About the Books
Book: Always a Wedding Planner
Author: RL Ashly, Leeann Betts, Toni Shiloh, Davalynn Spencer
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release date: June 1, 2021
This collection features four stories of wedding planners who are partners at Weddings by Design, located in Loveland, Colorado. Each novella will be about 30,000 words.
Can four contemporary wedding planners break the jinx of singledom, or are they destined to witness the weddings of others?
Business partners Felicity Edwards, Kiki Bell, Cassie Blackthorn, and another who has yet to be named are best of friends in Loveland, Colorado—a romantic wedding destination for many couples—and they work together to make every bride’s special day the most important of their lives.
But each of the women hides a secret from the others, one that threatens their business, their friendship, and their happiness.
Can they work out their differences, build on their strengths, and trust each other—and God—with their futures?
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Since this is a collection of four novellas, I will review each novella and then give my thoughts of the book overall at the end.
Finally A Sweetheart by Toni Shiloh
This is the first story by Toni Shiloh that I have read and I really enjoyed it. It was a nice, sweet, cute read that is perfect for someone looking for a lighthearted story. The only thing I didn’t like about the story was the conflict, and that honestly has more to o with my personal preference than whether it was good or not.
I enjoyed getting to know each of the characters, especially Will’s sister, Olivia, who isn’t afraid to say it how it is when it comes to Will.
I also liked that it deals with a couple of heavy topics, I don’t want to say what they are because I do think they could be spoilers.
Overall, a good romance and story and I am looking forward to reading more of Toni Shiloh’s works in the future. 4/5 Stars.
Hemmed In by RL Ashly
Let me start by saying that Camilla is the absolute worst. She treats everything like some petty junior high drama, and is especially awful to main character, Kiki.
This was a sweet story, however, the romance felt very rushed. I feel like Kiki and Bing barely got to know each other. But then again, every relationship is different and can be unconventional and there is nothing wrong with that.
I really liked Kiki and how strong but gentle she was, especially where Camilla is concerned. And I liked Bing too, but I feel like he needed to step up more, especially with the Camilla situations, I felt like was too passive in most of his dealings with her. I did also like how he is referred to as a bachelor-until-the-rapture (probably because my dad jokes that he was one until he met my mom).
Overall, this was another great first novella the author. I hope to read more from her in the future. 4/5 Stars.
The Worst-Kept Secret by Leann Betts
I did enjoy this story, however I found Cassie way too judgmental of Brady based on her assumptions. But Brady is also to blame because he doesn’t correct her until later on. However, it was fun to watch them eventually grow closer, but I would have liked to see more snapshots of their relationship before the epilogue.
I could relate to Cassie a lot, especially since I am an introvert myself. So a lot of the times when she was sapped of energy I know what she was going through. Side note: Can they just fire Camilla already?
Overall, I liked this novella, I loved getting something from Cassie’s perspective for a change and seeing her relationship with the other ladies at Weddings By Design. Also, is it just me or do they have issues with communication? I hope to read more by Leann Betts in the future. 4/5 Stars
Taste and See by Davalynn Spencer
This was a great conclusion to the collection. I enjoyed getting to know Saffron, although there were times I found her to be a little melodramatic – especially when Ty guesses that she has lost her sense of taste. I mean, I can understand why she was cared, but I think she should have also been honest with her friends/partners. It just felt like there was a lot of miscommunication between the four of them, but then again, I have never run my own business with friends so I don’t know.
Overall, this was a great conclusion and I hope to read more of Davalynn Spencer’s work in the future. 4/5 Stars.
As a whole, I enjoyed this collection of sweet, clean romances. I loved the concept of following four friends, who are also business partners running a wedding planner business. My only complain is that they seem to have a lot of miscommunication and trust issues with one another. I enjoyed reading novellas from three new-to-me authors and reading another one by Davalynn Spencer. I don’t know if we will ever see the characters again, but I would love to read more about their weddings. 4/5 Stars
About the Authors
Leeann Betts writes contemporary romantic suspense, while her real-life persona, Donna Schlachter, pens historical romantic suspense. Together she and Donna have published more than 30 novellas and full-length novels.
