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The Wedding Belles #1

To Have and to Hold

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USA TODAY bestselling author Lauren Layne is the “queen of witty dialogue and sexy scenes” (Rachel Van Dyken)! Now, Sex and the City meets The Wedding Planner in The Wedding Belles, her sizzling brand new contemporary romance series about three ambitious wedding planners who can make any bride’s dream come true... but their own.

Discovering her fiance is an international con man just moments before they exchange vows devastates celebrity wedding planner Brooke Baldwin's business—and breaks her heart. Now a pariah in Los Angeles, she seeks a fresh start in New York City and thinks she’s found it with her first bridal client, a sweet—if slightly spoiled—hotel heiress. Then she meets the uptight businessman who’s holding the purse strings.

Seth Tyler wishes he could write a blank check and be done with his sister Maya's fancy-pants wedding. Unfortunately, micromanaging the event is his only chance at proving Maya’s fiance is a liar. Standing directly in his way is the stunning blonde wedding planner whose practiced smiles and sassy comebacks both irritate and arouse him. He needs Brooke’s help. But can he persuade a wedding planner on a comeback mission to unplan a wedding? And more importantly, how will he convince her that the wedding she should be planning... is theirs?

384 pages, Kindle Edition

First published July 26, 2016

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About the author

Lauren Layne

54 books9,921 followers
Lauren Layne is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than two dozen novels, including Hot Asset, Hard Sell, and Huge Deal in her 21 Wall Street series, as well as her Central Park Pact series. Her books have sold more than a million copies in nine languages. Lauren’s work has been featured in Publishers Weekly, Glamour, the Wall Street Journal, and Inside Edition. She is based in New York City.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 672 reviews
Profile Image for Angie - Angie's Dreamy Reads.
689 reviews13.5k followers
July 27, 2016
"Welcome to the Wedding Belles."

I. AM. IN. LOVE! Completely smitten and enamored with every single sentence this author has written. Sexy, intense, To Have and to Hold stole the show. It is hands down my FAVORITE Lauren Layne book to date. It had a spark, a sprinkle of magic that made it downright addictive. I'm ecstatic to have found a series that I know I'm going to be heavily invested in. To have found a group of characters that I love. One, where each of them is getting their own book! Yes, that's right!! This is the first in a series of interconnected Standalones. And let me tell you, EVERY. SINGLE. CHARACTER is AMAZINGGGGG. This is the best of the best when it comes to sweet, sizzling romance.

I literally had moments where I felt as though my heart was going to run away with itself. God, the goosebumps. Seth and Brooke made me feel happy, they made me feel wooed. And I ended up being crazy in love after finishing. There wasn't a single element I would change in this novel. Not a word, a scene, a single thing.

It was a PERFECT romance.

And just thinking of it, just thinking of these characters, brings me a warmth I can't explain. It's a pure escapism. Lauren Layne has always been one of my fav authors but this cemented that for me. She stepped up her game. And honestly it's hard to write anything but a bunch of babbling swoon.


Brooke has moved to NY after having her life ripped out from beneath her. She's trying to get a fresh start after her fiancé was literally arrested at the alter! Yes, the alter, thus throwing her life, and career, into a total tailspin. Lucky to escape the mess in LA, she's secured a job in NY with the Wedding Belles--a highly sought after group of Wedding Planners.

Seth is running a multi million dollar business after his father passed away, and trying to take care of his not so little sister. Maya (Seth's sister) has decided, rather shockingly, that she's getting married. And not only that, she's tying the knot to a man Seth doesn't know. At all. He's never even met the guy. But after hearing several things about him, he's sure of ONE thing - the man has ulterior motives, ie: money, money, money. Seth doesn't want to hurt Maya outright by telling her he thinks the guy she loves is a crook. He doesn't want to push her away. And he knows that his sister is stubborn and she's going to do what she wants to do anyway. So he decides to do some investigating by throwing himself full force into the wedding planning.

Brooke, and the Wedding Belles, are then hired to plan Maya's big day. But from the first moment that Brooke lays eyes on Seth, and he on her, there's a spark that cannot be denied. It's MAGIC. But Seth's temperamental nature gets underneath Brooke's skin in every way. He's rude and snippy, and she's just trying to do her job. What starts as a hate to love you, turns into way more than Brooke and Seth could ever bargain for, igniting a romance that is down right delicious.

Honestly, these two are so sexy together. Seth is gruff and moody. He runs hot and cold and just makes you smile. And Brooke is the sweetest thing. She's trying to move on with her life and not get attached. There are so many layers to these two, and this story. So many fun dimensions. And like I said before, you can't help but be wooed by these characters.

From the chemistry, to the heartfelt conversations, to the searingly HOT sexy times, and the sweetest of feels, Lauren Layne brings everything to the table in this fantastic start to a fabulously fun series. I am so excited for the next book and I highly recommend reading To Have and to Hold. It was just perfect.

ARC received from Publisher in exchange for an honest review

Profile Image for Patty ~ Wrapped Up In Reading Book Blog.
1,260 reviews9,998 followers
July 26, 2016
*****FIVE STARS*****
{ARC Generously Provided by Author}

”I know we don’t want the same things, and you don’t want complicated. I don’t want complicated either, and I was thinking…I was thinking maybe we get this out of our system.”

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This book was such a wonderful surprise. I will be honest. I thought the previous novella was very lukewarm and mediocre. But I love Lauren Layne and more often than not, her books are usually a hit for me. But then I started seeing some reviews and nobody seemed to be over the moon in love with this one. Luckily for me, I couldn’t get enough of this story!! This series centers around three women who work as wedding planners at New York City’s most elite wedding planning agency, The Wedding Belles. Now, don’t let the titles and covers of the books fool you like they did me. These stories are not about sappy weddings and pure fluff, oh no! From what I have experienced in this book, I would say these are some seriously hot and angsty adult contemporary romances, that contain some top book boyfriend contenders!! It may be premature for me to say, but this series could possibly top Ms. Layne's Stilletto series. I found this book to pack quite a punch!!

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Brooke Baldwin is the newest Belle. Her move to NYC was a result of having recently been left at the altar when the FBI showed up during her wedding to arrest her fiancé for stealing millions through a Ponzi scheme. She’s looking for a fresh start and her wedding scandal ended up ruining her reputation on the West Coast. Her first client is Maya Tyler, heiress to the billion dollar Tyler Hotel Group conglomerate. She feels the floor drop from beneath her when she comes face to face with whom she believes to be the groom. Never has she had an instant attraction to the Groom of the wedding she is hired to plan. Luckily for her, Seth Tyler happens to be the older brother of the bride to be. He is jaw dropping gorgeous but unfortunately he comes off as quite the pompous douchebag. But there is an undeniable electric chemistry between Brooke and Seth.

I have many tropes that I love in a good romance and one of them is when there is a love/hate connection between the two main characters. It usually guarantees that there will be a healthy dose of angst and mind blowing steam to satisfy my reading needs. The chemistry between the hero and heroine in this story is incredibly HOT!!!! I found myself almost beyond impatient for their heated arguments to turn into some hard and angry sex, which ultimately is inevitable between two people who definitely feel an intense attraction for one another.

It isn’t customary for the brother of the bride to be so involved with all the wedding planning details but since both of their parents are deceased, Seth is very protective of his little sister and he’s not getting good vibes from the man who wants to marry his sister. Seth suspects the man is a con-artist who is only after his sister for her money. His interfering ways and gruff behavior irk Brooke to no end, and yet she can’t stop the insane attraction she feels for Seth. And Seth makes any kind of excuse to spend more time with her.

Neither Brooke nor Seth believes that the attraction building between them can turn into something permanent but they also won’t be able to fight it for too long. Both agree to give in to their desires just for one night and let me just say, I might have just melted into a puddle of desire at this point. What sweet relief!!!

When one night proves not to be enough to quench their desires for each other, will Brooke and Seth realize what they have is something so much more before it’s too late?

I honestly enjoyed this one so much! By the end it put a huge smile on my face, and yet I was sad to have to say goodbye to Seth and Brooke, but I’m sure that they’ll be around in the next two books as well. Hopefully, we’ll get to see where the road ahead takes them.

To Have and To Hold is available now! Be sure to one-click!!

AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/2aeQoio

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Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
826 reviews1,023 followers
June 25, 2017
4.5 'That damned wedding planner' Stars!
ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I knew this series would be, again, an outstanding addition to Lauren Layne's creations. Most of you know I loved her Stiletto series and how could I not love this one when it has Lauren's special touch all over it?

To Have and to Hold is the first installment in Layne's Wedding Belles series and it introduces three women who work as wedding planners and they will find their happily ever after a la Sex in the City style. This novel tells the story of Brooke Baldwin (a woman who has just found out she was about to marry a con man and now she moves to NY to start a new life) and Seth Tyler (a man dedicated to his work, who loves his sister dearly and now wants to stop her from marrying, with Brooke's help or not, the wrong man).

“Getting involved with the details—all of them—involves more than you getting to spend time with the bride and groom. It also means you’re going to be spending an awful lot of time with me.”
“How much time with you?”
“Once a week at least,”she said quietly. “More as the wedding gets closer.”
“Hmm. Once a week,” he repeated. His light blue gaze flicked up to hers. “I think, Ms. Baldwin, that things could get very interesting.”

