Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on August 1, 2014
Source: Free Book
A whole town is blissed up and blissed out on Wedding theme 24/7. Cue the Wedding March, the Brides and Grooms, the famous annual Husband Games, and that perfect gown. Behind the scenes, love and happily after are hard to come by for divorced single mom, Natalie trying to run her mom’s bridal shop, raise her son, and stay off the radar of the town bully who wants her gone.
I thought Blissed looked like a cute beginning of summer, quirky, small town romance. I was part right.
Blissed opens with divorced Natalie rushing to a bride’s rescue at a big wedding only to bump into the man she blames for ruining her marriage. But, wait, there’s more… she compounds her misery by being button-hold by the Queen General who runs The Aisle (aka Main Street Bliss and its wedding shops) and plans to run Natalie out of business and out of town. Not, that the threat from the QG is necessary when the family bridal shop is failing and she doesn’t know how to tell her widowed father that she can’t keep her mom’s heritage afloat and she worries that she can support her son.
CJ Blue just wanted to avoid the drama at his sister’s wedding and ducked into a confessional. A desperate woman pours her heart out to him and it turns out he’s the man she blames for ruining her marriage. He’s reeling from that one when he is accosted by a Bliss matriarch insisting he honor his late, young wife by participating in the Husband Games. He planned to get gone and go back to his extreme adventures and not contemplate that he’s a young widower and still good pickings as far as the bride mart is concerned.
This pair needs to catch a break and find their opportunity during the town Husband Games festival.
Whelp, this one sounded light and fun and a little over the top. I thought it was something I wanted to read and I’ve enjoyed other books by the author so I settled in for an easy read. It wasn’t long before I was strongly considering tapping out early.
For one, it went more over the top than I was in the mood to swallow. I’ve read books before about towns that are completely wrapped up in one theme all day- all year. I understood this, but for some reason, an all- Christmas or all-Halloween town didn’t bug me as bad as an all-Wedding. The town of Bliss was a character of its own in this story and I chuckled at first and then got over that pretty quickly. I needed a break from the setting and the constant focus.
Then there is the Queen General. Queen B, more like. This woman has no civic authority, no major wealth, and is a shop owner like everyone else, but yet she is in charge of this town and they eagerly take up the torches and pitchforks at her rallying call to go after Natalie and a few others who are marginalized for… wait for it… being divorced. Seriously! This woman is bullying Nat because she’s divorced. And, oh yeah, Natalie just takes it.
That leads me to Natalie. Doormat. I couldn’t get behind her. I wanted to pull a drill sergeant and get in her face for a talking to. She blames CJ for her marriage breaking up. It was broken before CJ shares a kiss with her- and it was just a kiss. Her husband was looking for a reason to bail and he did. Nat had the idea that she could ‘fix’ him and make him what she wanted him to be. People tend to bow out when you do stuff like that. Then, she is running a business that her dad owns, but she wouldn’t come clean and talk about the problems at the business. She’s a champ at misdirection and shifting the issues around. The bully thing was as much Natalie giving the old bat her way as much as the woman being truly fierce. Natalie was just so passive.
I know some folks will be bothered that her four-year old boy liked wedding dresses, but so what, the boy likes to wear wedding dresses and dream of princess weddings. His family owns a bridal shop so its not that big of a stretch. Kids like to explore and imagine and find their way. He also likes dinosaurs and hanging out with grandpa.
Natalie’s dad made me want to fume. I get it. His wife died and he’s doing the best he can. But, he took some low-blow shots at Nat, knowing she’s still licking her wounds after her marriage mistake, and later sided with the Queen B giving Nat the ‘try to meet her half-way and get along’ speech. He loved both his daughters and helped her and helped her with her son, but he had some bad dad moments, too.
CJ? Well, CJ was all right. He’s faking it until he makes it. He’s got a big boisterous family of sisters and he never opened up about what his marriage was really like or why he didn’t want a new chance at one. I liked him and thought it was great when he fell for Natalie.
So, yeah, it went too far into the unbelievable quirkiness instead of just the fun kind and the characters irritated me more than anything else. It had some fun and sweet moments particularly in the latter half of the story when the Husband Games got into full swing. Actually, if it had been mostly that last half of the book, I might have liked this one more. I’m on the fence whether I’ll pick up the next book. It’s Natalie’s sister Lindsey’s book. I liked Lindsey and her story looks to be a good one so maybe I’ll keep going and see what a change in some of the key players does for my enjoyment.
As far as recommending this one, I think several folks will enjoy it particularly if they got a different vibe off the characters and don’t mind getting blissed out on wedding theme all through the book. It leans more toward a sweet romance, but there is a pinch of spice to it.
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