Friday, July 22, 2016

Blog Tour: To Have and to Hold by Lauren Layne - Review! (@TastyBookTours @_LaurenLayne)

To Have and to Hold (The Wedding Belles #1)
Author: Lauren Layne
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Published: Pocket Books
Source: Tasty Book Tours / Netgalley

My Rating:

USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true... but their own.
Discovering her fiance 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 fiance 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?

Hold on. Back up. Back all the way up. What do you mean you’re getting married?” It was eleven p.m. on a Wednesday, and Seth Tyler was exactly where he always was these days: behind his expansive mahogany desk at the Tyler Hotel Group, suit jacket slung over the back of his ergonomic chair, tie begging to be undone, impeccably pressed white shirt cuffed at the wrists. He raked a hand through his thick light brown hair in frustration and fixed his younger sister with his best no-nonsense glare, an approximation—like everything else he seemed to do lately—of his deceased father. When Seth's father dropped dead of a heart attack eight months ago, Seth had thought the hardest part about his father’s passing—other than the mourning, of course—would be taking over the family company. Sure, Seth had been groomed for the role. He’d wanted the president and CEO title. He’d always wanted it. Eventually. But not yet, for God’s sake. Seth had no problem admitting that he was a perfectionist, and he’d been bound and determined to take over the family company his way. The right way. And the right way, as Seth had determined it, was spending at least a year shadowing each of the senior-level Tyler Hotel Group executives. Seth had wanted to learn every possible detail, every in and out of the business, before even thinking about taking over the reins of the Fortune 500 company. But his father’s heart had had other plans. Mainly, up and quitting during a routine round of golf. And so, quietly, per his father’s wishes, Seth had become CEO two years ahead of schedule. Not a day passed that Seth didn’t wish his father was still with him, but in truth, taking his place at the head of the boardroom table had been easier than Seth had anticipated. The investors hadn’t freaked out. The executive team hadn’t left in mass exodus. Even Hank’s longtime assistant, Etta, had stuck around, seemingly content to call Seth boss even as she busted his balls about not eating enough vegetables, getting enough sleep, or getting his hair cut. But if taking over the family company was easier than Seth had expected, there was one ramification of Hank Tyler’s death that Seth hadn’t been in the least prepared for: A wedding. Maya Tyler inhaled a long, patient breath, as though preparing to deal with a difficult child. “Well see, marriage, Seth, is when two people fall in love and decide to spend the rest of their lives—” “Yes, I’m aware of how marriage works,” Seth interrupted. Although, not as aware as well as he’d like, as it turned out. He wouldn’t be getting any firsthand knowledge of how marriage worked any time soon. Maya bit her lip. “I’m sorry. I didn't mean to remind you of Nadia.” Seth glanced down at his desk to avoid his sister’s too-perceptive gaze. She wasn’t wrong. He’d gotten to the point where he could go most days without thinking of his ex, but he hadn’t yet figured out how to think about marriage without hearing the incredulous laugh she’d let out when he’d gone on one knee and showed her the ring he’d spent months picking out. “Can we not?” he said curtly. “Don’t get pissed. It’s a wedding. You’re supposed to be happy.” “I’m not pissed; I’m just surprised.” That was an understatement. Seth had not seen this coming, and for a man who exercised precision in all things, he couldn’t say he was enjoying the shock value of Maya’s announcement. Especially not on the heels of his father’s death. A death that everyone but Seth had seen coming, because Seth had been the lone outsider on the knowledge that was his father’s longtime heart condition. Apparently, Hank had considered his only son a control freak—had known that Seth would have stopped at nothing to try to halt death in its tracks. His father had been, well, right. It was hard to admit, but if Seth had known about his father’s condition, he’d have devoted every waking hour to researching experimental treatment and the best doctors. Hank Tyler hadn’t wanted that for his final months. Not for himself or for Seth. Still, Seth resented not having the choice. Resented his father nearly as much as he missed him. But he’d put that behind him. Mostly. Hank was gone, and Maya was still here. Maya was all he had. He had known she was dating a new guy—Neil something or other. But Seth hadn’t thought a thing about it. Maya had whipped through a constant string of casual boyfriends since high school, and other than a two-year relationship in college, they had never been serious. And it certainly hadn’t gotten close to marriage. What’s worse, Seth hadn’t even met this man that was apparently to be his brother-in-law. But none of this would have mattered, not really, if Seth’s instincts hadn’t been buzzing that something was amiss with the way this was all going down. Something was off. He knew it down to his gut. “How long have you been seeing this guy?” he asked. Maya slumped back in the plush chair facing Seth’s desk with a groan. “Don’t do this. I knew you were going to do this.” He frowned. “Do what?” “The big brother thing,” she said. “Hard not to, what with me being six years older and all,” Seth said. He didn’t add that he was doubly obligated to be protective given Hank’s death just months earlier. Maya had definitely been Daddy’s Little Princess. She still got tears in her eyes every time their father’s name was mentioned. Maya leaned forward, her pale blue eyes much like his own, although her blond hair was lighter than his, thanks to her frequent trips to the salon. “I love him, Seth. I know you’re jaded these days, but Neil is exactly the type of guy we women spend our entire lives dreaming about.” Seth bit his tongue to stop from saying that he bet Maya was exactly the type of girl that guys like Neil dreamed about, too. Young, pretty . . . and filthy rich. Or so Neil likely thought.

Reading the novella, From This Day Forward, prepared me for the magic world of The Wedding Belles. Starting this series off in a good way is how I saw it. And the first book didn’t disappoint either. It made me want to watch every wedding movie I know or go out and find a husband. You can guess which option I went to. *Points to empty wedding finger.*

We come to the Belles with Brooke Baldwin, a wedding planner that is running away from the west coast because her own wedding didn’t go as planned. Bad business if you ask me. With a brand new start in a new city, she is ready to get her feet wet with a smile on her face. The last thing she was expecting was to meet her client’s overbearing, controlling, and hot as hell older brother.

Seth Tyler is thrust into a life he may have not been quite ready for, but when his father dies unexpectedly and his sister springs an engagement on him, he rolls with it the best way he knows how; trying to control everything. What he can’t control is his feelings for the wedding planner.

Brooke and Seth have an instant attraction. Usually I can’t stand the instalove but this wasn’t love out the gate and it didn’t feel overbearing. It was like a mutual crush that should end with sweaty sheets and sex hair. I thought I was going to end up hating either Seth, Brooke or both, but I thought they weren’t so bad. Seth could have been very cliché and alpha to the point of annoyance, but it was his sister and best friend that seemed like saving graces within the whole story.

The only thing I think I didn’t care for was the inclusion of the other wedding belles. I know that they get their own books further down the line but something felt forced or wasn’t gelling the best for me. I don’t have a firm grip on them and I think that bothered me the most. I really can’t see where they end up.

In the end, I fell in love with these characters and liked the drama that was added to keep the story moving. It could have easily been a corny mess, but Lauren weaved it in a way that felt natural and sweet.

Lauren lives in New York City with her husband (who was her high school sweetheart--cute, right?!) and plus-sized Pomeranian.
Five years ago, she ditched her corporate career in Seattle to pursue a full-time writing career in Manhattan.
She writes smart romantic comedies with just enough sexy-times to make your mother blush, and in her ideal world, every stiletto-wearing, Kate Spade wielding woman would carry a Kindle stocked with Lauren Layne books.

When not bringing The Sexy, she likes to blog about her Instagram addiction, and why mean girls are the worst.

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