Spotlight Review: THE ACCIDENTAL NEWLYWED GAME by Jaci Burton 

June 28, 2022

Boots and Bouquets, Book 3

From the publisher:

What happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas, when one night out turns into a wedding that neither newlywed can remember, from New York Times bestselling author Jaci Burton.

Wedding planner Honor Bellini is in Las Vegas for a work convention when she runs into her sister’s ex-fiancé, Owen Stone, who’s also in town for his craft brewery business. They’re both glad to see a familiar face from home…until a night of drinking leads to waking up in bed together—and a marriage certificate from a wedding that neither of them can recall.

Horrified, Owen suggests an immediate annulment. Honor agrees, but when they spend the day together, their chemistry is overwhelming. Plus, Honor has a flash of memory of their steamy wedding night, and she definitely likes what she remembers. They decide to wait before cancelling the whole marriage thing, though they both head back to Oklahoma determined not to tell anyone at home what happened in Vegas.

The problem is, Honor and Owen can’t seem to stay away from each other—or keep their hands off one another. The longer they keep their secret, the harder it gets to deny how they really feel. Even worse, this huge secret has the potential to hurt someone they both care about. They need to get an annulment before this accidental marriage turns into love.

This is my first foray in this series, but I want to read the earlier books now! I must admit, the drunk-and-married-in-Vegas plotline is not my favorite. I just find it almost impossible to believe, but I like Jaci Burton as a rule so I went with it. It is a popular device in romance, so I can’t fault anyone for using it, plus the “accidental marriage” is a favorite plot device for a lot of romance readers. 

Owen was engaged to Honor’s sister, but that was a while ago and now her sister is happily married. He basically dumped her right before the wedding when he was diagnosed with cancer. It’s been a couple of years though, and he is living his best life. Honor always thought Owen was cute and they’ve always been friends, so when she spies him across the lobby in her hotel in Vegas, she texts him and he joins her for lunch. One tequila leads to another and the next thing you know, they are waking up in bed together, married.

Annulment immediately springs to mind but Honor sort of remembers having sex with Owen, but doesn’t remember if they used protection. They decide to go home to Oklahoma and wait to see if she is pregnant. That takes weeks, and meanwhile they are secretly dating. Honor doesn’t want to upset her sister. The three sisters and their mom run a wedding venue at the family vineyard, and they are all very close, so Honor is very uncomfortable keeping her relationship a secret.

There is so much chemistry between Owen and Honor, I don’t know how her family didn’t notice for so long. Without giving too much away, let’s say a friendship plus steamy sex makes for a marriage that works. This was pure escapism, so if, like me, you don’t want to deal with the real world right now, try escaping with Honor and Owen.

The series in order:

.5 – The Matchmaker’s Mistletoe Mission (a prequel novella, Kindle only)

1- The Café By the Sea

2 – The Engagement Arrangement

3 – The Accidental Newlywed Game

6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE ACCIDENTAL NEWLYWED GAME by Jaci Burton. Berkley (June 28, 2022). ISBN: 978-0593439630. 336p.



Spotlight Review: AN ISLAND WEDDING by Jenny Colgan

June 21, 2022

Mure series, Book 5

From the publisher:

New York Times best-selling author Jenny Colgan brings us a delightful summer novel that will sweep you away to the remote Scottish island of Mure, where two very different weddings are about to take place….

On the little Scottish island of Mure – halfway between Scotland and Norway – Flora MacKenzie and her fiancé, Joel, are planning the smallest of “sweetheart weddings”, a high summer celebration surrounded only by those very dearest to them.

Not everyone on the island is happy about being excluded, though. The temperature rises even further when beautiful Olivia MacDonald – who left Mure 10 years ago for bigger and brighter things – returns with a wedding planner in tow. Her fiancé has oodles of family money, and Olivia is determined to throw the biggest, most extravagant, most Instagrammable wedding possible. And she wants to do it at Flora’s hotel, the same weekend as Flora’s carefully planned micro-wedding. 

As the summer solstice approaches, can Flora handle everyone else’s happy-every-afters – and still get her own?

This is the fifth novel in Colgan’s popular series set on the fictional island of Mure in northern Scotland. The story centers around Flora and Joel’s upcoming wedding, a secret romance between her best friend Lorna and Saif, a Syrian immigrant and father of two boys, and the recently engaged Olivia, a gorgeous islander who became a model and social media influencer. Olivia is planning her own Mure wedding extravaganza for the same day as Flora’s, while Flora is dismayed to learn that Joel wants a “sweetheart wedding” with only the immediate family present. Meanwhile, Saif finds out his wife, who was fighting in Syria, has moved on, and there are immigration legalities and racism at play here. The insanity of Olivia’s Instagrammable wedding and the teasing Flora and Joel get about their baby’s walking skills add humor and lighten the story. This is a slow paced, very descriptive sweet romance, but be forewarned, not all these characters get their happily ever after.

Verdict: Fans of the series will undoubtedly enjoy this latest addition, but other readers may want to start with the first book. Readalikes include books by Felicity Hayes-McCoy, Katie Fforde, and Sophie Kinsella.

The series in order (U.S. versions):

  1. The Café By the Sea
  2. The Endless Beach
  3. Christmas on the Island
  4. Christmas at the Island Hotel
  5. An Island Wedding

©Library Journal, 2022

6/2022 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

AN ISLAND WEDDING by Jenny Colgan. Avon (June 21, 2022). ISBN: 978-0063141889. 400p.