R.L. ASHLY is a master seamstress with a Master of Arts degree in Literature (May, 2019). S, who is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Literature. A mother and grandmother, she is active in her local writing community, never says never to a home improvement task, and strives to one day write the Great American Novel.
RL Ashly writes on the run. She enjoys a good mystery with a complicated plot. Iced tea is her beverage of choice. Hemmed In is her first traditionally published novel.
DAVALYNN SPENCER is a Publisher’s Weekly and ECPA bestselling author with novellas in three Barbour collections, The 12 Brides of Christmas, The 12 Brides of Summer, and The Cowboy’s Bride. She won the Will Rogers Gold Medallion for Inspirational Western Fiction and is the author of ten additional titles, both contemporary and historical. She blogs monthly for Christian Authors Network, Heroes, Heroines & History, contributes to the American Christian Fiction blog, and writes her own weekly inspirational blog. She appears on an area radio broadcast, Write Time Radio, and teaches writing workshops when not wrangling Blue the Cowdog and mouse detectors Annie and Oakley.
Toni Shiloh is a wife, mom, and Christian fiction writer. Once she understood the powerful saving grace thanks to the love of Christ, she was moved to honor her Savior. She writes to bring Him glory and to learn more about His goodness.
Interview with the Authors
How did you become a writer?
Toni Shiloh: I took some creative writing classes while earning my bachelor’s degree and I caught the bug!
RL Ashly: In fifth grade, I was standing in the hallway of my elementary school and deep in conversation with my classmates. We were discussing writing and I told them that someday I would be a writer. That was my initial decision, but it would take a while and a bit of education before I could pursue a writing career.
Leeann Betts: I’m that kid in class who, when the teacher said, “Write a one-page story”, I wrote two or three pages, edge of paper to edge of paper. I loved telling stories. My parents called them ‘fibs’. In more recent years, I wondered if I had at least one book inside me that needed outing. So I sat down and tried. Messed up. Tried again. Finally, with the support of my husband who supported me and cheered me on, I finished the book, then went on to write many more.
Davalynn Spencer: I wrote my first story as an assignment from my sixth-grade teacher. That was all it took.
What is the most important thing God has taught you through your writing?
TS: That I can’t do this alone. I’ve been blessed with great critique partners, beta readers, readers overall. And of course a lot of other people who have helped in various ways.
LB: That He is the One who does the writing – all I do is transcribe the story. Before I write, I pray that I would do my part faithfully.
DS: My purpose is to proclaim Him and His faithfulness. Regardless of what happens in a character’s life or my own.
Writing has a lot of rejection. How do you deal with it?
TS: Chocolate! Lol, honestly I usually whine to my bff and pray. And maybe eat a piece of chocolate or two.
RA: Rejection or a closed door? The older I get, the more I understand a ‘no’ as not the right opportunity for me. A ‘no’ can certainly protect us from a frustrating situation that we might not understand at the time. That being said, rejection is hard. A strategy I find helpful is to let myself be discouraged, angry, or frustrated for a limited time period. All emotions need to be processed before I go to bed. Tomorrow is a new day, new adventures. I am a human and need to process like everyone else. But I have found setting time limits is healthy for me.
LB: Being a writer is much like being a follower of Jesus—there are people who love the story, and there are those who just don’t get it. In both cases, I just remind myself that they aren’t rejecting me—they are rejecting the Living Savior.
DS: Rejection can deteriorate into dejection if we allow it. Remembering that Christ too was rejected helps ease the sting. But so does remembering to keep going. Keep doing. Keep writing. Quitting is the enemy of obedience.
Who is your support for writing? Family? Writing group?
TS: My husband definitely supports me and then I have my circle of writing friends. They’ve been along for the majority of my writing career and have helped me become better with each book.
RA: Definitely my critique group. Leeann Betts is the leader, and the entire group are great cheerleaders.
LB: My husband is a huge support, as are my critique group, my writing friends, and my readers. I love hearing from readers, and always respond.
DS: I have many author friends and I enjoy spending time with them sharing commons struggles and victories.
