DDS REVIEWS: The Bridesmaid Chronicles by Kendall, Adams, and Kenner

Thursday, July 2, 2009 13:00
Posted in category Review

Duckies Do SeriesSandy M’s review of The Bridesmaid Chronicles by Karen Kendall, Kylie Adams, and Julie Kenner
Contemporary Romances released by Signet Jun-Sep 2005

I’ve had this series for a while, thinking I’d get to it soon, but, of course, never doing so. My 16-year-old niece visited me last month, the niece who, unfortunately, doesn’t want anything to do with reading, the niece I’ve been trying to get interested in reading a number of times during those sixteen years. The niece who actually picked up a book while in my home during her visit, actually read it, liked it, and shocked the heck out of me. Then she wanted to read this series. So I told her if she’d hang on, I’ll get the series read and reviewed, and then it’s hers for the taking. The series actually started out well and I thought my niece would also enjoy it. But my enjoyment didn’t last long. I’m hoping hers lasts longer.

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Book CoverFirst Date (Book 1) by Karen Kendall
Released 7 Jun 05

In this first book we’re actually introduced to the bride, Julia Spinelli, though it’s her sister’s book, and we don’t get Julia’s story until the fourth book in the series. It’s Julia wedding that is the connection among these four heroines. Sydney leaves her work and overbearing father behind to check out Julia’s fiance and why they’re getting married after knowing each other for only a month.

This guy has to be up to something, maybe lusting Julia’s money. Their dad, as classless as he is, has made the bucks opening his cheap inns all over the country, including the one in Texas that Julia is now managing. A prenup is in order, even if her sister doesn’t want it.

Alex is the groom’s best friend and he’s been coerced into keeping Sydney busy so she can’t interfere any more in Roman and Julia’s relationship. But that favor soon turns into something Alex doesn’t mind doing at all. Sydney may see herself as the brainy sister compared to Julia’s beauty, but he sees her in a whole different light. She’s witty, intelligent, and beautiful to him. She even knows how to handle his mother, who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, but Sydney needs to learn when to help and when to let go.

I enjoyed this book quite a bit. Alex is a true Texan cowboy with a great sense of humor to play off the normally low-key Sydney. She does at times go overboard on the interfering — and her sister lets her but Alex doesn’t — so her heart is in the right place even when it’s the wrong time. This is my first book by Karen Kendall and I liked her writing a lot. I would definitely read more of her books.

Grade: A

Summary:
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Meet the sister of the bride. Sydney Spinelli has her heart set on stopping the wedding between her little sister and her Texas boyfriend of one month! The only problem is, her heart is getting distracted by the groom’s sexy best friend . . .
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Read an excerpt.

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Book Cover

First Kiss (Book 2) by Kylie Adams
Released 5 Jul 05

After such a terrific start to this series, this is where it stumbled – big time. Instead of Texas we’re in New York where Kiki, sister of the groom, lives and plays. She’s a former beauty queen, now an actress still trying to make it big. She’s also a very shallow and selfish person, one that I hardly liked at all.

Two friends share the spotlight with her in this book, and this is the first of the silliness that did the story no favors, one friend’s name is Suzi-Suzi. I don’t know, that bugged the hell out of me when reading.  Next are the antics that Kiki gets into, one of which is she takes over Julia’s wedding preparations without even asking, making the most awful suggestions, and the other is the main part of the story and how she meets the hero.

While shopping with her friends, they stumble upon a popular married Hollywood couple who are expecting their first child. A chain of events ends with a member of the paparazzi snapping a suggestive pic of Kiki and the husband. This, of course, is front page news, accusing Kiki of being a homewrecker, and the media then hounds her every step. She ends up at The Affair, a club of sorts where you can literally go to to have an affair.  Okaaaay.  The place is run by Fab, who is often in the tabloids himself, always with a different beauty on his arm every time.

Kiki wiles her way into one of his suites to let the fervor over her notoriety blow over and they end up spending time with each other. There is an instant attraction between them and Fab would like to explore that. He puts up with such ridiculousness from this woman. Even the sexual banter didn’t work due to her attitude. The actual love scenes themselves were good, mainly because Fab is involved. I did like his character, what I got to see of it. He’s not in this book very much, making it more chick lit-y than romance. And I really don’t care for chick lit all that much. Hence, my dislike of the book, I guess.

Of course, things eventually work themselves out, Kiki and Fab fall in love and decide to get married. Not without Kiki fobbing off all of her friends on Fab, giving them jobs in his organizations without even asking him. Even at the end the woman is full of herself. The only reason the grade for this book isn’t lower is Fab, the few times he had interaction with anyone. Other than that, I could have done without reading the darned thing.

