Time for another book list, I haven’t done one of these in a while!
This one is inspired by me getting married earlier this year, it seems like weddings are all I’ve thought about for the past year or so and it feels fitting to create a book list based around that.
The Bride Test (The Kiss Quotient #2) by Helen Hoang
I downloaded this for something fun to read, I didn’t have very high expectations for it really but I fell in love with the characters and I really enjoyed the story.
Khai is determined not to start a relationship with anyone, he has convinced himself that he doesn’t have emotions and can’t connect with anyone the way his family want him to. His mother can’t accept that and intervenes, bringing in Esme in the hope that Khai will warm up to her and fall in love. It’s so funny, in a sweet way, watching how confused he is when he starts to have feelings for Esme but doesn’t really understand what’s happening to him.
Esme is super sweet and trying hard to make a better life for herself and her daughter but even so, she doesn’t want to marry Khai just for his money, she wants to be able to support them herself. She quickly falls for Khai though and starts to try and convince him they should be together. I admire her determination! I don’t normally like stories where the woman is trying to convince the man into a relationship but Esme charmed so much I didn’t mind it.
The two of them have a lot of chemistry and funny and charming interactions and this is overall just very enjoyable. I’m happy to see it’s part of a series, I need to go back and read the first one now!
The Wedding Date by Zara Stoneley
The Wedding Date delivered exactly what I was looking for: a fun and frivolous story that I could read quickly and not have to think about too hard.
I was surprised though by how much I liked Sam. She wasn’t daft and didn’t get herself into stupid cringy situations and I thought she was actually very funny. Her internal monologue made me laugh a few times! Jake was lovely and the attraction between him and … – the most important thing in this type of story – was alive and well.
More could have been made of the Scottish setting and some of the characters were a bit too one dimensional. There wasn’t much life in the story outside of Sam and Jake, the wedding felt a bit flat and the mother’s lack of personality started to get irritating rather than funny after a while. In fact, the whole story started to drag and get a bit daft towards the end.
Overall I found this an enjoyable read even if the end was a bit slow. A good one for the beach!
Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
Agnes has a lot to deal with, she’s fighting to keep her house, plan a wedding that isn’t hers, deal with a dead body in her cellar and if all that wasn’t enough, someone keeps trying to kidnap her dog.
I really loved Agnes and Shane. Agnes is quirky and independent and Shane is sensible and practical and very honest. The two together set some serious sparks going and their dialogue was just right. Chemistry wise this book was spot on.
The story started off promising but was just a bit too far into zany with so much going on that I found it hard to keep track of the plot, who was falling out with who, who was falling for who, who had been killed off, and who all the suspects were. It got way too messy for me to keep up with. It could with maybe fewer characters, or, even though I hate to say it because I love a good murder mystery, fewer deaths.
There is no lack of interesting and colourful supporting characters but again, way too many of them so the story felt cluttered with subplots. I would have liked more time with Agnes and Shane, their romance was overwhelmed by all the other stuff going on. I wanted more of them and their funny arguments!
I did enjoy this one though, Jennifer Crusie has long been one of my favourite romance writers and while this isn’t one of my favourites by her it still stands head and shoulders above the rest of the romance field.
The Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie
I loved the character of Daisy. Independent and original, she’s not afraid to be herself. Linc is almost her exact opposite, hard-working and inoffensive he cares a lot about what people think about him.
The setup for them moving in together and pretending to be engaged is weak but I didn’t think about it too hard and the rest of the story covered for it. It’s fun and the characters are interesting and bounce off each other nicely.
I felt a bit uncomfortable with the way Linc was trying to change Daisy. It was like he thought she wasn’t good enough, her furniture was too shabby for him and Daisy wasn’t normal enough. I felt quite sad when he made her feel bad for the work she had done to make their home cosy and welcoming. In the end, though, it seemed to be more about how they both had to compromise to build a relationship together that worked. Daisy had to accept that Linc liked things neater and more orderly then she was used to and Linc had to learn to accept Daisy for being unusual and not try to make her into a show wife. It doesn’t sound romantic but I’m on board for a bit of realism where normally in romance novels we get characters that have an instant where they have a massive 180 in what they can live with because LOVE.
The story is not the strongest but it’s fun to read and the romance between them is believable.