Book Review: For Better or Worse by Lauren Layne

So far, this has been my favorite book in the Wedding Belles series. So much emotion, some great romance, and the brilliant, funny dialogue that I love.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
A wedding planner tries to deal with her obnoxious but sexy neighbor. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

She Works Hard for Her Money
Heather is somewhat of a workaholic, and she’s determined to get promoted to a wedding planner for the Wedding Belles. She loves her job and the people she works with, so you’d think it would be easy, right? Unfortunately, she’s been given a challenging client who seems to want to take a hands-off approach, giving Heather no feedback towards the wedding she’s supposed to be planning. So when she’s already tired and stressed, she doesn’t take it well when her neighbor starts banging his drums while she’s trying to sleep. That’s not a euphemism, though the banging is a recording and he’s actually playing a guitar.


Living for the Moment
Josh Tanner seems to not have a care in the world, and when Heather tells him to calm the noise, he pretty much gives her a “I do what I want” attitude (though to be fair, he does calm the noise). After dealing with an illness, the former finance tycoon has decided to live a more carefree lifestyle. Which means playing in a band and getting Heather to bake him banana bread. Oh, and to get in her pants. Because a guy has to have goals.

Eventually, these two realize how much they want each other, but Josh is hesitant to actually fall for Heather. Due to the nature of his illness, he knows he could possibly “leave” her one day, and he doesn’t want that. So as much as it hurts him, he lays out the whole “no relationship” rule. Like that ever works.

Sexy Tension
Josh and Heather were fun from the start. It’s sort of a frenemies to lovers story, and their dialogue and banter was spot on. I also loved the little ways that they made each other jealous as part of their sex and love foreplay. Josh is walled off, but you totally feel for him and kind of understand his reasoning. Heather gets a little too wrapped up in her work, but it’s hard to fault her for it when she really enjoys what she does. Still, hooking up with Josh gives her the chance to let loose a little bit.


The Romance Factor
This book pulled at my heart so much. Josh and Heather making each other jealous was both funny and swoon worthy. Also, Josh’s “big gesture of love” was pretty amazing and sweet. 4/5

The Steam Factor
A little light on the sexy time details, but enough to know what’s going on. 4/5

Final Thoughts
This series just keeps bringing it, and it keeps alluding to the relationship in the next one. I’m not a wedding person at all, but you don’t have to be to love these books.

Book Review: Just a Girl by Ellie Cahill

I’m in awe of writers who seem to naturally be able to infuse their stories with emotion that manages to get to all my feels without going full on cheesy.


I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

One-Sentence Synopsis
After being kicked out of her band, a young singer goes home to figure out what to do with her life and gets caught up in a relationship with another musician. For a full synopsis, see this book’s Goodreads page.

Breaking Up the Band
Presley is blindsided when her band kicks her out, one of the members being the guy she’s had an on and off again relationship with. Even though they’ve had rocky times, she didn’t think he’d be so cold as to actually kick her out, especially when it’s her vocals that give the band their popularity. In an effort to try to figure out what to do next, she moves back home with her parents to work at their music shop.

What Can Go Wrong?
Paul gives guitar lessons at the music shop, and he and Presley have an instant connection. It’s not long before Paul brings her into his circle of friends…who also happen to be members of his band. When their lead singer can’t make it for a big show, Presley steps in, and suddenly, the band gets a taste of stardom. Unfortunately, that brings about a whole other set of issues, including Presley’s fear of dating someone in the same band. Conflict abounds.

Feeling the Groove
This story took me all over the place emotionally. First, I loved Presley’s parents. They’re open-minded, hippie-ish former musicians who know a bunch of famous artists and hold invitation-only jam and song sessions at their shop. Those were actually some of my favorite scenes, and though they weren’t numerous, there was a lot of emotion and heart there.

Come Together
I loved the relationship between Presley and Paul, and I was heartbroken when things started going sour between them. I don’t normally get what I would consider “heartbroken,” but man, I felt it in this one. Presley feels like she has to pull away from him to be respected in the band, but even though she’s trying to make things better, she does the exact opposite.

Under Pressure
Paul also has some issues. He has severe stage fright, something he manages to control, but just barely, handling panic attacks with marijuana and eventually harder medications. Though it’s not blatant, there’s a minor subplot that deals with a possible med addiction that took things to a darker place.

The Romance Factor
The conflict killed me, but at the same time it made the romance so much sweeter. Presley helps Paul stay grounded, so even though he still has panic attacks, they get better with her there. He’s sweet and supportive of her, and even when she’s the one hurting him (*sob*), she’s also his biggest supporter. 5/5

The Steam Factor
Paul and Presley get their groove on, but what we see is pretty tame. Props the all the times Presley’s mom encouraged her to get laid, because Presley’s discomfort was hilarious! 3/5


Final Thoughts
I came away from this book feeling wrung out but also warm and fuzzy. The characters were quirky, even if it wasn’t always good quirks, and even the minor characters gave the story such flavor that it made for a really entertaining read that I finished in one sitting because I didn’t want to stop.