Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence, Moderate Religion, Three Stars

“I may have lost my heart, but not my self-control”

There’s no arguing that Jane Austen’s work is timeless. It’s one of the reasons it’s redone so often. Her characters are one of the things that add to the timelessness of her work. They are multidimensional, complex, and real.

For that reason it can be hard to replicate her characters. The character that has been the hardest for me to read retellings of is Emma. Emma is entitled and naive, but she’s also tries really hard to do good and be genuine. It’s this complexity that makes her book so delightfully full of mishaps. However, writing her so you love her quirks and are rooting for her as oppose to just wanting to strangle her takes skill.

I recently read two adaptations of Emma, In Brittany Larsen‘s The Matchmaker’s Match her Emma character seems to hit it spot on. 41HjvJa5hUL

 

Eliza Woodhouse has everything a girl could want: a delightful little beachside flower shop, a loving family, and the best friend a girl could ask for. And while she suffers a chronic lack of romance in her own life, the bohemian beauty is a self-proclaimed matchmaker extraordinaire, as evidenced by her recent successes. Having found a fiancé for her sister and a boyfriend for her best friend, she is now taking her lovelorn new employee under her wing. Yes, life is working out quite nicely for Eliza. Until Parker Knightley walks back into her life.

After three years in Hong Kong, Parker is in town for his brother’s upcoming wedding to Eliza’s sister. They’ve all known each other their whole lives, and Eliza will never be anything but Little Liza Belle to her handsome childhood tormenter. So the fact that their siblings are getting married simply puts Parker one step closer to becoming the big brother he and Eliza have always joked about him being. But the more time they spend together, the more confused Eliza’s feelings become. Because she has come to the shocking realization that the role of brother is the last role she wants Parker to play in her life.

I also love how she handled Mr. Woodhouse, the background and struggles she gave the modern day Mr. Woodhouse seemed to fit the character so well. I appreciated her clever turns of phrases and the moments of introspection she gave her characters.

I felt like her realization of her feelings for Mr. Knightley were mentioned a little early in the novel as opposed to how late Jane Austen has Emma come to her realization. It also felt like she “came to” a realization a couple times which was a little confusing and seemed so opposite to the moment of epiphany we’re used to. But the romance was sweet and their eventual confessions were as beautiful as the many times we’ve relived it from book to movie.

The second adaptation of Emma was by Rebecca Jamison, and unfortunately I didn’t finish that one, by about chapter 4 I really just didn’t like Emma and didn’t care whether she over came her entitled ways and her ignorance. However, I also read her adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, and really liked it.

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“As if it wasn’t bad enough to be getting food from Church welfare, I had to meet one of the Ferreros—and a good-looking Ferrero, at that.

Elly Goodwin, a brilliant programmer, is so desperate for a job that she takes one from her ex-boyfriend—the same man who put her family out of business. Then she meets Ethan Ferrero, who seems too good to be true. But Elly is far too sensible to unexpectedly fall in love—especially with her ex’s brother-in-law.

But when Elly’s sister, Maren, dates the wrong guy, Elly must intercede before Maren’s passion clouds her common sense. Together, Elly and Maren must learn that a mixture of sense and sensibility is the perfect recipe for love.” 

Rebecca did a great job of balancing Elly’s steadiness and Maren’s passion. She had a good grasp on the complexities of the sister’s relationship and how it propelled the story line.

Though it is a little heavier on the religious side than I usually choose to read, it wasn’t preachy. It was a major part of the plot, but very subtly woven in.

I also like the twist she put on the Ferrero family and the dynamic that added to the overall story. She was able to adapt this particular Jane Austen into a modern tale with a religious focus and do it well, that’s not easily done.

 

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3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Moderate Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence, Uncategorized

Grandmother what big eyes you have

Out of all of the fairy tales out there, Little Red Ridding Hood has never been a favorite of mine. I mean, who doesn’t recognize their own Grandma? Not only the eyes, ears, and teeth, but let’s talk about the fury face, I mean come on. I started this book not even realizing it was a modern day telling of, Red Riding Hood; it didn’t take me long thanks to the names. I was enjoying the writing by Lauren Winder Farnsworth in her book, Chasing Red, so I stuck it out. I’m glad I did.

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“Ryder Redmond can’t wait to begin her new life in New York City, with her first real job after college. But the big city gets a little more complicated once she meets the charming and mysterious Damian Wolfe. On the surface he seems perfect, but her friend Hunter is suspicious of his all-too-straight smile and his motives towards Ryder. With her heart on the line, Ryder will have to decide just how much she trusts the handsome city slicker.”

