The Christmas Wedding Guest by Susan Mallery (Women’s Fiction)

Writing: 4/5 Plot: 3.5/5 Characters: 4.5/5
Another feel good story from Susan Mallery full of family, friends, love, and people who always know the right things to say. I seriously think you could get more relationship help from reading one of her books than seeing a therapist. While the plot is obvious, getting to the end is fun and full of grown-up behavior. Her characters are honest, straightforward, and could give tutorials on how to express heartfelt and complicated feelings. Yes, there are hunky men and happy endings — and there is nothing wrong with that — but the people actually have depth and I end up feeling more centered after reading. Go figure.

This book takes place in Wishing Tree, Washington — every bit as cute as it sounds. Reggie is going back home after a year of self-imposed exile following a bad break-up. In tow is Belle, her “less than brave” Great Dane. Big sister Dena has rationally dealt with her ticking biological clock by going the turkey baster route. Mom and dad have decided to renew their vows and have the wedding they skipped the first time — needing Reggie’s help because Dena is extremely busy learning that morning sickness does not limit itself to mornings!

Full of great banter, easy camaraderie, and plenty of Christmas cheer (and crafts for those who — unlike me — like that sort of thing). Enjoy!

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on September 28th, 2021.

Backpacking Book Review #3

The end of the backpacking trip was a little surprising.  Slipping down a sandy friction pitch I was pushed over by the pack and landed right on my face — specifically my poor nose — on a flat but very hard rock.  Did not even realize that this was possible.  Don’t think I’ll include a photo because really — you don’t want to see it!  But no broken teeth or nose, just some very strange bruising and a better attitude to scampering down friction pitches in the future …

Meant to Be Yours by Susan Mallery

Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 22nd, 2019.

Hunky Vietnam Vet Jasper (who is not as “broken” as he thinks) is freshly returned from his book tour. A successful action adventure writer, he wants to finish off one series so he can start another but is flummoxed by his utter inability to write women. Enter Renee Grothen — wedding planning extraordinaire — who herself has given up on men after some very bad experiences. And guess where they both live? Happily Inc — a (fictional) wedding destination town with a real Disneyland flair. We learn this all in the first few pages and we know how it’s going to end — but the journey is fantastic.

I really don’t care for the romance genre but I read everything Susan Mallery writes. Her characters are interesting and nuanced (yes — sexy as well) and the plots are twisty and fun with captivating side stories. To start with, Renee works on theme weddings, and although I am personally not into decorations, weddings, etc, I loved hearing about the “Dallas Cowboys,” Nutcracker, and Apple themed weddings, just to name a few. Add to that a town that features an animal preserve, a horse ranch run by the adopted daughter of the King of El Bahar, and a woman who can actually sense what animals are thinking — and you have all the ingredients of a pretty engaging story. Some extremely well-written and steamy sex scenes as well. This is not a “cozy romance” — the attraction between our two is palpable rather than polite.

Fun read!