Monday, June 10, 2019

Melinda's Mini Reviews for June

Melinda has a few mini reviews for you today, from 3 to 4 Stars.

The Key to Happily Ever After by Tif Marcelo
Publisher: Gallery Books (May 14, 2019)
Genre: Contemporary / WF

A charming romantic comedy about three sisters who are struggling to keep the family wedding planning business afloat—all the while trying to write their own happily-ever-afters in the process. 

All’s fair in love and business.

The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.

But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.

Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood.

Where to Buy*:
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Melinda's Review:

This was a cute book but not one that I loved. However, I realized after the fact the fault actually lies with my expectations. I didn’t realize that this was classified as Women’s Fiction and not technically romance. I didn’t even realize this until I listened to the author’s interview on a podcast and I though holy crap that makes SO MUCH SENSE and the entire book came together for me.

So, if you go into the book with WF expectations I think you may like this book more. 3 sisters own a legacy wedding planning business together, which as a set-up I loved. Where I didn’t love it is how the book doesn’t really choose one sister to follow throughout the book, the reader goes from one to the other. And where in a romance the obvious expectation would be a trilogy, this one chose to have 2 out of 3 sisters get an HEA. The parts I loved were the family dynamics and the Filipino cultural heritage – those aspects shined brightly. I wished that the book either leaned into the family dynamics and explored that more or leaned into the romance and explored that more – although we all know where my real preference lies lol.

3 Stars

One Bed for Christmas by Jackie Lau
Publisher: Jackie Lau Books (December 18, 2018)
Series: Baldwin Village, 0.5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Let me be clear: I’ve been friends with Caitlin Ng for more than a decade, and I’ve had a crush on her for just as long. And I’ve known, all that time, that I wasn’t her type.

When we met, we were both studying computer engineering at university. She was near the top of the class, and I was in danger of flunking out. Now, she’s a CEO, and I, well…

I’m wearing an inflatable T-Rex costume and dancing along to Christmas carols sung by an elderly barbershop quartet.

Yes, I’m being paid to do this.

And that’s how Caitlin finds me when she leaves work late in the middle of a snowstorm. She asks to stay with me because her house is farther away and her power is out. Of course, I say yes.

When the heat goes out in my apartment and she asks me to join her in bed to snuggle for warmth, I say yes, too.

But being so close to her is dangerous for my heart…or could a weekend of Christmas fun actually lead to the romance I desire?

Where to Buy*:
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Melinda's Review:

If anyone ever says people don’t read holiday books off-season, I’m here to disagree! This is a starter novella for Jackie Lau’s Baldwin Village series and it was a delightful way to kick off a series. I immediately loved Wes – how could anyone not love a guy who wears an inflatable T-rex costume and sings for a living?

The one bed trope was used delightfully here and I just about cackled out loud when I got to that part because it made me so happy. It’s in the title but…in contemporary settings it seems like it can be a challenge to set that up. I won’t spoil it but I thought it was super well executed. My other favorite part was how awkward and horrified Wes was when Caitlin asked him for help with casually hooking up with guys.


Devil’s Daughter by Lisa Kleypas
Publisher: Avon (February 19, 2019)
Series: The Ravenels, 5
Genre: Historical Romance

New York Times bestselling author Lisa Kleypas delivers a scintillating tale of a beautiful, young widow who finds passion with the one man she shouldn't...

Although beautiful young widow Phoebe, Lady Clare, has never met West Ravenel, she knows one thing for certain: he's a mean, rotten bully. Back in boarding school, he made her late husband's life a misery, and she'll never forgive him for it. But when Phoebe attends a family wedding, she encounters a dashing and impossibly charming stranger who sends a fire-and-ice jolt of attraction through her. And then he introduces none other than West Ravenel.

West is a man with a tarnished past. No apologies, no excuses. However, from the moment he meets Phoebe, West is consumed by irresistible desire...not to mention the bitter awareness that a woman like her is far out of his reach. What West doesn't bargain on is that Phoebe is no straitlaced aristocratic lady. She's the daughter of a strong-willed wallflower who long ago eloped with Sebastian, Lord St. Vincent—the most devilishly wicked rake in England.

Before long, Phoebe sets out to seduce the man who has awakened her fiery nature and shown her unimaginable pleasure. Will their overwhelming passion be enough to overcome the obstacles of the past?

Only the devil's daughter knows...

Where to Buy*:
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Melinda's Review:

I have a lot of feelings about this one because I know everyone raved about this book but I had some issues. This was a long awaited book as it’s another Ravenels book, featuring West this time, but paired with Lord St. Vincent’s daughter Pheobe.  I was all in to the first half or so – which was probably because of the adorable cat. I’m easily swayed by cute animals, I can’t help it, I loved Galoshes.

Then the second half of the book happened and I got pretty pissy really quickly. I’m sick of first marriages being brushed aside so easily in romances – why can’t they be acknowledged as good and valid? Henry was a decent man and then BAM there was a huge (at least IMO) reveal about 3/4 of the way through that tarnishes everything we know about his character. And then all of a sudden the book is just over. While I do love an epilogue, that’s not even my issue, the ending was so sudden that I felt like I had no actual conclusion, it just was kind of…over. Re-visiting my feelings about the book makes me realize I disliked it even more than I thought!


Thanks for the reviews, Melinda! 


Until Next Time,

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