To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

27271035.jpgUSA 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?

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My Review:
4.5 stars — I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

So I will admit that while I love watching the P&P films, I have not actually read the book…yes, I know, for shame…take away my romance loving card, etc.  So I wasn’t sure what I was going to get when I saw people comparing Seth to Mr. Darcy, unsure if my movie watching fandom was enough to give me a good idea.  But I totally get where people are coming from with the comparison.  Seth alone is what bumped this up from a solid 4 stars to a 4.5 stars (rounded down).  He gets that extra half star all to himself.  I adored him.  Did he make mistakes and frustrate me on occasion?  Sure.  But seriously, he was just swoontastic.  He had the whole buttoned up personality down pat, but you could totally feel his vulnerability underneath it, and I just wanted to hug him and maybe squeeze his toosh at the same time.  Mmmm…

I will admit that I also think Seth got the short shrift from both Grant and Brooke in their over the top admonishment of a certain decision of his.  While I can sort of see where they were coming from, I ended up more on Seth’s side of things and was a little disappointed that no one got where he was coming from.  Hence why it was a round down instead of up.  I especially expected Brooke to have a bit more compassion given what she’d been through in the past, but she really only saw it from the one angle.

Brooke was pretty adorable as well.  I wasn’t mad in love with her, but I thought she matched up well with Seth for the most part.  For some reason she didn’t tug on my heartstrings to the degree that Seth did.  And so when she’d flip out and say mean things, I ended up being more mad at her mistakes than I was at Seth’s insensitive remarks.  But I think that happens sometimes, we end up being harder on the heroine…maybe b/c we’re girls, and we fall in love with the boys?  I don’t know.

They really did have some great chemistry, I was all on board for that.  And I really enjoyed the friendship chemistries we saw as well — the ones developing between Brooke and the Belles, as well as the one developing with Maya.  I think that’s part of why I was disappointed in Brooke for not wanting to stop potential Maya heartbreak in the end.  And I loved Grant and Seth together.  In fact, I’m almost sad we don’t get a little novella about Grant and Maya, b/c I would love to see more of their love story.  Grant was just adorable as all hell.

All in all it was what I was looking for in a Lauren Layne novel…and since I hadn’t enjoyed her most recent books as much this year, I was super happy that this one fit the bill for me.  It was pretty predictable, I called most of the little things right down to the final grand gesture scene.  But I’m ok with that, the execution was perfect.  I’m super looking forward to Heather’s book next.  I’m still on the fence with Alexis, though Logan looks super promising!


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