I loved how Lauren stayed true to Red Riding hoods innocence, and naivety. Even though that is what drives me nuts about Red, I am glad she stayed true to that. I often wanted to shake the main character for it, but it was fitting for following the fairy tale.

There was only one part about the book that I really didn’t like. The childhood best friend who actually seems to like Damien is the one who helps end the relationship in the end, but only by confessing something she saw months earlier. It seemed odd that she sat on that information because she assumed the relationship wouldn’t last, the whole thing seemed a little out of character.

I enjoyed watching her relationships with the other characters develop and grow. Especially between her and her mother. I love finding new authors and will definitely read another one from this author. –M.V.

3 1/2 Stars, Jennifer Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

Secret to Success

My husband is afraid of spiders, scream like a little girl afraid. I’m the designated spider killer in our house, and that’s completely okay with me, because the things that my husband does for me far outweigh my ability to kill spiders for him. There is a scene in Jennifer Moore‘s The Shipbuilder’s Wife where Lydia and Jacob have a conversation I swear I’ve had a million times with my husband and it seriously made me so happy. Lydia concludes the conversation with, “If you hold me when I have a frightening dream, I will smash spiders for you.” And I thought, that right there is the secret to success in a marriage.

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“The day of her parents’ garden party dawns bright as Lydia Prescott eagerly anticipates a marriage proposal from a handsome and wealthy plantation owner. The lovely debutante plans to steal a moment away with her beau, but her plans go terribly awry. Instead of her intended, she is joined by a stranger the largest man she’s ever laid eyes on. And it is clear Jacob Steele is there for reasons far more sober than the party. With British raids erupting all around them, it is his job to reassure plantation owners of their safety. In reality, however, Jacob is an espionage agent, and the truth is dire: America is on the verge of invasion by the British.

Blissfully unaware of the danger surrounding her, Lydia basks in the glow of her recent engagement. But her joy is short-lived—a surprise British attack results in a devastating wound, and her plans for the future are shattered. Lost in her devastation, Lydia could never dream that Jacob, that giant of a man she met so briefly, would prove to be her saving grace. And with a war raging around them, she may be called upon to save him too.”

Jennifer Moore always creates compelling characters with relatable struggles to overcome. Giving good insight into her characters through relevant character introspection so we feel like we’re right there along with them.

Her books are always well researched, but she often makes plot jumps that are hard for me to follow. Jacob marrying Lydia was one of those. It seemed an out of the blue and illogical step. But I love how she used that later in the story for him to have that introspection she’s so good at about why he really married her in the first place.

I also had a hard time following the timeline at times, but found myself really invested in the characters, so much so that I really hope all of her hints about Alden’s mysterious experiences mean we’ll get to have a book about him down the road.

See our Review of Lydia’s brother Emmett’s book in “My Dearest Enemy” here.

Four Stars, Jennifer Moore, Low Language, Low Religion, Moderate Romance, Moderate Violence

Sides

I’ve been trying to teach my kids that there are multiple sides to every conflict. Every time they come running to me ready to tattle, “Sister/Brother…” I stop them there, “I don’t want to know what they did, what did you do?” Every single time the next sentence goes something like this, “Well I…but…” So often we don’t see the other person’s point of view or our own culpability.

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Struggling alone on the family farm, Abigail Tidwell knows exactly who to blame for her hardships: the Americans. If it weren’t for their part in the war, her father and brothers would be home rather than fighting abroad. But no amount of antipathy could have prepared her for the shocking sight of a wounded American soldier on her property, a man in dire need of her help. Grudgingly, Abigail tends to the soldier’s injuries and anticipates the satisfaction of turning him over to the authorities once he is healed. But fate has other plans. Captain Emmett Prescott remembers little of the ambush on his men by a group of Shawnee Indians and even less about how he arrived in the unfamiliar barn.

After being nursed back to health by beautiful, if reluctant, Abigail, Emmett would do anything to save the men he left behind—including forcibly enlisting Abigail’s help. Soon, Abigail finds herself caught between two countries at war. And as her attraction for Emmett grows, her conflicted heart engages in its own silent battle. But when she is accused of treason for her actions, her survival rests in the hands of the very man she once considered her enemy.

