Tall Tales and Wedding Veils - Jane Graves More like a 2.5. It was cute, but nothing special. This book actually reminded me of Jennifer Crusie's Bet Me (which I LOVE) because it had:

(a) a completely ridiculous meet-cute;
(b) a physically hotter than hot hero (Tony) with a "curvy" size 14 heroine who is a super smarty (Heather);
(c) said heroine's relative is getting married, and she must fit into a too-small bridesmaid dress;
(d) there is a preconceived "game over" for each relationship (coincidentally, ~one month for each); and
(e) the hero has a poisonous relative situation...

EXCEPT that with this book, Tall Tales and Wedding Veils, you get a book with:

(i) not as funny execution (no real "laugh out loud" moments, but sure...plenty of smiles and quirked lips);
(ii) a hero who is hot, but not nearly hot enough in the personality department (I'll expand on this later); and
(iii) a heroine who is objectively smart, but is also something of a doormat who brushes off the hero's apologies (in multiple situations) when they are clearly warranted.

It's hard to rate a book beyond "this was cute enough" if you're not completely sold on the main characters of the story. That is unfortunately the case for me. I like zany plots, kooky relatives, outlandish meet-cutes, and hot guys with average girls, all of which this book delivered; it just did not deliver them in anything more than a watered-down "this was decent" way.

The author makes a point of showing how competent and smart Heather is, but I just didn't think she was competent or smart in standing up for herself when Tony said things that hurt her. They'd have arguments, he'd say something mean, and she'd leave the scene. After he realizes he's been a dickwad and seeks her out to apologize, Heather unfailingly cuts it short and/or cuts him off, oftentimes making some sort of excuse for him. He doesn't want to take the excuse, but then she's all "let's just leave this be - bygones," etc etc., to which he has no choice but to acquiesce.

And why does he feel the need to apologize so often?

Well, he's kind of an arrogant jerk. Now, I know that's what his character is from the beginning, but I really did not expect him to continue having arrogant jerk moments when I was already three-quarters through the book. He's lived a carefree, playboy bachelor's life - I get that. I just don't get why he's so careless with how he treats Heather, who did give him the huge chunk of money that enables him to pursue his dream (of becoming an entrepreneur and buying the local bar and grill they both patronize). I just think that he had miles to travel in order to redeem/reform himself enough for a believable and satisfying HEA with Heather, and in the end, I'm not quite sure if he did. There are a number of times when he definitely seems like a nice guy, but sometimes it's unclear to me how much that is his being a genuinely nice guy and his whole charming-the-pants-(literally?)-off people persona (see next paragraph).

Also, there are a number of times when Heather is thinking about Tony and his complexities, and she realizes he's always charming as sort of a defense mechanism from letting anyone get too close. I don't know...this wasn't really convincing to me because I didn't see it myself; this felt like too much of an author's telling us and not showing us what the character is all about (which doesn't always bother me, but did in this case).

Okay, so that was my mini-rant. With that said, I really do think the premise and story are cute. I liked the characters in general, but I just didn't think the author took them where they could and should have gone.

I'd say 2.5 stars because it was better than "meh" but not quite a solid "I liked it."