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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Review: ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID by Cindi Madsen

Title: Always a Bridesmaid
Author: Cindi Madsen
Getting Hitched in Dixie #2 (Standalone)
Publisher: Entangled Amara
Publication Date: May 26, 2020
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Violet Abrams may have have been a bridesmaid no less than seven times, but her wedding day was near—she could feel it. Until her longtime boyfriend left her for someone else. That's just fine—she has her photography and a new project redesigning her sister's bakery to keep her happy and fulfilled. Fast-forward to the day of his wedding, though, when Violet might have accidentally, totally not on purpose, started a fire. Worst day ever.

Firefighter Ford Maguire thought he'd seen it all. Until he's called out because someone tried to set the local bakery on fire... with a wedding magazine? The little arsonist might be the cutest woman he's ever seen, but he's too career-focused to consider something serious. Still, Violet seems like a great person to help him navigate his upcoming "man of honor" duties in his best friend's wedding.

Pretty soon, not only is Violet giving him lessons on all things weddings, she's helping him train his latest rescue-dog recruit puppies and weaving her way seamlessly into his lone-wold lifestyle. But forever is the last thin on Ford's mind, and if there's one thing a perpetual bridesmaid knows, it's the importance of a happily ever after.

"Life's too short. The longer you take to start living it,
the more regrets you'll end up with."

Always a Bridesmaid was my first Cindi Madsen book and I am now a BIG fan! This novel brought on all the feels and reignited my love for small town romances. In short, I absolutely loved this fun and heart-warming read. This book skyrocketed up to the top of my favorite reads of 2020. I have the paperback on order and there is a reread in the very near future for me. I need to sticky note all my favorite scenes after all, and there were many. Always a Bridesmaid was sweet. It was adorable, and it was sexy. My heart fluttered and ached as Violet and Ford's relationship grew. 

Allow me to start easy and mention how stinkin' cute the cover is! Is that puppy not pulling at your heart strings? Yes, there are puppies in the book. And yes, I am weak against them in real life and fiction. Wait 'til you learn the puppies' names and you will melt just as easily as I did. Cindi Madsen somehow found the key to my heart, and incorporated all my favorite elements in one book—humor, heart, friendship, babies, pets, baked goods and men in uniform. As Always a Bridesmaid is set in a small town, Ford takes on more than just one professional role. That's more than one "uniform" and *heart eyes*. It didn't hurt that he's dedicated and gives 110% to all his jobs. I loved Ford. But I, by far, loved Violet's character and strength most.

Violet is my girl. She's a hot mess. Throughout the entire novel, I just wanted to bundle her up and protect her. Violet returns to small town Uncertainty after her dream wedding plans go up in smoke. Her thoughts go a mile a minute, and I thoroughly enjoyed her keen sense of humor and narrative. Violet is a professional photography that has lost her muse. Her kind heart and bridesmaid experiences get her pulled into helping plan another wedding. Ford's best friend's wedding to be exact. The character dynamics within Ford's close circle of friends were sweet and they all kindly took Violet into their fold. Violet's relationship with her sister was also precious.

Now back to Ford for a moment. He's very swoon-worthy. All the interactions between Violet and Ford had me giggling and grinning like an idiot. Their chemistry is SO GOOD. There was a moment where I wanted to shake Ford (and another secondary character) but it made sense that the story played out as they did in the "conflict". Not that I agreed with what he did or how he approached the subject. Shame on you, Ford. FOR SHAME. I reread that scene, and what Violet said, a lot. My heart hurt so bad, but in a good way? I was always cheering for her happiness but especially in that scene. Yes girl, always choose YOU first. 

I would love to continue on with my fangirling of this book and talk about all of my favorite scenes. But! I'd be going into spoiler material then [aka the danger zone]. Always a Bridesmaid is best enjoyed with fresh eyes! I certainly felt that I stumbled on secret treasure. Imagine how pleased I was to find out that this was book #2 in a series of standalones. *happy dance* I'll be diving into book #1 soon and look forward to more stories in Uncertainty.

**ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review (thank you, Entangled!)

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