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Posted April 7, 2011
Emma Bailey has had enough of the snide comments from relatives, blind dates and questions about why she is not married yet. Emma decides enough is enough and declares that she has decided to be a spinster which should be a perfect choice for a minister's daughter, right? What Emma wants to figure out is how to be happy and content alone and live a full life without being dependent on someone else to do that for her. On the other hand her family is now even more vocal about what they want her to do with her life and none of them involved staying single.
Emma has the life she truly enjoys between owning her own bookstore, socializing with her friends and hanging out with her best friend Brian. Emma has never seen Brian as anything but a friend until he starts to date someone else and she finds herself wondering if he was the man who got away. The man she wants to stay away is her cheating ex-boyfriend Steve that now wants back in her life and claims to love her. Emma is sure that Steve has to go but did she miss the opportunity to be with Brian? Being a spinster was supposed to make her life less complicated now more intense.
This book is a reflection of what it is like to swim in the dating pool and not drown in this modern world. There are choices you want to pass on and others you do pass on that you should not have. Ms. Braziel gives depth to the story by showing how Emma deals with a family that pushes, overly helpful friends and trying to decide if friends can be lovers. For me though I really liked Emma the minute I read that she was a Nancy Drew fan.
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Posted August 13, 2011
After a crushing heartbreak and some complete dating disasters, Emma Bailey is fed up with the dating scene. Thirty years old and ready to declare herself a spinster, her mother is unwilling to accept her decision and is constantly trying to set her up on blind dates. Emma's only solace from her maddening mother is her best friend and neighbor, Brian. How could Emma possibly get through life without him there to share evenings of Chinese food and Cary Grant movies? Everything in Emma's life is running smoothly until Brian finds himself a serious girlfriend, and Emma finds herself unhappily solo.
I can sum up this book in one word: Predictable. Painfully so. If you couldn't pull together the outcome of the book based on my summary, you're daft! The characters were fairly shallow and cliché- the nagging mom, the teasing brother, the oblivious dad, and the arrogant prick of an ex. That said, Declaring Spinsterhood was cute. It's no epic love story or future Nicholas Sparks-esque movie, but it provides some light entertainment for the few hours it takes to read.
Emma and Brian are funny and cute together, and their dating horror stories are ones which most people can relate to. Many women can relate to having the meddling mother, but the author seems to exaggerate a bit (really though, if you found out what your daughter's ex did to her, would you push her to get back together with him, simply so she'd have a boyfriend???). The characters of Emma and Brian were fairly well developed, although sometimes Emma's personality didn't sync well with her actions. She comes across as timid and easily influenced when she's with her family, but she's simultaneously out getting her concealed carry license so she can better protect herself. What woman with marksman skills at the range is a total push-over?
The writing was very simple, and in many instances quite rushed. Characters would often make a decision to go do something and with no transition, they'd be off doing it in the next line! For a mostly lighthearted book, there is one part towards the end that seems rather out of place and violent. From the beginning of the book, Emma and Brian's feelings for each other were glaringly obvious to the reader, and the author seemed to feel it was necessary for Emma to be nearly killed for the characters to have that "Aha!" moment. A "Speak now or forever hold your pe--" "STOP THE WEDDING!" moment would have been more believable!
All in all, predictable and uninventive. If you like a light-hearted read for a day at the beach or on the plane, this is a good one. It's not going to win any awards, but it will entertain you for a bit.
Posted July 17, 2011
I want to call this book what I would consider to be one of my perfect beach reads without that sounding completely insulting. Some people see "beach reads" as one of those smutty romance novels that you take to the beach in paperbook format to read without guilt - and if you get some sand in the pages, then no problem. However, my definition is a little different. I love the beach and consider the beach to be a very romantic place. With that mindset, what I consider a good beach read is a great romance that can be read with an equally great back-drop -- like the beach. The beach just gives it that extra something that makes it that much better for me. So, that's what Declaring Spinsterhood is for me - a great romance book that I want to read with the ocean roaring at my ears, the sun warming my skin with the sand squishing between my toes. Absolute perfection, really.
