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on April 8, 2012
Two years and three months ago, Audrey Regan left Atlanta for New York, hoping to make a name for herself as a wedding dress designer, but Audrey is in desperate need of a career break to keep her dream alive. She is now on her way back to Atlanta, to the Tanglewood Inn, where she will be acting as chief bridesmaid for her childhood best friend, Carly, whose dress she also designed. With Audrey is Kat, her assistant, and she meets all the characters from Sandra Bricker's two previous Wedding novels, including J.R., the handsome Harley-riding brother of Carly's new husband. But J.R. has a wanderlust that means he never stays long in any one place, which does not make him the ideal candidate for a relationship no matter what sparks there are between him and Audrey.

I have to admit that I got a bit confused with all the characters and their relationships once Audrey arrived in Atlanta, but once I got all the characters straight in my mind, I found Always the Designer to be an enjoyable novel, funny and heart-warming with likeable characters, with a sweet romance and without the bittersweet aspect of Always the Wedding Planner. I particularly liked Russell, the Australian movie star, who provided comic relief on the side. While this was a good read, it was not particularly memorable, but those who read and enjoyed the first two books in the series will no doubt want to read this to find out how the characters are progressing. The final book in the series is due to be published later in 2012.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
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VINE VOICEon March 27, 2012
There is something about the "Emma Rae" collection of fiction novels that makes me smile, giggle and upon the close of that last page, give just a tiny sigh delight and enjoying a yummy plate of your favorite desert. Decadent, with just the right amount of fluff and sweet.

Oh there isn't much to worry about, but having an old fashioned good time with this latest installment in the Emma Rae collection. Audrey is such a loveable, quirky character and one that you just can't help but cheer for. A totally loveable ensemble of characters, including a little girl in pink cowgirl books put a smile on my face and joy in the moment spent reading their story.

I would definitely advise the reader to pick up the previous two novels in this collection. Just as much a hoot (though the first remains my fav), you will be better able to track the large ensemble cast. There were times I thought the cast a bit too large, but as the book continued, I separated them better.

More than one yummy kiss, some tasty entrees, gorgeous wedding gowns and just a quirky, light read, it's a chick lit/romantic comedy I'd definitely point readers toward.

This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers through CFBA for my copy to review.
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on January 22, 2013
I have not read the other books in the series, so I came into this story without knowing any of the characters. And there were so many characters. I couldn't even finish the book because I couldn't keep track of who is who and what they do, nor did I care about them. Plus, I thought this was a romance. There was way too much religion and way too little romance. I never felt anything more than friendship brewing between Audrey and J.R. or Kat and Russell. Throw in the business stuff, the other unrelated relationships, and I lost interest in it all.
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on April 20, 2012
I went into this book with the assumption that it would be a bit like the film 27 dresses. The title kind of gave me that impression and because I really loved that film you could say I sort of got over excited. But as per usual the title was kind of deceiving.

Audrey Regan has been into designing wedding dresses ever since she was a little girl, when she was just nine years old, her friends were busy playing with Barbie dolls, Audrey was creating "haute couture" for her dolls, so it's not surprising that Audrey grew up and became a wedding dress designer. However everything's not as easy as Audrey thought it would be, she took the chance and moved to New York, aiming for the big clientele, but it's been tough, brides are typically going for the recognised designers and Audrey is just managing to scrape by. However with her best friend Carly's wedding looming Audrey has to put everything on hold and fly out to Atlanta in the middle of her big chance of winning over socialite Kim Renfroe. But things go from bad to worse as Audrey's big chance slips through her fingers and she knows her hopes and dreams of becoming a well established designer are fading away. While she's in Atlanta however she meets her best friends fiancé's brother J.R. who's a whole different kettle of fish, for one he hasn't stopped gawking at her, but he also seems a lot different to the other guys she's known.

The thing about this book was that everyone was so nice all the time, it's like something bad would happen to someone but then everyone would gather around and cheer them up with a sleepover or something else pointless. I felt the bad things weren't even that bad but because Audrey had all her "girlfriends" around her who she had known for all of two minutes everything would be hunky dory!

The secondary characters from Sherrilyn to Emma I didn't really get the point of; their constant chirpy moods, knowing friends of friends who could work miracles, basically it's frustrated me how everything always fell into place for everyone. Is it so wrong of me to want some drama or mayhem?

J.R. didn't really do it for me either, I know he was meant to come across as a dapper hot guy who rides a Harley, but the only image that remained in my head was J.R. from Dallas, certain names are a no go with me, once I get a certain image in my head about a person it's kind of hard to get rid of.