Things definitely get very interesting with these two (and all the other characters presented). Lauren Layne continues with her fantastic easy to follow writing style, with her deep, funny and sassy heroines and her complex and super-sexy heroes. I loved all the new aspects introduced in this series (the location, the characters, their job, etc.)and I can't wait for more!

“We women just want—we hope...”
Brooke trailed off, and Seth shifted his body to face her more fully, his expression turning earnest. “What. What do you hope?”
“That someone good will love us,” she said quietly.

I really enjoyed To Have and to Hold. It has everything that I enjoyed before about Lauren's books and it has, obviously, a great couple and a fantastic love story! Brooke and Seth start in a way that reminds me so much of Pride and Prejudice (Seth is totally a modern Mr. Darcy!) and only because of that I knew I would love this novel. The main characters develop a deep relationship, full of emotions and full of sexual tension. Of course, Lauren Layne gave us amazing and smoking hot scenes that made me love and want more of these characters!

“Do you have a vulnerable side?”
“I do. Her name is Brooke.”
Her lips parted slightly as happiness washed over her. “You know I'm already going to sleep with you, right? You don't have to woo me with romance.”
“No? In that case...” He lowered his mouth to her ear. “Take me upstairs so I can fuck you. Hard.”

*Swoon* I love Seth so much, seriously, he is so hot! Lauren developed this love story amazingly well and made me love all her new characters a great deal. Also, there was this kind of secondary story between Seth's sister and another man which I definitely enjoyed. Also, after reading this novel, who is not excited about Heather and Alexis' stories? I definitely am!

“I did it because I love you. And that's not an excuse, but it is the truth. I know it's soon, I know it's crazy, but my feelings for you are the most real thing I've ever known.”

Therefore, my rating for To Have and to Hold is 4.5 STARS because, simply, Lauren Layne did it again: she is making me fall in love with her fabulous characters and their stories because she has this great talent that I call special touch! Still, I did not rate it with 5 stars because I missed having an epilogue (I always enjoy them!) but besides that, everything else was perfect! So, if you enjoyed Lauren's Stiletto series or if you like to read a story with a mix of Sex and the City, the Wedding Planner and Pride and Prejudice, you should definitely check this one out. I totally recommend!

Profile Image for Pavlina Read more sleep less blog  .
2,434 reviews4,592 followers
August 27, 2016
LIVE AMAZON http://amzn.to/29WJzCq

3,5-4 stars

This is a great story, well written and fast paced.The Wedding Belles features a small group of wedding planners. Brooke and Seth were great as a couple! They have their funny, sweet and hot moments. When Brooke and Seth are together you can feel their instant intense attraction. Even though no one can explain how this happening. Seth is controlling and mysterious! Brook was a very likable character, she is funny and smart!


"This thing between us – I’m not going to pretend it’s not there, but I’m also not going to action it."

This book had the perfect blend of romance, humor and sexiness. My only complaint is that in some parts it was a little bit slow for my taste but overall it was good! Looking forward for the next story!



July 21, 2016

Seth linked his fingers in hers. “Take me home, Baldwin.”
She laughed. “You know, for such a rich, savvy guy, you can be a total dork.”
“I like to think it reveals my vulnerable side.”
She glanced up at him suspiciously. “Do you have a vulnerable side?”
“I do. Her name is Brooke.”

Alright. So. I don't think this will be very long because, as everyone around me knows, I hate bashing my favorite authors, especially one where this is the only book in existence I really don't like by them. Unless something big happens that really sets me off or the book is just offensive on too many fronts, I don't relish writing negative or down-trodden reviews. They're depressing, they're bleak, and they aren't actually all that constructive.

But I'm sure all my friends who know I adore LL are wondering why this one didn't work for me. And the answer is really simple: I did love the male lead, but everyone else was like a paper character in a paper play in a city made of, you guessed it, paper. Had this been....more...I doubt I would have felt disinterest for it. But, as it is, all I could think about was getting on to my next book, and, frankly, that's a re-read....which doesn't bode well for my attachment to this story.

She paused and looked at him, exasperated. “What?”
“Stay out of my way,” he repeated.
“Under one condition,” she said with a wide, fake smile.
He narrowed his eyes and waited.
“I’ll stay out of your way, big brother”—Brooke reached a hand up to his cheek, patted it with a condescending familiarity—“if you stay out of mine.”

Seth was, and always will be, the star of this story. He was the reason I didn't DNF, he is the reason I still smiled and sighed and, in the end, was a gooey mess of 'please love me, not her.' I am extremely loyal to the men I fall in love with, even more so when they steal my heart completely. I can't say Seth was my favorite LL character (I think that prize belongs to my baby Mitchell), but he was damn vulnerable, sweet, sexy, and powerful....He was a win in all the ways that mattered and I felt so bad this was his story-He deserved so much more, in my opinion.

Objectively, he was aware that he’d known this woman for a little over a month. It was far too soon to start thinking of them as a unit—to start thinking of her as his. And yet, he also knew down to the quietest, most secret part of his soul that she was his. And he was hers.
And that they would fix whatever had broken inside her.

And when his morals started coming into question, it really fucking pissed me off. I get it-we have to have the inevitable falling apart near the end so it can be swept up and made adorable-I get it. I even love this in LL's, I really do. But what I can't get over is how he was looked at, portrayed, and betrayed by those he loves most (aside from his sister, who, I thought would be the biggest issue but was, in fact, the least annoying side character) when he was just trying to help in the only way he knows how. SO, yeah, he wasn't perfect and he makes mistakes-But the way he was treated....my BBF claws came out and I was ready to tear some people a new A-hole.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her slide her phone into her bag, and was surprised when she shifted her body around to face him. She didn’t even try to hide the fact that she was studying him. He half expected her to start jotting notes about him in her little book.
Control freak.

And then I guess to wrap this up I need to address the heroine and her new cronies (aka, the wannabe Stiletto squad). I liked Brooke-a lot. But I feel like she was very...me me me. And while with most lead MCs this doesn't bother me when they are like this, she did. For whatever reason, when she would flub up, I didn't find it endearing-like I usually do-so much as obnoxious or eye-roll worthy. She was the sweetest chick and I was rooting for her, but when she causes problem after problem for literally no other reason than she's scared, I can't help but to get annoyed.

And as for her friends....I might have dozed off a bit as my mind began to wonder into la-la land when they were present. Never have I cared less about LL side characters...and GOD does that fucking suck. I don't know what to say about them other than they are the first side kicks that I didn't connect with. Maya, Seth's sister, yes-I loved. Grant, Seth's best friend-yes, he was okay, until the end in which I might have ripped his balls off with said BBF claws. But the Wedding Belle's I was just talking about?? *Snooooooooooreeeeeee*

“There is no after dinner. It’s a business meeting.”
“Poor Brooke,” Maya said, patting Brooke’s hand. “I don’t think you realize just how much trouble you’re in.”
“How so?”
“Let’s just say when my brother wants something, he gets it. Always.”

So, ouch, that hurt. It did. But I think I'm at the point where if no one reads this other than myself (over and over and over again to edit and re edit), that's okay with me. But, if by some small chance a new friend or someone who believes what I say on a regular basis looks to this review for candid advice, I can't lie and pretend like it was okay-Because it wasn't. If I can steer someone to literally any other LL book or series for their first endeavor, I will do everything in my power to do so. This author rocks and I adore her, so I'm extremely disappointed that I'm not liking where this series is going. I have 5 starred almost every single book she's written, aside from a couple 4/4.5 stars, and that's astronomical. This is my first full-length novel by her I've rated below a four...and it's not a feeling I'm familiar with. I hope that you'll see past my distance towards this book and look to what I've really been trying to say here: This may have been a miss, but there literally isn't another one of her books I think negatively of. Go find them-and enjoy.

For more of my reviews, please visit:


Well...definitely not what I had hoped for. It was up and down, repetitive, and, most importantly, I was bored (a lot). As usual, the male lead was the star of the show and he had me smiling so big more often than not. In the end, I was a gooey emotional mess, choking on butterflies, and utterly won over....but, at that point, it was too little too late.

Some of the characters felt underdeveloped and it felt like a sad imitation of the Stiletto girls. I think I was most disappointed because this had so many perfect, wonderful developments that could have made this a five star, easily. I just hate in books when something happens and everyone reacts and blames [and gangs up on] the male lead and UGH I just HATE it. This put the final nail in the three star coffin for me. I don't know.

Anyway, I'll write a review, but it might be a couple days because I have so little time these days...and this just kills me to rate this so low.

Profile Image for Michelle.
2,101 reviews1,263 followers
August 7, 2016
ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

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If you have ever read a Lauren Layne book, then you are well aware that Ms. Layne has a knack in delivering a love story that will steal your heart. And in her newest series, Lauren Layne has whipped up a fresh modern sexy series that will have reader saying yes to the dress and I do.

 photo 9e2a52cb730b2a9feb1bcc5d3e2a97_zpsfbwe1irk.gif “Good thing he was a ten physically, because his personality was trending toward the negative. ”

So if you have read the novella, From This Day Forward, then you were introduced to the Wedding Belles, New York’s elite planning services. They are the crème de la crème when it comes to planning a wedding. And so in this first installment aptly titled To Have and To Hold, Lauren Layne introduces readers to Brooke Baldwin, the newest member of the Belles.

