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Friday, July 25, 2014

Leavitt's YA Vegas Romance a Little Thin

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When Holly Nolan's beloved Grandpa Jim dies during bypass surgery, the 17-year-old is devastated.  She can't imagine how she's supposed to go on with her life, let alone her "part-time" job without his guidance.  For as long as she can remember, Holly's been as devoted to saving her grandfather's wedding chapel—a crumbling icon on the Las Vegas strip—as he always was.  Lately, it's been a losing battle.  Now that Jim's gone, Holly can't bear to see it close, or worse, get bought up by her grandpa's jerk of a business rival.  What will become of The Rose of Sharon Wedding Chapel now?

At the reading of her grandfather's will, Holly gets the shock of her life: she is the new owner of the wedding chapel.  She's been working there forever, sure, but she knows nothing about steering a failing business back into the black.  Or, does she?  As Holly pulls out all the stops to save the chapel she loves, she finds herself sacrificing everything—her sanity, her social life and, quite possibly, the love of her life (who just happens to be the grandson of her Jim's rival/mortal enemy).  The harder she battles to save The Rose of Sharon, the more she wonders if the fight is worthwhile.  Which will win out in the end—the chapel that symbolizes everything Holly loves about her past or Dax, the guy who just might hold the key to her bigger, brighter future?

The Chapel Wars, the newest offering from Lindsey Leavitt, gives readers everything they've come to expect from the popular YA author.  The quirky, upbeat story is filled with humor, romance and colorful characters.  A vibrant, unique setting, brought to life by a Las Vegas native, definitely adds to the novel's appeal.  As much as I enjoy a fun, breezy read, especially one written by Leavitt, this one disappointed me a little bit.  The plot felt thin and far-fetched.  Dax didn't strike me as all that likable—I get that he's hot, but he's got to have at least a little substance to make me want to root for him.  Speaking of substance, I think that's what was really missing in this one for me.  It was a little too breezy, you know?  All in all, the book kept me entertained, but in the end, it was just an okay read for me.  

(Readalikes:  The Romeo and Juliet/business rivals aspect of the story reminded me of Lisa McMann's Visions trilogy [Crash; Bang; Gasp], although the plots don't have a lot in common.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), sexual innuendo, and depictions of underage drinking/partying

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Chapel Wars from the generous folks at Bloomsbury via those at NetGalley.  Thank you!


  1. I liked this one but I agree that the plot felt a little thinner than her other books. My brother got married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator, so I liked the whole idea of reading about working in a wedding chapel there.

  2. This one sounds like it at least has a unique premise. I think I'll probably give it a try sometime when I'm needing something a little lighter and fluffier.


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