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For today’s Thirsty Thursday, I am reviewing Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Party paired with an original seltzer cocktail, the Corona(seltzer)-rita. I’m really excited for this one!! (I’m also writing this one after sampling twelve spiked seltzers, so I’m in the real spirit of Thirsty Thursday).
Plus, I just realized the excellent double entendre! I’m reviewing a romance novel and a cocktail. THIRSTY 💦!
The Wedding Party Jasmine Guillory
Today, I will be reviewing Jasmine Guillory’s The Wedding Party, the third in the Wedding Date series. (Yes, you should read them all, start with The Wedding Date then move on to The Proposal). They are light, fun, sexy romances with a very diverse cast of characters. I love this series so much I’ve added the books to my Favorite Books by Black Women Authors post!
One of the things I appreciate so much about Jasmine Guillory’s characters is how professionally successful they all are. It’s refreshing to see educated, successful people (especially women!) in romance novels (and realistically, not just a random hot lawyer or random sexy billionaire CEO). Her characters take pride in their professions and don’t sacrifice their jobs for love, which is so rare in the romance world (ahem…🤮 Hallmark Channel). Plus, most of her characters are POC!
The Wedding Party is an enemies-to-lovers romance featuring two amazing (but very different) protagonists. Maddie, a free-wheeling, messy, and fun black woman, is a successful professional style consultant, while Theo, a serious, work-a-holic, hyperorganized black man, makes a fierce spreadsheet as a staff member in the Berkeley mayor’s office (among other things). They also happen to share the same BFF — Alexa.
Their romance begins with Alexa’s wedding party, where they are forced to interact as bridesmaid and bridesman. Until, oops, they kiss and fall head over heels for each other (to their shared chagrin). Not able to deny their attraction for each other, they start a clandestine relationship EWB (Enemies with Benefits) with four major rules:
Simple? NO! Sparks fly EVERYWHERE, and when sparks fly things (or people) get burnt. So we have these two polar opposites who are in just complete denial about how much they are falling for each other.
Meanwhile in the background Alexa has a sneaking suspicion about her BFFs’ secret and starts manufacturing scenarios to test her theory, which brings us to our cocktail 🍹.
One day Alexa and Maddie are chilling in the backyard in their bikinis, eating chips & salsa and drinking fizzy water(!). Then they blasphemously said they would rather be drinking margaritas. And I was like 😲. I like a margarita as much as the next person, but to spurn the good name of fizzy water is an abomination. But Alexa clarifies that she is actually down to just those two cans of fizzy waters — a small redemption arc.
So, of course, Alexa, wanting both margaritas and to get Theo and Maddie in the same room, calls up Theo. I mean it IS a margarita emergency (and seriously, a seltzer emergency!). And it’s Theo to the rescue. He brings limes; he brings tequila; he probably brings contrieau. He even brings ingredients for guacamole. AND he brings an ice cold bucket of grapefruit sparkling waters. I love Theo 💖!
Margaritas are made; seltzers are consumed; pizza (with roasted garlic) is ordered; and, of course, Maddie and Theo sneak off to a corner when they think Alexa isn’t looking.
So I thought it would be fun to prove that it’s doesn’t have to be either/or between margaritas and seltzers. The following is my recipe for a Theo-inspired Handmade Margarita featuring a Maddie-approved Corona Lime Spiked Seltzer (and make it frozen because I’m Texan) — I’m calling it a Corona(seltzer)-rita.
***When I made it, I accidentally left out the simple syrup. I do not suggest this at all. Even so, it was good and refreshing (just in small, puckered sips). I strongly suggest a bit of simple syrup or agave to sweeten it up.***
I enjoyed my huge Corona(seltzer)-rita hanging out with my mom and sister out by the pool. It’s the perfect summer cocktail, especially for the Texas heat! The Corona Tropical Lime seltzer has a distinctly Corona flavor (I don’t know how they do it), so the Corona(seltzer)-rita still has that Coronarita taste but just lighter and fresher. I think it would be Maddie and Alexa approved (though I think Theo would BALK at this creation).
I don’t want to spoil the rest of the book, but I’ll just say it is so fun. (Though warning, it starts off REAL sexy 😳). Both characters are fantastically imperfect and flawed and so relatable. Plus, there is real character development. Both Theo and Maddie grow so much as people as they explore their relationship.
I’m so excited to read more by Jasmine Guillory. I’ve already downloaded the next book in this series (Royal Holiday) and will be reading it soon!
If this sounds like a book you would enjoy, you can find it on Amazon here or on my Bookshop. And definitely make yourself a Corona(seltzer)-rita (or get your hot nerdy enemy-turned-lover to do it for you!)
I love reading black women contemporary romance authors! Let me know your favorite black-authored contemporary romance books on social media or in the comments below!