3 Stars / Contemporary / Review

Review: Ex’s and Oh’s by Hazel Parker

The best man is actually the worst.
My best friend is getting married, and I’d be remiss as the maid of honor and a successful event planner if I didn’t make sure she has the best wedding ever. My biggest hurdle?
The best man.
He’s my worst nightmare all wrapped up in a suit—an old ex’s best friend and an arrogant playboy who thinks he’s God’s gift to womankind.
The problem is, he’s not entirely wrong. As a professional football player, he has plenty of experience getting women. He’s sexy, flirty, and charming—when he wants to be. And also aggravating and irritating and in my business far too much of the time.
Our attraction is—unfortunately—undeniable. I know giving into him is a bad idea, but he convinces me anyway. Just once, to get it out of our systems. Except when we end up stranded together on a remote island, once might not be enough…
And maybe he’s not the worst man after all.

Title:Ex’s and Oh’s (why the apostrophes?)
Author:Hazel Parker
Category / Genre(s):Contemporary
Trope(s):Enemies to Lovers
Point of View:First Person, Present Tense, Dual Viewpoint (H & h)
Location:Hawaii, USA
Release Date:18th February, 2022
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Just didn’t hit the mark

3 stars

This is my first book by Hazel Parker and, as far as I can figure, the first book in a new series. It stands completely alone and Jenna and Brett get their HEA at the end.

The premise of this book sounded so cute – I just couldn’t resist. And add to that fact that we learn very early on that Brett has harboured a little crush on Jenna for years. Enemies to lovers plus unrequited love? Sign me up! Sadly – this book just didn’t deliver it for me.

Jenna was a nice enough character – I didn’t have any complaints about her. Well, except her long held animosity towards Brett – who she blamed for breaking up her relationship with the love of her life…when she was 18. This was 10 years later and she was still hung up on it. It was…strange. But fear not, her monumental hatred for Brett disappeared within 5 minutes of them reuniting and suddenly they’re heading back to their hotel to get it on. Suddenly Jenna is making the realisation that she likes – nay loves – Brett and I was a little perplexed as to why. Not because he didn’t deserve love, but they’d spent little time together and hadn’t had any interactions of any depth. I didn’t believe it, frankly.

And so to Brett. It was like the author couldn’t really decide whether Brett was someone who didn’t believe in love and commitment, or someone who secretly pined for his best friend’s girlfriend for over a decade. But man, did we get told again and again that Brett was a manwhore. Okay, we get it, already. And even when he was supposedly changing and falling for Jenna, he’d then get ‘giddy’ about the strippers and the night to come. He was something of the poster boy for STDs and I just couldn’t take to him.

No seriously – someone please explain those apostrophes!

There was plenty of sex between Jenna and Brett and I’m sure it was hot, but because I didn’t feel any depth or connection between our characters, it all fell a bit flat. And the ‘stranded on an island’ ended up being 3 hours long and hardly worth a mention in the blurb except for the sex in the rocky cave. More ouch than oh, baby!

There was just a massive disconnect for me with this book. It actually felt more like a proposal for a book and could really have done with someone scoring out great chunks of it and telling the author to show that the couple have depth, emotions and real feelings. It also failed as it relied on plot points that just were not plausible. Jenna, the wedding planner and maid of honour, would definitely have known who was in the groom’s party. To be honest, she was shockingly incompetent as a planner and that just irritated me for some reason. And don’t get me started on the wholly unlikely plot point thrown in at the end.

I feel I have been very harsh in my review of this book but I think I’m more disappointed as it could have been so good. The writing was very good and certainly at the beginning, I was involved in the book and continued to eagerly pick it up to keep on reading. Even as I started feeling less enthusiastic about the book, it certainly wasn’t a chore to pick it up and read. The main thing wrong with the book was that it tried to do too much and that left us without the depth that was needed to believe in the love story of Jenna and Brett. A shame really, but only 3 stars from me.

3 stars

* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *

Hazel Parker has been writing romance for almost a decade after an extended ongoing love affair with the genre since her teens. 

Most days you will find her in her office with a hot cup of coffee doing what she loves most: concocting ultra-sexy, juicy romances for her fans.

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