New Spin On Wedding Wars. Fenton and Steinke manage to craft a new, much more dramatic yet still hilarious, spin on the Wedding Wars trope, this time by introducing quite a bit of explosive drama between three of the four parents involved. Yes, the drama itself takes up more of the pages than those who prefer a less dramatic romcom will probably like, but overall it works here to elevate the trope and provide a good bit of “meat” for those who are looking for something a bit sturdier than yet another vapid romcom whose details will be forgotten seconds after finishing it. Instead, this one will challenge you without putting *too* much pressure and will show you things you might not have otherwise considered – particularly if you’re one of the not-small population that can readily identify with much of the drama herein. And yet, ultimately this is more Lifetime meets Hallmark than anything *truly* dark and foreboding – it *is*, still, at its heart, a romantic comedy. Just one with a bit more bite than usual, which helps elevate it over so many of its genre siblings. Very much recommended.
This review of Forever Hold Your Peace by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke was originally written on December 23, 2022.
What Is Reality? This is a phenomenal book that really brings forth the question: What is reality? In situations where you observe one thing but someone you trust says a completely different thing occurred – who can you trust and why? And what can happen if you trust the wrong person and/ or for the wrong reason? To me, this book worked quite well on all of these fronts.
Reading the other Goodreads reviews (briefly), it seems that there were massive edits in the ARC process. I can’t speak to that. I can tell you that I originally downloaded the book way back in August 2021 – and only finished reading it nearly a full week after publication. (Such is the sheer volume of such reading I do.) I don’t know if the back parts of the story – where apparently the subsequent editing was heaviest – were the edited versions or the original versions. What I *can* speak to is that *I* thoroughly enjoyed whichever edition of the story I read, and I thought this version did in fact work very well indeed.
But read the other reviews too. Read the book. And decide for yourself.
Very much recommended.
This review of The Younger Wife by Sally Hepworth was originally written on April 14, 2022.
Beautiful Ending. This is the finale of the Wildflower Saga, with a lot of summary of the events that took place before while also progressing other events to solid conclusions. So don’t start with this book, start with Book 1, Wildflower Heart. But then you’re going to want to reach this point anyway, and when you do… well, while fitting for the characters here it is also a short and fast read. So perfect for a beach break, a quick getaway… or a night beside the fireplace because you’ve lost power in a blizzard. 😉 Beautiful story excellently told, and while I’m a bit sad to let these characters go, Greene truly does a remarkable job sending them off. Very much recommended.
This review of Wildflower Wedding by Grace Greene was originally written on February 2, 2022.
Rampant Misandry Mars Otherwise Interesting And Compelling Debut. Up front: If you’re looking at this as a potential romance book… it isn’t that. It is more of a women’s fiction book, with an interesting take on the genre and in particular the well-travelled bridesmaid trope. My biggest problem here is the truly rampant misandry – the main character here is *constantly* being so utterly bigoted towards men, to the level that if even a female author had flipped this and done the same thing with a male character towards females, every single review would lead off with how misogynistic the character was. Which is my own standard for bigotry: ok for me, but not for thee. If you can flip the demographics from the targeted to the targetter without issue, awesome. But if you would have a problem if that happened… then there is a problem, period. But again, fun and unconventional story outside of the blatant and rampant misandry, and thus one that truly is worthy of consideration. Just, again, do NOT go into this expecting a romance. More of a train wreck, really. Just a particularly entertaining one. Recommended.
This review of Bad Luck Bridesmaid by Allison Rose Greenberg was originally written on January 12, 2022.
For this entry in the Twelve Days of Romance blog tour series, we’re looking at a grounded yet funny fake marriage romance… during a traditional Indian wedding week! For this blog tour entry, we’re looking at The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff.