Grade: D+

Summary:
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She’s always the bridesmaid, never the bride. But unlike that Jersey girl her brother is marrying, at least former Miss Texas and out-of-work actress Kiki Sonntag can save her brother’s wedding from bad taste. Too bad Kiki can’t save herself from a nasty tabloid scandal. Until it blows over, she’s hiding out in Manhattan’s hippest new hotel and enjoying some perks from its playboy owner….
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No excerpt available.

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Book CoverFirst Dance (Book 3) by Karen Kendall
Released 2 Aug 05

I was happy to see that Karen Kendall wrote this third book in the series. After the disaster of the second book, I needed a good one to keep me going. I did get it here. We’re back in Texas, thank goodness, where wedding preparations are still going on when the bride’s best friend, Vivien, a Manhattan divorce attorney, makes it to Fredericksburg to help out. I really liked Vivien. She’s, of course, very independent and intelligent and has a soft spot for Greyhounds, saving abused ones every chance she gets.

She has reservations about being in Texas again since that’s where JB Anglin, the groom’s best friend and attorney, lives and practices. The last time she saw JB, she’d just booted him out of their hotel room where they’d had the most incredible sex. Obviously Vivien has commitment issues. And JB now has issues with Vivien. They try to put those issues aside, though, for the sake of the happy wedding couple, but things don’t go as planned. They’re constantly thrown together by the bride asking them to do errands for her, but it’s JB who’s out for revenge, waiting for his turn to kick Vivien of his bed.

When the time comes, however, he’s not able to do it. And Vivien does her best to stay the night, but arguments commence, feelings are hurt, and things go downhill fast. Imagine the make-up sex, though. I really liked this couple. Though they had issues, they still had some fun together, tried to keep the humor upfront, and do a fairly good job until they realized their true feelings one another. That was another hurdle to get over, but they did it admirably. We still get a lot of interaction with the bride and groom and Sydney and Alex from the first book. Thank goodness Kiki is still in New York.

I liked being back with a Texas cowboy who wants to share his way of life with the heroine, who sincerely tries to work through her problems to be with him, especially when he agrees to help out with the Greyhound work that is so close to her heart. Even when these two were at odds, they thought about the other and what they could do for them. Definitely a couple worth reading.

Grade: A

Summary:
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Manhattan’s top female divorce attorney a bridesmaid? Stranger things have happened. The bride’s best friend, Vivien Shelton has seen the ugly side of love—and alights in Texas with the perfect wedding present: an iron-clad pre-nup. But the groom’s good-ole-boy lawyer is itching for a fight—especially one with Vivien, a woman he has tangled with in the past . .
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Read an excerpt.

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Book CoverFirst Love (Book 4) by Julie Kenner
Released 6 Sep 05

Finally we come to the wedding couple who have been prominent figures throughout each book up to this point. Well, maybe not in the disaster of Book 2, but close enough. Julia and Roman fell in love very quickly, which is what brought her sister to Texas to begin with. He’s nearly broke, sinking all of his money into the family winery while hoping everything works out. That’s exactly why Sydney thought he was after Julia for her money.

But after falling in love so quickly herself and getting to know Roman more, Sydney now realizes he’s a good man and her sister is lucky to have him. It’s Julia herself who is now having doubts. She thought they knew enough about one another to get married, even though she’s never told Roman more about her parents. He does a little about them, considering their fathers have a shaky past. Though she loves her mom and dad, they are quite classless and tacky, and the scenes that get this point across are actually pretty hilarious and priceless.

On top of this, Roman doesn’t seem to listen to Julia when she tells him what she wants and likes when it comes to the important things between them. The next she knows the entire wedding is on a downhill slide and it’s five days until the big day.  They both have secrets they’ve never shared, feeling those secrets would be the deal breaker in their relationship. but when they finally come clean, only more doubt settles in. Choosing to postpone the wedding, Julia feels it’s better to wait, to really get to know each other, but will their love survive a longer engagement?

While I did enjoy this book, I was a little surprised at the direction it took after Julia being so stalwart in the first three books on how much she loves Roman and knows him plenty enough to get married.  I kind of felt I’d wasted my time in all the previous reading. But I ended up being okay with it all because of the way Roman took care of things and gave me a fairly good ending. The other characters are still present a good part of the book, excluding Kiki – thank goodness! – so I’m pretty happy overall with this last book in the series.

Grade: B

Summary:
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Just as bride-to-be Julia Spinelli is about to throw the swankiest wedding Fredericksburg, Texas, has ever seen, in roll her Jersey parents in all their tacky glory—and out roll her hopes for happily ever after. If she can’t convince her father that her fiancé is head over heels for her and not her trust fund, the wedding is off….
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No excerpt available.

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SandyMOverall Grade: B

Overall I liked this series, with the exception of you-know-what. All four books have now been passed on to my niece, so it will be interesting to get her take on them. I have a feeling, however, that Kiki is going to be her favorite character. Goes to show what a difference a few decades in age is.

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