Reviews

To Have and to Hold – Lauren Layne

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USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true… but their own.

Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin’s business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya’s fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning… is theirs?

Goodreads

My Rating: 4 Stars

Literary whiplash, a new phrase I’d like to coin, refers to the mental blow a reader suffers when main characters change opinions rapidly and with too much frequency. Not only have I invented this genius phrase (you’re welcome, world), I consider myself its first victim.

When I stumbled across Lauren Layne’s “Sex, Love, and Stilettos” series, I fell in love with it immediately. It was the perfect example of a series with an incredible group dynamic, sweet love stories, witty banter, and above all smokin’ hot sex scenes. While I’m happy to report that her new series “The Wedding Belles” delivers on all four, “To Have and to Hold” fell just a tiny bit shy of the mark for me. Before my fellow Lauren Layne fans grab their pitchforks, let me explain my reasoning.

“The Wedding Belles” series has an adorable premise – a group of romantically challenged wedding planners meet their perfect matches one by one. I loved that Brooke, the newest member of the wedding planning company, is the narrator of the first book. It allows the reader to get an outsider’s view of the company and each of the Belles. Brooke, an optimistic, quick witted, all American girl, is an immediately likable narrator. Her backstory is certainly intriguing and her constantly positive attitude is refreshing. Unfortunately,  the poor woman just couldn’t make up her mind. Although she was attracted to Seth within seconds of meeting him, she immediately decided that nothing could happen because he was her client’s older brother (I mean come on, its not like he was the groom). When Seth finally kissed her, she was onboard and then changed her mind again within seconds. Then, when her boss gave her the go-ahead, she was back on the Seth train, until she wasn’t…again. I think you see where this was going. Literary whiplash, indeed.

Seth was, fortunately, Brooke’s opposite in terms of decisiveness. Once he made up his mind, he was 110% sure of his decision. His control freak issues aside, he was a fantastic book boyfriend. He came off icy and unflappable, but was actually shy and vulnerable. Also, despite his calm and quiet demeanor, Seth also turned out to be quite the dirty talker, a welcome twist that definitely took me by surprise.

In a book already packed to the brim with romance, Layne beautifully slipped in one more adorable couple. I can’t say much without posting spoilers, but the secondary characters were all great in “To Have and to Hold”, in particular Maya, who I hope to be like when I plan my own wedding. With the next two books already released, I can’t wait to dive into “For Better or Worse”, the next book in “The Wedding Belles” series.

My Takeaway: Lauren Layne has returned, debuting another series that I look forward to devouring. While “To Have and to Hold” was a great start to “The Wedding Belles” series, I struggled with the female lead’s indecisiveness. Hopefully the next Belle is a bit more sure of what she wants!

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