BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Monday, September 25, 2017

Bea Reviews You Say It First & Second Chance Girl by Susan Mallery

Bea's Book Nook, Review, You Say It First,  Susan Mallery, Romance
Series: Happily Inc. #1
Publisher: HQN Books 
Source: the author in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: August 22nd, 2017 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool's Gold romances invites you to visit Happily Inc., a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale

Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks—mainly the venue's captivating owner, Pallas Saunders. Although he won't let love consume him, for ecstasy with an expiration date, he's all in.

Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can't turn the floundering business around, she'll have no choice but cave to her domineering mother and trade taffeta for trust funds working at the family's bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn't belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he's right—where she really belongs is in his arms.

My Thoughts:

The premise for this series was intriguing and I couldn't resist especially with a guaranteed happy ending. 

I liked our heroine and hero, Pallas and Nick. They were flirty, fun, and interesting. Pallas felt unworthy of love, believed that it had to be earned, thanks to her demanding, impossible-to-please mother. Nick on the other hand is afraid of love, specifically love that consumes a person, thanks to his mother and father. Slowly they came to realize that love is not earned but freely given and that it need not be all consuming, that it can and does extend to and include other people.

The story was slow at times,
with a little too much back story at times, but it was character driven, focused on the people in the stories. Although some of the characters first appeared in the Fool's Gold series, which I still haven't read, the story works as a stand alone. I imagine, though, that there are spoilers for that series in this book (and future books). 

It was interesting to read about the business of putting on weddings and seeing Pallas come into her own, both professionally and personally. She stepped outside her comfort zone and the rewards were worth it. Reading her journey, following along, was pleasant. I enjoyed seeing her and Nick hook up and make their relationship but I also enjoyed the side characters. They were fun and interesting and seeing them all pull together to help Pallas with an important wedding ceremony was neat. However, seeing all the wedding preparation nonsense just reiterated my desire to elope if I ever get married. :D

"You Say It First" was a sweet, interesting romance in a unique and fun setting.

Cover, Bea's Book Nook, Review, Romance, Second Chance Girl, Susan Mallery
Series: Happily Inc #2
Publisher: HQN Books
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: September 26th, 2017 
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | iTunes* | Barnes & Noble
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

A touching modern fairy tale that won't let go of your heart, from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool's Gold romances!

Mathias Mitchell's easy smile hides a world of hurt. After the worst kind of family betrayal, he moves to Happily Inc., California—the wedding destination town supplies a steady stream of bridesmaids, perfect for his "no promises, no pain" lifestyle. Yet he can't stop watching for his beautiful, elusive neighbor on the animal preserve behind their homes.

Gamekeeper Carol Lund knows she's not special enough to attract an alpha male like Mathias, so his offer to help her adopt a herd for her lonely giraffe is surprising—and his determined seduction, even more so. But just as she finally welcomes him into her bed, his careless actions crush her heart. Will she give him a second chance to prove she'll always come first in his heart?

My Thoughts:

"Second Chance Girl" picks up not too long after "You Say It First" and focuses on sisters, Carol Lund, gamekeeper, and Violet Lund, button connoisseur. Each has had feelings for a man for years, and each finally gets the chance to act on those feelings. Carol and Mathias, who is the brother of Nick from "You Say It First", have known each other for several years, they are neighbors and acquaintances. Violet had a school girl crush on Ulrich, a British lord, as a teen and meets him again as an adult. It wasn't quite a meet cute as he angrily accuses her of theft when they encounter each other. Ooops!

Just as in the first book, there's a wedding at the center of the story so we get the two romances and a wedding (not either of the sisters). This book moved at a slightly faster pace than the first book but was also a bit less focused, trying to cover the romances, the wedding, a herd for Millie the giraffe, and some family drama. The family drama, which encompasses Mathias and Nick's family, seems to be a series arc, and apparently began during the Fool's Gold series. Mallery gives us sufficient information about it to understand the family dynamics. Family can be exhausting and frustrating and oh so challenging and a source of great pain. But Mallery also shows us that family, whether of blood or choice, can be a source of love and comfort and support.

Carol and Mathias's romance gets more time than Violet and Ulrich's which was unfortunate as Violet and Ulrich's relationship happened quickly and could have used some more development. It was a sweet romance, they were cute together, but it lacked depth. It really should have had its own book pr novella.  Mathias and Carol's romance was bumpier with each thinking the other is uninteresting and then a doozy of a misunderstanding. But once they sort things out they really heat things up.

The supporting characters again were a joy and are a highlight of the books. Also, I love the Boardroom Pub and its collection of board games and its game challenge nights. For a small town, Happily Inc has a fun nightlife. :) And I loved the preserver - the idea of it, learning about it, and how it fits it into the wedding business in Happily Inc.

"Second Chance Girl" was another delightful story in this series. Bring on more Happily Inc stories!

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