Wednesday, March 7, 2018

ARC Review: One and Only by Jenny Holiday

Series:     Bridesmaids Behaving Badly #1
Pub. Date:February 27, 2018
Publisher:Forever Romance
Length:368 pages

This is my first read from Jenny Holiday, and I was excited to pick it up as I was in the mood for something light and fun. I'm not typically into the bridesmaid and wedding theme, but I an excerpt that was floating around for One and Only and the steamy selection piqued my smutty interest.

So Jane Denning is our responsible introvert of a bridesmaid - a nerdy girl author who writes fabulous young adult fantasy novels. After a failed relationship, Jane has stuck to the solo life for the last six years... something that definitely resonated with me. Sometimes its just easier to be in your own space than it is to think of inviting someone into your life and all your "stuff." But her long bout of celibacy and tendency to wrangle her girlfriends has earned Jane the reputation of being a responsible, boring, wet blanket. This was a bit harsh because there is nothing wrong with being responsible and not sleeping with half the town. We aren't supposed to slut shame... but how about we don't single shame either, okay ladies? And besides - Jane wasn't TOTALLY an adult. She lived in fantasy worlds and dressed up for Comicon! That's not boring! So I connected with Jane a little bit with her single life and nerdy girl introvert tendencies. I also didn't like Jane sometimes though, particularly when she was judgy and willing to believe the worst of people despite evidence to the contrary.

Cameron MacKinnon has just returned home from war and is dealing with a whole lot of caca. His military career is over, as is his relationship with the girl he thought to be living with after his deployment. Escaping to Canada for his brother's wedding comes at the right time and Cameron arrives in Toronto... to find that he has a babysitter in the form of responsible Jane. I didn't start off enamored with this hero. When he meets Jane, he has some particularly unkind thoughts that made it hard to like his character. And while his opinion changes rather quickly, I still had a hard time getting over the sting of those words (even if they weren't said aloud). That being said, Cameron was a misunderstood hero and I absolutely detested how everyone treated him and didn't even think twice about not giving him the benefit of the doubt. While he did have a reputation as a teenager, not only were stories misconstrued, but no one even considered that he may have changed after joining the military and deploying to war zones. I got angry on Cameron's behalf many times in this book, enough that it was starting to make me ranty. 

Once I got past Cameron's stinging thoughts and Jane's judgy behavior, I ended up liking them together as a couple. Cameron brought Jane out of her comfort zone, and Jane was really the only person who saw past Cameron's reputation to see the wounded man beneath. I also liked how open and communicative they were when it came to intimacy, and how much fun they had on dates and adventures. Overall, the romantic aspects of the story were light and fun and steamy, and were my favorite parts of the story.

This is the first book I have read in a while where I really didn't care for any of the secondary characters. Usually I like the distraction that a good secondary group will provide, but I just hated all these people for the way they treated Cameron. I did get a few good laughs at the bridezilla antics that were happening during the wedding planning though. That sounded like a total nightmare and made me extra glad that I haven't been in any weddings since the introduction of Pinterest!

I had a little pet peeve about the cover of this book as well. Our heroine is a curvy girl who is trying to lose a few pounds. She's a size 12, and her body size/type and diet were mentioned a lot in this story. As this was a focus of the story and a major aspect of our heroine, I think the cover model should have been more representative of Jane's character. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from the publisher, St. Martin's Press.

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