Friends With ARCs | Not the Girl You Marry + Meg & Jo

pub 11/12/19 by Berkley Romance
Romance - Contemporary
Received ARC from pub for review
Not the Girl You Marry is basically a gender-twist on the rom-com classic (and one of my personal favorites) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Jack Nolan is a genuinely great guy who tends to give too much in his relationships and an aspiring journalist. But thanks to viral success and his good looks, he's stuck as the "how-to" guy when he'd rather cover politics. He makes a deal with his boss: if he writes "How to Lose a Girl" then he can write about what he's really interested in. Except when he meets Hannah Mayfield, he'd rather keep her than lose her (of course). For Hannah she's an successful and ambitious event planner who's been burned one too many times in her relationships. But to climb the career ladder, she has to show her boss that she's capable of being committed and doesn't totally scorn weddings. And again, she's also out to use Jack but he ends up being perfect for her. It's all fairly predictable. I would say almost too much, especially if you're familiar with the movie it's inspired by. I wish the author had made the story/plot more her own or added a bit more depth. But the characters are super likable and it was easy to cheer them on. I liked that she was a bit prickly and no-nonsense while he was serial monogamist who kept committing to women who weren't right for him. They just clicked and watching them play this cat-and-mouse game made me laugh along the way. 

Favorite rom-com | Definitely, Maybe! I've watched that movie so many times.  

pub 12/3/19 by Berkley
Fiction - Contemporary
Received e-ARC from pub for review
I just realized how fitting it is that we're reviewing these two books together! Meg and Jo is also inspired by an existing story and this one, as you can probably guess, is Little Women. I have a soft spot for both the classic and 90's film version so I was excited to see how Virginia Kantra would modernize it. And I was surprised by how much I loved her take on these four very different women, their relationships with each other, and what the March sisters would look like in the present day. Even though we get to see all four women, the book alternates between Meg and Jo's perspectives. Meg has settled down with her husband and kids in North Carolina, which is where they all grew up, and puts 100% into being a stay-at-home mom. Jo, on the other hand, immediately raced off to New York to pursue her writing dreams but things haven't panned out the way she hoped and she's now struggling as a prep cook and secret food blogger. When their mother gets sick, it spurs Jo to go home for the holidays, along with her other sisters. It was so interesting to be inside Meg and Jo's heads as their lives were dissolving into chaos. Jo March is such a vivid character to me but I always remembered Meg as the older, more serious sister who I felt faded into the background. But here, the author added these complex layers to each and I found myself relating to both women in different ways. We learn of the pressure Meg feels as the eldest and as the one who "stayed behind" but at the same time, she owns her choices and is doing exactly what she wanted to do. With Jo, we see more of the insecurity behind the brashness and I was far more invested in her love story here than I was in the classic. But most of all, I loved the entire family dynamics – messy, complicated but unconditional.

Which March sister do you relate to most? | It's always been Jo March (in the classic at least!).


Collaborative feature with Alexa. We read ARCs together and post our reviews on the same date.

1 comment

  1. Definitely, Maybe is an excellent choice (as is How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days) (and wow, does mentioning those two make me want to watch a rom-com)! I also felt very similarly about Not the Girl You Marry. It was fun while I was reading it, but I didn't end up loving it or finding it particularly memorable.

    Meg and Jo, on the other hand, continues to linger in my mind! It's such an interesting modern take on characters we're familiar with, and I appreciated what Kantra did with Meg and Jo. I'm so looking forward to reading Beth and Amy when that one is out!


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