Book Review: Party of Two by Jasmine Guillory

party of two by jasmine guillory book cover

party of two by jasmine guillory book coverAfter not loving the last two books in Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Date series, I was hesitant to read the latest entry, Party of Two. After seeing some reviewers whose opinions I trust noting that Party of Two was a return to form for the series, I reluctantly decided to pick it up, and I’m glad that I did. Party of Two turned out to be a gooey slow burn romantic comedy with a heart of gold and predictable happily ever after.

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?

While reading Party of Two I had a realization about this series – it’s not like a lot of current romantic comedy books that are out today. At this point, all rom-com readers know that a happily ever after is damn near guaranteed – no one reads romance for the suspense. However, good rom-coms have the ability to introduce enough drama – nay, enough spice – to make it easy for the reader to pretend like the inevitability of a happy ending is in question. In this book, there really aren’t any events that made me question the ending – it was straight forward and cute and very predictable. This lack of uncertainty doesn’t really appeal to me – when the ending is a forgone conclusion, the rest of the book feels a little pointless.

Outside of the lack of drama – Party of Two was a consistently plotted book. There weren’t any slumps, per-say, the book pretty steadily chugged from event to event. If straight to the point romances are your jam, you’ll love this book, but if you prefer some turbulence, this book might not be for you. From a writing quality standpoint – Jasmine Guillory has a pretty strong track record that she continues here. She writes realistic dialogue and excellent, relatable characters. It’s easy to put yourself in the boots of Olivia as she struggles to balance her work and life and worries about the future of her fledgling law firm. It’s also impossible not to smile when she and Max banter.

The romance between Olivia and Max was adorable and cake filled. I love how they both approached the relationship with different expectations: Olivia was looking for a night of fun and Max was looking for wifey material. Even though they initially started from different points of view, they were able to reconcile their expectations through mature conversation. This kind of maturity was pretty refreshing in a rom-com. Don’t mistake their maturity for a lack of chemistry, though – they certainly had sparks and chemistry to spare.

If you prefer your romances to be calm and sweet – Party of Two might be the book for you. It forgoes big dramatic blow ups and focuses on building a slow burn romance between two workaholics. It’s fairly predictable, but still a fun ride. Fans of the series will be pleased with its return to form, and newcomers to the world of The Wedding Date will love the slow burn romance between Olivia and Max. If you enjoyed this book, check out The Wedding Date and The Proposal – the two best entries to this series. 4/5

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