This novel was not only a beautiful blend of fact and fiction, but also a good reflection of the feelings on both sides of the conflict.

The author used clever ways of transitioning between chapters and topics. She was able to balance between the heavy, the chemistry and the light making the story all those things, yet not too much.

Near the end when Abigail and Emmett separate I was unclear about the cause of the split. The author did a great job of showing the respective characters inner thoughts, but they never really expressed them to each other. I was left feeling odd about the whole exchange and confused on why they hadn’t actually communicated with each other. When they said essentially, I’m staying and you’re leaving and there’s no middle ground, it was disconcerting.

I appreciated the conversation between Emmett and his sister that cleared up his lack of understanding of her being needed and wanted. It gave a good resolution to the characters she’d created, but I feel like the conflict could have still been there and the split still happened but with a little more communication to not leave the reader confused and at odds with the story.

The rest of romance and the conflict the war created was just the right about of sweetness and adventure.

See our review of Emmett’s sister Lydia’s book “The Shipbuilder’s Wife” here.

3 1/2 Stars, Heather B. Moore, Jen Geigle Johnson, Sarah M. Eden, Timeless Romance Anthologies

Tradition!

I love the holiday season, the music, the decorations, the traditions. I love creating new traditions in my littles and watching the season come alive in their eyes. Books have always been a part of our traditions and I love a good holiday story to get me in the Christmas spirit.

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ALWAYS KISS AT CHRISTMAS by Regina Scott
Mary Rose has one goal for her mother’s annual Christmas Eve party: convince her childhood friend Julian Mayes to marry her. She has always admired Julian. Surely one moment under the kissing bough will convince him they were meant to be together. Newly hired by a prestigious London law firm, Julian is ready to shake the dust of the countryside off his polished boots. But he’s always had a soft spot for Mary. As the danger to her future becomes clear, will one kiss be enough to prove to him how far he will go to protect her?

The Plot was cute and the characters were endearing but there was something lacking in the natural flow of the story.

A YULETIDE MATCH by Sarah M. Eden
Famed matchmaker to the ton, Adelaide Northrup cannot imagine a more perfect way to spend Christmas than answering the desperate call of Mr. Porter Bartrum: widower, young father, dunderhead. The young gentleman’s first marriage was an arranged one and he hasn’t the first idea how to find a wife on his own. His dear friend, Chloe Munson, has watched his attempts with amusement and finds this latest approach, the clandestine hiring of a matchmaker, his most entertaining yet. If Adelaide plays her cards right, and she always does, she might very well manage to secure two happy endings.

I mentioned on Social Media how excited I was to hear more from Mrs. Northrop and she did not disappoint. Using Mrs. Northrop to guide the two characters to a realization of their feelings worked so well and made the story nothing short of adorable.

THE FORBIDDEN DUKE by Jen Geigle Johnson
They weren’t supposed to meet, but now that they have, nothing will ever be the same. The Duke of Salsbury blames her family. Lady Catherine blames his. Will an age-old dispute between the Salsburys and Asters rip apart any hope they have to be together? In this game of secrets and lies, can their love for each other conquer even the most tightly held family prejudices?

This nod to Romeo and Julie, but with a sweet ending had my favorite meet cute of the anthology. The author did a beautiful job with the romance balancing their attraction with the struggles in their background they needed to over come.

MISTLETOE AT WILLOWSMEADE by Annette Lyon
On Christmas Eve, Eleanor Hadfield, who works as governess at her childhood home of Willowsmeade, is stunned to learn that the love of her youth, Julian Phillips, is coming back after a decade’s absence. Once the gardener’s son, he has elevated his station to navy captain. Making a match with a mere governess would lower his position, if he were to still love her as he did as a young man, which is unlikely. Unable to bear the idea of noble Julian keeping an old promise out of obligation or pity, Eleanor decides to leave the only place that has ever been a home.

In this second chance love story it was easy to connect with the emotions of the two characters and the author’s slow build from both points of view until they finally were brave enough to express their feelings created a good tension and satisfying ending.

FOLLOW THE RIVER HOME by Krista Lynne Jensen
With her beloved home entailed away to a wealthy cousin, spirited Arabelle Hyatt has resigned herself to marry the arrogant man, if only to save her family from destitution. But before an understanding is reached, a childhood friend returns from war, wounded in more ways than one. With Christmas coming—what may be their last at Hybrigge—holiday traditions are celebrated, memories are revisited, and Arabelle learns what lies in a man’s words is not always what lies in his heart.

