2015 Book #63 – The Marriage Season by Linda Lael Miller

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Title: The Marriage Season
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 6/22/15
Genre:  Romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Pages in book: 254
Stand alone or series: Brides of Bliss County book #3
Where I got the book from: Terryville Public Library

Blurb from the cover:

Since Hadleigh, Melody and Bex—the best of best friends—entered into a marriage pact, two of them have found (and married) the men of their hearts. But Bex doesn’t think she’ll be as fortunate as the others. Her own first love died years ago in a faraway war, and Bex has lost hope for a happy marriage of her own. She concentrates on her business, a successful chain of fitness clubs, instead.
Then, when single father Tate Calder comes to Mustang Creek with his two sons in tow, who befriend Bex’s eight-year-old nephew, she and the handsome, aloof newcomer are constantly thrown together. But is the marriage season over? Or can a man with doubts about love be the right husband for a woman who wants it all?

My rating: 3.25 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: I have been a fan of Linda Lael Miller’s books in the past (there’s just something about those cowboys) so I was excited when the Brides of Bliss County series came out. I had already read the first two in the series and honestly the second one left me a little frustrated so I was eager to get to the third book to try and get some things straightened out. This third book in what I think is a trilogy tells the story of Tate Calder, friend of the guys from the first two books who just moved to Mustang Creek, and Bex Stuart (which I thnk is cool, my nickname is college was Bex) best friend of the girls from the first two books. Now I just have to say that this premise alone is just so highly unrealistic to me. Has there ever really been in real life a set of three guy friends who all within a year decided they loved this set of three girl friends? And two of the sets had known each other like their whole lives. It just always feels far-fetched to me.
Anyways so they’re the last single ones in this six-pack so they fall in love. That’s pretty much the story. Tate has two boys and he’s really sweet with them and Bex has a nephew that she has to take care of for a lot of the book that’s the same age as one of Tate’s boys.
So overall I guess I just had a few issues with this story. The conversations felt stilted and a little rushed, leaving the characters flat and hard to connect with. And the reactions of the characters are just so far from what I would react as. Like they just kind of take everything in stride, nothing is ever really an “issue,” Like when Tara all of a sudden just goes to Denver, Bex is just like oh ok I’m glad she is out of this bad situation then. If that were me I would have been like WHAT ABOUT YOUR SON GROW THE HELL UP YOU ARE A GROWN ASS WOMAN. So some differences in thought processes there I guess. Don’t get me wrong, the book wasn’t bad and it was actually exactly what I needed at this moment in my reading journey. It was a light and somewhat easy read and it was overall pleasant i would say. My complaints here I think tend to be more general, the book was still a good book.
The bottom line: I would recommend this book to anyone who 1) likes books by LLM, 2) has read the other 2 books in the series, or 3) is looking for a nice, light beach read. Otherwise I would say you can probably skip.

Link to author website
Click on the cover to go to the book’s Amazon page

2015 Book #18 – The Marriage Charm by Linda Lael Miller

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Title: The Marriage Charm
Author: Linda Lael Miller
Date finished: 3/7/15
Genre: Contemporary romance
Publisher: HQN Books
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Pages in book: 297
Stand alone or series: #2 in Brides of Bliss County series

Blurb from the cover:

The women of Bliss County have a pact—to find husbands. The right husbands.
One already has: Hadleigh Stevens, who married rancher Tripp Galloway a few months ago. Now Melody Nolan thinks it’s her turn. Melody has recently found success as a jewelry designer, and her work is the focus of her life. She’s not exactly unhappy, but she wants more. She’s always been attracted to Spence Hogan, the local chief of police, but she’s convinced that Spence, a notorious charmer, isn’t what you’d call husband material.
Spence is a good cop who isn’t scared of anything—except love. And he’s done everything he can to preserve his reputation as a womanizer—a reputation that keeps marriage-minded women, including Melody, at bay. And yet…there’s something about Melody he can’t forget. Something his heart can’t ignore.

My rating: 2.75 stars out of a scale of 5

My review: This book will count towards my “Bookish Bingo” reading challenge, marking off the “Pretty Dress Cover” square. When I saw this book at the store one of my first thoughts was “what a pretty wedding dress that is” so I thought it would fit into this category appropriately for bingo. So this book tells the story of the second girl in a group of three friends. And I can already see that the three girlfriends who have been best friends since they were children are going to magically fall in love with a group of three guy friends. I always find it interest how neat and tidy these things end up sometimes. So Melody and Spencer have a history I guess, she asked him to marry her after one hot and heavy summer when she was 20 and he said no because he didn’t want to ruin her life so then they didn’t talk for 7 years until their best friends got married. Seems realistic right?
So then the wedding throws them in each other’s paths again and then all of a sudden they are running into each other everywhere, even though they’ve managed to pretty much avoid each other for the past seven years. And then they fall in love and stuff. Honestly I was a little disappointed with this one. The conversations all felt unnatural and forced. The plot seemed unrealistic to me. I mean there was like a mystery/suspense aspect thrown in there with the robberies but I felt like it wasn’t really serious through the whole book and why would a master antique thief running an antiquities ring in multiple states care about some small town police chief? Seriously? And why didn’t we get to find out what kind of charm Melody would make for the three girls’ bracelets based on her engagement? THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SERIES! I got to the end and I was like, what about the charm? The book is even CALLED the Marriage CHARM and we don’t get to find out what kind of charm she designates for herself.

The bottom line:  I’m fairly neutral on this one. It was a cute story but not too interesting. Don’t think I’d recommend it but also wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it.

Link to author website
Link to Amazon

2014 – Book #77

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The seventy-seventh book I read in 2014 was The Marriage Pact by Linda Lael Miller. This is the first book in her Brides of Bliss County series. I finished this book on 8/25/14. I rated this book 4 stars out of a scale of 5. This book tells the story of Hadleigh Stevens and Tripp Galloway. Tripp was Hadleigh’s brother Will’s best friend, and she tagged along a lot with them while she was growing up. When Will died in the war oversees, Tripp promised Will that he would take care of Hadleigh and watch over her. So when, at eighteen, Hadleigh decides she’s going to get married. Tripp does a background check on the guy and realizes that Hadleigh is making a humongous mistake and decides to come home just in time to stop the wedding.

Hadleigh admits to herself that she secretly wanted Tripp to put a stop to her wedding. What she didn’t want is for him to then turn around and tell her that he got married himself and didn’t tell anybody. Feeling betrayed and hurt, Hadleigh then doesn’t talk to Tripp for the next ten years. During those ten years she gets a college degree and becomes a successful business woman / quilter. When Tripp finally comes home to take over the ranch for his sick Dad, he decides that it is far past time to make things right with Hadleigh. She doesn’t happen to agree however.

Hadleigh knows that she’s been in love with Tripp pretty much all her life. She doesn’t want to let him back into her life only to have him break her heart again, especially since it took ten years to piece back together the last time. But her best friends are pushing her to take the chance. The three girls made a marriage pact to work together to each find the right husband for them.

Overall I thought this book was ok. I liked the underlying story of friendship between the three girlfriends, and the charm bracelet thing they did to commemorate each of them finding true love was cute. I just had trouble buying into the idea that Hadleigh was able to cut Tripp off from her life so completely for 10 years. I mean, that takes a lot of hate and it sounds just exhausting. I feel like they could’ve maybe reconciled sooner. Other than that the book was good: entertaining, light and sweet.

Link to author website: http://www.lindalaelmiller.com/

Link to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Pact-Linda-Lael-Miller/dp/0373778708/ref=tmm_mmp_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1409058417&sr=8-1