How many of us wonder what really happens behind the scenes of our favorite home improvement or reality television shows? Melissa Tagg explores these possibilities in her debut novel, "Made to Last." The basic scenario is familiar: the main character need a spouse, someone is hired to play the part, and the pretense begins with the threat of being discovered constantly looming on the sidelines. Tagg puts a new spin on the situation with a plot that is both humorous and serious and involves a love "rectangle." Humor is more prevalent at the beginning of the novel and takes a backseat mid-way through. Delving into deeper topics deserves a more serious tone, but I found myself wishing for more of the light-hearted moments to make their way back into the plot.
Miranda finds herself in quite a quandary, in a pretend marriage with three potential love interests. "Made to Last" is told from both Miranda's and Matthew's perspectives, and they both bring depth to the plot with their less-than-perfect pasts. They are both believably flawed with stories worth telling. Miranda's fake husband situation is not completely realistic, but the scenario leading up to her ongoing lie is believable. In regards to the love story, limiting the perspective to just Miranda's would have kept me in more suspense about the outcome. From the beginning, it was clear that Matthew captured Miranda's heart, although part of me hoped it would be Blaze. Blaze offers sometimes over-the-top comedic relief in a surfer dude style, but has untapped potential to become a very dynamic character. I definitely hope that we see him in one of Tagg's future novels, but "Made to Last" tackled enough issues without introducing Blaze's as well.
Tagg's contemporary romance reminds me of novels by authors like Denise Hunter and Lisa Wingate. She creates a plot reminiscent of a movie with characters and situations to capture a reader's interest. After getting our attention, Tagg incorporates meaningful themes of honesty, faith, forgiveness, and true love.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising
I knew after I looked at the cover and read the blurb that Made to Last would be a read I'd enjoy. I was right! I easily entangled myself within Miranda's story. I loved how both she and Matthew's voices were down to earth and distinct. They read as real people. Imperfect people. People with troubles and struggles.
I loved the home-improvement TV show angle. It's unique, fresh, and it was really cool to read about. More than once I found time slipping past with ease while I read earnestly, and before I knew it, I was halfway through. Sadly this book didn't surprise me, but, the genre is "contemporary romance" and not "mystery" so I'll let it slide. ;-)
Tagg is one to watch in the future. I like her writing style and her spunky characters, especially Celine. I don't know why I adore side child characters, maybe it's their innocence, but Celine is absolutely wonderful. For those who are looking to read something different, then you need to try out Made to Last, it'll be worth it. I recommend to ages sixteen and older for readability and content.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review of my opinions, thanks!
Miranda Woodruff appears to have achieved what most young women dream about, a successful career and a loving husband. In reality she is a toolbox-toting, successful builder, but the loving husband doesn't exist. Shortly after her home-building show launched, her would-be husband left her with a broken heart and a house half built. As filming for the fourth season of her show is about to begin, rumor has it there may not be a fourth season. To increase publicity and boost ratings her producer hires a reporter to divulge Miranda's softer side and dispel rumors about her "mystery" husband. Her references to a loving husband had begun at the onset of the program, and the deception continued. With a reporter hired to follow every move she makes, Miranda needs a husband. A look-alike of her former fiance is hired to play the part. He plays a loving and attentive husband, but the guy's an accident waiting to happen! Reporter on the prowl, Matthew Knox is living in a cabin on Miranda's property, and quickly suspects that her home life may not be what is portrayed. Miranda's conscience kicks in as additional lies compound her initial deception. Her faith is a mere shell of what it once was, and as she seeks peace in her spiritual life the road to redemption appears long.
I don't know what I was expecting when I began reading this book, but this debut author has pulled out all the stops! Melissa Tagg has created a host of diverse characters close to those we know and love, and others we love to hate. Her characters are believable and varied, from dead serious to crazy hilarious! The settings she has designed are beautifully vivid and artistically created, visions of reality painted with creativity. Emerging relationships and romance blossoms as unsuspected situations develop. Variety flourishes throughout this story of deception, relationships, frayed faith, romance and humor. What stems from heartbreak progresses to hilarity, distance melts into familiarity, insecurities develop into hope. After enjoying this book as much as I did I can hardly wait for a sequel. Don't miss out on this well-written, creative novel.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
I found Made to Last, by debut author, Melissa Tagg, delightful. From beginning to end, the story kept me hooked. The premise, the action and the conclusion all left a feel-good pitter-pat in my reader's heart.
All the characters felt real to me throughout the story. They were fun, and yet flawed. Each one had issues to work through. Melissa Tagg crafted believable story arcs and wove each character's story together in a wonderful way. Even the secondary characters were three-dimensional. She dealt with an issue many people deal with: who are we, really? These characters had depth. Miranda and Matthew fit together. Blaze, though, was the most intriguing. I hope Ms Tagg will write his story too.
What I liked: Melissa wove in a number of twists, things I would have never predicted that fit with the story and kept it lively. She made me laugh, and even drew a few tears in a couple of scenes. Her descriptions of the scenes made me feel like I was there. I highly recommend this book. I'm looking forward to more great books from this author.
If you like romantic comedy with deeper truths, you will love this book.
A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review.
Miranda is a character in the story who loves working with her hands building with wood, painting, anything that makes a home pretty. In the novel she is the star of her show From the Ground Up which teaches the viewers how to fix or build anything in a home. Yet, for all her hard work and knowledge Miranda felt trapped along with fear when anyone got too close to her.
Matthew would do anything for a headline story since his fall from stardom five years prior. His past haunts him in many ways, and when he is assigned to write about Miranda's show, her life and dig up anything the public doesn't know about her. Matthew is able to do that and more until someone touched his heart which made future decisions all the harder to make.
Blaze was working for a catering company when Miranda sees him from a distance then when he turns toward her she realizes he isn't who she thought he was. Now he is hired to play an unusual part in her life, which causes both parties to become uncomfortable as time builds passes, along with a nosy reporter asking lots of questions.
The tale told here reveals how our pasts can make our present choices ridiculously entangled. Now each of the main players have to decide if the past is going to come out, how it is going to come and how to find the peace their hearts are crying out for. Sometimes in the story I was laughing at the way the action scene was going, it was just funny to picture the playfulness that is usually attributed to children being done by adults. Along with being caught playing when work was calling for their attention, but hearts were crying for the freedom to just be!
What develops between some of the characters is true friendship, forgiveness along with walking the hard road of letting the truth be exposed to others. The true friendship these players develop, though not all of them is a reminder of how we all need people in our lives we can trust with good and the bad. I enjoyed how in one part of the book the legacy of one man in a local church influences people for years to come.
There is romance, adventure, time for laughter and time to just think about what we would do if we were a particular situation the character was facing. What would we do when tempted in the various ways or situations as portrayed on the pages? I enjoyed the novel very much and hope there is a sequel coming from Melissa Tagg or maybe another story totally unrelated, as she is a good story teller!