I liked the way the author set up the characters for this story, but they seemed to get a little lost in the plot. There was a little too much going on. It would’ve worked great in a flushed out novel but made the short story feel disconcerting.

THE NEW EARL by Heather B. Moore
Celia Thompson knows she can’t live with the new earl who’s come to take her brother’s place. Before she can pack her belongings and reconcile herself to a fate of living as a spinster in her aunt’s home, the new earl arrives. Yet, Aaron, now Lord Banfield, is not the pompous, arrogant man she’d imagined. In fact, he’s quite . . . interesting and handsome. Celia decides to help the man acclimate to his new role. But the longer she stays on at Banfield, the more she realizes the new earl might be the answer she’s been looking for.

I really like the set up of Heather Moore’s  story and the banter back and forth between the two characters. The clandestine meetings and the way they came to respect each other made for a good romance, but for some reason the ending left me feeling a little underwhelmed.

One of my favorite things about reading Holiday themed books from the Regency era is the traditions. I loved learning how they celebrated and the little things they did to make the holiday special. It was obvious all these authors did their research bringing something new and interesting to my holiday tradition repertoire.

 

Five Stars, Julie Wright, Low Language, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

I’m Possible

I have a confession I really didn’t like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the first time I watched it. Audrey Hepbrun is iconic and I loved her in Sabrina, but when I watched her as Holly Golightly I was frankly confused most of the movie, and probably just too young to understand. However that did not change my admiration for the actress. Her china doll face and her big brown eyes were only wrappings for the beautiful person underneath. Julie Wright’s newest novel shows how not just Audrey, but every woman should be valued for who they are, and what they accomplish, much more than how they look.

“The Lie
Women in Hollywood are just pretty faces. But Silvia Bradshaw knows that’s a lie, and she’s ready to be treated as an equal and prove her worth as one of Hollywood’s newest film editors.
 
The Love
She and Ben Mason had worked together as editors before Silvia got her big break, so he’s the perfect person to ask for feedback on her first major film. But even as their friendship begins to blossom into something more, a lawsuit surfaces, jeopardizing both Ben and Silvia’s jobs—as well as their fledgling romance. Audrey Hepburn once said: “The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Silvia agrees. Or she used to. It’s one thing to risk her job and her heart, but can she really risk Ben’s, too? Does she have the right to make decisions for her own happiness when they affect so many other people?”

It’s easy to describe things: my computer is ancient and black, my children are mischievous and adorable. Usually if you give enough detail to an object, your recipient can see exactly what you see. However, it is much harder to describe emotions.  Julie Wright does a beautiful job of describing emotion well enough to convey to the reader not just the feeling of a scene or a setting, the but the emotions of her characters. Enough so that you draw a connection emotionally to the characters in the book, making them come alive.

This is the second book where Julie Wright has taken an iconic woman and used them to not only motivate her main character, but to motivate us; to change our hearts and inspire our minds. By the end of the book I wanted to go rent “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” to see what I missed as a young 14 year old. Then I wanted to go rent a biography on Audrey Hepburn and learn all I can about this woman who was a revolutionary in her time. I want to be strong enough to say, “I’m good at what I do and I will not be undervalued.” Good literature motivates us to do and to become, our best selves.

Becky Monson, Four Stars, Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance

By Any Other Name

Names are kind of a big deal to me…

I grew up when Nicole was a popular name and many Nicole’s went by Nicky. But my name was unique, it was actually just Nikki, not Nicole. Which I know is no longer that unique, but as an adolescent I spent a lot of time saying, “It’s not Nicole, just Nikki.” And it made me feel unique and special. Especially since I got my middle name from my maternal grandmother, whom I absolutely adored. We always had a special bond she and I, and I miss her something fierce. These things all contributed to the thoughts my husband and I put into when picking our children’s names, because for me it was always more than just a name, it was an identity.

Identity seems to be the motif of Becky Monson‘s book Just A Name.

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Holly Murphy’s perfectly planned life is not going so well. Her fiancé recently dumped her, the team she supervises at work secretly hates her, and now the promotion she’s worked so hard for is in jeopardy.

Thinking that maybe Holly is too tightly wound and needs a break from everything, Holly’s boss demands she take a vacation. Holly’s best friend Quinn comes up with a wild idea for Holly to do a nationwide search for a man with the same name as her ex-fiancé to go with her on her honeymoon trip. That idea is a no-go for play-it-safe Holly, until her boss finds out and loves the idea.

