Blissed: Misfit Brides, Book 1 (Unabridged)
by Jamie Farrell
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Welcome to Bliss, the bridal capital of the Midwest! Natalie Castellano practically has it all - beauty, brains, and a stellar reputation. Because childbearing hips and exhaustion lines are totally sexy. And knowing when to let go of her family's failing bridal boutique is smart...right? Plus, who doesn't want to be that divorced mother in Bliss? With all she has going for her, it would be selfish to secretly wish for love too. Who needs it? Definitely not Nat. But perhaps she does need to take her wedding dress-obsessed little boy somewhere else for a fresh start. CJ Blue is on top of the world. At least, he was last week when he stood on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, he's in an empty confessional, hiding from the hullabaloo of a family wedding. a.k.a. the depths of hell. His meddling relatives want to poke at the deep psychological wounds he supposedly bears from being a 20-something widower. But he doesn't want to talk, he doesn't want to be fussed over, and he certainly doesn't want another chance to fail at love. He just wants to get through this wedding and back to his adventurous life. But when a dark-haired, wounded-eyed beauty invades his sanctuary and whispers a secret he was never supposed to know, he gets swept up in her life. Is he brave enough to tackle the adventure of life in Bliss, or will he walk away from the only woman in the world who could offer him love, forgiveness, and a second chance?
unrealistic situations were balanced by the actual laugh out loud moments
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 3
Bliss is a small Illinois town, dubbing itself the “Bridal Capital” of the Midwest. So much so that Main Street is The Aisle, and a huge annual celebration, the Husband Games, is the highlight of the social year, set to promote all things married and wedding.
Natalie is back in Bliss, after a horrendous marriage, and is now running her late mother’s bridal shop (one of six in town). Because the Husband Games were important to her mother, she is willing to go to great lengths to make this, the 50th anniversary of the games the best ever in her memory. If only.
CJ is a native boy, but has traded in the small town in favor of adrenaline after the death of his wife during her deployment. He’s not at all interested in anything to do with the ‘games’ or any person trying to push him that way.
The characters: complete with a totally distasteful “Queen General” who spends her life upbraiding, downgrading and bullying everyone into towing her line. Noah, an adorable and scene stealing four year old, son of Natalie. Kimmie, known for her strange dreams and proclamations of the future and you can’t forget CJ’s family – all of them named for herbs.....
The plot – a bit of traditional romance, perhaps a few too many smart-funny moments that distracted from Natalie and CJ and their steps toward a relationship. They both have plenty to overcome after their marriages ended, and with Natalie’s struggles to stand up for herself and speak her own mind, it was frustrating at times. All of the good and bad in a small town was highlighted here, particularly with the long-held reputations from childhood combined with the “you are from here so this must be important to you” attitudes. A few moments of unrealistic situations were balanced by the actual laugh out loud moments, if perhaps overshadowing the lack of solid ‘grab onto this’ moments of development and discovery.
Narration from Karen White was a highlight, she manages to not go headlong into the slapstick moments that appeared without losing the humor and often wry self-depreciating tone from Natalie. Clear and present, she gives the humor a moment to shine, while trying to bring the best from the characters at all moments.
An interesting start to a series, sure to please those who want a lighter and often sillier listen.
I received an audiobook copy of the title from the author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
CJ and Natalie
Natalie is not wanted in the town by the woman that terrorizes the town, Marilyn, because she is divorced and a single mother. CJ is a hero because his wife died while in the service. Natalie is trying to save the town's tradition of 'Married Games' because it was her mother's concept. Natalie is not allowed to do anything because of Marilyn, but she continues to help in the background. First half to two-thirds of the book--This book was frustrating to read/listen to. I cannot believe a town would allow one woman to terrorize all the people and businesses in the town to do what she wants. I was mad they would not stand up to her, especially when everyone knows Natalie is carrying the games that bring so much revenue in to the town. Natalie is irritating and her father acts clueless to the daily torture heaped upon her by Marilyn. The final third of the book was great and earn the fourth star. The story moved along and people started to stand up for themselves.
Blissed by Jamie Farrell
Natalie wanted to belong to the town of Bliss but her divorced status keeps her from being a part of anything to do with the town. The Queen General is always trying to run Natalie out of town. When CJ comes back to town for a wedding Natalie lets him know he is the cause of her destroyed marriage. Come visit the craziest, happiest, more married town on Earth. There are some nutty characters to get to know!
This is a fun story, well written, has interesting characters and even the town is its own character. I had a hard time with Natalie because she was so down, and whiney the entire book. She let everybody run all over her, especially the Queen General. Also, I didn't like the QG at all. She was so hateful to everybody and I didn't feel like she got what was coming to her. CJ was a good hero although he had his own baggage to carry and was glad when he figured all that out!. Check out Blissed by Jamie Farrell. Great series.