* * * 3/4
Millie Morris has always been one of the guys. A UC Santa Barbara professor, she’s a female-serial-killer expert who’s quick with a deflection joke and terrible at getting personal. And she, just like her four best guy friends and fellow professors, is perma-single.
So when a routine university function turns into a black tie gala, Mille and her circle make a pact that they’ll join an online dating service to find plus-ones for the event. There’s only one hitch: after making the pact, Millie and one of the guys, Reid Campbell, secretly spend the sexiest half-night of their lives together, but mutually decide the friendship would be better off strictly platonic.
But online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. While the guys are inundated with quality matches and potential dates, Millie’s first profile attempt garners nothing but dick pics and creepers. Enter “Catherine”—Millie’s fictional profile persona, in whose make-believe shoes she can be more vulnerable than she’s ever been in person. Soon “Catherine” and Reid strike up a digital pen-pal-ship...but Millie can’t resist temptation in real life, either. Soon, Millie will have to face her worst fear—intimacy—or risk losing her best friend, forever.
Source: advance e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review
Christina Lauren (the writing duo of Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings) may have been around awhile but it's only been this year that I finally started reading their books. They bring a fun, sexy edge to their writing that creates many great conversations amongst their characters which is something that gets me.
My Favorite Half-Night Stand features a close-knit group of friends who are university professors, geeky but lovable to their core. They've all had their fair share of relationships and heartbreaks and this group seems to be their salvation. Their sanity. That is until they decide they must all find dates to an important event. They agree to set up online dating profiles to snag a date. Millie is highly skeptical of this in the first place and this is compounded by the fact that she's developed an attraction for one of the guys in this group, Reid. They do the deed one night and instead of all hell breaking loose, things are a wee bit awkward before going back to somewhat normal. Still, Millie hasn't stopped her feelings for Reid. In the meantime, the pursuit of a date through the dating app continues but then takes a twisted turn when Millie, who's dissatisfied with her initial pairing, decides to set up a second profile under her other name, Catherine, and winds up getting paired with Reid. It would be great BUT he doesn't know it's her. Catherine and Reid hit it off and things just get more complicated between them. Millie done messed up.
At first I really liked My Favorite Half-Night Stand. I liked the idea of this tight circle of friends and the fact that even as adults in their thirties they didn't have their shizz quite figured out. The comedic banter and ridiculous mishaps are always a win for me. But after I let the entire story sink in, the questionable stuff that transpires between Millie and Reid stood out.
Millie tends to be closed off. She's not good with emotions and looks to be not so great with empathy. So while she's close with the guys she hasn't really shown them her real self. The only time she's been able to come close to this is when she's speaking to Reid through her second online profile and sharing details she'd otherwise be unable to talk to him about in person. Now while the things she shares with him are true she's still doing it under the guise of someone else and Reid is falling for this someone else. Ladies and gentleman, Millie has catfished her best friend and sometimes lover. The fact that she feels safer talking about herself as Catherine should ring several bells and perhaps a mega siren in her head. Instead, she goes so far as to justify it because she's telling him the truth in their conversations. And she kind of passes the buck because she's expecting him to figure it out by dropping hints. This sadly eats away at the delightful parts of the story.
I know I revealed quite a bit in this review but I also suspect that some readers might be sensitive to the catfishing plot. It's an invasion of privacy and trust, for sure, so I circle back to my earlier point about adults not having it together, especially ones who tend to run away from their problems and hide behind a facade of everything is good when they're clearly not. As irritated as I was with Millie's actions, I was, for some inexplicable reason, accepting of her character flaws and waited for her to wake up and grow up. I'm quite sure I wouldn't have been quite as forgiving had there not been a fallout that forced things to come to a head. I still enjoyed the book overall because I wanted the resolution and the forgiveness and the happily ever after, and Christina Lauren delivered on that.