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***First and foremost, can I just admit that the Katy Perry song played in my head for most of this book, and every time I see the title? I know I can’t be the only one to make that connection. There’s even glitter involved, though not exactly on clothes. If you are as susceptible to getting a song stuck in your head for days as I am, be prepared to spend a lot of time with Katy Perry. I realize this has next to nothing to do with the book, but I just had to say it.***

In Waking up in Vegas, cocktail waitress Phoenix Montgomery wakes up from a night she can’t remember covered in glitter with a large signet ring on her finger. More alarming than the glitter is the man who steps out of the bathroom claiming to be her husband. While Max Waldburg is gorgeous, commitment phobic Phoenix can’t believe she married any man. Max can’t believe the woman he fell in love with claims not to remember falling in love with him. There hasn’t been a divorce in his family for over 300 years, and he is determined not to let the love of his life go without a fight. Yet family commitments cause Max to leave the country, and Phoenix bolts instead of waiting for him to come back. She’s seen what love has done to people and she doesn’t wan to be in love. She doesn’t know what possessed her to marry him, but she is intent on divorcing him. Once he finds her, can Max convince Phoenix that love is worth taking the chance?

Using my romance novel review rubric, this is how Waking Up in Vegas Fared:

 

1. Main characters I care about. I loved Max. It was interesting to see a romance novel in which the male protagonist is the one deeply in love in the beginning and it’s the woman that needs to be convinced. I liked how Max was multi-dimensional. Even though he wanted to live his own life and be his own person, he also wouldn’t shirk his responsibilities to his family and his country. His belief in love and happily ever after made him every woman’s dream. Phoenix, on the other hand, made me want to strangle her at times. The author did a good job of showing the reader where Phoenix’s anxiety comes from, but I didn’t feel as sympathetic towards her as I should have in the first half of the book.

2. A believable impediment to them being together. There were a couple of impediments used in this book to keep them from being together. The first was Phoenix’s loss of memory. Since she is such a commitment-phobe, Phoenix can’t believe that she would fall in love and marry Max after knowing him for a day. Without being able to remember what happened between them, she has no reason to believe she married Max for love, and she is ready to run. While Max is trying to help his new bride rediscover their love for each other, a family commitment he never thought he would have to fulfill crops up. I have to be honest; I thought the allergy to champagne causing her amnesia was a little contrived. I think her memory loss worked well for the story, but from champagne? A bump to the head is too cliché, but it would have made more sense to me.

3. Unique ways of throwing the main characters together. The book didn’t do this as well as other in the genre have done it, not because it is a bad book, but because the pull between these two characters doesn’t require much help keeping them together. When Phoenix “flees” to Max’s native country, thinking he is dealing with a family emergency in California, you know they are going to find each other. What is unique is what it turns out Max is dealing with back home.

4. A sweet reveal of their true feelings for one another. This book gave a good payoff in this area. All of the built up frustration I had with Phoenix refusing to give in and just admit she loved Max was rewarded with a very public declaration of feelings in front of thousands of people. Max’s unwavering love for Phoenix, even in the face of his tendency to bail on him, made you want this for him, and I was happy that her love was declared in such a public way.

5. Make me feel as if I haven’t missed out on the best part of the journey. I don’t fee like I missed out on the best part of their journey. Phoenix appears to be stable in her feelings for Max. Max appears to be settling well into his new responsibilities. Most of all, the reader gets to experience a country where people still believe in fairytales, love, and happily ever after.

Overall, I liked the story. While I loved Max from the beginning, it took me a while to warm up to Phoenix. I loved the supporting characters and the two main settings of the book. While I felt like the champagne amnesia was a little forced, and Max’s need to return to his native country came out of nowhere, these things didn’t dampen my enjoyment of the story. Max’s love for Phoenix and commitment to making her fall in love with him again is what makes the story “aww” worthy. This story has the feel of a fairytale, from the lure of the bright lights in Vegas, to a small country that believes in the power of love to change things.

Waking Up in Vegas: ***/****; B For characterization of Max, a plot twist with Max I didn’t see coming, and an “aww” worthy declaration of love. Points deducted for champagne amnesia and Phoenix’s reluctance to love being a little drawn out.

XOXO (and happy reading!),

Erica