The narration of this book makes it easy to read and very easy to follow. Emma is a great character to read about, full of life and spunk. She served the book well with her sparkling personality and intense free spirit. I love her drive and determination, especially how she keeps on keeping on when things seem to not go a certain way. Brian is an amazing friend and so much more. Emma's mom is... well, not exactly the greatest person in the world, but she serves her purpose in the book. As a matter of fact, all of the characters shine in this book serve as small pieces to the puzzle that is this book, clicking together perfectly.
The romance is kind of sudden, yet not really surprising at all. It really heats up the pages afterward, but the love scenes stay very G-rated - so, it's not one of those smutty books you have to hide from the world. Actually, it's quite the opposite... you'll want to share this with most of the world once you're done.
I think the only thing I can say is that the dialogue gets a little lengthy at parts, but besides that.. it's brilliant. It's a great read for all of my Contemporary Romance readers out there. You won't be disappointed. ;)
Posted July 13, 2011
Declaring Spinsterhood by Jamie Lynn Braziel Release Date: May 3rd, 2011 Publisher: AmazonEncore Page Count: 227 Source: From Little Bird Publicity for review Emma Bailey is fed up with the dating scene, and if she hears her mother nag one more time about getting married... well, she's had it, and she wants everyone to know it. In a moment of clarity (or insanity?), she announces to the world that she will never marry. No husband and no kids, no worries about diapers, driving lessons, or divorce. Her friends are there for her, but they're also involved in their own lives and loves, so off she goes into a world of casual dating. But what happens when the avowed spinster, the woman who has supposedly tucked her heart into a safe little space, suddenly realizes that her best friend, Brian, means more than a casual relationship? Jamie Lynn Braziel's Declaring Spinsterhood delivers with this enjoyable romp through dating, friendship, and passion. What Stephanie Thinks: Braziel's debut is a comedic, light, and relatable summer read that I adore. The pickle Emma gets herself into makes me laugh and wince at the same time. Granted, the situation is a bit dramatic, but it still makes for great chick-lit! And fiction isn't supposed to 100% realistic anyway; readers always long for the happy ending she gets. The plot flows deliciously. Even though it is highly predictable, I held onto the book because it was fun to read. Even the secondary issues, not including Emma and Brian's complicated relationship, are predictable, but they're still fun all the same. Emma's voice is klutzy (like me!) and entertaining, but also shamelessly truthful. She is both a cynic and a hopeless romantic, which makes for a likable protagonist. What I don't like is how immature she is. The way she acts towards her parents and her friends establishes a rather whiney, grumpy teenager persona, rather than the thirty-year-old unmarried loner she is. But I guess that's what makes her a bit of an odd ball; overall, I appreciated her and her cute humor. Another problem I have is with her relationship with Brian, her supposed best friend. Halfway into the book, Emma suddenly admits to having feelings for him; a lot of these feelings seem to be yielded because of the fact that he is always there for her, and that he is breathtakingly handsome. This is a bit confusing because Brian has always had Emma's back, and I assume he's always been attractive, so why is she just now beginning to like him? Either way, the manner in which they act towards each other tells me they never were "just friends" to begin with. Do just friends sleep together (in the same bed) and kiss each other just for show? I don't do that with my guy friends. Emma acts indecisive, also; her declared spinsterhood doesn't last long, and as expected, she ends up with her best-friend-who-she never-considered-boyfriend-material-until-he-is-unavailable. Despite these little annoying quirks Braziel doesn't clear up within the novel, I really enjoyed this easy, breezy book. It is surprisingly entertaining and hits close to home in terms of the search for true love and satisfaction. Stephanie Loves: "He sighed in exasperation. 'If you keep finding something wrong with every man you date, you'll never get married.' He wagged his finger at me. 'Only one man walked on water, Emma, and that was Jesus.' The old adage. 'He's not available, so I suggest you find someone else.'"Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 6, 2011
Review by Karen:Emma Bailey's story is one many of us have lived through: an overbearing and interfering family bent on embarrassing and ridiculing us about being single. Of course, they don't see it that way. They think they are teasing (lovingly, of course), and better yet, helping by sending all the losers, oops- marriage prospects, our way. And Mama's leading the pack. This all leads Emma to declaring spinsterhood.
