Monday, September 15, 2014

The Bouquet List by Barbara DeLeo

The Basics:
The Bouquet List by Barbara DeLeo
Entangled: Bliss
Book One in the Weddings in Westchester series
Contemporary Romance
Published September 15, 2014
Source: Received via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Why I picked up this book:

It looked short and sweet.


He's #5 on her Bouquet List. Tall, dark...and completely forbidden.
After a too-close call with death, Yasmin Katsalos is checking some things off her Bouquet List—things to do after you thought you were going to die. Fun fashion choices? Check. Purple hair and a cute diamond nose stud? Check, check. Now she's on to item #5: a flirty fling with a man who's tall, dark, rich...and totally out of her league.
And restaurateur Lane Griffiths definitely fits the bill.
Lane isn't just out of Yasmin's league. He's also her brother's best friend and therefore off-limits. Now that they're working together on renovations for her family's wedding hall, however, Yasmin has plenty of opportunities to bewitch, bother, and boldly seduce. He's reserved. She's relaxed. The only thing they share is a spark of attraction that's too strong to resist. But is Lane just another item on her bouquet list... or has Yasmin found something on her list that will last?

My thoughts:

The Bouquet List is a quick, fun read about a contemporary couple renovating a restaurant... and themselves.

This book takes the friend of a sibling trope to a new level - in this case, Lane didn't really have eyes for Yasmin at all when they were younger, while she had a crush on him. Now, Lane's modeled his ideal life on the closeness of Yasmin's family, and he doesn't want to risk his bond with them over a fling with Yasmin.

What I loved about The Bouquet List is that Lane and Yasmin are rarely on the same page. Yasmin's looking to live life to the fullest, free of other people's expectations. She wants to explore her own desires rather than cave to everyone else. Lane, on the other hand, is a planner. He likes to know where he's going and he's got a clear vision of his future.

While they dance around each other and their attraction, Yasmin and Lane also learn how to find the balance between what they *think* will make them happy and what actually does.

Excellent life lesson: being more in tune with yourself in the moment means shedding your own expectations for yourself and allowing yourself to recognize what actually makes you happy or unhappy instead of what you think will make you happy or unhappy.

There's not much meat to this story beyond the romance - the renovation and some drama with Yasmin's family provides the backdrop. I suspect we'll see more of Yasmin's family in the future - her two brothers seem primed for romantic possibilities, as do the children of a rival wedding venue.

Bottom line:

Sweet and easy to read, The Bouquet List not only presents a fantastic idea - things that you want to do to celebrate life (versus a bucket list - things to do before you die) - but it's also a cute, contemporary romance.

4 stars
For fans of contemporary romance, Greek food, weddings, restaurant ownership, friend-of-sibling to lover stories.

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