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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Review: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

Okay So I can really get behind a wedding themed romance series like this one!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Books
Release Date: July 25, 2016

Discovering her fiancé 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 fiancé 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?

Wedding planner Brooke Baldwin left Los Angeles for New York City to try and forget that on her wedding day, her husband-to-be was dragged away in handcuffs because he was an international conman. Her first bridal client in New York is someone Brooke can’t help but like but her client’s brother is another story and she has to deal with him on a regular basis because he’s footing the bill.

You know, I don’t think it’s really fair to compare Lauren Layne’s Wedding Belle’s series to Sex and the City or The Wedding Planner because I’ve seen both and didn’t care for them at all. Meanwhile I have enjoyed Lane’s prequel novella and this book very much because of the sass, charm, passion, and emotions involved.

Seth was a reluctant romantic in the beginning of To Have and to Hold and his cynical outlook was almost always sabotaged by his actions. Almost halfway through he realized that there was something different going on between him and Brooke and cautiously pushed to explore it. I enjoyed Seth’s personality for the most part. He had a bit of a control freak in him but he wasn’t completely unreasonable, his control issues came from feeling responsible for his younger sister’s happiness and safety and it transferred to Brooke as well. He did have a habit of lashing out at the people who cared about him whenever he felt cornered or when he knew he had done wrong, which was a bit childish to be honest but hey, it’s not like he had anyone in his life that could snap back and tell him to cut his crap. Overall though, I liked the guy. He could be a smooth dirty talker one minute, then a total romantic the next. Like Brooke, I found Seth too interesting to resist.

When To Have and to Hold begins, Brooke is still recovering from being dumped at the altar by her fiance who happened to be a conman. To say it left a scar would be putting it mildly because Brooke was almost always the one slamming the brakes on when it came to her emotions. Only her emotions though because this lady was the get what you want type of character and I liked that she sometimes initiated the intimacy between her and Seth. She had a bit of fun doing some of the dirty talking too. My one complaint about her is that I feel she over reacted a bit to Seth’s final method of “taking care” of her. She was justified in her anger but I felt that she didn’t exactly take in the whole picture before she unleashed her anger.

Seth and Brooke started off hot and heavy and that was great, I have zero complaints about the hot and heavy but I really liked how Lauren Layne shifted them from hot and heavy to sweet and caring. It was as subtle as going from rough I-can’t-wait-to-get-into-your-pants kisses to tender holy-crap-I-think-I-like-you kisses. The transition was done smoothly and the heat was still between them but there were more layers to it than just physical attraction. It took them a while to catch on to the changes between them and when they did they almost sabotaged a good thing.

My one big complaint was that Seth’s sister Maya won’t get her own story because hers is pretty much done “behind the scenes” of this one. I liked Maya quite a bit so I was hoping she’d get her own book but sadly that’s not to be.

Final Verdict: To Have and to Hold hit all the right buttons and has me looking forward to the next book in the series.

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