Julie's Reviews > Planning for Love

Planning for Love by Christi Barth
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's review
Aug 01, 2012

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, contemporary-romance, christi-barth, chicago
Read from October 01 to 22, 2012

It took me forever to read "Planning for Love." It moves super slowly, and for some reason, the Nook edition is 655 pages. Anyway, I had high hopes for this book: A wedding planner and a videographer meet while filming a TV show. It's set in my city, Chicago. Lots of people were saying good things about this book, and I won my copy from author Shannon Stacey via Twitter. (Thanks, Shannon! You're awesome.) But it all fell flat for me.

"Planning for Love" wasn't bad, but I didn't love it, either. The book gets bogged down in details, and the story takes a while to get going. The heroine, Ivy, while good at her job, is immature in her personal life, especially when it comes to relationships. And when I say "immature," I mean she sees every guy as a potential husband. It doesn't matter what the guy's traits are, or even who the guy is -- she just wants to get married and have some fantasy love story. Her friends, who are much better drawn characters, give her shit about this.

The hero, Ben, who I liked a little bit better, has some douchey tendencies but has a much more interesting backstory. We don't get much of a backstory on Ivy aside from a mention of what degrees she has and how she wants to open a store full of romantic gifts. She was a woman in cute clothes who was in love with love, and I never felt a strong connection to her. Ben was the cameraman who couldn't commit. These characters' personality traits were told instead of shown, and the story could have been stronger if more attention were paid to character development instead of inconsequential details. I also expected the author to mention more stuff in Chicago, but I never got a strong sense of place from the book.

The entire story hinges on Ivy's ridiculous, manipulative plan to make Ben fall in love with her, and it's kind of messed up. She doesn't want to fall in love with Ben -- she just wants to fall in love, period, and she'll do anything to accomplish that goal. And then when her plan blows up in her face, she's surprised.

I liked the secondary characters, and I liked that the story was about two people who are competent at their jobs. I love stories about people who are good at what they do. I thought the author clearly had a good sense of what goes into being a wedding planner; I wasn't surprised to read that had once been her career. There's a lot of attention to detail when it comes to the weddings in the book, so if you're into weddings (I'm not), you'll enjoy that.

Overall, though, the pacing was slow, the characters and setting underdeveloped, and the resolution was too swift. These people had some serious relationship issues, and I thought they needed to work those out before jumping from a pseudo-dating situation to a serious commitment.
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Reading Progress

10/01/2012 page 48
10/08/2012 page 135
59.73% ""Their lips merged" has to be one of the weirdest descriptions of kissing I've read. Makes me think of lips as cars merging in traffic."
10/14/2012 page 309
100% "It's taking me forever to read this book. It's boring and way too heavy on exposition, which means that the story only now feels like it might be picking up momentum."
10/17/2012 page 538
100% "If you leave the Chicago History Museum, you're about two miles from the Magnificent Mile. You're also about a mile from Rush Street and wouldn't make it there quickly in a horse-drawn carriage. And the museum and Rush Street are not downtown. Maps are your friend."
10/18/2012 page 540
100% "My bad, it's a trolley, not a horse carriage. And I was probably too harsh on the Chicago geography thing, but I get riled up over inaccuracies like that."
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