Welcome to my first two for Tuesday. I’ve fallen a bit behind on my reviews, but I promise I have a ton of new books to suggest to you that will take you on an emotional roller coaster and leave you sighing in Happily Ever After (HEA) bliss. To begin, I have two books, the first and the fourth in Tule Publishing’s new Montana Born Brides Series, The Fairy Tale Bride by Scarlet Wilson, and Finally His Bride by Maisey Yates. First, let me say the covers for these books are to die for! I love everything about them–the dresses, the couples, the backdrops–they look so summery and perfect. I’m also a little jealous that they beat me to writing a series centered around one character’s impending wedding and those involved falling in love (I’m not tossing my series idea, though. There’s plenty of room for more books based on brides. Who doesn’t love a good wedding story?) Now, to the reviews!
The Fairy Tale Bride
Lisa Renee loves fairy tales and weddings–even though her own fairy tale romance ended in disaster. She indulges her love of weddings by owning her own bridal salon, and uses her love of fairytales to brighten up the days of patients at the local hospital where she volunteers. When a celebrity wedding brings a media circus and cantankerous bridesmaids to town, Lisa finds solace in her volunteer work, and may just find love with the new doctor in town…
Adam Brady loves the small town life he’s found in Marietta, Montana. He fled the big city seeking anonymnity and a hospital where he didn’t have to specialize. He’s found a circle of friends, a job he loves, and no one knows about his past. When hospital volunteer Lisa breezes into his path, it seems as if his life is finally falling into place. But the media swarming the town threaten the life he’s come to enjoy, and Lisa Renee and her shop are right at the center of it. As there attraction grows and their secrets come to light, can they let go of the past and grab on to the love they could have with each other?
I thought this was a really fun read. I just wish it was a little longer. I thought Ms. Wilson did a great job balancing the budding romance, the difficult bridal party, and both the hero and heroine’s pasts to strike the right chord with the reader, but a few parts felt rushed. It was like an amusement park rollercoaster: fun and over way to quickly.
Also like a rollercoaster, I didn’t appreciate all the elements that Ms. Wilson wove together until I reflected on it later. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, romantic beach read that showcases two people trying to outrun their past when what they really need is the right partner to help them face it head on.
B+/4* (of 5) for a fun and funny read with surprisingly sweet and sexy moments and a swoon worthy HEA
Melanie Richards has decided to stop pining for the man she can’t have and let go of the hurts of the past by losing her virginity. It’s been far too long in coming, and she sees it as the perfect way to get over her tragic past and embrace normal life. Her best friend, Luke Shuller, is already raging mad when he sees Mel in Grey’s trying to pick up a drunk cowboy. He yanks her out and takes her to his hotel to sober up. When Mel insists on going through with her cockamamie plan to lose her virginity to be normal, Luke offers to let her practice her feminine wiles on him. Being temporarily coupled up with Mel helps him with a family problem and allows him to keep Mel safe at the same time. Both soon realize that they’ve rung a bell that can’t be unrung. As the line between friends with benefits and a real relationshp begins to blur, will they be able to part as friends, or will Luke finally make Mel’s closest held dream come true and make her his bride?
I love Maisey Yates’ writing style. Her voice is at turns funny and saucy as well as heavy with weighty emotional baggage. Ms. Yates has a way with angst that most writers don’t. She neither downplays nor belabors the real emotional gravity of a story. I found both Melanie and Luke to be complex characters with emotional resonance that I truly felt invested in. I wanted their relationship to work even though they were both messed up and coming at it all wrong. Most writers can’t do both humor and angst without ending up campy or a caricature of the genre, but somehow Ms. Yates manages to strike just the right balance. The black moments are black, and the emotional work requires some heavy lifting, but the HEA is all the more satisfying for it. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a strong heroine who knows how to be vulnerable, a complex hero you want to strangle and snuggle at the same time, gratuitous use of cake, sizzling sexy times, and an HEA that is happy sigh inducing.
A+/5* for snappy dialogue, fun sexy times, more angst than an emo teen, and a hero and heroine who are all jacked up and just right at the same time.