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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: From This Day Forward by Lauren Layne

Okay so Lauren Layne is still a new-to-me-author but this series is headed in a good direction so… Yeah, can you say “Favorite Author” list?

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Star EBooks
Release Date: June 6, 2016

Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in this prequel to USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne’s The Wedding Belles series about three high-powered New York City women who can plan any wedding—but their own.

Up-and-coming wedding photographer Leah McHale’s career is on the rise–thanks in no small part to the Wedding Belles, the elite New York wedding planning agency that always throws top-tier business Leah’s way. So when one of the Belles asks Leah to fill in at the former First Daughter's wedding, Leah is overjoyed to say yes–until she finds out who she’ll be working with.

Jason Rhodes is the one man who was able to capture Leah’s heart and, once he had it, promptly stepped all over it and left her broken. Now he’s working side-by-side with her at the biggest wedding of the season and Leah is determined to give him the cold shoulder. Despite his persistence, she is not going to fall for his charming, impish ways again. Not even if he still has that killer, irresistible smile...

Leah McHale and Jason Rhodes have a history together but it's not a happy one. When Leah's friend and co-owner of Wedding Bells, a wedding planner agency asks her to fill in as photographer in a high profile wedding she doesn't hesitate to agree. Until she finds out she'll have to work with Jason. Once working together, Jason and Leah's chemistry comes back in full force and things start to get tricky when the past keeps popping up between them.

I both love and dread the idea of a prequel novella. On the one hand, it’s a great way to get readers’ interested in a brand new series and it gives readers a chance to “sample” a new-to-them authors. But on the other hand, novellas often feel rushed and incomplete compared to a full length novel and may not show what an author is capable of.

I was a bit skeptical of this series to start with though because it’s set in the world of weddings, wedding planners, and all that so I was nervous that it would be all fluff and poof with no substance or heat but within a few sentences I was convinced I would enjoy Jason and Leah’s story.

From This Day Forward managed to be sweet, sassy, sexy, and fulfilling so I have no reason to complain. Only reasons to say “More please.” Since Jason and Leah already had a history it made it easier for the story to move swiftly and efficiently because there wasn’t any time being spent on building a romance from nothing. In a novella I think that it’s important not to pick a trope that is going to need a lot of time to develop. More time was spent on the “now” with Jason and Leah still super attracted to each other but each with their own reservations since their relationship in the past kind of blew up in their faces. I enjoyed both characters and I especially loved that they were both photographers and had strong personalities. They had a bit of maturing to do since their bickering sometimes took on an unreasonable tone but that was part of the conflict of the story.

As far as introductions and prequels go, I enjoyed From This Day Forward. There were two engaging characters with plenty of heat and chemistry, a believable second chance romance with bits of humor here and there, and of course, a happy ending for all.

Final Verdict: From This Day Forward is a promising start to a new series by Lauren Layne.

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