Monday, August 15, 2011

What I Read Last Week

What I Read Last Week

Everything But the Groom by Holly Jacobs -- Contemporary adult romantic fiction

Many years ago in Hungary, Vancy Bashdale was the most beautiful girl in her village and she was determined to marry the handsome Bela Salo. She had everything planned for her wedding but the groom failed to appear. In her heartbreak, Vancy cursed his descendants so that they would never have a big, fancy wedding until they understood that love triumphs over pageantry. The groom reappears with a good excuse and she marries him, regretting her hasty curse. Now her granddaughter Vancy is getting married and won't listen to her Nana and elope. Vancy has everything under control. She sees the wedding as a business opportunity for both her and the groom. However, the groom fails to appear and sends word that he ran off with some waitress he had just met. When the media gets a hold of the dual stories of Nana's curse and the runaway groom, they stalk Vancy. Matt Wilde, owner of Everything Wilde landscaping business has just discovered he has two young nephews he has never met. His twin brother abandoned the twins' mother and the mother in turn left the children to her mother who has dumped them on Matt. Rather than see them as an inconvenience, Matt falls in love with the boys at first sight. His path crosses Vancy's and he offers her a place to hide from the media. Vancy becomes a surrogate mother to Matt's nephews. She loves the charming twins despite their propensity for mischief, and she loves her domestic role. She realizes that her wedding to Alvin was just a wedding and not a true marriage. Matt realizes he loves Vancy but feels it's too soon after her failed wedding to make a move. Their families think otherwise and wonder if Vancy and Matt will ever realize their feelings for each other. Perhaps if they help things along a bit it will happen and Vancy will break the family curse. This is a light, fluffy novel that can be read in one sitting and promptly forgotten. I expected more of a family comedy but it's more of a 1950s domestic story than anything else. The dialogue is terrible and the introspective moments are too soon and too frequent. Vancy and Matt are stock characters and I could not relate to her or like her much at all. Likewise, Matt is too saintly to be realistic. The romance is sweet though. If you like clean, sweet romances and heartwarming stories more than a well-written book, this one is for you.

all i ever wanted by Kristan Higgins -- Contemporary adult romantic fiction 

All Callie Grey has ever wanted is to be loved and have a happily ever after. She thinks she's found that with her boss, Mark with whom she had a brief fling months ago. On her 30th birthday he informs her that he's seeing someone and it's fairly serious. Callie is devastated and holds a very loud phone conversation with her sister while waiting in line at the DMV. The guy behind Callie is disgusted with her behavior and tells her to get a grip. Callie's friends tell her to find a new man to make Mark jealous but it's hard when Mark's new girlfriend is the daughter of their biggest client, young, skinny and beautiful. There also aren't a lot of available men in Georgebury, Vermont that aren't creepy or old. Callie's faithful dog Bowie and her quirky family tries to help her through in their own individual ways. Callie decides to check out the new veterinarian Dr. Ian MacFarland, whom she had heard was single. Callie's inner Betty Boop urges her to pursue him but her inner Michelle Obama encourages her to be her own woman. Unfortunately for Callie, she should have listened to Michelle for the new vet happens to be the man from the DMV! Embarrassed, Callie invents a cover story involving her PR expertise. When Ian decides to take Callie up on her offer, she gets to know him better. Still, she finds him a bit stuff and formal but as they get to know one another, they each become a good influence on the other. Before Callie can find her happily ever after, she has to learn to get over her infatuation with Mark and learn to love herself. This book is a better rendition of stories like Bridget Jones and Meg Cabot's Queen of Babble and Heather Wells books. There's more depth to the story than Bridget Jones and Callie isn't quite as pathetic. The story was a bit hard to get into at first because I couldn't relate to or identify with Callie at all. It seemed like she was a train wreck waiting to happen. The story picks up more about halfway through. The book is long for a chick lit novel but it doesn't really drag much. The ending was a bit rushed and the epilogue isn't really necessary. This book contained more profanity and mentions of making love than I remember from Higgins's previous books. Unlike some of the reviewers on Amazon, I didn't see a political agenda in this book at all. I especially loved Callie's family. They provide the giggles in this story and make my insane family seem almost normal. The romance is not central to the story. Callie is at the center of the story and she has to find herself before she can find what's she's always wanted. This story will make you laugh and cry. Read if you want something light and fun.

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