Author: Tere Michaels
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 160 Pages
At a Glance: Tere Michaels is a great storyteller, and this novel had lovely moments of passion and humor, but, unfortunately, the plot felt a bit rough around the edges.
Blurb: When drama threatens to ruin a romance on a reality show, only a true friend can save a groomzilla’s wedding.
Daniel Green, an event planner with a neat, quiet, orderly life, reluctantly agrees to plan the wedding of his childhood friend Ander, an outrageous fashion designer soon to marry a wealthy entertainment lawyer named Rafe. To complicate matters, the happy couple have agreed to have their wedding made into a reality show—something that practical Daniel isn’t sold on.
Daniel is neither a romantic nor a wedding planner, but he’s the only person in the world who can manage Ander. Distracting him from his mission is Owen Grainger, a too-handsome-to-be-true producer whose quiet charm pulls Daniel into his orbit.
When the stress of the show triggers bad behavior from Ander, co-producer Victor Pierce decides it’s the key to a ratings bonanza, and he begins to undermine Ander and Rafe’s relationship to create more drama. Daniel is determined to protect his friend and his own reputation, but when he finds himself falling hard for Owen, there’s much more at stake than ratings.
Review: Tere Michaels sends up a humorous look at a wildly talented control freak and his best friend as they wade into the pre-matrimony waves of wedding planning. Daniel has known Ander nearly all his life, and fully accepts that his friend will gleefully stick his nose into every aspect of Daniel’s life if it means both of them will get a happy-ever-after. Now, Ander has gone one step beyond crazy and signed on to have him and his fiancée, Rafe, be part of a documentary filming every aspect of their upcoming nuptials. He has asked Daniel to be the wedding planner, but little do both know that reality TV is about to wreak havoc on their lives in more than a few ways.
When Daniel meets one of the producers, Owen, he is instantly smitten and definitely in lust. However, Owen hides more than a few secrets, and Daniel has been left behind one too many times to trust that theirs is little more than a meeting of convenience with great sex attached. As time moves on, Daniel will find himself falling hard for Owen, Ander will begin to doubt Rafe really wants to marry, and the sumptuous wedding all had planned may not be the happy-ever-after all had expected.
Groomzilla is a bit of a wild romp. With snappy dialogue and a completely off-the-charts group of characters, the novel moved swiftly and kept me on my toes. There were times when Ander crossed the line from humorous diva into a somewhat nasty and controlling best friend, which surprised me. I felt that the author was going for something warmer and loving when, in reality, Ander was downright obnoxious and rude to Daniel, particularly when it came to emotional blackmail and getting his way. However, Daniel really counterbalanced those moments by having incredible patience with his bestie, and knowing exactly how to handle Ander’s passionate tantrums.
Owen’s character was the basis for the mystery element in the novel. Here and there throughout the novel, we learned just enough about his past and the current business relationship with his smarmy partner, Victor, to keep us wondering exactly how these two hooked up and why Owen seemed to endure a horrible work environment. Unfortunately, it was this plot point that weakened the story for me. I kept expecting to read more about Owen’s dark past. He was obviously struggling with the need to punish himself physically, as was evidenced by extreme workouts and the near constant popping of antacids. Anorexia was touched upon, and Daniel was shown as being concerned with the fact that Owen never seemed to eat, but again, this element was never fully developed or resolved. Yet, there were so many references to it that I felt at some point Owen should have gotten professional help.
I did enjoy how both Owen and Daniel rallied to fix the dilemma near the end of the story. I felt the wrap-up was both sweet and realistic, given Ander’s character and his volatile behavior. However, here again, I thought it was odd that Owen locked himself away from Daniel to finish the film, leaving our hero to wonder if he was ever going to return and pick up the pieces of their tenuous relationship. The way in which they abruptly parted, post-wedding, left me wondering if I had misread the previous romantic gestures and promises they had made to each other, particularly since Daniel “took to his bed” in despair for four days while Owen failed to contact him at all due to his working feverishly to complete the project.
All in all, it was these small, puzzling moments that added up to make Groomzilla less cohesive than it could have been. Don’t misinterpret, Tere Michaels is a great storyteller, and this novel had lovely moments of passion and humor, but, unfortunately, the plot felt a bit rough around the edges, and the story resolved a bit too quickly for me.
You can buy Groomzilla here: