From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances Susan Mallery, comes the first standalone title in the Happily, Inc. Series—YOU SAY IT FIRST! You’re invited to visit Happily, Inc., a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale. Where people live… wait for it… happily ever after.
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YOU SAY IT FIRST Synopsis:
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Fool’s Gold romances invites you to visit Happily Inc, a wedding destination founded on a fairy tale…
Sculptor Nick Mitchell grew up in a family of artists and learned from his volatile father that passion only leads to pain. As he waits on a new commission, he takes a day job as a humble carpenter at a theme wedding venue. The job has its perks–mainly the venue’s captivating owner, Pallas Saunders. Although he won’t let love consume him, for ecstasy with an expiration date, he’s all in.
Pallas adores Weddings in a Box. But if she can’t turn the floundering business around, she’ll have no choice but to cave to her domineering mother and trade taffeta for trust funds working at the family’s bank. Then when a desperate bride begs Pallas for something completely out of the box, her irresistible new hire inspires her. Nick knows she doesn’t belong behind a desk, and she knows in her heart that he’s right—where she really belongs is in his arms.
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SASCHA DARLINGTON’S REVIEW
There is much to like about Susan Mallery’s first book, You Say It First, from her new series, Happily Inc. How can you not like an initial scene with the woman, Pallas, telling the man, a very confused man, Nick, to take his shirt off when he thought he was interviewing for a regular old carpenter job? And then he’s dressed as a Roman and expected to carry the bride in on her throne (or whatever the Romans called it).
Like this opening scene, many amusing scenes play out as Pallas and Nick come together in this well written romance. And near the ending, there is a beautiful scene, which I can’t go into in detail because I won’t spoil the story for you, that emphasizes that love is not conditional, that you should say it when you feel it, and be glad for and apppreciate all of the time you have together.
Unfortunately You Say It First is not without its problems. First, Mallery decided to introduce perhaps all the rest of the characters from the series in the first book, or so it seemed. I found it too much and far too much to try to keep up with, especially when there was a scene with a character called “Natalie” and I was trying to figure out which one she was. Less is more is a great motto to adhere to–pretty much always.
And then there was repetition. I noted three instances and then stopped counting of Pallas reiterating the difficulties with her mother, almost verbatim. Likewise, the same types of discussions arise with Nick and his brothers regarding their own father and the bombshell he’d dropped. I’m afraid that when I noticed myself putting the book aside more and more frequently that the repetition was affecting my reading.
However, and this may be a big however, I really enjoyed the story. As wedding planners seem to have popped up a lot in fiction lately, a wedding planner who does theme weddings was a nice change. And, Mallery did provide a great deal of interesting detail about the weddings as well as Nick’s artistry, which certainly raises the You Say It First above the norm. So when you consider the quality of the writing (minus repetitions), the sense of humor, and freshness of the read, I think that this is a novel to add to your tbr pile and definitely a good start to a new series. I do hope that the repetitions and number of characters are minimized in future installments though.
I was provided with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
3 butterflies and a ladybug out of 5 butterflies
Bright and early Monday morning she made her way to Weddings in a Box and walked the property. The main building was three sided, in a U shape with a courtyard in the middle. At the west end was the small lobby with a fairly traditional facade done with a slight Italian villa flair. The north side was finished with stone and resembled a medieval castle. The south side was covered with wooden siding—giving it a ranch-like, Old West, rustic feel.
One building, three options that could easily be fluffed to fit nearly a dozen wedding themes. Quirky, yes, but she loved every fake brick and nonworking window.
She checked for damage to the building and fence—because there was that one time a groomsman had run his car into the gate—and lost or abandoned property. Celebrations went late, liquor ran freely and more than one shoe, bra or pair of panties had been found on the lawn.
What was it about weddings and irresponsible sex? Sure, the bride and groom were likely to get some but that was tradition. Everyone else should wait until they got home—only they rarely did. Fortunately today all she found was a streamer and a few flower petals. No need for protective gloves to pick up those.
She made her way inside and headed for the business office on the second floor. She’d only moved into what she still thought of as Gerald’s office a few weeks before. For the first month after his death—after learning that he’d left her his business—she’d been in shock. For the next two months, she’d been unwilling to make any changes. Last month she’d realized that running from her desk to his fifty times a day was just plain dumb. Gerald wouldn’t have given her Weddings in a Box if he didn’t want her to keep it going. So she’d moved into his office.
Instead of feeling sad, she’d realized that being where she always pictured him had made her feel closer to him. He’d been like a second father to her, and while she missed him every day, she knew he would be happy with what she was getting done.
Now she checked her calendar while carefully avoiding the pile of bills in her in-box. Weddings in a Box might be a happy, interesting place, but it was also hanging on by a financial thread. One that was constantly in danger of snapping. Theme weddings didn’t come cheap, but neither did the venue and the special touches.
Tomorrow, she promised herself. She would be brave tomorrow. She checked her email and saw that two more brides had sent back signed contracts. That was good news. She would review them before—
She looked up and saw a man in the doorway to her office. Not just any man—Nick Mitchell.
Susan Mallery’s YOU SAY IT FIRST – Review & Excerpt Tour Schedule:
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The Book Maven – Review
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About Susan Mallery:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Susan Mallery writes heartwarming and humorous novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. She’s best known for putting nuanced characters into emotionally complex, real-life situations with twists that surprise readers to laughter. Because Susan is passionate about animal welfare, pets play a big role in her books. Beloved by millions of readers worldwide, her books have been translated into 28 languages.
Susan lives in Washington state with her husband, two ragdoll cats, and a small poodle with delusions of grandeur. Visit her online at SusanMallery.com.