Brooke Baldwin can plan any wedding. She is that good. She even planned her own dream wedding from the dress to the flowers and to the venue. She was all set to say I do until her dream wedding came to a crashing halt when her fiance was arrested. You see Brooke never knew the man she was gonna marry was a con man. Imagine the humiliation and embarrassment when her almost wedding was featured on the news. So Brooke decided that she needed a change and fresh start in a new city. As the newest member of the Belles, she gets assigned to Maya Tyler, New York’s socialite and billion dollar hotel heiress.

Maya Tyler is not your typical NYC socialite and heiress. She is actually sweet, lovable, and has a big heart. All she ever wanted is to be loved and so when she tells her protective big brother, Seth that she is going to get married to a guy that she met in less than six months, you can imagine the shock.

 photo 9e2a52cb730b2a9feb1bcc5d3e2a97_zpsfbwe1irk.gif “Seth realized then that maybe he’d misjudged the Barbie. He’d thought that the other Brooke was all there was, with her perfect smiles and inane platitudes that disguised sharp edges. But seeing her now, he realized there was another Brooke . Perhaps the real Brooke. The perfectly composed Brooke had made him want to do dirty, nasty things with her, and well, this one did, too.”

Seth Tyler is a businessman who loves to be in control. He likes things to be done with perfection and so when his baby sister informs him that she is going to get married to a man that he has doubts in, Seth does what any protective brother does. He takes it upon himself to be involved with the wedding planning process since he will be the one paying for his sister’s wedding and also it gives him a chance to see if this Neil guy that his sister is in love is marrying her for all the right reasons not because of her money.

So when Seth Tyler shows up to the wedding consultation, Brooke is a little taken aback. First, she never had a big brother who wanted to know every details of the wedding. Secondly, Seth was also a cocky and arrogant man who got under her skin. And last but not least, Brooke was head over heels sexually attracted to him.


On his first impression, Seth thought Brooke was a dumb-headed Barbie but after spending time with her, he soon realized that she the ideal package of beauty and brains. Seth loved that Brooke challenged him and so when he makes the first move, Brooke finds herself lusting and wanting Seth. When Brooke finally submits to her desires, will she be able to separate business and pleasure? And will Seth be able to prove to his sister that the man she thought was marrying was a liar and con? And will anyone be walking down the aisle?

 photo 9e2a52cb730b2a9feb1bcc5d3e2a97_zpsfbwe1irk.gif “Really?” he said, enjoying the game they were playing. “Because I was just starting to warm to the idea of watching you purr while you ate that chocolate soufflé.” She pursed her lips and leaned forward slightly, further lowering her voice. “How about you watch me purr with my lips wrapped around your cock instead?”

To Have and To Hold was a sweet, charming sexy romance that perfectly weaved passion, friendship, family, second chances, banter and love into one intoxicating and entertaining read. Lauren Layne had her readers walking down the aisle with a big fat smile on their faces as she treated her readers to a romance that had heart and steam. Seth Tyler is your Mr. Big of Sex and The City, your modern day version of Mr. Darcy, your Hubbell of The Way We Were, your Christian Grey except with the BDSM and of course your Prince Charming. He is a combination of those famous and beloved characters. He has the personality to drive you insane but also has a way to make you heart beat with passion, desire, and love. This story may have been a modern version of The Wedding Planner but Lauren Layne has made this book stand out on its own with her gorgeous and heartfelt prose. She has layered this story with every facets of love, forgiveness, second chances, and of course new beginnings. So if you are looking for a story where a man who didn’t believe in marriage falls madly in love with a woman, who believes in the magic of romance then I highly recommend you to read To Have and To Hold.

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Review can also be found on Four Chicks Flipping Pages: http://fourchicksflippingpages.weebly...Lauren Layne
Profile Image for Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth.
794 reviews891 followers
June 28, 2016

Review @ Vanilla & Spice Books

When I pick up a Lauren Layne book I expect to love it. It's even sadder when one of your favorite authors doesn't live up to the expectations. This might not even be the author's fault, it might be a case of it's me, not you. Let me explain:

Brooke is new to New York. After a disastrous relationship breakup involving her ex-fiance being a con and being arrested at her wedding she needed a change of scenery. She has been offered a job with the well known wedding planners from The Wedding Belles. The first client she is entrusted with is Maya Tyler, sister of the hotel magnate Seth Tyler.

When Seth Tyler's sister informs him that she wants to marry her boyfriend of three months, Seth is taken aback. Being extremely distrustful of the groom's motives he wants to be involved in the planning process. After meeting Neil his alarm bells ring even louder. When he meets Brooke they start off on the wrong foot. Seth explains his suspicions to the wedding planner but she doesn't understand his distrust.

There is an intense attraction neither of them can explain. They are both set to ignore the pull but they can resist each other only for so long. Their chemistry is just too explosive.

Seth is very straightforward, he doesn't sugarcoat things. It's "What you see is what you get" with him. He is the most unromantic person on the planet, a marriage to him is a merger. He is extremely caring but also controlling and loves his sister dearly.

It is obvious that Brooke is romantic to the core, being a wedding planner and all. She is kind, cares about her friends and as long as it doesn't involve Seth she is very understanding.

I struggled with both characters for half of the book. They lashed out at each other on a really hurtful level that I thought was hard to come back from given the short time they'd known each other. There is also the issue of Brooke's reaction to Seth hiring a PI to find out if Maya's husband-to-be was who he claimed to be. Her blowing up like she did was totally out of proportion, especially given that SHE had been betrayed by a con-man.

This was why you didn't go meddling in other people's business. Finding out things you weren't supposed to know, knowing secrets that weren't yours...It messed everything up.

Why would she say that? Wouldn't she have been glad if somebody had told her BEFORE she went down the aisle to the altar that the man she was going to marry was a fraud? My frustration with Brooke reached its peak when she compared Seth to her ex.

This issue and their repeated lashing out at each other were major points that brought down my rating. However, there were also very sweet moments between those two, however unlikely their pairing was. Despite being such an unromantic guy, Seth really tried to make Brooke happy. Their chemistry was great once they were on the same page. Lauren Layne's signature banter was again delightful and made this story worth reading. There is also a story arc involving Seth's best friend and Maya which I think would have deserved a separate book. The end was cute and Seth's change into a more likeable version of himself was absolutely adorable.

This wasn't a favorite of mine but please don't let my opinion keep you from reading this story. I know some of you will love this as much as Ms. Layne's other books!

Profile Image for Tina.
540 reviews918 followers
January 8, 2017

I enjoyed this book. It was a fun, light, fluffy romance. It's the first in a series of books about 3 women who are wedding planners. I liked the main characters (Seth and Brooke's) romance but did not feel a deep connection to them. However I really enjoyed the story and the subsequent secondary romance as well. I was kind of hoping that Grant and Maya would get their own book. Still, this is a promising series and I will read more of it. I definitely like Lauren Layne's writing style.

Profile Image for Wendy'sThoughts.
2,658 reviews3,254 followers
June 15, 2016
3.5 The Belles Learning Their Tune Stars
* * * 1/2

Being a positive person is a plus in life...it can allow you to see the good in things which others may dismiss...It can give strength when overcoming deep pain...but it can also cause blinders when your gut is telling you to look harder and see clearer. It is when this type situation presents itself, the positive person is tested to not turn a blind eye and become a "Pollyanna" thinking everything will be just fine...It when the person needs to listen to their instincts and take everything in...

In To Have and To Hold (The Wedding Belles #1), this is the way we meet Brooke Baldwin. She thought she was having the perfect life until it all came crashing down.

Her wedding planning business had been successful in the competitive market of Los Angeles
She was about to have the most important wedding she ever planned, her own.
She learned the man who swept her off her feet, who made her feel like she was the most important person in the world and was about to say I Do to her....turned out to be a Con Man operating a Financial Ponzi scheme and was wanted by the FBI.

How did she learn this, you might ask...Well, when the FBI crashes your wedding and takes him away in hand cuffs just before the I do's...That is an education. It also is humiliating, embarrassing and unfortunately causes Brooke's business to no longer be sought after.

All of these feelings Brooke had were normal.... It is normal to wonder, how was I so wrong about someone... how was I tricked and deceived...and in the end... was everything a lie... did he never feel anything for me...All of these feelings were hers... yet after she gave herself the time she needed to grieve...she pulled up her big girl panties and decided to move the hell on. She still believed in what she did and all the joy and happiness her skills provided.

For Brooke was talented at what she did and she received a call from the prestigious Wedding Belles, Wedding and Event planners extraordinaire. They were The Planners in New York City and recently lost one of their team to love and babies. They reached out to Brooke, interviewing her by phone/email and we are there during her first meeting with all of them.

The team is run by a woman who make the phrase "Put Together" seem casual. She is a "Princess Grace" type... always regal and calm... no matter what the circumstances. One of the other planners is all free and loose... quick with direct questions and prying into Brookes personal wedding debacle. It is with this confrontation Brooke decides who she is going to be...and she steps up and handles the questioning with grace and truth. Her situation was all over the news and internet, so anyone could look her up. She felt it was better to just get it over with; after all she would be working closely with all of them. The lunch was a bonding experience and Brooke felt she was on her way.

