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Love, Reality Style Paperback – June 7, 2016
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"I love how real these characters were and I especially enjoyed Mary Grace's fascination with cake. This is a great read for anyone who loves chick-lit. I especially enjoyed the ending." - Shanice Singh, Playground of Randomness review blog "Judith Natelli McLaughlin knows how to paint a stunning yet realistic portrait of love and marriage. She brilliantly takes readers on the roller coaster ride of a lifetime. After all, marriage and true love only happen once for most people. This tale was romantic and funny. Love, Reality Style is definitely one romantic comedy that readers everywhere will love. Overall, I highly recommend this title to readers worldwide." -5/5 stars, Danielle Urban, Universal Creativity Inc. "I absolutely love books that paint a 'real' picture of how life and love work. We don't always get it right, and mostly never on the first time. I loved this story and am thrilled to have had a chance to read it. The writing was fabulous and funny with witty conversations. This is not my type of genre, but for those who just want to read something that makes you smile, cry, and laugh out loud, read this adorable, true to life story. -5/5 stars, Ruby Blotzer, Goodreads "What makes it different from similar stories, is the rather unique course of action the unsuspecting couple take. I liked this book and any lead protagonist with a serious cake addiction is a friend of mine." - 4/5 stars, Michelle Simons, book reviewer"
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I enjoy so-called chick lit and don't expect it to be high brow literature, but this makes most all of the others look like freaking Shakespeare.
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to Blue Moon Publishing for providing me with a complimentary digital copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: Cake. Good female friends. An engagement. Reality TV. Did I mention cake? These are the ingredients for a light, easy-going romantic read but the central relationship in this book may surprise you. It isn't romantic; instead its the bond between three friends - Mary Grace, Annie and Jayde. These women have stood by each other through thick and thin and have a very odd addiction to cake when the going gets tough. Their camaraderie feels authentic and quite similar to what I have with some of my girlfriends. These three have different romantic relationships going on to varying degrees of success but it's their friendship that is the strongest bond in the book.
Unfortunately, other than the girlfriend bonding, this book fell flat for me. I get that it's a light read but I still want to care about the characters and that never happened. Instead we have a main character in Mary Grace who was more than a little frustrating with her lack of ability to make decisions and stand up to her mother. The men, on the other hand, were quite a varied bunch -- from the odd yet sensitive Ralph with OCD to the cheater and finally the creepy TV host -- none of them were good husband/romantic material in my book. There was an inkling of a love triangle but that never took off and I can't honestly say I was rooting for either man. While these girlfriends and their male counterparts had a fair degree of development throughout the book the rest of the characters (of which there were few) fell into the one-dimensional category - namely Angela, Mary Grace's mother who was annoyingly over-the-top as the quintessential overbearing mother.
For a book whose title and description feature a reality show theme the show itself was not a focus of the plot but cake lovers will enjoy the plentiful descriptions of the confection that are sprinkled liberally throughout the book. In the end, I enjoyed reading about strong bonds between girlfriends but even though I'm an avid baker this book just wasn't to my tastes. But, readers with a sweet tooth who enjoy a lighter, quick read may want to pick it up.
Mary Grace Falcone, third grade teacher and cake lover, receives a proposal from her germ-phobic boyfriend, Ralph Ichy. Should she marry him? The man her friend Jayde has dubbed "the CEO of Antiseptic Hands?" Unsure of her true feelings, Mary Grace accepts anyway. Her decision gets her overbearing mother off her back but it also lands her on a reality wedding show where the host, the handsome Nick Charmin, unexpectedly falls for her. Will Mary Grace choose hot Nick for faithful Ralph?
This was a fun and light-hearted romance story. Not usually my typical genre. I enjoyed all the characters, but admittedly didn't care for Mary Grace's friend Jayde at first. She seemed bossy, rude and really cold. Eventually you learn more about her, which makes her personality a bit more understandable. I really ended up liking this trio of friends. If only everyone could be so lucky to have people to rely on in their lives like these ladies. Annie, the voice of reason and an "old soul," Jayde the wild but insecure business woman, and Mary Grace, your sweet and innocent protagonist. These women together have a bond most people would envy. I know I did. As far as the males in the story, I liked Ralph, even with all his little idiosyncrasies. Yes, I could see them getting on some people's nerves, but he was so endearing that I could overlook them. The other male character, Nick, was another story. He really wasn't fully developed, but you could tell the guy was a sleaze from the beginning. Nothing about him was likable. Not sure why Mary Grace didn't realize it right away. He obviously was considered physically attractive, but nothing else about him was. It was a little off if the author's intention was to create a love triangle as there was never a time when I thought MG wouldn't choose Ralph. He was perfect for her.
The story slowed down mid-point for me, but then picked back up and was kept me engaged. I'm not one for reality TV, but it did make a nice little spin on your typical contemporary romance novel. Luckily the main focus was on MG and her circle of friends, not the show itself. One thing to be aware of...they eat cake. A lot. I mean, a lot. To the point where I started getting a little nauseated but I managed to get through and still enjoy this cute and quick read.