3 Stars for Groomzilla by Tere Michaels #MM #Romance @TereMichaels

1.5

Title: Groomzilla
Author Name & Publisher: Tere Michaels (Dreamspinner Press)
Publication Date & Length: August 10, 2015 – 160 pgs

Synopsis

When drama threatens to ruin a romance on a reality show, only a true friend can save a groomzilla’s wedding.

Daniel Green, an event planner with a neat, quiet, orderly life, reluctantly agrees to plan the wedding of his childhood friend Ander, an outrageous fashion designer soon to marry a wealthy entertainment lawyer named Rafe. To complicate matters, the happy couple have agreed to have their wedding made into a reality show—something that practical Daniel isn’t sold on.

Daniel is neither a romantic nor a wedding planner, but he’s the only person in the world who can manage Ander. Distracting him from his mission is Owen Grainger, a too-handsome-to-be-true producer whose quiet charm pulls Daniel into his orbit.

When the stress of the show triggers bad behavior from Ander, co-producer Victor Pierce decides it’s the key to a ratings bonanza, and he begins to undermine Ander and Rafe’s relationship to create more drama. Daniel is determined to protect his friend and his own reputation, but when he finds himself falling hard for Owen, there’s much more at stake than ratings.

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Review

ThreeStar

I found this book a little disappointing. It’s obvious that the author is a skilled writer, and at first, I thought maybe it was just me and simply not my kind of story. But by the time I finished it, I realized what had been bothering me. The whole thing is a lot of the author telling us stuff is happening but never quite taking us into the moment.

The story simply never feels like it arrives at any destination. There are several great plot threads–the reality show wedding, Daniel’s lack of confidence about himself, Owen’s multiple issues, and Victor’s manipulation. None of them really ever become fully fleshed out on the pages.

I assumed from the blurb that we would see a lot more of the planning and reality show mess. That’s what I tuned in for. But Victor was never really the bad guy he was supposed to be, and mostly it felt like everyone being kind of jerks to him. No wonder he was miserable.

Ander was annoying, and I never felt like we really saw much build-up to his meltdown (which, honestly, wasn’t much of a meltdown). He came off as condescending and nasty toward Daniel to the point I wondered why they were friends.

No one ever truly dealt with Owen’s eating disorder outside of several people urging him to eat, which is seriously uncool. It felt like a continuation of the weird “everyone must be hot” vibe I kept getting from the story. Even Daniel was never allowed to just be himself–he was mocked a lot for being “presumed straight,” as though there is some special way gay men must behave or dress to qualify.

Even the relationship between Daniel and Owen–which was probably what saved this novel–didn’t follow what I thought it would. I was anticipating more of a “chase” between them, perhaps a misunderstanding related to Victor’s manipulation. Instead, they got together pretty quickly and spent the rest of the time focusing on being a couple and their personal dramas rather than the show. Owen seemed to have dropped all his misgivings about getting with one of the show’s stars pretty fast, since it really never came up again.
All of those would have been terrific touchpoints to work off, and there was definitely at least some attempt to do so. I wonder if there were simply too many threads and not enough time to explore them properly in the context of a reality show wedding. It seems like that should have been the focus, since that’s what was promised in the blurb.

There’s some witty dialog and the story’s premise is interesting. I enjoyed the part where they’re all at the wedding (and in fact wish both the lead-up and the denouement were stronger surrounding it). But overall, this one just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Amy M.

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AuthorBio

Tere Michaels unofficially began her writing career at the age of four when she learned that people got paid to write stories. It seemed the most perfect and logical job in the world and after that, her path was never in question. (The romance writer part was written in the stars—she was born on Valentine’s Day.)

It took thirty-six years of “research” and “life experience” and well… life… before her first book was published but there are no regrets (she doesn’t believe in them). Along the way, she had some interesting jobs in television, animation, arts education, PR and a national magazine—but she never stopped believing she would eventually earn her living writing stories about love.

She is a member of RWA, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Her home base is a small town in New Jersey, very near NYC, a city she dearly loves. She shares her life with her husband, her teenaged son—who will just not stop growing—and two exceedingly spoiled cats. Her spare time is spent watching way too much sports programming, going to the movies and for long walks/runs in the park, reading her book club’s current selection, and volunteering.

Nothing makes her happier than knowing she made a reader laugh or smile or cry. It’s the purpose of sharing her work with people. She loves hearing from fans and fellow writers, and is always available for speaking engagements, visits and workshops. Send here a message through her contact page or connect with her on Twitter (@TereMichaels) and Facebook .

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