As she settles in and learns the differences of Los Angeles politics vs New York City social politics, she friends the receptionist and all of the team around her. She loves this business and wants to prove to her new company she is worthy... and also to all those who turned their backs on her.

We are also meeting Seth Tyler, Hotel Magnate. This is a man dealing with the loss of his father... a man dying too soon. Seth loved his dad and was preparing to step into his shoes... just not this way. He wanted to work shoulder to shoulder with him before taking over. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and now he is handling everything while mourning his loss. He also is now totally responsible for his sister. Yes, she is a full grown woman but their father babied her and gave her almost everything she ever wanted. Now he is all she has and he takes this responsibility seriously.

When Maya comes to him and informs him she is engaged to be married to man she never mentioned before or even introduced ...he is fit to be tied. All of this does not sound right to him. Maya coaxes him to be fair... and reminds him she is not a child...and he realizes if he does not handle this right, she could just elope with this guy. Luckily, Maya is excited about the opening with The Wedding Belles planners...Seth figures out if he can't beat them... then he will join them....
About everything. He tells Maya he will be at the appointment to meet with the planners and her intended.

As fate would have it (or in romance novels, tee hee) Brooke is called to cover this meeting at the last minute. When she hears this is THE Tyler family, she knows this is her chance to show her worth. She will make this the wedding it needs to be and prove herself at the same time.

Seth arrives early before everyone and Brooke opens the door thinking this must be Maya's fiance.
Alarms go off reminding her of a major cardinal rule of the wedding planning business....


Maya is stunned by the immediate pull this man has on her. He is every woman's dream. Strong presence, piercing eyes, all the intelligence through them focused on her. She gathers herself and greets him by name, the fiance's name and Seth looks at her sternly and sets her straight. Learning he is Maya's older brother allows her to let her breath out and feel back on track... well, sort of...

The meeting takes place with all of the parties there... and the tension is so thick, Maya is becoming a bit upset. Brooke needs to fix this and Seth explains he will be happy meeting Brooke separately every night to discuss whatever she and Maya have done during the day. A Deadly Compromise.

For these two who have gotten under each others skin... and both are not happy about it. Brooke is trying to get on track with her life and Seth has no interest in a relationship of any kind... he was hurt by a woman he opened his heart to... told he was cold and detached...He would Never allow himself to feel, to let himself be vulnerable like that again...

But he can't stop thinking about the damn wedding planner...

This is the set up. We have Brooke who experienced a con man and a brother determined to prove the man his baby sister is ready to marry is a con man. This becomes part of the overall plot besides the love story of these two.

There was a lot to like; banter and chemistry between Seth and Brooke. There was also the side interest of Grant, Seth's best friend from childhood. The story unfolds with the normal angst and worry with everything ending with smiles. There was some frustration, though. One of the plot points/angst didn't ring all that true to me.

Overall, I can see this new series being a popular one. Wedding planning and Layne's gift for dialogue and sexy times always allows for reading fun. There are new characters which show promise of intriguing stories and then there is always New York City to thrill as well.

A gifted copy was provided by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via NetGalley for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Lyndy Ann ♫.
672 reviews
September 5, 2016
*****5 New York City stars*****

I absolutely love this new series The Wedding Belles from Lauren Layne and I cannot wait for the rest of them.

Seth Tyler has jumped straight to no2 of my favourite LL guys,
he's controlling, moody, protective and super sexy. He is not happy that his little sister Maya is getting married to a guy he has not even met so he is tagging along to the appointments with the damned wedding planner.

Brooke Baldwin is new to NYC and the Wedding Belles starting afresh after her own wedding day went to hell when her ex was arrested at the altar making front page news.

Brooke's first client is Maya Tyler a spoiled hotel heiress when Seth turns up Brooke mistakes him for the groom there is an instant lust connection between them but during the appointment Seth's attitude towards the wedding Brooke realises he is going to be a big problem.

I loved the relationship between Seth and Brooke the lust/hate/chemistry between them WOW my kindle was melting I adored these two together and Seth was refreshing as he wanted more than a one night stand. What will happen?

Maya I really liked her and she surprised me and I loved Grant the way he teases Seth hilarious.

To Have and to Hold was fantastic I loved everything about the story. I love New York so of course I was hooked, I loved all the characters the ladies made me laugh (and crave chocolate), the guys made me swoon can't wait to get to know Logan Harris and I loved the funny witty dialogue. I was hooked from the first page and the last chapter OMG.

I have a feeling that this will be my favourite series from Lauren Layne as this was my 17th book by her.

Brooklyn bridge photo: Brooklyn Bridge DSC01747.jpg
Profile Image for KAS.
317 reviews3,127 followers
June 20, 2016
So the first couple chapters in I was thinking ..... "hmmmmmm, am I going to like this book?" as I just wasn't connecting with the two main characters, Brooke, a wedding planner, and Seth, brother of the bride. But as the story progressed they really grew on me and I became invested in their HEA. The secondary characters, Maya, the bride to be, and Grant, who is Seth's best friend, were a great addition to the story.

Brooke and Seth both went through disastrous romantic relationships and are weary of falling in love again, but their attraction to each other is undeniable. The storyline had me turning the pages and I enjoyed the conversation, although I could do without all the "f" bombs, which just is not necessary and cheapens the book, IMHO. This is first book in the "The Wedding Belles" series. Nice start to series and a very sexy read!

*I received a copy of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review*
Profile Image for Geri Reads.
1,232 reviews2,063 followers
August 6, 2016
I love the premise of this series. The Wedding Belles is about a group of women who run a wedding event business called the Wedding Belles. And I love wedding themed books, so this one appealed to me. Plus, it's Lauren Layne!

To Have and to Hold is the second book in the series counting the prequel, From This Day Forward. If you haven't read the prequel yet, it's a available now, so you better get on it.

Anyway, THatH is Brooke Baldwin's story. She's the newest addition to the Wedding Belles, and boy, does she have baggage with her. Brooke left Los Angeles for New York after finding out that her fiance is actually a con man during her wedding.


So Brooke left LA behind for NY and the Wedding Belles. Her first client is a rich heiress intent on marrying a guy she barely knows and that her brother disapproves of. Brooke is caught between pleasing her client and being wildly and inappropriately attracted to the brother, Seth who is hell bent on proving that the guy his sister is marrying is nothing but a con man.

At first, I loved the tension between Brooke and Seth. I understood where Brooke is coming from. Her first priority was her client so I didn't mind that she found Seth's disapproval of the groom objectionable. But as the story moved along and it became apparent that something isn't adding up about the groom, her stubbornness to acknowledge or at least investigate whether or not this guy is the real deal became frustrating. Especially when you consider what she went through, I thought she would understand Seth's point of view. But she didn't. And it became increasingly hard for me as a reader, to get on board with her decisions.

Seth was a perfect hero either. He made mistakes and he's also very stubborn. But I know and most readers would know that everything he did came from a place of love. All he really wants is to protect his sister. I saw nothing wrong at all with what he did. So it was kind of annoying that Brooke was more upset about it than the bride. Although I have to say that he was wrong about the other thing he did. But again, I feel like it came from a good place.

Despite my issues with this book, I still enjoyed the story. It's written well. The pacing is okay and the ending was sweet and swoon-worthy. Not only that, I'm already intrigued by the other characters in the book. Lauren Layne has a knack of really writing easy, readable stories that you can relate to. Unfortunately, this one wasn't as great as I had anticipated but is still enjoyable nonetheless.

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Claire.
2,309 reviews709 followers
July 26, 2016
5 - "You made me want to be more." Stars!

I am a huge fan of Lauren Layne, and I don’t think there is anyone that quite manages to pull a series together in the way she does. To Have and to Hold had all the elements that I have come to expect from this author, in the cast of great characters, attractive settings and a really enjoyable and low-stress story-line.

The first full length novel in the Wedding Belles series did not disappoint. The author did a great job of introducing the rest of the Belles wedding planners and staff, but still kept the story-line around Brooke Baldwin, and brother of the bride-to-be; Seth Tyler. Brooke has been burnt from her last relationship, insofar as the fall-out was so bad she’s moved to New York to get away from it, and start fresh. Seth is the only cloud on the horizon of her new start in that he is really not happy with his sister’s choice of husband, especially after only three months of dating and having never met the guy.

Good thing he was a ten physically, because his personality was trending towards negative.

Ornery with a side of rude basically sums up Seth, so his involvement with the planning for his sister’s wedding is not really conducive to the happy and in love vibe Brooke is looking for when discussing the important aspects of the wedding with the couple in question, and the snarky discussions the two of them have because of it were really entertaining.

"This thing between us – I’m not going to pretend it’s not there, but I’m also not going to action it."

Add to that a healthy dose of attraction, and it’s not long before Brooke is kicking aside her self-imposed man-ban, and getting hot and heavy with him. But, both of them are looking for different things initially, and I loved that Lauren gave Seth a huge streak of vulnerability, this male is all alpha, but you could tell he was stepping out of his comfort zone with Brooke, because of the feelings she evoked from him.