Emma appears to have a good life. She owns her own children's bookstore. She has Kathy, a super friend who also works for her. And, she has Brian, a new friend who just moved next door six months ago. I, for one, would have loved a friend like Brian.
The focus of this story seems to be on Emma's family harping on her about being single and Emma being furious with them. For me, it goes on a bit too long. It does, eventually, lead to her questioning her feelings for Brian. What is their relationship anyway? Are they just really good friends or is there the potential for more? Does he have a girlfriend?
Oh, did I mention the curve ball thrown in? Something happens that you just don't see coming and it does make your heart stop for a moment.and then beat frantically. I'm really not sure why it's there.
Overall, an easy and enjoyable read with a lot of funny and relatable moments. While not my favorite, I can see where this would be a big hit with those who are fans of women's fiction.
It should be noted that this book was originally released a couple of years ago and appears to have been edited.
Posted June 19, 2011
A great chick lit read to break my reading slump. I read this after a few downers and loved the cute, sweet story. A woman who is surrounded by a family that is counting her biological clock for her. She decides to end her dating disasters and become an old maid at a young age. Just as she makes this decision she is having feelings for a "friend" and a previous fling.
A great book with a love triangle - a girl at the center trying to find herself and what she wants in her mate and two guys who waffle between wanting her as a friend or a lover. As triangles always do, I spent the entire book trying to decide which guy I would rather and which guy she should end the story with. No spoilers - but I am sure glad she ended it all with the one.
A sweet story that will put a smile on your face. A little twist at the end sends the closing pages into a whirlwind that you just can't predict, but can't wait to find out where it will all end. A perfect book to take on a trip to the beach or pool - the sweet story will perfectly accompany the day in the sun.
Posted May 20, 2011
Emma Bailey is a smart attractive woman, she owns her own children's bookstore has great friends and a supportive if not wee bit overbearing family. But when it comes to love, she's a walking talking cliché, you know the one's unlucky in love, always a bridesmaid etc., in fact if it weren't for her interfering mother setting up a string of bad blind dates, she might not have a love life at all. After a painful breakup she's entirely too dependent on her next door neighbor best friend Brian and now that he's dating leaving her feeling old maid-ish she's decided to "Declare Spinsterhood" and just put an end to dreaming about her very own Happily Ever After.
In her first novel Jamie Lynn Braziel gives us a lighthearted look at one woman's fight for life liberty and the pursuit of happiness how she sees fit, she also adds some tense moments in the novel that come quite unexpectedly and really give the read more oomph. She uses down home Texas twang to give her characters the real deal feel of the Lonestar state and uses narrative that is easy to read, easy to follow and informative to her readers and even though the dialogue tends to drag in a few places it does not hurt the enjoyment of the novel and I'm sure that once this author feels more confident in her writer skin she'll excel in this as well. Her characters are real stars of her show and they all are not only interesting but intricate pieces of this plot puzzle and as the pieces fall into place the characters get even better. Her heroine Emma is a bright light, a funny enigmatic girl who reminds me a little of The Unsinkable Molly Brown as she just keeps keeping on no matter what's happening around her. Her other stand out characters in this novel are the best friend Brian, Emma's workmate and friend Kathy and the mother from Hades. The romance will come up on you all of a sudden although by the time it gets here you won't be surprised, but I won't mention the hero because it's the journey that stands out and I wouldn't want to ruin that for any reader. The love scenes are G rated and would not offend any reader and yet it's not because of prudishness or any Victorian ideals it's just simple choice of the character and it's really refreshing, and not to worry for those fans who like sensuality in their reads the kisses in here will heat up the pages.
Fans of Susan Mallery or Jennifer Crusie would like this author, fans of realistic life situation romance would like this read, contemporary romance lovers of simple genre romance too. So do yourself a favor and give Ms. Braziel a try, you won't be sorry you did.