Mar 14, 2013

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Review: A Fine Romance by Christi Barth (Aisle Bound #2)

afineromance3 star

Contemporary Romance
March 11 2013
279 pages
Carina Press
Received from publisher via NetGalley

Yummy Man – Sam Lyons
Kick Ass Chick – Mira Parrish

From Goodreads –
They say you form your first impression of someone within thirty seconds of meeting them. Or, in Mira Parrish’s case, within thirty minutes of not meeting them, when said person is supposed to pick you up from the airport and never shows. This is not a perfect start to her new life. Her
friend Ivy is depending on her to run a new romance store, and Mira can’t afford to let her down.

Sam Lyons should probably apologize. But every time he sees Mira–which is often, since his family owns the bakery next to her shop–he can’t resist antagonizing her. There’s something about the sexy, straight-laced woman that drives him crazy. He can’t get involved, though. He has too much baggage to be any good in a serious relationship.

Despite his teasing attitude, Mira finds Sam too sweet to resist. (His hot body may be a factor.) But if there’s going to be anything permanent between them, they’ll need to let go of their pasts and look to the future…

A Fine Romance is the second book in Christi Barth’s Aisle Bound series.  This is essentially a series that follows a group of friends who are somehow involved with a wedding planning business.  I love weddings and I love planning stuff so reading a series about wedding planners is fun for me.

This time around we follow Mira and Sam.  Sam is the baker extraordinaire that supplies many of the wedding cakes for Aisle Bound (that’s the name of the wedding planning business featured in these books) and Mira is the woman who has been asked by Ivy to run her dream.

And that takes a bit of back-story explanation…

In book one, we follow Ivy.  Ivy is co-owner of Aisle Bound.  She is the planner.  We learn that she has a dream of owning a romance shop.  No, not a sex shop.  A romance shop.  A store where people can order all the fixings for a romantic picnic or the perfect date, for example.  But she knows that she could never work at Aisle Bound AND run her dream shop.  So once she has the money and the perfect spot for her shop, she contacts her roommate from school, Mira, and asks her to move to Chicago in order to manage A Fine Romance (that’s the name of the store).

The book begins with Mira arriving in Chicago.  And boy what a welcome!  Yeah…you can’t tell but I’m being sarcastic there.  She was forgotten at the airport by none other than Sam!  And why did he forget?  Because his mother needed him.

I think this is a good time to chat about Sam.  Oh Sam…  I have mixed feelings about him.  One moment I thought he was super sexy and extra yummy.  The next I wanted to smack him.  Hard.  You see, Sam’s father passed away a couple of years ago.  His father’s last request was that he take care of his mother.  Mom has had a really hard time dealing with her loss but he is better now…yet Sam doesn’t quite see that.

I didn’t love how Sam didn’t share his true feelings with his mother but I think what bothered me most was how his mother hid her feelings from him.  She knew he was putting his life on hold to “help” her yet she was too worried to tell him she’s okay now because of how he would react.  Made me sort of wonder who was the child and who was the parent.  That whole bit left me feeling frustrated and it tarnished my opinion of the book a bit.

Let’s chat about Mira.  Mira is a strong woman but her constant ‘I am going to ruin everything’ got a bit old after a while.  Sure, the last three stores she managed didn’t work out.  But not once was it her fault.  I mean, one store folded because it literally folded under the pressure of the waters from a hurricane!  She is a smart woman so I was surprised she couldn’t focus on that.  And her parents?!  Arses.  And she was all happy with the way things went with them at her store?  Really?!  Odd…  They reminded her of her failures.  What failures?  She was never a failure!  You can’t predict market scams and she had nothing to do with that store’s issues either!  Aug…it all just frustrated me.

At least Sam and Mira’s chemistry was superb.  It was the highlight of the book for me.  They rock it on the page.

There were a few teases about Gib and Daphne.  They are going to be the hero and heroine in the next book, Friends to Lovers.  I have thoroughly enjoyed these two characters in the first two books and I am dying to see how Gib and Daphne hook up in because I can’t see how they are going to come together.  (Ha! A Pun!)  I can’t wait to see how Christi makes that work.

Yes, I did have some issues with this book but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it.  Quite a few moments left a smile on my face and the end is just as romantic as the other books I’ve read by Christi.  Christi writes wonderful proposal / makeup / declaration of love scenes and the one at the end of this book is no exception.  And although this wasn’t my favorite book of the series, it wasn’t at all hardship to read.  It’s sweet series.

3.5 stars

Giggle worthy quote

“’I can’t be at peace until you answer one question.  One question that’s driving me crazy.’

‘Here it comes.  The typical first-date question out of every guy’s mouth.  Let me save you the trouble.  Yes, I can do the splits.  Front and sideways.  I’m very bendy.’

Sam stumbled over the lip of the wooden serpentine bridge.  Only a quick arm cartwheel kept him from plunging into the water.  ‘Are you trying to kill me?  I can’t be expected to walk in a straight line with that kind of visual.’”

Books in the Aisle Bound series –
Planning for Love
A Fine Romance
Friends to Lovers (2013)
A Matchless Romance (2014)


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