A February Bride. Betsy St. Amant. 2014. 80 pages. Zondervan. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] A February Bride is a fast, fun read that tugs at the heart-strings. Allie is a runner, at least, she ran from her groom-t0-be on their wedding day. It wasn’t that she didn’t love Marcus, it’s that she didn’t want to ruin his life. After all, wearing the hand-me-down wedding dress that followed your mother and grandmother through countless failed marriages doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in commitment.
Madly. Ruthie Knox. 2017. 273 pages. Loveswept. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Ruthie Knox has, once again, created a story that snatched me in from the beginning. What’s not intriguing about a young woman jetting off to find and drag her mom back to Wisconsin from New York when she’s disappeared … yet again? The story then follows Allie’s nuanced relationships with her family and the new relationship with Winston, whom she runs into in a bar while spying on her mother. The budding relationship, while significant, actually doesn’t overpower the overarching story about Allie’s search for her mother. There is a great deal of connections between Winston and Allie, which serve to push the story forward in exciting ways. I never completely knew what was going to happen next, and found I was often skeptical when the characters seemed to be certain of what was going on around them.
Bossed. Sloane Howell. 2017. 203 pages. LoveSwept. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Bossed is a romance centered around strong-willed Jenny and her eventual and equally-stubborn boss Ethan. Their first meeting is predictably antagonistic, a quality that carries throughout the book. Ethan runs a tight ship at his sports management agency, and Jenny is a constant foil that he can’t resist. Their sexual attraction is, of course, instant and provides a driving force for the book. Although the plot is pretty interesting and certainly keeps one reading, the nuances of the story and characters left me skeptical and struck me as unrealistic. The power struggle between Ethan and Jenny is realistic; his reaction to her challenging his authority in the workplace is completely contradictory and frankly, unbelievable.
Tailored for Trouble. Mimi Jean Pamfiloff. 2016. 368 pages. Ballantine Books. [Source; ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] Bennett Wade is a man you love to hate. At least, you would if you could bring yourself to fully dislike him. Like Rhet Butler, he’s a man used to getting what he wants when he wants it. He’s definitely a control freak without a filter who runs roughshod over those around him. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly endearing about him. Like how much he dotes over and indulges his mother, or how generous he was to his assistant Candy. Taylor Reed, however, has the fortitude to dislike Wade. His rudeness (and her temper) cost her a job, and now he has the nerve to seek out her executive coaching. All she wants is to move on with her life, start her company, and share her insights with CEOs who lack the skills they need to really shine in their roles. When Bennett says he needs her help, Taylor’s approach is to accept, and destroy him while she’s at it.
To Have and To Hold. Lauren Layne. 2016. 385 pages. Pocket Books. [Source: ARC provided courtesy of NetGalley.] This book has all the makings of a great story – an overprotective brother who doesn’t trust the naiveté of his sister or, more aptly, her new fiancé, a wedding planner with a failed almost-marriage, and the bright, twinkling lights of New York City. I was completely intrigued by the story and couldn’t put it down, but found myself wanting more from its characters. If I could give this 3.5 stars, I would; To Have and to Hold is a good book, but it doesn’t stand up as well to Lauren Layne’s other works. Brooke Baldwin was one of LA’s premier wedding planners, until she found out her fiancé was a con man. The most important wedding of her career was a spectacle for all the wrong reasons: instead of her walking down the altar to start a life with him, the FBI dragged him down the altar to a jail cell. She ran to New York City to get away from the spotlight and quietly rebuild her career. When she’s picked up as a planner for Wedding Belle’s, one of the city’s…