Review: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino, Narrated by Nick J, Russo

Review: Wedding Favors by Anne Tenino, Narrated by Nick J, RussoWedding Favors by Anne Tenino

Narrator: Nick J. Russo
Genres: Contemporary Romance, M/M Romance
Published by Riptide on April 13, 2017
Length: 8 hours 14 min
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-stars      three-half-flames

Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.

The Delight

This was a must have follow-up story to the prequel short, Helping Hands’ that appeared in the anthology, Lights, Camera, Cupid!, which was the book before this one in the series.  A farmer and an artist take a stab at a second chance set against a wedding in a small town.  Yep, gimme!

Review

As I said, this one is a follow-up number and I was really glad to get it.  Helping Hand introduced a very young pair and left things really wide open.  In fact, that one only worked because I was pretty sure this one was coming along eventually in the series.  Wedding Favors picks up twelve years from the ending of Helping Hand.  Let’s just say a lot of water has gone under the bridge, the prodigal has returned and Sleeping Beauty is awakened.  Sorry, couldn’t resist stringing all those together.

But really, that is kind of how this story hit me.  I spent a lot of time not really vested in this story and just sort of distantly enjoying it.  I liked it, but didn’t love it for some time.  It was a story that had to grow on me.  But, I do like this author’s writing, and I enjoy the series so I gave things some time and I’m glad I did.  The second chance and these two guys, the way they were with each other when the dust settled, worked for me even if it felt long.

Early on, I couldn’t stand Lucas.  I thought he was a self-absorbed jerk who really got hung up on pretty much everything, but especially that one encounter with Gabe in the past.  I understand why a teenager would get worked up over someone starting something and then just backing away, but a man twelve years later who couldn’t see the truth from the distance of time and maturity was a tough one for me.  He was also so dead set against his home town and anyone who might actually like the place including his family.  But, as Lucas began to settle in, see what he’d missed and appreciate the people and Gabe, I got past my issues with Lucas.  Now his best friend and some others, they had me snarly over their interference after a while.

The situation with Gabe’s farm and Lucas’ art careers was one of my favorite parts of this story.  I liked this is who and what they were, but also that they really liked and appreciated this side of each other and supported each other.  Oh, and this pair got up to some pretty hot and sizzling times.

I experienced this story in audio format with Nick J. Russo doing the narration.  I do enjoy his work a great deal.  I had a moment when I laughed when I encountered Gabe’s voice for the first time.  I had this mental picture of flannel-clad Paul Bunyan lumberjack that just would not leave.  But it was all good.  I’m at the point that I’d probably snag an audio book just because he’s narrating.

So, early on it was wobbly for me, but then Wedding Favors found its stride and I enjoyed it as much as many others in this delightful series.  I would recommend this book/series for those who enjoy gently-paced character driven stories in a small town setting.

Challenges

Romance Roundabout #106 LGBT
Literary Pickers #98 workboots
New Release #60
Audio #31

Recommendations

  

Wedding Favors Preview

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

Latest posts by Sophia Rose (see all)

  • Love this blurb. I do love a good second chance love story. And yeah – interfering friends sometimes get frustrating and can pull you from the story if it’s too over the top.

    Great review!

    • I was so glad to see that Gabe and Lucas’ second chance story was the next one in the series. Of all those in the anthology, this was the one that was left unfinished. Neat to see them reunite.
      Oh yeah, this wasn’t the first book where well-meaning friends and family annoyed me after a while. But it was still a good story.
      Thanks, Angie!

  • Second chance stories can be good and this one sounds pretty good even if it does start of wobbly.

    • Yeah, it turned out pretty good after he stopped being such a jerk toward everyone. 🙂 Worth seeing them see if there was something still there after all those years.

  • Well, too bad it had to grow on you, but I’m glad it did. This one sounds like something I would enjoy and I think I’ll have to try to find that short as well. Brilly review.

    • Yeah, I thought I’d just slip right in and love it to death, but once I adjusted and Lucas calmed down his issues, I did enjoy the story.

      I think the prequel is only available in the Lights Camera Cupid valentine antho that a bunch of the authors contributed to. It’s probably okay to get the antho out of series order b/c I think there are only two follow up stories, but the rest are prequels or standalones.

      Thanks, Melissa!

  • Sounds like another good one. I also love finding a narrator that you love. I find myself looking for a certain narrator a lot lately-Sebastion York-so I know what you mean. Second chance, small town romance. What’s not to like?

    • Yes, exactly. Oh nice. I have listened to one by Sebastian York and he does have a great narration voice.

      I am such a cheeser for 2nd chance and small town. 🙂

  • I’m glad you ended up enjoying the book, even if it didn’t start really well for you. I’m always hesitant with small-town romances and one character returning to that small town, because it inevitably means that someone will have to pack up and move (either the big-shot that is returning to town for a short while, or the small-town home-grown one that has deep roots in the town). Usually it’s the big-shot. Does it always have to be that way? With small-town romances, it so often is.

    Anyway! Didn’t mean to go on and on. 😀 I’m glad you liked this one, Sophia!

    Have a wonderful week. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Ha, no biggie, Alyssa. I love talking books and perspectives. This is a small town one and yes, someone does have to move home, but it was not one of those ‘pick’ situations. The guy moving home was rootless, jobless, and recently boyfriendless so change wasn’t as big a deal.

  • I am happy that yup got to enjoy this book despite the beginning. Great review!

    • lol you not yup!

      • LOL, its a new slang for you, right?

        Thanks, Cindy. It was one of those times I was glad I gave it more time to work for me.

  • Glad to see you got over your aversion to Lucas and enjoyed this one.

    • Yeah, he and I were not destined to be friendly for the first third of the book. 🙂 But then he started being okay with small towns and family and gave the guy a break for the 12 years ago thing. LOL

  • I love second chance romances…sounds like a good one!

    • Me, too, Melissa. Gives me hope that mistakes don’t have to ruin thing forever.

  • I am glad you enjoyed this one despite the slow start. I love a good second change romance. Great review!

    • Yeah, at first I was miffed that a book I was looking forward to was not to my liking, but then it turned out good. 🙂

  • I’ve had this one on my TBR for so long. I definitely need to make time for it soon. So glad that you enjoyed it. I’m a big sucker for second chance romances. Great review!

    • Oh, that dreaded huge TBR Pile. I have one of those, too. Hope you like this one when you get the chance, Julie!