Monday, January 2, 2023

REVIEWS: The Friend Zone & The Happy Ever After Playlist by Abby Jimenez



Somewhere I saw a post about The Friend Zone and was intrigued so I put it on my Libby borrow list and last week it finally became available. I had high hopes going into it, even without knowing much about it, because so many people seemed to love this series. In this first book in the series, Kristen and Josh bump into each other, accidentally, and minutes later find that they're going to be thrown together for the next few months as they're in the wedding party of their best friends. What starts out as a friendship in which they're both attracted to each other but don't act on it for various reasons, turns in to an intense love affair that features a lot of emotional push and pulling, mostly pushing on Kristen's part and pulling on Josh's. She's trying her hardest to put an end date on their relationship, even as she's falling deeply in love with him, and he's trying everything he can to get her to see why the only end date should be ...never. 

Josh was so easy to adore. He was persistent and respectful, adoring and kind, and so very understanding. He tried so hard to abide by her rules, even when he wanted to break every single one of them. He was pretty much a dream man. Kristen was harder to take sometimes, even when I understood all of her reasons and rationales. I got that she was trying to protect him, but really was only trying to protect herself and I found myself wanted to shake her a zillion times. Luckily she had people in her life  who did what I couldn't and finally they got their HEA. I realize, after reading some reviews, that some people really REALLY didn't like the ending and I understand, but if you read the afterward, I found the explanation satisfying and appreciated what she did and why she did it. 


Kristen Peterson doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always one chicken enchilada ahead of her hangry. Even her dog, Stuntman Mike, adores him. The only catch: Josh wants a big family someday. Kristen knows he'd be better off with someone else, but as their attraction grows, it's harder and harder to keep him at arm's length.

The Friend Zone will have you laughing one moment and grabbing for tissues the next as it tackles the realities of infertility and loss with wit, heart, and a lot of sass.


The second book in this series, The Happy Ever After Playlist, was actually the first one written and after reading the explanation for why it's the second one released, I totally get it--you will too. Anyway, as much as I enjoyed the give and take of Kristen and Josh, I loved the story of Sloan and Jason. I don't know why I was such a sucker for these two, but I could not get enough. I loved that there wasn't too much resistance to their initial attraction. I loved that they clicked quickly and didn't try too hard to deny it--it just felt right and good, all of it. He was so good for her when she needed it and she reciprocated when he needed her support and encouragement. They both seemed really attuned to each other's needs and knew just what the other needed and when. As creatives, they seemed like such a great pairing, so when things turned bad, it was sooooo bad. I hated that it had to happen (even as knew that it would have to) because I liked them both so much. Kudos to Abby Jimenez, though, because she found a way to break their hearts and put them back together again in a way that made them even better than before. (Though, I wish we had a little more story between the last chapter and the epilogue). Out of the two books I've read in this series, this one made me less frustrated and anxious--it was a little softer and gentler with my heart (until it wasn't) and I really loved the story of Sloan and Jason (and also loved seeing Kristen and Josh again). 


Artist Sloan Monroe just can't seem to get her life on track. But one trouble-making pup who randomly jumps into her car with a "take me home" look in his eyes is about to change everything. With Tucker by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker's owner reaches out. He's a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back.

Well, Sloan's not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can't deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There's no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

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