Some of the writing was also full of info-dumping, paragraphs and paragraphs about the amount of detail Audrey had to put into measuring mannequins, cutting and measuring fabrics then details about lunch, it was at times pointless. A couple of conversations also went down the same pointless track;

"Please be careful on the road J.R. I will
and wear your helmet.
I always do
oh, that's right. It's me who doesn't she realised
with a giggle. Well zip your jacket and all that.
Will do, and you do the same"

"Dual head stainless steel head gas grill, Andy
continued without notice, with forty- five
thousand BTU, full rotisserie and eleven hundred
square inches of cooking surface. It's the
champion of excellence and precision in grilling
my friend"

I wished I had liked Always the Designer Never the Bride more, but it had too many always happy characters and perfect endings for my liking.
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on July 27, 2012
I really, really tried. I'm always thrilled to try out Christian authors, and I love a good Christian chick-lit. I picked up this book, and hoped for the best. After a while though, I just got so lost with the mass of characters, that I just could not connect. I was slightly happy to make use of Amazon's Kindle return policy.
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on March 1, 2013
I was disappointed with the writing of this book. The storyline could have worked, but the writing was terrible! Characters were confusing and interchangeable. There was no great description of the girls and there were too many to keep straight!
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on August 22, 2012
Always the Designer, Never the Bride was the perfect light-hearted read I was looking for. Bricker is an amazingly talented writer--blending romance, quirks, depth, and humor for a story that was highly entertaining. I loved "visiting" the Tanglewood Inn again and reading more about the fun characters that I met in Always the Wedding Planner. As much as I enjoyed that book, I thought Always the Designer was even better. I'm not sure if it was because we got to follow up with repeat characters or if I just connected with Audrey more. The friendships between Audrey and the other characters reminded me of what a great blessing friends are! I also loved the romance between Audrey and JR, which was a bit of a whirlwind yet somehow believable. I also liked that there were several interesting story lines taking place simultaneously--Carly's wedding, the romance with JR, the friendships, and Audrey's career drama. It seemed that there was always something going on, moving the book along fairly quickly. If you're looking for laughs, romance, or just a fun read, this is it! I can't wait for the final book in the series! [4.5 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Abingdon Press via Net Galley in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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on September 17, 2012
I read this in order after the first two books of the Emma Rae Creation series and was left flat. I waited and wanted to like the main character Audrey and never did. The characters all lack substance, which surprised me. Most authors improve on subsequent books, particularly with series books, the writing improves and keeps you wanting more, the character details improve but sadly, Sandra D. Bricker didn't do that here. It felt as if she threw it together rather quickly. I was happy when the book ended and felt spared. The reason I gave it 3 stars is due to the excellent bridal gown details throughout the book, otherwise I would say it deserves about 1.5. I love to read and reread books...this one really was a waste of my time. Sorry, just my honest and humble opinion.
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on April 13, 2012
Each one of the Always...Never the Bride books has gotten weaker. The first, ALWAYS THE BAKER, NEVER THE BRIDE was the best, and I gave it five stars. ALWAYS THE WEDDING PLANNER, NEVER THE BRIDE was not quite as good. ALWAYS THE DESIGNER, NEVER THE BRIDE fell even shorter. I understand there's to be one more, and I hope Sandra takes the time to make this one another five.

The novel never pulled me in. I found the first two-thirds of the book pretty boring. There was little tension, and the main characters were rather insipid. In addition, it ended too abruptly with things left unsaid or unplanned.

I found several things that didn't work, and I questioned. Carly and Devon held a 50's party with costume, music, and dance. The story kept mentioning doing the jitterbug to songs like "Rock Around the Clock." The jitterbug was in the Roaring 20's, not the 50's. The 50's had Rock 'n Roll and the Twist. In bowling, J.R. had a strike on the last frame, therefore he should have bowled two more. Instead, he tried to get the next bowler up after his strike. I wondered why Carly wouldn't have had a professional do her hair for the wedding she had worked so hard to make like her fairy tale dream. It didn't make sense when she had planned so thoroughly and spared no expense for everything else. Emma had acute diabetes, but she only watched sugar intake and paid no attention to carbs. I was also disappointed Emma and Jackson are still not married, even in this third book.

Each book in this series has also become less Christian in nature. This one had very little of God scattered in, and, what there was, seemed shallow. For example, Audrey thinks reading the Bible and praying makes her a dork. I also didn't like the term "Freakin' Noah's Ark."

Athough I appreciate the clean, easy read, I couldn't give it more than three stars. It is a strong three, however, and, if you've read the others, you may want to read this one too.
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on August 1, 2012
This book was a good read. I didnt realize until after I read it that it was the second in a series. I dont think I missed anything by not reading the first, the second could stand alone. It had romance and humor which are my favorite ingredients in a book. I had a few laugh out loud moments reading it. I think there is a third book which I do intend to read as well. I recommend this book for a quick relaxing read.
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