So here's the thing, I loved how this book started off. My face was a mask of horror and laughter at the beginning. I loved Carlos and Nik. The biggest thing for me was the pacing which is why I didn't give this more than four stars. I think things moved way too fast. Maybe if we had everything unfold over three months I could see it, but this was in essence all done and dusted I think in about four weeks. Also I wanted an epilogue like how we got with "The Wedding Date." The ending was a little too abrupt for me. Guillory hits all of the romance boxes though, loved all of the secondary characters, and she manages to make you want to move to LA. We get appearances from Drew and Alexa (yes!) and the third book better showcase their wedding. Or I want a novella showcasing their wedding! Seriously!
"The Proposal" has Nikole Paterson (Nik) at a Dodgers game with her boyfriend of five months Fisher. We get insight into how Nik sees Fisher (just someone to pass the time with) and is horrified when she realizes that he put up a proposal to her on the Jumbotron (spelling her name wrong) and is one knee in front of her asking her to marry him. Did I mention this is in front of hundreds of strangers and Fisher's friends? Yeah. Poor Nik. At that point I was firmly on her side. When Nik rightfully says no (seriously I would have dumped beer on his man-bun) Fisher calls her names and she is left alone with hundreds of people staring at her. She's also getting tweets, text messages, and emails, and just like that, Nik goes viral.
When Carlos and his sister Angela who are also at the game realize that Nik is about to get ambushed by a television crew, they pretend to be long last friends and haul her out of there. And just like that, wet get our meet-cute. Also don't get mad at me, this is the book's synopsis.
From there though I really liked what Guillory does. We have Nik who is stunned and horrified calling her ride or die friends to meet at their favorite bar. She invites Carlos and Angela to thank them and though Nik isn't looking for someone new, her two besties encourage her to have a rebound with Carlos.
Carlos who is attracted to Nik has enough sense to start hitting on her after what she has been through, but likes texting her. Soon enough they are talking all the time and then we get some sparks!
I liked the character of Nik. She's African American and I liked that a few times Carlos steps in it (she lets it go) with him not thinking she really knows about LA and good Mexican food. I think he's deceived she's bougie due to her dating a white guy with a man bun (we all make mistakes).
I think her being a freelance writer was interesting, but I really wanted to hear more about how she is able to pitch stories and get paid. Based on some of the black female writers I follow on Twitter, being freelance sounds hard as hell and you often deal with people stealing you stories/articles and not properly crediting you.
I also thought at times, it was weird how very little Nik's parents are involved in her life. We also know Nik has two parents, but they don't even call her to discuss her viral moment. I would have had my aunt calling me in two seconds because my cousins can't help but run their mouths.
I also liked Nik's vulnerability about her writing due to her boyfriend from before being a jerk about it and constantly putting her down about it. I think Guillory taps into something about being an African American woman and not confident in yourself because you are constantly being told by society how you are not good enough. When we get to her and Carlos's first love scene and she is overwhelmed by how he is worshiping her body in essence made my toes tingle. Nik has messed up beliefs about relationships and love, so she is happy to just be friends who has sex with Carlos.
Carlos is a whole lot of complicated. He seemed like a know it all in the first book. In this one, he is a little uncertain and is doing his best to be there for his mother, sister, cousin, and aunt after the unexpected death of his father. Carlos feels like his family must be number one at all times, so he is not looking to date. He ends up becoming friends with Nik and starts seeking her out to just talk to and cook for when he's had a bad day.
I liked how Nik gets Carlos to open up about his dad and pushes for him to throw his family a bone and go to the doctor to get a check-up.
The cooking scenes were sweet to me and I loved how much pleasure he got out of giving Nik food and her appreciation of it made him want to do it more and more.
I also loved Nik meeting Drew and Alexa and both women going later, how could those two nit-wits not tell us the other women was African American. I know that some people who are not black won't get it, but that's always a question I am probing for when I ask friends who is going to be at this party, event, etc. I am still shaking my head at being the only black person at my friend's wedding two years ago. Somehow the photographer still managed to not get me in a single picture. Side-eye.
The secondary characters are great, and I loved seeing Drew and Alexa again.
The writing was really good and I have to say that I liked how Guillory works in how women are harassed on social media into why Nik decides to go out and take a women's self defense course with her two friends, Dara and Courtney.
The flow was good, but the pacing was off for me while reading this. As I said above, the book takes place I think over a four week period. I wish that Guillory had broken it into a 2-3 month period. It would have made more sense.
The setting of the book is LA and Guillory has given us a LA that sounds genuinely fun to live in (cupcake shops, favorite bars, and taquerias oh my!).
The ending as I said above was a bit abrupt. This is a romance book though, so there is going to be a happy ending.
ETA: I didn't realize this would fit a book task! Yes!
Kwanzaa (December 26 - January 1): Read a book set in Africa or the Caribbean OR by an African, Caribbean, or African-American author OR a book with a green, red, or black cover.