Review: Bitter Medicine by Mia Tsai (2023)
Heat Factor: the eroticism is more in the emotional than the physical descriptions
Character Chemistry: slow-building and respectful
Plot: ancient history returns to the present, threatening the tenuous and secretive connection that Luc and Elle have been flirting with
Saturday Smutty Six: More Accidental Marriages
Now that we’ve spent a whole week reading and talking about books featuring the Woke Up Married trope, we obviously can’t leave you hanging. If the recs from our podcast, or reviews by Erin, Holly, and Ingrid didn’t tickle your fancy, here are six more Woke Up Married books that we liked.
Sweet Filthy Boy by Christina Lauren
Like Lick, Sweet Filthy Boy features a single 1st person narrator with a messy family life and a mysterious husband. It is as riveting—maybe even more so—as Lick, as it becomes clear that Ansel’s keeping secrets from Mia even though he says he really wants their marriage to work. Mia and her friends marry Ansel and his friends during a wild Vegas night, but while everyone else goes to dissolve the marriage the next morning, Ansel invites Mia to his home in Paris for the summer, and to escape her overbearing father, she goes. If you like books that make you think “Is their whole relationship about sex, or are they gonna talk?” I have a book for you.
Screwed by K.M. Neuhold
These guys get totally hammered while in Vegas for their brother’s/friend’s bachelor party and, left to their own devices after the couples go to bed, bar hop all the way to the chapel. They plan to end the marriage, but when Ollie’s friends give him hell for getting married AGAIN, Daniel steps in and declares they oive each other and the marriage is real and they’ll prove it. Amazing playing house fantasies ensue. If you love soft construction workers and supportive partners, this is a good bet.
Just Married? by Natasha West
I’ll just say the audiobook narration for this book was awful. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a British person do a bad American accent until I listened to this audiobook. That said, this sapphic romance was pretty fun. The beginning, from the introduction of our protagonists to the waking up after a night on the town in Vegas, was fun and engaging, and the fact that one MC ran out on the other was a nice spin. As we got closer to the dark moment, some of the reasoning the characters used didn’t totally make sense, and our MCs didn’t like to talk about their feelings at all, but it pulled together in the end.
The Romantic by Riley Hart
This new release really hits the trope perfectly, and it’s soft and sweet with a dual POV narrative in which both partners are trying to figure themselves out with the fallout from a surprise marriage. Elliott is probably demiromantic (he never completely self-identifies) and has never fallen in love or felt the urge to do so, whereas Parker has been dreaming of a sweeping romance for his whole life. They have a fantastic meet-cute, but it doesn’t initially go anywhere because of Parker’s terrible dating history, so by the time they get drunk in Vegas, they already know each other enough to know they’re interested. See also: So. Much. Praise kink!
Honey Girl by Morgan Rogers
This one really leans into the whole “this marriage is making me rethink my entire life” component of the trope. After Grace wakes up with a wedding ring on her hand and a note on her pillow, she starts pushing back against the structure she’s build around herself. In the process of finding and getting to know her wife, Grace also finds herself. Recommended for those who love lush writing and journeys of self discovery.
A Forest Between Us by Allie Winters
So, Harper thought that “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” was—a real thing? And that Vegas weddings were just a marketing schtick, but that they weren’t real. Imagine her surprise when she discovers that that wild night five years ago actually resulted in a legally binding connection with a stranger. Obviously, this requires that Harper head to a twee small town in Oregon to find her social-media-averse husband and get an annulment. Too bad the judge is busy until next week, and Harper has to stay in town—and Owen’s cabin only has one bed.
Review: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths (2015-2016)
Heat Factor: After a very sexy night in Vegas, it takes a couple episodes before they get busy again, but when they do, it gets kinky
Character Chemistry: I’m a sucker for “the grumpy jerk is secretly soft for the vulnerable sweetheart”
Plot: Will and Patrick wake up married, and they can’t just be unmarried because Will’s charitable trust is financed by his mob family who requires that the scions marry for love and forever
Overall: It’s a long ‘un, but I didn’t want to stop reading.
Dueling Review: Waking Up Married by Mira Lyn Kelly (2013) vs Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan (2021)
My initial plan for this week was to read Waking Up Married by Reese Ryan, but when I searched the title on Libby, I discovered that my library owned *two different books* by the same name. So I decided to read both of them—especially since they were both published by Harlequin.
Waking Up Married
Waking Up, Book #1
Heat Factor: Seduction, then sex
Character Chemistry: This is some grade-A playing house
Plot: Megan and Connor both want a family, so they agree to stay married in an emotionless match of convenience. You can guess how well that goes.
Overall: Liked it
Waking Up Married
The Bourbon Brothers, Book #5
Heat Factor: A smidge sexy
Character Chemistry: Best friends realize they’re also good together in the sack
Plot: Zora and Dallas agree to stay married for a year so they can make a baby together
Overall: Liked it, but a bit less than I liked the other one
Review: What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston (2013)
Second Sons, Book 1
Heat Factor: She’s a slow burn, friends
Character Chemistry: They have shockingly fantastic chemistry, and the way this was executed was superb and that’s my thesis
Plot: Georgette wakes up in Scotland smelling of brandy, unable to remember anything from the night before, and is clearly married to a handsome Scot. James is a second son, deeply invested in becoming a solicitor his town (and family) might respect, and is also suddenly unable to remember anything about the night before. The two of them have to retrace their steps to figure out what happened, save Georgette, and see if they have something worth saving together.