Title: Dark Wild Night
Author: Christina Lauren
Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW!!

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.
But what didn't happen in Vegas seems to follow them everywhere.
Lola and Oliver like to congratulate themselves on having the good sense to not consummate their drunken Las Vegas wedding. If they’d doubled-down on that mistake, their Just Friends situation might not be half as great as it is now.
... Or so goes the official line.
In reality, Lola’s wanted Oliver since day one—and over time has only fallen harder for his sexy Aussie accent and easygoing ability to take her as she comes. More at home in her studio than in baring herself to people, Lola’s instinctive comfort around Oliver nearly seems too good to be true. So why ruin a good thing?
Even as geek girls fawn over him, Oliver can’t get his mind off what he didn’t do with Lola when he had the chance. He knows what he wants with her now ... and it’s far outside the friend zone. When Lola’s graphic novel starts getting national acclaim—and is then fast-tracked for a major motion picture—Oliver steps up to be there for her whenever she needs him. After all, she’s not the kind of girl who likes all that attention, but maybe she’s the kind who’ll eventually like him.
Sometimes seeing what’s right in front of us takes a great leap of faith. And sometimes a dark wild night in Vegas isn’t just the end of a day, but the beginning of a bright new life...
"Chaos fades behind them, promising that, no matter what story opens these pages, there is triumph inside."

Dark Wild Night is a messy story. It's a roller coaster. It's intense and decadent, but there's an honesty within these pages that is often absent in romantic fiction. This story felt so real and raw and gritty and different in a way I didn't expect. I'm not sure why I'm so surprised. Christina Lauren consistently changes things up, goes outside the box, delivers something new and refreshing each and every time. And yet I was. This story took the road less traveled. Christina Lauren went above and beyond with this book in a very understated, unconventional manner, in a way I can't exactly explain. I just felt it. Everything about Dark Wild Night went against the grain, yet felt so true and necessary and right.

Oliver and Lola compliment each other perfectly, with their mutual love and adoration for comic books, superheroes, graphic novels and their profound friendship. They diverted from the path their mutual friends took after the night they all paired up and married in Vegas. Unlike Mia and Ansel and Harlow and Finn, who turned that one night of debauchery into lasting love, Oliver and Lola left that night in the past. Both resigned to the fact that any brief connection they thought they'd felt was one-sided, they evolve into a solid platonic friendship. Or so they say. The most delicious aspect of this book is the build, the snowballing sexual tension, that tangible anticipation of things coming to a head, and the knowledge that when they do, it's going to be epic. Lola and Oliver spark and blaze all on their own. Individually they are each utterly magnetic. I just knew once they came together, it would be a fire the likes of which I've never experienced as a reader. I was not wrong.

This is a true blue friends to lovers romance. Christina Lauren masterfully fleshed out an authentic friendship between Oliver and Lola, emphasizing those concrete boundary lines that have been set in place for months, ensuring the reader feels every ounce of the magnitude of what it means to cross them. The awkwardness of exploring a romance with someone who, just yesterday, was staunchly in the friend zone. The anxiety over knowing there's no going backward if this doesn't work. The reality that there is a group of interconnected friends who'll all reap the consequences if the exploration into romance tanks. The painful truth of all that would be loss if this fails. Christina Lauren gives everything to the reader in this book, the desperation, the infatuation, the love and the friendship that exists between these characters. The relief and triumph and joy over finally getting what they've longed for for so long, juxtaposed with the disbelief that it's actually happening and the fear of losing it all. Every single page is emotionally charged, gripping and all consuming. I felt so much, I longed and hoped and hurt and struggled right along with these characters and I loved every moment of it.

There's so much happening in this story. The romance aside, Lola is drowning in the newness of her career, her graphic novel being adapted into film. Her stress, her anxiety, her loss of control... all of it felt suffocating, like I was holding my breath for her. It's such a real, believable, authentic response she has, wanting so badly to just immerse herself in this new dynamic with Oliver, get lost in it, but at the same time trying to tread water and stay afloat amidst deadlines and interviews and meetings. Christina Lauren perfectly captured, what I can only imagine, is the very real feeling of creating something you put your heart and soul into, cultivating and crafting this story, and then turning it over to other people who pick it apart into what suits them and their vision. It was painful to see Lola's story essentially taken away from her and changed. I imagine that's what all authors go through when their stories are turned into movies or series, or even turning over a manuscript to an editor, and it made me anxious for them. Every single page of this book makes you feel something, the good and the bad, the lust, the joy, the dread, the anxiety. It's perfectly taxing on the reader and it took me on a ride that was so far from smooth and traditional and expected.

Holy hell, this story is steamy. I mean, melt your panties off H.O.T. The intensity of the sexual attraction between Lola and Oliver is off the charts and it exists because of the gravity of their feelings. Sex is just sex without the emotional connection between these characters making it more, and in this case it's so much more. The honest to God friendship that becomes honest to God love makes every kiss, every look, ever touch, every steamy, sultry moment between the sheets (or the shower... or the table... whatever) seem monumental. Huge. It's everything. It's perfect.

I felt gutted after reading Dark Wild Night. Like I'd just been put through the wringer and I'm still trying to find my footing. As a reader, I have such an appreciation for an intense, believable journey of flawed characters where everything isn't easy and perfect and wrapped up neatly with a bow. This book was exquisitely plotted out, the timing and pacing, the authenticity of the reactions of broken characters in difficult situations, the humor and sensuality and fluidity, all of it culminates to make Dark Wild Night a perfectly imperfect unforgettable friends to lovers romance that knocked me off my feet.

Jessica's Rating:


  1. Great review! You've beautifully articulated the jumbled mess I felt after finishing Dark Wild Night