Hooking Up by Helena Hunting
Publishing Date: November 7, 2017
The Premise from the Author: "Amalie Whitfield is the picture of a blushing bride during her wedding reception–but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of proclaiming his undying love, her husband can be heard, by Amalie and their guests, getting off with someone else. She has every reason to freak out, and in a moment of insanity, she throws herself at the first hot-blooded male she sees. But he’s not interested in becoming her revenge screw. Mortified and desperate to escape the post-wedding drama, Amalie decides to go on her honeymoon alone, only to find the man who rejected her also heading to the same tiny island for work. But this time he isn’t holding back. She should know better than to sleep with someone she knows, but she can’t seem to resist him. They might agree that what happens on the island should stay on the island, but neither one can deny that their attraction is more than just physical" (HH).
My overall thoughts and review: So full disclaimer first: I totally should have read the first book Shacking Up first. Even though it's not technically a series, it takes place in the same world and reading Hooking Up kind of spoils it for me, but I'm ok with that. So you don't need to read the Shacking Up first, but it does help with world building and learning about characters. I immediately downloaded a copy of Shacking Up as soon as I finished this one because I legit am in love with Helena Hunting's writing. To be honest, I went a crazy binge buy of all of her backlist titles on Kobo and I have no regrets. I wasn't sure going into the book what to expect and I honestly expected a traditional HEA contemporary romance. What I did not expect was how many laugh out loud hilarious moments there were and how much character background I would get for certain characters. I loved that the world building was perfect and I honestly felt as if when I was reading it, it was a movie playing out in my head. Everything was so perfectly described and it all felt so vivid to me. The premise of the story follows Amie, who on her wedding day, hears her new-husband getting a blow job over the speakers for all the attendees to hear. WHAT A JERK. No seriously, Armstrong is a big jerk and goodness, I was so glad it wasn't going to be a redemption story with him because I had a feeling from chapter one, I was not going to like him. She finds herself immediately on a plane and taking what would've been their honeymoon together, alone. However, things don't always pan out the way you want, and she finds herself going to Bora Bora with Lex, who is Armstrong's cousin. You quickly learn that the night Armstrong met Amie, Lex was the one who approached her first, but Armstrong swooped in and stole him from her in a way. Lex has always been attracted to Amie and as you learn from their background stories: Lex and Armstrong don't have the best relationship. It's like Armstrong went after Amie just to get under Lex's skin. There's more linked to it with Armstrong's mom and Lex's mom, but man, learning about their childhood and Armstrong's behaviour, you really begin to not like him. It's not even a matter of being misunderstood, he is just downright an asshole. Despite him trying to worm his way back into Amie's life and attempts to justify his actions, Amie holds her ground and does not let him manipulate her. I loved that she didn't take crap from him and made it very clear that they were done with one another. So even though, her and Lex's story was quite lovely to read, I just loved how they both stood as fantastic characters on their own. Their story was soooo swoonworthy. I was grinning ear to ear with some moments and I just loved how attentive and sweet Lex was with her. Their falling in love with so sweet and respectful and the complete opposite from what she had with Armstrong. I loved that they were able to respect one another's boundaries and come together stronger in the end. I didn't want their story to end and I could honestly read about them forever. Overall, I loved this book and I was so terribly sad when it was over. It had everything I wanted in a contemporary romance: some hilarious moments, a great female lead, a sweet and sexy male lead, and other interesting components that made it feel more than a romance novel at times (I really liked learning about the hotel and resort business). There are also so many beautiful moments in the text. Like really beautiful. Like put up a quote up on your wall kind of beautiful. I can't say enough good things about this book. It is definitely one of my favorite romance reads of this year and I just LOVED it. I can't wait to sit down and have a reread again soon. Please pick it up. You will not regret it! (Also.. I learned not too long after that Helena is a fellow Canadian, so that made me love her even more ;))
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)
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Disclaimer: I received an e-ARC of this book from St. Martin's Press in exchange for an honest review. I've also signed up to promote this book. All opinions are my own.