Solid Second Chance Romance. This is one of those second chance / forced proximity / fake dating types of romance tales, all combined during a five day traditional Indian wedding celebration. The angst between the two leads is palpable, and their own individual motivations are solidly grounded. The Indian family interventions – and ensuing irritating (for the characters) hilarity (for the readers) hijinx – are well done, and Shroff does well to explain the various ceremonies reasonably well in-story so that those not familiar with them can follow along and not get lost in the story, yet not so much that it becomes an academic treatise on each ceremony. Overall a fun, funny, and short-ish (220 ish page) romance that gives a solid break from reality for many, and really… isn’t that most of what we expect a book to do? Very much recommended.
After the jump, an excerpt followed by the “publisher details” – book description, author bio, and social media and buy links.
Continue reading “#TwelveDaysOfRomance #BlogTour: The Five-Day Reunion by Mona Shroff”
For this blog tour we’re looking at a very Hallmark Christmas type tale that happens to be a two-for-one romance, with *two* couples’ stories told at once. For this blog tour, we’re looking at The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery.
Two-For-One Christmas Romance. This is one of those Christmas Romance novels that almost seems destined to be made into a Hallmark Christmas movie – you’ve got the quirky town, the various leads that have no interest in an actual relationship, the innkeeper, the local shop owner, the mysterious stranger, and even the unusual-yet-cool career… and *none* of them are actually looking for romance. And yet… Mallery has a lot to cover in nearly 400 pages, and does a solid job of showing the two relationships – one new, one second chance – building throughout. If you’re looking for a book where the couple is already together a quarter into the book… this isn’t that. This is one of those where they finally actually get together closer to the end (which isn’t a spoiler due to genre 😉 ), and it is indeed a satisfying conclusion. It will be interesting to see where Mallery takes Book 2 of this new series, with a couple of interesting possibilities there. Very much recommended.
After the jump, the “publisher details” including book description, author bio, social media links, and links to buy the book.
Continue reading “#FallIntoChristmasRomance #BlogTour: The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery”
Blend Of Historical And Women’s Fiction That Leaves The Room Dusty Through Its Final Quarter. This was an excellent blend of historical fiction on one end and a “current” (mid-80s) timeline women’s fiction tale on the other. Not quite an either/ or thing, but both play well with each other (and most of the historical stuff is done by the 2/3 point or so). Just be prepared for a VERY dusty read through the back quarter of the book, where Davis does an excellent job of revealing things but then letting them play out in a more natural setting and timeframe than other authors may have done. The book starts off with a lot of The Giver type vibes before becoming something so much more than that work ever intended to be – but the fact that it even feels similar to that award winning book speaks to just how well Davis crafts her story here. Very much recommended.
This review of The Keeper Of Happy Endings by Barbara Davis was originally written on August 27, 2021.
Entertaining. This is a book that is somewhat deep in a series – Book 5 – and never once shies away from that fact. It has a wide range of established characters and storylines, but Keim does a remarkable job of making sure the reader understands the relevant histories, no matter if they’ve been a long time fan or if this is your entry point to this series or even this author – as it was both for me. Indeed, it is arguable that perhaps Keim does *too much* rehashing of prior stories- more in repeating a few sentences (with variation, not copy/ paste, at least not obviously) about whatever relevant fact such as how characters met or why another character is so problematic, etc.
And yet, despite and perhaps because of all of this, this book absolutely works as a continuation of its world and as a showcase for the author’s style and tone. Those that enjoy ensemble casts with a lot of characters and a lot going on will thoroughly enjoy this book, those who prefer fewer characters… probably won’t like it as much. But the storylines all interweave remarkably well, particularly with the narration being solely driven by one character’s perspective and the primary focus being that character and her business partner and friend – who enjoy catching up in stolen moments via the titular event.
Ultimately a strong book about friendship and defending the hurting, this tale is very much recommended.
This review of Margaritas At The Beach House Hotel by Judith Keim was originally written on June 8, 2021.
Perfectly Hallmark. If you’re looking for the book version of a Hallmark Movie romance… you’ve found it. Funny yet angsty, with the classic clueless best friends and the friends that know before the best friends do. Perfectly zany ending. It aint deep, it aint earth shattering, but sometimes light and fun is … perfectly… what you need. 😉
This review of The (Not So) Perfect Day by Maggie Dallen was originally published on May 10, 2019.