Mini Reviews: Family Drama & Wedding Mishaps

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The Key to Happily Ever After
by Tif Marcelo
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books
  

Rating: ★★★★

Synopsis via Goodreads: A charming romantic comedy about three sisters who are struggling to keep the family wedding planning business afloat—all the while trying to write their own happily-ever-afters in the process. 

All’s fair in love and business.

The de la Rosa family and their wedding planning business have been creating happily ever afters in the Washington, DC area for years, making even the most difficult bride’s day a fairytale. But when their parents announce their retirement, the sisters—Marisol, Janelyn, and Pearl—are determined to take over the business themselves.

But the sisters quickly discover that the wedding business isn’t all rings and roses. There are brides whose moods can change at the drop of a hat; grooms who want to control every part of the process; and couples who argue until their big day. As emotions run high, the de la Rosa sisters quickly realize one thing: even when disaster strikes—whether it’s a wardrobe malfunction or a snowmageddon in the middle of a spring wedding—they’ll always have each other.

Perfect for fans of the witty and engaging novels of Amy E. Reichert and Susan Mallery, The Key to Happily Ever After is a fresh romantic comedy that celebrates the crucial and profound power of sisterhood. 

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Two years ago, Tif Marcelo won me over with her debut romance and I’ve been in love with her words ever since. I was so excited to pick up her newest release and though I didn’t have a clue what the book was about, I knew I was gonna enjoy whatever Marcelo was about to serve me (and spoiler alert: I did!).

Marisol de la Rosa and her two sisters, Janelyn and Pearl, have recently taken over their parent’s wedding shop to continue the family tradition of creating happily ever afters. But working with family doesn’t always go as smoothly as one would hope and working with your sisters, well…that’s a whole other level. Especially when not all of you see eye-to-eye but if the de la Rosa sisters want to save the family business from going under, they’re gonna have to find a way to work together before everything falls apart. 

When I first started reading The Key to Happily Ever After, I didn’t realize that it was going to be women’s fiction and while this genre isn’t usually my cup of tea, I was invested in this story after reading the first chapter so I had to continue it! I adore the concept of this story! Three sisters running a wedding shop together while trying not to murder one another and also trying to find themselves just spoke to me. Also, wedding shenanigans! Who doesn’t love some good wedding shenanigans?! This story focus’ on two sisters in particular: Marisol and Pearl. These two have always butted head and now Pearl is trying to go off on her own and create her own wedding business. She wants to be heard and she feels like Marisol isn’t listening to anything she has to say. Now, I was totally #TeamPearl but at the same time, I understand why Marisol behaved the way that she did. She was just being overprotective due to experiences in the past and she was also trying not to do anything that would cause further damage to the already struggling business. I enjoyed seeing these two work through their issues and find a way to fix things and realize that family always has your back, even when you’re fighting. I will say that I wished Jane had also had a strong story line like her other two sisters did. Jane plays mediator between Pearl and Marisol and she spends most of her time trying to keep the peace so her side story doesn’t really start coming together until we’re almost to the end of the book. I wish Marcelo had taken more time to develop Jane’s plot line and I also wished we could’ve seen the outcome for her and her potential love interest. Speaking of love interests, there is some romance sprinkled throughout this book and I totally shipped all the ships that did set sail by the end of this book! This made my romance loving heart so happy because even though the romances weren’t the focus of this story, they did have some good swoony moments that left a smile on my face. Overall, The Key to Happily Ever After was a charming read and I definitely recommend picking it up if you’re in the mood for a story about sisters, a little bit of love and a whole lot of happily ever afters.

 

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The Unhoneymooners
by Christina Lauren
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Publisher: Gallery Books

Add to Goodreads || Buy on Amazon  

Rating: ★★½

Synopsis via Goodreads: Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Ami, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

*I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s the books, but since reading Love and Other Words I have not been able to find another Christina Lauren release that I actually like. Their past few releases have just been a miss for me and I was starting to think that I may have jumped onto the CLo train too late and missed out on all their bangers. *sobs* But I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel just yet, and with a cute ass cover like The Unhoneymooners, I knew I had to give this duo one last chance.

Olive Torres is as unlucky as they come, or so she claims. She’s currently unemployed, she doesn’t have the slightest clue what her next move is and now her twin sister is getting married and Olive is forced to walk down the aisle with the best man and her worst enemy, Ethan Thomas. What was meant to be a day full of happy memories soon turns into a nightmare when everyone but Olive and Ethan get food poisoning. Unable to go on their honeymoon, her twin suggests that Olive and Ethan take their place instead and while an all-expense paid vacation to Hawaii is a dream come true, going with the one person you hate the most might not be.

Y’all, I tried. I really tried to go into this book with the hope that I would enjoy it but it looks like I’ve struck out again. Now before I start my rant, I can’t say that this book was all bad because it wasn’t. I was actually quite enjoying this book—minus the hero but we’ll get to that part later—until about the 60% mark, after that it all went to shit but let’s back track for a moment. Olive was the saving grace in this book and if I didn’t like her so much, I probably would’ve DNFed it. I loved her personality, her sass, the fact that she loves to flaunt her curves and she’s not afraid to tell it like it is. She loves to push Ethan’s buttons and honestly that is something I would’ve done too so that was entertaining to watch. The romance also kind of won me over. Listen, I’m weak for an enemies-to-lover romance so all the bickering and snide remarks between Ethan and Olive totally had me living. These two had chemistry and I was yelling at my eReader for these two to just hook up already (side note, if you’re looking for sexy times, you won’t find it here) because all that sexual tension just needed to be release! Things were going good and then I got to 60% and I went from fun time to wanting to fight everyone. The thing that ruined this book for me was the drama. I won’t give away spoilers, but there is a secondary character who I knew was gonna be an issue from the jump because this character just screamed “bitch ass” to me and you know what, THEY REALLY TRIED ME. The whole drama just over took the story and all the sweet, swoony feelings I had were just gone. *poof* Like I get that the authors needed to create a conflict so our couple could separate for a few chapters, but this wasn’t a good move. To make matters worse, Ethan’s dumb ass was picking up for said secondary characters and I just wanted to slap him upside his head. Now I got a bone to pick with Ethan. I don’t like him. I may have been enjoying the romance, but that doesn’t mean I liked our hero. Ethan’s personality was flatter than a crêpe. Also, he was very mean to Olive during some parts of this book and I can’t believe he didn’t believe her when she told him what said secondary character did. Like Olive is a horrible liar so you would be able to tell if she was lying to you! ALSO, why was this dude trying to make his ex jealous while he was on his “honeymoon” with Olive. What was even the point of that mess?! I just wanted to see Olive happy and thriving but this ending just ruined that for me. The Unhoneymooners is another CLo release that was a miss for me and honestly, I was thinking about taking a break from reading this author-duo…but then I realized that I already have their next release on my eReader so let’s hope that book doesn’t let me down, lol.

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I'm Ari, a local NYC bibliophile and a forever daydreamer. You can usually find me with my nose buried in a book and my head up in the clouds. I am also a coffee addict and a chocolate connoisseur. I fell in love with the romance genre about three years ago and I haven't been able to stop reading about happily-ever-afters, which is ironic because I'm a bit of a cynical romantic in real life, haha. I hope you all enjoy my blog and fangirling with me about all the smutty reads!

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