The first couple of chapters were really slow, a little too much descriptive dialogue about Aunt Willy. Finally it sped up and I couldn't put it down. The many characters and relationships that form are wonderful to follow. The humor and faith shown is nicely done, I even highlighted some scenes with really great spiritual messages.
My only main complaint there are some scenes with Scarlet and Armando in which the character's physical placement doesn't make sense and is hard to imagine. Like I'd go back & reread to see if I missed something because he'd go from wrapping his arms around her, and kissing her forehead as if they're standing, but then he "looks up at her" as if he were sitting the whole time, without any movement being mentioned by the author. Or when she's talking with her Aunt and he comes and stands "in front of her", I imagined him either being rude or defending her when the scene asserted neither one was happening. I would have just like more descriptiveness on movement in those scenes that were meant to be more intimate between the two main characters.
Overall very nice story line, had me wanting to pray for me an Armando and have the prayer life of many of the characters...inspiring and humorus :)
Focused on different aspects of the wedding industry on Galveston Island, the Weddings by Design series follows Hannah McDermott, Scarlet Lindsey, Gabi Delgado, and Cassia Pappas in their own respective novels as they discover friends, love, and plenty of professional opportunities thanks to their connection with Bella Neeley and the rest of the Rossi family (from the Weddings by Bella series). Surrounded by unique families, quirky brides, and plenty of connections to the world of Janice Thompson's other characters, these women become well-respected professionals and advocates of their respective vocations.
These light-hearted novels are reminiscent of Sandra Bricker's Emma Rae Creation series (including Always the Baker, Never the Bride; Always the Wedding Planner, Never the Bride; Always the Designer, Never the Bride; and Always the Baker, Finally the Bride), filled with laugh-out-loud moments and excellent character development. Ms. Thompson's focus on wedding photography and flowers, in addition to cake and wedding dress design, set her apart from Ms. Bricker's works. Additionally, Ms. Thompson's personal experience in wedding planning becomes exceptionally evident in the level of detail that she brings to her novels.
Overall, I found these books to be exceptionally fun to read. Out of all the books, I most enjoyed the first two novels (Picture Perfect and The Icing on the Cake), as they seemed to be the most well-developed out of all the stories and had more mature characters than the final two.
Every once in awhile a series of books comes along that develop such fantastic characters, usually in a delightful setting with fun plots and ideas, that you just can't help falling in love with the entire series and you wait with bated breath for the next book to be released so you can go back to your favorite spot and reconnect with some of your favorite characters while you are introduced to more fun people. In the past I have seen Mary Connealy accomplish that with some of her Christian Westerns, Julie Lessman definitely did that with her Boston series... so much so that she wrote a second series about the same family! Janice Thompson has definitely accomplished the same thing with her Bella books that she has continued in her Weddings by Design series! The cover is lovely and fun, but it is just the gateway back to Galveston where we get to meet back up with Bella and her crazy friends and family but we really have the opportunity to get to know cake designer, Scarlet and Bella's brother (troublemaker) Armando!
The storyline is fun (love the tv contest and the descriptions of the hot lights and the horror of going through all of that!) but you know the girl will get her happily ever after... with Janice's books it isn't so much the suspense of - whoever will she end up with?!?! but more the witty journey that gets you there. The writing style is hilarious and a mile a minute riot. I absolutely adore her books and Icing On the Cake is just the next in a wonderful series that I encourage you to start from the very beginning with Fools Rush In and then go all the way through (and don't forget the Backstage Pass series that picks up with characters that first appear in the Fools Rush In books...) I can't wait for the next one!!!