Series: I Do I Don't #2
Published by Random House, Loveswept on January 30th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
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For one charming playboy, getting cast on a Bachelor-esque reality TV show is the shock of a lifetime—until he finds love where he least expects it. And now the chase is on!
Gage Barrett’s reputation as a ladies’ man has been greatly exaggerated, but none of that matters after a drunken bet lands him on Jilted, a reality TV show that matches runaway grooms with wannabe brides. Now he’s stuck at a Hawaiian resort with nineteen women competing to drag him back to the altar—and one contestant who’s even more miserable than he is. Gage has no idea how feisty, independent Ellie Wright wound up in the cast, but it’s obvious she hates his guts. And if there’s one thing Gage likes, it’s a challenge. . . .
Ellie can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into exchanging her dignity for a glorified bikini contest. Still, she could use the exposure—her business is struggling—and she’ll probably be one of the first to get eliminated anyway. But Gage isn’t the shallow jerk Ellie anticipated—and he’s in no rush to send her home. As stolen kisses turn into secret trysts, she finds herself losing track of what’s real and what’s for the camera. With the wedding finale looming, this runaway groom is tempting Ellie to start believing in storybook endings.
So, after not missing any months in 2017 and patting ourselves on the back for a job well done….we started off 2018 forgetting to do our buddy review so to make up for that, we’re reviewing two books together in February. Wish us luck!
The first book of 2018 was Runaway Groom by Lauren Layne and it takes place mostly on the beautiful island of Maui at a beach resort in the thick of the reality show, Jilted. Jilted is a bachelor type reality show where one guy will date 20 girls over the course of the show and week after week, girls will be dropping like flies and going home. The last girl standing will be married to the Runaway Groom, Gage Barrett.
Ellie Wright can’t believe she let her best friend talk her into auditioning to be one of the girls on Jilted. Gage Barrett can’t believe he lost a bet to his best friend, a bet that puts him right smack dab in the middle of a freaking reality show where girls will be competing to become his…wife.
Both Gage and Ellie don’t want to be in Hawaii. They don’t want to be on the show and yet, somehow a friendship blossoms between them anyway. Will a fake romance turn into a real one?
Rowena: Holy cow, this book was good. It was the perfect book to read after a really bad book because Gage and Ellie’s antics perked me right up and it was so good that I read the entire thing in one sitting. I can’t think of a single thing that I didn’t like about it.
What about you, Ames? What did you think?
Ames: Like you, I read this book in one sitting! I couldn’t put it down. The energy between Gage and Ellie was great and I had to find out what antics they’d get up to next. Their bantering and bickering was funny. I definitely lol’d a few times.
So Ellie gets talked into the show as a way to promote her and her best friend’s t-shirt company. Right from the first episode that goal is met with visits to their website and sales of the shirt going up. So Ellie considers her job done and so she wants to go home. She really isn’t impressed by A-list actor Gage Barrett, his looks or his attitude, so she just acts like herself in all her interactions with him. And even though Gage himself doesn’t want to be on the show (he lost a bet!), Ellie’s don’t-give-a-shit attitude appeals to him.
But it wasn’t only Gage and Ellie that made the book fun. I liked the other contestants on the show too. Of course they were a few crazies and cutthroat women who took the competition too seriously, but I liked how those other contestants balanced out the interactions between Gage and Ellie.
And the humour. Really, that’s what kept me flipping pages. Quickly into the story Ellie tells Gage that she wants to go home and he promises her she’ll be on the chopping block to get eliminated…but things happen that make him break his promise and I loved Ellie’s rage every time that happened. LOL
Rowena: Every single time that Gage sent someone home, I laughed out loud. I didn’t care that it was after midnight and my house was already asleep. I laughed out loud. The funniest one was when he sent Skylar home. Bwahahahaha, that poor girl got in the way so she had to go. You’re right. The energy between Gage and Ellie was fun and it was sweet and I ate it all up.
YES! The other contestants cracked me up, too. From Evil Eden to Crazy LeAnn to side action Paisley, I enjoyed what each of them brought to the story. Oh man, the rage that Ellie had every time Gage couldn’t send her home was a freaking riot. Gosh, there was so much to like in this story that I’m pretty bummed we’re not getting another one.
Normally, I can get pretty annoyed when characters don’t talk things out. In fact, in the last book that I read, I got really upset at the heroine for not opening her mouth and getting mad at the hero for things that happened before she came along but Lauren Layne did that in this book and she wrote it in a way that made me sit up and take notice. The first thing that came to mind was, “This is how it’s done. This is how you make a reader connect with how dumb the characters are acting right now” Layne did a great job of making us readers understand why Ellie didn’t speak up when she probably should have. She did a wonderful job of making it easy for me, as a reader to connect with Ellie’s character and her assumptions about Gage before she even knew him. I thought the way that she flushed out both Ellie and Gage’s personalities and their individual journeys made for a great reading adventure.
I was seriously here for it all. This book drives home why I enjoy Lauren Layne books so much. Her stories are filled with humor, with fantastic chemistry and characters that can charm the socks off a dragon. Gage was such a fun hero and Ellie? Well, I want Ellie to be my best friend. I absolutely loved this story and there wasn’t one thing about it that I hated. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars. You?
Ames: I agree that Lauren Layne writes great contemporary romances. Her characters really shine and I love her humour. And she writes her heroines very well. I need to be able to connect to heroine and understand her motivations and she knocked that out of the park with Ellie. Ellie was fun and her loyalty and friendship defined her as a person. This was also apparent in her budding friendship with Paisley. With a show that pits women against each other for a man, LL did an awesome job of not making all the women villains. Kudos to her.
I’m giving Runaway Groom 4.25 out of 5. Thoroughly enjoyable and I have to say, reading about a book in Maui during this cold winter of mine (seriously, it’s been hellishly cold – think -40) was a nice bonus too.
I Do, I Don’t Series
Ames: 4 out of 5
Rowena: 5 out of 5