Seth Tyler had a thick layer of gentleman beneath all that swagger.

A man that likes control, and that is essentially where the drama comes from in this one. The reasons for Brooke’s coming to New York as less than stellar, and Seth’s distrust of the groom-to-be pushes him to do something which he knows he will probably regret.

"I’d rather lose sleep over my own guilt than worry over my sisters future."

This is just a beautifully written story, well balanced in relation to drama versus giggles, extremely likeable characters; main and secondary, that you just know this series is going to be another keeper from this author. Wedding-planner-in-training, Heather Fowler is up next in For Better or Worse, and even better we don’t have long to wait for it as its due in August!

ARC generously provided via Netgalley, and it was my absolute pleasure to provide the above honest review.
Profile Image for Amanda.
1,387 reviews319 followers
July 22, 2016
3.5 stars

Aww... weddings. I'm sure we will get a healthy dose of laces, doves, flowers and brizellas in the coming books. In To Have and To Hold, our heroine, Brooke Baldwin recently make a career move to NYC after everyone in LA knew that her ex-fiance turned out to be a conman on the day they were supposed to be married. Brooke plan to revive her career and mend her broken heart in the Big Apple.

Her first assignment is for Maya Tyler, the heiress of the Tyler Group Hotel. The tricky part though is Maya's older brother, Seth Tyler, the one who will be footing the bill and who seems hard pressed to put a stop the wedding.

Seth Tyler got this protective big brother vibe going on that I usually like. After being dumped by his ex, he became quite a cynic towards happily ever afters, so he was skeptical towards his future brother-in-law that apparently came out of nowhere. Add on with a hot wedding planner that he can't stop thinking about, Seth was having a plate full of problems.

I find it surprising that Brooke didn't entertain Seth's paranoia over Maya's fiance, considering her similar past experience. Here I thought she will go full on revenge mode and dig out the truth. Anyway, I try accept that she is far too optimistic in general.

Seth and Brooke are pretty good together, nothing explosive, but something nice and sexy. I especially like Seth's moment of vulnerability whenever Brooke brush him off. He then proceed to show a tough guy front and act unaffected by it. Despite all his overbearing and controlling behavior, I actually find him really likable. I totally dig the whole modern caveman thing.

Overall, this is a pretty short and pleasant read in usual LL style. The heroine could have do much better in the situation present, nevertheless it works quite well in the end for them. I'm sure everyone will love Seth's grand gesture towards the end.
Profile Image for Jen ♥Star-Crossed Book Blog♥.
539 reviews332 followers
December 1, 2016
***2.5/5 Stars***

Oh my gosh, I feel sick to my stomach and I want to cry over this rating.   I love this author.   In case you didn't know, she's one of my favorites.  I adore her books and her latest releases always makes me think, now this is my favorite.  Just like two of her releases this year, I Wish You Were Mine and Good Girl.  Wow, they were sooooo good and definitely must reads!  But To Have And to Hold didn't wow me or let alone work for me.  I loved some of the ideas, but unfortunately the story and the majority of the characters fell flat.  *cries*

I kept thinking what was wrong with me?  I should love this!  So I sent a whining text to my co-blogger Chelsea, who had just finished this book.  I rambled on in my text that the main male character felt fleshed out but the others were like cardboard characters.  That the heroine and side characters would vacillate between being believable to being written like they were one-dimensional, and I just didn't get it.  Chelsea was like wait.....and she screen shot her review.  Our thoughts were so similar, I wasn't alone!  But I still hoped that my opinion might change. But as I continued trudging through the pages, I was left feeling not much at all.

We start out the story following Brooke who has recently moved to NY from LA.  She's been hired by The Wedding Belles and I went into this thinking YAY, another group of females to love.  Because I love, love, love the women at Stilleto!  But the Belle ladies didn't even get close to the friendship, love and banter of the Stiletto women.  And while I have a fabulous grasp on what each character looks like in Stiletto, well, I don't even remember what our heroine looks like let alone any of the 3 other women.  None of the Belle's stood out.  I truly wished each of them and their friendship would have floated off of the pages and into my heart. *cries again*

So with the Wedding Belle ladies falling flat, I hoped I would love Brooke.  But that didn't happen either.  Her internal dialogues never gripped me and in the moments where it felt like Brooke's character was alive, she rubbed me in all of the wrong ways.  Her actions and words irritated me in certain situations.  Like the breakfast scene.  I just wanted to knock some sense into her.  Now I'm usually a little too forgiving when it comes to heroines.  But this time, I didn't care for her enough to want to work towards forgiveness or even liking her.

So Brooke meets Seth, who is going to help pay for his little sister's wedding.  And ultimately Seth becomes the one who wants Brooke to help him unplan the wedding, because he doesn't trust his sister's fiance.  And this is where I got hung up.  Because things come into play and I kept scratching my head wondering why no one mentioned   Maybe that's too logical, but I wish one of them would have at least talked about it.  And Seth being the guy who tries every avenue to help or protect the ones he loves, I was shocked he never thought of it.

Now you see, at first I loved Seth. He was my only light in this whole book.  He felt real.  I could feel his emotions radiating off of the page.  Plus I loved how demanding and sometimes possessive he could be, oh, he was so hot.  But then, my feelings towards him stopped.  I don't now if it's because I couldn't truly care for the other characters and those meh feelings transferred over to Seth?  *shrugs*  I'm so disappointed and saddened I felt this way towards this book and the characters.  I wish I could give this book a glowing review, but I can't.  But on a huge positive note, I'm definitely going to try the 2nd book in this series, so fingers crossed that book will be a much better fit!

*ARC kindly provided by Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* 

This review was originally posted on Star-Crossed Book Blog

For more of my reviews, please visit:
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Profile Image for Jo.
957 reviews205 followers
August 23, 2016
“But the truth is, I don’t think any of us women really want or need the roses and the fancy dinners or even the poetry so much as we just want the love.”

Brooke Baldwin had a very successful wedding planner business in LA. And her own wedding was going to be her masterpiece, until everything fell apart when her fiancé was handcuffed by the FBI at the altar, right before they were supposed to exchange vows. Discovering that the last few years was all a lie, that she fell in love and almost married a con man, broke her heart. So she makes a fresh start in New York, and her first client is Maya Tyler, a hotel heiress. And Brooke can’t wait to plan the wedding. But then she meets Maya’s controlling brother, and things get complicated.

“You said that marriages could work, but not for the ‘lovey-dovey’ reasons. Why do you think some of them last, then?”
“For the same reason any merger works. When both parties stand to benefit equally, there’s no reason it shouldn’t work.”

Seth Tyler likes to be in control of his life. After the recent death of his father, he’s been working like crazy to make sure that the business is thriving. Then his sister blindsides him when she informs him that she’s getting married to the guy she’s been dating for three months. And Seth’s gut tells him that his sister is being conned. But how to prove it? Intent on rescuing his sister from a mistake he decides to get involved with the planning of the wedding, but what he didn’t expect was the stunning Brooke, who’s determined that the wedding will go off without a hitch.

Sparks fly when the cynical Seth and the optimistic Brooke clashes wills. Can Seth persuade the wedding planner to unplan a wedding? Will Brooke’s belief that HEA’s does exist be crushed or proven right?

True love did exist. It did.
She needed it to.

Brooke was an interesting character although at times I did get frustrated with her naivety and the way she would push Seth away. I did admire her determination to be positive, especially after what happened to her. She was sweet and feisty at times.

Seth I loved. I love grumpy and broody guys, and Seth was all that. He was quite cynical, which I could understand after what happened with his ex, and he had a difficult time showing his emotions. Brooke was the only one who could make him lose his control, and I loved that. I also understood the methods he used to protect his sister and Brooke, and although they weren’t the right ones to use, it still said how protective he was over those he loved.

“You know, for such a rich, savvy guy, you can be a total dork.”
“I like to think it reveals my vulnerable side.”
She glanced up at him suspiciously. “Do you have a vulnerable side?”
“I do. Her name is Brooke.”

The romance was great. I always love instant attraction, and the chemistry between Brooke and Seth was intense, especially because of all the animosity, which was a lot of fun. The sexy times were slow in coming, but that worked perfectly. Both were so damaged from their pasts, and the way they felt about each other scared them, and caused them to lash out, to say hurtful things. But in the end everything worked out perfectly.

I really enjoyed the secondary romance, and the plot of the story was very entertaining. And I also liked Brooke’s colleagues, especially the cold and logical Alexis. I really hope her love interest is going to be the sexy Logan.

This was a very good first installment to a series, and I enjoyed it from start to finish. I can’t wait to read the rest of the books. A must read for all contemporary romance fans.

Profile Image for Dali.
1,847 reviews485 followers
July 26, 2016
Happy book birthday!

Cute, sweet and sexy.

Escaping to New York was never Brooke Baldwin’s plan. She just wanted someone that would love her and have a successful career as a wedding planner. Having her fiancée taken away in handcuffs minutes away from getting married not only shattered her dreams of love but also of having a fruitful business. But the East Coast elite wedding Belles want her and she’s happy for the new start until she meets the infuriatingly controlling man who’s paying for her client’s wedding.

