The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin #Review

Posted June 16, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 20 Comments

The Best Laid Wedding Plans by Lynnette Austin #Review
The Best Laid Wedding Plans

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two-half-flames

Series: #1 Magnolia Brides
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released on November 3, 2015
Pages: 418
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher

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I love a good underdog story and it’s even more fun paired with a tempestuous romance.  I had a good time watching a dying town slowly come to life, its people coming together to help each other out, and, eventually, I enjoyed the romance.

The story opens with wedding planner, Jenni Beth Beaumont, deciding to leave her solid, stable Savannah job to go home and help support her grieving parents who have let everything go so that they are in danger of losing the family home.  Jenni Beth has to come up with a money earner to restore the finances and feels the old plantation house is the answer.  She’ll turn it into a destination wedding location.  Her plans are ambitious, but doable if the local bank will give her the loan, or so she believes until she really takes a look at her hometown and realize it is dying.  But she sure plans to keep an eye on Cole because she is sure he can’t be on the up and up.

Cole Bryson was Wes Beaumont’s best friend and was used to Jenni Beth tagging along as the kid sister.  He hurt her badly back in high school when he stood her up for the prom and then later when he really screwed up by sleeping with her and running.  Now she is in difficulties and she doesn’t even know the half of it.  Jenni Beth is getting set to gamble everything on her ability to pull off her dream even while a scheming banker and his confederate are planning that she fail so they can snag her lucrative bottom land.  He has to help her even if she is dead set against letting others help and particularly him.  Maybe if he does this, he will finally figure out what to do with the fear and feelings he has for the feisty Jenni Beth.

I found this one a story that was overall enjoyable, but it wasn’t a complete win.  The heroine drove me nuts for well over half the story.  I thought her plans were a great dream and I was rooting for her.  I also thought she was a wonderful giving person the way she was respectful and caring of her grieving parents and the people of her town.  She came home and never resented dropping her life in the city to clean up her parents mess and work hard for others.  But that was one side of the coin.  I also thought, like the hero, that she wasn’t being realistic about how big of an endeavor she was putting into motion.  She seemed to have the idea that because she was giving her all that would automatically deliver victory.  So when others want to help -particularly in their fields of expertise where she’s an ignoramus- and she gets cranky and grudging about it, I wanted to thump her.  Her childish quarreling with the hero, refusing to be a grown up and let him apologize for his past behavior and show that he wants to make up for it, is what really annoyed me.  She made him work so hard (not that he didn’t deserve a bit of that) and yet the way she was acting I was hard pressed to see why he bothered.

That said, when things started working out, I loved their time spent together.  Jenni Beth was so resentful that it was rewarding to see her spend lots of time with Cole and slowly realize that there is a lot more to him than she ever imagined.  He’s a handsome, cocky guy, but he isn’t arrogant.  He likes to quietly help people and he has a passion for his reclamation and salvage business.  While her temper frustrates him, he is also amused by it.  And he respects her drive to succeed and doesn’t try to take over.  The descriptions of Cole’s renovated barn home made me want to visit for real like lucky Jenni Beth.  Cole had commitment issues and got hung up on Jenni Beth being his best friend’s little sister, but he was still a great guy and took care of others.  I was glad when Jenni Beth got over herself and saw this side of him.

The conflict over the deliberate efforts to sabotage her added a nice conflict beyond what was going on with the romance.  There is an obvious villain, but also one that is hiding in plain sight.  I enjoyed seeing Jenni Beth and the others working to counter the bad guys’ efforts.  The whole town was working together and that was neat.

So, for the most part, I was delighted by my intro to a new series and author.  It’s a fade to black type of romance that borders on mostly sweet with a touch of spice.  This is for those who enjoy a heartwarming, small town contemporary romance.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met: 

Romance Roundabout #192 CR
Mt. TBR #81
New to Me #78 author/series
Blogger Shame #23

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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.

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  • The heroine seems a bit much for me, although I’ve read a few books in her Maverick Junction series and the heroines are the same way.

    • Well, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one to have that reaction to her. She just got stubborn at all the wrong times and cranky over things she didn’t take the time to understand. Whew, she was a pistol. I haven’t decided if I want to keep going with the series.

  • This book seems pretty cute. What an endeavor, though, to rebuild this town. It seems like Jenni could be a bit frustrating, but I’m glad overall you enjoyed this one.

    • It was very cute. I loved the quirky characters of the town and seeing everyone work hard to bring things back to life. But yes, Jenni had her moments. 😉

  • Debbie Haupt

    Great review thanks, I love these kinds of stories!!

    • The down home ones are some of my favorites, too.

  • It’s hard to like a character when they act childish. But I like the premise of the story.

    • Yes, she was begging to be shaken when things were starting, but then she got over it and the book was better. It was a fun premise. Loved seeing them fixing up the town and outwitting the bad guys.

  • I can see how you would be frustrated with this heroine!! I do love those small town reads though! 🙂

    • Fortunately, she got past her issues and it worked out and yes, loved the descriptions and people of this town. Looks like a good series.

  • Oh goodness, I can definitely see how the heroine could be frustrating. I’ve read several characters like that, and it’s annoying every time. I’m glad things come together later though!

    • Yes, sometimes it seems the character is out to sabotage their own happiness and it drives me nuts. 😉 But she did get her act together so that was good.

  • Your mention of a dying town, reminds me a series I started with a dying town they slowly are going to revive during the series. I’ll have to continue that one soon.
    The premise of this one sounds really good, i always enjoy the returning to their hometown premise. I enjoy reading about characters that dream big and seeing them chase their dream, but on the other hand it also can be frustrating when they aren’t realistic about it. I can imagine you wanted to shake her sometimes when she didn’t want to accept help. Those stubborn character can be a tad frustrating at times.
    Sounds like the hero deserves to work a bit, but like she makes it a bit too hard on him. I am glad to hear Jenni eventually sees the other side of Cole too and gets to know him better. These two sure sound like they have some issues to work through. And seeing the whole town band together like that must’ve been great! Great review Sophia!

    • Fixing up the town was a huge draw for me. I love seeing people work together on projects like that.

      She really was frustrating. She knows nothing about construction or remodeling and a few of her old friends are in the business and want to help, but they had to push her into it and then she was cranky at them while they were working hard to help. It was like she had to be the one doing everything because it was her dream which was dumb when she would have failed and probably destroyed that old plantation house with her ignorance just to be stubborn and prideful.
      And the thing with Cole, he was wrong to slip away on her, but it’s not like he knew she was crushing on him for years and he thought it was just temporary because she always acted like she hated him. And then when he wanted to explain about how her brother trusted Cole to look after his little sister and Cole felt guilty for sleeping with her thinking it was breaking his friend’s trust, she wouldn’t listen. Bugged me that she thought she knew it all and she really knew nothing about his motives.
      But fortunately, she did eventually let him explain.

  • I can see where her not accepting help from experts would annoy you. The plot sounds interesting though. I am curious about the series

    • Yes, this gal. But she did end up getting herself together after a while. It was a fun small town setting and characters with lots of Southern going on so I think it will be a nice series.

  • I love small town romances. There is just something that makes me want to dive right on in.

    • I would love to encounter one of these small towns I love to read about in real life. I think I would laugh and have fun with the quirky people.

  • Oh I love the town storyline but ahh on the heroine. That drives me batty. I’m more of a realist so it can get to me when a character is like that. Glad it was able to win you over despite heroine thumping urges. lol

    • Yeah, this was a cute and heartwarming story and I didn’t hate the heroine, but she frustrated me to know end b/c she was the type to cut off her nose to spite her face.