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Blog Tour Stop: To Have and To Hold by Lauren Layne

by Lauren Layne
Series: The Wedding Belles #1
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Pocket Books
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Source: ARC received for review
Rating: ★★★
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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?

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!


Author Biography

Lauren LayneLauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of more than a dozen contemporary romance novels.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. A year after moving from Seattle to NYC to pursue a writing career, she had a fabulous agent and multiple New York publishing deals.

Lauren currently lives in Manhattan with her husband and plus-sized Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll likely find her running (rarely), reading (sometimes), or at happy hour (often).

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Have you ever read a book about wedding planners? What are some of your favorite romances set in NYC?
Let me know in the comments below!