Etta

Review: Party of Two (Wedding Date #5)

Published June 23rd 2020

Author: Jasmine Guillory

Audiobook Version: ~9 Hours 20 Minutes

A chance meeting with a handsome stranger turns into a whirlwind affair that gets everyone talking.

Dating is the last thing on Olivia Monroe’s mind when she moves to LA to start her own law firm. But when she meets a gorgeous man at a hotel bar and they spend the entire night flirting, she discovers too late that he is none other than hotshot junior senator Max Powell. Olivia has zero interest in dating a politician, but when a cake arrives at her office with the cutest message, she can’t resist–it is chocolate cake, after all.

Olivia is surprised to find that Max is sweet, funny, and noble–not just some privileged white politician she assumed him to be. Because of Max’s high-profile job, they start seeing each other secretly, which leads to clandestine dates and silly disguises. But when they finally go public, the intense media scrutiny means people are now digging up her rocky past and criticizing her job, even her suitability as a trophy girlfriend. Olivia knows what she has with Max is something special, but is it strong enough to survive the heat of the spotlight?

Although this is the fifth in the Wedding Date series, this is my fourth novel that I have read by Jasmine Guillory. I missed Royal Holiday, but will definitely go and read it soon. The author continues to deliver sweet and entertaining mixed race romances with a very unique style that means you know what to expect before even beginning the book. Each novel has a certain tone and flair that is unique to this author and one of the main reasons why I continue to read her novels. I’m glad that this series just seems to be getting better and better as I continuously have a reliable author to add to my TBR. For those new to the series, there is some backstory of some characters in the previous novels, but you do not have to read the first ones to enjoy this one as it could potentially be read as a standalone.

Olivia Monroe, Alexa’s older sister, who briefly appears first in the Wedding Date, is an attorney who recently left a law firm in New York in favor of opening her own practice with her friend and colleague, Ellie, in Los Angeles.  I am not sure if my memory failed me or if it was not mentioned as I found myself wondering why it was Los Angeles when Alexa is up in Berkeley all the way in Northern California and Olivia seemed to want to be closer to family. As Olivia’s new house in Los Angeles is not quite ready to move in, she finds herself staying at a hotel.  While at the hotel bar, Olivia meets a handsome gentleman named Max. Neither discusses their true jobs due to their own reasons and Olivia keeps thinking that Max looks vaguely familiar. The two bond over dessert and have an instant connection. Unfortunately, neither gets the contact details for the other and it seems this might be a one-time meeting.  When Olivia gets back to her room, she sees Max on TV. It turns out that he is a junior Senator from California.

Max Powell is one of the senators for California and is one of the top DC bachelors. When he discovers where Olivia works, he sends her a cake as a way to talk to her and ask her out.  She agrees to give him a try as she believes he is not interested in an actual girlfriend and that is perfect for her. The two of them continue to see each other and it seems that maybe it might not be as casual after all. Not only is there the obstacles that just come with getting to know each other, there is the added stress of dating someone in the public eye. The two of them also have different approaches to the relationship as Olivia is more analytical and likes to weigh all options before making a decision while Max likes to wear his heart on his sleeve and prefers to wing decisions and base them on his feelings.

Janina Edwards, the narrator for the audiobook version, voices both of the main characters. The story is told from the points of view of both Olivia and Max and Janina did an excellent job for giving both great tones and delivery for each character. She narrated all of the Wedding Date series, so I cannot wait to listen to her when I get around to Royal Holiday. The audiobook version was entertaining as it is the type of novel that was easy to listen to and follow along. I did not feel that I was missing anything by choosing to do the audio version versus reading the words on paper (or on a screen). For those looking for a good audiobook that is easy to listen to, then I would consider this series as they are simple enough to understand, but also entertaining enough to keep the reader interested.

Like every book in this series, so far, the book does not shy away from heavier topics, such as, conversations about privilege, sexism, and racism. These topics are brought up naturally in situations and discussions and do not feel forced. Instead, they feel like they belong in the story. The relationship between Max and Olivia is not only two different personalities in life, but they are also two different styles of expressing their feelings. Max’s love for Olivia is warm and more blatant whereas Olivia does not give that same vibe. She can seem more colder or distant about the relationship, which can be interpreted as her not loving Max the way he loves her. For me, I felt that she was just more guarded and still loved him, but I wish that were a little more detail with her feelings in her inner thoughts at least. I believe this would satisfy those readers that would interpret Olivia and Max as not having as much chemistry when it seemed, at least to me, that it was just two different styles of expressing feelings, but the actual love/want for each other is still there. Overall, the story was engaging and heart-warming with all the romantic vibes that you would expect for this author.  I greatly enjoy this series and cannot wait to go back to read the fourth and then move forward to read the sixth when it is released this year!

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