Hotel mogul Seth Tyler would do anything for his only living family, but going to tastings and viewing potential locations for his little sister’s out of the blue wedding to a man he doesn’t know is not exactly something he’s looking forward to, but how else will he make sure the man isn’t after his sister’s money?
After meeting the very attractive wedding planner and hearing her earnest opinion on happy forevers, his very pragmatic and unromantic side seems to be constantly distracted with thoughts of passion and romance towards Brooke. Can he convince her to give them a real chance and still keep his sister from making a terrible mistake by marrying the wrong man?
“She so desperately wanted a nice man who’d take her to dinner, buy her pretty things, and most of all, who’d hold her. Who’d pull her close, wrap his big arms around her, and just let her lean. Without plan or agenda. A kind man, a gentle man, who wanted to build a life with her.”

I’ve been hooked on Lauren Layne since she first got her first book out and I’ve read all of them since. I can’t really say which one is my favorite because I’ve loved all of them. I really like all of her series because of the friendship and camaraderie between all the characters that add a layer of appeal you can’t ignore. So when she announce a series described as “Sex in the City meets The Wedding Planner” I just couldn’t resist.
“What” she asked.
“A dirty vodka martini… Somehow that seems to be exactly the perfect drink for you.”
Brooke tilted her head. “Do you always mean for things to sound the way they do when they come out of your mouth?”
“How’s that?”
“What’s provocative about repeating your drink order?”
“The dirty part.”

Lauren’s writing is as solid as ever with humor, sassy banter and hot sexy times. I liked all the different personalities within the ladies at the Wedding Belles and think each will make interesting characters. Maya and Grant, Seth’s sister and best friend, made for a great backstory. I wish we could have had of what went on between them and I hope Lauren considers doing a novella about them.

Seth and Brooke are appealing characters. Seth is an anti-social, cynical control freak who loves his sister tremendously and has a vulnerable side that wanted to make Brooke happy no matter what. On the other spectrum is Brooke, who despite having had a humiliatingly heartbreaking almost wedding, she still believes in romance and hasn’t lost hope in finding a man that will love her.

They had an incredible attraction but I found myself not entirely sold on their connection. I don’t know if I’m in the minority but I couldn’t understand why Brooke at one point got really upset with Seth. I won’t go into detail but I thought he’s reasoning was solid, good and came from the heart. He could probably have been more forthcoming, but I didn’t feel it was a good enough reason to get all worked up about it and certainly not to the point of Brooke comparing him with her conman ex-fiancée.

To Have and to Hold is book # in The Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne. It is a sexy contemporary romance and a great start to the series. Told from both points of view that has a happy ending.

Author’s Pinterest board -> https://es.pinterest.com/LLayneAuthor...

* I was given an ARC of this book courtesy of the author via NetGalley. The excerpts are from that copy. *

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Profile Image for Bindi Boo .
578 reviews117 followers
July 27, 2016
3 stars

Everyone knows i ADORE Lauren Layne. Having just discovered this author, i have relished each and every one of her books and most were 5 star reads, if not favourites. Sadly, this one is a tad disappointing. Her writing was flawless and i still enjoyed the little wit and banter that was there, however apart from the hero, i failed to connect with every other character. The plot was a bit shallow too. Seth Tyler made me continue reading or this was a close DNF. These 3 stars are for you Seth- you were sweet and so hot despite all that aloofness. I loved that you were smitten first.

In a nutshell: grouchy, rich brother of the bride who thinks the groom is dodgy meets barbie-like, sassy wedding planner and seeks out her help to spy on said dodgy groom while planning the wedding. They both have a insta-attraction/lust and try to fight it due to personal past events. Ultimately they go for it and then break apart for something so, so, so inconsequential i was left dumbfounded. Like seriously, had the hero done what he did for me, i would have jumped him and given him the biggest,sloppiest. wettest kiss! So that was that. I would have also thought the heroine would have been more suspicious and careful around the groom since she had a similar past but she just kept being so trusting although Seth kept having a bad feeling.

Sadly, this was a meh-just-ok-read for me. Hoping the next book in this series is better.
July 28, 2016
DNF at 29%

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Lauren Layne has been a true hit for me in the past but this series I'm just not connecting to. In this particular book, we've got a wedding planner with a history of being left at the altar. Well, not LEFT, but her ex was a con and arrested at the altar. No apology. And our hero is the brother of a bride planning her wedding. A guy hell-bent on proving his future brother in law is a fraud.

First of all, this wedding planner is painfully unprofessional and way too personal with clients. It's constant talk of marriage, commitment, of fake love, and her advice is way beyond her job description. It's just boring me to tears. I'm feeling zero connection between the two MCs so I'm calling it quits. In fact, I think I'll scrub the series as a whole. I loved her Sex, Love and Stiletto series and her Oxford series but this one just isn't my cuppa.

Advanced copy received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kate.
2,097 reviews316 followers
August 1, 2017

 photo LL_zpsq44zsg4f.jpg

Lauren Layne is one of my favorite authors. She manages in comparison to other authors to hit the right spot in it being sweet & funny but with a pinch of angst and a plus not so much fluff. Some authors tend to go overboard with the fluff which kind of makes me cringe. I am NOT a fluffy person.

Brooke Baldwin has moved from the West Coast to the East Coast due to some unfortunate event that made her flee. My heart went out to Brooke what with the embarrassment and the humiliation of the situation. So she starts over in New York as a Belle.

Her first big wedding is the wedding of Maya Tyler, a heiress of Hotels that belong to the Tyler Group. The thorn in her side? Seth Tyler the brother.

Seth Tyler the CEO of the Tyler Group is controlling and after the death of his father he has become even more so. When his little sister confesses that she is getting married after only three months? His temper is hard to contain. So what is a possessive, controlling yet adorable big brother to do but tag along to damage control the situation. What also doesn't help is that he is also an absolute cynic when it comes to love. But understandably so when he but his well you can't really say heart but was rejected in a cruel manner that has colored many an aspect of his life.

The mission for Seth is to implement stop sister marrying a dodgy bloke but the ditzy, bubbly wedding planner is in the way. He never expected to be instantly attracted to her. Brooke has in her opinion a conflict of interest and that conflict is Seth Tyler and his domineering ways. In the end they give into their attraction to one another and well they are a great couple. Seth did take some things a little too far.

The secondary characters are just as fleshed out as the main characters and I love how we get a feel for them to see them in their upcoming books. What I find pretty cool is that Ms. Layne has a writing bucket list. So expect more awesomeness from the author.

I am of the opinion that when I like an author I don't always like all of her books but so far the books that I have read by LL have been a winner for me.

Book received from Threshold, Pocket Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review can also be found @ http://jerisbookattic-reviewblog.blog...
Profile Image for Julie .
4,077 reviews59k followers
August 30, 2016
To Have and to Hold – The Wedding Belles- Vol.1) by Lauren Layne is a 2016 Pocket Books publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher as an XOXpert, the official street team of XOXO After Dark.

I read “For Better or Worse”, the second book in the Wedding Belles series and absolutely loved it. So, I’m happy I was given the opportunity to read and review the debut novel in the series.

When Seth’s sister, Maya, announces she is about to marry a man she has only dated for three months, Seth is blindsided. After his father’s sudden death, it is up to Seth to see that Maya has her dream wedding. But, the thing is, Seth is a major control freak, and so insinuates himself into the wedding planning, which is how he meets, Brooke Baldwin.

Brooke is excited to have the opportunity to work for The Wedding Belles, especially after her own wedding came to a crashing halt when her fiance’ was arrested. But, she never anticipated her first client would have her brother tagging along, attempting to control the entire affair, which means she and Seth Tyler will be spending a lot of time together. What could possibly go wrong?

This first book in the series has two love stories in one book, which is always fun. Seth’s instincts about Maya’s fiancé may be spot on, but, he has to let her live her own life, except he can’t seem to let it go, prompting him to take invasive measures he rationalizes away under the guise of love and protection.
He’s also putting entirely too much pressure on himself, which, despite his lack of warmth, makes you want to hold him.

Brooke, is trying to put her past behind her, embrace her new lease on life, but her upbeat persona sometimes feels forced, as she tries desperately to shut out all the bad stuff, the hard parts, and live a life free of conflict. But, where’s the fun in that?

Playing in the background, is the wedding plans for Maya, who is perhaps holding a little secret in her heart we hope she will own up to before it’s too late.

I loved the immediate chemistry between Seth and Brooke and how they tried to ignore it and fight it, but of course it’s a losing battle. The banter between them is so funny, plus they have a palpable connection, despite having some real issues to cope with. So, there is a good deal of character growth and development along the way.

Seth, in particular, has some hard work to do for himself, but he does redeem himself in such a sweet way, you won’t be able to hold back a smile or a little sigh.

I’m glad I took the time to go back and check this one out. It was definitely worth it.

4 stars
Profile Image for Elle G. Reads.
1,597 reviews775 followers
August 30, 2016
Release Date: July 26, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: The Wedding Belles (Interconnected Standalones)

:: 5 Pretty Little Stars ::

This book is too cute! I really enjoyed reading it and actually finished it in only a few hours. I honestly couldn’t put it down and loved every single second. I have to admit, I haven’t yet read a Lauren Layne book until this one (I know, I know. I am a romance lover and haven’t read one of her books? What is wrong with me?!?). And I have to say, I am super shocked that I haven’t picked up other books by her! Yea, I have seen them around but just haven’t had a chance to sit down and check out her work. Well, I am SO glad I did and am happy to have started with this one. To Have and To Hold is filled with witty characters, smart dialogue, sweet and sexy romance that will make any reader with a heart swoon, and a fun and loving cast of secondary characters. The budding relationship between the two main characters- Brooke and Seth- has just the right amount of angst and emotion, and the way the two banter back and forth is great! I honestly can’t wait to continue on with this series (and other books by the author) because she obviously has a knack for writing amazing romances. YAY! I found a new author to fangirl over 

This book my friends, is the perfect book to place in my “wedding fevers” category as it makes you want to get married all over again. The way the author incorporates wedding planning and falling in love is absolutely perfect! So, what’s this book about? Brooke, after being conned by her ex fiancé (and basically left at the alter) has just moved to New York City to plan weddings the one of the best wedding planner companies in the city. Her first job is working with Maya- the sister to uber rich Seth Tyler- and things are beginning to look up for her. But when Seth begins to stick his nose into every single aspect of this wedding he quickly becomes a throne in Brooke’s side. Too bad she feels a steamy attraction to this man…. And he feels it right back. But a series of little white lies are bound to make an appearance in these two lives. And they have to decide whether everything should go on as planned… Or if escaping is the better option for all involved.

Overall, this is an amazing read! It is fun, fast paced, sexy, and an all-around good time. It will bring readers back to their own wedding days or make you want to get married now! So yea, I highly recommend this one and it is definitely going on my list of must haves for 2016!
Profile Image for Francoise.
757 reviews32 followers
August 26, 2016
5 Stars

This first book in Lauren Layne’s new series « The Wedding Belles » is a delightful and romantic story with thrilling elements and a perfect setting in the world of the wedding planners, catering to the rich and famous.

Brooke Baldwin’s reputation as a L.A. celebrity wedding planner is in tatters after her fiancé was arrested at the altar. The scandal left her with no other choice than to move to New York.
She is lucky enough to be hired by the Wedding Belles, the premiere wedding planning company in the city. Her first bride-to-be is a wealthy hotel heiress, Maya Tyler, whose brother, Seth, is less than happy about the upcoming nuptials.

Seth Tyler is CEO of his family’s hotel group, one of the largest companies in North America. As Maya’s only family, he is protective of his sister and feels something is off with her fiancé, a man his sister has known for 3 months. He plans on being around for all details related to the marriage, which also means spending a lot of time with Brooke. Their first interactions are tense as Brooke is annoyed by his overbearing and uptight attitude. Seth wants to use Brooke to get information on Maya’s fiancé. Basically, he has hired her to organize a wedding he doesn't intend to let happen. Obviously, that doesn't sit well with Brooke!

Brooke and Seth have great chemistry, despite their seemingly opposite personalities. I loved this clash between Brooke’s bubbly, trusting and optimist nature and Seth’s domineering, cold and rigid attitude. I was sure there was much more to Seth than the controlling jerk he seemed to be, though!

After all, he only tries to protect his sister from making the biggest mistake of her life. As they get to know each other, their interactions become playful, their antagonism slowly fading. Their mutual simmering attraction is confusing them. Both were deeply hurt in a previous relationship and have trouble letting their guard down. Their path to happiness was twisty, but with so many feels... and some groveling!

I loved this gem of a story! It was swoony, heart melting and sexy, with a wonderful final scene, that brought happy tears to my eyes! I highly recommend it and I can't wait for more in this series!

An advanced copy of this book was provided by the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.

Profile Image for Irene.
1,857 reviews119 followers
August 30, 2016
4 stars

To Have and to Hold was another entertaining read by Lauren Layne.

I'm going to start off by saying Ms Lauren Layne is one of my go to authors.
I love her writing, her characters and her storylines. From the first book I was hooked.
So when I heard she was going to be writing this series I was beyond excited, I couldn't wait to see what Ms Layne would be giving us.

After reading the first two books in the Wedding Belles series, I can honestly say that with each book I'm falling more and more in love with Ms Layne.
She's once again captured my interest with smart, witty, sassy, heartwarming characters that manage to get under your skin and stay with you long after you've finished reading.

I loved watching Brooke and Seth's relationship develop. I enjoyed their banter, the way they would argue and try to outsmart one another and the way they simply were together.
From the first meeting I knew I was going to be entertained by these two, it wasn't a case of instalove but a more of I can't stand you but I want to jump your bones kind of attraction. And I was like, YES bring it on lol


Another plus for me was the relationship between Seth and his sister Maya. I loved how protective, caring and loving he was. I really felt for him when everyone judged him for something he did, tbh I would have done the same thing (sue me, I'd do anything for my loved ones as well) But it all worked out well in the end and I loved the romance that developed between Seth's BFF and sister.

Overall, To Have and to Hold was a heartwarming, entertaining and enjoyable read with characters that will take you on an emotional and romantic journey and leave you with a heart full of love.

I highly recommend this book and The Wedding Belles series https://www.goodreads.com/series/1652...

*Purchase Links*
Amazon ~https://www.amazon.com/Have-Hold-Wedd...
B&N ~http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/to-ha...
Google Play ~https://play.google.com/store/books/d...
iTunes ~ https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/to-h...
kobo ~ https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebo...

*Thank you Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books & Tasty Book Tours for the advance copy in exchange for my honest thoughts.*

Profile Image for Ami.
5,864 reviews496 followers
June 24, 2016
2.5 stars

Hmmm ... this goes into my 2.5-stars collection because of one thing. I just didn't get Brooke. At all. For someone who have been unknowingly involved with a con man for two years, a con man who was arrested on their wedding day, and had taken all of her family money, Brooke was either too naive (slash, stupid) or, like Seth said "quick to face her demons."

Maybe I'm being too cynical, but I didn't understand why Brooke couldn't agree with Seth's distrust towards Neil, his sister's fiancé. If it was me, I would probably lend my hands and help Seth to research Neil, to ensure that the guy didn't just want Maya's money. Sure, Seth seemed controlling but at least to me, Seth was "what you see was what you get". With Brooke's background, I felt like she should at least be more careful.

And then Brooke had conniption after Seth hired the P.I. to investigate Neil? Especially turned out that Seth was right all along about Neil?? I felt that Brooke was the one who should be doing the grand gesture here. Again, with this kind of set-up, I understand Seth's point-of-view. I just didn't get Brooke's logic that Maya should make her own mistakes. Brooke knew first and of being trapped by a con man. So why would she let another woman fall into the same trap? Seriously, I wouldn't trust Brooke's judgment either *shrugs*.

So yeah, I simply didn't understand why everyone seemed to think that Seth was doing the wrong thing here. He saved his sister from that fake man, right?? Or maybe I truly can't work in wedding planning industry, because clearly I would end up cajoling Maya to cancel this wedding plan *laugh*.

Anyway, throughout I just felt more and more frustrated and annoyed with Brooke. She wasn't an inspiring heroine for me. I kind of wanted Seth to cut her loose altogether. Yes. I judged Brooke. Sue me.

On another note, I was feeling a bit cheated with the off-page secondary relationship that bloomed between Maya and Grant as well. I thought that could be a cute story by itself.

Conclusion: Wasn't impressed mainly because of the heroine. BUT, despite this one and the prequel novella being failure, I am still going to give the series a try. Besides, Lauren Layne's writing is still good. Maybe the next one will be better *cross fingers*.

The ARC is provided by the publisher for an exchange of fair and honest review. No high rating is required for any ARC received.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for JewelsyGoolsy.
566 reviews98 followers
July 28, 2016
3 -being super generous- Stars

I was looking for a fluffy filler inbetween emotional reads and that's exactly what I got with this story (no more and no less).

I could see a quasi Pride & Prejudice aura going on in this book however, the MC's here didn't come close to the engaging characteristics of Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett - or even Bridgette Jones and Mark Darcy (if you know what I mean).

Told in dual third person POV with no epilogue or HEA. This is a standalone in a continuing series where we will most likely get snippets of the MC's HFN throughout the next books. Yep, we only get a tease of a HFN as the ending cut right off after the resolution of the final conflict and although I woulda liked to see a more thorough HFN, I wasn't surprised with the cut off (as the author gave us a sample of book #2 straight after).

I am not super excited about book #2 but I would be keen to read book #3 (Alexis and Logan's story) as it seems more up my alley.

Great read for fans of the author and lovers of simple wedding planning type tropes with some nookie.
Profile Image for Jacob Proffitt.
2,997 reviews1,638 followers
March 7, 2018
For how many issues I have with this after the fact, it should have been a whole lot harder to get through. Which is faint praise, I know.

I think it comes down to just liking Brooke and Seth both individually and together. The thing is, I have to ignore huge swathes of the plot to do so. Is this another manifestation of my superpower of editing things in my head?!? (yes, yes it is). Except for the stuff I edited (that I'll go in to), I really liked how well they balance each other and how much each needs the other. Brooke as the bubbly optimist looking for the best in others and Seth the no-nonsense cynic looking to protect those he cares about. It's a rich dynamic for give and take and I liked how they worked things out.

