouldn't have happened, but boy am I glad it did. I also have to not thank Gallery Books for including an excerpt of book two, Dirty Rowdy Thing, at the end of the book because now the wait until November 4th will last forever and ever and ever. Okay, one more EVER because Harlow and Finn make me laugh and they hate each other, too. That would be my other favorite type of plot line -- the natural enemies one. Oh, Christina and Lauren, please write faster.
I'm kidding (okay, only partially) Gallery Books, because I will thank you for (spoiler warning if you click over!) Ansel's POV of that first fateful night, which was released on VH1 yesterday and I also have to thank them for the very cool Sweet Filthy Boy Pinterest board where I can gaze upon an Ansel-ish looking boy in a sheet and a view of Montmarte all at once.
This is one hot summer book, Mundie Moms, go get it.