Today, I’m am pleased to be showcasing a book excerpt and review as part of Chick Lit Plus (CLP) Blog Tours! ‘Up To I Do’ Samantha March is a wedding tale about what happens when a wealthy girl plans her wedding.
Hotel heiress Emerson Sinclair is all set to marry her childhood friend, Logan Worthington. Bringing two prominent families together obviously means that a seamless and perfect wedding has to be pulled off. Both sides of the family are counting on Emerson, but as details become more and more complicated, Emerson can’t help but wonder whether a big affair is all worth it. After all, isn’t it about being in love and being happy on your wedding day, instead of trying to fit an ideal that is expected of you?
I fell into this book so fast! Truly, I can’t remember the last time I read a chicklit book that revolved around a wedding. I used to read them all the time, WAY back in the day, but since I was married many years ago and all of that was behind me, I just hadn’t ventured into wedding lit genre as of late. But, before I knew it, I was checking back in with Emerson and her friends and family, to see how the wedding details were progressing. With an interesting cast of characters – my faves were Grams (Emerson’s maternal grandmother, Pearl) and Emerson’s intellectual sister, Milly. I really liked how the characters in this novel had faults, including Emerson, and they lived up to them. First and foremost, family was paramount and everyone wanted to make Emerson and Logan’s day special for them.
I enjoyed the writing style of this book, a lot! I think that’s why I kept gravitating toward the book. I knew I could read and read and then put it down for a while, and get right back into it. The entire book flowed with ease and I picked this up from the start. Just when I thought a detail might be forgotten, it was mentioned again and all was well. I can really appreciate a conscientious writer. But most of all, the book was fun! It was a blast to be emersed in wedding details, read about stylish dresses of today – I could envision them – what rings the bride and groom should choose, and all the other aspects that are important to a wedding. I loved how Emerson included her Grams a lot in the sentiment of the wedding, culminating in one final surprise that made you cheer on the entire family.
As a name fanatic over here, I adored so many of the names used in this book. I especially liked that Grams’ name was Pearl – a name and a gem – which was used as a symbol for many items in Emerson’s wedding plans.
If you’re looking for current wedding lit (or chicklit) to indulge in, then Up To I Do would be a perfect pick for you!
Check out the amusing excerpt below – one of the best scenes in the book and definitely a time where I thought “I’m glad that isn’t me!”
Up To I Do (Marching Ink, 2015)
MyWeddingPlans.com Status Update: Nearly lost a bridesmaid today. #needaredo #redhotmess
The day of the bridesmaid dress appointment felt similar to picking out my wedding dress. Once again, Mom, Grams, Milly, Sienna, and the rest of the bridesmaids gathered at the house for breakfast. Delilah had even made the trip down once again, and we were going to have a sleepover at Milly’s that night with the three of us. I couldn’t wait.
Once we were finished eating, we were off in the limo once again to the bridal shop where I had purchased my dress. I had to put my foot down on this. Evie (and also Honor and a tad bit of Tatiana if I’m honest) pushed for a New York trip to find the bridesmaid dress, throwing out all these top-notch shops filled with designer dresses. But . . . if I couldn’t have a designer dress, why would my maids wear one? I had finally come to terms that I had my dream dress and it just happened not to be a big name designer. I couldn’t handle if the other girls had one. The men were wearing Vera Wang for God’s sake. Cut me a little slack here.
Once we arrived at the store and were greeted warmly by Sandra, the owner, she ushered us to the back and I sat on the throne—a big fluffy red chair reserved for brides. Milly handed me scorecards that she had made so I could rate each dress from 1-10, and Sandra explained what would happen. We had fifteen minutes to walk around the store and grab dresses, then the fun would begin. Pretty simple.
On her mark, the lot of us scattered like marbles on a wood floor, on the hunt for the perfect bridesmaid dress. I managed to pull two, getting overwhelmed quickly by all the choices. How would I ever find one? Maybe each girl could wear a different dress in the same color. Would that be too busy? Did I care? Why was I here? Couldn’t I have made Katrina handle this on her own? But no, she probably would have been sucked into going to New York as well. It was better I was here and in control.
“Time!” Sandra stood in the middle of the floor, and I realized then that we were the only people in the store, which I had to think was unusual for a Saturday morning. I wondered if Mom had reserved the space solely for us. That was sweet and a necessity I hadn’t even thought of because I wasn’t sure I could concentrate if a bunch of other bridesmaids were traipsing along the aisles.
After handing my choices over to Sandra and taking a seat at the throne, I waited anxiously for the girls to come out. Each was coming out first in a pick of their own, and I was curious to see what each girl’s style was going to be. Milly was the exception. Since she was my maid of honor, I was going to let her off the hook for trying dresses on. I figured we had enough girls around. She had thanked me profusely that morning for the favor.
“Got your scorecards at the ready?” Sienna asked me, her eyes bright. As the countdown to the big day got closer, Sienna seemed to be more and more in her element. I think Mom was relieved she was taking some of the pressure off her, especially with the pageant taking up more time than she expected it to.