What I had to edit in my head? First and foremost, is that both main characters are a monster case of negative motivation*. Both are determined not to fall in love, though for different, perfectly silly, reasons. This shows up early and never leaves and is a huge drag on plot. Fortunately, Layne covers that up by giving lots of plot space to Brooke's other budding relationships with her coworkers and with Seth's sister Maya. I'm glad those relationships drove so much of the story because all that impetus towards "no" would have otherwise been fatal.

Worse than that, though, was this whole moral background built up around willful ignorance and the benefit of trusting the people you love to screw up and not do anything about it. I'm sorry, but if the family coffers reached to 8 and 9 figures and some dude shows up wooing my sister—who is my only remaining family—I'm going to investigate that guy so hard his eyeballs will squeak. And that's before you get to the shiftless "investment phase" malarkey I'm supposed to be taking seriously. Yeah, Seth screws up by going about it behind Maya's back, but that he hired someone to poke around? Bah. Here's how that conversation goes (in my head) "I love you, sis, and I'm sure he's a good guy just like you say he is. And being a good guy, I'm sure there's nothing he needs to worry about if I have Jack (not-his-real-name) take a bit of a look-see." End of story. So yeah, chew the idiot out for hiding and skulking about it but that he wants someone to look? not even a little bit of a problem that I can see.

And related to that, Brooke being pissed at Seth that he even wants to know? After having her own experience with a fiancé turning out to be a scumbag? How does that even happen? I had to edit that out in my head or I'd have had to discard her as kind of an idiot.

Anyway, my three stars are generous and based solely on my superpower. If you, like me, can just be along for the ride, then you should be fine. On the other hand, if any of those drawbacks sound like they'd be a problem, know that what I relate above is only the tip of a plot iceberg that dips deep into the story flow.

A note about Steamy: There are two long-ish explicit sex scenes, so this is the middle of my steam tolerance. They're actually pretty well-integrated into the relationship dynamic and a large part of how they get past the "no" so I found them welcome—even as I cringe at sex overriding sense...

* Negative Motivations: I kind of hate that the term "negative motivation" isn't widespread, yet. Since it isn't, I'm going to save off this little jag to append to my reviews that feature the term. Jennifer Crusie blogged about it a bit back and it changed how I understand story. The problem with the term is that if you've never heard it before, you'd assume it meant motivations that are harmful or immoral. Not so. What it refers to is motivations not to do something. The thing is that many of us are motivated to not do things for a lot of different, perfectly valid and reasonable, reasons. The problem is that in a story motivations to not do things are a huge drag on the plot—particularly considering the fact that most negative motivations are overcome by the character simply deciding they don't care any more (or, rather, that they do care and are now motivated to do the thing). So not only do you have a counter to action but you also have a situation where to overcome it, all a character has to do is change their mind. Which means eventually, the reader is rooting for the character to get over him/herself already and do the thing we want them to do. Conflict drives story. Conflict between a reader and a main character drives readers away from story.
Profile Image for Marla Mei.
542 reviews295 followers
June 22, 2016
Don't let the 3-star dissuade you because despite that rating, I still liked this book way more than any of Lauren Layne's recent releases.

-Brooke and Seth's chemistry took a while to convince me but it eventually did and I didn't even notice when it did because I was already too far gone with the two of them I was too busy swooning. Just TOO. MUCH. SWOON. guys.
-Lauren Layne's trademark humor is still there, thank goodness. I just know I can always count on that. (Although there were less laugh-out-loud moments here compared to her other books, imo.)
-Seth was controlling, yes, but honestly? I wasn't really bugged by what he did as much as Brooke was. I understood the reasons for what he did but of course not everyone's reaction towards it would be the same. It's just for me, the climax felt like a sorry excuse for a source of conflict between the two characters. I'm really protective over Seth lol. New book boyfriend alert!
-Seth has the tendency to say stupid things when his temper's got the best of him but I found Seth adorable. Like pinch his cheeks adorable. Most of my highlights basically consisted many of his lines. Especially those moments where he was being a dork around Brooke asgdklgdhdjdkkfl I just wanna quote them all here
-Although there were only a few sexy scenes, they were off the charts hot anyway so no complaints here!
-I think this book has the record of the longest time before the grand gesture lol. I mean, 2 months?! Then immediately moving in together after that? Must be really true love.

This is a high three for me (could be bumped to a 3.5) and after reading the preview for the next book in this series, my faith in Lauren Layne is now restored. It was never really gone actually, just wavered a little.

An ARC was provided by Netgalley.
Profile Image for nick (the infinite limits of love).
2,120 reviews1,362 followers
July 27, 2016

I always go into a Lauren Layne book expecting great things and I can always count on her to deliver in every way. When I saw that her latest series was about wedding planners finding love in NYC, I knew I was in for a fun, romantic and feel-good kind of series. With To Have and To Hold, Lauren Layne delivered exactly that.

On the day of her wedding, Brooke finds out at the altar that her fiancee is a con-man when he is arrested by the FBI. To get a fresh new start, she moves to NYC and begins working at The Wedding Belles. Lauren Layne's characters are always fresh and loveable. Brooke, her newest protagonist, was very likeable. Her positivity despite how upside down her life had turned was very heartening. I love that she saw the good in people and that she was a girl who completely believed in the happily ever after. I'll admit, there were times when she came across as naive, particularly when it came to her latest client's fiancee, but I love that Lauren Layne's characters aren't perfect. It makes them relateable and much more interesting to read than perfect characters.

Seth was a pretty great male character, himself. He is one of the richest men in New York and owns a chain of hotels. Seth was a little controlling and had some temper issues, but they are explained throughout the book through his history and his background. He tries his best throughout the book to change that about himself and to become a better person. Even when he was being controlling though, his heart was in the right place. Even with his meddling ways, when it came to his sister, Maya, it was clear that he loved her dearly and would do anything and everything to ensure that she was happy. There is something very attractive about a guy who cares so much about his family.

Seth and Brooke's chemistry was off-the-charts amazing since their very first meeting. They were such a complementary couple and I loved watching them interact, especially when Brooke gets under the uptight Seth's skin. The I-think-I-don't-like-you-but-I-also-want-to-take-you-to-bed dynamic they had going on was so much fun to watch. They bicker, they banter, but they are so good for each other. Brooke allows Seth to realize how controlling he can be and she slowly manages to change his ways, without her really doing anything - he just wants to be a better man for her sake and it's very endearing to watch. I will admit that the misunderstanding that normally comes with romance novels at the 75% mark was a bit of an over the top reaction by one party, but thankfully, it wasn't stretched out too long and the groveling and Seth winning over Brooke scenes were so adorable and made me smile like a goofball.

Lauren Layne also writes fabulous girl friendships and bromances. Brooke may be new to The Wedding Belles, but she was easily able to settle in with the girls, who were welcoming and made me want to become their friends. I loved how close they became with one another and how they would give each other advice on their love lives. Seth, himself, had an awesome friend in Grant, who also gets his romance in To Have and to Hold - I liked him so much, I almost wish Lauren Layne would write a full-length novel or a novella for him and the girl.

The NYC setting was as always vibrant and engaging. Lauren Layne gives readers glimpses into the city with her books and you can tell that this is a city that is near and dear to her with the way she depicts all the locales and lifestyle in her books. I was expecting a lot of wedding planning shenanigans with To Have and to Hold, and the author delivered beautifully on that front. There's something very special about Lauren Layne's books that's impossible to put into words. All I can say is that you have to experience it for yourself and that they make me so darn happy. It's easy to become lost in her writing, her characters and her romances and I simply can't get enough.

Lauren Layne has written many wonderful novels, but To Have and to Hold is without a smidgen of doubt, one of my favorite books by her. I am so eager to see what she has in store for readers in the next two novels in the Wedding Belles series. In the meantime, I'll be re-reading all my favorite scenes from this one!
Profile Image for Annie .
2,449 reviews818 followers
April 2, 2020

TO HAVE AND TO HOLD is the first book in the Wedding Belles series by Lauren Layne. I have read one other book by Layne before but I wanted to give her another shot and see what this series was about. As you can expect from the title and also the cover, these books are wedding themed. I’m not the biggest wedding fan so these readings are a little bit out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to stretched my reading horizons and try something a little different.

For the most part, I liked the book. I think Layne has a good voice and the premise of the book is fun and engaging. But unfortunately for me, I think the problem lies with the characterization. I just don’t like how the characters are first introduced because it really taints how we continue to see them for the rest of the book. Seth Tyler is rich and likes to be in charge. This I don’t mind. I’ve read plenty of dominating alpha heroes in my time, but what irked me about his character is that he’s really a grouch. His sister is getting married and from the very first page he complains and moans. He already knows that he man his sister intends to marry is a liar but instead of trying to convince his sister of this, he goes along with planning the wedding just so that he can prove to his sister that he is right in the end.

To accomplish this, he’s going to need Brooke’s help and this where the romance starts. I don’t mind Brooke so much. She’s been wronged in the past but I just couldn’t get past Seth. So unfortunately, he was the number one reason I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I thought I would.

The Wedding Belles has a faulty start for me, and I still haven’t decided if I want to continue the series just yet, but I’ll see how I feel when book two arrives.

Read my alternate review at Fresh Fiction
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