Who are some of your favorite authors (either secular or Christian)?
TS: There are too many to name! I love all books by Sarah Monzon, Jaycee Weaver, Andrea Boyd, Becky Wade, Melissa Tagg, Ronie Kendig, Lynn Blackburn, etc.
RA: My biggest addiction is reading. I read whatever I can get my hands on including the cereal box. If I cannot read, then I will listen to an audio book. It is impossible to pick a favorite author. Everything from Socrates and Plato to Jane Austen and every contemporary writer on the planet right now.
LB: Agatha Christie, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
DS: C.S. Lewis, Tamera Alexander, Laura Frantz, Louis L’Amour.
Do you have a favorite routine for writing?
TS: I put on my playlist that I create for each book then write. 🙂
RA: Rather than climb the walls in my house, I sit in parking lots and write my novels. Open space parks are nice too. Now that things are returning to more of a normal situation, it is easier for me to write at home. I keep my tablet and notepad in a bag for easy access. I haul that thing around everywhere I go. Then if a great idea pops into my head, I can jot it down on paper or electronically.
I do not really have a routine. Between work and chasing grandbabies, I need to write on the go. This way of writing would drive most people nuts. But it is the only way I can get things done. I catch a little bit of time on my lunch break, and before and after work.
LB: No routine, apart from praying to faithfully transcribe. I wish I could have something, like music, or candles. But I don’t.
DS: I sit down at my computer with a cup of coffee and jump right in. During the colder months of the year, I sit by the fire in my rocker and write on my laptop. With coffee close by.
Tell us about your most recent book. What inspired you?
TS: I actually just kind of brainstormed and let the character develop in my mind. 🙂
RA: Hemmed In is a story about a seamstress and a firefighter. As a professional seamstress, my world revolves around sewing. It was a natural choice to make the lead character a seamstress. My late uncles and aunts were the inspiration behind the story. My uncles stepped up to the plate, married my aunties, and became fathers to my cousins. They treated them as their own. The word ‘step’ did not refer to people. The only ‘step’ in their vocabularies were the ones outside leading to the front door. That left a lasting impression upon me.
LB: Worst-Kept Secret, my contribution to this collection, came as the result of a brainstorming session with my late writing friend, Darlene Franklin. We were coming up with ideas for collections. We started with “Always a Bridesmaid” then thought, “nah, that’s been done to death”. So “Always a Wedding Planner” came out, contemporary, which was a change, since the other collections were all historical. To create the heroine, I made her a lot like me. Introverted, afraid to disappoint, wanting to please.
DS: A Change of Scenery, Book 4 in the Canon City Chronicles series, focuses on the third generation of the Hutton family in 1911. Canon City was an early Hollywood, hosting movie makers of the silver screen. When I was a reporter for the newspaper in Canon City, I often visited the local History Center and Museum for stories from the past. Discovering so much intriguing movie history from this area led me to create characters around actual events and bring them to life in my Western-romance series.
Anything else you’d like to tell my readers?
TS: I hope you enjoy Always a Wedding Planner!
RA: I have a cat named Messy. She is better than any alarm clock. Woe to the human who does not get out of bed on time and put food in the dish.
LB: I am a Canadian by birth, American by choice (naturalized), and a patriot to my core.
DS: Nope, that’s it.
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, September 3
Inklings and notions, September 4
By The Book, September 4
For Him and My Family, September 5
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, September 5
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, September 6
Kayem Reads, September 6
Texas Book-aholic, September 7
lakesidelivingsite, September 8
Ashley’s Clean Book Reviews, September 8
Because I said so — and other adventures in Parenting, September 9
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, September 10
She Lives To Read, September 10
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, September 11
deb’s Book Review, September 11
Locks, Hooks and Books, September 12
Labor Not in Vain, September 13
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, September 13
Splashes of Joy, September 14
Through the Fire Blogs, September 14
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, September 15
Pause for Tales, September 15
Simple Harvest Reads, September 16 (Guest Review from Donna Cline)
To celebrate their tour, R.L., Toni, Leann and Davalynn are giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card and a print copy of the book (US only)!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.