Monday, December 18, 2017

Review: Maybe I Do by Nicole McLaughlin

Maybe I Do by Nicole McLaughlin
Series: Whiskey and Weddings, Book 1
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781250139986
E-Book Source: Publisher
Audiobook Source: Purchased by Reviewer
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N

She doesn’t believe in fairy tales. He’s married to his job. Maybe whiskey is the secret ingredient that will bring them together―and give true love a shot?

Wedding photographer Charlotte Linley loves her work―even though she hates weddings. Sure, she still holds a grudge after being left at the altar by her high-school sweetheart. But today Charlotte is just happy to have complete control over her career, which is flourishing. Especially since she joined forces with one of the three gorgeous owners of The Stag, a boutique distillery that has become Kansas City’s hottest wedding venue.

Dean Troyer, bitter after the end of his own marriage, knows that Charlotte is the real deal―beautiful, talented, and successful. He may flirt with her every time she comes to The Stag but Dean is determined to keep his professional distance. . .particularly now that she’s helping him with his own sister’s wedding. The only problem? The more time Dean spends with Charlotte, the deeper their connection grows. Is this a rom-com cliché or could it be that these two jaded souls in the wedding business have finally found their real-life happily ever after?

Maybe I Do has a lot of things going for it: a beautiful setting I’d love to spend time in, a warm and welcoming supporting cast, and a premise I was totally on board for. Nicole McLaughlin charmed the hell out of me with the setting; I wanted to drop in and live in Maple Springs, Kansas. Unfortunately, as much as I wanted to love this book, it ended up falling short for me thanks to the romance.

Charlotte is a wedding photographer who is wary about marriage after having been left at the altar by her high school sweetheart. Charlotte is talented, hardworking, and genuinely caring, which makes her easy to like. What I didn’t love about her was that she wants Dean so much that she takes scraps of affection from him, puts up with his push-pull attitude for way too long, and she takes way too long to stand up for herself. Dean is where Maybe I Do crashes and burns. He’s not a bad person, but to me he was a bad hero. Ms. McLaughlin did paint a clear picture of why his disastrous marriage made him insecure. However, though I understood where he came from, his jealousy, insecurities, and tendency to make decisions for Charlotte without actually asking her irritated me. As the story went on, Dean’s fears and doubts became his defining characteristics, which was incredibly unappealing. By the end of the story, I liked Charlotte’s ex (who I wanted to hate) more than I did Dean. Added to that, Dean and Charlotte spent much of the book internal monologuing rather than actually talking to one another. A lack of communication and a disappointing lack of chemistry made this romance fall flat. I had a litany of problems with the romance, but it feels overly harsh to continue. Suffice it to say, it just didn’t work for me.

Even though Maybe I Do wasn’t the book for me, I still want to read the next book in the Whiskey and Weddings series. Charlotte and Dean’s friends were lovely, the Stag was a well-imagined setting, and overall the series has potential.

FTC Disclosure: I received the e-book edition of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.