I held up the thick cards that Milly had clearly put a lot of time into. “Ready to roll!”
Sandra cleared her throat and started listing off the designer names and the dress features. Honor was in a strapless dress that fell to the knee, with a belted waist and crumb catcher top. Delilah’s dress also featured a crumb catcher top (these two were so alike it could be scary) but hers had no belt and was less structured than Honor’s. Tatiana had a long strapless dress with a keyhole in the chest area—a little too risqué in my opinion. Evie . . . Evie. Evie was in a short hot pink dress that dipped low in the back, nearly to her crack, and her boobs were pushed up so high I was sure a nip slip was going to happen in the store. How in the world that was a suitable bridesmaid dress for anyone was beyond me. I couldn’t even look at her.
“Gabby’s dress is my favorite out of this group,” I said, my eyes immediately going to her soft chiffon dress with delicate straps and a ruched bodice. It fit her well and looked so pretty and feminine. And to be honest—a crumb catcher scared me. Even the name was just plain weird.
“You have a little diversity here with styles and even lengths,” Sandra said, standing by me. “Let’s focus on Honor and Delilah first, since they are similar. Do you like the crumb catcher top?”
I held up a scorecard with a 4 on it. “Sorry, ladies. I think those tops are weird.”
“Emerson!” They both screeched, looking at one another and laughing. Milly joined in from her perch on the chair next to me.
“I bet this would look great in your wedding,” Delilah said, patting Honor on the arm, who I think turned a little pale at that. “Or yours, Milly. And I can’t wait to hear all about this Miles tonight!”
Milly blushed as we all—even Grams and Sienna—hooted at her. “Yeah, yeah, let’s get back to the task at hand. So nothing fashion forward for the bride. No crumb catcher. Got it.”
“How about Tatiana’s? What do you think of a long dress?” Sandra asked.
I flipped through my stack and held up a 7. “I like this one more, but I’m not sure about long. Most of the pictures I’ve been pinning are short.”
“Long tends to work better for more formal weddings,” Mom said as her cell phone started to ring, piercing through the quiet store. “My gracious, my apologies. I thought I turned the ringer off.” She fumbled in her Prada for her phone, looking at the screen and frowning. “It’s the pageant. Again. Third call this morning. I’m sorry, let me just step outside quick and I’ll be back in a shake.” She rushed outside without even grabbing her coat, and I stared at her retreating back, frowning. For someone who was donating her time and efforts to the pageant cause, she sure was pretty invested in that event.
Shaking my head, I focused again at the task at hand. “Let’s keep it long then,” I said. “I like the idea of a more formal wedding, so if that will help with the pictures, let’s do it. And it’ll be September, so not like the girls will be overheated or anything.”
“Long it is,” Grams confirmed.
“Let’s move to Gabby’s,” Sandra suggested.
“I thought you didn’t want chiffon,” Milly said, remembering a conversation we had in the past about bridesmaid dresses.
“I didn’t think I did, but seeing it on her, it looks really good. I especially like how it’s tight in the middle. I think it would be really flattering on everyone.” I eyed the dress, liking it more with each passing second. I held up a 9. “This is a serious contender.”
Sandra cleared her throat. “And how about . . . Evie’s?”
Everyone was silent. “No,” I said simply.
Evie stomped a foot. “But, Emerson, this color is gorgeous! And not to diss any of these other top-notch dresses, but this one really is the best.” Her tone dripped in sarcasm.
I raised a brow. “No,” I said again. “I’m not even going to touch on how hideous that dress is—no offense, Sandra—or how inappropriate it would be for not only my wedding, but the majority of weddings that take place. Now go back, pick a dress that is actually suitable, and come back. Or leave. I honestly don’t care which.” I folded my arms and stared at her.
She wavered under my glare—I saw it. “Fine.” She flounced away and everyone stood frozen to their spots, not sure of what to say.
Sandra cleared her throat. “Well, um, a successful first round. Let’s head back into the dressing room and I’ll do one of your picks, Emerson, along with picks from the others in the group.” Sandra ushered my maids away and I leaned back in the chair, replacing all the score cards and gearing up for round two.
NOTE: Thank you to CLP Blog Tours for the complimentary ebook of “UP TO I DO” in order to participate in this book tour (review).
CLP Tours has a giveaway going on now, so be sure to enter below:
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About Samantha March
Samantha March is an author, editor, publisher, blogger, and all around book lover. She runs the popular book/women’s lifestyle blog ChickLitPlus, which keeps her bookshelf stocked with the latest reads and up to date on all things health, fitness, fashion, and celebrity related. In 2011 she launched her independent publishing company Marching Ink and has three published novels – Destined to Fail, The Green Ticket and A Questionable Friendship. When she isn’t reading, writing, or blogging, you can find her cheering for the Green Bay Packers. Samantha lives in Iowa with her husband and Vizsla puppy.
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