Resigned, Holly gives in and starts the nationwide search, and when handsome Nate Jones from Newport Beach gets picked to go with her, she wonders if this whole thing won’t be so bad after all.

Will Holly learn that sometimes even the best laid plans need to be thrown out the window once in a while? Or will it send her running and screaming back to her safety net?

Becky Monson has an honesty in her writing that comes through as delightfully unconventional. Quirky personalities are her specialty and they make her novels come alive. It’s not just her main characters, but every character has personality and life, so that you come away feeling ingratiated into the community she’s created and want to linger for just a little awhile to see what happens next. Which, we will be getting in Quinn’s book “Just A Girl” in the Spring!

Low Language, Low Religion, Low Violence, Moderate Romance, Two Stars

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover

I’m such a sucker for a pretty cover. I know they say you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, and yes I’m aware that that’s usually in reference to people, but I totally do; for books, I try really hard not to do it with people. A cover can easily pull me in or turn me away. This cover is adorable, I really love it. However I did not love the book.

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Standing before Feldstone Manor, site of so many happy memories, Rose Davenport feels nothing but dread. Her family’s annual visit to the stately home was once brightened by her friendship with the earl’s youngest son, William, but everything changed the day his elder brother was disinherited and William became heir to his father’s earldom. From that moment, William made it clear he has no interest in continuing an acquaintance with Rose. Heartbroken, she sets out to prove that she will simply not be ignored—or outdone—by the arrogant future lord of the manor.

When his elder brother marries for love, William’s entire life changes in an instant. He does not have the same option to marry whom he chooses, and he must let go of the feelings he has harbored for his dear friend, Rose. He steels himself against her annual visits, determined to keep his feelings for her a secret. But when he makes the hasty promise to marry within six months, he never dreams that his actions will lead Rose to impulsively undertake the same challenge

I try really hard to find the good in what I read because I know how scary it is to put something out there for people to respond to. But I also have to be honest. I’m usually a huge fan of books from this time period and this trope. The friends to more with a wrench thrown in the middle always provides for good tension and emotionally driven moments. However I had a hard time getting past the wrench.

The crutch of the whole book was that Rose was unsuitable. I spent 60 percent of the book too distracted about why she was unsuitable that I couldn’t fully appreciate the rest of the story. When I finally understood William’s point of view and his situation his actions made complete sense, however the catalyst for his actions was his father, which made me confused all over again. For that time period, with a man that uppity, the man would not have associated with a family so closely year after year if their daughter was that unsuitable.

There were some tender parts and the setting was described beautifully but the plot just left me confused and the characters were more obtuse than endearing. There was very little character growth, and the resolution between the two didn’t even come about from growth, but third party involvement leaving the characters very one dimensional.

This is a debut novel for this author and I don’t always love every book from even my favorite authors so there’s a chance I could love whatever comes next from Esther Hatch. 

3 1/2 Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence

Sway

I have to confess my favorite point of view for a novel is multiple third person. Especially with a romance. I love how it lets the reader watch the budding relationship expand between both the hero and heroine. I love getting into not just the heroine’s thoughts but the hero’s as well. Cause lets be honest, I’ve known my husband for almost 20 years and we’re pretty synced, but there’s a good forty percent of the time that I have no idea what he’s thinking. I love being able to say, oh that’s what the other person was thinking!

Keena Richins did a modern retelling of “Persuasion”, but instead of having the hero and heroine’s point of view in the same book, she wrote two separate books. One from Anne’s point of view and then one from Rick’s (our modern day Captain Wentworth). I was a little worried that I would be bored and feel like I was just reading the same novel twice, but there were enough moments of them apart that they felt like two different novels.

Persuading Him: A Modern Persuasion Retelling by [Richins, Keena]At seventeen, Anne found the love of her life in an ambitious, yet troubled ex-foster boy, but her wealthy family persuaded her to keep on her path to a prestigious career instead of running away with a boy with no future. Eight years later, she finds herself with no career, little money, and a heart still pining for that ex-foster boy. When she accidentally runs into him–now handsome, rich, and working for the prestigious Pemberley Estates Corporation–she discovers he still hasn’t forgiven her yet. How in the world is she going to convince him to give her a second chance?

Persuading Her: A Modern Persuasion Retelling by [Richins, Keena]

At nineteen, Rick Wentworth found the love of his life. Or so he thought. Dumped because he wasn’t good enough for her high-and-mighty family, Rick left, swearing he’d never return. Eight years later, he’s an Acquisition Manager for the prestigious Pemberley Estates Corporation, traveling the world and loving his life. Then he accidentally runs into his old love and feelings he thought were long gone come rushing back. But he’s determined to resist. She dumped him once; he won’t let her the chance to do it again, no matter how badly his heart wants to be hers. 

“Persuading Her” is a stand-alone, clean/sweet, second-chance romance with a guaranteed happily ever after, plus with some other Austen characters sprinkled in. It tells the tale completely from Rick’s side. 

Jane Austen’s books are timeless for many reasons, one of them being her characters. Anne’s character is complex because she’s strong yet shy, a peacemaker yet can be passionate. Keena Richins did a fabulous job writing Anne. You felt her feelings of inadequacies, her shyness and her strength through out the novel.

In ‘His Side’ the author used a life in foster care as Rick’s catalyst for a lot of his actions and it worked really well. I really loved her cookie metaphor scene, but she seemed to over use the phrase “that old anger resurfaced”, could’ve been more meaningful expressed in other ways.

There were more editing errors than I like to see in published novels but not enough to be too distracting from the story. The author kept me interested through out both books while pulling off a modern setting and weaving in other characters, gearing you up for more Austen from her in the future.

Four Stars, Low Language, Low Romance, Low Violence

Weddings…I love Weddings

I confess I really do. I love the flowers, and the twinkle lights and the big white dresses and the way the groom looks at the bride as she walks toward him. I’m a full on sap. This book had all of that…well except that last bit. Even better than that though? Four great authors!

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Part 1 – Melanie Jacobson

Harper is an event planner with dreams of taking over the Charleston wedding scene . . . until she meets the biggest Bridezilla of her career. She needs the job, but the only way to keep it is to hire a temperamental chef with big dreams of his own.

I loved the balance Melanie Jacobson created between Harper and Zak’s differences and  similarities. I felt we got just enough background to each of them while also creating tension and pull. Melanie wonderfully set the stage for the disaster to come while keeping Harper and Zak’s story their own.

Part 2 – by Jenny Proctor

Janie is a classical cellist booked to play a posh Charleston wedding. She’s excited to have the lucrative gig until the groom’s brother, Emmett, shows up and asks her to help him play a song he wrote for the happy couple. The only trouble? Emmett is her unrequited high school crush.

This was a delightful part of the story. Jenny Proctor really pulled in our empathy by contrasting Janie with her twin and Emmett with his brother. It gave us a deeper connection to the characters. I loved how she wrote Janie’s growth and strength to be more than she was in High School and stand up for herself. The part that really made their story blossom was Emmett’s persistence. The way she wrote how the two characters struggled to find their footing, but overall gave each other direction and confidence made for an excellent love story.

Part 3 – by Becca Wilhite

Lily has been Dahlia’s best friend, partner-in-crime, and now her maid of honor . . . until suddenly there’s no wedding, and she’s left to clean up Dahlia’s biggest mess of all. She’s been friends with Deacon, the jilted groom, for just as long, and it’s up to her to rescue him after Hurricane Dahlia blows through.

My favorite part of Lily and Deacon’s story is how genuine it was. The whole jilted groom finding love again with the best friend could have gone so many ways, and I love how Becca Wilhite handled it. She did an excellent job of exposing Deacon’s emotions, the humiliation, the grief, the heartbreak and the relief. It was very well done. I loved how there wasn’t even any thought of something between the two of them until after Dahlia was gone, it made it feel honest and beautiful. Becca Wilhite infused emotions good and bad into the disaster and made it shine.

Part 4 – Brittany Larsen

Sutton is a photographer running from her past. Only the pleas from her best friend to photograph her wedding could bring Sutton back to Charleston. Her plan is to get in and get out before her ex knows she and their daughter are in town. At least it’s the plan until she meets Max, who turns out to be the safe place she didn’t know she was looking for.

Sutton was a fun character to read about and Brittany Larsen did a great job of setting up her background so we could feel her fears and her strengths. We got a little bit less of that from Max and I would’ve liked to see him fleshed out more, because what we did get was endearing. The will they wont they until the very last second was written very well, you could feel their longing and their connection. It worked well, it’s just not my favorite type of plot.

The overall book flowed flawlessly from one author to the next and they pulled in little pieces from each other, it was a really fun read.